The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This never should have happened, but do you remember a time when Gangnam Style was cool? It’s hard to remember, I know, but I’m talking about the dark ages of 2012; the same year Jeremy Hellickson was last an effective pitcher. Following a disastrous 2013 campaign, Hellickson underwent offseason surgery, and tonight will be his third start off the DL. Against very mediocre competition (BOS and KC), he’s looked rusty (as expected), and I don’t think he’ll get his groove back against the Angels, who are probably my favorite stack of the night. Los Angeles of Anaheim of California of Earth has struggled to put up runs recently, but I expect an outburst at the Trop. So, feel free to take a hit off my stack pipe, but if you’re chicken, see below for some other players who gon’ do the damn thing.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Signs you should’ve had someone else name your group: mispelling a common word is NOT a band name. Seriously, try it. Tom Petty Andd The Heartbreakers…yeah, did ya need the extra ‘d’? Rhetorical. No you didn’t. Hrm, maybe it’s just a sign you’re a bad group and should give up music entirely? Well, history has made it so. In many ways, streamers are just like one hit wonders, even when you look back and wonder how they even had a hit at all. By the end of the year, the Reds should get guys like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips back, making Cincy’s lineup a bit more imposing down the stretch. But we’re not there now, we’re here where guys like Ramon Santiago is batting second in the lineup and they’re starting two catchers. You shouldn’t even do that in a fantasy league that doesn’t require two Cs. Every fantasy player knows this but the Reds literally have no choice right now. All this to say, maybe some day you’ll look back with nostalgia on that one time you started Tom Koehler against the Reds and came out with some major DraftKings change for doing so. Prior to yesterday’s game, the Reds owned the worst team wOBA of the major leagues over the last 14 days while striking out 25.7% of the time. Though Koehler’s numbers on the season aren’t that inspiring, he does average 6 more DK points at home then he does on the road. Considering he’s only $6,400, he’ll leave you all the room you need to roster a big arm or big bats. And when he’s done, I’ll probably never start him again and forget how awesome he was for that one day. But for the time being, Koehler, I Wanna Sex You Up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Cardinals traded for one of the most unreliable starters this year, Justin Masterson and his 5.51 ERA. Ouch. The Cardinals fell asleep and the Indians drew a shaft and balls on their forehead. People are snickering at you, Cardinals, because you have a shaft and balls on your head. Unless it’s a non-Leaning Tower of Pisa that is partially obscuring a tractor trailer so all we’re seeing is its giant wheels. Then, it’s a lovely scenic landscape, but you still got had. This saves the Brewers a lot of trouble because I heard they were going to trade for Masterson and then ‘accidentally’ leave him behind on their next road trip to St. Louis. No reason to obfuscate, my dear Milwaukee friends. Masterson gets a slight uptick in value just going to the NL, but he needs to prove he’s healthy and able to throw a Quality Start before I’d start him anywhere. So, he’s gone from a Waiver Wire guy, to an On My Bench Until He Shows Something guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Alex Cobb‘s line was 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 12 Ks. March Grey, “You’re welcome.” April Grey, “Figures you show your face now.” May Grey, “You know how much crap I took for you, March Grey?” June Grey, “Seriously!” All the Greys start yammering over each other. March Grey, “Hey! Hey! Hey! July Grey, defend me here!” July Grey, “Don’t be too hard on him, Cobb was injured. He has a 2.23 ERA in July.” April/May/June Grey, “Shut up!” March Grey, “What about the Ks, July Grey? Tell them about those too.” April Grey, “We don’t want to hear it!” July Grey, “36 Ks in only 32 1/3 IP in July. Oh, and in April his ERA was 1.89, so I have no idea what your problem is.” April Grey, “Peer pressure.” March Grey, “April Grey’s still in a daze from Dozier’s April.” June Grey, “Yeah, April Grey, how’s Mike Morse doing too?” April Grey, “You know what? I’m hanging up now.” May Grey, “Probably wants to check on his Brett Lawrie-led offense.” So, Cobb hasn’t been dazzling all year like I expected, but his ERA is down to 3.54 on the year, his K-rate is 8.6, walk rate is 2.6 and his xFIP is 3.27. Everything I liked about him in the preseason still stands. March Grey, “That’s what I’m saying! Now, are you sending the bail money or what? This Nicaraguan prison sucks. Greys? Are you guys still there?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Damn, after reading that title, now I want to eat pasta. Has anyone ever watched The Godfather and not wanted to eat Italian right after? It’s an American rite of passage. Once you’re old enough to crave Italian food after The Godfather, then you’re an adult. That should be the only test to vote or get into the military. “Listen, maggot, you want to go fight for your country? Then sit down and watch this three-hour movie and tell me what you want to eat afterwards. If you want a burger, fries and extra ketchup, you’re a baby. Go home.” Adam Duvall homered last night off Clifford Lee, and Duvall had 26 homers in Triple-A this year in 310 ABs. Of course, they play in the PCL, a league that pumps their baseballs with helium. He will only fill-in while Brandon Belt is on the concussion DL, but that could be anywhere from a week to a month. In NL-Only leagues, I’d definitely grab him, and even look at him in deeper mixed leagues, if you’re desperate. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I mentioned in my first/intro OPS post, we’re looking at OPS differential by using expected (x)Homerun and expected (x)BABIP differentials. If you like Captain Planet or laser beams, or want to understand my general approach, then I recommend a gander. If you provide your email below, I can furnish the full list that you can sort. Wordpress doesn’t allow me to copy and paste it all pretty for you.

