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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When we started the hitter rankings, we were mere boys. Now, we’re men as we come to the end of the road for hitters and we can’t go on, it’s unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you. You, “Hey, look at that, I’m in a crazy/stupid/gooftarded deep league and everyone in this league that I’m talking to myself about is well-versed in this fantasy baseball shizz because they are also in this crazy/stupid/gooftarded deep league yet they forgot to draft Matt Holliday. Cool, I’ll take him with my 350th pick.” Yeah, that’s not going to happen. If you’re drafting from guys in the top 100 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball, your league is deep and you know you’re not going to get much from these guys. Potatoes to chips, most of these guys will be worth owning at some point in the season. If you’re joining us late, here’s the top 20 outfielders, top 40 outfielders, top 60 outfielders and top 80 outfielders. Next up in our 2014 fantasy baseball rankings will be the pitchers. You can hardly wait. No, you. Anyway, here’s the top 100 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Felix Hernandez was scratched from his Wednesday start with an oblique strain. Guys and four girl readers, you can’t be too precious with your guys. That whole credo “dance with the one who brought you” is real cavalier. You’re a real gentleman as you lounge about in sweat pants while your woman cooks you dinner. It’s honorable. Remind me to submit you to the Reader’s Digest Five Humans That Make A Difference contest. It’s also silly for fantasy baseball. Save your loyalty for your kids when they ask you, “Daddy, do you like me more than your automobile?” Or, “Daddy, how come you were hugging the mail lady for ten minutes with your hands on her butt?” Forget your loyalty for your starting pitchers (or hitters). Felix could throw this weekend to see if he can start again this year. If you’re strapped for space, I’d absolutely look elsewhere. What’s the worst thing that happens? You miss two starts from him? His last starts weren’t even great. You could find better starts off of waivers. Look at me having faith in you! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Charlie Morton‘s start yesterday of 7 IP, 1 ER, 9 baserunners, 6 Ks wasn’t incredible in itself, but other than Lenny from Laverne and Shirley when he was wearing a Lone Wolf jacket and Burgess Meredith when he broke his glasses on The Twilight Zone, nothing in this world is to itself. There’s befores and afters, causes and effects and chewy watermelon Now and Laters. Morton has now strung together six straight starts and nine of his last ten, dropping his ERA to 3.00. His K-rate isn’t particularly inspiring, but his walk rate is more than solid and his xFIP is 3.62, which tells us he’s not that far from a guy you start every time out. With all of that said, I still don’t trust him for his next start vs. the Cardinals, but then he gets the Cubs and Padres, and for those two starts, I’d absolutely gamble that Morton is worth his salt. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Taijuan Walker will start vs. the Astros on Friday. The Mariners’ front office decided if they were going to sell him for ten cents on the dollar this offseason, then it was best to give him some major league experience. Here’s what Prospect Scott had to say in the preseason, “Walker is my #3 overall SP prospect, behind only Dylan Bundy and Jose Fernandez. He brings legit ace potential, and he should be ready for big league ball this year. Still, Taijuan’s greatest asset is his ability to hit Grey in the head with a fastball every time I dream about it.” Hey! That snippet was obviously prior to Bundy’s injury problems. Here’s what I said the other day, “It could be roofie burnout, but I’m not interested in shallower mixed leagues. In deeper leagues, I’d stash Walker to see if you catch a firefly in a bottle, or whatever that yokelism is. He definitely has shown great stuff in the minors (10+ K-rate) if a bit wild (4+ BB/9) in Triple-A. He will be a great pitcher, it probably won’t be this year. Think Wheeler when he was called up.” And that’s me quoting me! Well, I also lied. Kinda. I didn’t intend to lie, but he was just sitting there and I had a free roster spot… Ugh, I’m a glutton for punishment. I need serious help. Why can’t I turn down any high-upside rookie pitcher? Am I an adrenaline junkie like Keanu Reeves in Point Break? Hopefully, Walker doesn’t hang ten earned runs on my pitching line, but I’m expecting him to get Ks and have a relatively unremarkable start on Friday for earned runs and WHIP. For 2014, Taijuan is on the top of the list of guys that could be Matt Harvey 2.0, and I’ll have much more to say about him in the offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You don’t have to only listen to Brewers games on the radio to be excited about Khris Davis. You also don’t have to only be excited about owning him for the possibility of verbally swindling another owner. “No, you verbally agreed to trade me Kershaw for Khris Davis. I don’t care if you thought it was that other guy. Besides, this Khris Davis has more homers very, very recently.” Same name chicanery is as old as the Bible. In 25 AD, a guy by the name of Jesus Krist showed up drunk to his job, soaking wet, and got a bye when he said he was practicing walking on water. Many years later, the Roman empire invaded Britain because of a prank call by Klaudius Seesir. For three years, Tori Spelling thought she married the guy from The Practice, only recently finding out it wasn’t Dylan McDermott but Dean McDermott, so you see this is nothing new. Neither is Khris Davis’s power. In the