Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Houston Asterisks

Hey gang, Dan here, and I’m irritated.

I’m irritated because we have a new season approaching, and it should be a time of joy.

I’m irritated because we should be debating on who the strongest teams in each division are. We should be debating what we wanna do with our first round draft pick. We should be making plans to go to spring training games, and counting down the minutes until Opening day.

But alas, we’re not. All we are doing is talking about the trash (can banging) Houston Astros and their scandal that is destroying baseball.

We can’t go more than five minutes without some new beat reporter publishing new facts that make this story worse. Every day, more and more players speak out, and more and more videos and memes are posted on Facebook and Twitter about how fun it’s going to be to drill Astros players this year. Baseball is under siege right now.

Make no mistake, I’m just as angry as everyone else. I am firmly in the camp of trying to do my best Emperor Palpatine impression when it comes to these cheaters. “Wipe them out. All of them”.

But while anger at the Astros themselves is understandable and justified, they should not be the main target of our wrath. The person you should be mad at is MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Rob Manfred has failed his sport, and failed the fans. The slaps on the wrist of the Houston Astros are ineffectual and weak, at best.

The biggest problem that people have is the immunity granting for the players involved. Basically, if they told MLB investigators the truth, they would be let off without any punishment for their involvement. That, is insane.

There’s plenty of former Astros who have left that team that would’ve been more than happy to roll over on them. Talk to Mike Fiers, talk to Gerrit Cole, talk to Charlie Morton. Countless others. Granting these players a free pass for their cooperation was a HUGE misstep in judgement. I wish the police treated us that way when we committed a crime. “Tell us what happened, and you’re free to go”.

The issue is you have this raw anger from those who were cheated, that can never be squashed. The Dodgers, Yankees, Athletics, Rays, Red Sox, countless others were beaten by the Astros in games they cheated. Taking away chances at World Series championships, MVP Awards, CY Youngs, Silver Sluggers, the list goes on and on. You’re taking money, and fame, and pieces of these players legacy away from them. Rob Manfred FAILED all of us.

Just for fun, I came up with the list of punishments that I would’ve given the Astros, had I been the Commissioner at the time.

-$100 million dollar fine for the organization.

-Automatic forfeiture of the 2017 World Series Championship and the 2017 AL West Championship. This includes trophies, rings, any gear or memorabilia and any mention of them winning, all gone. I would NOT award the World Series to the Dodgers. That just gets messsy.

-162 game suspensions for any player found to benefit from the cheating system. The Astros wouldn’t be able to field a full team, but hey we’re always complaining the Minor Leaguers don’t get a shot as much as they should, right? The Astros AAA players would get free tickets to the majors. See, I’m helping.

-Automatic forfeiture of any personal awards won during that time. This includes Altuve’s 2017 MVP.

– A postseason ban for three years.

– A ban from television in the Houston market, and the Houston market’s surrounding territories for one year. No games on TV whatsoever. The Astros organization would compensate the TV providers on their lost revenue.

-And the big one, automatic bans on Hall of Fame eligibility for anyone involved.

Is it harsh? Absoultely. But strong misbehavior requires a strong response. The message needed to be sent that this would NEVER be tolerated again. Baseball failed miserably in sending that message. And we’re all suffering for it.

This is going to be the last time I speak on this. I want to move forward with preparing for what should be an exciting Rays season, and hopefully we can all start to put this scandal behind us. But I felt really strongly about this, and felt like I needed to dust off thefoulline.com’s keyboard and get my thoughts out there with the first post of the new decade.

Let’s finally start to focus on real baseball again. Not Asterisks.

Is It Over Yet?

Well, that was certainly an experience.

Draft day got started down in Port Charlotte, with the crew from St Petersburg heading down to meet up with Dave for a Rays/Yankees game and discuss LeBron James legacy and how he compares to Michael Jordan.

Well that’s not the reason we really went, but that did seem to be the main topic of conversation that prevailed throughout the day. Other topics brought up were draft picks, the Rays ineptitude, career choices, and whether or not the delicious cheesesteaks of Charlotte Sports Park can begin to compare to the out of body experience of the Dan Philly.  In the meantime, a hardly noticed baseball game was being played, with the Rays hitting 843 home runs against Yankees scrubs and slaughtering them 11-1. It was a fun time, and with the game flying by, before we knew it it was already time to leave.

What did not fly by was the draft itself. Dear god.

That was one of the biggest grinds I’ve ever been a part of and without question our longest draft. I was tired of drafting by round ten. I was on fumes by round fifteen. By round twenty I was nearly in tears.

I feel like it’s only fitting, for the longest draft in league history, we have the longest post in league history. Welcome to the draft recap of the 11th season of thefoulline.com fantasy baseball league!

The Rise Of Altuve

Allan once again passes on the best player in the world with the #1 pick and takes AL MVP and stud Jose Altuve. It’s kind of amazing that a 5’6 grinder can be considered one of the best players in fantasy baseball. Sometimes I think we take Altuve for granted.

Mike Trout makes his triumphant return to Rays Those Cowbells! They’ve moved the fences in at Angels stadium, he’s struck out once in Spring Training and the Angels improved the lineup around him. Trout at #2 was the steal of the draft.

The pre draft rumors were heavily focused on the wild card of the first round being the RedRays. What was he going to do? Sale? Kershaw? Harper? He ends up boring everybody and taking the best player available, Nolan Arenado. Amazing pick.

