James Jones has appeared in this column before, but his three steals against the Padres last week opened the eyes of fantasy players in all formats. It shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise given who those steals came against though. The Padres are one of the worst teams in the majors at holding baserunners and on that particular night it was Tyson Ross on the mound. Ross is currently leading the major leagues in stolen bases allowed (21). He’s got a big red target on his back for those of us in daily leagues looking to deploy SAGNOF types. If you look at it as a rate, the Padres hurler is giving up about a steal for every five innings pitched. Ross is scheduled to face the Diamondbacks this week, so even fringy players like Tony Campana might be worth a shot for a stolen base. Week to week we give you the best and worst teams to run against, but looking even closer at the individual pitchers can be helpful for daily lineup changes. Hey Mike, I wish we had a tool for that! I hear you, friend. Check out the SB Rates vs. SP tool. It will give you the stolen base against data for each pitcher in 2013. Here’s a quick rundown of the best arms to run against in 2014 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It was a good night for a rally, but a bad night for a closer. Summer is officially here which means we can no longer use the “he’ll heat up as soon the weather warms up” excuse for our struggling stars. And just as the air at Coors makes the balls fly higher, the increased temperature and humidity also causes those baseballs to travel even farther. This time of year the advantage tends to shift from the pitchers to the hitters. It’s science, Mr. White! Fact. Just go ask a scientist. He’ll tell you summer is coming, Jon Snuh, no need to look so depressed all of the time. Perhaps this explains why last night, on Summer’s Eve, a number of closers collectively decided to destroy your ratios in an all out Closer Catastrophe. Let’s start with Zach Britton (0.2 IP, 3 hits, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, BS (2)). I haven’t seen a Yankee beat a Britton like that since the Battle of Saratoga. Revolutionary war joke! (NERD!)  With nine saves in the past month, it’s hard for Britton’s owners to complain here, so let’s move on. Old Reliable Glen Perkins (1.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 1 BB), was handed his third blown save but managed his third win, in expert vulture stylez. The crowning jewel of last night’s CloserTastrophe, Aroldis Chapman (0.2 IP, 2 hits, 2 BB, 4 ER) was handed the loss after a five run ninth inning capped off by a 3-run HR by Edwin Encarnacion. Say it ain’t so, Roldy! Is no one safe? With Craig Kimbrel (1.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, 1 ER) notching his fourth blown save I should think not. Anthony Rendon hit a game-tying HR (11) off Craig, the first homer Kimbrel has surrendered all season. Are you getting scared yet? Was there a full moon last night or something? How about Greg Holland (1.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 BB, 2 ER) taking his second loss. This one was tied when he entered but stillz. By this time in the night when I saw Kenley Jansen (0.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 hits) enter the game with one run lead, I knew it could only end poorly. Escape while you can, Kenley! Fake a stomach cramp or something! He was handed his third blown save of the year. Sure, I’m ignoring all the closers who did manage to notch saves last night, but that’s not the point. It was a tough night to be a closer, but an even tougher night to own one in fantasy baseball. I feel your pain, all.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re familiar with Razzball, then you know about all of the handy tools. My favorite is the Stream-o-Nator (SON for short). It gives dollar values for pitchers specific to that day’s match-up and it’s the primary reason I’m recommending A.J. Burnett today against the Cubs. Burnett’s season has been inconsistent at best and he’s battling an injury that will likely last the whole year. He did however put together a really nice start his last time out and he’s a value play today at $7,700. SON likes his start $18, which ranks third overall for the day and is about $10 higher than an “average” start. The Cubs rank dead last in MLB against right handers with a 74 wRC+. Their 22.7% strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching is the fourth highest in baseball. Considering the price and the opponent, I like the risk/reward you’re getting today with Burnett. Happy Father’s Day!

