Trade Review: Featuring the Smiley Bastard Below

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look at this smiley bastard


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THE TRADE:

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The OceanGate Trout Fishing Club trade [Low Minors] CF Ronald Acuna to the Manchester MooniniteZ for 3B/SS Eduardo Nunez.

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THE FISHING CLUB RETURN:

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3B/SS Eduardo Nunez – 29.8 year old former Yank current Giant fresh off his BREAKOUT 2016 campaign. 6 year old CAME OUTTA NOWHERE type guy for the Milwaukee Brewers. .325 OBP, 24 doubles, 4 triples, 16 HRs, 73 Rs, 67 RBIs, 40 SBs across 553 ABs in 2016. A PLEASANT SURPRISE considering he had never done much of a damned thing in the past. Could very well lead off for the Giants against lefties, against righties could bat in the 2 hole or else god know where. AT&T just MURDERS HRs so that 16 will be hard to get to again, 40 SBs is hard to repeat in general BUT a spot near the top of the Giants order all year could boost scoring opportunities for the guy. Shoulder has been getting cortisone shots like every other fucking day all ST which is something for the OGTFC to keep an eye on.

 

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THE MOONINITEZ RETURN:

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[Low Minors] CF Ronald Acuna – 19 year old prospect for the Braves, most recently listed as their #6 ranked youngin’ by Baseball America (#67 overall BA, UNRANKED MLB.com, #31 Baseball Prospectus). 4 HRs and 14 SBs (caught 7 times cuz he is young and foolish) across 148 ABs for the Braves A affiliate last season (.387 OBP). Also foolish are THESE PROSPECT LISTS because by the end of the year he should be getting the Robles talk, the Braves already compare him to Andruw Jones.  Here here’s the fangraphs prospect tools thingie:

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Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela
Age 19 Height 6’0 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/60 55/60 30/55 60/55 45/55 55/55

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I mean the Braves already gave THEIR comparison but now I will give my own, since I think my point was to always pick dudes still in the majors and I do believe Andruw Jones hung up the cleats.  Major Leaguer Comparison: Curtis Granderson.

 

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RETURN SEAN LIKES MORE:

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MANCHESTER MOONINITEZ.  Because I root for my own interests, and WHO NEEDS Nunez his shoulder is hanging on by a thread and he will lose his SS eligibility next year and I just don’t need any more 1B/3B types on my roster. And Ron Acuna is the next Andruw Jones.

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Trade Review: Featuring the Smiley Bastard Below

10 Teams In 10 Days: #2 River City Bad Dudes

Bad Dudes
This fuckin’ guy…..

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KNOW YOUR OWNER!:  Lobman! That motherfucker. I sort of view Lobman as the matriarch of this particular group, only because it’s fun to call him a (hairy) woman. And UNFORTUNATELY personal attacks aside he is a strong competitor year in and year out, and this year should be no different. In his spare time Lobman enjoys losing like a lot of weight and exchanging Jeeps for newer Jeeps every. fucking. year. MAYBE LOOK INTO A HYBRID VEHICLE? You burgeoning vegetarian piece of shit. BEST OF LUCK TO DICKHEAD LOBMAN IN THE UPCOMING SEASON! (Also please note this post says “by Mike Lobman” because Lobman CLEARLY tried to get in here and interfere with my hard-hitting #analysis and bungle it up all to shit. SAD! And also TYPICAL LOBMAN! But yea, that didn’t happen so this post remains un-compromised unfiltered truth haymakers right into your fucking facehole.)

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KEY ADDITIONS!:  SP Danny Salazar, RP Wade Davis, RP Craig Kimbrel, SP/RP Joe Kelly, SP Steven Matz maybe, LF Michael Brantley maybe but probably not

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KEY SUBTRACTIONS!:  Their Cuban identity, SS Troy Tulowitzki I guess maybe

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THE HITTERS!:  The Bad Dudes have a core lineup that can compete with anyone. There I said it. The prize jewel I GUESS would be Bryce Harper, the guy who had the best season since Bonds in 2015 and then came back down to Earth a bit in 2016 but made sure to steal 21 bags just to try and make up the difference for fantasy owners. He will be very good for a very long time and should remain in Lobman’s clutches forever. Equally entrenched is Manny Machado , whom is also really really good, and the Orioles keep gifting him with SS eligibility which certainly helps his standing…. let’s call himmm a top 10 bat. Giancarlo Stanton is here and if he ever stayed healthy who knows how many goddamn HRs he could hit, he hit a HR in the WBC that had a 117.3 mph exit velocity. Which is ridiculous. And now with less September in our fantasy seasons (Giancarlo loves missing September games) the Bad Dudes should benefit. Jose Abreu is a very good fantasy 1B, Rougned Odor is a great fantasy 2B (33 HRs in spite of a sub .300 OBP in 2016), Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts are two very productive fuckfaces, YOU GET THE IDEA. Oh and also Nomar Mazara, David Dahl, and Wilson Contreras are all young players with the potential to be quite good quite soon. River City is in good shape on the hitting side of things is what I am saying. Save for their currently messy utility situation and Yuli Gurriel, who is old and shittier than several of the third base options currently just sitting there in the FA pool.

