The FINAL 2018 Freddies Ofers Keeper Review

Hey guys and any random gal who stumbles upon this tiny piece of internet real-estate.  Yeah,  I know what you are thinking… “Ha, like a girl would ever stumble upon this little hellhole.”  Well if one does and she immediately doesn’t close the tab, welcome.

In this edition we will take a look at Tits Grande, (And… There goes that one girl. Thanks, Todd you giant ax wound!) Ho Lee Dae and The Insane Clown Posey, which for the record was the better of the two “Posey” themed names last year. So let’s get right into it.

Tits Grande

You know, taking a look at Todd’s keepers is like looking at a dynasty league manager’s wet dream. Young, talented and upside for days.  Not to mention the “best” pitcher in the league albeit perhaps not for fantasy any longer.  No need to wait, let’s jump right in.

  1. Carlos Correa – SS
  2. Bryce Harper – OF
  3. Cody Bellinger – 1B/OF
  4. Clayton Kershaw – SP

Yeah, there you have it. Not bad.  Todd rebuilt last year in what were three trades that I wrote about, quite critically in some cases, here and here.  So with that being said, I won’t get into those trades from last year.  Let’s take a look at what he is rocking this year.

Carlos Correa is in my opinion  the best shortstop in the league and only Machado, who will become eligible this year can rival him at this point.  Trea Turner may be more valuable in roto style leagues or category based leagues but in all honesty those are inferior to daily move point based leagues or point based leagues in general. I mean in his age 22 season Correa nearly doubled his walk rate, cut his strikeout rate 6 points to 19%, raised his HR/FB rate and more evenly spread his hits to all fields and to top it all off, still managed to increase his hard hit rate to nearly 40%.  This kid is the future and the future is here. If Correa can raise his FB% from 31.7% to 35% which still isn’t very high, he is a sure bet for 30+ home-runs this year and will show he is still ascending up his own personal ladder of greatness. I have no doubt we are watching the continued meteoric ascent of one of the game’s premier young stars. Also, Andy is an idiot for trading him.

I generally write about keepers in the order that they will be drafted but I was just so damn excited about Correa that I made an exception.  Todd’s “number 2” keeper is Bryce Harper.  Is it just me or does it seem like this guy has been around forever?  Harper is still just 25 years and 5 months old.  I have always been a bit wary of Harper as I tend to gravitate towards more reliable options but there is no denying that Harper is one of the sports most electric stars and, when healthy, a top fantasy contributor. Even after his outstanding 2015 season in which he hit .330 with 42 home-runs, 118 runs and 99 RBI, I would be willing to bet we still haven’t seen the best of Harper.  He followed it up with a major disappointment of a season in 2016 hitting .243 with 24 home-runs, 95 runs and 87 RBI. However, he did bounce back in 2017 but it leaves us wondering which Harper will we get during any given season.  Todd is clearly hoping to get more 2015 Harper than 2016 Harper and with what should end up being the largest contract in baseball history, Harper has something to be playing for this year.  Some have mentioned 500 million is an achievable mark for Harper when he hits free agency at the end of the season. I would probably take the under but one thing is for sure, Harper is an electric player on what should be an electric team and is primed for a huge season if he can stay healthy and keep his mind focused. Is Todd stoked to have Harper as a keeper? That’s a clown question, Bro.

Cody Bellinger is a bit of a flier.  Bellinger came up last year and in 132 games preceded to blast 39 bombs and capture the NL rookie of the year by a landslide. Now I do have some concerns.

Here is a quick query taken from statscast data at 4 young slugger that all broke out last year and far exceeded their expected stats. The one thing you will see is that Bellinger looks like he got a bit lucky in both the average and wOBA categories.  If Bellinger were to regress closer to the (x) expected results based on batted ball data then we are looking at what will be considered a very disappointing year from a young slugger who despite an incredibly bright future still might have more learning to do than we expected.  It should be mentioned that we saw what might be the beginning of this in the playoffs last year where holes in Bellinger’s swing were ruthlessly exploited resulting in a .219 average with 29 strikeouts in 15 games.  Judge set the record last postseason for the most strikeouts in a single post season at 27 only to have Bellinger one up him by topping that.  This kid is going to be a star but it might not be this year. You have been warned.

Clayton Kershaw is a once in a generation talent. Kershaw turned thirty 3 days ago and has already been in the league for a decade. Fun fact: Kershaw has lowered his career ERA every single year since he entered the league. After a decade, he sits at a 2.36 career ERA.  This guy is as sure of a hall of famer as you will ever see.  The worst part about me telling you all these great things is that we are all going to watch our generations greatest pitcher being to fall in the next couple seasons. That, to me, is incredibly sad.  I fear that gone are the days of us getting 200 innings from Kershaw.  Back problems have started to creep up on Kershaw and have held him out of the rotation for parts of the last two years and if we have learned anything about back problems and baseball players it’s that they do NOT go away and slowly become a bigger more troublesome issue.  The innings he is giving you are still absolutely elite and no one can ever deny that but I truly fear that those innings are going to continue to slowly decline and before we know it, those innings are going to look just a bit less elite where other pitchers might be able to start matching the numbers he puts up.  Father times catches up with all of us and just as it was painful to watch father time take Ken Griffey Jr. amongst many others from us, we are going to watch another great slowly begin his (hopefully graceful) decline towards the twilight years of his career.  Enjoy these next two years, Todd.  It may be the last truly elite years anyone in our league ever gets out of the best pitching talent of our generation.

There is one more “keeper” that needs to be talked about for Todd and Tits Grande.  During his “rebuild” he managed to procure 1st round picks (technically the 5th round because we keep 4 keepers per team, just an FYI for those of you reading that are not in our league) from both of the Stockford brothers.  Now as the reigning, defending champion thisat is truly disturbing.  Todd also acquired 8th, 11th and 14th round picks in his trades which means he has an astronomical head start in the 2018 season and has to be considered the favourite to overthrow me as the champion. It is for this reason, that I never took a break this year from fantasy baseball.  I am going to have to be on the top of my game to defend my title for another year.

Overall Keeper Status:  Tons of youth and talent. I am glad that keepers will reset before Todd gets to enjoy the best years for his three bats. He has a great base to continue to be relevant until the 2020 draft.

Ho Lee Dae

This may seem in poor taste but BREAKING (literally) NEWS ladies and gentlemen, Justin Turner is on the DL to start the season.  Now who ever would have thought that a guy who has only ever played a single season without injury would get injured.  It is shitty lucky though, especially when wrist injuries generally suck power away even after the player returns to the lineup.  Now, it does seem to me that I have been rather harsh on Dave in the past  on this blog and in our smack talk boards in league but he is one of the stronger competitors in the league, not to mention a guy who can both take and dish out the trash talk on the smack talk boards or on social media where he is especially savage against uneducated mouth breathing idiots. That said, I am going to try to be a bit nicer today but as the team that likely has the weakest keepers in the league, I might be grasping at some straws. Let’s dive into it!

  1. Freddie Freeman – 1B
  2. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  3. Justin Turner – 3B
  4. Noah Syndergaard – SP

Well, at least the start of this write up will get off to a good start.  Freddie Freeman is a Sabermetrician’s wet dream.  Elite exit velocities, strong line drives rates and solid contact rates for a power hitting first baseman. The biggest change in the 2017 season was finally getting his strikeout rate under 20% which has many in the fantasy baseball industry calling for the breakout to finally occur in 2018 which at 28 years old it needs to be now or never for Freeman to prove he deserves to be drafted in the top 2 rounds.  If, and it is a big if, Freeman stays healthy he should put up strong numbers and finally enjoy the breakout many have been begging for since he first tantalized us in 2013 and again in 2016.  Here’s to hoping Freeman does succeed because Dave will be in HUGE trouble entering to 2019 season if he doesn’t.

Bogaerts was seen as the SS of the future in Boston when he was called up in 2014.  He was seen as an offensive force that would be relevant no matter where he played on the field, not just shortstop.  Well, that never really happened… I have been incredibly pessimistic of Bogaerts in the past and that isn’t going to change here.  This guy seemingly refuses to hit the ball purposely hit the ball in the air and even his “good” seasons (2015, 2016) have glaring red flags suggesting that massive regression was coming.  He sported a .372 BABIP in 2014 despite terrible line drive and hard contact rates and a ground ball rate over 52% which lead to an unrealistic .320 average. In 2016 he increased his flyball rate to 34.9% and over doubled his HR/FB rate from 5.3 to 11.4% to hit 21 home-runs in a career high 719 plate appearances which very few saw as repeatable numbers in both plate appearances and HR/FB rates due to less than favourable exit velocities, launch angles and hard contact.  Sure enough, 2017 saw Bogaerts come back down to earth to being merely a roster-able 7th ranked shortstop in our league and that type of poor production coming from a keeper is completely unacceptable.  It is hard to see him turning into a super star at this point in his career but he is still 25 years old so there is a flicker of hope if he can completely overhaul his approach at the plate.

