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2014 RotoRob Baseball Awards

January 3, 2015 | by RotoRob | Comments (2)

By RotoRob and Michael Seff

Welcome to our annual black tie gala, the RotoRob Awards. For 2014, we’ve got more of the same — Fantasy studs, duds, rookies and comebacks in all four major sports, not to mention all the sarcastic hardware we can dream up. We begin this year’s affair on the diamond.

Fantasy Stud of the Year

Mike Trout bashed his way to some hardware for the Los Angeles Angels.
Mike Trout’s numbers speak for themselves. (espn.go.com)

Mike Trout was clearly so distraught about not taking the honour last year that he decided enough was enough. So to the 2014 American League Most Valuable Player, here is one more piece of proverbial hardware for your ever-growing mantel. Trout’s numbers speak for themselves: 36 home runs, 111 RBI, 115 runs scored, and a 939 OPS. Not bad for a guy that couldn’t even legally drink in the U.S. when he began his first full season two years ago. Trout finally eclipsed Miguel Cabrera in the MVP race and supplants Chris Davis, our 2013 winner, as the RotoRob Fantasy Baseball Stud of the Year. — MS

Honourable Mentions: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers; Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox and Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

Fantasy Dud of the Year

Chris Davis could not duplicate his 2013 season for the Baltimore Orioles.
Chris Davis burned plenty of owners this year. (csnbayarea.com)

Finding a true dud in Fantasy baseball isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s really unfair to label a player a dud if injury caused him to miss most of the season, and in such an instance, he likely would have been dropped. No, we’re trying to find the player that you invested heavily in, almost assuredly kept on your roster all season, and that massively underperformed relative to his draft slot last spring. In other words, it was the blight that you simply couldn’t rid yourself of.

The best example of this in 2014 was none other than Chris Davis — who, as the 2013 RotoRob Fantasy Stud of the Year, truly went from hero to goat. As big of a shock that Davis’ huge 2013 was, most expected some regression this year. But this much? Not a chance! An oblique injury early on and then a 25-game suspension for amphetamines helped tear a hole in his season, but it was what Davis did in between that really killed many Fantasy teams. After topping 100 runs in 2013, he only scored 65 this year; he only managed 42 extra-base hits this year compared to 42 doubles (and a triple and oh…53 homers in 2013); his RBI count dropped by 66; Davis’ K rate rose to the point where he was fanning once every three at-bats; his BA dropped from .286 to .196; his OPS was down 300 points. If you owned Davis this year, our condolences are in order because he really burned your offense badly. Well, I guess we should give him props because he sure doesn’t bore his owners. Davis goes big or goes home. — RR

Dishonourable Mentions: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals; David Wright, New York Mets; Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians; Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brewers; Shin-Soo Choo; Texas Rangers; and Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals

Fantasy Rookie of the Year

Jose Abreu bashed his way to hardware for the Chicago White Sox.
Jose Abreu had a “rookie” season for the ages. (Chicago-d.com)

The BBWAA voters already beat us to it, but Jose Abreu gets our unanimous vote and undying praise for one of the all-time great rookie seasons (and, yes, we do use the term “rookie” a bit loosely for the 27-year-old Cuban). He posted MVP-like numbers: .317 BA, 36 homers, 107 RBI, and an OPS of 964. He was the first rookie in MLB history to finish among the top five in all three Triple Crown categories. Abreu was, in essence, the Clayton Kershaw of rookies in 2014. — MS

Honourable Mentions: Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels; Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals; George Springer, Houston Astros; and Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees (assuming you consider him a rookie as MLB does)

Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year

Casey McGehee was a big surprise for the Miami Marlins.
Casey McGehee turned his career around in the Sunshine State. (Blacksportsonline.com)

This is another tough category to pick as, generally, it’s not completely fair to just pick someone that came back from an injury. And when a player puts up career numbers, you can’t really call that a comeback, because he was never that good before, right? Having said that, there are several worthy candidates who have gone through some regression and hard times, only to bounce back in 2014. Scott Kazmir’s long road back from Indy ball reached new heights; Ian Kennedy surprised us by rebounding to become a solid starter; Chris Young stayed healthy enough to enjoy a fine campaign; Starlin Castro proved he’s on the upswing again. But taking the cake is the comeback made by the Marlins’ Casey McGehee. After just missing out as NL ROY in 2009, his career spiralled down thanks to injuries and ineffectiveness, and he had to play in Japan last year. In 2014, McGehee returned to North America and hit for a high average thanks to finishing fourth in the NL in hits in what was a very productive campaign. — RR

