“Everywhere,” Grey said, pulling boba through a straw. “The time is near.” He finished his boba tea, shaking the ice in the cup like a maraca. I felt like Iron Man, lost in the darkness of space a thousand light-years from home. I knew the truth. Grey was powered by boba, and with the looming boba shortage, his prognostication powers were waning. I sat in his office, like a child watching his hero fade away.
“I thought it was going to be rainy today,” Grey said, flinging the curtains open to reveal brilliant sunshine. “I tried cocoa nibs, coconut pearls, even chickpeas. Nothing. I’m just a lothario now.” He turned, grabbed a magazine from his desk, and tossed it in front of me. Fantasy Baseballer Magazine. “Go ahead,” Grey said, “Ask my opinion on a player.” I opened it, seemingly at random, finding the Colorado Rockies.
“Tell me about Bud Black,” I asked.
Grey’s hand began shaking, the maraca-like boba tea playing in time to Gasolina. “Bud Black is rational, cool-minded, sensible.” Tears ran down from Grey’s eyes as he spoke. “Fair with playing time.”
His boba cup dropped to the ground, a cacophony of crushed ice and plastic.
I couldn’t see my boss like this. “Grey, the boba raw ingredients are stuck in ships off the coast. We can heist them. Start a new company. We’ll be RazzBoba!” I stood and approached the Fantasy Master Lothario but he waved me back.
“Everywhere,” Grey said, “I can’t dirty your hands with this. That’s my container ship to heist. If I don’t make it back, take care of my Bartolo Colon bobblehead, and feed my goldfish, Lou Bob.”
I took the Fantasy Baseballer Magazine in my hand and thwapped it on the table. “With Gyorko as my witness, we’ll make you a fantasy master again!”
News and Notes
Madison Bumgarner: BadMum is back! April showers bring May powers, right? BadMum has an 18:2 K/BB ratio over his last three starts (17 IP) and a silky-smooth 2ER allowed. OH AND A NO-HITTER. His fastball is back up to its
impressive stunning acceptable 91MPH, which has given a bit extra oomph to his slider as well. We gotta remember, he doesn’t even turn 32 until near the playoff run. I might be writing about BadMum in the 2032 edition of Robo-Razzball, when all our articles are just clickbait about Bad Mums. Ya know, the other kind. He’s risky but the reward is pretty high.
Andrew Heaney: Way back in the day, Bill James invented statistics because he hated baseball cards. He whipped up some acronyms on a Wang Computer and output some ratios and made some books about it that later inspired a blockbuster film, Angels in the Outfield. Then came the natural evolution of BillJames-r-metrics, BradPitt-r-metrics. In this system, fit devil-may-care players are the pinnacle of baseball desires. How can you say baseball isn’t romantic? ENYWHEY. By standard metrics that you find on the back of baseball cards, Heaney looks like trash: 1-2 record and an ERA over 5. But in the BradPitt-r-metrics, he’s got xERA/FIP in the 3.00 range and an xFIP under 3.00. That means he’s been unlucky and the Angels aren’t helping him at all. Heaney’s K/9 is at its highest rate in his career, and he’s got a luxurious 14% swinging strike rate. When he “positive regresses” — which sounds like a form of denial from a Covid conspiracy truther — he’ll be kicking all sorts of grass.
Kyle Hendricks: [stares at velocity report] I mean there are position players who have thrown harder when filling in at pitcher during a blowup than Kyle Hendricks is throwing right now. His fastball is at 85/86 and there’s a lot of high school readers out there that can throw faster than Hendricks. Also, stop reading Razzball in class! What exactly do we make of a guy who was already tossing softies and is now giving up 7 runs a game without K’ing anybody? We make amends with our bad decisions and move on, that’s what we do. Hendricks is obviously a “sell” candidate, which is what the Cubs management do with all of their players even when they’re good.