Ginger believes Trea Turner will stay healthy and makes him the choice at #4. But if he doesn’t steal 70 bases, isn’t this a bad pick? There were a lot of good players available here who are much safer.

Speaking of safety, Mike chooses production over upside and makes Paul Goldschmidt the anchor of team sportsmanMike. The concerns about the humidor are overblown.

The first pitcher comes off the board as Max Scherzer makes his way onto Dennis’ team.

Fresh with a new team name, Benni and The Betts selects Chris Sale, and Mike silently weeps in the corner.

Team Stogies seems to be having computer issues, as I heard after the draft he wanted to take Harper with this selection. It’s unfortunate, but at least Corey Kluber is a great pick and can anchor your team.

First time champion Willis grabs Clayton Kershaw at #9, and just like that all four of the top aces are gone.

Dave jumps all over Bryce Harper at #10, and I have some fun numbers for him. 393, 1, 93, 50. Those are the places in fantasy points Harper has finished over the last four seasons. But sure, pass on elite stud Mookie Betts and keep chasing the 2015 Harper dream. By all means.

Round Two

Dave quickly recovers and redeems himself by taking Manny Machado at #11. The first half last year was a fluke, he’ll be a top five player this season.

Willis steals Giancarlo Stanton right out from under the Valentino brothers noses at #12.

Computer issues remain for Dave V, but again, Charlie Blackmon is not a bad consolation prize.

Dylan won’t repeat Dave’s mistake and jumps all over Mookie Betts at #14. He should’ve been taken eight picks ago.

I breathe a sigh of relief as Dennis reaches for Aaron Judge at pick #15. I can see the light to my player!

Mike grabs World Series Champion and mortal enemy of Rays Those Cowbells, George Springer.

Ginger stuns the draft room and takes Joey Votto 17th overall. Who in the world saw this pick coming??

I’m one pick away now, and I’m sweating, trying to keep my cool. My concerns are unfounded as the RedRays grab first base stud and lineup anchor, Anthony Rizzo.

I take nine seconds to select Luis Severino at 19th overall. Only Dave knew this pick was coming. I’ve researched all the advanced metrics on him, and not only is he going to win the AL CY Young this year, he’s going to challenge for the title of best pitcher in baseball.

Allan wraps up the second round by absolutely stealing Freddie Freeman.

Is it just me, or was this easily the best two rounds we’ve ever had, in terms of player talent? I feel like there was at least 25 slam dunk elite players this year.

Round Three

I know Allan really really well, and I knew that either Carlos Correa or Francisco Lindor were being selected here. Allan prefers Correa, and I’m not exactly sure he’s wrong. 2018 AL MVP?

I want Jacob DeGrom with this pick. I really really want Jacob DeGrom with this pick. I swerve and take Francisco Lindor with this pick. So much for the best laid plans?

The RedRays take Stephen Strasburg at 23rd overall. I wouldn’t have taken this bum at 123rd overall.

Kris Bryant at 24th overall? See what I was talking about, how stacked the early rounds are? Ginger gets a mega steal here.

Mikes takes mega star Jose Ramirez at 25th overall, and chatter throughout the St Pete war room is about what an amazing pick this is.

Dennis gets another Yankee as the pick is Gary Sanchez, and the first catcher is off the board.

Dylan jumps on Andrew Benintendi at #27, and I’m curious, is his team name Beni and The Betts because he was planning on drafting them? Or was he planning on drafting them because his team name is Beni and The Betts?

Dave V grabs one of my man crush’s and takes Noah Syndergaard. He could win the CY Young. Or he could only make eight starts. This is the ultimate boom or bust pick.

Willis takes new Red Sox JD Martinez, and his OF might combine for 100 home runs this season.

Dave finishes off round three by taking young Dodgers stud Cody Bellinger, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Dave stick him into his OF and take full advantage of his position flexibility.

Round Four

Dave roasted Mike to no end all of last year, and yesterday at the ballpark, for trading for Justin Verlander. Dave then takes Justin Verlander.

Somehow every year, one way or another, Willis ends up with Carlos Carrasco. This year is no different and “Cookie” is the pick at #32.

There’s probably a lot to like about Brian Dozier, I just can never seem to get behind him. Team Stogies doesn’t have that issue and chooses him as his second base anchor.

Dylan takes Josh Donaldson at #34 overall, and it’s a great pick. I gotta admit, I completely forgot about him.

Dennis takes the Cubs new shiny toy, Yu Darvish, and now has a Scherzer and Darvish combo to lead his rotation.

Mike doesn’t hesitate and takes Corey Seager to be his SS. Warm fuzzy feelings and thoughts of a dramatic grand slam start rushing back to my head.

It’s hard to doubt Ginger, but Christian Yelich at #37 overall was easily the worst pick of the first four rounds. In my opinion.

Kenley Jansen goes to the RedRays, and I may have to go into thefoulline.com archives for this one, but I’m pretty sure he takes the first closer every single season.

I’m literally laughing out loud as Jacob DeGrom makes it all the way back to me. Having Severino and DeGrom, and Lindor as well, was a scenario I never imagined was even possible.

Allan loves his young players. This year is no different and Phillies young stud Rhys Hoskins joins team Believe The Hype.

This was the best first four rounds we’ve ever had. The players were elite, and the owners seemed locked in and there was very few silly choices made.

Round Five

Allan loves him some Marcell Ozuna. I knew one way or another he’d end up with him. It’s a good pick.

