Make sure you check out Scott Evans’ Prospect ETA’s for a sense of potential high impact call-ups. I’m going to focus on prospects and MLB sleepers beyond the obvious list of prospects. If I list a prospect, that said prospect should have the opportunity to make an impact this year, and in my opinion, have the minor league numbers/skill to translate well enough.

My ‘translate’ for fantasy purposes is simple: do they make enough contact (how often they put the ball in play); what is their approach to putting the ball in play (balls in play mix i.e. linedrives, flyballs, groundballs, HR/FB, infield flyballs, etc.); and what power/speed potential do they have from a fantasy counting stats perspective. Speed won’t have much of a weight in this post though.

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As the seminal prog band Emerson, Lake and Laura Palmer once sang: “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside.” (The song went on for 45 minutes before ‘Yes’ came out and kicked their ass.) Opening day is here and the Razzball Lounge is open for bid’ness. Have a seat, grab a cold one and a pickled egg, and don’t get hypnotized by my bedazzled turban my fantasy freaks. Here in the lounge we dedicated, often celebrated, and usually acquitted (we have a great legal team) Razzballin’ scribes gather every opening day to bicker and banter, indulge and imbibe and moan and marvel at our fantasy teams and Grey’s magnificent ‘stache. On this last lazy Sunday (before things get serious) we find Sky in a dark corner slowing rocking back and forth muttering his mantra of “Tulo, Tanaka, Trumbo” over and over. Bellying up to the bar is podcasting paladin Nick Capozzi, clad only in his Expos throwback demanding another Labatts, showing off pics of his rolling Razzball ride and asking no one in particular, “Get your 32in32in32 tickets yet, eh?” Dropping quarters in the jukebox we find Jay Wrong demonstrating his “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” interpretative dance – “Will you love me forever?”  *bottle smashes above head* Stumbling out of the ladies room is the one and only Tehol Beddict casually zipping up his skinny jeans and introducing his new lady friend, “Guys, I’d like to introduce you to my cousin. Ain’t she pretty?” And here at the pool table is your humble-but-nonetheless handsome Guru putting the finishing touches on my 27 rosters. *closes eye, takes aim, sinks eight ball off two rails, drops shot glass into pint, downs boilermaker, lights cigar, sets turban on fireWith the drinks starting to flow let’s run though the jams and crams at each position for Week 1 of the 2014 fantasy baseball season. We’re not talking Miggy, Trout or Goldy here, we’re looking at players owned in less than 50% of most leagues that could help grab you an early lead on your way to fantasy glory. Good luck this season, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

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So, how’s your season? *connects hose to tailpipe* That good, huh? Well, the end is near my depressed Razzballin’ droogs. Some of us are prepared for the sprint to the finish and others are drinking too much Colt 45, screaming “Ike Davis” at confused strangers and assembling Fantasy Football draft boards in their tighty whities and Ken Stabler throwbacks. Speaking of which, everyone say hello to Sky. He’s our Fantasy Football Czar and would like to meet your acquaintance here. If you’ve enjoyed our weekly jammer crammer sessions, once we wrap up this here baseball season in a pretty little bow, your humble Guru will continue jamming and cramming on Fantasy Football Island. So join a RCL League now. As for our fake baseball teams, how did you do? Taking a look at The Guru’s collection of teams, I’d have to say it’s been a satisfying season. Currently I’m staring at 10 firsts, 5 seconds and a third. 16 teams? Yes, I admit I do have a problem with moderation. Excuse me while I pour another scotch. Good morning. The areas that have been problematic for me this year have been steals and saves. SAGNOF! Injuries to Jason Motte and Joel Hanrahan certainly didn’t help and had me scrambling to the waiver wire early and often for the likes of Koji Uehara and Rex Brothers. When it comes to steals, the early injury to Jose Reyes and now the suspension of Everth Cabrera put me in the SAGNOF hole. Ouch! Stay away from my SAGNOF hole, it’s an exit not an entrance. As we enter the final three weeks of the regular season, here’s hoping your season has been a success and all the credit can be heaped upon your motley crew of Razzballin’ scribes. If you are out of it, damn the fantasy gods, troll Tehol on Twitter and let me pour you a tumbler of Islay. Enjoy and leave a comment below on the state of your season. It’s time to jam it or cram it – SAGNOF! Part II: Red, White and Screwed.