Honourable Mentions: Scott Kazmir, Oakland Athletics; Chris Young, Seattle Mariners; Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs; Ian Kennedy, San Diego Padres; and Miguel Montero, Arizona Diamondbacks

The Saint Bernard Award

Chipper Jones saved one of his former Atlanta Braves teammates.
Chipper saved Freddie… and then made him his bitch. (Larrybrownsports.com)

A freak storm hit Southeast U.S. in late-January, leaving much of the region covered in snow, and reaping havoc on the highways and traffic. In fact, Atlanta Braves’ star Freddie Freeman was one of thousands of drivers that wound up trapped on Atlanta’s interstates as a result of this freakish turn in the weather. So, after over five hours, Freeman did what anyone would do in such circumstances: he Tweeted his dilemma. That’s when former teammate Chipper Jones channelled his inner Saint Bernard and sprung into action. He simply jumped on his four-wheeler and drove to Freeman’s car and then brought him home to safety. Who says rednecks can’t be heroes, too? Oh, and by the way, how much snow was there, Atlanta? Three inches? Learn how to drive, people. — RR

Biggest TV Screw Up of the Year

Clark the Cub created a stir.
The anatomically correct Clark the Cub. (Peepsports.com)

Remember when the Chicago Cubs introduced the very first mascot for the lovable loser organization? The furry is known as Clark the Cub, who you can see in his original form here. Deadspin, in its usual beautifully cruel manner, held a contest asking readers to do horrible things to Clark. Gawker art director Jim Cooke jumped all over the challenge, creating an anatomically correct version of Clark, that we’ve depicted above. Now here’s where things get really fucked up, because somehow — when airing a story about the new mascot — Comcast SportNet Mid-Atlantic showed Cooke’s version as opposed to the “official” and decidedly sexless version. Watching their reactions was priceless, and oh to be a fly on the wall at that post-production meeting! — RR

The Prickly Personality Award

Francisco Rodriguez of the Milwaukee Brewers knows a thing or two about pricks.
K-Rod got a taste of his own medicine. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)

Being a prick comes naturally to Milwaukee reliever Francisco Rodriguez. We all remember how he loves domestic violence and to show how big a man he is by laying a beating on both women and old men. Well, in Spring Training, K-Rod got a taste of his own medicine in the prickly department when he stepped on a cactus and had a bunch of thorns embedded into his foot. Ouch. Well, like we said, there’s some poetic justice at play here, but here’s a question uncovered in the incident reports: what the hell was he doing wandering around the desert with no shoes on? And, more importantly, was it at least a peyote cactus? Try explaining that away at your next random drug testing session, Frankie. — RR

Wipe Out of the Year

Wily Peralta was a star on the mound for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Wily Peralta is learning walking through a correspondent course. (Associated Press)

While we’re handing out hardware to Milwaukee Brewers pitchers, how about Wily Peralta? The dude enjoyed a major breakthrough in 2014, winning 17 games, fanning over 150 batters and recording a sweet ERA just a smidge north of 3.50. But the defining moment of Peralta’s 2014 season came during a pre-game ceremony on April 4, the day the Red Sox received their 2013 World Series rings. As the Brew Crew lined up for the pre-game introductions, Peralta lost his footing and did one of the nastiest face plants you’ll ever see. Hey, the kid can pitch. But, walk much, Wily? — RR

Ugliest Swing of the Year

Pablo Sandoval never met a pitch he didn't like to hack at for the San Francisco Giants.
Pablo Sandoval makes for an interested hit and run option. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Hey, when the hit and run is on, it’s your responsibility as a hitter to make contact, right? The last thing you want to do is hang your runner out to dry by taking a pitch. But what happens when the pitch is inside and you have a belly the size of a baby elephant, as Pablo Sandoval does? Well, the video below shows what happens, and believe us, it’s as ugly as ugly can be. Hey, at least no one can say that Panda didn’t actually try to execute a hit and run, even though he didn’t swing until several weeks after the pitch was already by him. We wonder if he was aware that if he had simply allowed that pitch to hit him in the belly, it would have been even better than a hit and run. Of course, had that happened, that ball would probably still be in orbit somewhere. — RR

Best Email Blunder of the Year

Sandy Alderson probably wasn't too thrilled for the New York Mets.
You did what with my credit card? (2guystalkingmetsbaseball.com)

In mid-May, the Mets’ seemingly ongoing circus act introduced a new chapter when one of the team’s staff members inadvertently emailed General Manager Sandy Alderson’s credit card information — including the security code and expiration date — to the entire press corps that cover the team. Oops! The staffer quickly sent a followup, apologizing for the confusion and asking the recipients of the first email to please disregard it. Um, ya. Like that’s going to happen. Mike Puma of the New York Post was quickest to the draw with the classic tweet below. — RR

