Tim fucking Tebow!
Donald Glover is a hard man to pin down. Most know him for his role as Troy Barnes in the cult-ish hit comedy show, Community, while others know him best as his rapping alter ego, Childish Gambino. He even tried his hand at stand-up comedy, releasing his hour long special, Weirdo, in 2012. While Glover has mostly excelled at everything he tried (I am partial to his work as Childish Gambino), nothing seemed to be able to fully encompass his vast skill set. After watching the first four episodes of his new show on FX, Atlanta, it is obvious that Glover finally found the perfect vehicle to put it all together.
Atlanta is best described as Louie meets The Wire, or more accurately, Master of None meets Ray Donovan. The scenes that make you laugh, can just as easily make you cry. The comedy strikes on a very real, no frills level. As creator, writer, and star of the show, Glover is completely unleashed to flex all of his considerable talents. He plays a character that is determined to raise his position in life, and sees opportunity when his drug dealing cousin, Paper Boi, gets a little bit of fame from his rap video. The story follows Glover’s attempts to manage his cousin to the top of the Atlanta rap game, while truly focusing on the struggles that many people face in the black community. The show has a message, and Glover isn’t afraid to use comedy, drama, or violence to tell it.
Not only is the writing excellent, but the acting deserves to be mentioned with the very best on television right now. Glover perfectly plays his role of the level-headed heart of the show, tiptoeing around one disaster after another. Brian Tyree Henry plays the character of Paper Boi, and while it would be easy to play a drug dealing rap star over the top, Henry keeps it very real and down to earth. Last but certainly not least, Keith Stanfield plays Paper Boi’s best friend and business associate, Darius, and he easily steals just about every scene he is in. He plays the prototypical “funny friend,” but still manages to give the character heart and depth.
Atlanta is the perfect storm for Donald Glover, where it feels like everything he has done in life was meant to lead up to this moment. Every episode is so well thought out, each having its own message and story to tell, while still fitting into the bigger picture. If you weren’t already a fan of his, you will be after giving this show a shot. Atlanta airs on FX every Tuesday at 10 pm, and you can watch all of the episodes On Demand whenever you want.
In Episode 8 of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast, I complain that my apartment is literally a brick oven, while Ralph Lifshitz bemoans the coming winter when his radio studio/garage becomes uninhabitable. Oh yea, we also talk prospects, starting with San Diego finally calling up their exciting youngsters, before moving on to marvel at some of the top minor league playoff performances over the past few weeks. We finish the show by attempting to predict who the top breakout prospects will be for 2017.
What better way to honor the youngsters in the Minor Leagues than to hand out some good ole’ fashioned high school superlatives? Yeah, I can probably think of a few better ways too, but handing out these bullshit awards is just more fun. Here are the 2016 MiLB Player Superlatives/Awards:
Player Who Hasn’t Even Begun To Peak, And When He Does Peak, He Will Peak All Over Your Face: Tim Tebow NYM, OF – For being just as delusional about his abilities as Dennis Reynolds is from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Most Likely To Succeed: Yoan Moncada BOS, 2B/3B – Kinda cheating because signing a $31.5 million signing bonus is already considered succeeding, but he is now the #1 prospect in baseball too.
Most Likely To Have His Dad Threaten To “Turn This Car Right Around” If He Doesn’t Stop Whining In The Backseat: Jorge Mateo NYY, SS/2B – For being suspended 2 weeks after throwing a tantrum about not being called up to Double-A when he wanted to be called up.
Most Likely To End Up In Prison: Danry Vasquez HOU, OF – For getting arrested after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in a stairwell at the stadium of the Corpus Christi Hooks. No joke here, just a logical guess.
Teacher’s Pet: J.P. Crawford PHI, SS – Isn’t he so perfect with his great plate approach, contact numbers, up-the-middle defense, and high ranks on prospect lists. But with only 7 homers and 12 steals, he is no fun for fantasy.
Most Likely To Have Keith Law Call Him A Reliever All Off-Season: Josh Hader MIL, LHP – We get it, he has a funky delivery.
Most Likely To Kneel During The National Anthem: Dan Vogelbach SEA, 1B – Not in protest, but because he just gets easily winded being 6’0’’, 250 pounds.
Most Likely To Actually Still Be In High School: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR, OF – We were all “Party(ing) Like It’s 1999” with Prince to bring in the new millennium, while Guerrero was sucking on his momma’s teat, being about 9 months old at the time and all (born 3/16/99). He literally still has braces on in his player picture.
Ralph Lifshitz and I round out our positional rankings this week by talking catcher on Episode 7 of the Razzball Prospect Podcast. We also talk Dan Vogelbach, Roman Quinn, Andrew Benintendi, Aaron Judge, Chance Adams, and juiced baseballs.
Every Monday, I will be running down some of the notable performances from around the Minor Leagues, or anything that might have caught my eye in general. Here is the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Extra Innings:
Remember when I said I was going to shift over to fantasy football? Fuck it, I’m sticking with fantasy baseball prospects. I’m sure I will sprinkle in some football stuff here and there, but I have too much fun writing about prospects to stop.
