Here’s me yesterday looking to pick up the new Yankee closer…. *types Kelly into waivers box, presses Enter* Inner monologue, “Joe Kelly?! No, I don’t want him! Casey Kelly?! Blech! C’mon, this is a 15 team mixed league, I’m not in an NL-Only keeper! Someone beat me to the waiver wire? Really? For the first time in three years, I’m watching a Yankees game because nothing else is on and serendipitously David Robertson is announced with a groin strain, so there’s no way anyone beat me to the waiver wire… I’m here first, I have to be! So where’s Kelly?! Fine, I’ll click the button that shows the players that are owned too. Wait, he’s not even listed there. What in the holy name of Christ Colabello–” And that was around the time I realized his name was spelled Kelley, not Kelly and while I was misspelling it someone else swooped in and grabbed him. This has been the latest installment of Grey Albright: Are You Sure You Want To Listen To This Man? So, Robertson is out for a few weeks with a groin strain — easy on the noodes, doode! — and Shawn Kelley is your new closer in New York, and, even though yesterday was Kelley’s first career save, it doesn’t mean he can’t be successful for the next three weeks. Or unsuccessful, but I’d pick him up either way in any league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note -- JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note -- I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:

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Gerrit Cole has filthy stuff. He can hit 100 MPH with his fastball and make all four of our girl readers go, “Ooh…” Which reminds me of my Walk on the Wild Side remixed chorus, “And the four girl readers go doo do doo do doo do do doo.” There was a whole lot of nonsense, or whole lotta if we stick with the rock theme, when he was first called up that Cole didn’t want to strike people out. Does Alf not want to get back to Melmac?! Does macaroni not mean awesome when Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni!? Does everyone with glasses not look goofy on a 1980′s baseball card?! Ron Kittle? I rest my case! Of course, Cole wants to strike out guys. You can’t stop that! Yesterday, he struck out 12 of them. In 111 1/3 IP this year, he has a 7.60 K-rate and if you throw out June, when he was saying that nonsense about throwing to contact, his K-rate would be near 9. Oh, bee tee dubya, everything else is purdy, too. His FIP is 2.98, his walk rate is barely over 2, he gets ground balls. For 2014 fantasy baseball, Cole could easily be a top 20 starter for all of baseball and will be someone I’ll get plenty googly about this offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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All strikeouts aren’t created equal, apparently. Holy Samardballs, are you kidding me? It was a short schedule day. There’s no middle relief disinfectant for this feces you sprayed all over my team. Why do you hurt me, Jeff Samardzija? Did I not show you enough preseason love? Did my March cuddles not warm your cockles? Did the hype get to your head? Are you better suited for football? Are you a great Scrabble word in search of a pitching repertoire? What the effin’ eff are you doing to my ratios? I GOT QUESTIONS, Y’ALL! Yesterday, his line was 3 1/3 IP, 9 ER and today he’s dropped to waivers. You can’t hold a guy who’s as explosive as bad Mexican food. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Wow. Dot, dot, dot. I mean, WOW. Dot, dot, dot. Pause for reaction. WOW. Wow. WOW. Stunned silence. I mean, we all knew the suspension was coming, but everyone also figured he’d appeal it like Papa Smurf, you know, until he was blue in the face. The only explanation is the MLB had him dead to rights, which isn’t the same as an epitaph for a pigeon you feed instant rice; that’s dead to rice. Ryan Braun probably realized that 1) The Brewers aren’t going anywhere this year. 2) He’s injured. 3) There’s no three. With the suspension of the Jewish Braun by the Jewish Selig, Selig becomes the 1st Jew ever sanctioned by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, but Selig received high marks from the Jewish Self-Deprecation League. “As Selig was suspending Braun, Bud also pointed out how he had to bring out his media-friendly toupee,” said Jewish Self-Deprecation League president, Yitz Steinberg. Mr. Steinberg added, “That kind of self-deprecation is hard to pull off.” Obviously, Braun is droppable in all redraft leagues, and, if you’re holding onto an expensive Braun in keepers, I’d look to drop him there too, if I needed the room. The good news is you can find off of waivers what Braun has been giving you thus far this year. The bad news, now they have to add an asterisk to the Famous Jewish Athlete pamphlet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The name YoGa conjures peace, calm and sneaking looks at girls in yoga pants. On the mound, YoGa conjures