The Vincent Van Gogh Award

Miguel Olivo went Medieval for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
Miguel Olivo channeled his inner Ozzy Osborne. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Veteran catcher Miguel Olivo has been around the block and back, but is now finding his MLB career winding down. Of course, he helped expedite that process with his fiery behaviour in late-May when he got into an altercation with his own Triple-A teammate, Alex Guerrero. Olivo tore a strip in the Dodgers’ $28 million man from Cuba — literally — as he bit off a part of Guerrero’s ear. That spelled the end of Olivo’s short-lived Dodger stint, as he was released just two days later. For Guerrero, meanwhile, he missed several weeks after undergoing plastic surgery on the ear — the latest episode in what’s been a very slow start to his MLB career. — RR

Drunken Dancing of the Year Award

Chris_Sale4
Chris Sale is a master on the mound… and the dance floor. (Fanduel.com)

Did you happen to see the TMZ video in May that caught White Sox ace Chris Sale at a wedding doing an interpretive dance to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”? Wow. I was afraid. I was amused. I was disturbed. I was delighted. So many conflicting emotions. Just look at that huge ass girly drink he’s sipping at with a straw. As we know, Sale cannot be sated with food (for which he won a RotoRob Award last year), but clearly, when it comes to booze, he’s a lightweight. Or maybe he’s just a natural jackass. Either way, this shit is gold. — RR

MLB Superstar Chris Sale — EPIC Dance-Off to ‘Call Me Maybe’

Best Life Saving Catch

Evan Longoria saved a reporter for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Evan Longoria is like Batman. (Topbet.eu)

Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria finally stayed healthy, but that was pretty much the only good news of his 2014, and he had by far the worst season of his career. However, there is one reporter that probably won’t ever slag Longo again after he literally saved her life during an interview in May. The pair was standing on the sidelines during batting practice when a ball came scorching down the line, curving foul and heading directly for the reporter’s head. She was blissfully unaware of her impending doom, but Longoria — seemingly by pure instinct — turned at the last minute and barehanded the frozen rope. She just stared in complete awe. Now whether this video is fake or not — it’s hard to believe the cameraman didn’t flinch in the least (perhaps the camera was set up on a tripod?) — remains a mystery, but it’s just so damn cool, it deserves some hardware regardless. — RR

Best Lap Dance of the Year

Bat Boy
Is this the bat boy that molested you, ma’am?

In early-July, the St. Louis Cardinals first base line ball boy had a tough call to make. There was a ball blazing towards him at a very high speed. Should he stand his ground and make the play on the potentially foul ball (thereby protecting the spectators), or could the ball be fair, meaning he better hightail it out of there? At the last second, he made the right choice, bailing out — and even taking his little stool with him — as he dove onto the lap of the lady sitting in the front row. Very nice choice for a landing spot, my man. She clearly wasn’t expecting anyone to go downtown on her; then again, when you have seats that good, you’re probably at least somewhat accustomed to receiving special treatment. — RR

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Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who’s missing from the 2014 RotoRob Baseball Awards.

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The Wire Troll: Jon Leuer Unleashed

December 27, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (4)
Still, we’re pimping him again based on some massive minutes lately (39 MPG in the last two). The results haven’t necessarily been there (although he did drop five dimes Friday), but if Lee keeps getting this kind of PT, he’ll start earning kudos for his offense as well as his defense.
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2014-15 Power Forward Rankings

December 25, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Last season, Love’s touches bounced back and he sunk more treys than ever before, but his rebounding dipped. This season, his PT is down and his rebounding has really slipped, but he’s also found himself in more foul trouble. The loss of Varejao should translate into more minutes for Love, so the news is not all bad.
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2014-15 Small Forward Rankings

December 22, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (1)
Yet he’s still atop our list here. Why? Well, last season was KD’s finest as he continued to play big minutes, sunk more buckets than ever and enjoyed career bests in assists and points per game. Durantula may have some rust when he returns, but he’ll be dominating in no time.
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The Wire Troll: Jarrett Jack Turning Things Around

December 20, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Minnesota has opted to start LaVine recently and the rookie is beginning to post Fantasy-worthy numbers. LaVine has been flirting with double-doubles, and his outside shot is starting to fall, with two treys on three attempts over the past two games combined. How about those three steals on Friday? Okay, so LaVine only dropped three dimes, but he was coming off a team-best eight-assist effort on Tuesday, so if you need a boost in helpers, this kid may be a fine short-term pickup while Rubio heals.
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