I know the feeling when a keeper goes on the DL before the season even starts as Price did the same thing to me last year. It sucks and is as frustrating as trying to actually start a real conversation in the Freddies Ofers Facebook group with Brent and Kyle around.  Turner, while not being keeper worthy, is still a good option at third base when he is healthy and Dave didn’t think that upgrading his keepers was a prudent move via trade this off season so he really put himself in between a rock and a hard place.  It is almost like he wanted to put himself at a disadvantage to see if he could still succeed.  At 33 years old, Turner may be the oldest keeper in the league other than our beloved ex Jay, Edwin Encarnacion, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz.  Encarnacion, Beltre and Cruz are far more accomplished and still better fantasy options.  If Turner comes back and hits ~.300 with 20 HR in the middle of a Dodgers lineup which is probably the most expected result would be acceptable but only end up helping Dave tread water, Dave will be looking to rebuild this year and needs more than that if he hopes to turn what expendable assets he has into keeper upgrades as the season progresses.

Ok, things get much brighter here. First, if I ever got to meet ex Jays GM Alex Anthropoulos I would thank him for bringing so much excitement back to both Toronto and Canada as we finally made it back to the playoffs AND for the first time in over 20 years we had something in Baseball to truly cheer for.  However, one move I was INCREDIBLY critical of was the trade that brought R.A. Dickless to Toronto and sent the man we are about to talk about to the Metropolitans. Clearly, we are talking about the man affectionately called, Thor. Oh wait, sorry, I think that might be the wrong Thor.  Is this one better?  Now, would it ever be nice to have this guy in the Jays rotation.  I will forever rue the day that Thor left us. Damn you AA, damn you…  Now Syndergaard might as well be throwing Mjolnir every time he hurls a fastball towards a batter because very few pitchers have ever had fastballs explode out of their hand like Thor.  This guy is the epitome of electric.  He has had some health problems in the past but in 2016 he stayed healthy and showed that his upside is THE BEST PITCHER IN BASEBALL.  Yes, I said it.  If there is a man who can usurp Kershaw, this is the god man to do it.  Syndergaard is easily the most talented individual on Dave’s team and could either be the player that is built around or the player that fetches the kings ransom that helps balance out his keepers/team for a run at a championship.

Overall Keeper Status:  Dave’s keepers sit on both ends of the spectrum.  Electric talent with top end elite upside that few other players possess with Freeman and Syndergaard and cringe-worthy talent on the same level as Trump’s administration in which the only real value is name value alone.  Dave has some work to do and missed a serious opportunity this off-season to address it.  Always a well studied, prepared opponent, I have no doubt Dave can rebound and make the changes needed to bring his team back to contention status.

Insane Clown Posey

Boom! We have finally arrived at the final review.  This should bring us to well over 10,000 words and might max out close to 13,000.  That’s at least 20 hours all said and told if I had to make a rough guess.  Next we have the unimpressed selfie master himself, Keegbump!  Now Keeg went all Richard on our asses and kept what must be the oldest two players in our glorious league’s history this year.  There is a difference though, both Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre seem to be ageless.  Andrew once bet me years ago when we were both just young, up and coming whippersnappers (2013 I think) that Nelson Cruz would out perform Ryan Braun over the course of the season.  As per usual, Andrew was early and Cruz got hurt while Braun beast-moded it a year before a steroid bust.  Well, how tides have turned. Cruz also accrued a steroid suspension but since then has been the epitome of a consistent high average power hitter with few peers since 2014. But enough chitchat.  Let’s get into it!

  1. Nelson Cruz – DH
  2. Christian Yelich – OF
  3. Adrian Beltre – 3B
  4. Chris Sale – SP

Nelson Cruz sits at the top of the list when it comes to nearly every important offensive stat available. This guy may be 37 but he has done nothing but bash since 2014.  He is the only player to hit 40+ home-runs between 2014-2016 and just missed extending that by a single home-run last year when he belted 39.  Now the one reason to downgrade Cruz this year a bit is that he didn’t actually play in the field last year so he lost his OF eligibility.  I guess it is a good thing our league is set up in a way that offensive flexibility is not required and tying up your Util spot isn’t actually a big deal in most cases so if there is a league set up for this guy to succeed, it is ours!  The other bankable characteristic of Cruz is his health. he has played at least 152 games in each of the last 4 seasons and 5 of the last 6 so you can rest assured that he will be there mashing balls when you need him the most.  Baseball has been turning into a young man’s game in recent years but Cruz wants these damn kids off his FUCKIN’ lawn and is showing these kids what real consistent power is.  I loved having this guy on my team and Keeg will too!

No player will benefit as much this year from a change in scenery as Yelich.  Moving from the cavernous power sapping hell-hole that is Marlins Park to the bandbox that is Miller Park you can only expect power numbers is trend upwards.  Not to mention he had to look at this every time he came up to bat, I honestly don’t know how he managed to ever take an at bat seriously with that looming in his view.  Yelich even came out in interviews discussing how he knew Marlins Park killed power and changed his approach to keep the ball out of the air which bodes well for increased power this year.  Many are excited for what could turn into a career year for Yelich and I have no reason to expect any differently.  He even hit a ball at 114 mph during spring training this year which is harder than any ball he hit at all in 2017 so enjoy the ride, Keeg.

If there was a questionable choice of keepers based solely on ADP, Beltre is that choice.  With an average pick in ESPN of 133 he is unquestionably one of the best values of the draft.  Beltre deserves to be drafted before 133rd but I do doubt he returns 4th round value at this point in, what I consider, a hall of fame career.  Personally, I would have rather kept a higher ranked player and drafted Beltre if I wanted him that badly.  That being said, if Beltre is healthy he is going to put up numbers.  Beltre put up a higher average points per game last year (5.5 ppg) than Turner, Bregman, Moustakas, Lamb and Machado so the only thing holding Beltre back is his ailing legs which have often cried foul after 13 long seasons.  Only time will tell if Beltre has one high end season left in him.  I for one am rooting for him to silence any doubters on whether he deserves to be inducted into the holiest of baseball shrines.

If you are looking for upside, look no further than Keeg’s keeper pitcher, Chris Sale.  Despite an arm motion and body type that has us all thinking that his arm will explode off his body on any given pitch and shower everyone in the front row in blood, tendons and knock out at least one person, Sale has defied us all for years and stayed healthy.  No one, and I mean absolutely no one, has the pure strikeout upside that Sale does.  Not Kershaw, Scherzer, Kluber, Severino, Ray, Archer, Strasburg or even Syndergaard. Not even Darvish in his incredible 2013 season seriously pushed 300 strikeouts.  This guy had the Cy Young all but wrapped up at the All-Star break last year before gassing out while Kluber went all Klubot on the league to steal it from under Sale’s nose.  If Sale hadn’t run out of gas he would have pushed 350 strikeouts with 178 K’s in the first half and 130 in the second half which would have been a performance for the ages.  Only 3 people have had 300+ strikeouts in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling (2002, 316 K’s in 259 innings), Clayton Kershaw (2015, 301 K’s in 232 innings) and Sale (2017, 308 K’s in 214 innings).  Thanks to a soul crushing 12.9 K/9 rate, Sale has truly set himself apart as the premier strikeout artist in the MLB.  I feel like Keeg is a ride or die type individual and this is one of the guys that best symbolizes this style of loyalty.  Sale is going to go out there every 5th day with the intention to utterly destroy every single batter that dares enter the batters box against him. It’s time to choose; ride or die. Fuckin Eh, let’s ride.

Overall Keeper Status: Keeg needs to get younger.  If he can do that with only 2 seasons left before keeper reset than good on him but it might be easier to find a Beltre replacement *cough* Ozuna *cough* and roll out Cruz one more year before the reset but Keeg has done one thing right, load up with high contact, high power bangers and elite upside pitching.  Things could be much worse.

Holy shit boys and girls, that concludes a LOT of writing. Hope you are all ready for the draft tomorrow night. I can’t wait to share a couple beers, a couple laughs and some good old fashion fantasy drafting with you guys.  Hope we can all get into a Skype chat so the smack talk can reach epic levels. Will there be a new worst pick since Santana? Will Granderson go first over all like last year?  Will any glorious new memes be created like the feature image? Tune in tomorrow, folks. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Freddies Ofers Keeper Review 3

Guten tag, alles! Wilkommen zurück!  Oh wait, this is one of those reprieves where I don’t have to use German for a while and thank god because while it is necessary to learn having moved to Switzerland, in all honesty learning a new language at 30+ years old sucks.  Anywho… Here we are back once again for the penultimate edition of this years look at keepers in the Freddies Ofers Memorial League which is my favourite home league (not to mention my only home league at the moment so take that how you will).

