Top 20 catchers, 1st basemen and the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 are in the books. What a strange, glorious trip it’s been! Though not really. Today, the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball get to shine. Hmm… Actually, most of these won’t shine. They’re cloudy with a chance of crapballs. To be a bit more specific, Dee Gordon was 5th for 2nd baseman, here he’s second overall. Then it stabilizes with Zobrist being 13th at 2nd basemen and only 12th here. But then the shortstops flat line with guys like Jordy Mercer and Brock Holt appearing on this list and not even making in the top 20 2nd basemen. Either way, it’s ugly. Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery. To recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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As the MLB season comes to a close, you probably have lost interest in your season long leagues, and DFS at DraftKings is all you have left. Even focusing on MLB is a challenge with the NFL back in the loop; but there is money to be made, and if you don’t like money well then stop reading now. I have a love/hate relationship with Thursday MLB slates. They are usually very short which means there are not a lot of options. On the flip side, it is easier to focus on certain games and make better choices. Today is an interesting day as there are a lot of “fringe” aces on the mound, and a lot of “crap” pitchers too – so there should be some great value hitting wise. PS kudos to anyone who got the Three Six Mafia title reference.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 team league 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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Madison Bumgarner threw a near-perfect game vs. the Rockies, ending with a one hitter and 13 Ks. Tim Lincecum was the first one to congratulate him, saying, “I’ll see you in the bullpen in two months.” Then Lincecum laughed, a hallow, empty laughter and his eyes glazed with what appeared to be tears. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive that even Gattis said, “I’d bunk in a cardboard box with that Bum anytime.” Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Brian Sabean altered Bumgarner’s contract, making him twelve years older. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Giants fans didn’t roll their eyes when someone had white wine with a burger. On the year, Bumgarner has a 3.02 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and is about as consistent as a starter that you can find. Oh, and he’s only 25 years old. *Homer Simpson drool* Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve partied in San Diego. There are lots of options for beautiful people to finish your evening with, whether male or female. Either way, you’re gonna need a Jimmy in all likelihood. Ask J-FOH. He’s a local. He knows what’s up. Or ask “Adrienne” about Cam Thomas. Anywho… a Jimmy (hat) is very necessary in San Diego. The Brew Crew happens to be in Petco which is a stadium known more for its depression of hitter statistics than for the amount of petting that occurs. Jimmy Nelson is no fine thang, but he’s got some pretty good swing and miss in him and the Friars are clearly the worst offense he’s faced this year. And if my attempts at hitting a home run in the night clubs of San Diego are any indication, striking out is a very common trend as a tourist there.

I’m not gonna try to say that Nelson is the best option on the board today, but he is a really nice option. There are so many high priced guys today that I feel like taking someone at the lower end is what will set you apart in any matchup. Last night I played in three H2H matchups where we had 4-8… yes 8 of the same players. I don’t’ have a lot of words for how stupidly frustrating that is. Well, I do, but they aren’t more or less than 4 letters of inappropriateness. I’m riding Jimmy today like it’s his last adult feature film. I’m just sayin, cuz if I was Kust Cayin’ I’d be biting Grey, and the cougar has not yet approved that behavior. Nelson gets the Padres who’ve been a teeny weenie bit better lately, but ultimately pose the least threat to pitchers today and are in Petco. I won’t put you in a full Nelson to take him, but you should submit to this wisdom.

As we approach the final month of the season we are starting to really dial in the DraftKings picks. Having nearly a full season of data to rely on helps as the DFSBot proves. Rudy’s phenomenal tool, as Mrs. Gamble calls it, cranks out the day’s best value plays and even breaks it down to expected $ per point. The Ombotsman is now standing among company in its claim that the DFSBot has been a much more accurate method of ranking value than Draftkings salaries have been.

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?

Grab Luke Gregerson! Ah, that’s how you start a post. Some sweet, sweet SAGNOF. It’s like when I walk into a room and it just lights up. Guys and four girls be going, “Ooh, what’s his name, and can I get his number?” My mustache is yours. *eye wink* There’s plenty of me to go around. On the other hand (wasn’t that the first hand?), there hasn’t been that many closer jobs changing hands (there’s those hands again). This weekend us save chasers caught a lucky break when Sean Doolittle came down with a strained intercostal. Yes, he strained the highway that runs down the side of Florida. What the H do I know? Handsome, that’s the H I know. Now, go grab Gregerson and come back for some straight fantasy flavor from the Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it, thank you). UPDATE: A’s said they might go to or Eric O’Flaherty, the dad from Freaks and Geeks. I’d grab both Gregerson and O’Flaherty until the situation worked itself out. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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What a night! I spent last evening at Razzball’s Boston stop of the #32in32in32 tour kicking it with the one and only Nick Capozzi, Smokey (my new best friend) and a whole bunch of Razzaholics at the Greatest Bar in Boston (obnoxious Boston bar name alert). Though the focus was football, there was a whole lot of Daily Fantasy baseball talk with so many daily junkies in the building. A few conversations about lineup strategies and spending approaches came up. The overwhelming sentiment seemed to be how much cheaper hitters had gotten since the DraftKings acquisition of Draft Street. I’d have to agree, I also have to say I don’t dislike it. It’s made the format even more competitive and allowed me to get aces into my rotation more frequently, which I’m good with. As any good DraftKing knows it’s all about the pitching baby! Well, loyal Razzballers (Grey’s mom’s term?) today is no different. With a full slate of games and a full slate of pitchers to choose from I feel a little underwhelmed. I can say that there are only three starters who I’m actually excited to start today. One of which I’m taking on blind faith. Well maybe not quite blind becauseKyle Hendricks has been damn good since his call up (5-1, 1.66 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) and has put up three start starts of 20+ points on DK. The K rate leaves something to be desired but 3 straight starts of 7 innings or more makes up for the lack of punchouts. It doesn’t hurt that his price is cheap at $7,100, allowing you to target some high end bats in the early games.

