As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Damn, the planets had all lined up for Jacoby Ellsbury to be overrated for 2014 fantasy baseball. 50+ bases and only four times caught (!). Some power (8 homers) and solid counting stats (89 runs; 52 RBIs). Seemingly repeatable numbers for 2014. All he needed to do was get through this season healthy so people would forget how he can’t get through a season healthy. Then, he goes and injuring himself. Now when I say to avoid him next year, people are gonna think I actually have a point rather than being the cracked out of his mind guy who invented something this weekend that I will only share with you. It’s really for our four girl readers, but since guys are likely to buy it for their women, here it is: a Segway vacuum cleaner. Think of it as a ride-along Roomba! Brilliant, I know. So, as of right now, Ellsbury’s in a walking boot. That sounds terrific. Almost as good as Salvador Perez when a loved one is on their death bed. Ellsbury headed off to the Steadman Clinic for a second opinion — ’bout time he started bringing in some money for Oprah! — and Ellsbury was diagnosed with a compression fracture. Ellsbury’s not going to be back until the playoffs, in the best case scenario. I’d absolutely drop him. In his place has been Jackie Bradley Jr., who can walk multiple times in one game! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Instead of relegating him to bullpen duties, the Cardinals have opted to send Jake Westbrook to the disgraceful list. In a corresponding move, they’ve called up Carlos Martinez from Triple-A. As of the time of this writing there’s been no official word, but it appears likely that Martinez will claim Westbrook’s spot in the starting rotation. That’d make C-Mart the probable starter for Monday, putting him in line for two starts next week. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I’ve not been shy about my unhealthy adoration for Martinez. The 21-year-old is flat out filthy — 4-seamers at 98; 2-seamers with unreal sink at 96; deceptive change in the mid-80s. If he can shore up his location, he brings as much K-potential as any pitcher in baseball, and that’s not hyperbole. I listed Martinez as a first tier guy below, even considering the tough match-ups. If you have a chance to watch him pitch next week, please do. It’s truly something to behold. The rest of your two-starters are below.