minors, he averaged a homer just about every fifth game, a practice he’s maintaining in the majors (makes him around a 30-homer guy). He now has four homers in the last nine games, and, while he’s hitting, I’d absolutely grab him for power in all leagues. Don’t let his name stop you. Yes, Chris with a K looks like a girl’s name, but it’s not his fault his parents let Roger Clemens name him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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There’s a new love of my life. No, it’s not the Georgia girl on MasterChef, though she’s all right. His name is Danny Salazar, and he’s a sexy beast that makes me want to get all flirty and shizz. I call him K-zar. It’s pronounced like czar, so it’s a soft K like his touch, but that’s where the softness ends. He was regularly hitting 99 MPH on the speed gun-measuring-MPH-thingie and even topped out at triple digits. Swoon. He made the Tigers looks like the Mariners until Miggy got a hold of one on his last pitch of the game — 7 2/3 IP, 4 ER, 6 baserunners, 10 Ks. Doesn’t matter, he gets the Twins next then the A’s in Oakland. I know, what about Corey Kluber? Who’s going to sell energy drinks and tell all the ravey Asian kids where the after-hours party is without Kluber?! Sigh, I know. We’re over him now. He’s going to be out until late-September and Salazar is taking his place in the rotation. I want Salazar in every single league. Yeah, that one. Yup, that one too. Go to it, young prematurely balding man! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If you’re squeamish, don’t watch the video of Tim Hudson getting hurt. That’s what they say. This is like saying, “Your Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus) presents are under the tree (Star of David, Star Jones, pole) and they’re unwrapped, but don’t look at them.” Is there anyone in the history of mankind who’s ever heard the phrase “don’t watch this because it’s too gruesome” and has actually stopped watching it. That sentence is brain crack! It’s like your brain neurons suddenly start moving around like a Roomba in a closet, bumping into the sides, trying to get out. So, with that said, I wouldn’t watch it. Hudson will need surgery and is out for the year. Well, if Eric Young was gonna step on his foot like THAT I wouldn’t have been speculating for two months who was going to get bumped for Brandon Beachy. I’ve been saying for the last two months that I don’t own Beachy. I think he’s going to give a lot less than what you’re expecting. Tommy John surgery causes most pitchers to lose control when they first return, and Beachy has a 5+ BB/9 in the minors. That would be near the worst in the major leagues. Edinson Volquez looks at that walk rate and says, “Whoa, pardner.” You know the guy from Shadesville at the horse track who goes around picking up discarded race tickets hoping to find a winner, if you pick up Beachy, you might resemble that guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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From fear that MLB would crack down on Performance-Enhancing Goggles, Francisco Rodriguez was traded to the Orioles. Or was something else at work besides the Orioles wanting Dor-K to pitch the 8th, setting up Jim Johnson? Here, try this. Put your arm down, now pick it up, now put it down, now move your furry eyebrows up and down. Jim Henderson, The Muppet Master, pulls all strings. He orchestrates all. He forces Beaker to say, “Me me me me me me me.” Bit of a control freak if you ask me, but it worked out for him this time, since Henderson will be taking over the ninth inning now in Milwaukee. For those holding John Axford for saves, it could happen since he’s been solid for the last two months. The Brewers could still trade Henderson or Axford. Or the Brew Crew could send out 2014 season ticket offers reading, “Braun’s Back Without the Acne!” Only time will tell. As for K-Rod, in most redraft leagues that don’t use middle relievers, you can lose him. This did come across the wire in Baltimore, when you trade for K-Rod, then you better watch your back. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Chad Gaudin shut down the Diamondbacks last night, pitching seven innings, surrendering no runs while giving up just three hits, walking none and striking out eight for his fourth win. Throwing just 92 pitches, he could have easily come out for the eighth but Manager Bruce Bochy opted to go with four relievers instead, because, well that’s the most Bruce Bochy thing ever. Anyway, hello there, Gaudin. Have we met? You say you shook my hand while I was unconscious? Strange, but I’ll allow it. Poor Chad seems like an easy target ever since the news broke that he was arrested for lewdness in Vegas after groping an unconscious woman on a stretcher. That doesn’t sound that…bad….right? Errr. I don’t know the whole story, but perhaps he was trying to resuscitate her? Besides, we all get a case of “the honks” every now and again, amiright, fellas? Despite his inability to keep his hands to his sides, Chad Gaudin has been able to pitch incredibly effectively since stepping into the rotation. Since June 2, Chad has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts, with a 2.16 ERA and 35/9 K/BB ratio in that span. Gaudin is still under 20% owned in RCL leagues and he gets a good test versus the Reds next week at home. With a 0.55 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 33.0 innings at AT&T Park, Chad Gaudin is definitely worth a pick up in all leagues where you need help with starting pitching, at least until he gets suspended for groping Pablo Sandoval in the locker room.That’s sexual harassment, Panda!

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

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