If you are new to DraftKings, use our promo link to get started. New players that click on that link will get a free contest ticket with a first time deposit (only new users eligible). The winner of the contest gets entry into our $500k Showcase with a $100k top prize. Also, if you haven’t tried the DFSBot via Rudy, check it out: it compares projected values to actual DFS prices for the day. Here are some of today’s other picks for DraftKings contests on 6/15/2014…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hold onto your Taco Bell-made Doritos hat because yesterday Eric Hosmer hit a homer. Sung like J.J. Fad, “The S is for super, the Homer is for about freakin’ time!” More of an 80′s rock kid? Hosmer’s been Poison so far this year, but look what the cat dragged in! Prefer the punk scene? After Billy Butler goes to the bathroom, they say the john’s rotten. Okay, that had nothing to do with Hosmer, but I’m a man of the people and the people in my head demanded a punk reference. The Royals power has been so bad this year, Lorde released a remix titled, “Blue Jays.” At the forefront of the Royals abomination has been Hosmer. Entering today he had two homers. Who do you think you are, Robinson Cano? His homers per fly ball is abysmal, but his ground ball to fly ball ratio is about the same as previous years, his line drive percentage is fine, his at-bats per homer was around 30 for every year, except this year where it’s at 129. The only true red flag in his numbers is he’s hitting a ton of infield flies. I think that might’ve been him pressing due to the homer drought and now that cloud of doom can lift. I don’t think he’s suddenly going to jack 30 homers and start walking around in a crown like Jerry “The King” Lawler, but I also don’t think Hosmer will stay this terrible forever. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

What do you think the Stream-O-Nator looks like? I imagine it resembles Dr. Theopolis, the little circular faced thing that hangs around Twiki’s neck on “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”. Dr. Theo was basically a robot on a robot, only he was the smart one and he kind of relied on his dumb robot friend to get him around. Is it possible that Stream-O-Nator hangs around Hitter-Tron’s neck? Would that make Stream-O-Nator a blow-up doll of sorts?

These questions probably couldn’t and shouldn’t be answered, but one thing I do know is that Stream-O-Nator cannot detect signs of life. Because if it could, it would be able to go in and perform the baseball equivalent of an electrocardiogram on the Philadelphia Phillies and come back with something very close to a straight, flat line. This is especially true at Citizens Bank Park, where it’s almost worse than a road game in terms of boos and pressure from a fan base that’s about to go for a group swim off the Ben Franklin Bridge.

And if Stream-O-Nator could do this, it would know that the first of Ian Kennedy’s two starts next week should be a cake walk. Yes, CBP is a bandbox, but no, the older Phillie bats won’t be able to catch up with Kennedy’s lively fastball, nor will bewildered youngsters like Domonic Brown, whose swing is so jacked up that play-by-play guys with manboobs who never played the game are dissecting the various hitches that have him down near the Mendoza line.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You make plans, and the Fantasy Baseball Overlord laughs. I believe that is how the saying goes. Yesterday, Carlos Gonzalez succumbed to his time-honored tradition of hitting the DL. This time it was due to his finger inflammation. I wonder if his finger plumped up like a Ballpark Frank. By the by, you know the secret ingredient that is used for Ballpark Franks to plump up when you cook them, why is that not used in other foods? This seems to be the cure for world hunger. Inject everything and ship it to Africa. “Nice pancake, colonizer, but can you plump it up?” Yes, we can now little African kid! On his trips to Africa, why is Bono not armed with Ballpark Franks? We need some sodium nitrate up in here! On the bright side of things, Corey Dickerson is now definitely going to get everyday looks for at least the next two weeks and I’d guess it’ll be more like three to four weeks. Grab Dickerson! Whew, glad his name isn’t Dick, er, son. On a side note, “precious cargo” is the stupidest Urban Dictionary definition I’ve ever seen. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The 2014 season is two months old, so it’s data day here at the Razzball Steals Emporium. This is kind of like the chapter review our teachers gave us in school, except there is no test, so everybody wins. We have to mention Dee Gordon to start. His ADP was 222. This is ironic because that’s about how many steals he’ll likely end up with this year. With 34 stolen bases on June 1, the 26-year-old middle infielder is on a crazy pace for about 90 swipes this season. Billy Hamil-who?

Gordon has always had speed, but he’s doing more to utilize it this year in the majors. He’s been successful on the basepaths 92% of the time. He’s swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, making better contact, and striking out less in general. Gordon has also been hitting more ground balls, less fly balls, and significantly less infield fly balls. This has all resulted in a better batting average, better on-base percentage, and in turn crazy stolen base numbers. It’s almost as if someone reminded Dee that he was fast and should just try to put the ball on the ground. Amazing!

Gordon owners can enjoy the ride and shouldn’t stay up at night worrying about him falling off a cliff. If anything, I wouldn’t be shy to acquire Gordon off of an owner who was nervous about that very scenario. He won’t provide much outside of stolen bases, but he’ll help you come close to winning that category from a middle infield position, allowing you to roster more balanced players in your outfield slots.

