The first four names in the Cubs’ lineup will be Fowler, Castro, Rizzo and Soler, then it will be O, Brother Where Art Thou Upside with fantasy owners being men of constant sorrow. Maybe Kris Bryant does come up in the middle of April with a lei around his neck made from gold-leafed, big-booty’d Renaissance women. I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to be more like a lei of Mona Lisa smiles. “Yay, he hit a home run!” Dot dot dot. “He’s gone 1-for-4 with an RBI in the last five games. I guess that’s okay.” Dot dot dot. “He’s hitting .250? Hmm…” Dot dot dot. “Yay, another home run!” Let’s do this comparison (this just isn’t for our podcast host, JB, either). Prime Aramis Ramirez or Kris Bryant this year? Prime Aramis easily. That’s 27 HRs, .290 average. This year’s Aramis Ramirez and Kris Bryant? I’d say Bryant, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk (to use another JB metaphor; ya know, he writes about fantasy basketball for us). Could Bryant give 25 HRs and a .260 average? Yes. Could Aramis? Yes. Would I draft Bryant first? Oh, God, yes, I’m just saying that Bryant being the 2nd coming of Jesus Trout Schmidt Timberlake Jackson, the Third might be a year off. At some point, I do expect to want to suck the Thetans out of Bryant’s body, I’m just not sure it will be this year. I mention this now because Bryant was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday. Then, further down the Super Awesome Cubs Sexy Upside Team, you have Javier Baez also sent down, which was slightly shocking to me. I figured they’d let him start the year in the majors, even if he was going to be a hacking mess. The Cubs likely figured it was best to save his swings and misses for the summer when it gets humid. The Whiffy City starring Javier Baez will be opening in Iowa, and I’ve updated my top 20 2nd basemen (and the top 20 shortstops). This news also means Arismendy Alcantara has a clearer path to playing time on the infield with only Tommy La Stelllllllla standing in his way. Move your fat L’s, Tommy! I moved up Arismendy in that same 2nd basemen ranking, but I don’t think Arismendy is yet a 500-AB everyday option. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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Man, name a starting pitcher and there’s a 50% chance he’s hurt!

It’s been a brutal Spring – Tommy J’s, ACLs, dead arms, demotions, sports betting on Twitter…  It never ends!  It feels like we’re just another few injury-plagued Springs away from having pitching machines on the mound.  Would spell a devastating end to Krispie Young, that’s for sure!

So as we’ll update every Monday through the season, below is an update to my first edition of the Top 100 SP Ranks, which you can find through the magic of clickity-click.  Standard in-season-esque green for risers, red for fallers, additional notes at the end, and my principle is usually to not rank pitchers in the bullpen unless it’s highly anticipated they will join the rotation in the immediate future.  So Sayonara Cingrani!  Sounds like an episode title of The Sopranos…  Here’s my updated Top 100 SP:

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The season is nearly upon us, and as Jay put it on Saturday, this is what this series is about in a nutshell: Lance will then take you on a SAGNOF journey, so special, we’re calling it the SAGNOF Special. For those not initiated, SAGNOF stands for Steals/Saves Ain’t Got No Face… because they don’t. It would be creepy. Like J-FOH. During this series, Lance will go over some attractive and available options for your team if you are in need of steals or saves. If only he could do that for my dating-life.” Remember, they “ain’t” got no face because there is speed and potential saves everywhere, and like Jay said, I’m here to help you find them… (not dates though, those are all for me.)

Here are some speedsters I think you should be aware of before the season starts (I’ll start including some bullpen targets next week.) Draft them or pick them up, the power of the SAGNOF Special is in your hands.

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We’re going Meta on the Razzball Pod!  Well, not really at all, I mean did you read the title?!  Grey and I chat about our thoughts on social media and the little bit of trouble it might cost Jared Cosart, go over the news from Spring across the MLB including the scoreless 18 innings from Taijuan Walker, then our kit-and-caboodle (does that mean main segment?): our favorite un-sexy picks this year.  Looking at you Aramis Ramirez!  Grey then laughs at me and accuses me of Brewers Goggles.  If only he knew how sexy I look in rec specs in the Saturday afternoon YMCA pickup hoops game!  I’m like Kurt Rambis mixed with Milton from Office Space.  Here’s the hot-off-the-presses edition of the Razzball Baseball Podcast:

Download from iTunes

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Danny Salazar was sent to the minors because the Indians are trying to make life difficult for themselves. As someone who needs to pat their lip with a kerchief after a sip of anything, I know about making your life difficult, but my mustache makes me sexy, Salazar going to the minors does the exact opposite. Behind this move was almost definitely The House of McAllister trying to boost their progeny, Zach. “I don’t need stirrups.” That’s Zach McAllister, talking to the Indians equipment manager, as he dons a kilt. McAllister isn’t terrible (or Allisn’terrible if portmanteaus light your fire), but he’s really nothing more than any standard 5th starter. He’ll have stretches where he’s usable in all leagues, and other stretches where your ratios will need stretchers. Pithy points! I’ve moved Salazar into my top 100 starters and down my top 400 and I’ve left McAllister unranked, because what will likely happen is he’ll be replaced by Salazar by June. The other half of the scheming House of McAllister is T.J. House, who will also be in the rotation. Sky gave you a T.J. House sleeper, and I’m a bit more excited about House’s foundation and have ranked him in the top 100 starters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Leave it to the man living in Oregon, born and raised in Washington to take you to Electric Ladyland in the title. PNW represent *tries showing PNW with flashy gang sign…fails…breaks all fingers*. Fine, I’ll just throw up the West Coast symbol a la 2Pac and be fine with it. Grey originally pinged me with the idea of heading up a league for the NFBC back in February. When I said yes, I assumed we were talking ‘Norwegian Female Bikini Challenge’ and graciously accepted. I mean they’re right next to Sweden; what could possibly go wrong? Well, ALOT could go wrong, let me tell you. Thankfully, I had Rudy‘s recap of his 2013 team and the wherewithal and the guile to forge my own path for my own team. For those interested in only RCL style of play…well, first off that’s the link to sign up for one and second of all, make an about face. This ain’t it. No trades and no FA pickups in season. Nope, you play against 15 other teams in 5×5 roto set up and draft 50 players a team. That’s 750 players. There’s only 30 teams and they only roster 25 players at the major league level at a time. So basically, we’re drafting the entire MLB in one fell swoop. That’s special. And hard. And especially hard. But let’s not talk about bedroom things just yet. Instead, let’s review my NFBC team for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

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Ah, the middle infield. Can you think of any other fantasy position where people praise mediocrity more than here? I owned Daniel Murphy in 2014 and it was great! Kudos to you, my friend…kudos. Pardon me if my pants don’t get tight about someone who has a 10/15 season. That’s just not for me because you’re drafting to not get hurt rather than drafting to succeed. What happened to you as a child to choose such a sheltered path? I worry about people like this. They’re usually the ones that snap and go postal at the mall. I mean, I’d lose it too if I thought the only sexual position was quiet missionary in the dark. But I guess that’s the only kind if you’re getting any living in your parent’s basement…wow, where’d you all go? Well, now I at least know who my audience is/was. But for the remainder of you that stuck around, let’s talk about the scary upside and downside of our player of this post, Nick Franklin, and why he could be a good get for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (2) | 2013 (6) | 2012 (10) | 2011 (17) | 2010 (5)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [71-91] AL East
AAA: [79-65] International League – Pawtucket
AA: [88-54] Eastern League – Portland
A+: [68-68] Carolina League – Salem
A: [60-79] South Atlantic League – Greenville
A(ss): [37-38] New York-Penn League – Lowell

Graduated Prospects
Xander Bogaerts, SS | Brock Holt, OF | Mookie Betts, OF | Jackie Bradley, Jr., OF

The Gist
The Red Sox may have landed the biggest fish this offseason when they signed 19-year-old infielder Yoan Moncada for over $60 million. With five plus tools, he immediately becomes the best prospect in their system and a top 10 prospect overall. This farm is still loaded with great fantasy prospects after Moncada though. They have a nice balance of MLB-ready guys like Rusney Castillo and toolsy youngsters like Manuel Margot. Not to mention that they also have some solid pitching prospects including two southpaws that could join the rotation in the next year or so. But the Red Sox player I’m most interested in this year is Xander Bogaerts. The former top prospect will enter his sophomore season looking to pick up where he left off last September (.313 with four homers).

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The infidels are coming. They are storming the stronghold and sieging the castle. Cover your children’s eyes and lock up your grandmas. As a general rule, I’m not drafting a middle “infidel” early unless it comes at great value or I’m tinkering with the zig strategy. Scarcity has over taken too many owners who pass up great numbers to fill a positional need and have been blinded by the fact that numbers are numbers. As I’m writing this, I’m looking at all the great depth for MI and I wonder why the heck should I even be writing this. It’s pretty obvious that there is great upside late by reading Grey’s coverage of second base. Add to that some of the bounce back golden oldies, and you got generations at the keystone. Speaking of golden oldies, did you all catch the ridiculously redumbasshatily things Brandon Phillips had to say the other day?

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Hey y’all, let me know if you’ve heard this one before. Brett Lawrie is a fantasy sleeper for the YYYY Fantasy Baseball Season! In fact, this isn’t even a new post. I just went back from all the posts between 2012 and 2014 and did a mash-up of them. It was hard to get them all the same font so be thankful this doesn’t read like a ransom note! Speaking of notes, it feels like every spot you’ve taken Lawrie the last few years has left you with an I.O.U. almost immediately after leaving the draft table, doesn’t it? That kind of pain is hard to get over, especially in deeper leagues where your team can falter just on a few bad picks or rise quickly on a few good ones. So what makes drafting Lawrie in the year of the sheep make me feel like the GOAT you ask? Well read on. Here’s my take on Brett for you late round misfit seekers for 2015 Fantasy Baseball…

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