My Aaron Nola love might be the worst kept secret in the league, and it’s enough for me to take him more than 30 picks before his ADP.

The RedRays hop all over Alex Bregman in a mere seven seconds, and it’s a home run pick. I think everyone in the league wanted this guy.

The humidor at Chase Field can work the opposite effect as well, and Ginger think Robbie Ray will be even better than the year before.

Mike finally takes Dallas Keuchel and grabs his first pitcher. All five of Mike’s picks were from playoff teams the year before. Mike wants winners.

Dennis selects Jose Abreu, and has now gone two straight rounds without selecting a Yankee. Surprise!

One of these years Carlos Martinez is going to completely put it all together and win the NL CY Young. Dylan thinks it might be this year and grabs a second pitcher to team with Chris Sale.

Team Stogies chooses Buster Posey, and am I crazy for thinking that this is the 13th year in a row that Posey is selected in the first five rounds? He’s had an unbelievable career.

Willis grabs Edwin Encarnacion, and fun fact, he’s the only player in MLB to have 30 home runs for six consecutive seasons. Consistency matters.

Dave wants Anthony Rendon to be his third baseman, even though he already drafted one in the second round. Oops.

Rounds 6-10: Where Championships Are Won

Believe The Hype: Jake Lamb, Ronald Acuna, Lucas Giolito, Jose Berrios, Yoenis Cespedes

I’m glad Allan ended this run with Cespedes, because I was convinced that he was purely selecting players who aren’t old enough to drink. Was there any doubt at all who was going to be the one to select Acuna? I had him targeted, but knew there was no way I’d ever be able to steal him away from Allan. Obviously, whether or not Allan has a successful season, and whether or not these run of picks are good, all depends on how many of these young players pan out. Nobody has better stuff than Berrios and Giolito, but they’re young arms and young arms are always a big gamble. I’m not a big Jake Lamb fan, he doesn’t hit lefties well and could sit against some of them, but Allan seemed pretty confident with that pick and made it quickly. There’s a lot of potential here, and a lot of risk. This is a typical Allan run of picks.

Rays Those Cowbells: Willson Contreras, James Paxton, Miguel Cabrera, Justin Turner, Madison Bumgarner

Wow. Money, Money, Money, Money and more money. Five All Stars, all in the middle rounds. Contreras is going to breakout and become the best catcher in baseball, and hits cleanup for an elite team. James Paxton is a huge injury risk, but when he’s on the mound he’s elite and one of the six or seven best arms in baseball, and since he’s my fourth starter I don’t have to count on him to carry my staff. Miggy is hitting over .350 this spring and says he feels good. For some of the season, he’s going to give me elite production at first base. Justin Turner and Madison Bumgarner are both hurt and will need to be stashed for awhile, but fantasy baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. When they return, I have two of the top five players at their positions. This run of picks was like something out of a dream, and might’ve won me the championship.

RedRays: Alex Wood, Justin Upton, Starling Marte, Kyle Hendricks, Cole Hamels

Solid. This is a solid run of veteran players. Alex Wood is one of my favorite players in baseball and I tried to trade for him multiple times from Dave last year. Justin Upton now gets to hit behind Mike Trout, and in a full season Starling Marte should make a run at 40 stolen bases. Hendricks and Hamels are solid pitchers who gobble up quality innings and help carry a pitching staff. These are the type of runs that aren’t special or flashy, but put teams in the playoffs every year. The RedRays had a down season last year, and this is a good start to returning to form.

Love Boat Captains: Chris Archer, Zack Godley, Whit Merrfield, Andrew McCutchen, Johnny Cueto

If anyone in the league was going to take Whit Merrfield, I knew it was going to be Ginger. He’s a great player who is being overlooked, the perfect kind of player that the LBCs pounce all over. Zack Godley is going to ball out this year. He’s one of my favorite pitchers and was a heavy RTC target. I can’t say the same about Chris Archer, I think he absolutely sucks. But he will strike out 225 guys and that has value in H2H leagues. I’m not big fans of McCutchen and Cueto anymore, but both are good bounce back candidates and are good value in round nine and ten. Ginger knows what she’s doing.

sportsmanMike: Zack Greinke, Rick Porcello, AJ Pollock, Miguel Sano, Dylan Bundy

Nobody seemed to want Zack Greinke. I’m not a big fan, at all, but he fell a little too far this year and was good value in round six. But then unfortunately, it happened. Mike barfs all over his keyboard and takes Rick Porcello in round seven. This was easily the worst pick of the draft. He absolutely sucks, and Mike could’ve probably gotten him in round thirteen. I have absolutely no idea what he was thinking here. He recovers a bit and finishes this run of picks with AJ Pollock, Miguel Sano and Dylan Bundy, three solid players who can help this team win some games. In fact, I may try and trade for AJ Pollock before this post even goes up. Stand by.

The October Boys: Sonny Gray, Rafael Devers, Didi Gregorius, Dee Gordon, Eddie Rosario

More Yankees! Dennis takes Sonny Gray and Didi Gregorius in this run of picks, and took four Yankees in his first seven picks. His love of all things Yankees are becoming some of the most predictable stuff on draft day. In his non Yankee news, Rafael Devers can be one of the most fun picks of the draft. He’s got crazy potential and could emerge as a top five third baseman as soon as this year. Dee Gordon bores me to tears, but he’s got a new change of scenery and should still steal some bases at the minimum. Eddie Rosario was another big target of mine and is going to be a top 15 OF this year. He’s got a lot of potential. This is a good run of picks, and Dennis mixed youth and veterans well.

