Wednesday again (even if it does feel like Monday for the third day in a row following a short week!), so it’s time for another Panning For Gold – Finding The Prospect Hidden Gems - our weekly look at some of those lesser-known prospects that are beginning to generate the type of buzz that starts their climb up organizational ranking lists, leading to more discussion about them in more well-known circles. Think of these guys as players you may not necessarily have at the top of your lists in shallow keeper leagues, but names you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on as you begin to participate in deeper leagues – the types of player you can wind up scooping up before your mates in your quest to become another fantasy baseball “guru”…respected and adored whenever draft time rolls around (not to mention mumbled about under your opponents’ breath) for years to come.

This week we’re going to shine the light on Jairo Beras, an OF for the Texas Rangers.

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Clayton Kershaw is no longer just dominating…

Last week, I looked at the luckiest pitchers to date. Clayton Kershaw was not only the most “skillsy,” but he was also slightly UN-lucky. Do you believe that?! His BABIP is actually the worst since 2008 while the HR/FB is the third worst of his career (still not bad) meaning his left-on-base rate is potentially the only luck he has going for him thus far, but then there are these splits:

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Playing daily fantasy can be a bit of a grind, but when you hit big nothing feels better. However, when you get slapped upside the head with a cold streak nothing feels worse. As we hit the halfway point of the MLB season your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru has had a profitable season. Yet, when a cold streak comes a knockin’ you just have to know when to walk away and know when to run. And I’ve hit a “Winter is coming”-sized cold spell the last few days. Nevertheless, I’ve never listened to Kenny Rogers and I’m ready to dive into the deep end of the DraftKings pool. I’m coming for your cash. Or, the way things have been going lately, maybe I should just hand you mine.

Before we get to today’s picks, let’s talk some strategy. If you’re a DFS shark feel free to skip ahead, I don’t mind, I’ll still get paid by the word. We have talked a lot about hitting this year and constructing lineups. What we have not touched on is pitching. We give you the tools in the Stream-o-Nator and the DFSBot and we send the Razzball Hotsheet to your email everyday so finding the right arms shouldn’t be too tough. When it comes to choosing two pitchers on DraftKings there are three ways to go and maybe even a fourth way – which is kind of a DraftKings secret. 1) Take the two stud arms and find value bats. This is not generally the way I go, but it can be effective in some Cash Games like cheap 50/50s. 2) Punt the pitchers and load up on bats. This can work on a night like last night where there were not a lot of high priced arms and we had high over/unders in Arizona, Boston, Colorado and Texas. 3) The stud and the scrub philosophy. This is the way I usually go. Grab the one big pricey arm and one low priced arm that’s going to give you Ks and won’t get shelled. Last night I went with Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Young. It didn’t work. Tonight I will sacrifice a chicken to my Luis Tiant bobblehead in order to change my recent luck. And 4) The Mystery way. A lot of players don’t realize this, but on DraftKings if you select the “All” option on the roster page it will show a complete list of players that includes relievers. And they are cheap! The other night I started Hisashi Iwakuma and grabbed Kevin Quackenbush for $2000. Iwakuma had a big night and Quackenbush outscored Tyler Matzek – who was one of the cheapest pitchers of the night but still triple the price of the Quackenbush. It cashed as I was able to take the stud bats in Arizona and Texas. It’s a risky move, but it can allow you to load up on hitters and win big. Give it a shot in a free game and let me know how it works. Come to think of it, I have should went this way last night as I owned Julio Teheran and his -6.5 points everywhere. It was a bad night and my liver is not happy.

With all the said, let’s get to the plays of the day. We do have a bit of split slate today with four games this afternoon and 11 tonight. I’ll offer up the pitching studs, scrubs and punts I like today and throw in some bonus bats in as well.

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When I saw what Steve Pearce had done over the past two weeks, questions arose. The main question being, “Who the hell is Steve Pearce?” He’s the most added player on ESPN (+43%) and now has ten homers and 30 runs batted in with just 189 plate appearances. He’s even thrown in four steals! He does everything! This feels very hot schmotatoish if you ask me, but who cares when there are about a half dozen corner infielders sitting on your wire right now. Might as well ride the hot hand and if it doesn’t continue we can fall into the waiting arms of Casey McGehee or C.J. Cron. Aside from strikeouts, Pearce’s splits are nearly identical against left and right-handed pitching, but his best stuff comes at home against left-handers where he’s rocking a 205 wRC+. I’m not sure the .365 BABIP will hold up and his 17% HR/FB% is almost twice his career average, but I’d wager we didn’t pay more than a waiver wire claim for him so let’s ride the wave. Here are the other big adds and drops for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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Note: If you play fantasy football, our rankings are being released as we speak. Well, not really as we speak, as I’m typing. But you get the point. Not really the point of a spear, this isn’t Game of Thrones. But you get the idea. Unless it’s running. Okay, I’m just going to stop now.

