- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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Same sport, same format, but new season, new lists. Here are ten lists of 10.
Ten interesting April stats, five of which are courtesy of Jeremy Lundblad of ESPN Stats & Information.
1. In his career, Jon Lester is just 3-6 with a 4.76 ERA before May 1. After April, he's 58-19 with a 3.40 ERA.
2. In his two seasons, Rick Porcello of the Tigers has a 7.19 career ERA in April and 3.98 otherwise.
3. Talk about bad timing with an injury. Evan Longoria has a .335 average in April. Over the rest of the season, he's at .275.
4. Alexei Ramirez is a .205 hitter in April and .292 otherwise. Only two of his 54 home runs have come before May.
5. Everyone knows Adam LaRoche is a slow starter, but it's even more pronounced than you realize: .209 BA in April, .282 in all other months.
6. Before you totally ignore the slow start by Pujols, know that over the past three years, only Chase Utley has more April home runs than Sir Albert.
7. Phil Hughes has a career April ERA of 5.80. All other months he has a 4.01 ERA.
8. Rajai Davis is a career .212 hitter in April. In all other months, he is a .289 hitter. Said it before, saying it again: Big year coming for Rajai Davis.
9. Trevor Cahill is 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA in April and 28-18 with a 3.57 ERA afterward.
10. Kosuke Fukudome is a .326 career hitter in April, but just .246 in all other months. Last season, he hit .344 in April, but then .213 in the next three months. Fukudome isn't a huge fantasy guy, except maybe in NL-only, but I mention this because I feel confident that Tyler Colvin will get more and more playing time.
Ten guys that are not currently "closers" but who could wind up with 10-plus saves this year.
1. Drew Storen: I've got news for you. Sean Burnett (9 percent) is the current favorite for saves.
2. Koji Uehara (1 percent): Closed for them before, and Kevin Gregg has lost the gig before.
3. Grant Balfour (0.3 percent): He's a good pitcher, Bailey is no sure thing health-wise, and there's a reason we call it a "Dirty Fuentes."
4. David Hernandez (0.3 percent): Another guy that's been mentioned by me, Jason Grey and others around here. He's been much stronger as a reliever than as a starter, and J.J. Putz is not rock-solid as a closer or at staying healthy.
5. Wilton Lopez (0.3 percent): I mentioned him in my "You Heard Me" piece. Not buying a full year for Brandon Lyon.
6. Jason Motte (0.3 percent): Had a shaky outing the other day but so did Ryan Franklin, who at some point is going to hit the wall.
7. Bobby Jenks (2.1 percent): Daniel Bard is the obvious name but he's not proven in the ninth. Jenks is, and we all know Jonathan Papelbon is on a short leash.
8. J.P. Howell (0.1 percent): Currently on the DL, but has some ninth-inning experience, and none of the guys in front of him is rock-solid.
9. Kameron Loe (0.2 percent) Have you followed the start of the season for John Axford and Takashi Saito? Remember, at this time last year, no one had heard of John Axford.
10. Matt Lindstrom (0.2 percent) Street has appeared in fewer than 50 games twice in the past four seasons, and Lindstrom has closed before.
Ten guys owned in less than 30 percent of ESPN.com standard leagues who should be the first guys picked up at each offensive position if you have a need.
1. C: Russell Martin (25 percent). Ryan Hanigan is a close second.
2. 1B: Brandon Belt (22 percent). Justin Smoak is next.
3. 2B: Mike Aviles (30 percent). Already has two steals.
4. SS: J.J. Hardy (22 percent). Break up the O's!
5. 3B: Maicer Izturis (4.6). Pickings are a bit slim at the hot corner.
6. CI: Kila Ka'aihue (13 percent). Wow, six guys in and I have two Royals. Huh.
7. MI: Danny Espinosa (6 percent). Sorry, I'm just not buying Orlando Cabrera yet.
8. OF: Ben Francisco (18.6). You're damn right he's a treat.
9. OF: Willie Bloomquist (3 percent). Oddly this is the only spot where he qualifies so far, but ride him while he's hot. Former Royal!