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THE ROTATION!:  This rotation, this rotation has received a nice little face lift this offseason. It is not without questions but it also holds promise. The title of staff ace would seem to go to young Cards righty Carlos Martinez, fresh off a 20 QS 2016. He is joined by other young pitchers who have the possibility to be great and the possibility to have “young pitcher” type struggles, such as AL East arms Kevin Gausman and Marcus StromanSonny Gray will be back and Lobman will hope he doesn’t suck again, as will Jameson Taillon whom I love and not just cuz he is named like the whiskey. JAMESON TAILLON SHALL BE GREAT. But those aren’t the new additions I alluded to, the new additions are Danny Salazar  (Lobman’s beloved) and Steven Matz whom were acquired in Shane’s “new owner fire sale” and “new owner quest to get rid of the 80 Mets on his team,” respectively. And hey maybe Tyson Ross makes an epic comeback in 2017, which would be poetic as he helped the Cuban Missiles (RIP) capture the chip in 2015. Since this is Lobman’s team/my Week 1 opponent I can’t end any section without critiquing it, so let me just add the OVERALL LIST here has as much performance risk as any rotation in the league. Really C-Mart is the only guy I would fully trust here. PS fuck Stroman, he’s a midget and he will have average numbers across the board because he is average.

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THE BULLPEN!:  The Bad Dudes BP is quietly solid as we head into the 2017 season, perhaps not as FLASHY as some other bullpens with higher ceilings but with a very very high floor. As long as Wade Davis avoids arm issues he will be a great addition to River City, racking up saves and strikeouts for baseball’s best team. Roberto Osuna has shown himself to be a capable closer in his 1.5 seasons in the role, one with a 97 mph fastball. Which is helpful. Francisco Rodriguez should remain a capable veteran closer for at least a while longer, ALTHOUGH (cue critique) father time is clearly coming for him and if his peripherals continue to dip and he loses effectiveness there’s arms in the Tigers system waiting for the job (but just one really, it belongs to Joe Jimenez). With a 22% K rate in 2016 K-Rod is K-Rod no more is what I am trying to inform you people. Lobman went and got Craig Kimbrel which totally ruined my critique, Kimbrel is good and will rack up saves and approach 100 Ks if healthy AND YEA WE GET IT. And so now TO END ON ANOTHER POSITIVE NOTE, the ever-competent (there’s that word again) Lobman made a quietly excellent pick in our “first year player draft” and brought in Joe Kelly, SP eligible Red Sawx reliever. Kelly could very well end up being very valuable in 2017, injuries in the Sawx pen already have him lined up as Kimbrel’s top setup man to begin the season and that is a role he can thrive in all year long. A real smart draft pick from a real smart owner. Now to reverse course and END ON A NEGATIVE NOTE, if you are trying to maximize the value of an SP-eligible reliever you really need your 4 relief spots filled up and the Bad Dudes at press time only have the 3 guys above. So they should remedy that because they are better than this NOPE that sonofabitch went ahead and grabbed high minors eligible RP Dan Altavilla, a guy most of us have probably never heard of that looks set up to open as the Mariners top setup man. FUCK do I ever hate it when Lobman does something smart with his roster (at least he still has Yulieski).

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THE OUTLOOK!:  TO THEIR DESERVING CREDIT the Bad Dudes added some solid rotational pieces this offseason, all without giving up much of anything of value (the loss of their cuban identity probably their biggest offseason subtraction). That could bode well for a team that FAMOUSLY had to put together a flurry of deadline trades (trading their dignity among other pieces) just to grab a few arms for their title run in 2015. They followed that title up with yet another run to the championship round, as a 6 seed no less, and this team has enough talent and managerial competence to become only the 2nd team ever to appear in 3 straight championships. OF COURSE the first team to do so won all 3 of those but yanno…..I’m sure you are all aware of that. Anyways the Bad Dudes should be a handful again in 2017, they have shown they know how to win and have a strong core. Blind affinity for Yuli Gurriel will be their downfall, I hope, because I have spent the better part of this preview putting that (old) man down.

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SEAN’S PREDICTION!:  11-6-1, 3rd place.

10 Teams In 10 Days: #2 River City Bad Dudes

10 Teams In 10 Days: #3 Point Loma X-Rayz

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KNOW YOUR OWNER!:  COMMISSIONER ODOM! Odom enjoys marijuana and the speed categories and is our new hero, whom has come to rescue us from the dark ages of the Turtora Dictatorship. Odom has made a habit now for two years running of compiling a roster RIPE for underestimating and then shoving it in the faces of all the folks that predict him to miss the playoffs. By making the playoffs. Still no playoff victories for either former co-owner of the greatest dynasty this league will ever see, but that feels RIPE for the changing. Will the commish’s newfound obligations to the league take a toll on his management style? Only time shall tell. But no. RIPE. BEST OF LUCK TO THE COMMISH IN THE UPCOMING SEASON! RIPE!