 

Today we will be breaking down The Rizzo Dizzo, Judge and Jury and yours truly, the reigning, the defending and the four time league champions Cawk Tawkos.

The Rizzo Dizzo

Poor Ryan has had a roller coaster ride over the last couple years.  2016 brought a rough 7-14 record while 2017 had him flying high with a 16-5 record where both Ryan’s tied for the second best record in the league. This will be the year where we find out if The Rizzo Dizzo are a version of the San Francisco Giants in which they are dominant during odd numbered years and a giant dumpster fire during the even number years.  After being an idiot and trading away 2018’s first and eighth round picks, I am going to guess this year will be a dumpster fire which would be a continuation of the final day of his season last year. Ask him about it. Seriously, do it. Anywho, onto Ryan’s keepers.

  1. Francisco Lindor – SS
  2. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
  3. JD Martinez – OF
  4. James Paxton – SP

Thoughts

So Lindor looked really good last year.  After hitting 15 home runs in 2016, Lindor came out and blasted 33 dongers leading all shortstops in 2017.  The best part for Ryan is Lindor’s peripherals seem to suggest it was legit after raising his launch angle from 7.7% to 13.7% between 2016 and 2017.  I still would take the under if asked whether he would hit 30 bombs next year but at 24 years old, there is still room for growth and  he looks set to be a fixture in the top 2 rounds of any fantasy draft for years to come. Enjoy the ride, Ry-Guy!

You could probably set a clock by Anthony Rizzo.  He hits 31-32 home runs every year for the last 4 years, hits ~.280 and has 90ish runs and 100ish RBIs.  That’s fantastic, right?  It is!  However, there is one small problem.  In 2014 and even 2015 that was topflight.  First round quality even.  As both the juiced ball and launch angle revolution have taken hold, offense across the league has spiked drastically and Rizzo has not enjoyed his piece of the pie.  This is s a problem because even though his floor is possibly the lowest of any player in the league, he has no ceiling and with so many players taking advantage of the new offensive environment, Rizzo has stayed stationary and is no longer offering the top tier offensive stats that he has in the past.  He is still giving Ryan very good numbers but when Zimmerman, Smoak and Hosmer can offer 90-95% of the same performance and Abreu who was taken 3-5 rounds later in 2017 produced more points you have to worry whether he can actually help carry your team or if you need to look for someone new to anchor your team at the current cost point that Rizzo is being drafted at.  Now if Rizzo was Ryan’s top keeper, I would be far more worried but as a second keeper who is currently being drafted around the back end of the 2nd round, actually using him an anchor with that safe floor could be a plan if you have higher upside players to compliment him.

Speaking of high upside players, it’s almost like I planned that transition or something… Ry’s third keeper happens to be the “King Kong of Slug” J.D. Martinez.  Now look I, like most people who love baseball should, hate Scott Boras.  I am 100% pro labour so that might sound weird to hear me say but I can’t help but feel like the guy is an absolute slimeball.  I bet if he got hit by a meteorite, the world would be a better place.  His brain numbing metaphors and eye rolling analogies have been legendarily cringe worthy this off season.  Now, I can’t hold the fact that “Mr. Kong” decided to hire a slimeball for a manager against him so I am going to have to find something else to rag on him for.  The easy low hanging fruit is clearly health.  JD is a guy who has only played a full season once and other than 2015 with the Tigers, has never cracked 123 games. Amazingly enough, he put up a full season of numbers in 119 games in 2017 and lived up to that terrible nickname so the upside is there to be first round talent but any regression or addition to time spent on the DL could lead to Ryan looking for a new keeper next year as Martinez is also likely to lose OF eligibility and be DH only next year.

Now here is where Ryan may be in serious trouble.  His keeper pitcher is James Paxton, a 29 year old pitcher who has yet to have a full break out season, has no ability to stay healthy and has lost a significant amount of velocity this spring (the same velocity that actually made him good) and is getting clobbered in Spring Training this year to a tune of a 10.32 ERA.  Now before I say more mean things, if Paxton was able to stay healthy and pitch 180 innings, I am not even asking for 200, than there is a good chance that he is close to or in the top 12 pitchers, which since we are a 12 team league with 1 keeper pitcher each, that’s where you want be as closely positioned as possible (Someone should probably tell Kenn this…). That said, however, with his new full effort delivery that he adopted mid way through the 2016 season that helped add over 2 miles an hour to his fastball, has also lead to elbow, forearm and lat problems which have held him back for the last 2 years.

Overall Keeper Status: A budding young star who has used the juiced ball to launch himself in stardom.  A great first baseman who may not be one of Baseball’s elite anymore but has a floor that is as high as anyone in the league.  A lottery ticket who when healthy puts up first round numbers but the important question is will he be healthy when Ryan really needs him. Finally the ultimate lottery ticket, a 29 year old “prospect” who when healthy and throwing 100mph can rival the top 10 pitchers in the league but has serious health and velocity concerns both in his past and so far in Spring training.  This likely ends up being a rebuild year for Ryan but if all the dominoes fall properly he could try to make a run at the playoffs.

 

Judge and Jury

First let me say, welcome to the league Evan.  Second, I want you to know we are all happy to have you here. I really hope you are “feeling the love and we can be friends till the end of time“.  Third…  Holy shit is this kid even old enough to be on the internet?  Are we going to get busted for some child related felonies having Evan in our league?  We have guys in this league that are too pretty to go to jail…  I guess only time will tell if Evan takes after his selfie guru brother or dank memelord Brent “Brolig” Bolig.  Ok so on to more important matters like to start, lame fucking name broseferino.  The first thing you do when you take over a team is make it your own by changing the name so… Get. On. That. Shit. Keeper time, boys.

  1. A-a-ron Judge – OF (A-a-ron, I’ll just put this little vid here)
  2. Edwin Encarnacion – 1B
  3. Alex Bregman – 3B-SS
  4. Madison Bumgarner – SP

So we all know by now that Evan is taking over this team for the first year so we will just chat about his keepers as I can’t bash him for anything, yet.  Landon struck gold last year with a monstrous breakout from a guy who was never good in the minors and was a late round flyer from a guy who picked Granderson first overall. Yeah, you heard that right.  Still, wasn’t the worst pick since Santana but it’s close.  Now it is pretty clear that Landon had no idea how to run a fantasy team as he refused to trade for young stars and rebuild as he took over a team for the first time… What a fucking idiot… Judge, was his only saving grace on what needs to be considered a completely wasted season in ever other respect.  Now, I myself, am quite skeptical of Judge providing the value of a late 1st or early 2nd round pick where he is normally being drafted.  He has a lot of swing and miss to his game and I am betting he hits .235 this year with 40 bombs and that just isn’t as valuable anymore and it better suited to a 5th round pick.  Luckily for Evan, our league scoring is focused much more around power and doesn’t penalize strikeouts so this helps Judge’s floor not end up in the cellar if Judge’s average bottoms out like I expect it to.

Oh Edwin, we miss you Bro.  First, I’d like to apologize for the idiocy of our front office who have shown they are terrible and completely unable to understand how free agent markets will progress.  They should not have bailed on you so quickly.  We all wanted you back and we still love you!  Now good ole E5 is still a great offensive player but we have seen strike out rates trend upward for 4 years  and contact rates trend downwards for 4 years.  Age is creeping up on our beloved ex Jays slugger and while this year may not be the year the bottom falls out, it is coming.  Here’s hoping Evan is smarter than Landon and can do something to rejuvenate his core.  You will always live fondly in our hearts, E5.

I have no doubt that Bregman is going to be a star.  I don’t buy into the “fantasy breakout” many suggested occurred last year and I am not sure this is the year he takes that giant step either.  It may be that Bregman turns into a better real life player than a fantasy player if his power doesn’t continue to trend upwards.  This is going to be a very important year in terms of how to value Bregman for future years because he will likely lose SS eligibility and a 25 home-run 3B isn’t keeper talent in our current offensive environment.  For Evan’s sake, here’s to hoping that Bregman goes beast mode and has a huge season.

Well, MadBum looks great so far this spring.  He is beasting on the mound and at the plate.  MadBum is pretty much the literal best case for Ohtani at this point.  Aside from that crazy motorbike accident last year, this guy has gotten better every year since he came up and is still only 28 years old. Yes, as in a year younger than Paxton, 28 years old.  This guy is an inning eating ace who is as consistent as they come when it comes to pitchers.  Evan can ride this guy comfortably for the remainder of our keeper cycle.