10. OF: Josh Willingham (6 percent). The power's legit; it's always been an issue of playing time. Currently, he's playing.
Best (printable) fantasy baseball team names suggested by those who follow me on Twitter.
Many people had Tulo Legit to Quit, Pocketful of Poseys (plus other puns on Buster Posey's name, the best of which was Insane Clown Posey from @markronds5) and used Soria as "Sorry," usually followed by something I can't print, more often than not a disease you get from a specific activity.
Many references to the movie "Major League" and also to one of its stars, Charlie Sheen ("Tiger Blood" and "Violent Torpedo of Truth" being the most popular) showed up, as well as puns on the names of Tim Lincecum, Albert Pujols, Hunter Pence and Jake Peavy that, while funny, are not what we would call "family-friendly."
Small side note on this: Team names involving both Peavy and retired outfielder Eric Byrnes are not original and have been around for years. Got many of one particular name, each person claiming it was the best and most original name ever. It isn't, and has never been.
Speaking of names that seem to come up every year, we got a lot of the perennials that I like, but have seen before: Honey Nut Ichiros, I wanna Tex you up, Where my pitches at?, Hakuna Tejada, The Devil Wears Prado, Grand Theft Votto and Carry on My Heyward Son have all appeared multiple times.
There were enough fun names (that I hadn't heard before, at any rate) that I had at least 30 I could use, so that counts for three of the lists in this article. Here's the first one.
1. Mat Latos Friar Breathing Fists (@Bruvydsb10)
2. The House. (Why? Because the House always wins! via @Digs79)
3. B. Inge Drinking (via @b3r2y)
4. Kershawshank Redemption (via @KNLawlz)
5. My Dinner with Andrus (via @dlhauser)
6. Openly Bay (@aL3481)
7. Hameltime! (@drejay25)
8. Tabata Bing! (@BDC_Pain)
9. FIP 2 Be Square (@SwinAbe)
10. Frozen CarGoNite (@nilsilly)
Ten ice-cold starts I'm not at all worried about, and if I could get these players at anything below draft day value, I would do so in a heartbeat.
Ten minor leaguers who will get called up and are most likely to make an impact this year in mixed leagues, in the order in which I like them for this year.
1. Desmond Jennings, OF, Rays
2. Kyle Gibson, SP, Twins
3. Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B, Indians
4. Jesus Montero, C, Yankees
5. Brett Lawrie, IF, Blue Jays
6. Mike Moustakas, 3B, Royals
7. Chris Carter, OF, A's
8. Dustin Ackley, 2B, Mariners
9. Dillon Gee, SP, Mets
10. Jarrod Parker, SP, Diamondbacks
Ten more funny (and printable) fantasy team names.
I also got a lot of names that were funny probably only to me or people my age, as there were a lot of '80's references. Among my favorites were multiple suggestions for "Wyld Stallions" -- the band name of Bill and Ted from the very underrated "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," "Fred Lewis can't lose" from @Brizzen, "Gordon Shumway" from @adamhalpin and, for no apparent reason, which made it all the more funny to me, "Kimmy Gibbler" from @Turtlehead29. But, guessing they wouldn't translate to everyone, I left them out of this list.
1. Will Rhymes with Winning (@MookieBlaylock)
2. Crown Jhoulys (@justintime56)
3. The Triple Linding (via @bighambowski)
4. I left my wallet in Alexi Ogando (@therealrorch)
5. To Kila Marlon Byrd (@upyourbuttjobu)
6. Delusions of Adequacy (@alex_q_2006)
7. The Tolbert Report (@_purple_stuff)
8. 902Cano (@Sen_Dangerous)
9. Sipping on Gin & Youk (@jbhollndr)
10. Derek Holland's OPS (@nilsilly)
Ten hot starts that I believe in.