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KEY ADDITIONS!:  1B Daniel Murphy, 3B Evan Longoria, RP Edwin Diaz, SP Matt Moore, LF Eric Thames maybe, LF/CF DELINO DESHIELDS, CF Victor Robles maybe eventually

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KEY SUBTRACTIONS!:  SS Jean Segura, SP Jon Lester, SP Robbie Ray, CF Keon Broxton 😉 , LF Khris Davis, CF Manuel Margot maybe eventually or this year

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THE HITTERS!:  SOMEWHAT UNDERWHELMING UPON FIRST GLANCE, as per usual. Justttt the way Odom likes it. Your best hitter here is one of the most recent additions, the alternative lifestyle intolerant Daniel Murphy. Murphy just came off of a MONSTER season which I discussed a bit elsewhere on this site, and he’s very capable of putting together another top 20ish top 25ish fantasy hitter type season. GREAT GET for the X-Rayz there. Another solid get is Evan Longoria, who has seemingly altered his approach a bit to maximize power. His acquisition showed a nice willingness to address team weaknesses, and for that the X-Rayz should be commended. Also helping to flip that perceived power weakness, almost singlehandedly, will be Chris Davis and hopefully if KBO numbers are to be believed Eric Thames. That about covers your power. The speed side of things remains the X-Rayz bread and butter, with Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon back and now joined by potential 2017 breakout candidates Jose Peraza and DELINO DESHIELDS. Jose Ramirez should also chip in his fair share of SBs, Ben Zobrist should chip in a little bit of absolutely everything, and HEY look at that the offense already looks a lot better than initially perceived. Fuckin’ magic eye Odom strikes again.

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THE ROTATION!:  LOOKING RATHER THIN, here. David Price is arguably the best pitcher on the staff and he will be out at least initially, whom knows if that elbow leads to headaches for the entire season or beyond. The reason I say “arguably” for Price is due to young buck Chris Archer, a bad man coming off a somewhat unlucky season in 2016. He should be due for some solid positive regression. BEYOND THAT THOUGH ehhhhhh. Tanner Roark is coming off of a really impressive 2016 and is probably due for a bit of R word, Matt Moore is coming off a fairly impressive campaign and might be even better with a full year at the friendly and HR-suppressing confines of AT&T but who can be too sure with that guy. And then you have Taijuan Walker and Steven Wright (UPDATE:  he gone), neither of whom I am very sure will even make it to Opening Day on this roster let alone be actually good fantasy pitchers (Taijuan probably the safer bet to still be on the team when this posts, and I can’t even tell which is the safer bet to not suck).

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THE BULLPEN!:  Simply put this is your best 4 man bullpen in the Backyard. Aroldis Chapman is either the best closer in baseball or the 2nd best depending on your feelings on a one Kenley Jansen, he will be great for the Yankees and strike out a lot of guys and throw the ball really fast and all of that good stuff. Setting him up will be Dellin Betances, arguably the most valuable holds guy in fantasy and at worst #2 behind former bullpen buddy Andrew MillerEdwin Diaz was acquired this offseason WHICH IS ALMOST UNFAIR, considering the X-Rayz barely had to dip their toes into a 3-way deal to get him and considering he is filthy. He could very well leap into top 3 fantasy closer conversation by year’s end, is arguably top 5 now. And if you ask me you can say the sameeee damn thing for Kelvin Herrera, whom has been pitching behind Wade Davis for years but probably has the better stuff. He will get a chance to show that this year in KC. I spent the X-Rayz bullpen section talking about how they have the best bullpen but also namedropping other good bullpen arms and that felt right. Zach Britton. He is also a good bullpen guy. The X-Rayz have the best in the Backyard though, it is decided.

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THE OUTLOOK!:  AS USUAL you have to sort of squint to see the value in a lot of the X-Rayz roster and AS USUAL I am not going to bet against them finding ways to mix and match and make it work. Last season they were picked to finish dead last in some fake news preseason polls and they finished the regular season dead first, so yanno. It is possible the X-Rayz may have made one move too many and I never would advise someone heading into the season with only 5 healthy starters, BUT I think the X-Rayz will be able to rely upon guile and the oleeee speed formula to return to the playoffs once again in 2017.

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SEAN’S PREDICTION!:  10-6-2, 4th place. But if they up and grab a bye again I FOR ONE will not act surprised.

10 Teams In 10 Days: #3 Point Loma X-Rayz

10 Teams In 10 Days: #4 Manchester MooniniteZ

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KNOW YOUR OWNER!:  SEAN!  What can be said about this guy that hasn’t already been said, really?  Ungenerous lover?  Surely no one has ever said that about Sean, because it would be demonstrably false.  Anyways, BEST OF LUCK TO SEAN IN THE UPCOMING SEASON!

(HEY GUYS LOBMAN HERE: I’m going to do some critiquing of the Mooninitez, if for no reason just to get back at Sean for the HIT SHOW he’s been putting on ya’ll. So here we go. FUCK SEAN AND BEST OF LUCK!)

