Phew! The fantasy baseball DT’s have finally subsided. It was touch-and-go for a while with many Trainspotting-like moments. Choose life. Choose a job. Choose Razzball. We are 90 games in and while I’m not so good with the math (look I spelled “boobs” on my calculator) me thinks that’s more than half-way through this fantasy season. If you were one of the lucky ones that drafted Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis or Carlos Gonzalez good for you. If you happen to own all three, I tip my turban in your general direction. But for the rest of us that drafted Jason Heyward, Matt Kemp and Brett Lawrie, we have some ground to make up. Hurry, everybody in the El Camino and let’s cruise over to the waiver wire flea market. While sifting through Mexican blankets, Blue Oyster Cult 8-tracks and old Playboys (Jaywrong, put that down! Oohh, Suzanne Somers), we might just find the player that catches fire in the second half and sends us to a fake baseball championship. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t have enough spam, give me the Razzball email newsletter!

Thanks for the welcome back all from my All-Star Weekend excursion. I talked with Grey and he said ‘why the heck didn’t you write one?’ to which I responded ‘but please, sir, you promised me some time off around the break while I worked on the Razzball Fantasy Football side of things. You also said you’d bump my pay from 2 bits to 3 for the year. Does that still apply?’ From that point on there was much caning and agony until I reminded him of my Luke Scott call from the week prior to calm him along with refilling his vape. But of course, none of this matters to you really, you’re here for this week’s creeper. So without much more pomp, let me type with the 4 remaining fingers that work why Justin Smoak is a good pickup for week 16 of the 2013 fantasy baseball season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe I’m paranoid, but we have to be masters of reality and understand that he won’t be able to continue this wizard-like production. I’m not exactly trying to declare war on Yasiel Puig, but, like any new found glory, it’s all downhill from here. Don’t make me choose my friends over you, Yasiel! He’s truly been a fantasy baseball catalyst, but he has a very low walk rate and his strikeout rate is rising to worrisome levels. He will continue to be hit or miss, although I unfortunately see him missing much more often. Let’s address the giant Sandoval in the room: his .472 BABIP is preparing him for a head on collision. Another factor is that his hip injury has shown that he’s no iron man. I’ll temper expectations a bit by saying that a certain player had a comparable 1.105 OPS last June, only to fall to mediocrity afterwards. Shout out to whoever names that player first. I think Puig will be closer to Mark Trumbo going forward, which isn’t bad, but isn’t anywhere near what he’s been this year. On a different note, Terse and I will be doing a Reddit AMA tonight at 7pm EST. Y’all should stop by. Anyway, here are some other guys who are putting up somewhat surprising seasons:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Looking back on the unofficial first half of the fantasy baseball season can be a lot of fun, unless of course you are in dead last, in which case it’s about as much fun as watching your auntie’s cat play with its new Cat’s Meow toy while you eat stale Circus Peanuts. In any event, the gods of SAGNOF have not been as kind to us thus far in 2013, and it shows in the numbers. The total number of steals in the league, 1524, is the lowest it’s been since 2006. In addition, there are only 21 players with 15 or more steals at this point in the season. That’s also the lowest it’s been since 2006. It feels even lower given that just last year there were 28 players with 15+ steals at the break and 30 the year before that. This all means that players who steal 30 bags or more are a little harder to come by, and it’s no sure thing that each fantasy team will have one or two guys that can carry them in steals like in years past. It also means that having a guy like Ben Revere break his foot and lose his season is a much bigger blow to our fantasy squads (mine included) than it used to be. So what do we do if we lost a guy like Revere or missed out on a Jacoby Ellsbury or Everth Cabrera type? If you read my column regularly, you know I’m a big fan of playing the match-ups when it comes to steals, and seizing the opportunity to eke them out whenever possible against teams that are weak against the run. After all, just because steals are down in general, it doesn’t change the fact that they still make up 20% of our offensive points in most leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe you’re with me, maybe you’re against me on this one, but the MLB All-Star game is an idea that should be buried alongside B.J. Upton, New Coke, Bic Disposable Underwear, and the XFL. He hate me because I hate the All-Star game. Home field in the World Series, whether it comes down to the Tigers and Cardinals or the Red Sox and the Braves, should not be determined by a matchup between Steve Delabar and Marco Scutaro. Also, it’s fans like this voting guys in, so the teams are not really the “best of the best” to begin with. Yet they are allowed to affect actual teams in real games? Only Bob Costas loves to hear, “Ladies and gentlemen, warming up in the American League bullpen, Brett Cecil!” I look forward to the day when my son tugs on my shirtsleeve and says, “Daddy, tell me the story again how Jason Castro popped up to second in the All-Star game.” And I will turn to him and say, “I have a son? Did your mother work at Applebee’s in 2008?” It’s time we just bury Bud Selig and his “it counts” t-shirt alongside Chris Berman and his Hair in a Can. The All-Star game doesn’t count, it sucks. Bud and Boomer, the people don’t care. Television ratings for the game have been down every year and last year’s game had the worst ever with a 6.8 rating. Know what pulls in those kind of numbers? Sharknado. There must be a way to work that into the Razzball glossary. Erasmo Ramirez sharknado’d my ERA this week!” Not sure, but that phrase may have already jumped the… *now back to our regularly scheduled rant* The first televised All-Star game in 1967 pulled in a 25.6 rating. Keep in mind that in 1967 there was one nationally televised baseball game a week, smoking was good for you and a kid’s favorite toy was Hasbro’s Stick with a Nail in it. Times, they are changin’. Sing it Zimmy.