After witnessing the death of Edwin Encarnacion’s hamstring this past weekend, my first reaction was this:

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And then my next most immediate reaction was this:

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While this is what I usually call Friday night, I’d be lying if I said this didn’t hurt. I essentially own E5 on 170% of the 13-15 teams I have this year. Just forget about those numbers for a second, since they make no sense. The only number that matters is one. And that’s the loneliest number. Coincidentally, that’s also how many operational hamstrings Encarnacion has at the moment. Fast-forward to yesterday, the news obviously wasn’t as horrific as the actual injury looked, and at an optimistic four week time-table, it shouldn’t be a season-killer. But why did it have to happen in the first place, is what I want know. Haven’t we already had enough oblique and shoulder explosion this season? The entire MLB is committing seppuku this year, and there appears to be no end in sight. Anyways, let’s get to your RCL tidbits… mmmm, tidbits…

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It was just a couple of months ago that I discussed Cincinnati Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto, and what his fantasy value would be the rest of the season. At the time, he was on the DL nursing a quad injury, and had yet to resume on-field activities.  I basically approached the situation this way: if you own him, trade him; if someone else in your league was growing tired of the situation, he may not be a bad guy to target in a buy-low scenario. Flash forward to Monday, and we are presented with a nearly identical question: what do we do with Joey Votto?  And putting him in cement shoes and dropping him in the Ohio River is not an acceptable answer.

Votto is likey headed to the DL for the second time this season — and for the same injury.  Folks, that is not a good sign.

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The only real stat that matters in daily fantasy is points. Millions of ways to try and predict it. We’ve tried a slew of things and nothing is foolproof. But some seem to be hitmakers more than others. At least, certain statistical metrics are currently sexy and people care about them. About a decade ago Percy Miller aka Master P choreographed an ensemble of durty down south rappers into a group called the 504 Boyz who pioneered New Orleans bounce music, too many loudasses with a microphone at once on stage and a song called Wobble Wobble. It was really popular. Now it’s really popular to listen to wOBA wOBA when it comes to DFS. Sheeeeit! I’ll agree it’s a good prediction tool, fool!

I’m liking another Master P today in Masahiro Tanaka as the most extravagantly priced option as a pitcher at $11,300. The Indians do hit RHP in the top 15 percentile, but so do the Blue Jays and Athletics who he has shut down already this year. I’ve got Q’s about Bumgarner and Teheran today too so I’m not mindin those P’s. They’re still good options, but if I’m spendin, I want the Masa. With that, let’s see what other DraftKings picks we have up our sleeve…

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The Cubs.  The lovable losers.  The trade first and ask questions later…ers…

Say what you want about what the Cubs are doing, but I liked their blockbuster deal with the A’s.  John Kruk was slamming it on Sunday Night Baseball (while my boy Rick Porcello got a bitch slap of regression), but then again I’m a Brewers fan and not a Cubs fan!

Last year, the Cubs sold Scott Feldman for current pickup of the year nominee Jake Arrieta.  So that’s one thing they’ve done right!  Both the Shark and Jason Hammel weren’t re-signing, and this ridiculous emergence from Arrieta eases the pain of rebuilding a rotation.

But we don’t really care about Wrigley politics, we just want some nasty stats on our fantasy teams.  Arrieta has been absolutely unbelievable (only Clayton Kershaw has been better the past month) and he had back-to-back no-nos through 7 prior to Sunday’s start.  How legit is this breakout?  Is Arrieta a sell high?  I’ve seen the highlights and bits of some of the previous starts, but I wanted a deeper look into his stuff and decided to Profile how he looked in yesterday’s great outing against the Nationals:

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Well that was a nice easy title to kick things off after a week’s vacation. All that fresh sea air and funnel cake at the Jersey Shore really refreshed me spiritually. Of course the Atlantic City Expressway had the reverse effect, so I guess I have to call it a wash. This week, James Jones and his five steals in two weeks is getting the lede. Jones went from being more of a deep/AL-only play to mixed league relevant rather quickly. His biggest asset in fantasy is obviously the speed, and he’s now 17-for-18 in stolen base attempts in just 228 plate appearances. The 25-year-old outfielder bats from the left side and he’s a no-brainer add if you need some cheap steals out of an OF5 slot. Jones will face off against the Twins and Athletics this week. The Twins are just outside the top ten in MLB for steals allowed. By the by, it’s hard not to think of James Earl Jones when discussing this guy. My association with JEJ isn’t Darth Vader or Field of Dreams, though. It’s as the host of Long Ago & Far Away, a trippy claymation style kid’s show. Maybe there are some other thirty-somethings out there who remember the Pied Piper episode as vividly as I do. I digress. Here are some other steals plays for this week in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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Sometimes, you wanna feel like the smartest guy/gal/thing in the room. Of course, that would have to make the title ‘Summa Iwakuma Laude’ but I didn’t like the flow of ‘Summa Iwakuma’. My titles are ridiculous enough anyways, I don’t need unintentional rhyme muddying the waters along with it. So we chose ‘with great honor’ rather than ‘with highest honor’. We just replaced ‘cum’ with Hisashi Iwakuma…you better read that word in latin, perv! Not Hisashi, of course, since his name is in his native language of Japanese. So did I just create a new language? Jatin? Lapanese? Eh, I’ll leave the Bennifers to Hollywood at this point. But really, Hisashi should make you feel like you graduated with honors from Sports Tech Fantasy University (GO STFU!) as his price of $9,100 on DraftKings puts him behind the big three 10K+ pitchers on the day but the Stream-o-nator says his start is the tops of his class on the day. I do think because of the bigger names on the slate, Iwakuma will have a slightly lower ownership than normal despite the fact his start is at home and against a whiff-happy team. Much like my pick up skills will be on the Razzball Radio Tour, the Twins strike out rates are at the bottom of the league already but when they step out on the road, they’re even worse as they own the second worst K% while out Jack Kerouac’ing. So let’s swing our tassel from one side to the other and walk down that aisle…ahem, I meant graduation tassels and the hat. Seriously! Well, whatever, you’ve graduated to the rest of the picks. Now get out of this lead and take your dirty mind with you! Here’s the rest of the Razzball picks for July 7th contests…

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