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KEY ADDITIONS!:  CF Andrew McCutchen, LF/CF Ian Desmond, CF Keon Broxton, SP Vince Velasquez

(Lobman’s Key Additions: Andrew McCutchen, Ian Desmond, A new address, Keon Broxton’s inflated sense of worth, Lance McCullers’s healthy elbow for a month or so, Gray hair, Kendrys Morales)

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KEY SUBTRACTIONS!:  SP Danny Duffy, SP Alex Reyes (INJURY), RP Andrew Miller, RP AJ Ramos, CF Victor Robles possibly eventually

(Lobman’s Key Subtractions: His Freedom, Danny Duffy, Dexter Fowler, Andrew Miller, Ability to make the babies, AJ Ramos, His youth, etc)

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THE HITTERS!:  SOME PROMISING PIECES. Really gotta hand it to this owner/manager/savant. I tell ya I can talk about this collection of hitters all day but will attempt not to. I mean WHERE TO BEGIN? Nolan Arenado is a stud everyone knows this. LESS people seem willing to acknowledge that Joey Votto is…..Votto is grossly disrespected in this league, this is AN OBP LEAGUE (.490 OBP in 2nd half last year, basically the best hitter in baseball over that stretch). So yea stop being rude to Votto ALL OF YOU, top 15 hitter in OBP leagues.  Add Matt Carpenter to the grossly disrespected category, in perhaps his last beautiful year of 2B eligibility (eligibility losses throughout could actually be a bit of a problem come 2018). Everyone knows what Gary Sanchez did last year and everyone has an opinion about what level he can repeat this year. He’s kinda like (a better) Trevor Story in that way. Edwin Encarnacion still has A FEW good years left in him and will be rostered by the MooniniteZ until he retires goddammit. Speaking of eventual demise, reports of Andrew McCutchen‘s demise have been GREATLY EXAGGERATED if you ask me (again his worst year ever last year and it was basically Adam Jones production); the MM look forward to Cutch and Ian Desmond putting up numbers for them that they are therefore not putting up for the reigning champs. And then there is KEON BROXTON, beautiful Keon Broxton. Whom will surely divide opinions around the league but whom hits the ever fucking fuck out of a baseball (when he actually hits it). And can steal 40+ bags and can walk enough to be in position to steal 40+ bags. This franchise fully expects Keon Broxton (and/or his counterpart/replacement Lewis Brinson) to produce excellent numbers this upcoming season. REMEMBER THOSE NAMES. And now I will conclude namedropping everyone on the team. Also I like Justin Turner‘s hair what can I say. Done now.

(Lobman’s Note: Oh hey fuck this team. Actually, they’re very good. Starting at the top, we could talk about the fact that Nolan Arenado might be the best player in baseball overall, which is maybe bold, but saying something! Then move to Easy E, Carp, Votto, and Cutch as some veteran help which really adds a ton of consistency to the mix of offensive young talent that the Moon Men possess. I’m so disgustingly done with the LOVE that Sean throws at Keon fucking Broxton, but in all actuality, he has potential to be a nice fantasy player this year. He will not realize this potential, but HEY lets just dream on that potential! Actually no lets not. The Mooninitez won’t lack for offensive production this year, and if they get some production out of the young hitters and prospects, they could top a lot of the stat columns in the league this year. But he won’t tho, because of the two finalists last season.)

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THE ROTATION!:  SOME PROMISING PIECES. Really gotta hand it to this owner/manager/savant. Justin Verlander is I suppose TECHNICALLY the staff ace following his 2016 renaissance season (3.04 ERA, 10.04 K/9), but if you ask me (and it is my team) THE REAL GEM is a one Lance McCullers. McCullers has absolutely filthy stuff and only health concerns standing in the way of a possible Cy Young campaign YEA I SAID IT, and ideally some mechanical changes for him that have been discussed this spring alleviate some of those concerns. Another guy with nothing but goddamned health concerns in his way is James Paxton, Mariners lefty of the altered mechanics that gave him third best fastball velocity amongst starters last season (minimum 120 IP). He can be very good this season and many think he in fact shall LOOK AROUND THIS ISN’T JUST ME. That is your big 3 for this rotation, of which only one can be considered established. Behind them are equally un-established but intriguing talents in Matt Shoemaker and Vince Velasquez, both were kinda excellent for stretches there in 2016 (Velasquez more first half Shoemaker more second half) and both are coming off kinda scary injuries (Shoemaker a liner to the head which is scarier for him, Velasquez dreaded biceps issues which are scarier for me). Again dare I say that if we can guarantee solid health you can expect solid performance from those two, likely high K solid performance which is this team’s favorite kind. And lastly and most boringly is Jake Odorizzi, which is what you get when a team is dead last in quality starts 2 years running and gets tired of watching Michael Pineda‘s line implode in the early innings. Odorizzi is being counted on for consistency hopefullyyyyy right around 8 Ks per 9 and an ERA right around 3.60 or something. Also ALEX REYES WOULD HAVE BEEN A BEAUTIFUL THING TO WATCH. Now he’s a possible trade chip or a depressing stash until mid 2018, when he might finally cross the non-minors-eligible threshold.

