2017 Troll Series, Vol. 8: What The ‘Topes First Year Player Draft Means For The ‘Topes Future (Hint: Means Despair)

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Springfield Isotopes fans (hint:  it’s Connor) realllllly thought a corner was being turned, and you can’t blame them.  The Isotopes longstanding philosophy of hoarding aging players seemed to take a tonal shift with the trade of a 31 year old Evan Longoria for a 27 year old Jean Segura (with two prospects swapping sides as well).  Follow that up with the acquisition of a 26 year old Wil Myers and a 28 year old Jose Quintana and FINALLY, the fans thought, the Isotopes were building a young core for the future.  Perhaps finally acknowledging there will come a time when the Robby Canos and Adrian Gonzalez’s and Miggy Cabreras and Cole Hamels’ of the world would no longer be able to answer the bell.  And with excitement buzzing for the team’s young core as it headed towards the inaugural first year player draft, the ‘Topes had a chance to show their fans they are a resilient franchise capable of adapting to a changing baseball landscape and that they are aware that Ryan Howard is no longer a good fantasy baseball option and so on and so forth.  With the best way to do so being a well-researched draft of prospects with which to plan for the future.  LET’S SEE HOW THEY DID SHALL WE……

Round 1:  ‘Topes select Javier Baez, and FAIR ENOUGH I CAN SEE IT.  Baez is 24 years old, very likely has a bright future, plays for a great offensive lineup, etc. etc. etc.  The problem being he currently has really no spot in the Cubs lineup, in terms of everyday ABs, and he is also many hundreds of ABs over our  high minors eligibility limits.  So I think we all see the writing on the wall, the Isotopes probably get tired of his spotty playing time and outright drop him by the end of April (my money is on Earth Day!).  But FAIR ENOUGH, got a young stud excitement is still high amongst ‘Topes fans.  Time to get their prospects and build for the future in Round 2 and Round 3.

Round 2:  ‘Topes attempt to select Josh Hader, whom is already rostered by the Woods of Morning.  This shows a lack of preparation.  ‘Topes management then panics and somehow blurts out Eric Fedde, HINTING AT SOME SORT OF PREPARATION.  Fedde is the 2nd ranked prospect for the Nationals currently (#52 overall BA, #60 overall MLB.com).  And really I have nothing bad to say here, well done ‘Topes.  BRING IT HOME WITH ONE LAST PROSPECT……

Round 3:  Mike.  Napoli.  AND IT ALL FALLS APART.

Round 3 is the crux of this entire troll post well-researched article.  Mike Napoli is everything wrong with Isotopes management, and Mike Napoli is why they may not win a playoff game or earn a bye until 2022.  Put aside the fact that there were MULTIPLE better options if you are just looking for a run of the mill aging power bat, put aside the fact that this is the same Mike Napoli the ‘Topes more or less gave away at the deadline last year, and it still makes little to no sense.  The ‘Topes roster REMAINS a logjam of bench bats with 2 current major leaguers, one player (Josh Bell) 2 ABs away from losing high minors eligibility, and 2 other high minors bats (Aaron Judge and Manuel Margot) that will likely start 2017 in the majors and would be absolutely fuckinggg wasted sitting on the ‘Topes bench.  Those are the types of high potential prospects that should get a shot in the real lineup, platoon a utility spot if you must, but for fucks sake they can free up roster spots and allow you to direct major leaguers elsewhere.  Like for example that super uninspiring pitching staff, WHICH IS ALSO A LOGJAM.  NOT PROMISING.  The ‘Topes picked up Mike Napoli because he ended up with 34 HRs last year, as if he’s even a good bet for 25 this year.  ESPN projections tend to inflates everyone’s numbers and they could only be comfortable projecting him for 22.  THE FANS HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE CONCERNED.

In the end, Springfield Isotopes management chose Mike Napoli over giving their fans hope for a strong future.  Their owner’s lone title (and possibly last playoff win, TOUGH TO TELL) gets further in the rear view mirror every single year, and the road ahead seems bleak.  If Isotopes management has AIDS and just doesn’t know how to tell us quite yet, grabbing an aging “slugger” in a First Year Player Draft makes sense.  IF NOT, it is a troubling sign for a sputtering franchise.

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More like this franchise is dead AMIRITE?! (really wish the ‘Topes didn’t go on that damned late season streak last year that made their record respectable, otherwise this could have been a lot meaner.)
2017 Troll Series, Vol. 8: What The ‘Topes First Year Player Draft Means For The ‘Topes Future (Hint: Means Despair)

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 7: Missiles Missteps, their 5 Worst Trades Of The Modern Era

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I wanted a Cuban troll doll for Lobman but this guinea bastard of a troll doll will have to do……

River City Cuban Missiles (formerly River City Mashers, likely soon to be River City Somefucking Thing Else) owner Mike Lobman loveeeeees to brag about his two championships, conveniently leaving out it took him like twenty seasons to get them both (number of seasons it took me:  2).  He also loooooves to discuss “all time wins” with Mikey T, as if regular season wins fucking matter (particularly sad in Mikey T’s case, he of the [roughly] 3-9 postseason record).  And the last thing he likes to brag about (in fantasy baseball terms, we are leaving aside things like thermostats and walkway stones and back splashes and other lame “adult” shit that he is also perfectly comfortable bragging about) is his willingness to WHEEL AND DEAL!  HE’S A DEALS MAN!  LOVES TO MAKE DEALS!  Well this post is about when those deals go wrong.