Beni and the Betts: Tommy Pham, Gio Gonzalez, Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Bauer, Khris Davis

I’m so upset with Dylan. Tommy Pham should’ve been on my team! He’s one of my absolute favorites this year, and I think he may even be a sleeper NL MVP candidate. The rest of this run of picks are a nice mix of production and upside. Gio Gonzalez and Khris Davis are solid veterans where you know what you’re going to get, and Trevor Bauer and Xander Bogaerts are good young players who could take that next step forward at any time and breakout into true superstars. This was a really great run of picks and Dylan has almost reached his goal of drafting every single relevant Red Sox player.

Stogies: Jean Segura, Craig Kimbrel, Travis Shaw, Aaron Sanchez, Ryan Braun

I know team Stogies had a good run here based on the reactions of my fellow war room drafters. When Craig Kimbrel was picked, Mike uttered a rather awful obscenity under his breath, and when Travis Shaw came off the board, Allan loudly exclaimed “he took Travis Shaw?!”. Even I myself would’ve been pretty upset with his Aaron Sanchez selection if I wasn’t so naturally calm and composed. Like Tommy Pham, Sanchez was a heavy RTC target and somebody I wanted for myself. Add in solid contributions from Braun and Segura, and clearly you have a run of picks that made the other league members bitter and upset. Great job.

WillisBeTheYear: Elvin Andrus, David Price, Daniel Murphy, Aroldis Chapman, Jon Lester

Whoa! Does the champion want to go back to back or what? This is a really great run of picks. I’m not huge fans of Andrus or Price, but that’s more a personal bias then any real baseball reason. If healthy, they’re two good players who will add a lot of this team. Daniel Murphy is money in the bank when he gets over his minor injury, and Aroldis Chapman is going to rack up a ton of saves playing for an elite team. Watching Jon Lester tumble down the boards was one of the most fascinating developments of the entire draft. He went about 30 picks too late. This was a really really good run of picks for Willis and probably puts him back into the playoffs, ready to defend his championship.

Yankeehaters: Jose Quintana, Jonathan Schoop, Masahiro Tanaka, Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers

Dave is gonna be amused with this, but I’m not a fan of this run of picks. At all. I think Quintana is as solid as it gets and moves over to a good team, but he’s boring and what you see is what you get. There was a lot of players with a lot more upside available at that spot. All of the advanced metrics point to a regression from Schoop, and Tanaka and Cole are two of my least favorite pitchers in all of MLB and weren’t even on my board. I do like some Lance McCullers, but he’s injury prone like crazy and is going to be hard to count on when the other pitchers Dave drafted start to stink it up. Dave will make adjustments, and probably trade his way into the final four, but I really wasn’t too impressed with his draft. A real surprise.

Picks I Really Love, Rounds 11-21

Round 11: Matt Carpenter by RTC. Health permitting, he’s going to finish as a top 20 overall player. Book it. Jake Arrieta by Willis. Did everyone forget about him like the free agency market did? He’s still a good player.

Round 12: Luis Castillo by LBC. She does it once every year. Steals a player I was going to take with my very next pick. Chase Anderson by RedRays. He’s boarderline elite. Seriously, check the metrics. Michael Fulmer by BTH. Elite stuff. He’ll take a step forward.

Round 13: Luke Weaver by RTC. Elite young arm. He’s going to breakout this season. Rich Hill by Stogies. Yes, he’s gonna get hurt. But he’s gonna be a boarderline ace in the innings he actually pitches.

Round 14: Garrett Richards by YH. I was gonna take him this round. I absolutely love me some Garrett Richards, just stay healthy! Felipe Rivero by LBC. I feel shame. I completely forgot about him. He can be a top three closer.

Round 15: Ender Inciarte by Willis. Underrated player. Does nothing but hit, the perfect 3rd OF type.

Round 16: Steven Matz by Stogies. Just stay healthy….. Just stay healthy…. Just stay healthy…..

Round 17: This round kinda sucked. I don’t think anyone did well.

Round 18: Kyle Schwarber by BTH. Lost a bunch of weight and still has crazy talent. He can’t be as bad as last year.

Round 19: Michael Conforto by SM. One of my favorite players in MLB. I’ll probably try and trade for him when he gets healthy.

Round 20: Yoan Moncada by BTH. Why exactly was he still on the board?

Round 21: I think everybody was asleep at this point.

Picks I Really Hate, Rounds 11-21

Round 11: Yasiel Puig by TOB. At what point do we just give up on this guy?

Round 12: Luis Castillo by LBC. Again, love the player. I just hate the fact that she picked him! Shohei Ohtani by Willis. This guy absolutely sucks. At least for now.

Round 13: Everyone picked a good player here. Good job!

Round 14: Danny Salazar by SM. Give it up already Mike, Salazar isn’t gonna happen like we thought it would.

Round 15: Joc Pederson by TOB. Isn’t he a part time player?

Round 16: Felix Hernandez by SM. It’s not 2012 anymore. Felix in finished. I learned the hard way last year.

Round 17: Adam Jones by RTC. He bores me, but I didn’t have a whole lot of choices in my OF.

Round 18: Kevin Gausman by YH. This guy really sucks and for some reason people always think he doesn’t.

Round 19: A solid round. Everyone is hanging in there.

Round 20: Ozzie Albies by BATB. Only because Dylan as five reserve hitters on his bench and no pitchers.