Overall Keeper Status: Evan has some work to do with solid but relatively uninspiring keepers.   Evan needs to decide if he goes for the a BANG and tries to become the first ever GM to win the league in his first ever season or plan for the future and start his rebuild. Will Evan become the stuff of legends and stun us all or ride the pine and look towards the future?  We will find out soon, folks.

 

Cawk Tawkos

Well boys, last year was a good year. I finally, FINALLY, defended a championship after having failed to do so twice previously.  As the league villain it is always nice to keep such an abundance of hater’s tears. That shit is good for EVERYTHING!  But before you guys get too salty and since I forgot to bring a bucket to collect any tears shed here, let’s break down my keepers.

  1. Nolan Arenado – 3B
  2. Charlie Blackmon – OF
  3. Khris Davis – OF
  4. Luis Severino – SP

So to start we have the Man, the Myth, the Legend.  I am pretty sure I actually ejaculated in my pants, prematurely of course, when Arenado dropped to me at 6th in the  keeper reset draft.  Since he has came into the league, he has improved offensively and defensively every season and while you have to expect it to plateau at some point I don’t know when that point is.  I will be looking to ride this man to a Threepeat.  A bankable .290+ average,  40 home-run power, 200+ R+RBI plus health for days means there is probably not another player that is more likely to consistently put up first round quality stats year after year after year. Oh, did I mention he is only 26?  He is more valuable in points leagues than roto leagues and that’s just fine with me because roto sucks.

Now here is what you guys are all here for.  “What is Randy going to say about his ‘lucky’ Charlie Blackmon 2017 season.”  Now, naturally, like Dave, I always know when my player are going to breakout and put up MVP caliber seasons. Right Dave?  Haha, please, no one and I mean no one knew Blackmon was going to bust out and be the most productive fantasy bat in the league last year. I didn’t, you didn’t and don’t tell me otherwise.  What I did expect was a 900 point performance much like what we saw in 2016 (899 points) with maybe a bit of room for growth.  I saw him as a solid 2nd keeper that gets to spend half of his games in the thin air of Coors Field and has a fucking fantastic beard and mullet and that is worth bonus points in my book.  This is also a guy who raised his hard contact rate, decreased his chase rate and increased his walk rate. I am stoked on this man heading into 2018.  Am I expecting the best player in fantasy again? Nah, my name is Randy, not Dave, but I am expecting a guy who will still give me easy second round value like he has for 3 years now and that’s all I need from him. Anything more is just a bit of extra gravy on top of an already glorious poutine.

Say hello to Khrush, everyone.  If you had to give me a list of guys who you thought were the best bet to hit 40 home runs every year, who would be on that list? Mine would be Khris Davis, Nelson Cruz, and Nolan Arenado. “But Randy, where is Judge or Stanton?  This is a travesty not having those two on this list.” Yeah those boys have lots of power but have only hit 40+ bombs for a single year.  The guys on my list have multiple years in a row of doing this even before the juiced ball came into effect after the 2015 all-star break when it has been proven that the composition of the balls changed.  Khris does have holes in his game and will never be a top 3 round talent but in our league, that doesn’t penalize strikeouts, this helps shore up the fact his home is the spacious OC Coliseum and raises his floor.  Davis is definitely the weakest of my keepers but being able to bank on 40 home-runs is a good feeling out of your last keeper.

I have to admit, after how bad Severino looked in 2016, I didn’t even think about him in the 2017 draft. Big mistake number one!  Then in 2017 I didn’t pay any serious attention to him until I traded for him come the end of the regular season. Big mistake number 2!  I had no idea he was one of the top pitchers in the league and had the stats to back up the filth that he was dealing.  His arsenal includes a fastball that averaged 97.7 mph and touched 101, a wipe out slider and a filthy change up that is faster than Marco Estrada’s fastball.  Severino has a pitch mix that can keep bats on both side of the plate off balance.  I never expected to be keeping Severino when I traded for him but hot damn this guy has won his way into my heart and as a Skankee hater, that is hard to do.  This guy is my pick for the AL Cy Young this year.  Clearly that isn’t biased at all, right guys? Guys?  Severino has not reached the level of the elite four and has a tough road ahead of him if he wants to but sitting at the top of my 2nd tier of starting pitchers, my season rests heavily on Severino’s ability to repeat his 2017 results.

Overall Keeper Status:  Well, I still have to be a realist here.  I do not have the best keepers in the league despite my praise. I am not even 2nd, 3rd or probably even 4th.  I have question marks in Davis and Severino. However, last year, I could have dropped a 390 point pitcher (Stroman, Quintana, Cole or Darvish to give an idea on who was that good) and played a man short all season and still had the most points in the league so even just a good season from Davis and Severino should set me up to a respectable showing in 2018.  I don’t expect many Team Randy fans this year, or any year for that matter, but my mom says I am special and number one in her heart and that’s good enough for me!

That’s it for another episode of our keeper reviews!  I hope you are all spending some time studying as our draft is 5 days, 6 hours, and 27 minutes away! I’ll get the last edition featuring Todd, Dave and Keeg up before the draft (hopefully Thursday) so stay tuned if you wanna see me rip into Dave’s horrible keeper options, lament the Stockford idiots brothers giving Todd two first round draft picks this year and discuss just how old Keeg’s team is. Bis später, alles.

 

Freddies Ofers Keeper Reviews Part 2

So today we are going to look at the next 3 teams in our league.  Justin, Kenn and Ryan (MacFarlane).  We need to find another nickname for Ryan because I know he is a super chill guy and all but I still feel a bit like degenerate racist when I say “Black Ryan” even if I mean no harm by it so I am going to be moving away from that.  I hereby open nickname season, let’s stick our heads together and figure out something because having two Ryans in the league is really a god damn inconvenience.  Maybe we set up a Jell-o wrestling contest between the two and the winner gets to stay in the league (or leave, I suppose that might be their preferred option).  We could put it up on PPV and all proceeds go towards a giant draft party in Arizona during Spring training.

Now before we get going, there is one more matter that needs to be touched on.  Why has Kyle NOT finished the Billy Beane Award Trophy?  I mean he has had 6 months.  He has no kids, he is married so he has no sex life, and he has no friends so what’s the hold up?? Get. On. That. Shit.

Now, without further adieu, let us dive into it.

Captain Private ‘Merica

After two years of being unable to pull of a .500 record, I am pulling the Captain title and demoting him back down to Private.  Behind his back we can call him Private Parts if we want. Although Private Fisher also has comedic value.

  1. Mookie Betts – OF
  2. Kris Bryant – 3B
  3. Corey Seager – SS
  4. Carlos Carrasco – SP

Thoughts

Justin probably has some of the most well rounded keepers in the league. His keepers all play on strong teams, are young and have produced at very high levels early in their career. My fear is that we have seen at least two of their careers years already.  Betts and Bryant both had astronomically fantastic seasons in 2016 and their seasons in 2016 are so far the outliers rather than the base line in their fantastic careers.

Mookie Betts is a boss.  What I said above wasn’t said to downplay that he, or any of the others are not fantastic players both in real life and fantasy baseball but to bring up that Justin’s keepers are seemingly based more around high floors rather than high ceilings. Betts is probably not a 30 home-run hitter like he was in 2016 but he is also not a .264 hitter like he ended with last year.  This guy is good enough to be a top 6 outfielder in a down year and while he may need some significant luck to break into the the elite at the position, he is a reliable stud despite not having mind blowing exit velocities like Judge or Stanton and any lack of a crazy ceiling is more than made up for with such a high floor.  Final Thoughts: He is the first name on my 2nd tier of outfielders and that is DAMN good. Enjoy the ride.

If any of Justin’s keepers does have a truly high ceiling, it is Kris Bryant. Despite the lowest exit velocities of his keepers Betts does have the highest combo of line drive and fly ball rates which in this time and age of baseball is a good way be an offensive juggernaut.  Anytime a guy wins MVP, which Bryant did in 2016, you know he is a stud.  A drop in power last year however was exchanged for an increase in contact showing what could be the evolution of Bryant who is looking to re-tool his swing before adding power back into it.  Think what Altuve has done.  What Bryant has over those two though, is pure bat on ball violence.  Altuve and Ramirez have good power but Bryant has what should be class leading power and the 87.1 mph average exit velocity from last year is concerning if he can’t get it back up to 2016 rate of 89.3 mph.  A bounce back in exit velocity would propel him back into the MVP and allow him to challenge Arenado for the top dog at third base. Final Thoughts: This could be a very pivotal year that shows us whether 2016 or 2017 was the outlier and which was the baseline.  Maybe he falls in the middle.  Bryant has already done a lot for the Cubs but this year he will have to make that final step if he wants to step up and cement himself in our first round rankings for years to come.