(Lobman’s Note: Poor Poor Alex Reyes. At least Sean didn’t kill this Cardinals prospect. FLY HIGH FREE BIRD! For some reason, Sean loves Matt Shoemaker, who he called intriguing for whatever reason, but fine. There are many questions with the rotation, but one thing it doesn’t lack is potential. Talking Paxton, McCullers {A Lobman Favorite}, and Vinny Velasquez make for a pretty fantastic young stable of pitchers, albeit with many concerns. I’m sure Sean is concerned. His pitching won’t be the best, but it will be enough for him to be wildly successful as a whole.)

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THE BULLPEN!:  SOME PROMISING PIECES. Really gotta hand it to this owner/manager/savant. Okay I’ll admit the initial look here notttt the mosttttt promising. But also let me just be clear since this came up recently, this team fielded 2016’s best bullpen FULL STOP (only team with 200+ saves+holds, lead the league in Ks and ERA so the bullpen was clearly doing its duties). But now it is 2017. Kenley Jansen is 1st or 2nd best fantasy closer in all the land so he will be fine, but beyond him ehhhhh. The MooniniteZ will be adopting an early strategy of “banking on Dodgers wins” and hoping Grant Dayton is an effective set up man (he was pretty damn good in 2016), they will also be banking on someone OTHER than Koda Glover so that they have the Nats closer rather than just some fuckface Nats holds guy (Blake Treinen and Shawn Kelley currently rostered, AT MOST only one expected to survive final roster cuts)The MooniniteZ will ALSO be banking on Carter Capps and his cheating cheater delivery to return to the dominance they both enjoyed in 2015, and then hope he quickly grabs the closers role, and then hope that it even matters because how many leads are the Padres going to even gather. There’s also hope that the SP-eligible Raisel Iglesias gets a shower seat/takes hold of the closer’s gig in Cincinnati (again leads will be at a premium) and hope that Juan Nicasio grabs some holds out of an SP spot and EVEN hope in minors relievers (Joe JimenezAJ Minter) coming up later in the year and helping out down the stretch run. HOPE ALL OVER THE DAMNED PLACE. HOPE ABOUNDS.

(Lobman’s note: LETS TALK ABOUT CARTER CAPPS. Actually, nah. Really its about Kenley. Mostly because he’s the only real closer on this team right now. That is a problem. The good thing is that the bullpen is pretty easy to fine tune into serviceable during the season, and that’s discounting the fact that the Mooninitez carry some huge potential relievers as of now. SO WHO KNOWS. Whatever tho…)

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THE OUTLOOK!:  THE SKY (and the max carrying capacity of hope) IS THE LIMIT for this talented group of fantasy fodder. There are quietly concerns within the organization over the 2018 team with several players possibly losing KEY positional eligiblity but that makes the desire to win in 2017 (and then dismantle the team like I’m Lobman) all the stronger. A few bullpen issues to likely address throughout the course of the year and pitcher injuries are always headaches (there’s perhaps a slightly elevated risk of those here) and there can be some slumping hitters in this group to work around or upgrade, but who doesn’t trust this owner to put it all together? Anyone? I certainly trust this owner to put it all together.

(Lobman’s Note: You’re lying to yourself if you don’t think this team will be in the race for one of the byes this season. You’re also lying to yourself if you don’t think this team does carry some concern in every area of their roster that could potentially ruin their season. Its kind of the breaks when you have the “thinking ahead of the game” mentality that Sean {and myself} possess. The positive thing is the bone structure of a championship team are absolutely there, so if the breaks are in the Mooninitez favor, he’s an easy title contender. Lets not root for that tho.)

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SEAN’S PREDICTION!:  11-5-2, 2nd place.  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, people.  Confidence is key.  Note:  This is only second place IN THE REGULAR SEASON, I also fully expect to win the championship. See you bitches at my victory BBQ.

(Lobman’s Note: I’ll base this off of nothing and say The Mooninitez win 10 games and get somewhere in the 4th spot. But that’s spitballing. He will also lose to me in all facets. FUCK SEAN)
10 Teams In 10 Days: #4 Manchester MooniniteZ

10 Teams in 10 Days: #5 Barnegat Banana Slugs

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KNOW YOUR OWNER!:  B SMITH THA REALEST!  Brian enjoys fashion and a good midlife crisis. B Smith first joined this storied (pun not intended) league in 2013, I think, and in just 2 short years he had taken his rag tag band of Banana Slugs to the championship round. And now I am realizing the 6th seed has appeared in/lost the last two championship matchups, with the 5th seed losing in 2014. WEIRD. Anyways, Brian approaches fantasy with the soul of a poet, and it is that unique style that both aids his process and occasionally infuriates potential trade partners.  Ever the educator, I have no doubts that he will spend 2017 seeking to optimize his roster while occasionally lecturing other owners on why they are being stupid for not letting him optimize the Banana Slugs roster with their players. And for that and for other reasons I love this fuckin’ guy. BEST OF LUCK TO THIS FUCKIN’ GUY IN THE UPCOMING SEASON!