I am listing the 5 worst deals BY LOBMAN FOR LOBMAN of the “modern era” here, which in this case I am designating as the past 2 years only.  This is for a very important reason:  the past two years are the first two years when Odom and I were separated, leaving me no longer able to TALK SENSE into that guy when he wants to do wild trades (see Vol. 6 for more Odom potshots).  Couple that with the excellent job Odom did of pretty much singlehandedly hyping up a trade deadline that for years had been relatively quiet, and you can see where the process of quantity go up quality go down might have taken hold. But NO EXCUSES PEOPLE (Lobman), let’s look at the worst trades the Missiles have been a part of in the past two years……. in reverse order…..

NUMBER 5

The Trade:   River City Cuban Missiles trade fantasy baseball darling of the 2015 summer Kyle Schwarber to the WVU Bombers (Rojo) for Tyson Ross.

The Take:  This one gets a bit of a pass because the Missiles ultimately won their second championship in 2015 (took them long enough) and Tyson Ross was pretty nasty in 2015.  HOWEVER, still not a great trade simply because you could have extracted MORE.  2015 Kyle Schwarber was Gary Sanchez before Gary Sanchez showed up and showed how much better he is than Kyle Schwarber.  Back then, Schwarbs was destined to continue to maintain catcher eligibility and continue to rake (now the first part isn’t so certain).  To trade that asset to a non-contending team and only get one piece back is a bit disappointing.  Tyson Ross, lord knows I love him, but he has always fallen a wee bit short of a #1.      

NUMBER 4

The Trade:  That stupid PTBNL deal with Brian, I don’t even want to dignify it with specifics.  Trevor Bauer was involved.

The Take:  This trade sucked less for the players involved than for what it REPRESENTED, which was nothing short of an attempt to undermine the very fabric of the league.  The trade prompted an immediate outcry because it essentially boiled down to Brian trying to trade a piece for the rights to Lobman’s best non-keeper the next offseason, a slippery slope at best.  Both of you should be ashamed of yourselves, but this troll post is focusing on Lobman so SHAME ON YOU LOBMAN.

NUMBER 3

The Trade:  River City Cuban Missiles trade Chris Archer and Carlos Rodon to the Pine Lake whatever they were at the time (Ryan) for Jeff Samardzija.

The Take:   GOOD LORD this one looks bad, kinda makes me want to put it ahead of the next one but the next one was part of that ill-received championship offense teardown so let’s leave that there.  But EW.  We all know how Lobman’s Shark saga went.  He had to sit there and watch him be terrible for most of the goddamned year before finally (mercifully) giving up on him prior to the playoffs, which lead to unethical PTBNL deals and un-saavy deals for Tyson Ross and hey what do yanno I am basically summarizing this whole goddamned list.  Chris Archer went on to be really really good for Odom (cuz Ryan traded him for Strasburg, FAR MORE DEFENSIBLE) in 2015, before being more like just okay last year, but this year he will probably be good again next year.  Carlos Rodon will maybe be really really good any day now or maybe he will just be like Francisco Liriano, but in any case those two good to great pitchers for that one awful Shark year that did not work out one bit.

NUMBER 2

The Trade:  River City Cuban Missiles trade Anthony Rizzo with no sense of loyalty whatsoever/cuz they were bored to the OGTFC (Heroy) for Troy Tulowitzki and Zack Greinke. 

The Take:  It’s all about the trolling TIMING, Michael.  I once traded Anthony Rizzo before he ever took an AB for my team, because I didn’t like his face and didn’t know if he could trulllly hit lefties even though he had already proven at that point that he could.  But you, you took a guy that was a CORNERSTONE of your championship run and you traded him for two sacks of shit.  Apologies, it was one sack of shit pitcher who was coming off a career year NEVER PAY FOR THE CAREER YEAR.  And then an old sack of shit shortstop whom is never healthy and on a steaddddddy decline at a time when shortstops are EVERYWHERE.  Why pay for a shorstop.  Aledmys Diaz’s grow on trees these days.

NUMBER 1

The Trade:  River City Cuban Missiles trade a scorching hot Freddie Freeman to the Springfield Isotopes (T) for a losing his job in front of everyone’s eyes Trevor Rosenthal.  

The Take:  SEE IT IS ALL ABOUT THE TIMING, MICHAEL.  If you are making this sort of trade in spring training because you think Rosenthal is gonna save 50 games and Freeman is going to fucking SOMEHOW struggle to the point where he is only worth a closer then at least you can defend that as you miscalculating some sort of not so distant future.  NOT THE CASE HERE.  This trade was accepted on June 27th, and on June 27th Trevor Rosenthal had a 5.40 ERA.  He was very clearly going to very soon lose his job to the superior talent that is Sueng Hwan Oh (love me some Oh).  Beyond that he is just a closer and Freddie Freeman is Freddie Freeman.  “But but but Sean”, some asshole who thinks questions are allowed during this might say.  “But Sean didn’t Freeman have a really bad start to the year?”  He certainly did, and so again TIMING means maybe in April this trade makes some sort of sense.  Lobman thinks Freeman is messed up or hurt or something, ditch him while you still can.  But let’s look at what Freeman did in June: .426 OBP, .656 SLG, 9 doubles, 4 triples, 5 HRs, 13 runs, 14 RBIs, FUCKING EVEN THREW IN TWO STEALS.  WORST TRADE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN THIS LEAGUE, and I was away in the woods of Delaware so I wasn’t able to point that out because apparently nobody else fucking saw it somehow.  If nobody suggested a veto there our league veto system is dead.  DEAD I SAY.   

So there are the 5 worst trades of the past 2 years for this highly celebrated by their own owner franchise, with no room for alternative interpretations whatsoever.  That is your list.  HOPE YOU ARE PROUD OF YOURSELF LOBMAN.

