Here’s the deal. We all love guys with exciting upside, but every now and then we forget that there may still be upside remaining in certain players. Starlin Castro is currently sporting an uninspiring .650 OPS, by far a career low. When I was at the Cubs game this past Sunday, it was mentioned that it was Castro’s 500th big league game. Pretty impressive, especially considering that he’s only 23. So, let’s think about it – Are we going to put more weight in his struggles this season or the chance for a rebound, based on his past numbers and youth? I’m going with the latter. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb, let’s call it an arm and a leg, and say that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him produce a .290/.340/.450 line for the rest of 2013. That would be elite for a shortstop, especially a healthy one. Typically shortstops hurt your OPS, but Castro can be one who actually helps it. I’d be seeing if his current owner is worried about him, especially in a keeper league. He could continue to be a top shortstop for the next decade.

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Josh Donaldson is fired. As in, he’s been on fire since last August and I’m finally willing to announce that I’ve seen his face. Now I’m a believer! What’s there not to like? An improved walk rate, reduced strikeout rate, better contact, increased power, and a brand new hairstyle. After getting to know him from afar, I think he’s less likely to hurt your team than Jafar. There are many possible reasons for his improvement: receiving consistent playing time in the majors, having the pedigree (former first round pick), seeing the movie Moneyball, being in his prime, and, my favorite conspiracy explanation: that he’s no longer catching. All of these likely contributed in some way, but the important thing is I don’t expect him to fall off a cliff any time soon (as long as he cancels that hiking trip). For the rest of 2013, I’m going to optimistically project a .270/.350/.460 line, which is solid for a third baseman. Hold him if you own him. Otherwise, I’d see if his owner expects heavy regression (band name?). Shout out to commenter SwaggerJackers for inspiring me to cover Donaldson. On a different note, after next week’s article I’m going to have a very temporary Razzball hiatus (aka two weeks) while I travel to my motherland (or literally my mother’s land) for the first time. Whoever correctly guesses the country can pick who I’ll cover as my lede next week. I might give hints if asked on Twitter. Ready? Go! And here’s my Quick Draw McGraw approach to OPS leagues:

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Mitch Moreland, a notable imperialist, has been capturing the hearts and minds of fantasy owners while their villages are unsuspectingly pillaged. On the baseball field, he’s been hitting better than he has since 2009… when he was in high A ball. The boy’s a time bomb! So, will he be able to maintain anywhere near this level of production? Or will he turn it off like a light switch (just go click)? My fortune cookie says, “Signs point to yes.” Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Exhibit A for why you shouldn’t ask your fortune cookie conflicting questions. For those of you who are familiar with Mitch, you’re probably pulling a Large Marge like me when you realized that he’s hitting over a 1.100 OPS in May. He’s doing everything a little bit better: lower strikeout rate, higher walk rate, and a higher home run to fly ball rate, which could be sustainable. Although the caveat is that he’s absolutely crushing the ball at home and against righties, so it’s hard to tell if he’s right side up or upside down. I’m thinking that he’ll likely produce closer to his numbers from last year, with slight improvement going forward. Mitch, I’ve got Moreland a feeling that you’ll still be solid the rest of the way. Anyway, here are some other players who have my attention in OPS leagues:

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David Freese has an OBP higher than his slugging, which is only a good sign when you’re Joey Votto. His .224/.298/.259 line is begging you to beg me why you still have him on your roster. What’s cooler than being cool? David Freese! Somewhere, Mr. Freeze says, “Ice to see you, David.” Here’s the deal: his plate discipline appears to be just as good as last season. The only significant change is in his batted ball data, where he’s hitting a lot more ground balls and less fly balls than he’s hit in his career. This looks like something that is highly likely to normalize as the season progresses so, like Jim Cramer, I’m going to tell you to, “Buy! Buy! Buy!” In fact, I expect him to produce near his career .290/.350/.430 line for the rest of 2013. Color me optimistic, Radiohead, but I’ll be buying low on Freese. Anyway, here are some other players who have hit me with their best shot in OPS leagues:

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Why hello there. It seems like only yesterday when we were drafting our fantasy baseball teams and were guaranteed to breeze to first place. But then baseball happened. An injury (or two or three…) here and an underperforming guy there can really dampen your early season enthusiasm. Fortunately, there are always opportunities to grab guys off waivers or to buy low. Enter Brian McCann. A few months ago, I said, “I strongly dislike recommending people draft an injured player, but I’m going to do it this time. The last I saw, he’s expected to miss the first couple weeks of the season. Even if the injury reduces his production, I could still see him producing a high .700s OPS, with solid counting stats. Considering that you would only have to use a late round pick, it may be worth the gamble.” Well, considering that he’s still largely available, I suggest you close your eyes and fall back into McCann’s arms (gently, of course). Like Scott Weiland, he’s half the man he used to be, but there’s no reason why he can’t be a top 10 catcher for the rest of 2013. Anyway, here are some other players that have me crossing my fingers in OPS leagues:

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Like Macy Gray (you read that right), I try to say goodbye and I choke (pull a Hosmer?) because my world crumbles when Adam LaRoche is not near. Let’s face it, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Adam has been radioactive to the point where he’s probably caused a meltdown for his owners. Before you start singing, “We are never ever getting back together,” please take a deep breath and save that song for Hosmer. Yes, LaRoche has been awfully quiet, but I’m not willing to disregard his years of consistency after one month. People are dropping him, yo! I expect him to produce near his career average line of .266/.336/.479 for the rest of the season. He’s definitely a buy low (free?) guy. Now you can exhale. Anyway, here are some other players who put the bomp in OPS leagues:

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Yeah, I’ll be that guy. Maybe it’s because I don’t own Zack Greinke in any leagues, but I’m not exactly outraged by the whole “incident.” In fact, this has only led to Carlos Quentin being available nearly everywhere, so OPS league owners should be grateful in a way (unless, of course, they own Greinke or are a Dodgers’ fan). Do I feel sorry for Zack? Sure, but that might be what you get for making a deal with the Devil Scott Boras. Also, it’s not the worst thing to make about a million bucks a week while you’re on the disabled list. Last time I messed up my collarbone, I just got a big hospital bill…

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Last week, I talked about how you should believe in your studs. No, not Studs Terkel, but he was the man. No, not Macho Man Randy Savage either. Why did you even bring him up? Though his hip hop album is easily one of the best (or worst) things I’ve ever heard. Where was I? This week I’m looking at a few guys that I believe are either off to a hot start and undervalued or off to a slow start and worth buying low in OPS leagues. After all, the season isn’t even 10% over, so it’s too early to make drastic assumptions about a player’s performance (that’s for next month!).

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The first week of the season is in our rearview mirror, Pearl Jam, and I’m seeing overreactions everywhere I turn around, Bonnie Tyler. Ask yourself this: If a fantasy player has a bad week in an otherwise good year, does it matter?

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Once upon a time, I investigated how 2012 “OPS against” views different pitching staffs and what this means for fantasy baseball pitcher values. Specifically, I looked at the worst teams. Today, I’m going to finish that two part series and cover the best teams. I also include WHIP and BB/9 because I like to trap myself in the closet with statistics while I write a hip hopera. Without further delay, here is the list of OPS by team of the best pitching staffs (the best are ranked first):

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