Shane McClanahan: Now, I’m not the kind of guy you should be trusting for your prospects advice because we’ve got like 8 other people to do that for you. But when I click on Shane McClanahan’s bio on another site, it says he’s the #117 prospect in MLB with a current 35 rating on command with a max of 40. So, ya know, people smarter than me think he’s not going to be more than an ordinary player at the major league level. Once he left A-ball, though, he’s got an 85/14 K/BB ratio. His BABIP in Double-A and MLB has been near .450. His xFIP in AA ball was 2.91, nearly 4 times lower than his ERA. The Rays have made Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Rich Hill [did I just say that?] into great pitchers, so there’s no reason not to grab McClanahan in almost any format. Yes, it’s the Rays, so he may have 20 starts and 65 IP, but, let’s just pretend we live in a beautiful world and can have nice things.
Jesus Luzardo: Speaking of not having nice things, Luzardo got a bit aggressive after playing some War Zone against Mitch Garver (official reports may say he was playing Dark Souls 3) and fractured his hand on a table. Likely out 4-6 weeks.
Matthew Boyd: Bad knees and will miss a start or two. He actually improved his K/9 rate to [squints at newspaper boxscore] 6 per 9. Nice! He’s almost in the Tim Wakefield range now.
Hyun-Jin Ryu: Butt hurt. For real. Hit the IL, but usually, these types of injuries mitigate well enough. I’m 0 percent worried, which is a complete lie and no I’m not in denial.
Alec Bettinger: Imagine this: you’re drafted in round 10, probably getting a signing bonus of like $10,000 or something as a sort of stipend before you make minimum wage in the minors for the next few years. Yet, you bully batters and have your way with them. You pitch 300 innings in your minor league career, getting better at every stop to the point that you’re nearly K’ing 10 per 9 while walking only 2. In fact, your numbers look strikingly like Dylan Bundy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Lance Lynn. You get the phone call; you’re starting on May 2, 2021! Your cup of coffee! Call your parents, bring them to the ballpark! Wear a damn mask! Uh-oh, you’re debuting against the Dodgers! I think you know how the rest of the story goes. Just like Craig Counsell left Josh Lindblom on the mound to get torched and then sent to the Ineffective List, CC sent rookie pitcher Alex Bettinger out against the freaking Dodgers to let him get shelled for 11 runs in 4 innings. To Bettinger’s credit, he walked only 2 batters but struck out none. There’s not much of a lesson to learn here, other than that 5th starting spot on the Brewers will clearly be a place for CC to flog pitchers for not being as good as his front four.
Yusei Kikuchi: Other than getting blown out by Boston, he’s been pretty good this year. K rate still leaves a lot to be desired, but it’s starting to crank up towards 9 per 9. I was gonna make a 99 Red Balloons joke in German but then Grammarly got all uppity about the language change.
German Marquez: Everybody in the world hates him but his advanced statistics all point to him being pretty OK. Yeah, his BB/9 is in Robbie Ray territory right now, but he’s a sub-3.00 career BB/9 guy otherwise. Especially if you’re hurting for pitching, it’s a fine idea to dart throw Marquez because he has top 30 SP upside. [waits for Grey to pop into the comments with Bud Black love]
Dylan Cease: 9K and 7IP against the Tigers. He hasn’t made it past 4.2 IP in any of his other starts, his walk rate is at 4.50 and his xFIP is over a point higher than his ERA. Sure, he might be roster-able in deep leagues, but don’t let the nonsense “CEASE IS CY YOUNG” internet chatter get to you. What ridiculous players do you think will be Cy Young this year? Drop their names in the comments!
Cole Irvin: Well, every once in a while a guy comes out of nowhere and things are clicking and sometimes you just gotta run with it. He’s got a 25/4 K/BB ratio on the year, SIERA sitting sub-4.00, CSW% mid-20s. He’s due for some regression because he’s pitching way above his fantasy pay grade, but he’s worth a dart throw now while he’s hot. Also, the Pirates are never actually hot, it’s just like a gas station roller grill: greased and warm.