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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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:

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Let’s look at some potential homerun decliners based on the following “Power Score” or expected homerun (xHR) formula and compare it to their actual homerun totals. Here is the formula:

Plate Appearances(PA)*Contact Rate(Ct%)*Outfield flyball rate(OFFB%)*Homerun per Outfield Flyball ratio(HR/OFFB).

Make sense? Sure it does: How many homeruns does a player hit per outfield flyball? How much of their contact results in an outfield flyball? How much overall contact does a batter make when swinging the bat in a plate appearance? This should provide us with an expected HR total.

The below lists are ranked by the largest actual HR-expected HR differentials. Their HR related performance (PA, Ct, OFFB, HR/OFFB) is listed along with their average homerun and flyball average distance and rank.

Two contingencies worth noting at this time: 1) Our samples size still isn’t huge and 2) We’re not taking into account platoon hitters, i.e. Scott Van Slyke as a right-hand hitter only raking against left-hand pitchers. So when I extrapolate the data, keep this in mind. In other words, if Scott Van Slyke consumed more playing time against right-hand pitchers, there’s a good chance his performance/power would drop off.

Here are the top potential HR decliners (I think you will see the value of this xHR comp immediately):

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Ugh! Not another silly Grateful Dead reference and about their one commercial hit from 1987 at that. Seriously that song is the least Dead song in the history of Dead songs. It’s not my fault that Sonny Gray’s last name is Gray and not Sonny Darkstar or Sonny “Sugar” Magnolia. I wasn’t in charge of giving out sir names whenever that happened, so give me a break. Anythewho back to baseball! Today I get to advocate you drafting one of my favorite young arms in the game in Sonny Gray ($8,400). It’s crazy to think the 2011 first rounder hasn’t yet had a full season of major league ball. Since being called up to the bigs last July, Gray has gone 12-6 with ERA/FIP/xFIP of 2.82/3.03/3.22 with K/9 and BB/9’s of 8.45 and 2.98. 25 starts into his young career and Gray looks like an ace, or at least the best pitching arm produced by the A’s since the days of Barry Zito and Tim Hudson.

Gray is a nice mix of a groundball pitcher that also has the ability to punch guys out. This combination allows him to get deep into games while also being a model of consistency. He’s been so consistent that he’s only given up more than 3 runs in a start 4 times in his 25 turns. His ability to give our fake team’s quality innings with little worry of a meltdown is invaluable in all formats. I fully expect another high ceiling/ high floor start from Sonny today against the Marlins in Miami. Though the Marlins have certainly been far better than expected thus far in 2014, they aren’t without their flaws. For example, the fish have the second highest K% of any team in baseball with a 23.2%. This should setup nicely for Gray to put up 7 IP and 7-8 K’s. When looking at pitching in DraftKings format, my focus tends to be K’s and IP because that’s where your big points come from. The price on Gray is very nice today as well only costing a measly $8,400 compared to a half dozen other options in the 5 figure range. The Stream-o-Nator doesn’t love the start, but doesn’t hate it either, ranking Gray at 9 overall today and 5th best of the afternoon slate. The streamer is slightly coo-coo ranking Matt Cain and Gerrit Cole in the two spots ahead of Gray. I wouldn’t advocate you drafting either of those options today.

Over the last two weeks I’ve been organizing daily Razzball leagues on DraftKings and they’ve been a blast. We went from having trouble filling 10 teamers two weeks ago to consistently filling 20 team leagues every day for the last week. This is thanks in large part to Razzball’s great community of readers and writers. I’m making another jump today and organizing two 20 teamers, one for the early set that will kick off at 1:05 pm (EST) and another that will cover the night games kicking off at 7:05. The early league is $1 buy in with the top 3 taking home prizes and the late set is a $2 buy in with the top 3 once again taking home the cash. If you haven’t yet signed up for DraftKings you can do so here by clicking this link. The best part about signing up with us today is that DraftKings will give you a ticket for a free game just for joining. It’s a total win-win. If you’re interested in getting on the invite list for our Daily Leagues simply leave your DK username in the comments and I’ll add you to my ever growing friends list. Ohhh internet friendship!

BTW if you think I’m a dope of the highest caliber, you can always make your own informed decisions by consulting with our suite of tools here on Razzball. Check the Stream-o-Nator, DFSBot, and Hitter-Tron for all the info you need to make that money!

Without further ado, Razzball’s DraftKings picks for June 28th

Please, blog, may I have some more?