As the season rolls along, my choices for starters to profile should be wearing thin. Luckily for all of you, myself, and my relationship with anyone not in the Crab Army, spot starts and rookie callups give me the perfect intersect of my two worlds. Now as any good Seinfield fan knows, worlds colliding can be catastrophic. Just ask George Costanza. That however is not the case for your loyal and eccentric Prospector/Pitchspector. It’s all good on this end. Why? Because I’m more than happy to dig into the ratio roulette that is rookie starting pitchers. In the grand tradition of my messiah like activity on the prospect side, I’m here to observe these wild cards, provide my take, and lead you on the path to true fantasy salvation. This is a really long winded, and pompous, way to say I’m profiling Reynaldo Lopez’s White Sox debut today. I’ve been lower on Lopez than many other prospectors in the industry. For what feels like two years now, I’ve been constantly banging my shoe on the table of the United Prospect Nations, sternly proclaiming that “Lopez is a pen arm!” I’d make a joke of my followers storming the town square with Pier 1 style tiki torches, but the rest of the Lifshitz clan prolly wouldn’t appreciate that. Anywho, here’s what I saw.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to break this down to you nice and simple like Minnie Pearl would’ve liked it.  Guys that bust and you don’t want next year, you should be rooting for in the 2nd half.  That’s guys that bust, not guys with a bust.  Please, Billy Butler, stop pretending to lactate by dripping milk on your shirt.  The reason you want them to succeed in August and September, because A) They’re prolly on teams that have checked out and are checking on our fantasy football content (Football RCLs sign up today; smooth transition), so no harm, no foul.  B) You want people to get excited about them next March because of their 2nd half, while you ignore them, because you know they’re not good.  Then the cycle starts again.  They draft players that were good in the 2nd half, those players are not good in the 1st half next year, and they check out again.  Rinse, repeat.  C) There’s no C.  Yesterday, Josh Donaldson (2-for-4, 4 RBIs) hit his 14th and 15th homers, and has four homers this month.  Here’s to him helping all of those tenth place teams move up to ninth and exciting everyone again next year!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was craving sashimi last night, so I sauntered to my local sushi joint. When I walked through the door, I heard the familiar, “Irrashaimase maido,” from the chefs behind the counter. As I nodded my head down reverently, I realized there was a new member of the crew. I like to live dangerously, so I sat down at the bar in front of him. I usually ask the chef, “What’s good today?” but last night it was just, “Prepare what you think is best.” Like I said, I like to live dangerously. If I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation, I would’ve knocked my chair backwards and banged my head on the floor from the show I was presented. It was all so un-Benihana-esque. The skill. The grace. As he wiped the sweat from his forehead after slicing and dicing the manta rays placed before him, I asked him one simple question. “Who are you?” He looked me in the eye and responded, “I am Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees.” Tanaka was perfect for five innings Friday night. He ended up allowing two hits, one earned run, did not walk a batter, and struck out 14 in eight innings. 77-of-109 pitches were thrown for strikes. That’s how you earn a big tip! Now, keep in mind that Tampa Bay strikes out the fourth-most frequently against RHP and the huge night knocked down his ERA to 5.09 for the year. He did give up four, three, and five earned runs in his prior three starts and got pummeled in his two previous starts against TB. As Friday night showed, though, Tanaka does have the ability to absolutely dominate. When I eat raw fish, I know there’s always the risk that I could be eating some three-eyed monster from Fukushima. That’s how I feel about starting Tanaka. As I said before, I like to live dangerously.

Here’s what else I saw from Friday night’s action:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The list of two-start starters for Week 16 is pretty ugly. Not only did it take some time to materialize as teams figured out their rotations following the All-Star break, but once the dust settled and we had a good idea of who would be starting when many of the names we were left with were not all that appealing. Sure, the high-end options like Kershaw (for now), Strasburg, and Greinke were there, but the meat and bones of the list were lacking.

Just ignore Clayton Kershaw. At this point in the season, I am convinced that Dave Roberts reads this post every week and then trolls us all by changing his rotation on Sunday night. He is at the top of the list as of this writing, but that could easily change in the next few seconds. The Dodgers have a dozen or so possible starting pitchers, and Roberts shuffles or adjusts his rotation pretty frequently.

One name to take a look at this week is the soft-tossing Brent Suter. While he does not exactly light up the radar gun, he has been very effective in his recent stint as a starter for the Brewers. In his last two starts, he shut out the Orioles over six innings while striking out eight and then allowed just two earned runs over 6 ? innings against the Yankees while striking out five before the break.

Throughout his career in the minors, Suter has been consistently solid-yet-unremarkable. In other words, he has never really been great but hasn’t been bad, either. He has a 3.44 ERA across six seasons in the minor leagues while throwing to a 3.12 ERA during his time in the show. His 2.96/2.78/8.23/2.63 (see chart below) is also solid.

Streamonator does not like him as much as I do. The ‘nator has Suter up around its 20th best option or so (with a negative value), while I have him at the top of the Standards category below, which puts him around 15th or so. He is, however, only owned in 1% of all RCLs, so he should be available to everyone reading this except the one person who is in the league with that one guy or gal who already picked him up.