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BODIED ‘EM
2017 Troll Series, Vol. 7: Missiles Missteps, their 5 Worst Trades Of The Modern Era

2017 TROLL SERIES, VOL. 6: HOW ODOM KILLED A DYNASTY

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An actual picture of Odom

Before I begin the process of badmouthing our new commish, LET ME FIRST BADMOUTH ALL OF YOU.  There is a fun joke thrown out here and there where I am given no credit for my role in the only dynasty this league has ever seen or probably will ever see, and I actually quite enjoy that joke.  That is a fun joke.  Good clean comedy.  The other and far sadder joke on this topic is the one where people try and asterisk the 3-peat by basically going with the line of thinking that you all couldn’t beat us, for three glorrrrrious years in a glorrrrrious row, simply because you didn’t have a co-owner.  Think that one through, is what I am asking of you people.  Follow that to its logical conclusion and it just sounds sadddddd, sounds sad every time someone says it.  Don’t admit in a public forum that you weren’t capable of winning a FANTASY BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP without somebody to help you make your widdle decisions and set your widdle lineup.  PATHETIC.  All of you.  Pathetic.  Affronts to the fantasy baseball gods.

Now, on to me taking credit for every championship and then blaming Odom for the death of the dynasty.  I don’t think anyone is ever going to win 3 in a row in this league ever again (apologies to the O-G-T-F-C but that shit is T-O-U-G-H) and I take as much pride as possible for a fantasy sport accomplishment for what Odom and I were able to accomplish.  Now indulge me while I point out why I deserve all the credit for our successes (the vegan part of this post) and Odom deserves all the blame for the failed 4-peat (the meaty part of this post)…..and possibly the death of Oscar Taveras.

TO THE YEARS >>>>>>

Year:  2011

Record:  9-11

Result:  FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP

Why Sean deserves all the credit:  I dunno I barely remember this one, IN ACTUALITY there was a pretty even split of personnel decision making particularly after the 3rd owner went by the wayside.  I must have come up with the Jimbo’s Vulcan Death Grip name though (later found out that move is more of a face mush than a choke but oh fucking well).  And for that, and for the fire it lit under the boys, SEAN DESERVES ALL THE CREDIT.

Year:  2012

Record:  11-9

Result:  SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP (Back 2 Back)

Why Sean deserves all the credit:  It was either this year or the previous year that Odom traded Brandon Beachy for David Robertson and I yelled at him about it.  But that trade super duper worked out.  But I dunno aside from that trade WHAT DID HE DO?  Surely you don’t remember.  I don’t remember.  Surely he doesn’t remember (drugs).  I definitely remember I picked up Edwin Encarnacion off the FA pool at the beginning of the year though, and voted to keep him over (2012 NL RBI leader) Chase Headley.  Also this was the year we cut Mark Trumbo during the playoff run because he was racking up DNPs, and I don’t think Odom was against it at all but for the sake of this post I am saying he was vehemently against it.  And that kinda move is the kinda move that brought us the championship.  And so, in the absence of any credible evidence to the contrary, SEAN DESERVES ALL THE CREDIT*.   

*Note:  On the last night of the playoffs matchup with Lobman I was definitely in a Folly Beach tequila bar trying to take home a pink-haired waitress so Odom was definitely physically making the moves with regards to sitting guys to preserve OBP leads BUT I stepped outside to take a phone call on the decision.  Which makes me even more deserving of all the credit, in my humble opinion.

Year:  2013

Record:  16-3-1

Result:  THIRD CHAMPIONSHIP (Back 2 Back 2 Back)

Why Sean deserves all the credit:  Now this year, IN MY RECOLLECTION, is one where Odom’s lifestyle (drugs) or lifestyle (I dunno liquore store managing?) kept him away from a lot of the day to day spot start picking up business and WHO PICKED UP THE SLACK YOU ASK?  I did.  I also put in the waiver claim for a one Matt Carpenter, he of the 55 doubles in 2014.  I also uhhhh, I dunno did some other stuff.  This was by far our most difficult (only difficult) championship matchup, credit to Heroy, and I most definitely streamed some closers and picked up Latroy Hawkins for some Mets-Marlins doubleheader in which he notched a crucial save.  What more needs to be said here?   SEAN DESERVES ALL THE CREDIT.

Year:  2014

Record:  14-6

Result:  FUCKING FAILURE

WHY ODOM DESERVES ALL THE BLAME AND POSSIBLY KILLED OSCAR TAVERAS:  This year started out much like the last two, with the supremely cocky and confident duo (that was us) seeking a fourth straight championship.  There was legitimate conversation about quitting the league if we won 4 in a row and declaring there was nothing left to accomplish, but ALAS.  Again I am going to make accusations that Odom’s lifestyle forced me to make the majority of the spot start moves, and again I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday (fake chicken I think, stylized as chick’n).

Probably the defining moment of our season, a symbol of all that went wrong, is when that CONFUSING minor leagues system put us in the situation as follows:  I was dropping Oscar Taveras from our majors roster thinking he was still protected by the safety net of our minors team, when in fact Odom had dropped him from our minors team (I never paid much attention to the minors teams) just to shuffle around some minor league dickheads.  And THEN after learning of our misstep and cruelly being barred from having a takesies backsies, we had to trade Addison Russell* to get him back.  One can see how all of this back and forth and added pressure on fantasy Oscar Taveras could have lead to real life person Oscar Taveras dying that offseason.  ONE CAN CLEARLY SEE THAT

*Fun fact:  Addi was the only minors guy I ever really picked up, to make up for me pushing the Profar-for-Zobrist trade so hard prior to the uhhh previous season I think?  And just LOOK how that turned out, yet another mostly mutual thing I feel I deserve sole credit for.    