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Alex Rodriguez may be a slob like one of us, but I’ve repeatedly told you to pick up Carlos Quentin this season, so I’ve already thrown my dignity out the proverbial window (defenestration, yo!). Instead of trying to trade for third base help, I’m saving my money and I’m hella happy that’s a bargain! Or something like that. His baby’s got sauce, but I’m not going to hold it against him. Instead I’m going to cross my fingers that he is productive for the last couple months of the season. If you’re concerned about his injuries, lifestyle choices, or age, I’d like to point to David Ortiz as an example of an oldie, but goodie. A-Rod doesn’t have elite production left in him, ahem, but he can still reach a .270/.350/.450 line. All I’m saying is that it’s a chance worth taking. Who knows, maybe if he finishes the season strong, owning him will be vogue. Anyway, here are some other guys who have my attention in OPS leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Let’s say you’re looking for the player with the best stolen base per plate appearances ratio. You might think of recent SAGNOF heart-throb Rajai Davis, who basically has a steal for every 8 plate appearances. Davis has recently soared to 80% ownership thanks to his outburst of 7 steals in 4 days and an absolute monster day at the dish yesterday. You’d be close, but the answer is actually Jarrod Dyson at 1:7, and who is owned in 79% less leagues. But Mike, isn’t Jarrod Dyson just a platoon player, part of a four-man outfield in Kansas City? Of course he is, but so was Davis before Melky Cabrera went down, and unfortunately that’s where I’d suspect Davis will be headed once again when the Blue Jays’ $8 million dollar man returns from the DL in the next week or so.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Over the past few months we have jammed and crammed our way through players that have added some pop (Adam Lind, Raul Ibanez), some saves (Koji Uehara, Jose Veras) and some steals (Juan Pierre, Peter Bourjos) to our fake baseball rosters. Let’s forget my mention of Jackie Bradley Jr in week one okay? Thanks. But I have not always been a Razzballin’ Guru. In a former life I spent my working hours spinning the radio hits. Think Backstreet Boys and other boy band classics. *BBLLAARRGGHH!!* Just threw up in my mouth a little. The music may have sucked, but the payola was great! i.e. See The Guru’s swimming pool/pool table courtesy of Tower Records. However, most of my time on the dial revolved around rock radio. Think AC/DC, Metallica, Guns ‘n Roses and some occasional Motorhead. The problem was my share of program directors never appreciated my love for Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking, live sheep in the studio, the lesbian dating game or UFO guitar solos. All things I was fired for doing. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, “radio is a shallow money trench where good men die like dogs.” But I’d still argue morning drinking builds character and one of the greatest guitar solos of all-time has to be the plank spanking in UFO’s “Rock Bottom” (check it out around the 3:30 mark). I’m sure Eddie Trunk would agree. This week let’s look at some jammer/crammers stuck to the underside of your waiver wire Chuck Taylor’s. They are the barely owned cast-offs, the red-headed step children, the “Lobster Boy-Alive” fantasy freaks of our baseball world. They will fit perfectly on my team. *cracks another Pabst* We have officially hit rock bottom. Time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First off, let me just say I am hanging my head in shame about my Danny Valencia call last week. Not only did he only see 3 at-bats up to Saturday morning, he was DFA’ed by Wednesday. Painful, and I’m not just talking about the shot to my pride. Grey’s paddle is pretty formidable and has ‘O.B. Badass’ written on one side of it. I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing till they got a hold of me…but I have to let the past lie in the past and move on. Or do I? Maybe instead this week I should go Back To The Future on y’all and revisit a man who used to be a great weekly ride but has shown his age a bit this year and see what’s left in the tank. So join me as we see why Luke Scott should be a nice pick-up for week 15 of the 2013 fantasy baseball season…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ike Davis had an epic 21st century breakdown this year that has rendered his fantasy baseball owners jaded and viewing this basket case as a true American idiot. What a nimrod! I’ll admit that I screamed in silence after owning him this year, but let’s try to take the long view here. Yes, he’s 2,000 light years away on holiday in the minors after leading your team down a boulevard of broken dreams, but this a warning that Ike, walking contradiction that he is, could finally come around to what we previously expected. I might be a minority here, but, in the end, I still believe he’s capable of producing an .800+ OPS in the majors. Some players temporarily burnout, while other are able to make things click when you least expect it. Right, Chris Davis? We’ve all been waiting a long time for him to see the light and I will look to grab him where I have an open bench spot. Hopefully we’ll be welcomed to paradise. If his stats go kerplunk a final time, then I’ll be willing to bid him a permanent good riddance. Anyway, here are some other players that have my ear in OPS leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?