Corey Seager is a guy I was quite bearish on as I am sure Justin would remember during his big 2016.  Seager did prove me wrong in one area, hard contact, which was 39.7% in 2016 and 44.0% last year.  He has the highest exit velocity of any of Justin’s keepers which should suggest the best power potential, right?  The industry was all sold on 30 home-run power from the shortstop position but it hasn’t happened yet. Why? A 33.1% fly-ball rate.  Seager has not embraced the fly-ball revolution.  His line drive rate is excellent, however, at 24.8% so the average should stay close to the .300 level but it might be time to realize that Seager might not be the monster that many thought he would be unless he changes his approach at the plate in 2018. in 2017 Seager was on the same level as Paul DeJong, Zack Cozart and Marwin Gonzalez who all could have been taken FAR later in the draft and given far more value based on how late they could have been taken / picked up on the waiver wire and that is a scary proposition when looking to set a key piece in the future of your squad.  Final Thoughts:  I am not the only person to feel this way as Seager’s ADP has fallen from 18th in 2016 to 38th in 2017 and if he doesn’t take a step forward again his ADP will continue to plummet as a new group of power hitting shortstops continue to push their way up the rankings which may leave Justin looking elsewhere for a 3rd keeper after the 2018 season.  It is up to Seager at this point to prove he can take that next step and separate himself from the pack in 2018.

2017 was the first year that Carlos Carrasco has stayed healthy and pitched 200 innings.  IN doing so, he treated Justin to a 526.5 point season and ended as the 5th ranked SP in our league.  The most important thing he did was drop his fastball usage for the second consecutive year.  Why is this important you might ask? Well, my kind sir, the entire Cleveland contingent of starting pitchers have terrible fastballs.  I have no idea why but they are all basically Mike Fiers when they throw their fastballs yet have electric ace level secondary offerings.  If Carrasco is going to take another step forward, which let’s be honest he is 30 years old now (where did the time go?) and probably doesn’t have another level, he will need to refine that fastball and drop it’s usage for the 3rd straight year.  The best part is, he doesn’t need to reach another level to be great; all he needs is health.  Final Thoughts:  It is unlikely that Carrasco can ever break into that elite first tier of pitchers but he seems to have cemented himself in the top of tier 2 and that is still one of the best pitchers in the league.  If Carrasco can stay healthy in 2018,  Justin will enjoy the ride.

Overall Keeper Status: With three years left in this keeper rotation, aging stars will not play a factor in Justin’s keeper decisions. Two in their prime studs and a young high end shortstop is a good place to be sitting. Carrasco is a slight question mark with his health but if we really want to get into it, which pitchers aren’t a health risk at this point.  Even if Justin may end up lacking an absolutely elite player as the jury is still out on Bryant, there are no weaknesses in his keeper squad and that is a comfortable place to be sitting.  Now it is up to Justin to not draft the entire all upside all health risk tier of pitching and maybe he can make a run at his second championship.

 

You’re my Boy Blue

Good ole Kenn Mitchell seems to be that guy every year who pulls that dream week out and beats my ass despite the odds being stacked against him.  This might be why I consider him my arch nemesis of the league. The best part about all of this that I doubt Kenn feels the same way which makes all of it a bit ridiculous but my reality is real to me so suck it.  Also, why wouldn’t I want to pick a nemesis who has photo evidence of the first and last time he ever saw a vagina. Enough of the fun stuff though, let’s get down to breaking down some keepers.

  1. Jose Altuve – 2B
  2. Joey Votto – 1B
  3. Josh Donaldson – 3B
  4. Ummm, well…. Your guess is as good as mine

Thoughts

Now realistically, Kenn doesn’t read any of these so I should be able to write whatever I want and it doesn’t matter because he won’t see it.  So suck it you beret wearing, pant peeing, smegma dipping ass-hat who happens to have fantastic keepers. Ha, showed him.

How much more could you ask for from Altuve. The guy is the number two pick in almost every single type of draft possible and is even making a case for the number 1 pick.  This is a guy who has never been seriously hurt, hits for power (for a second baseman), hits for the average with peripherals to back it up and continue to gets better. Every. Single. Year. Don’t ask me how a guy who is 5’6″ and a 165 lbs (which is what Kenn’s left leg weighs) can hit for this type of power… I mean take a look at DJ LeMahieu who is 6’4″ 220 lbs (this is what Kenn’s right leg weighs) and can only hit 8 home-runs while playing half his games at Coors Field.  Final Thoughts:  Altuve is as consistent as they come and Kenn gets to roll with him for the remainder of his prime. Lucky guy.

Remember when it looked like Votto had fallen off a cliff in 2014.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  Aside from one year struggling with injuries, Votto has been one of better, and then one of the best players in baseball. Aside from all of this fantasy stuff, he is also hilarious as can be seen here, here and especially here.  He is Canadian so that gets him bonus points to start with but in all honesty he is one of the most cerebral players in the Majors and even though he is going to be 35 in October of 2018, he is showing no signs of a declining skill set and continues to be one of the most consistent players in Baseball.  We never know when that decline is going to begin but Kenn has two of the most consistent players in the league and I just don’t have anything enlightening to say about these guys.  Final Thoughts:  Votto is in the top tier of first base and looks primed to stay there for at least another year.

Josh Donaldson is the type of guy you want to pair with a consistent guy.  He is one of the top producers in the league when healthy and I am sure Kenn is hoping that 2017 was a blip on the health radar of Donaldson.  If Donaldson stays healthy, Kenn will probably be the only guy in our league who has 3 players produce 1st round results.  Now naturally most of us here are Jays fans so we all hope that Donaldson stays healthy, maybe more for the return we can get via trade at the deadline rather than us being in wild card contention since when the Yankees are the Bronx Bombers 2.0 and The Red Sox can spend all the money in the world, Toronto just doesn’t have much of a shot right now.  Donaldson might be one of the very first pioneers of the fly ball revolution and it has blasted him into stardom.  This is a guy who, if healthy, is going to be a beast and if you take out 2017, he played 158, 158, 158, 155 games between 2013-16 so if Donaldson’s legs can hold up and his health bounces back we could be seeing another MVP performance before he moves on from the Blue Jays. Final Thoughts: Health permitting, Donaldson will be bringing the rain for one more season in the Roger’s Center. With Kenn being my “nemesis” I am supposed to root against his players but I will be hoping to wake up every morning here in Switzerland to highlights of it raining in TO.

Now here is the funny part.  Looking at Kenn’s pitchers, the “best” keeper available at this moment is Aaron Sanchez or Marco Estrada. Yes you read that right.  The first of these guys has a single good season under his belt, isn’t a strike out guy and hasn’t shown he can stay healthy for an extended amount of time AND has out pitched his peripherals.  All of these very much limit the potential of EVER being a fantasy ace.  The other is his stable mate, Marco Estrada who while being a talented middle back of the rotation arm who used a great change up to out pitch his peripherals for multiple years consistently having a BABIP .055-.085 points below the league average.  Last year we his results normalize with a .295 BABIP and his ERA finally rose to match his xFIP and it wasn’t pretty at all.

ERA  vs  xFIP

2018 – 4.98 vs 5.06

2017 – 3.48 vs 4.64

2016 – 3.13 vs 4.93

Not sure what to tell him, with such an elite group of keeper bats it is hard not to laugh when you get down to this section.  Luckily, this is the spot that is easiest to correct and he has a bit of time left before the draft to try and address the issue.  Final Thoughts: Kinda like Kyle’s Little Sister, Kenn’s profile went from awesome to dumpster fire in the matter of a couple of fist pumps.  Take your pick here, its all shit!

EDIT: Before I got this post finished, Kenn traded for 17th projected pitcher Gerrit Cole (ESPN ranking) while Pitcherlist has him 31st in which was definitely still an upgrade over the trash that was there before.

 

Overall Keeper Status:  Kenn has a great set of bats for at least a couple more years in Altuve, Voto and Donaldson and a dumpster fire in the bullpen.  Here’s hoping he can get it sorted out before it spreads!

 

Stanton like my Daddy

Well, life got the best of me and in between Kenn’s review and Ryan’s review we had our keeper deadline pass so I know who everyone picked but that doesn’t mean I still can’t smack talk or praise choices!

  1. Giancarlo Stanton – OF
  2. Jose Ramirez – 2nd/3rd
  3. Justin Upton – OF
  4. Kenley Jansen – RP

Well, what should I say about Stanton?  He stayed healthy and didn’t catch any balls to the face last year, although I would bet that we couldn’t say the same thing about Ryan. 59 home-runs last year was beast mode for the man formerly known as Mike.  It’s pretty hard to forecast more home-runs this year, even with a move to Yankee Stadium since he doesn’t hit cheap shots but it definitely should not hurt.  Stanton is primed to show that last year is the new norm and not the exception. Final Thoughts:  The Bronx Bombers 2.0 have arrived. Balls are going to be flying out of stadiums wherever The Skankees play this year and Stanton will be leading the barrage.