If you are in need of an arm in the short term, especially in a two-start week, you can do worse. You can do better, too, but I like Suter as a guy who can offer some solid short term numbers. Other guys Streamonator likes for the upcoming week who are owned in less than 50% of RCLs: Matt Moore, Zack Wheeler, and Rafael Montero.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Someone, somewhere out there has to give me the 411 on where ‘gravy train’ came from and why it’s an idiom for a lucrative endeavor that requires minimal effort.  Was there ever a time where gravy was, in fact, a product hauled by train in a shipping container, perchance?  Now that I think about it, we also have a gravy boat…how many possible vehicle mentions should a meat juice-based sauce be given?  Where’s my gravy helicopter, yo!  But I digress…Jon Gray.  He’s only $6,400 today.  Yes, he’s $6,400 because he’s pitching in Coors, but so what?  Gray pitched in Coors for 83.2 IP last year and came away with a 21.9% K-BB ratio to go with a 3.07 xFIP.  Remember the year Ubadlo Jimenez had way back in 2010 for the Rockies?  Yes, it was a dandy but Gray’s stuff could be considered even better as his control is just as impressive as his whiffs.  His first start off the DL was in Arizona and all he did at Chase Field – a place deemed ‘Coors lite’ by many – was go 6 while striking out 10 and only walking 1.  That’s called ‘impressive’.  So back to that there train…hop on today and enjoy the strange idiomatic ride.  But enough of that, let’s talk about this.  Here’s my gravy trains, planes, and automobiles taeks for this Wednesday FD slate…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Last night I was thinking about how Trea Turner was singlehandedly winning people fantasy leagues.  Today I’m thinking, can he singlehandedly play?  He was top six for fantasy value already this year on our Player Rater, and he might’ve been a 2nd half player!  He could’ve ended up in the top three overall for fantasy value.  Yeah, I said it!  Top three!  Now, a broken wrist.  Why can’t we have anything nice?  I’m addressing you, Fantasy Baseball Overlord!  I’m screaming at the heavens, standing in rain, hoo-ha’ing like I’m an out-of-work Al Pacino impersonator!  Why can we not have nice things?!  I want answers!  Alas, FBO’s out to lunch, or so says his answering machine.  This sounds like an injury where he could be out for six to eight weeks, but more will be known in the coming days.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This might be the only Razzball article where you will find a RuPaul’s Drag Race quote, some lyrics from the Broadway musical Wicked, a reference to Matt Harvey’s sex appeal AND a Tyra banks gif. It’s no wonder some people on this site think I’m female! Here I was thinking it was just my name…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another week, another Clayton Kershaw start pushed to Monday. At least this week they moved the start before I wrote and submitted this article. If they move it again Saturday morning, then I will be convinced that Dave Roberts is just doing this to troll me every week. As of now, he is your top two-start starter for Week 12. He might even deserve his own tier.

For Week 12, there aren’t a ton of attractive options after our first two tiers. In previous weeks, we have had middle-of-the-road arms with some good peripherals or some recent success that were available in the majority of leagues. This week, though, I’m not crazy about any of the starters on this list that are going to be available in most leagues. Just look at the numbers in the chart below.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cameron Maybin returned from the disabled list last night after a minimum stay and got right back to business. Leading off, Maybin went 3-for-4 scoring four runs, and stole four bases to bring his total to seventeen for the year. That’s right, folks. FOUR STEALS! Sweet sassy molassy! Killer Cam already has more steals than he did all of last year in Detroit (15), and he became the first player since 2013 to steal four bases in a game, and just the 12th player in EVER to steal four bases and score four runs. Have a day! Setting records! Making history! Years ago I wrote a lede pleading with my readers to pick up Cameron Maybin in April and he ended up having one of his most productive seasons ever. So here’s hoping lightning can strike twice, and by lightning I am of course referring to Maybin’s speed. He stole 10 bases in May in 89 at bats hitting .270 with two home runs. Basically, if you got a need for speed, you’re not going to do much better than Maybin, who is available in a little over 80% of ESPN leagues at the moment. With the Angels outfield decimated by injuries, Cam should have ample opportunity to play, and leading off can only help his stolen base numbers. He’s capable of putting up big speed numbers for your team (he stole 40 for San Diego in 2011) if he can stay healthy, which of course with Maybin is a huge Aaron Judge-sized “if.” Still, Cameron is worth riding while he’s leading off, and hitting, and stealing and healthy and I’d add him everywhere I had a need for speed. Let’s hope Maybin this time will be different.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On Saturday, Stephen Strasburg went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 15 Ks, ERA at 2.94.  That’s right, fifteen strikeouts, a career high.  Ah… If only every starter got to face the Padres in every game…*wavy lines*  Hey, Danny Salazar is facing the Padres?  This is awesome!  Wait, why is he walking a guy with a .260 OBP?  Did he just give up a homer to Erick Aybar?  He’s having an epileptic fit trying to pronounce Szczur?!  He’s wiping a booger on my Reggie Jackson rookie card?!  How does he even have my Reggie rookie card?!  Mom, did you give Danny Salazar my Reggie rookie card?!  Oh my God, make it stop….Please… *wavy lines*  Worst dream sequence ever!  On this day of BBQs and Memorials, hot dogs and beer, baseball and refreshing our fantasy baseball team page, we can be thankful Strasburg is not a dream.  Though, the reality is Strasburg was a 2.62 ERA pitcher in the 1st half last year and a 6.15 ERA pitcher in the 2nd.  Happy Memorial Day!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?