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KEY ADDITIONS!:  SP Jon Gray, SS Dansby Swanson, RP Cody Allen, RP AJ Ramos, RP Koda Glover (maybe), just a bunch of RPs really

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KEY SUBTRACTIONS!:  DH David Ortiz, RP Edwin Diaz, CF Odubel Herrera

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THE HITTERS!:  Look the Slugs can hit a bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t hit, they can hit a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. Josh Donaldson remains the cream of the crop here, SURE he likely isn’t as good as Nolan Arenado and definitely isn’t as young but he remains really really good, top 10 or 15 or so in fantasy however you slice it. Trevor Story was insanely good in his big league debut in 2016 and should remain really really good, even with the dreaded R word headed his way (IT IS REGRESSION, THE R WORD IS REGRESSION). Adam Eaton is an underrated fantasy asset for his triples alone, and could be pretty great if the Nationals cut out the cute shit and bat him in the top 2 in the lineup. Jose Bautista probably has another year in him, but maybe not. The OVERALL TONE here though, I must say, upon viewing, to me, is Donaldson Story and a whole bunch of meh. Dansby Swanson ‘s ceiling is like Brandon Crawford, people.

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THE PITCHERS!:  Look the Slugs can pitcha bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t pitch, they can pitch a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. And a large part of that is owned to a one Max Scherzer, for my money the second best pitcher in fantasy (and real) baseball. Mad Max is extremely good and should remain so, wimpy spring training finger issues aside. And there’s other good stuff here as well, Jake Arrieta supposedly had a “down year” last year but that’s only because his 2015 was so ridiculously good. He was still really really good in 2016 (3.10 ERA, 190 Ks in 197.1 IP, 17 QS, 18 Ws) so people are silly. Rich Hill can be every bit as great as some of these top guys on a per inning basis, it is just a matter of how many inning you’ll get him for. Jon Gray is the first Rox pitcher SINCE UBALDO that I would actually like to own (and have owned), and Robert Gsellman has excellent hair and if given the chance to amass some innings for the Amazins he could be pretty special. AND THEN, there is Rick Porcello. Porcello is terribly overrated (undeserved Cy Young awards will do that to you) and I expect his 2017 fall back to Earth to be a long one. Let’s move on.

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THE BULLPEN!:  Look the Slugs can ‘pen a bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t ‘pen, they can ‘pen a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. And actually this is the aspect of the Slugs that has impressed your previewer the most; the Banana Slugs have quietly put together a very strong bullpen. Zach Britton is the game’s best closer once you get past the Kenleys and Aroldii of the world and I expect that to continue in 2017, and Cody Allen is his own team’s second best reliever but also the second best reliever on the Banana Slugs of Barnegat here. He too shall remain a good source of saves and a great source of Ks in 2017. AJ Ramos may have a dubious leash but when he’s on and avoiding the walks he flashes dominance, a nice high K closer in a fantasy world that rewards such closers. But the REAL GEM is Matt Strahm, SP-eligible and high minors-eligible young stud for the Royals that has a real shot at grabbing a setup role alongside Joakim Soria. Strahm could be an absolute beast in the bullpen for both the Royals and the Slugs, and I badly want him and am sad to not own him. So this is depressing so let’s keep going. There’s a bunch of other options here and not all of them will be staying but whichever one pans out (or is chosen) will likely be a good one. Cam Bedrosian looks like the closer for the Angels and can be a good one, Koda Glover MIGHT get the shot in Washington if not on Opening Day then a few months down the line, and Addison Reed will close while Familia serves his suspension time for being an ABUSER. Oh and there’s Brad Brach, excellent holds guy and a strikeout artist in his own right. So no matter where Brian goes here he is in good shape, and by the time this posts I will probably have to come back and cross out the guys that are gone. My money says he keeps Brach and Glover (he’s high minors) but the rest go away. TIME SHALL TELL.

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THE OUTLOOK!:  Look the Slugs can win a bit. Nobody is saying the Slugs can’t win, they can win a bit. BUT JUST A BIT. SURE a lot of this format was just for trolling purposes but also it is what I BELIEVE in my HEART. The Banana Slugs can seemingly do everything well without doing anything great, and when you bake in some regression for guys like Trevor Story, Jake Lamb, BRAD MILLER, et al. you have a recipe for a team that will be less effective than its 2016 counterpart, WHICH HAPPENS. Perhaps there’s some positive regression in other areas to offset (I just love talking about regression with Brian’s team) with guys like Jose Bautista, but I refuse to say that because age-ism. He will be hurt and shit. And the Banana Slugs will likely be good enough to make a run at the final one or two playoff spots, and shit.

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SEAN’S PREDICTION!:  10-8, 6th place.