A last minute trade before keepers set sent Jose Ramirez from The Cleveland Steamers to Stanton like my Daddy in exchange for Max Scherzer. This, which would be one of the more unbalanced keeper trades I’ve seen in a while sends one of the elite 4 in exchange a versatile multi eligible with a limited track record and major concerns if the juiced ball is changed back closer to pre 2016 compositions.  Andrew (The Steamers) comes out looking pretty sweet in the deal with Dozier to fall back on for his 3rd keeper instead of Ramirez and Ryan has to hope that Ramirez doesn’t fall off at all and produces the best possible result to be able to defend the trade. Final Thoughts: Scherzer is worth more than Ramirez but JoRam does play on a great team and if he keeps up his .265 ISO form last year (.150 in his 2015 breakout) than Ryan can feel good about the trade come the end of the season but I would feel much better with JoRam as a third keeper than a second.

Pretty sure I made fun of Upton in my “Roast and Toast” of Ryan last year and I am back to do it again!  Now part of the reason is I am just not a huge fan of Upton to begin with and while there is no denying he is a roster-able outfielder, he has 2 high end years and they are 6 years apart and that is just not what i want to bank on.  That being said, he is being drafted around the end of the 4th round in most leagues, and while that is skewed by better value in Roto leagues than points leagues, I digress that there are far worse keepers being kept in our league.  I would expect Upton to produce closer to 2016 levels than 2017 levels which will leave Ryan looking for a better keeper before the 2019 season. Final Thoughts: Meh, meh, meh and meh.

Now here is the fun part!  We have a first in the Freddies Ofers Memorial League. A relief pitcher was selected as a keeper.  Now, the one issue I can have with this move is that, Ryan had Scherzer who is one of the elite 4 starting pitchers.  If Ryan had a lesser pitcher like Darvish, Syndergaard or Car Mart, than keeping hands down the best closer in the game currently would make statistical sense. Unlucky for Ryan, poor planning and keeper management forced him to trade his ace for better bats and I am really interested to see how this works out. Final Thoughts: While I think Scherzer would be a better choice based on roster construction and how far ahead of the pack the elite 4 are, Kenley is basically a better, younger, harder throwing version of Mariano Rivera so if there was ever a Closer to keep, this is the guy!

Overall Keeper Status: One stud bat, one unorthodox stud pitcher and question marks  in JoRam and Upton.  Ryan may be in the bottom half of the league in keepers but there is hope and he is nowhere near the worst at this point.

Well guys, that ends the second episode of the Keeper Reviews, I’ll do my best to get another up early this week and finish it off before the draft.  Next up are The Rizzo Dizzo (Wide Ryan), Judge and Jury (Evan) and The Cawk Tawkos managed by your’s truly.

Freddies Ofers Keeper Reviews

Welcome Managers to an outlook on each teams predicted keepers and my often NSFW thoughts on them.  Guys, let me tell you… Every single year when Spring Training rolls around I am more excited about Baseball coming back than ever.  I don’t know how long I can continue being more excited than the year before but hot damn it just continues! This is way more fun than practicing my German so let’s just get down to it shall we?  This edition we have Andy “Where did my pants go?” Stockfooooord, Brent “Where did my 20’s go?” Brolig and Kyle “Got any Doritos?” Dorion

The Cleveland Steamers

Not many teams can trade off Carlos Correa and still have more than 3 players to choose between but somehow Andrew has done it.

  1. Paul Goldschmidt – 1B
  2. George Springer – OF
  3. Jose Ramirez / Brian Dozier – 2B
  4. Zack Greinke – SP

Thoughts

With the installation of the humidor in Arizona Goldy is getting dropped in the ranks pretty hard… I am talking from a consensus rank 3 player to back half of the first round pick (8-12).  Now Alan Nathan who is one of the leading baseball physicists wrote an interesting article about it so go check that out.  If you liked that article, another incredibly smart man double checked the findings here.  The TL;DR version is that Alan Nathan suggests the humidor might affect home-runs by 25-50% and when pressed for a single number, he suggested 37.5% and Andrew Perpetua backed up his findings.  Goldy hit 20 home-runs at home last year and a reduction of 37.5% would mean he hits more like 13-14 at home.  While some of those home-runs will still fall for doubles, if he loses half of those 60-70 points that puts him between Encarnacion and Abreu with 880 points instead of 916.  The guy is still legit and it always in the NL MVP discussion.  He has always been more valuable in Roto leagues and this humidor will likely decrease home-runs and increase steals which may make that distinction more noticeable. Final Thoughts: I am not that worried.  The guy was incredible. He is now just slightly less incredible. Set him and forget him.

George Springer is a beast, not quite Goldy beast but the guy hit 34 home-runs out of the lead off spot last year.  The guy is 28, in the middle of his prime, and has shown improvement in each consecutive year in the Majors.  While it may be hard to project more than 34 home-runs this year, the guy is a top 10 outfielder and could still take another step forward to break into the top 5. Final Thoughts: Leading off for the Stros? Check. Lowering strikeout rate? Check. Big power? Check. Boom! Set him and forget him!

Now here is  a tough choice… Jose Ramirez or Brian Dozier.  The more I think about it, if this was a redraft league, I think Dozier is the right choice or if I was 100% dead set on making a championship run this year than Dozier is likely your man.  However, this is a keeper league and Andy did trade away a number of high draft picks last year in his playoff push so this may be a bit of a rebuild year if a couple lottery tickets don’t hit.  Jose Ramirez broke out in 2016 and despite knowing about the flyball revolution I was very skeptical that there was much room for growth after 2016.  Boy was I wrong…  29 home-runs, a .318 average and a 52:69 BB:SO rate.  I would still like to see one more year to know whether he can keep it up and if this whole MLB standardized baseball storage idea affects exit velocities but I am not that worried. Final Thoughts: This is a third keeper and in general all third keepers have some flaws, Ramirez is no different. Still a great player.

Andy’s pitcher keeper is likely to be Zack Greinke.  He might be getting a bit old at 34 years old but luckily pitcher keepers are generally the easiest to acquire year to year.  He had a hell of 2017 with 508.5 fantasy points which ranked him as the 6th best starting pitcher in our league.  Now I already mentioned the downside, his age, but I want to talk about the upside.  As mentioned previously above, there is a humidor being installed at Chase Stadium.  Greinke got quite lucky with his HR/9 rate last year at 1.10. We have seen many players enter their mid 30’s and start giving up more and more home-runs. Fear not though, the humidor should do its part in ensuring that home-run rate stays low.  Maybe even lower than in 2017.  If this is the case, we could see a sub 3.00 ERA for the first time since 2014. Final Thoughts: If the humidor wasn’t going into Chase Field I would have more trepidation about this pick but I still see him as head and shoulders above Chris Archer who is the next best option on the Steamers.

Overall Keeper Status: Strong core with possible 2019 concern for his third keeper and pitching keeper.

 

Dr. Satan

In terms of team names, Brent has definitely been in last place since 2016 and likely the 3 years before that also.  At least you can call him consistent.  Like many teams, Brent’s keepers are a bit top heavy and is really going to need his 3rd keeper to reach his ceiling to make a strong run this year and that is always risky but I think there is a chance he can do it.

  1. Mike Trout – OF
  2. Rhys Hoskins – 1B / OF
  3. Athony Rendon – 3B
  4. Corey Kluber – SP

Thoughts

Well the beginning is easy.  Mike Trout.  Heard of the guy?  Now honestly I don’t know if guys with fish for a last name have a track record of being once in a generation talents but all I can think of this second is Sean Salmon, the ex UFC fighter who’s career highlight was getting headkicked to death by Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 8.  He also lost his last 12, yes you ready that right, 12 fights between 2010-2013 in small MMA organziations.  Sean Salmon is basically exactly what I would expect Brent to do if he competed in mixed martial arts so is it a coincidence that Brent would have a man with a fish last name on his team? I think NOT! Just for shits and giggles, here is a list of fish last names in the mlb.  Ok, back to the topic. Trout is the consensus number 1 player in fantasty.  Has been for years and likely will be for years to come.  There could not be an easier choice for a keeper. Final Thoughts: There is nothing to say. He is THE best player in the MLB and mostly likely to be the best in fantasy leagues. A true 5 category stud.