Kwang Hyun Kim: We know he’s good, he just needs to stay healthy and hold a rotation spot. 12K/0BB over his last 2 games (10IP), and he’s never going to be a strikeout master, but he’s super-useful in deep leagues as a source of innings and therefore straight up Ks. He’s struggled to stay healthy since arriving in MLB, though, so know that he comes with risk. KHK is AOK in my book.
Dustin May: MRI coming on Monday, but you should just pre-emptively grab Tony Gonsolin if he’s available. May’s likely going to be out for a while. [insert “It’s Gonna be May” meme but cross out May with “June 2022” and make Justin Trousersnake sexyback] Are you the first to hear the MRI results? Let me know the results down in the comments!
Alex Cobb: He’s still performing well but he’s diving in terms of interest right now. But that’s OK because I can’t keep interested in things for more than 5 minutes anyway. Oh look! Cole Irvin! Cobb’s pitch mix changed pretty dramatically in the past few starts: upwards of 15% more fastballs and half the number of curveballs that led to his strong start. If he continues with his heavy fastball mix, fantasy managers are in for a boring Cobb salad.
FAAB God, Millionaire
These pitchers are rostered in less than 50% of NFBC leagues, which means they’re likely available in your Yahoo / ESPN / CBS / mail-in hand-calculated leagues.
- Alex Wood: SpinePro likely top 50 upside if he stays healthy.
- Matt Harvey: Not like the old Matt Harvey, but a pitcher only the Orioles could love. Best deployed in Best Ball leagues.
- Cole Irvin: See above blurb. No, not the one about Alex Cobb.
- Tyler Anderson: Two Pirates pitchers? That’ll be $2, cuz they’re a Buck-an-ear! HAHAHAHA wait…they have four ears total…
- Chris Flexen: Kind of looks like this year’s Marco Gonzales, which means dull but good for fantasy.
Usual boilerplate that somebody always fails to read yet nonetheless thinks they’re a genius to point out in the comments: I rank in tiers, and don’t worry too much about the location within the tiers. I added some markers to see “where” you are in the rankings to help give a bit more order to the chaos. Please don’t misconstrue these guideposts for numerical rankings, though.
- S-Tier: Players have the qualities of pitchers most likely to finish in the Top 10.
- A-Tier: Players have the qualities of pitchers most likely to finish SP5-40.
- B-Tier: Players have the qualities of pitchers most likely to finish SP10-60.
- C-Tier: Streamers and deep league pitchers
- D-Tier: Contrarian matchup plays and injured pitchers.
- Trevor Rogers: S-Tier skills with ridiculously low barrel rates. And you were all drafting Sixto in round 1.
- Eduardo Rodriguez: Healing and dealing.
- Dustin May: Snap, crackle, drop (or IL)
- Ryan Weathers: Appears on the list for the first time but he’s also dealing with arm soreness and MacKenzie Goreness.
Overall, I’ve noticed few pitchers moving out of the tiers of their own accord, which helps provide a bit more evidence about the skill-based predictive prowess that makes up the majority of this system, which is close to Carlos Marcano’s speX system. What does that mean? It means that the system has provided pretty good value on identifying pitchers who are useful for fantasy. So far, Space:X has been ahead of the curve on pitchers like Brandon Woodruff, Jose Berrios, Trevor Rogers, Freddy Peralta, Huascar Ynoa, and Tyler Mahle.
If you have questions, drop them down in the comments! Keep your hate mail in your desk and have an awesome week!
|Lance McCullers Jr.||26.2||14.50%||4.14||31.40%|
|135||Jose De Leon||9.1||28.90%||2.81||35.90%|
|Chi Chi Gonzalez||15||6.50%||5.02||24.90%|
Aye, you made it this far, didn’t ya. EverywhereBlair is, well, located at home right now. He’s a historian and lover of prog-metal. He enjoys a good sipping rum. When he’s not churning data and making fan fiction about Grey and Donkey Teeth, you can find him dreaming of shirtless pictures of Lance Lynn on Twitter @Everywhereblair.