Round 21: Adrian Beltre by YH. Apparently, Dave is going for a new strategy this year where he drafts six people to play third base.

If anyone is still reading at this point, I want to go on record, as I do every year, asking people to please not get too offended if I made some disparaging remarks on some of your draft picks. This entire recap is just one mans opinion, and I’m sure most of you think my draft went horribly and I’m destined for the basement. It’s just how these things go. But if you do still care, it’s time for my final four!

The Final Four

Rays Those Cowbells

WillisBeTheYear

Love Boat Captains

Believe The Hype

 

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone! I want to conclude by saying this is the best fantasy baseball league in the world, and I look forward to making a lot of new memories with everyone this year. Memories like these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draft Eve

Twas the night before drafting, and all through the house, Dan’s brain was stirring, trying to figure it out”.

Draft day is tomorrow! It’s easily my favorite day of the year.

Sadly, it’s preceded by my least favorite day of the year, the dreaded draft day eve. Allow me to explain.

I have a ritual every year. I get my draft position, and spend the next two weeks formulating the absolute perfect strategy. I choose my first round target, I select the 2nd or 3rd rounder that I “must have” no matter what, and I identify all my sleepers and breakouts. I create a plan, I practice and work on it, and I spend all of early to mid-march relaxing and enjoying the spring.

Then, every single year without fail, about 24 to 36 hours before the draft, I start completely blowing up my perfect foolproof plan and starting from scratch.

Suddenly my “must have” doesn’t feel so essential anymore. My first rounder doesn’t look as good as somebody else I could have at that spot. My favorite sleeper has a 7.76 spring ERA and my breakout is hitting .198 with 27 strikeouts.

With my foolproof plan out the window, I proceed to scramble, start from the beginning and try to pull things together at the last minute. Then I realize how stupid that is and try to go back to my original plan. What ends up happening is a mixed up combination of my original strategy and my new nonsense, leaving my team in shambles and my draft a sloppy mess, looking like something that an 11 year old who’s had too much red bull and candy would put together.

Don’t allow yourself to be sucked in every year like I do. Trust yourself, stick to your original strategy and don’t fall for the last minute tinkering temptations of “draft eve”.

 

Dan’s Spring Quick Hits

-I just watched Chris Sale leave the game in the first inning after taking a line drive off the knee, eerily similar to watching Madison Bumgarner leave the game last night. I’m not dealing with this pitching crap again this year, I’m taking arms with my first five picks.

-I’m really excited to be heading down to Charlotte Sports Park for the first time in three seasons tomorrow.  I hope to see a lot of you foulliners out there.

-I still don’t believe Allan isn’t taking Mike Trout.

-And I still don’t believe Dave is considering a pitcher with his first two picks at all.

-This is going to be the most wild and crazy draft we’ve ever had. I legit think 15 players are worth first round consideration.

-The Rays “four man rotation” nonsense is going to be a disaster. They might lose 100 games.

-I have honest to god concerns about my new kittens jumping on my laptop and making me autodraft Zack Greinke.

-The two best records in the grapefruit league are Boston and Houston. Stop saying spring training doesn’t matter.

-Please remember to get with Ginger and get the league fee over to her. She does a great job setting up our league every single year.

 

Good luck tomorrow night, and I hope to see a lot of you tomorrow afternoon!

Everything Has A Return

It’s that time of year again.

Spring training games have kicked off, the draft order has been set, and the prep work has begun. Which also means that it’s officially “writing season” on thefoulline.com.

2018 marks the ten year anniversary of thefoulline.com, and the once great website has fallen on hard times. Gone are the steady stream of posts, the constant comments and visitors, and the regularly flowing trash talk and baseball commentary of our former regulars. For many months out of the year the site remains dark, no comments, no posts, only a list of old fantasy posts, an archive of former great memories long since forgotten.

Nobody is to blame for this. Sometimes, life just gets in the way. I myself recently have been given the keys to manage and run my own pizza shop. It’s a taxing position, and working 60 hour weeks quickly puts your priorities in order and forces you to focus on what’s truly important in your life. Sometimes, baseball just doesn’t take center stage.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it, or even accept it.

I miss writing. I miss the jabs and trash talk we take at other, and I miss playing fantasy baseball. I miss trading and picking up free agents, and I miss the daily battle of wits that only the best fantasy baseball league in the world can offer. But most of all, I miss baseball. The real game of baseball.

This year, there’s going to be some changes here on the website. Over the last several seasons, it’s been nothing but fantasy baseball posts, and only fantasy baseball posts. While they’re a blast to write, they’re really only relevant to the ten members of our fantasy baseball league. In the glory days of this website, there was a constant flow of not just fantasy baseball posts, but real, hard hitting, well thought out baseball content. That’s my plan. In 2018, real life baseball returns to thefoulline.com.

I have big plans upcoming in the near and distant future, and I’ve already begun to calculate what some of them are.

-The draft day diary will be written.

-The weekly fantasy review returns.

-Monthly power rankings of MLB teams.

-A trade deadline special, multiple posts and thoughts on July 31st.

-Posts written from Tropicana Field during live baseball games.

 

There’s going to be a whole lot more content coming, the ideas are rushing to me so quickly it’s a little overwhelming right now to be honest with you. I’ll be writing a post every single Monday, rain or shine, and I’ll be squeezing in quick, short hitter posts throughout the week about the happenings in baseball and fantasy alike.