While not the dominant season of one year prior, we entered the playoffs once again the #1 seed (Ryan probably a far superior team as the #2 seed) so CAN’T REALLY COMPLAIN.  Now allow me to complain about us blowing our matchup with out-of-work bridge ogre and then-named McGibblets team owner Connor, in bullet form:

  • Prior to even beginning these points I want to point out that I am still flummoxed when I look over this box score, we had a pretty damn good week and it just was NOT ENOUGH
  • My first and probably best point, if Odom is such a MASTER OF THE STEALS then how come our team lost steals 16-1?  RIDDLE ME THAT?
  • My second point, we uhhhh.  We lost OBP, even though .3265 isn’t a bad OBP by any means, but we lost OBP and Odom’s teams since have historically yielded low OBPs so PROBABLY NOT A COINCIDENCE.
  • We gave Yovani Gallardo a start?  And he gave up 5 runs in 5 innings and we lost ERA 3.249 to 2.710?  I dunno feels like Odom’s fault.
  • We only had 79Ks that week and if you look since that time we have both fielded the strongest strikeouts teams, at least two in the top 3.  But last year I think my team was better (don’t worry about the year before) so Odom’s fault.
  • We gave too many ABs to Matt fucking Adams for some reason and he murdered our OBP.  Makes ya think…..
  • Oscar Taveras hit a two run home run that week.  Makes ya think…..
  • read the tea leaves ODOM DESERVES ALL THE BLAME AND HIS SLOPPINESS VERY LIKELY POSSIBLY COST OSCAR TAVERAS HIS LIFE.

So there you have it, a take-down of that sad “yea well you had two owners” excuse you simpletons like to throw out there and an attempt to re-direct all the “Sean contributed nothing” jokes into “Odom contributed nothing” jokes.  Which will only lead to more “Sean contributed nothing” jokes.  REGARDLESS, I thank you all for tuning in to yet another excuse for me to point out that Odom and I won 3 championships in a row and in all likelihood nobody will ever do that again.

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First runner-up for the “actual pic of Odom” troll doll images I wanted to use for this
2017 TROLL SERIES, VOL. 6: HOW ODOM KILLED A DYNASTY

2017 TROLL SERIES, VOL. 5: PARTNERS IN (PETTY) CRIME

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FILE PHOTO: Sean and Odom

(Reviewing the Odom/Sean Split)

– Jon Bevilaque was too beautiful for this world. Well, this fantasy baseball world, I guess. As he left us and his floundering dumpster fire of a team (thank you for D. Wright’s productive years), a duo took his place. This duo would take the league by storm and revolutionize the way we work our teams for years to come. Established in 2011 as a team with MANY names, but settling in as the JVDG’s (Jimbo’s Vulcan Death Grip, with quite a story attached), They did the improbable and took their 9-11 inaugural roster to a championship run, defeating the 17-3 Mashers and defending champ Takeover. I mean, this was a pretty good feat right there, they did it 2 more times to become the ONLY 3 time champions in the league’s short history.

Naturally, all good things must come to an end, so when Lenny (or Mitchell or whoever) left our league, it was time to split the golden partnership to create two knowledgable and trustworthy owners. The results? We’ll just say the jury is still out. Lets just see how these two have done in their handling of individual teams:

SEAN MCLAUGHLIN AKA MAIN STREET MOONINITEZ

Lets talk about the Mooninitez’ 2015 (Editor’s Note:  THEY WERE THE “MANTIS SHRIMP” FOR MOST OF THAT SEASON FUCKING GET YOUR FACTS IN ORDER). You look at the roster and say “hey that’s a pretty good team” after their dispersement draft. Then Sean goes and trades Anthony Rizzo for Johnny Cueto because “He didn’t like Rizzo’s face”. Well, Rizzo goes to the eventual champions, and Cueto did not, in fact, finish the season on the Mooninitez roster. Couple that with trading Jose Bautista for Carlos Gonzalez (and a ride), then dropping CarGo before he exploded again, ITS REALLY HARD TO PHATHOM why he ended up in 10th place. Oh, and his pitching. It SUCKED. Cool, guy, way to have good relievers when your best starter was the incomparable Collin Fucking McHugh.

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Traded for Anthony Rizzo? NICE

So yea, he moves on to 2016, where he enjoyed a great deal of success. We’re talking #2 seed and a bye success. Helped by a good draft and the pickup of MANY MANY nice young players, the Mooninitez ripped off a crazy 8 week streak of W’s on route to a bye and a semi-final round matchup against Heroy and the OGTFC. If any of you are familiar with Sean and certain outcomes in his life, you’re JUST SHOCKED to find out that he actually blew it and lost. All that talent, and he BLOWS IT. You suck, Sean.

To sum it up, you’re looking at 1 season of downright awful roster management and results, then a fairly successful year only to completely blow it when it matters most. If that’s not classic Sean McLaughlin, then I just wasted 15 years of my life getting to know this dude. What I’m saying is he’s been a waste of talent and brains, but HEY things are looking up for 2017!

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Mooninites are stupid and so are you.