Yoan Moncada BOS, 3B – Is Byron Buxton’ing himself in his MLB debut, going 4 for 18 with 11 K’s. Like Buxton, just have to stay patient.
Alex Bregman HOU, 3B/SS/OF – Has been red hot for about a month now as I’m sure you know, but just wanted to note it hasn’t been on the back of his elite minor league contact skills, as he is carrying a 23% MLB K rate. That is why I value bat speed, exit velocity, and power at least equal to plate approach and contact skills in the minors. Everybody is striking out in the majors, so when you do make contact, better make it count.
A.J. Reed HOU, 1B/Aaron Judge NYY, OF – On the flip side of the coin, if you are already striking out a lot in the minors, it could get even worse in the majors. A 22.6% K rate for Reed has turned into a 33.1% rate in the majors (.175 avg) and a 24% K rate for Judge has turned into a 43.8% rate in the majors (.177 avg). I’m still on board with both players, but the risk is obvious.
Tyler O’Neill SEA, OF – Has turned it up another notch in the playoffs, launching 3 homers in 4 games. He also carried Team Canada in the Pan-Am games last year, as I noted in the off-season sleeper post I wrote for him. I’m one of those crazy humans who believes that “clutch” is a real thing, and it’s becoming clear that O’Neill is clutch. He is starting to have all the makings of a big time Major Leaguer.
Victor Robles WASH, OF – Carried over his hot hitting from the end of the season into the playoffs, going 6 for 14 in 3 games. His season line at High-A doesn’t stand out, but that’s just because he ran out of time.
Jose Berrios MIN, RHP – It’s been only 44.2 IP, but Berrios’ MLB debut has been an absolute disaster. He couldn’t get out of the 3rd inning in his start this week, going 2.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BB, 1 K. This certainly doesn’t doom his MLB career, but I am starting to question how high his upside is.
Luke Weaver STL, RHP – I’ve been preaching that changeups are underrated in the prospect world, and Weaver is showing why they deserve more respect, spinning 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 8 K this week. He now has a 39/8 K/BB in 31 MLB IP.
Franklin Barreto OAK, 2B/SS – The 20-year-old Barreto is dominating the Triple-A playoffs, slashing .421/.500/.947. What started off looking like a solid but unspectacular year has ended up being a major step forward.
Renato Nunez OAK, 3B/1B/OF – Drilled 3 homers in 5 post-season games. He put up only a .690 OPS in Triple-A this year, but I like him a lot as a buy low/bounce back candidate for next season.
Kevin Gadea SEA, RHP – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 11 K in his playoff start this week. On the season, he has a pitching line of 68.2 IP, 18 ER, 56 Hits, 14 BB, 95 K. Who is this guy? Baseball America had him as an international sleeper back in 2013 after signing with Seattle for $42,000. He is 6’5’’, 190 pounds with a low 90’s fastball and a legitimate curveball and changeup. I don’t know much about him, but anybody his size putting up those kind of numbers with 3 legitimate pitches should be on our radar. Hat tip to bp42810 in the comments section at Minorleagueball.com for bringing him to my attention.
Jason Martin HOU, OF – In the same comments section, check out what Revilo wrote about 2013 8th round pick Jason Martin. At 5’11’’, 190 pounds he will almost surely remain underrated throughout his entire minor league career, but what he has done this year deserves to put him on the map. He slashed .270/.357/.533, with 23 homers, 20 steals, and 108/55 K/BB in the Cal League. He has a short, quick lefty swing that is geared more towards line drives than homers, but as evidenced by his power surge this year, there is definitely plenty of pop in his bat too. And oh yea, he has had two multi-homer games in the playoffs already.
Episode 6 of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast is up! We start with getting an inside look at the inner workings of the Lifshitz household, and then move on to talk about some of the hot names of the week (Buxton, Murphy, Tapia, Otani). Ralph and I then continue our rankings series with a look at the top OF prospects.
Every Monday, I will be running down some of the notable performances from around the Minor Leagues, or anything that might have caught my eye in general. Here is the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown: Week 22:
Tom Murphy COL, C – Absolutely demolished a 482-foot homer on Sunday night, with an exit velocity of 108.8 MPH. It’s almost as exciting as watching Alec Baldwin and Jason Schwartzman canoodle with each other in the commercial before the clip. Hopefully you have this guy on your team already, because I’ve been hyping him all year (in the preseason, in my Rundown’s, and on the podcast). He is now 4 for 7 in his first 3 games of action, and I have every expectation of him joining the ranks of the fantasy catcher elite next season, which is not a very hard group to crack.
Byron Buxton MIN, OF – Minnesota scrapped trying to turn Buxton into a top of the order slap hitter, and let him just grip it and rip it. It has resulted in him absolutely exploding this week, going 10 for 19 with 3 dingers. For fantasy owners who have been waiting on Buxton for 3+ years, you can let out a big sigh now.
Lucas Giolito WASH, RHP – Fired a gem in his final start, going 8 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BB, 5 K. He is up to only 115.1 IP, so Washington is almost sure to use him down the stretch in some capacity.