Things are moving forward on this website in 2018, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to convince the creator and father of thefoulline.com, Dave himself, to assist me going forward. I understand managing a full time career and children leaves blog writing a bit on the back burner, but I know Dave misses writing and his love of baseball is unmatched. I’d take a guess that we’ll see some posts from Mrfoulline going forward. Also invited to the party is Allan, our 2017 runner up and one of the most knowledgeable sports fans I’ve ever met. His guest post last year was brilliantly written and well informed, and I’d love to involve him going forward in what I’m trying to do here. Which also includes “marketing”, using the Yaysports Facebook page to involve countless members of our Yaysports group who love the game of baseball and would add great points and counter points to our established regulars.

Good luck to everyone in their draft prep, and I know I’ll here from you guys soon. Baseball is back, and so is thefoulline.com.

Everything has a return.

 

Drinking And Trading, All Star Break

Hey gang! Sorry for the no post last week, it was a crazy week and I just couldn’t squeeze in the time to write anything. But this week the fantasy review is back with a special All Star Game edition!

Much has happened since I wrote last. Rays Those Cowbells won their 8th in a row, Allan continues to decimate the league, and Dave is square in the middle of an unprecedented FIVE game losing streak!

The last time I wrote a post making fun of Dave, he followed up with an impressive six game winning streak. Will I learn my lesson? I guess we’ll find out. Let’s do some rankings!

 

All Star Break Power Rankings

1) Believe The Hype– I feel like if you score 425 points in a week, there should be a totally different category for your ranking. This wasn’t some cheap week either, Allan’s opponent scored 337 points himself and Allan still won by nearly 100. With an offense that mashes the cover off the ball, a pitching staff that continues to outperform expectations, and guys like AJ Pollock returning from injury, This is going to be very tough team to take down. I just hope Allan doesn’t do what he did a few years ago and make seven trades on deadline day and blow up an elite team.

2) Rays Those Cowbells– Eight is great! This team defied the odds, defeated it’s bitter rival and arch enemy and secured the all-time winning streak record once held by fantasy baseball legend Dan Mckewen and his Rays Those Cowbells. It’s an incredible honor to break the record and be mentioned in the same sentence with such a great player. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of a team I’ve put together. This team could’ve folded after the best player in fantasy Mike Trout went down, but instead I went 6-0 without him. I pulled guys like Jeff Samardzjia off the scrap heap despite being ridiculed for doing so, and bought low on good pitchers like Aaron Nola. It feels good after a few down seasons to remind the people of this league exactly who I am. Having said all that, it’s time to return to being humble and working hard at improving my team.

3) WillisBeTheYear– Man this team is scary when it gets it right. His Astros double duo of George Springer and Jose Altuve combined for nearly 100 points, and waiting on David Price has really paid off as he now as an ace for his staff. Rumors continue to swirl that negotiations with the Yankeehaters for Jose Altuve have been going on for weeks, and if he can get a guy like Corey Kluber for him, and still have Brian Dozier at 2nd base? This team may just vault to the top of the power rankings. This is a great team that just feels like one trade away from a guaranteed title contender.

4) Roger Dorn– That really sucked.  Can you imagine putting up 337 points, and losing by 100? Aside from an absolutely brutally gut-wrenching loss, it was an active week for Dylan. He made a blockbuster deal with the Yankeehaters and traded Clayton Kershaw for three solid starters. Some holes were filled on this team with his deal, but it’s hard to find a replacement for a guy like Kershaw. It’s impossible to doubt Dylan at this point though, he’s had a plan all year and continues to hang around near the top of the power rankings. If the season ended today, this team would be in the final four, and he’s got a high enough point total to win some tiebreakers.

5) Love Boat Captains– Doesn’t it just feel like no team in the league has taken closer losses than the LBC’s this year? Another heart breaker goes against Ginger, and she’s sitting at 7-7 with ten games remaining. This is a team you can never count out, but it’s good week/bad week nature is starting to drop her in the standings. It just feels like Ginger is having a season where she’s gonna hang around until the end, but ultimately just fall short of the final four.

6) sportsmanMike– This team is on life support. Two straight weeks of under 200 points has to be some kind of record doesn’t it? This team is a full on mess right now. Offense can’t get it going, and the pitching continues to get absolutely blasted (Jon Lester). Mike has had his fair share of ups and downs this season, and after being counted out multiple times, always went on win streaks to climb back into it. But I don’t think that’s gonna happen this time. I’m officially calling it, this team is on it’s way out of contention and isn’t going to recover.

7) RedRays– Sitting one game back of a playoff spot, and Madison Bumgarner and Dallas Keuchel returns are on the horizon. Things could be a lot worse for this team. I’m still not a fan of this roster, but the RedRays have hung around all season long and will probably continue to do so. Without a doubt this is the scrappiest owner in the league. He just refuses to allow this team to bottom out. Good for you, I envy that, a lot!

8) Yankeehaters– 6-3 feels like a long long time ago for this Yankeehating bunch. I know for a fact that Dave has to be pulling his hair out over this five game losing streak, and he promised me that a loss to Rays Those Cowbells would result in a “complete blowing up” of his team. So this week is going to be entertaining to say the least. But let’s be real here, when Yu Darvish is your 4th best pitcher, you’ve got a good team. This team is going to be in the final four. Write that down.

9) Stogies– A two game winning streak following a nightmare nine game losing streak. Potential spoiler in the second half?