Overall Grade: C- (At least you traded Lo-Cain for Joey Votto)

MIKE ODOM AKA POINT LOMA X-RAYS

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RIP to Odom’s successful season

Audible laughter was heard during the draft in 2015, as the playful stoner buddy we all know and love was piecing together his roster. I just remember how critical Slugs owner Brian Smith was of the X-Rays roster construction. I mean, he was BERATING that draft. Almost insulting things were said. But anyways, it was universally recognized that the X-Rays were the presumptive favorites for “The Figs ©”, which is given to the biggest loser in the league much like that nickname is given to the biggest loser in real life. WELL wouldn’t you know it, the X-Rays (then Dee-generation X) worked some incredible magic to become the improbable #3 seed in the playoffs in their 1st year of existence, which is approximately 7 spots higher than what Sean’s inaugural season resulted. Fair to say that despite the BEATDOWN that the Slugs gave Odom’s X-Rays in the first round the playoffs, Things were really looking up for 2016.

Cut to 2016, where the X-Rays somehow IMPROVED on their inaugural season and finished #1 in the regular season standings. Well, as Hallowed Two-Time Champion and Established Most Successful Franchise in Backyard History Owner Mike Lobman will tell you, #1 seeds and Regular Season championship don’t mean shit unless you win something (Self-Burn). All of the good that 2016 saw in the regular season was undone by a quick but close loss to the defending champion Cuban Missiles, which was a tough way to end a very promising season.

With 2 consecutive seasons of promising regular seasons, followed by disappointing blown opportunity in the playoffs, one has to question the mental toughness or ability to make clear decisions when it matters most. Are the X-Rays constructed to win the regular season, followed by incredible flame outs in the playoffs? So far, YEP. Our now commissioner will take with him a large amount of expectation going into 2017, coupled with the actual and probably annoying task of managing the league. Safe to say anything less than a championship will be an IMMENSE DISAPPOINTMENT.

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I don’t know why I signed with the Red Sox, either

Overall Grade: C (Big steps but David Price is CLEARLY REGRESSING)

 Does that mean they are effective owners of championship teams without each other? The answer of course is no. No they aren’t.

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We’ll always remember the good times

Overall Grade: F (Fuck Both of these guys, in particular)

-Lobman

2017 TROLL SERIES, VOL. 5: PARTNERS IN (PETTY) CRIME

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 4: What’s In A Name? An Analysis of the 2016 “Rojo’s Resurgence” Season

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First cousin troll that this troll has sex with sold separately…..

Let’s hop in our way back machine to the night of our league’s LAST EVER DRAFT* before adoption of the dynasty format we are currently feeling our way through.  Spirits were high for a lot of teams, as I imagine even the Padres feel good about their shot in spring training, but perhaps no team’s draft was more hotly anticipated than ROJO’S RESURGENCE.  I can hardly remember the previous team name, other than to recall it was some sort of vague ode to WVU because CERTAIN PEOPLE IN THIS GROUP don’t realize how sad it comes across when you are insanely invested in an alma mater that gave you nothing but a useless degree in return for many thousands of dollars in tuition.  MIKEY T YOU WILL GET YOUR COMEUPPANCE SOON ENOUGH.  Where was I?  Oh yea….  call it clever marketing (waiting until the very last moment for the big reveal on the new name) or clever draft pick hoarding (3 picks in the first round) or some combination thereof, but THE ROOM WAS ABUZZ if my memory serves me correct (it is blurred by alcohol and does not serve me correct).  Rolling out the “Rojo’s Resurgence” name displayed a confidence not seen in its team owner since his TRBA days, where he felt no shame in jumping on free throws even though 8 year old girls likely feel shame jumping on free throws.  And that confidence carried him into his draft.  Let’s troll judge the Resurgence’s draft real quick:

THE GOOD

Johnny Cueto (2nd Rd) –  Cueto was a great get in a very uneven second round, as he threw 5 CGs last year and generally just provided the Resurgence with top notch production from start to finish.

And that’s all for that category.

THE BAD

Shin Soo Choo (4th Rd) – Did not pan out/is old (more on this to come).

Luis Severino (5th Rd) – Did not pan out.

THE PUZZLING

Rojo’s Entire First Round – Back to the old thing for a second.  It is almost like Rojo read some sort of article about ageism in fantasy baseball drafts, or was spending a lot of time contemplating his own ever-present mortality, because he spent a good chunk of this DYNASTY DRAFT picking up folks that are at or near the end of their MLB journey.  Which is very anti-dynasty format on its face.  Obviously this does not apply to his first pick (Hosmer), #whom wouldn’t have been my choice in that spot but hey different strokes different folks I can see where there was some perceived (2nd round) value in there.  However he followed that up with a very productive but very much retiring in the near future Adrian Beltre, and a 31 year old (at the time) who feels more like a 38 year old Matt Kemp.  I DON’T CARE HOW MANY HRs HE HIT.

So that was the Resurgence draft, a mixed bag in the way that everyone’s drafts are mixed bags.  I don’t really want to spend time dissecting his later rounds otherwise I would praise him for drafting Kendy Morales or some shit, but who even knows how long that fat fuck had a spot on the Resurgers.  ANYWHOM one cannot judge the Resurgence’s draft efforts too harshly because LOOK AT THAT START TO THE SEASON.  The Resurgence roared to an 8-2 start and were the darling of power rankings from late April through late June, more than justifying their namesake’s claim of a comeback year afoot.  But then the trouble started:  The Resurgence dropped their next 2, won 1, and then went 0-3-1 over their next four.  I am sure the trade deadline passed at some point during all this calamity.  A 3-2-1 finale to the season was far too mediocre to correct the damage already done to the former top seed, and the Resurgence limped into the playoffs as our #5 seed.  Hold that thought….

At a time when a win now move might have been necessary to right the ship and at least attempt to improve playoff positioning, Rojo’s Resurgence stubbornly held onto certain future assets.  What vague move might I be referencing?  GLAD YOU ASKED…..