Did you know that Rhys “Lightning” Hoskins hit 47 home-runs last year between AAA and the Majors?  Did you know that he is the fastest man to ever hit 10 home-runs (17 games) EVER???  He is also the fastest to ever hit 18 home-runs (34 games) and has the most RBI through 34 games with 39.  This guy has mashed in the minors and the Phillies are one of those teams that like to over bake some of their prospects, especially when they are still sitting in the rebuild process and don’t want to start clocks.  I was getting closer to talking myself into keeping Hoskins over Davis based on keeper status alone.  I think Davis is better this year and I am always in win mode but Hoskins has the skills to turn into a first round pick in a couple years if he makes any steps forward.  He had a ridiculously low .241 BABIP last year and even with his intentional adjustments to his launch angle .241 is far too low and if it corrects up to .280 could bring his average closer to .280. Combine that with a mid to high teens walk rate and a low 20% strikeout rate you have an absolute fantasy MONSTER.  Final Thoughts: We may see some growing pains in his first full year but he has the track record of success coming up through the minors and had the same exit velocity as Manny Machado and Gary Sanchez last year at 90.8 mph which ranks him 15th in the entire league. He is ahead of names like Josh Donaldson, Freddie Freeman, Bryce Harper, Corey Seager and Nolan Arenado.

This is where is gets a bit thin…  Now if Murphy could get his shit together and actually stay healthy I would have to bring up that Brent would have one of the original launch angle revolution guys and one of the up and comers who was smart enough to adopt the revolution at a very early stage.  However after micro fracture surgery in the off season, Murphy looks as if he will miss the first month of the season and in past cases of this same injury, it isn’t always an easy road back to full strength.  That being said the next best option is Anthony Rendon who is a better real life player than an actual fantasy player.  He does have top 5 3B possibility if everything goes right as we saw last year but there are some very troubling numbers behind his 2017 performance.  He had a .301 average and a .403 wOBA which are both great numbers. Unfortunately his xBA and xwOBA were .263 and .363 respectively which suggests very strongly that he played above his skill level so expecting the same production in 2018 is a bit of a stretch.  He played at the same level as Travis Shaw and Nick Castellanos and both of those names can be drafted many rounds later. Final Thoughts: If everything goes right, Rendon can bring value as a 3rd keeper but Brent will likely be looking for an upgrade before seasons end.

Here’s a hot take, I think Kluber is the best pitcher in our league and in many fantasy leagues.  I think he is better than Kershaw, Scherzer and Sale. He is NOT the best actual pitcher in the league but going deep into games means a lot in point based league and as we continue to see pitchers innings decline, Kluber is often a man in a land of boys and continues to go deep into games.  A minuscule walk rate and a devastating breaking pitch in addition to a strong history of staying healthy with only a short DL stint in 2017 in which he came back better than ever and absolutely dominated for the rest of the year.  Only Scherzer can come close to matching the innings but he exchanges more walks for a higher strikeout rate and has higher medium and hard contact rates than Kluber.  Kershaw IS the best pitcher in the league but he has only pitched 200 innings once since 2014 and that back isn’t getting any younger so he might be the best of the best in the MLB but your aces gotta ace in Fantasy Baseball and time spent on the DL is not ideal. Final Thoughts: Regardless of anyone’s ranking he is one of the 4 elite pitchers. You are lucky if you own him or any of the other 3.

Overall Keeper StatusBrent owns the best player in the league for up to 3 more years. Three more years of what should be prime Trout.  If Hoskins does turn into a high average, low strikeout slugger, the future for Brent and his quest for his first ever week in the championship bracket of the Freddies Ofers Memorial League is trending upwards.  Mr. Brolig still has work to do with his third keeper but there are far worse positions to be in. A few of those position consist of being under Kenn while he is in heat.  Being stuck in an elevator with an inebriated Kyle who needs desperately to have a heart to heart.  Or being completely ditched by your friends during a night of crazy partying in Phoenix.

 

Turner The Beat Around

Leave it up to  La Frenchie to be the one guy in the entire league that would be stupid enough to own Machado and NOT use him at shortshop. What. An. Idiot. Let’s be honest for a second though, Kyle is actually a really nice guy as long as he stays away from that filthy French side of his.  Oh right, back to baseball. Kyle has an all infield group of keepers.

  1. Trea Turner – SS
  2. Manny Machado – 3B / SS (in the 2nd week of the season)
  3. Jose Abreu 1B
  4. DeGrom / Strasburg – SP

Turner may end up being a roto god if he can stay healthy which he has yet to show he is capable of. Those stolen bases and speed can really Turner heads around, if ya know what I mean.  The one downside is that speed does not play nearly as much in point based leagues.  Now don’t get me wrong Turner, if healthy, will be a top 5 shortstop  in our league but if his BABIP normalizes around .325ish (~.300 is league average) his average may stay around .280 and that isn’t good enough for a guy without the power of the other top shortstops when you are going to spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on him.  Most guys with speed can out perform their xwOBA stats by being able to run out base hits and Turner did, however with an xwOBA of .305 and a wOBA of .344 he just doesn’t compare to the other 3 top SS (Correa, Lindor and Machado) who had far superior numbers as seen in the graph below.

kylewoba

Final Thoughts:  The kid is super talented but then again so was B.J. Upton.  It is more than likely he will be a star but it will be more in roto leagues and the MLB itself. He will be a really good player in our league but I seriously doubt he will ever be a first round talent unless he can hit 30 homeruns and the numbers suggest that just isn’t going to happen.

Hey, look on the bright side would ya! Kyle also owns Machado who has the second best xwOBA on the chart above (didn’t that work out just perfectly?) and with a BABIP that can only trend upwards this year I am sure we can all expect a rebound from what was still a strong season as he looks to enter free agency this year and sign an absolutely gigantic contract right behind Mr. Harper.  Now you might be asking is wOBA and or xwOBA actually worth paying attention to? That’s a clown question, bro. Of course it matters, unless you ask any fool that doesn’t understand what is means, how it is calculated or why it is a pretty great method of understanding offensive output.  Soooo, anywho, back to keeper talk.  A bounce back year will land Machado back into the first round of most drafts and likely (either way really) into pinstripes which for us Jays fans is going to be a tough pill to swallow but what can you do?  He has shown health for 3 straight years after that horrible knee injury, doesn’t strike out much and has great contact rates and power.  What more could you really want? I would rank Machado above Turner by a landslide but I guess we can look back on this at the end of the season!  Final Thoughts: The guy is in his prime has many more years of his prime to enjoy. I suggest Kyle ride the wave and do the same.

Jose Abreu has been a very consistent force at first base and while he may not have the ceiling as guys like Hoskins, Bellinger or Freeman he sure as shit has a higher floor. You can bank .300 / 30 / 100 from him and even as the White Sox get worse as a team, I would feel comfortable with Abreu in the middle of the order doing what he always does. The icing on the cake is he has 1 more year of arbitration before going to free agency in 2020 and if the Sox don’t think they can resign him, there is a possibility he will be traded at the trade deadline this season to a contending team *cough* Stros or Nats *cough* and that would instantly boost his floor and ceiling.  My only gripe is the lack of a significant ceiling. I would guess we just saw his best season and he upped his hard contact rate from 32.7% – 40.5% and it is unlikely he will be able to maintain such levels when nothing else in his hitting profile changed to accommodate such a drastic shift.  Final Thoughts: I see him as less of a keeper and more of a stable 5th or 6th round pick but as a third keeper he will do the trick as you balance the volatility of Turner with the stability of Abreu.

Now the question is DeGrom of Strasburg. Strasburg or DeGrom. Now if you ask me, I say change Strasburg’s name to Statsburg and trade his ass to me!  Or if that doesn’t work, change DeGrom’s name to DeGrommit and trade his ass to Andy because that guy fucking LOVES dogs.  Now for some backstory before I pick between the two, let’s not forget the fact I kept Price last season who I felt was the safest pitcher possible (yeah that fucking backfired on me, didn’t it?) so it should be pretty obvious that I would pick DeGrom even though his walk rate,  HR/9 and hard hit % has gone up in each full season which isn’t good. What is good though is health.  Strasburg is a better pitcher when he is healthy but you KNOW he is going to miss time and as I mentioned up above, aces gotta ace and that means taking that ball every 5th day and putting up points.  So while there is risk that DeGrom continues his slow decline this year on what should be a pretty bad team, I think that risk is better than Strasburg on the juggernaut that is Washington. Final Thoughts: You have 6 of one and a half dozen of another.  Kyle can pick his poison and will have to take his chances either way. Deal or no deal, Kyle. What’s it gonna be?

Overall Keeper Status: A young volatile star in the making, an in his prime middle infielder and a boring but stable first-baseman. Kyle has a piece of it all and has a solid mix of what you need to create a solid platform to build a strong team.  Will Kyle pick the pure upside of Statsburg or the  floor of Degrommit? Stay tuned kids.  Same bat time, same bat channel.