Let’s start with my xHR formula (PA*Ct%*OFFB%*HR/OFFB%). Here are the top 10 guys likely to drop off from a HR perspective: Albert Pujols, Adam Jones, Justin Morneau, Alexei Ramirez, Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Brett Lawrie, Hunter Pence and Salvador Perez.

Here are the top 35 guys likely to drop off from a BABIP perspective that you actually might own (meaning I’m excluding the Martin Maldonados of the world): Josh Rutledge, Justin Ruggiano, A.J. Pollock, Josh Hamilton, Stephen Vogt, J.D. Martinez, J.J. Hardy, Eugenio Suarez, Hunter Pence and Matt Adams.

Looking at both xHR and xBABIP differentials, here are guys you might own that I would consider selling in OPS leagues based on their expected vs. actual OPS (the differential is in parenthesis just like this statement. See what I did here?):

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So it’s not really the 2nd half mark in the fantasy baseball season, but it’s the All-Star Break so what else are we going to talk about? Hell’s Kitchen? Is it even believable that these people would one day be in charge of a kitchen? There’s Real World castmates who seem like they have their shizz together better than these schmohawks. I like the one guy who burps a lot. He seems ready to run a kitchen! MasterChef, though, that show is the Sistine Chapel of reality shows. Okay, as with all of the other 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt. If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade the outfielder for the 2nd baseman. Also, things change in fantasy baseball. Daily. I could put Miggy number three on the top 100 list for the second half of 2014 and he could get in a fight with a bartender (not Tom Wilhelmsen) tomorrow, then he wouldn’t be number one. See how that works. This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued. It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache. This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half of their season. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today. So while Carlos Santana did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because I still believe. The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2014. I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what guys will do. Welcome to the future! Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2014:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What’s the mood, doode? How ya’ feelin’? Why is it all real G’s drop their G’s on their gerunds? G-dropping as non-G’s call it. That keeps me up at night. Failing to rank at first Tyson Ross in my top 100 starters doesn’t. It was a mistake on my part, and I corrected it before we got out of February. I ranked him. Snafu less afu’d than it could’ve been. I still probably didn’t rank him high enough. They have no award for that. Trophies, trophies. This is like Gangsta Deep Thoughts on Def Poetry Jam. Stop me from going up like a crescendo. This is not a love song. This is “What Tyson Ross has done so far this year” song. That is not as catchy. They don’t play that on KDay. His ERA is at 2.93 after a complete game shutout where he struck out 9 and only allowed 3 baserunners. His K-rate is 8.6, walk rate is 3.2 and xFIP is 3.16. Clap, pause for a sip of Olde E, clap. I paused for a sip of the brew on his walk rate, if you’re uptake is slow. His away ERA is 4.18. Well, you had me convinced you were more than a Hodgepadre there for a moment. Nice trick, Copperfield. Ross is owned in 51% of ESPN leagues, which is stoopid, but since I only own 12,000 ESPN teams to collect some software. Virtual trophies, virtual trophies. I can only do so much. Yes, he should be owned, but he’s a lot safer in Petco. No dur. And I bow. And I just hit my head on my desk. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Every major leaguer knows that there is absolutely no crying in baseball. Then there’s Hall of Fame speeches. I’m preparing mine right now for the DFS Hall of Shame for last week, and believe me, there’s plenty of wet spots on the notecards. After an abysmal call on Kazmir as my top choice last week I’ve had to take my lumps, swallow my pride and get back out there. I apologize to all of you and shed a tear on your behalf if you listened to me last week. No reason to stay attached to the whipping post so I pushed harder with my most active week on Draftkings to date and I’ve been able to regain some of the swagger with a 70% gain in bankroll since that fabled day.

With all that said, there is one thing becoming true that we all can’t ignore: The San Diego Padres are the most pathetic offense I have watched in my 10+ years of analyzing baseball. They are the living embodiment of AAAA. Chase Headley, Jedd Gyorko and Carlos Quentin were supposed to be the only guys who busted them out of that mold and they have been the worst of the bunch. When Seth Smith is your best offering, you have no offering.

Please, blog, may I have some more?