ROJO SHOULD HAVE TRADED KYLE SCHWARBER

Kyle Schwarber is a much ballyhooed bat, to be sure, but it is precisely that ballyhoo that could have grabbed Rojo a “win now” haul from a team out of contention.  Also, and this to me is a central issue here, a big part of that ballyhoo relates to the idea that Schwarber’s bat will be utilized at the catcher position in fantasy (historically an offensive wasteland but maybe less so next year GARY SANCHEZ WHAT UP).  Schwarber will in all likelihood have C eligibility in 2017 but followin this season that is decidedly not a certainty.  The man just shredded his knee and there’s a good chance the Cubs decide to never again put that knee in a catcher’s crouch.  Which would make Schwarber a power bat in the corner OF come 2018, i.e. would make him far less valuable than he was in 2016.  Back to taht “win now haul”, perhaps that haul helps Rojo to win a few more of those games down the stretch, yanno in the now.  And then WHO KNOWS maybe Rojo grabs the 4 seed rather than the 5.

Which brings us back to our held thought:  The Resurgence valiantly played our eventual league champions to a tie in Round 1, and that in itself would probably be Rojo’s justification for holding onto the Kyle Schwarbers of the world.  HOWEVER it is my thesis that with some different win now-ish pieces maybe they pull ahead in one more category OR with some different win now-ish pieces maybe they are the 4 seed to the OGTFC’s 5 seed.  Usually I have to work harder to justify attempting to manage not just my own damn team in these pieces, but here THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR:  Rojo done goofed.

And now to loosely tie this critique to the title that claimed it would be mostly about exploring a team name.  There was a lot to love about the Rojo’s Resurgence team name; undoubtedly Rojo resurged a bit, at least in the first half of the season.  But a refusal to push all his chips in the middle in the second half, coupled with a holds only bullpen strategy (that I didn’t even ADDRESS here because it would add another 1000 words) eventually lead to the narrowest (and therefore easiest to critique) of first round exits.  Dare I claim, because nobody can ever fact check it, that there has never been a more egregious example of a team DESPERATELY needing to make a move to stop a slide and having a pretty obvious move to make and failing to make it.  There I claimed it, on the internet, where things are written in permanent ink.

I have no choice but to recommend that the 2017 incarnation of Rojo’s franchise be renamed “Rojo’s MEH That Was Good Enough.”

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2017 Troll Series, Vol. 4: What’s In A Name? An Analysis of the 2016 “Rojo’s Resurgence” Season

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 3: The Unfortunate But Unfortunately Necessary Regression of Trevor Story Because We Live In A World Governed By Natural Laws

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Few rookies, if any, have ever had a start to their major league careers quite as scintillating as Trevor Story’s.  Few league owners, if any, defend their players (sometimes to the point of delusion) with the fervor that Barnegat Banana Slugs owner Brian Smith will defend his players with (see:  Jose Bautista chat discussion from yesterday).  I think you see where this is going…..

WHY TREVOR STORY WILL HAVE TO REGRESS AND WHY BRIAN SMITH WILL HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THAT¹:  INTRODUCTION

Trevor Story began his big league career with a 2 HR day back on April 4th, 2016.  He would follow this with a home run on April 5th, another home run on April 6th, and finally another 2 HR day on April 8th (setting a record as the first player to ever homer in his first four games.  Young Trevor finally took a day off from hitting a HR on 4/9, before again blasting one on 4/10 (setting a record for most HRs in a team’s first 6 games of the season).  A LEGEND WAS BORN, and Banana Slugs owner Brian Smith was his typically humble self when discussing said legend.  Ultimately Story would end up hitting 10 HRs in April (tying a rookie record for the most HRs in April) and would keep up a pretty torrid pace throughout the season until a thumb injury cut said season short on August 2nd.  Now I am here TO POINT OUT THE OBVIOUS, that this was an unrepeatable performance and that regression shall come for thee, Trevor Story.  Oh yes it shall come for thee.   

¹Readers may note that this is arguably the second installment in our Brian Bait Series, an unofficial sub-series to the 2017 Troll Series.

WHY TREVOR STORY WILL HAVE TO REGRESS AND WHY BRIAN SMITH WILL HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THAT:  METHODS

All date herein has been pulled from http://www.fangraphs.com and interpreted by the Main Street MooniniteZ Scouting/Stating the Obvious Department.  I will not be citing these works professionally because I don’t miss being in school quite THAT much (probably not at all actually).

WHY TREVOR STORY WILL HAVE TO REGRESS AND WHY BRIAN SMITH WILL HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THAT:  RESULTS

Trevor Story 2016 ISO (slugging percentage – average):  .292

Trevor Story Previous Career High ISO:  .250 (across 218 plate appearances, Rockies A+ ball 2014)

Trevor Story 2016 BABIP:  .343

Trevor Story 2016 K% (Strikeouts/PA):  31.3 %

Trevor Story 2016 Fly Ball Ratio (FB/Balls In Play):  47.1 %

Trevor Story 2016 Home Run to Fly Ball Ratio:  23.7%

Trevor Story Home Splits:  .313/.393/.693

Trevor Story Road Splits:  .235/.292/.454

WHY TREVOR STORY WILL HAVE TO REGRESS AND WHY BRIAN SMITH WILL HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THAT:  DISCUSSION

Firstly let me discuss that after looking through the numbers, I cannot definitively present an argument that Trevor Story is awful.  Which is A SHAME because it would have made for a more fun article.  And because this article is mostly to push Brian’s buttons I didn’t really include many positive stats up there in the data (we live in a post-facts world) but on the positive side Trevor Story hits the ball hard as shit, a 44.9% hard hit percentage second only to David Ortiz in all of baseball (scaled to a minimum of 400 PAs).  He also rarely hits the ball “softly” with a “Soft%” of only 14.3%, good for 26th best in baseball.  So yea he will probably be fine, whatever.  ENOUGH PRAISE.