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

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All the time in Los Angeles I’ll see older women who have had way too much plastic surgery. Trying to hold on to their youth. It’s sad. It’s a never-ending cycle too. One older woman gets her face done, then her friends are pressured to do the same. But never, and I mean never, have I seen someone get plastic surgery then try to rearrange someone else’s face. Yesterday, was the first time I’ve seen it as past nose job recipient (Niese) tried to fix up Jason Heyward‘s schnoz. Jon Niese is a danger to himself and others. What if your proboscis is walking along the street and you run into Niese? If he doesn’t feel it’s worthy of his new nasal perfection, he will punch you in the face. God forbid he ever runs into Barbara Streisand. Heyward ducked at the last second and took the brunt of the pitch off the ear flap and jaw, but he’s still gonna be out for the better part of the season, maybe returning for the last week to tune up for the playoffs. Not your H2H playoffs, the Braves playoffs. In his stead, B.J. Upton, Jordan Schafer and Evan Gattis. Because they’ll all be sharing time, it’s hard to say there’s one guy that gets a boost in value. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You know who’s happiest about Kolten Wong being called up? The Vatican. Finally, something non-Catholic related will show up in search results when you Google ‘Cardinal + Wong + 2nd base.’ Somewhere, Dan Brown is scribbling notes for a new thriller…the Catholic church took a page out of the playbook of the Native Americans, who having foreseen the Internet in a 1973 peyote-inspired dream, worked to make sure the practice of reselling tickets was known as scalping. So now you Google ‘Indians + scalping’ and the search results are just a way to get cheap seats in Progressive Field. Wong’s call-up crowds the Cardinals infield in the weirdest of ways. Wong can’t play shortstop. It says here. There. Where I just wrote here. He can’t play 3rd. Says there. Where I wrote it. Can’t play 1st. Says here. Next to where I wrote here. He plays 2nd, Carpenter goes to 3rd and Freese goes on ice. Sorta surprised by this because the Cardinals know that seriously reduces Freese’s trade value, but he was seriously reducing his trade value by playing. But, wait, why do we care? What can Wong do right? Here’s what Prospect Scott said just two days ago, “Wong has caught a heater at the right time, hitting .333/.429/.556 with 2 homers and 2 stolen bases through his last 10. Too bad Grey can’t catch a heater in his groin.” What? Why? On the year in the minors, Wong has a line of 10 HRs, 20 steals and a .303 average. That’s close to what I’d expect of him in the majors too. He has a great eye at the plate (60 Ks, 41 BBs) and nice speed. Maybe a handful of homers and steals in the last six weeks with a good average. In keepers, he’s a must have. In redrafts, I’d grab him in all leagues for upside. I’m excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Danny Farquhar earned the save on Saturday and Sunday for the Mariners. The first two of his career. I guess the whole 5+ ERA didn’t scare off acting manager Robby Thompson or he has no idea who he’s signaling from the bullpen. I’m guessing the latter here, if latter means he’s a moron. Thompson is managing while Eric Wedge recovers from a mild stroke that he suffered while trying to follow Robby Thompson home from the stadium one night. Eric Wedge, “Why are you going left with your right turn signal?! You can’t make a left on red! Oh, you’re going right? Then why are you signaling left?! I’m coming Elizabeth!” Lord Farquhar is the closer now, so obviously you own him, but who knows what Thompson’s doing. He could signal for a ball girl next. I do look forward to when the Mariners fans get a cheering section for Farquhar together. They can dress up like giant penises and name themselves, the Farqwits. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I’ve started that dance with Xander Bogaerts. You know what dance I mean. The dance when you pick up, drop, pick up, drop, think about picking up then decide against it, go partially through with picking him up only to sit on your team page and not have anyone to drop…Then decide against it. That dance. The dance that any middle-aged man would do if he were in Morocco and not willing to pick a side because he’d only be fighting for a woman he banged in Paris and his only friend is some guy with bugged-out eyes. Every time I start the dance, Sam starts playing his piano and I’m like, “Play it again, Sam?” I say it in the form of a question so I don’t get sued for copyright infringement. I’ve done that dance with Bogaerts for about a week. And I can’t commit. *lights cigarette* Of all the waiver wire joints in all the fantasy leagues in all the world, he walked into mine. I’m only doing this back-and-forth dance with him because he’s going to be so good and I know he’s about to be called up. The Red Sox moved him to 3rd base in the minors just to give him a bit more flexibility to get him into their major league lineup. On Prospect Scott’s top 50 minor league fantasy prospects, he was number one. Numero uno, the head cheese, the big mahoff. Between Double and Triple-A this year, he has 14 homers and 7 steals. That’s solid for a prospect. For a 20-year-old, that’s the sign of a future perennial All-Star. In all leagues, I’m going to be dancing with him until he gets the call. As I wrote this, I grabbed and dropped him two more times. If you have the room, stash him right now. He will be up within the next month and this will be the start of a beautiful friendship. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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For the second straight week, we have a new Razzball Commenter League overall leader. MasterofGrond’s Waco Night Terrors (Imposing Sea Creatures) moved up from 5th place as they had their best week of the season in steals (13) and saves (9), as well as a fine 2.05 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. They were also among the league-leaders in runs with 54. Norichika Aoki (7 Runs/4 SB) and Rajai Davis (6 SB) were key, along with Max Scherzer, Justin Masterson, Madison Bumgarner, and A.J. Burnett.

Check out the Master Standings (you can also access them via the Leagues menu up top) to see where your team ranks in comparison to the other 767 teams through Sunday. The page now includes sortable stats.

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Chicago White Sox 2010 Minor League Review
Overall farm rankings according to Baseball America (2010)
2010 (19) | 2009 (16) | 2008 (28) | 2007 (26) | 2006 (14) | 2005 (12) | 2004 (20)

Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [88 – 74] AL Central
AAA: [67 – 77] International League – Charlotte
AA: [53 – 87] Southern League – Birmingham
A+: [81 – 58] Carolina League – Winston-Salem
A: [65 – 74] South Atlantic League – Kannapolis
R: [47 – 28] Pioneer League – Great Falls
R: [32 – 36] Appalachian League – Bristol

The Run Down
The White Sox minor league system played in a sandbox of disappointment in 2010.

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