Here’s where we’re at with steals through the first two months in 2014 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Everybody, and I mean everybody, is super excited to see Trevor Bauer make his rookie debut. And by rookie debut I mean his 18th rookie debut and by everybody I mean me. It’s gonna be huge. Not only is it going to be one of the most dominant starts of the year, but Draftkings is going to totally undervalue him due to his not “super official” former rookie debuts. So let’s head straight to the value play of Trevor Bauer at Draftkings today… or we can stand here holding ourselves. As of now, he’s not an option. So now that I spent my last 3 years waiting to write this post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, WTF!?!?!

Good news or bad news? I knew you’d say bad news first.

The bad news: I don’t have strong recommendations for every position on the field today.

The good news: I’m not going to tell you who to start at every position so you can’t blame me for… EH HEM… you can take some credit for your winnings today. I got some really strong love for the guys below however.

I shared an artisan, biodynamic, organic, gluten free, local and hand-crafted (the adjectivey way of saying from Portland) cocktail with mis primos Streamo, Tron and DFSBot last night. They were lubricated on the booze and shared all their secrets with me. You should only feel so lucky that they’re exhibitionists so they’ll be sharing with the public for the next 5 months minimum. After that, you’re on your own for 2014 fantasy baseball.

It’s time to start chasing big money at Draftkings, who are offering free money if you play for real money and more free money if you tell your friends. Today’s recommendations are based on finding strong value. Make sure you look at today’s DFSBot to complement the following. I’m not saying you should do it, but maybe you like free money or you like playing games… I dunno.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

Up until now, Two-Startapoola 2014 has kind of resembled a post-taco feast fart party, where you’re trying in vain to wave away the pervasive stench cluttering up the lower tiers but that cloud of doom just won’t move.

But this week there is absolutely no shame in being down in the lower Second Tier or even the Third Tier.

Former aces who had fallen on hard times, like Yovani Gallardo and Josh Beckett, finally have their shtuff together, some of the pitchers who sucked earlier in the year (Brandon McCarthy, Jake Odorizzi) have gotten way better, and the Twins finally set their rotation so they don’t have the same guy pitching twice in the same week. Which means at least one less garbage starter in the system. You think Ron Gardenhire had us fantasy geeks in mind when he set up his real-life Twinkie pitching lineup this week? Me neither.

Anyways, have yourself a look-see at what the fantasy gods have sent down for us…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If Nick, the Podcast-Now-Radio host put on a glove, or even an oversized mitten, the Mets would move Eric Young Jr. to the bench because of how much the Mets dislike him — Young, not Nick. Sure, it helps that Nick is like seven-feet tall, but he doesn’t have any athletic ability. Now, imagine the hate for EY and multiple it by seven. That’s how much the Mets hate Ruben Tejada. He once landed on the DL with hurt feelings. The Mets tried to trade him this offseason for a closer parking spot to their stadium, and they own the parking lot so they didn’t even need it! Finally, unable to look at Tejada’s stupid face anymore, they brought up Wilmer Flores to play shortstop. In Triple-A this year, he hit 5 homers in 29 games. That’s a small sample size — that’s what she said! — but it’s nothing new for him. Last year, he hit 15 homers in 107 games; 18 homers between Double and High-A the year before, etc. etc. etc. He has better-than-average power for a middle infielder, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s worth owning in 12 team mixed leagues by the All-Star Break. For now, I’d grab him in deeper mixed leagues because Flores is ready to bloom. Pun noted and unavoidable, though I didn’t try very hard. Then in Texas they called up Rougned Odor, which only sounds like a discontinued brand of Lysol. “So, we’re thinking about a new smell to mask dirty socks. It’s the smell of rotten eggs. Yes, it’s bad, but you don’t smell socks anymore.” And then that Lysol employee was fired, sued for discrimination and was awarded two-point-six mill. Don’t you wish you’d get fired from a corporate job? That’s where it’s at! Odor is going to play 2nd base while Profar is out, which is actually the issue with Odor. Once Profar returns, does Odor keep playing? Only if Odor’s hitting like .350 and spark plugging the entire team. Odor has 30-steal speed and some light power that won’t kill you in average. I like him, but if I had to bet who would get more ABs this year, I’d say Flores. But for short-term value in shallower leagues, I want Odor above Flores because speed translates quicker. Again, noted and I didn’t try to avoid it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?