Young Trevor will have a hard time duplicating his hot start to last year because anybody would because that hot start was really really hot.  Even if we are to assume that the thumb surgery has done nothing to his power in the short-term (not necessarily a given), his power to begin last year was unsustainable and in fact failed to sustain.  Trevor’s ISO was a bonkers .435 in April before dropping down to .196 in May (think George Springer and Ian Kinsler for the entirety of 2016, so still very good), rising back up to .235 in June (Trout, Cano, Carpenter etc. so REALLY GOOD) and rising even higher to .338 in July (think nobody at all because that can’t last for a full season, Ortiz had a .308 and he was a freak).  Pretty much everyone has this volatility but pretty much nobody expects Trevor Story to ISO close to .300 again, early projections have him around .217.

Next we have a couple of things that all work in tandem here:  BABIP, K%, FB%, HR/FB ratio.  A bunch of FANCY PANTS NEW AGE stats that some of our league’s more Goose Gossage-y owners will turn their nose at, that I will now use to annoy Brian.  Story’s K% of 31.3% was 5th most in baseball² when scaled to 400 PAs, that number should and could come down a bit but will probably not come down toooo far given his extreme pulling fly balls approach.  This should put a bit of a ceiling on the ole’ batting average, and that ceiling he probably reached last year (.270-.275ish).  Early projections expect him at about .260 this year and if you ask this troll I would cap him at about .250.  Story’s BABIP is certainly a bit on the high (read: lucky) side but for a man that hits the ball as hard as he does that can sometimes be understandable.  Where it CANNOT be understandable is when a man hits that many balls in the air, and that many of those balls in the air somehow find holes.  Trevor Story hit about HALF of all of his balls in the air in 2016 and about HALF of those found the seats, making him some sort of bizarro tiny white version of Chris Carter.  Which is all good and fine I GUESS, but Chris Carter also had a BABIP of .260.  As he should have, and kinda as Trevor Story should have.  Guys like Brandon Belt and Freddie Freeman are able to run high BABIPs with high FB percentages but that is a function of their high LD%, as line drives are far more likely to fall in for hits than your standard “fly ball.”  Trevor Story’s LD% is 34th in baseball (Freeman 1st, Belt 2nd) i.e. nothing to write home about IPSO FACTO LOWER BABIP IN 2017.

²Just for fun here’s your top 5:  Miguel Sano (36%), Steven Souza Jr. (34%), Chris Davis (32.9%), Chris Carter (32%), and Story (31.3%).

So after all of this we are left with but one simple conclusion:  Trevor Story is a fucking fraud.

MooniniteZ 2017 Trevor Story Projection:  .236/.307/.444, 22HRs, 70Rs, 80RBIs, 24 doubles, 2 triples, 10 steals.

WHY TREVOR STORY WILL HAVE TO REGRESS AND WHY BRIAN SMITH WILL HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THAT:  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to acknowledge that I don’t care about hurting the feelings of Banana Slugs management.

WHY TREVOR STORY WILL HAVE TO REGRESS AND WHY BRIAN SMITH WILL HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THAT:  LITERATURE CITED

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=12564&position=SS

http://www.fangraphs.com/statsplits.aspx?playerid=12564&position=SS&season=2016

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/theres-already-been-more-than-one-trevor-story/

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=400&type=8&season=2016&month=0&season1=2016&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=10,d

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=400&type=2&season=2016&month=0&season1=2016&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=9,d

2017 Troll Series, Vol. 3: The Unfortunate But Unfortunately Necessary Regression of Trevor Story Because We Live In A World Governed By Natural Laws

2017 TROLL SERIES, Vol. 2: Why The Trout Fishing Club’s Pitching Is Hot Garbage

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There was also a Marlins troll doll but that one felt in poor taste……. RIP JF

Evidently almost exactly 3 months ago Lobman promised some vague “things” that would be announced “by the weekend”.  But like his daughter will soon learn, Lobman is an unreliable deadbeat who can’t be trusted to follow through on the things he says.  So we will call those “things” still in Limbo.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG, the year 2016 is now mercilessly behind us.  And what a hideous year, perfectly summed up by the fact that Heroy was finally able to get out of his own way long enough to capture his first Backyard Championship.  CONGRATS TO HIM AGAIN.  And now, I will point out the very obvious weakness with our current defending champion heading into the 2017 season aka THE INAUGURAL DYNASTY SEASON.

The Trout Fishing Club has for years boasted a strong roster, hence the whole “won the championship” thing.  But even our league’s best champions of years past are not immune to criticism (except possibly the 3-peat champion 3PO squad that beat this very Heroy back in 2013).  In this team’s case, their greatest weakness heading into 2017 is THE HOT GARBAGE PITCHING STAFF.

First there’s the rotation…….yessss the rotation, once anchored by Jose Fernandez…… just realized there is a boating pun in there NOT INTENDED…..but anyways yea he is dead now.  Boat related.  Cocaine related.  A Scarface-ian cautionary tale that has left the OGTFC rotation somewhat BEREFT of talent.  Then there’s the bullpen, which to be honest isn’t THAT terrible.  But it also isn’t THAT not terrible, and he only has 3 players in it, and fuck him.  Let’s go through his entire (current, always time to make a move Gregory 😉 ) pitching staff one by one and point out why they probably suck:

The “Rotation”

Jose Fernandez –  See above (is dead).