10 Teams in 10 Days: #5 Barnegat Banana Slugs

Trade Review: Another Two Fucking Trades I Have To Pretend To Care About Edition (Also Everyone Criticize The ‘Topes Edition)

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TRADE #1:

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The River City Bad Dudes trade [Low Minors] RP Frankie Montas and RP Francisco Rodriguez to Q-Tip City Morning Wood for [Low Minors] SS Gleyber Torres

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THE BAD DUDES  RETURN:

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A guy they are about to flip for another guy – SO WHY DISCUSS IT NOW REALLY

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THE RESURGENCE RETURN:

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RP Frankie Montas – 24 year old righty relief prospect for the Oakland Athletics, UNRANKED I am sure in most top prospect lists cuz yanno reliever and all. The 5th ranked prospect for the As according to Baseball America. Guy has already been traded 3 times in his career (Red Sox > White Sox > Dodgers > Athletics). Throws quite fast, with a fastball that can hit mid 90s as a starter and triple digits out of the pen. Because of the mid 90s starter heat the A’s seemingly will still want to try him as a starter, even though nasty reliever is CLEARLY the way to go here. At the same time he appears to be a candidate for the Opening Day bullpen, so the starter thing would be on hold a bit in that case.  And now for my favorite part when I compare the prospect to a major leaguer, and that majore leaguer isssssss:  Joel Zumaya, ideally with less arm issues. Note:  this reference will maybe make Shane sad.

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RP Francisco Rodriguez –  Here’s a thing I ALMOST wrote for a Bad Dudes team preview, but now had to go back and change.  SPECIAL SNEAK PEEK if you will.  But yea anyways it still applies:

Francisco Rodriguez should remain a capable veteran closer for at least a while longer, ALTHOUGH (cue critique) father time is clearly coming for him and if his peripherals continue to dip and he loses effectiveness there’s arms in the Tigers system waiting for the job (but just one really, it belongs to Joe Jimenez). With a 22% K rate in 2016 K-Rod is K-Rod no more is what I am trying to inform you people.

So yes the point is K-Rod is 35 but feels like he is 350, and Shane will now get to get an extra sense of joy when the Tigers win games that he saves.  Which should be the case for at least a few months, and then they trade him, and then I trade Shane Joe Jimenez. Fin.

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RETURN SEAN LIKES MORE:

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RIVER CITY BAD DUDES.  Even though their return here is just part of a LONG GAME to acquire a good closer, the fact remains that a top 5 prospect was acquired for nottttt much here. And a top 5 prospect on the Yankees in a league full of Yankees fans (full as in there’s like 2) no less. Evidently you could have just sent him straight up to the Isotopes for a better closer but THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN FOR UNDETERMINED REASONS. Generally when there’s essentially a 3 way deal there’s essentially a way to justify its necessity but here it was just a shady shady enterprise all the way around. But I am digressing. Poor Shane was dragged into it all as an unwilling and unaware participant, but he still gets judged for allowing himself to become a pawn in a sick and sad game.

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TRADE #2:

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The River City Bad Dudes trade [Low Minors] SS Gleyber Torres to the Astoria Isotopes for RP Craig Kimbrel

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THE BAD DUDES  RETURN:

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RP Craig Kimbrel – Just about 29 year old closer for the stupid fucking Red Sox. 2-6, 3.40 ERA (2.92 FIP), 31 Saves (2 BS), 83 Ks in 53 IP (14.09 K/9) in 2016. His highest K/9 since 2012, but also his fewest innings since his 20 IP debut in 2010. STILL REALLY GOOD even after all these years, and no more of an injury risk than any other pitcher on the planet. Should rack up a lot of saves for a good team (full of dicks), should be a top 10 closer easy with room for top 5 consideration.

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THE ISOTOPES RETURN:

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SS Gleyber Torres – 20 year old top prospect for the Yankees (#5 overall BA, #3 MLB.com, #15 Baseball Prospectus cuz BP is fucking weird). 9 HRs and 19 SBs across about three fitty ABs for the Cubs A+ affiliate last season. DIVIDES the scouts as to whether or not he can stick at SS but his bat is expected to play just fine just about anywhere on the field. Seen it claimed that he has “rare power” for a middle infielder even though his HR totals disagree. Will probably be good despite my slight negativity in this particular piece. Major Leaguer Comparison: Addison Russell (offensively, defensively someone shittier).

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RETURN SEAN LIKES MORE:

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RIVER CITY BAD DUDES.  It stands to reason that if the guy you trade for was literally JUST traded for, like the same day, for a much worse closer and a relief prospect, and then you trade for him and use a top 10 closer….. well then that means your side is worse. And I do not dislike Gleyber in any way and I think he might one day be a good player, but I do not see why in the fuck you had to jump through hoops just to give Lobman Craig Kimbrel. WEIRD MANEUVERING. And aside from that the Bad Dudes made their team better TODAY and basically just had to do so by using Frankie Montas to upgrade at closer. The Isotopes made their move looking towards some uncertain future, perhaps because we made fun of their First Year Player Draft and its inclusion of Mike Napoli. Play to win the championship every single season, kids.