Tyler Glasnow PIT, RHP – Finished up the Minor League regular season in fitting fashion, striking out 8 and walking 4 in 5.2 IP.
Derek Fisher HOU, OF – Got hot just in time to make his Triple-A numbers look impressive, slashing .290/.347/.505 with 5 homers. On the downside, he is still striking out too much, but on the upside, he is striking out enough to keep him a legitimate sleeper. Still not too late to buy low-ish on Fisher.
Raimel Tapia COL, OF – I seriously hope Tapia is already owned in every Dynasty League, but now is probably the time to pick him up in some keeper leagues too. Major League pitching hasn’t slowed him down at all so far (.467 avg) and if Colorado clears a starting spot for him this off-season, he can do damage starting from Day 1 next season.
Ian Happ CHC, 2B – Broke into Double-A with a bang, and went out with a bang, knocking 2 homers in one game this week. It was everything in between that was the problem, but he still finished with a respectable .262/.318/.415 slash-line with 8 homers and 6 steals in 65 games at the level.
Franklin Barreto OAK, 2B/SS – Quietly put together a very strong season, and put the cherry on top in Triple-A this week, slashing .353/.389/.647 with 1 homer in 4 games. He is only 20 years old, but everything is pointing to Oakland giving him a shot at some point next season. They are probably feeling the heat to show something from that horrendous Josh Donaldson trade.
Justus Sheffield NYY, LHP – The 20-year-old Sheffield was promoted to Double-A for his final start and rung up 9 batters in 4 IP. He has easily outshined the centerpiece of that Andrew Miller deal, Clint Frazier, who has slashed .228/.278/.396 with a 30/7 K/BB in 25 games since the trade.
Jack Flaherty STL, RHP – It’s been an up and down season for Flaherty, but he finished up strong with a pitching line of 26 IP, 4 ER, 16 Hits, 6 BB, 26 K in his final 4 starts. It wasn’t quite the breakout season I was hoping for when I ranked him 69th overall in the off-season, but it was enough to maintain his prospect status.
Sean Newcomb ATL, LHP – Like Flaherty, had a strong finish to an up and down season, going 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 BB, 8 K this week. The stuff and potential are still the same, but he didn’t exactly take a step forward this year.
Cody Bellinger LAD, 1B – Drilled 3 homers in his brief 3 game cameo in Triple-A to drill home the point that he is the real deal. I thought Edwin Rios could be a hindrance to Bellinger’s playing time down the line, but I highly doubt that will be the case now.
Christin Stewart DET, OF – Had his first hot streak at Double-A, homering in 3 straight early in the week and homering again last night. There isn’t enough time for him to make his Double-A numbers look all shiny, but it might be a blessing in disguise for those in leagues where he is available in off-season drafts.
Austin Riley ATL, 3B – 3 homers this week to cap off his over month long hot streak. In fact, since an ice cold April and May, he has performed exactly like many hoped he would in his first year of full season ball.
Matt Chapman OAK, 3B – 5 homers this week, including 3 in one game. That gives him 36 homers on the year with a 173/68 K/BB in 135 games.
Erick Fedde WASH, RHP – 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 12 K. Considering he is coming off Tommy John surgery and reaching career highs in IP, this was a very encouraging final start to the season.
Sandy Alcantara STL, RHP – The hard throwing righty wrapped up the season with a couple of starts that makes it easy to dream on him for next year, going 13.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BB, 16 K.
Max Schrock OAK, 2B – I don’t think anyone was surprised to learn Billy Beane and the A’s were Max Schrock fans. They didn’t wait long to promote him to Double-A either, where he hit .391 with no K’s in 6 games.
Will Craig PIT, 3B – Hitting only 2 homers in 63 games is disappointing, but I can’t help but be impressed by the 37/41 K/BB and .412 OBP. He certainly has more power than he has shown, but for the most part, I think we are seeing the type of hitter he will become, high avg/obp with good but not great power.
Jorge Alfaro PHI, C – Has gotten a bit lost in the Minor League catcher hype with Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras starting their MLB career with a bang, Francisco Mejia going on an epic hit streak, and Tom Murphy getting all the sleeper hype, but Alfaro deserves to be mentioned in the same breath (paragraph) as all these guys. He homered in back-to-back games this week, and considering Philly already called him up for a couple games not that long ago, it might not be long before he is making his mark in the majors as well.
Due to the Holiday weekend, the Fantasy Baseball Minor League Prospect Rundown will be running tomorrow. Which works out perfectly, because the final day of the Minor League regular season is today. But because I couldn’t help myself, I’m gonna do one:
Tom Murphy COL, C – Absolutely demolished a 482-foot homer last night, with an exit velocity of 108.8 MPH. It’s almost as exciting as watching Alec Baldwin and Jason Schwartzman canoodle with each other in the commercial before the clip. Hopefully you have this guy on your team already, because I’ve been hyping him all year (in the preseason, in my Rundown’s, and on the podcast). He is now 4 for 7 in his first 3 games of action, and I have every expectation of him joining the ranks of the fantasy catcher elite next season, which is not a very hard group to crack.