Tyler Glasnow –  Tyler Glasnow is the first of a repeating theme here, that theme being “young pitcher may put it all together but may also not put it all together.”  Nobody has a crystal ball, and fantasy baseball is a lot like gambling in many ways, but at the same time I do in fact own a crystal ball and Glasnow walked about 5 batters per 9 for the entirety of last year (AAA + MLB) so I can tell you for a fact he will not put it all together.

Lucas Giolito  – Giolito’s stock plummeted so swiftly within the Nationals organization that it cost him plus Reynaldo Lopez plus the Nats’ 2016 first round pick just to acquire Adam fucking Eaton.  NEED I SAY MORE (won’t put it all together).

Julio Teheran – Julio Teheran is a guy that people have been looking to as a guy that can put it all together, and maybe you look at his breakout in 2014 and/or his solid season last year and note that he’s just shy of his 26th birthday and say “HEY that young guy has put it all together.”  Well I am here to tell you that he hasn’t.  Both of those years he ran an unuuuuuusually low BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play, a measure of how often non-HR batted balls fall for hits) in the .260s.  League average these days is about .300, anything lowers tends to be mostly a function of luck maybe a function of a good defense behind you; in 2015, when he ran a BABIP of .288 his ERA snuck back above 4.  FURTHERMORE his LOB% (Left on Base %, the percentage of baserunners a pitcher strands over the course of a season) has been a tad high (77% last year, league average is around 70-72% and pitchers above or below that number tend to regress to the mean).  Ergo facto Teheran’s mediocre 2016 should regress to the mean a bit in 2017 ergo facto WILL NOT PUT IT ALL TOGETHER (had to really work for that one).

Aaron Sanchez – Sure….SURE everyone thinks he had a great year last year and deserved Cy Young recognition and yadda fucking yadda but RIDDLE ME THIS….if he’s so great why did he spend the majority of 2015 pitching out of the bullpen like some sort of schlub?  I will tell you why:  because he has not. And will not.  Put it all.  Together.

Kenta Maeda – Do not eeeeven get me started on this guy.  The king of the 5 and a third outing, is what this guy is.  And an (allegedly) 28 year old rookie I mean what exactly is that all about?!  Fishy.  Won’t put it all together.

Michael Wacha – Michael Wacha had a 5.09 ERA last year and it is not my job here to point out reasons why that would be a misleading figure, it is my job here to note that is the ERA of a young man who has not/will not put it all together.  THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDIN’.

Gerrit Cole – What makes a great pitcher?  Is it things like stats and numbers?  Is it the pitcher’s arsenal?  His fastball velocity?  Pitch movement?  Probably maybe it is some of these things, but what really makes a great pitcher is where they choose to slot you into the rotation at the beginning of the season.  Gerrit Cole pitched the FIFTH game for the Pirates last year.  FRANCISCO LIRIANO PITCHED OPENING DAY.  Sounds to me like if a Jeopardy question states “this young Pirates righty obviously has not and shan’t not put it all together” your answer should be “Who is Gerrit Cole.”

Garrett Richards – Had “stem cell treatment” cuz he was too puss to undergo TJ surgery, which I can only imagine will ultimately be a mistake.  Don’t count on this fella, OGTFC fans(s)!

Tyson Ross – Don’t count on this fella either!  Had that weird thoracic outlet surgery and waited til October to have it, and also probably throws more sliders than the human arm will allow.  Which is a shame because I am a fan (not so much of a fan that I would trade anything of value for him HEROY, nobody wants to trade for this guy, please do not send people trade offers with this guy).

The “Bullpen”

Tony Watson – Tony Watson might very well be a serviceable closer for the Pirates, but they also maybe wanted to trade him at some point so MAYBE NOT.  I like my closers to K at least 8 per 9 and Tony fails to measure up.  Also, amongst pitchers with 15 or more saves last year, only Jake McGee and Tony Cingrani had a worse FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, FUCKING GOOGLE IT STATS CLASS IS OVER) than Tony’s 4.37.  Translation:  “Pfft.”  And also “MEH.”

Seung Hwan Oh – Ohhhhhh, Oh.  He actually had a really good year and I would have a hard time badmouthing him because I am a fan but uhhhh, YOU ARE OLD OH.  That should do it.

Francisco Rodriguez – Francisco Rodriguez is even older than Oh and also has the advantage of being far worse as a player.  Sure he saved 44 games for the Tigers (DO IT AGAIN YOU WON’T) but he also just barely scraped above 8 Ks per 9 and had an ERA above 3.  Who wants an ERA above 3 from a closer.  Nobody that’s who.

Fourth Reliever – OH WAIT THE OGTFC DO NOT HAVE A FOURTH RELIEVER AT PRESS TIME.

Sure the OGTFC can hope for young pitchers like Wacha, Giolito, Glasnow, and Cole to make leaps and there’s hope that Aaron Sanchez can build on a surprisingly strong season, but the reality is that this staff has a lot riding on young pitchers “putting it all together” and young pitchers sometimes take fucking forever (or don’t at all) to “put it all together”.  But yanno maybe he’s hoping Garrett Richards and Tyson Ross come back right as rain, or maybe he just plans on sweeping hitting cats and catching a few breaks.  WHO FUCKING KNOWS.  The point is I won’t stand for repeat champions that aren’t Odom/me and thanks to the fragility of life and the volatility of young pitchers it is very possible I won’t have to.

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Smoked em…….
2017 TROLL SERIES, Vol. 2: Why The Trout Fishing Club’s Pitching Is Hot Garbage