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The 2013 Fantasy Baseball season is heading into its stretch run and the playoffs are right around the corner. My fair Razzballers, it seems like only yesterday we were complimenting Grey’s mustache and singing voice in exchange for roster autopsies, trade advice and grooming tips. We were all so young and naïve with big dreams for Ike Davis and Josh Rutledge back then. Now we are just bitter old men (and four ladies), wondering where it all went wrong and yelling at those kids to get off our lawn. If you’re still in the fantasy hunt *high five/chest bump/headbutt* it’s time to drop any dead weight still rotting on your roster. If you are out of it and still waiting for Josh Hamilton to carry your team, Sky would love to hear from you over on Fantasy Football Island. For the rest of us, we are either trying to hold onto first, grabbing some stats to gain on the leader or getting in position for the playoffs. There is no hope and loyalty left at this point in the season. It’s time to drop the duds and find the studs that may carry you to a fantasy championship. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

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John Rocker said baseball was “better with steroids.” Sure it is, if you enjoy atrophic testicles and 980 foot home runs. Atrophic testicles are also available at Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen. Winner, winner, gonad dinner. John Rocker loves his ‘roids. He also said other incredibly “poignant” things that can be enjoyed in his new children’s book, It’s a Small World (Who Let the Asians in). Hey, I’m no literary critic and I’m certainly no doctor, I’m a guru dammit, but steroids are bad for your spunk tanks and bad for your fake baseball team. This whole Biogenesis thing is ugly, but the real tragedy is the impact on the fantasy universe! The steroid hammer of death is about to fall on the junk of Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and of course John Rocker’s new housemate on Spike TV’s I’m a Celebrity Douche…Get Me Out of Here, Alex Rodriguez. Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon may have dodged the wrath of Bud, so light a candle, kick Melky to the curb and hold onto Colon for now. The rest will be gone for the year and sipping HGH fortified Manischewitz with the original fallen hammer, Ryan Braun. If you have not got a jump start on your league mates already, consider today’s blog a syringeful of anabolic fantasy help. Hope we don’t grow man boobs. Or maybe I do. It’s time to jam it or cram it. We’re on the juice!

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Bob Seger, Chevrolet’s poet laureate, once wrote, “Who wants to play those eights and aces/Who wants a raise/Who needs a stake/Who wants to take that long shot gamble?” The tune was “Fire Lake” and while not his best, (Give me “The Famous Final Scene”) or the best thing out of Detroit (give me The Stooges any day), I do like the line on taking a long shot. I’m a ramblin’ gamblin’ man. Recently we rolled the dice on Marlon Byrd and hit it like a hard ten/a woman’s best friend (For all our Mormon readers, that’s a good thing). Sometimes taking a chance pays off big and it’s Cristal and caviar, sometimes you’re busted and it’s Pabst and pork rinds. We have taken our chances this season, often throwing stats and logic aside. I got a feelin’! Oh, it’s just gas. Stupid pork rinds. Yes indeed, fellow Razzballer’s, we had jammer/crammers that we hit on like Raul Ibanez, Nick Franklin and Koji Uehara. Others left us bankrupt. Damn you Ike Davis! I’m crying real tears over my fake baseball team here. It’s time to take some risks and find us a longshot. Time to put on some Seger, don the Ray-Ban’s and slide across the living room floor in our underwear. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

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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.

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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.

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Jump in the Guru’s Hot Tub Time Machine and join me as we take a short spin through the space-time continuum back to the year 2000. *wavy lines wavy lines* Hey, what the hell’s going on? What’s that big balloon thingy? Ooohhhh, its 1937, my bad. Everyone back in the hot tub. Oh, the humanity. *more wavy lines* I want to welcome you all to the year 2000. They promised us Jetson cars and replicant strippers, but all we got was Creed and Battlefield Earth. No wonder crystal meth became so popular. Another popular pharmaceutical was anabolic steroids. And baseball was up to its shrunken testicles in it. At the end of the 2000 season, 46 MLB players had belted 30 or more home runs. 15 players hit 40 or more. And Sammy Sosa hit 50. Lo siento Sammy, pero tienen pechos! Now everyone back in the El Camino hot tub before we hear “Smooth” again. Wait! Year 2000 JayWrong, bet a bundle on the Yankees in 5. Your future self will thank me. *yet more wavy lines* Probably would have been easier to just search all this online, but I was afraid Y2K might mess up all this important data. Taking a look at last year’s numbers only 26 players hit 30 or more home runs and only six hit 40 or more. Miguel Cabrera led the league with 44. Sammy Sosa hit 0. But he did win 205 pesos at a Dominican cock fight. ¡Viva! In 2013, according to ZiPS projections for the rest of the year, only 20 players will hit 30 or more home runs. Two players, Cabrera and Chris Davis, may reach 40. Commissioner Bud has officially pulled the plug on all the long ball fun. We got an official power shortage y’all. So, with homers in short supply, let’s head to the waiver wire and take a look at some potential power hitters. Either that or we can take the hot tub again and kidnap George Foster. Time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?