 

That’s all for this addition, folk.  Next time we will take a look at Private “What happened to all my pitching?” ‘Murica, Kenn “Where did my neck go” Mitchell and Ryan “Where did my keepers go?” Macfarlane

Team Swanada out!

Baseball is BACK!

Well guys, it has been 150 days since we had our final day of fantasy baseball action for 2017.  I need all of you to hang tough because we still have to wait 36 days until the start of both our fantasy season and opening day for the MLB on March 29th.  Start your studying, your preparation, and your planning because this year introduces the first ever dual eligible fantasy asset that can garner both pitching and hitting stats as the “Japanese Babe Ruth” Shohei Ohtani has made his way from the land of Godzilla to the land of Trump and looks to change the way we have thought about baseball since 1919 when the real Babe Ruth pitched 133 innings while hitting .322 and blasting 29 bombs.

I know I can’t wait for this season to start and my initial rankings are nearly complete.  This truly is a glorious time to play fantasy baseball with statcast being constantly expanded and we are getting access to such a treasure trove of data to interpret however we may desire.

I am hoping to add a podcast this year in which all of you are more than welcome to join me as a guest to talk about, well, anything really.  It can be a league narrative or your favourite team.  It could even to to trash talk your current adversary if you really want!  If you are interested, hit me up and we will figure out when to fit you in!

I am stoked. I hope you guys are too! See you all at the draft.

 

Reigning on the Parade

champs

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the final edition of Freddies Ofer’s Roast and Toast. Tonight we have the only person left in the league. ME! Your reigning, defending league champion who put up the best record  in the history of the league (17-4), the most points for ever recorded (10517.5) and the only person to defend his championship! Albeit, I was almost lambasted by Kyle in the finals.  Props to you, man!  You had me sweating from Thursday on and I honestly went to bed Sunday night before the games ended down by about 20 and expecting to wake up to a loss after Iglesias blew the save and got the loss. I think that my last at bat of the season (Blackmon) saved me when he hit a 9th inning home run to put me ahead but I am not completely sure the exact timing.  This is definitely why points leagues are awesome! A Cinderella story is always great.  Again, awesome job Kyle, it was a great run and you can still laugh at the other 10 idiots that lie in the pile below us. You can laugh at me too just because if you want as well.

So I asked you guys to give me some ideas and as usual most of you were pretty useless. Par for the course I suppose.  Luckily a few of you chipped in some ideas and I will try to flesh some of them out for you in small short words so we can all understand them!

Justin suggested I talk about a trade offer in which I asked if he wanted to upgrade keepers with Nelson Cruz who for three years running has been near the top of the league in OPS, exit velocity, home runs, rbi’s and pretty much every offensive category. Yeah he is older than Bett’s but at that point was ahead of Betts in points and I didn’t feel like saying something bad about my player helps the chance of a trade? I digress though,  while Cruz is the epitome of consistency and has helped lead me to back to back championships I will admit that as a keeper, Betts is likely the better option by a small margin. You got me man. I am sorry!

On that note, Justin mentioned a top 10 Zimmerman and a top 10 Longoria I will say that top 10 does not win leagues, especially at the cornerstones. Also, if Zimmerman was either the 1st or 2nd ranked first base man in the beginning of the season and ends at 10, he was NOT the 10th best at the position.  While he would have provided great value during the playoffs, I don’t think he posted over a 5.0 average for any month past may during the regular season and in this offensive environment from the years strongest position, that is a detriment.  As for Longoria, again, top 10 isn’t good enough from the hot corner and with players that you could have picked up such as Castellanos, Shaw, Rendon, Turner, Moustakas or Taylor for free on waivers. Longoria wasn’t a good trade even if Salazar did end up sucking and boy did he ever… Jesus, I have doubts he ever gets his shit together as a starter. Maybe he can be the next Andrew Miller?

Next on the list is a tried and true staple. My luck!  Picking up Schoop with his top 10 exit velocity and excellent launch angle did pay excellent dividends!  I did expect better out of him than he had done so far in the season when I grabbed him out of necessity due to injury but HOT DAMN!  Schoop blasted into the stratosphere after I grabbed him. After posting 25 homeruns last year he broke the 30 mark with 32 blasts this year. Yes, Andrew is right. I never expected such a fantastic effort but I did expect something that would be valuable until I didn’t need him anymore! You do need some luck to get to the top!

Gausman. Jesus fucking Christ. Mother fucking Kevin Gausman.  You know, I have to be honest, I don’t think I drafted Gausman once in the 50ish mock drafts I did.  But when Salazar, Quintana, Hamels, and Cole went in between my picks I needed a number 2 and he, for some ungodly reason, seemed like one of the only options. I am a masochistic idiot apparently.  This guy decide to go out and get torched in nearly every single game in the first half of the god damn season…  I just couldn’t figure out how to quit him.  The waiver wire was bleak at best and the upside (at least in my mind) was better than any scrub waiting to be streamed… It ended up working out as he got his shit together int he 2nd half and ended up putting together some great games during the playoffs but this is definitely a lesson for all of us about holding on to someone for too long and having it hurt your team… Fuck Gausman. *Drafts him again next year like an idiot*

Looking at my draft, man I have to be glad that so many breakout offensive standouts broke out this year on waivers because Chris Davis (7th round, Pedroia (12th round) and Segura (6th round) could have been a disaster.

Alas, next year I will continue to sell my soul to the SABR gods and the fantasy ball gods to bring a threepeat to The Cawk Tawkos and I hope you all bring your A game to stop me like Andy did this year. Next year I think you guys should do my roast. It will definitely be more entertaining than this was. Until then, adios!

Andy Panties loves getting Cleveland Steamered

Well here we are at the final installment(s) of the inaugural Roast and Toast column. The only two left are Andy Pants and Yours Truly. (Editor’s note: If I can’t finish both our roasts tonight, I will post them individually so at least Andy’s can be out before the end of the week.)

Well, as I start writing this on September 7th, things aren’t looking super great for Commissioner Pants in the playoffs so I should probably take it a bit easy on him… Ha, yeah right!

Where to even start with this shit team? I mean, it feels like this guy has been selling off so many keepers or big players all year it feels like so I bet his keepers are as shit as Black Ryan’s!  Well shit… Goldschmidt, Springer, Sano (or perhaps Ramirez) and Archer… Fuck, that is still pretty good…

I can’t even bash on his pitching. While Andy was an idiot when he traded for McCullers since he should have known that McCullers would never stay healthy for a whole season and likely wouldn’t be available to help during the ever important fantasy playoff run, just take a look at his pitching as a whole… Cole, Nola, Archer, Greinke, McCullers, Wood and Stroman…  That is a hell of a staff that Andy built up over the year…

Another trade that we should laugh at Andy for is the Bellinger for Cole trade…  Pretty sure I told Brent that he had made a pretty big mistake when the trade went down but don’t I look like the fool now!  Well, not quite as big of a fool as Andy but Jesus fucking Christ!  I am usually pretty skeptical of rookies coming up and going beast mode, especially when the metrics suggest it isn’t likely to continue but Bellinger kept it up and over 401 at bats this season has 36 homeruns and 6.5 ppg average…  It was a bit front loaded but he has continued to put up strong numbers and even though Cole has been better in the 2nd half, it must have hurt to watch Bellinger beast it up all season!

I get it though, if this is the worst I can find to roast Andy with, he must have been pretty fantastic this year!  Well, lucky for you guys (the 3 of you that read this that aren’t Andy) I do have some better ammo still tucked away!

Andy’s biggest fuck up and mistake this year, other than just being himself (Editor’s note: Get some ice because you just got BURNED!! OOOHHHHHH!) is trading away high end draft picks.  So far, Andy has made trades that give away his 1st and 4th round picks in next years draft.  This equates to giving up Martinez², and by that I mean he is giving up not just one but two Martinez’s. Carlos and JD Martinez. Two players that you can build strong bases around to support your keepers and make that push to a championship if you play it smart!  Well sorry Andy Pants… Next year you will be down two players of similar caliber and I think that is going to be hard to make up on the waiver wire. Unless, of course, you find a bunch more Bellingers and don’t trade them away!

Not sure what else to say about Andy… Truth is, he built a strong team with arguably the best pitching staff we have ever seen in our league.  While Andy traded away draft picks to put up a flag, because flags fly forever, the harshest roast is one he might have to deal with after this week. Playoff elimination… Despite the third most points in the league, the most hits title in the bag and the 4th best record in the regular season he is currently down by 82 points with 4 days to go and while he is up two pitchers on Brent, it is going to be an uphill climb!  Here is to a great end to the match and fuck you Andy for making strong moves and putting together a great team… Hopefully next year there will be some better flaming monstrosities I can roast you over but until then… Cool story, Bro