stress. Starting him is like asking him to be your designated driver. You really have no idea what you’re going to get. He’s become more predictable as of late, but not in the good way. Every game this year he’s looked like someone put him in the fridge for an hour, then poured Magic Shell over him, then chiseled him out and left the fake-choco shell on the mound. I was already to drop him. I had hit my brink. So, how does he reward me? Does he pitch terrible and allow me the freedom of dropping him? You think anything’s that easy with YoGa? Yesterday, Yovani Gallardo was regularly hitting 93 MPH, and looking the part of the guy that finished 11th in Cy Young voting two years ago and won 16 games with a 3.66 ERA last year. A guy that has been a solid number two fantasy starter for the last four years. He threw a near-flawless 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners (1 BB), 4 Ks game. Of course, it was against the MIA Marlins and only 4 Ks. Still, I can’t drop him after that, but I also can’t start him for his next game in Great American Ballpark. So, for now I’ll hold a guy that I can’t start or bench confidently. Ugh, more stress! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Carl Crawford hurt his hammy on Saturday, which opened the door for the Dodgers to make memories. Every Dodger fan is on their portable mobile cellular device texting someone their excitement. Of course, their excitement is about how well Fast & Furious is doing at the box office or how it only took them twenty minutes from downtown to the beach. The 10 was a breeze! But amongst the Angeleno texts I intercepted, there was one about how the Dodgers called up the latest Cuban raftee, Yasiel Puig. You can imagine how excited Dodger fans will be once they realize how good he is and that they’ll be able to see him even if they leave the game by the 7th inning. There will be a chance for Puig to show his tools like Siamese Twins in an adult theater. In Triple-A, he hit 8 homers, stole 13 bases and hit .313 in only 40 games. If he does that in the next 40 games for the Dodgers, he will be the number one call-up for fantasy and there will be no way the Dodgers can send him down. The big question for me is what happens when Crawford and Kemp return. I think there’s a good chance Puig hits a few homers, steals a couple of bases in the next few weeks, then gets sent right back down. Obviously, you have to take a flyer on him in all leagues to see if he sticks. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Cameron Frye called up Ned Colletti yesterday. He said, “Ned. This is Joc Pederson. Well, we’ve had a bit of bad luck this morning as you may have heard. Matt Kemp got injured.” Ned, “Yeah I heard, and man, I’m all broken up, boy, what a blow.” “Yeah. Yeah. Well, uh, it’s been a tough morning and we got a lot of business to take care of, so if you wouldn’t mind DL’ing Kemp, I’d appreciate it.” “Uh, yeah, sure, I’d be happy to, yeah you, uh, you, you, you just produce a corpse, and uh, I’ll DL Kemp, but I wanna see Salvador Perez’s dead grandmother first.” “Ned?” So, Matt Kemp did hit the DL, which has led to speculation that this will lead to the arrival of Pederson. Last night, the Dodgers played Ethier in center, but that’s not a long-term solution. But, instead of Puig or Pederson, the Dodgers called up…Wait for it… It’s right here… Hold on, I left it in my other pants… Got it! They called up Tony Gwynn Jr.! In other words, the Dodgers suck as badly as Matt Kemp. In other other words, you can grab Pederson in case Gwynn doesn’t pan out, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. In other other other words, the fly me to the moon record is skipping. Oh, and let’s not forget I told you six weeks ago to sell Kemp and ranked him very low in the preseason, so you were warned. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I went ahead and picked up Jarrod Dyson this past week only to watch him sprain his ankle before even entering my lineup. ESPN has him listed as 0.0% ownership, so apparently my team doesn’t even count in their world. I was about to get all depressed about it and throw on my Skinny Puppy t-shirt and black eyeliner when I realized that this is a SAGNOF world, and that means when one speedster goes down, we just go to the heap for another. We’re about 1/4 of the way through the season already, and that means it’s time to take a look at some stats for pitchers, catchers, and teams to try to exploit when chasing steals. I’ll also take a look at what Will Venable is up to and how Pedro Florimon may be a possible source of cheap speed in very deep leagues. At the beginning of the season, I posted the 2012 numbers for pitchers and catchers who should be exploited or avoided when it comes to steals, as well as team SB allowed for matchup purposes. Here are those same stats through the first 40 games of the 2013 season.

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