10) The October Boys– What else in there to say? The offense is probably the best in the league, the pitching is an abomination. I guess pitching and defense really do win championships.

 

Game of the Week

WillisBeTheYear vs Rays Those Cowbells

Two 9-5 teams square off. Will nine be fine for Rays Those Cowbells?

 

Dan’s True All Star Game Starters

AL

C) Salvador Perez

1B) Justin Smoak

2B) Jose Altuve

3B) Jose Ramirez

SS) Carlos Correa

OF) Mike Trout

OF) George Springer

OF) Aaron Judge

DH) Mookie Betts

P) Chris Sale

 

NL

C) Buster Posey

1B) Paul Goldschmidt

2B) Daniel Murphy

3B) Nolan Arenado

SS) Corey Seager

OF) Charlie Blackmon

OF) Giancarlo Stanton

OF) Bryce Harper

DH) Joey Votto

P) Max Scherzer

 

I just wanna say that the fan voting was absolutely amazing this year. There’s not a whole lot they got wrong, and almost everyone who deserved to start got the start. Well done everyone.

 

Dan’s Home Run Derby Winner

Miguel Sano

All the focus is on Stanton and Judge, but this is the guy who’s going to win it. He’s got crazy raw natural power, and he’s perfectly build for this sort of event. This is going to be Sano’s coming out party on the national stage.

 

Thanks for reading! Good luck in this short week!

 

 

Celebrate Nothing

The inevitable happened last night.

I was waiting for it, dreading it, hating it, and disgusted by it. But it finally happened.

Alex Rodriguez hit number 660 last night.

Ugh.

Let me not mince words here, this makes me sick. Just because I knew it was coming, doesn’t lessen the blow at all. The biggest cheater and piece of garbage in the history of our game just passed one of the all-time legends in career home runs, Willie Mays.

Let that sink in. You grew up hearing about Mays. You’ve seen highlights of the catch, you’ve heard your father and your grandfather talk about him being the greatest baseball player there ever was. And now you get a front row seat to watch A-Rod disgrace his legacy.

Was 660 already tainted because of Barry Bonds? Probably. But that was his godson. Mays more or less accepted that Bonds was going to pass his career HR total, and made it easier for the rest of us to accept it because he seemed more or less okay with it.

But have you heard a word from Mays about Rodriguez? Any congratulations? Anything? Yeah, neither have I. Silence speaks volumes.

I’ve actually heard people suggest that we should celebrate this. That his achievements are still noteworthy, even with the steroids mixed in. That’s absurd. Every record he breaks means absolutely nothing and will be forever tainted. I actually saw a few people giving him a standing ovation last night.

The only standing ovation I’m going to give is for the next pitcher who throws a fastball at this guy’s face.

 

 

Spring Fever, Week One

As the Grapefruit and Cactus League schedules get underway, there are a few questions that keep running through my head. Who will be the Rays shortstop? Who will be the odd men out in the Red Sox outfield? Will Kris Bryant start the season in the majors? Could Alex Rodriguez implode under the weight of his own ego? Will thefoulline.com crew finally settle on a suitable date for a Port Charlotte game?

So many unanswered questions, but I know one thing for sure. The games have started, and baseball is back! Take a day off from work, grab a beer and a hot dog and head out to some spring training games. I promise you won’t regret it. The baseball season is a six month grind, but spring training is only one month out of the year. That makes it special in its own way.

The season will be here soon enough. Enjoy the spring fever while it lasts.

Start of Spring Quick Hits

  • SportsCenter has begun giving us live play-by-play coverage of every Alex Rodriguez spring training plate appearance. I will now be abstaining from all things SportsCenter until opening day.
  • Yu Darvish needs Tommy John, Cliff Lee has already had elbow soreness, and Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow seems to be held together by paper clips. All the round 3-5 pitchers seem to be giving out already. Grabbing an ace early may be more important than ever this year.
  • Team Yankeehaters swears they aren’t taking a pitcher in the first two rounds. Surprisingly, I believe him.
  • Pedro Alvarez hit the first home run of the spring. Potential bounce back? 35 home runs can’t be ignored in an age where power is dying.
  • Which round will Ginger gamble on the Joey Votto bounceback? Round 4? Perhaps round 5?
  • Allan and I made an observation when watching a spring game that Anthony Rendon looked 20 pounds overweight. Let’s hope his uniform was just baggy that day. He’s an exciting young star.
  • Speaking of Allan, it’s only a week in, and Bryce Harper has already gotten on his nerves.
  • I still wanna go to jetBlue Park one day. It’s the best stadium in the Grapefruit League.

13 days!

Please Go Away

Wasn’t 2014 a great baseball season?

The World Series was awesome and came down to the final out. The Royals’ postseason run was amazing to watch. Derek Jeter’s farewell tour was both fitting and well deserved, and Bud Selig finally stepped down after years of ignoring small-market teams.

But the best part of the 2014 season?

Alex Rodriguez was nowhere to be found.

© New York Post
© New York Post

I must admit, I thought this was the end for A-Rod. I figured there would be no way he could return after taking an entire season off. I thought his steroid riddled body would finally break down and his crappy skill set would be gone for good. But no, that glorious day will have to wait.

Seriously, is there a bigger clown in baseball in the last 30 years than this guy? He cheats the game, cheats on his wife, cheats the Yankees out of buckets of cash, and cheats us fans at the opportunity to see him limp out of the game unceremoniously after his one-year suspension.