3. Rickie Weeks. It was a good year to wait on a second baseman.
4. Craig Kimbrel. A level of nasty that gets you in trouble with the wife.
5. Jose Tabata (78 percent) Making adjustments, super fast; Tabata Bing, indeed.
6. Logan Morrison (27 percent). Power of the podcast!
7. Gordon Beckham. See No. 2.
8. Jhoulys Chacin. Look at his numbers over second half of last season. Legit.
9. Aaron Harang (1 percent). Can't go wrong with NL West or Petco for pitching, especially when a mechanics change increased his fastball by 3 mph.
10. Nelson Cruz. Luckily my "All in on Nelson Cruz" didn't jinx him like lesser mortals before him.
Ten hot starts that I'm not buying.
1. Ian Kinsler. It's not if he'll get hurt. It's when.
2. Torii Hunter. Since becoming an Angel, he's hit .318 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs in 264 April at-bats. All other months with the Angels? He's a .278 hitter with 51 home runs and 213 RBIs in 1,311 at-bats.
3. Jeff Francoeur. Yeah, I've seen this movie before. Ahem.
4. Neil Walker. As you know, I really like the Pirates this year, and even I can't buy this power. He has one walk in 26 at-bats so far this year. And 10 strikeouts.
5. Alex Gordon. Oh, it's possible. But he's burned too many people too many times for me to jump on too quickly.
6. Ryan Howard. When everything is trending downward since 2008, one week does not reverse it all, new batting stance or no.
7. Matt Harrison. Sadly, I'm beginning to think it's not that hard to strike out eight Red Sox.
8. Brent Morel. Want to see it once the league gets a book on him.
9. Kyle Drabek, Chris Tillman and Zach Britton for 10-team mixed leagues. Love them in AL-only, but they are young and it is the AL East.
10. Alfonso Soriano. Ugh.
One more list of good fantasy baseball team names.
Many people also suggested "It's All Berry's Fault" or some other bad-advice-from-me-inspired team names, though I particularly liked "Berry's Bald Spots" from @adamhalpin. A few players seem to have names that are really good to make a pun off of, as I saw lots of Morneau, Votto, Uggla, Hawpe, Weaver and Dempster. Ryan Braun was a really popular name (two faves: "From Dusk till Braun" from @jneproductions and "Chocolate Braunies" from @Dukenutwi).
More from the inappropriate file, as many guys chose names that were funny when you explained it, as in "My team name is blank because you can't beat blank." Or "Congrats, you just beat blank." "Jeters never win" and "Jeters never prosper" showed up a lot, mostly from Boston fans, and just because I really liked it, I'll give a shout-out to @mcmike7347 for the fantasy hoops name "Gym, Tan, Landry."
1. Dexy's Midnight RISP (@kdar123)
2. Dropping Gloads (@steveoutr)
3. The Duda Abides (@mikemattone)
4. Mos Eisley Womp Rats (@RMcfadden94)
5. Baby Got Bacne (@teachak)
6. The TMR is going uBALDo (@MrConsistent14)
7. Anibal Lester (@MOanimalcracker)
8. Can't stand the heat, get out of the McCutcheon (@mebcook)
9. O's before Hoes (@HeyBeavis)
10. Outstanding Morel Fiber (@Many_Vent)
Because my twitter people give just too darn much.
1. The CamRod Popcorn Suite (@drejay25)
2. Bourn in the Youkilis A (@ando775)
3. A Priest walks into Aybar (@ando775)
4. OrangeJhoulys (@wenbickert)
5. Free Willy Bloomquist (@edmfbfanatic)
6. BELTRAN: Legacy (@akhanna4)
7. Bryce Bryce baby (@jamesonfleming)
8. Hu's Clues (@literateartist)
9. Walden Pond (@ehorlib)
10. If you like Pineda Coladas (@tomclaycomb)
Matthew Berry -- the TMR -- has many team names, but has always been partial to The Fightin Rabbis. He is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. He is a charter member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his cyberfriend