Trade Review: Another Two Fucking Trades I Have To Pretend To Care About Edition (Also Everyone Criticize The ‘Topes Edition)

10 Teams in 10 Days # 6: Rojo’s Resurgence

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KNOW YOUR OWNER!:  ROJO!  Lovable fan favorite Rojo.  Resurgence fans may be all but out of patience heading into 2017, given their quiet offseason and their quiet 2016 in-season.  The double R dominated headlines and power rankings in last year’s first half, before slowly losing their grip on the #1 seed and STUBBORNLY refusing to consider making a deal to stay at or near the top.  All of this inaction culminated in a slide alllllll the way down to the #5 seed and a predictable first round exit (albeit in a close battle that ended in tie with the eventual champions, YA COULDA EASILY BEEN THE #4 SEED ROJO). Rojo enjoys Tinder and being able to turn his neck in both directions without debilitating pain. BEST OF LUCK TO ROJO IN THE UPCOMING SEASON!

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KEY ADDITIONS!:  The INDISPENSABLE CF Jackie Bradley Jr., Kyle Schwarber in his return to health, Ozzie Albies maybe eventually

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KEY SUBTRACTIONS!:  Kyle Schwarber’s catcher eligibility, the magic of a new name and logo

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THE HITTERS!:  Rojo’s Resurgence will be trotting out essentially the EXACT same lineup that slowly lost their grip on that #1 seed last year, sans Jarrod Dyson but plus Kyle Schwarber and Jackie Bradley Jr. And Schwarber can certainly make a difference (he GOT DAMNED better), when healthy in 2015 he gave the Cubs 16 HRs in 232 ABs (and another 5 in 27 postseason ABs). Schwarber will be attempting to keep pace with Resurgence teammates like Nelson Cruz (he of 3 straight 40 HR seasons) and Matt Kemp (he of an UNEXPECTED 35 HRs in 2016), although I for one wouldn’t count on such a HR output from Kemp again. Cruz is probably still good for it. JBJ comes over in the MUCH DEBATED deal with the Punchouts, he was hideous in 2014 but much improved in 2015 and last season. Where his true talent lies it is tough to tell, he probably won’t rattle off 29 game hit streaks every season but should be a solid fantasy contributor. Elsewhere there is ageless wonder Adrian Beltre, who is supposed to retire at some goddamned point but will likely be productive up until the day he does. Ian Kinsler makes for a solid 2B in fantasy even as he possibly begins changing his swing to sell out for power. And OH YEA Paul Goldschmidt, best player on the Resurgence arguably the best 1B in all of fantasy. He is good. And Joc Pederson is supposed to be great, he has been good but can improve if he picks up the SB pace or improves the plate discipline. Overall there is plenty of solids, and a few greats, in this lineup but also plenty of room for regression amongst the vets. Also Chris Owings is currently starting which probably shouldn’t even be allowed.

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THE ROTATION!:  QUIETLY SOLID! The quartet of Yu DarvishMashahiro TanakaCorey Kluber, and Johnny Cueto has the potential to be the finest trio of pitchers outside of Pine Lake, and the finest foursome if Tanaka’s health can hold up. Beyond that there’s also the youthful promise of Tigers righty Michael Fulmer (2016 AL ROY) and Dodgers southpaw Julio Urias, and beyond that there is NOTHING. I think. But still this is one of the more impressive rotations in the wholeee Backyard, particularly if Fulmer continues to hone his craft and Urias progresses and Tanaka’s arm continues to stay attached.

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THE BULLPEN!:  Ahhhh the most infamous bullpen in the entire league, THE HOLDSPEN one might call it if one was unimaginative.  Resurgence owner, Rojo, has been trotting out this strategy for a few seasons now and it will continue in 2017 and likely beyond. Perhaps purely out of spite at this point. Hector Neris is the best pitcher in this pen, and is SO GOOD in fact that he probably ends up the Phillies closer sooner rather than later. At which point I guess the RR are supposed to drop him or something. Joining him in this ode to hold are Will Harris from the Astros and for some reason Edubray Ramos from the Phillies. I guess because he is minors eligible? And that is it, not even a 4th holds guy to be found thus far. WHATTA MESS.

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THE OUTLOOK!:  When I look at this team I see 3-5 impressive starting pitchers and 1-3 impressive offensive pieces, and the rest just has a feeling of MEH. This is the same roster that started out 8-2 last year, however, now with the added benefit of Schwarber and Jackie Bradley Jr. So perhaps they can start out equally hot or perhaps they are equally as inconsistent as the double R was in the second half last season. Perhaps the reality lies somewhere in the middle. It certainly isn’t a roster that jumps out at you.

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SEAN’S PREDICTION!:  8-9-1, 9th place.  I am of the thinking that all of this inaction will lead to the Resurgence’s worst season in Resurgence team name history, forcing a midseason name change.  And POSSIBLY an abandonment of that silly goddamned holds guys only strategy, which will in my humble opinion cost him in a few matchups (everyone knows if you are going to use that strategy it should be in the other direction, saves guys only.  Anyone can grab a holds guy to stream over a weekend.  BUT I GUESS I WILL JUST MANAGE MY OWN DAMN TEAM).

 

10 Teams in 10 Days # 6: Rojo’s Resurgence