The latest line of garbage is that A-Rod wants to meet Brian Cashman and the Yankees face to face, to “clear the air.” How he can say this with a straight face I have no idea. The Yankees have tried everything in their power to get rid of him, short of eating the $150 million or whatever is left on his contract to make him go away. Maybe it’s worth it?

I don’t know what he has to gain from continuing to embarrass himself like this. Is money really THIS important to him? So much so that he would be willing to endure the sandstorm of jeering and ridicule heading his way this year? Or could it be that he desperately wants to break baseball records so that he can taint them in some form of “revenge” against everyone?

Whatever it is, I guess one good thing comes from all this. He’s giving baseball fans all around the country one last chance to tell him how we really feel about him. It’s the Alex Rodriguez farewell tour.

Much like his chances of being voted into the Hall of Fame, let’s just hope it ends quickly.

MLB Offseason Review

Hey everyone, Dan here.

Ever since the San Francisco Giants recorded the final out against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series last year, this date has just been flashing in my head…. April 5th… April 5th….

Despite the winter seeming to drag on forever, the Super Bowl is now over. And that means we are officially on the fast track to baseball’s opening day. But that’s not to say that the winter didn’t produce some real highlights. This was perhaps the most crazy, active, and wild offseason in baseball in the last 20 years. But who put themselves in the best position? Who gutted their team? It’s time for thefoulline.com’s official offseason review!

The Nationals Don’t Need Any More Pitching

So what do you do if you lead Major League Baseball in ERA and get knocked out of the postseason because you scored 9 runs in 4 games? You make upgrading your offense the goal of your offseason, right? Nah, you go out and give Max Scherzer $210 million. The Nationals go with the “you strengthen your strength” approach and it gives them the strongest MLB rotation since the 1995 Atlanta Braves. If they can get anything close to what Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman are capable of, Washington has to be considered the World Series favorite.

The Padres Want to Be Relevant Again

Finish last in the majors in runs? No problem. Add Matt Kemp? Check. Add Justin Upton? Check. Add Wil Myers? Check. The Padres GM gets a gold star for his offseason, taking big steps to rebuild this team and energize a franchise that hasn’t been interesting in a long time. The real kicker here is that they managed to completely rebuild their offense without giving up a single one of their top three prospects. New Padres GM AJ Preller looks to be a rising superstar in the GM ranks.

Cole Hamels Is Still a Phillie… For Now

I expect this to change. The Phillies have nothing to gain from keeping Hamels. They’re easily the worst team in that division, and it would serve them well to get Hamels’s contract off the books and bring in some young talent to fully start their rebuilding process. Add Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon to the list of Phillies players that need new homes in 2015. I still think the Hamels deal gets done. The Phillies will lower their price as the season approaches. Prediction? Hamels is pitching in Fenway Park in 2015.

Billy Beane Has Either Lost His Marbles, or He’s Five Steps Ahead of Everyone

So is Oakland trying to contend, or trying to rebuild? I’m lost here. They trade their best player, Josh Donaldson, for prospects, then turn around and flip their #1 prospect to Tampa Bay for Ben Zobrist. They sign Billy Butler for $30 million, but then flip away Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and Derrick Norris. I know Billy Beane has entered into the Bill Belichick territory of “trust him no matter what,” but even I can’t figure out what he’s doing. I think I’m gonna go watch Moneyball again.

The Red Sox Retool; the Rays Restock

The two best teams in the AL East in 2013 both tanked to the bottom of the division in 2014. The Red Sox rebuilt their entire rotation and the left side of their infield. I’m not a huge fan of Pablo Sandoval, but leaving AT&T Park can only be good for him. I think Hanley Ramirez loses a lot of his value moving away from shortstop, but there’s no debate, if he’s healthy, his bat will tear up Fenway Park. I don’t think the Red Sox are done. In a division that’s really up for grabs in 2015, a Cole Hamels trade could make the Red Sox favorites to take back the AL East crown.

The Rays dealt away several fan favorites, lost Joe Maddon and Andrew Freidman, and hired the youngest manager in the Major Leagues. But this was necessary. Tampa Bay went all out trying to win a World Championship in 2014, and it failed miserably. Now it’s time to get younger, rebuild the farm, and take a new approach to contending. This will be a down year for the Rays, but they’re not quite in full rebuilding mode yet.

What did your team do this offseason? Are they contenders or pretenders? Let us know what you think of how your team’s winter went. Spring training is right around the corner, and I think 2015 is going to be the best year at thefoulline.com in a long time.

Pitchers and Catchers report in 12 days!

Everybody Talks

Apparently I went to a baseball game yesterday. I say apparently, because I found my ticket stub on the kitchen counter this morning, and a cooler with a couple of beers in it in my car. But oddly enough, I don’t recall watching a minute of baseball.

This could only mean one of two things. I’ve either had a stroke, or the gang from thefoulline.com got together for the second year in a row to “watch” a game.

It was another spring training game, where we found our spot by the left field berm and commenced with three hours of baseball talk. The usual subjects were covered: the upcoming draft, our spots, who are the October Boys taking #1,  why are the Yankees and Rays so unlikable, and is it possible for Allan to drink all the beer at Charlotte Sports Park?

It was a great time, with knowledgeable baseball fanatics. Thanks to Dan “The #1 Rays Fan” for setting it up, and to Willis, Mike, Allan, & Dennis for coming out. It’s nice that we can still be friends, before the competition starts in a few weeks.

I still have no idea who won the game.