If you’re one of the seventy percent of ESPN fantasy owners who haven’t jumped on board the A.J. Pollock train, let’s fix that for the weekend. The Diamondbacks’ 26-year-old outfielder has hits in 9 of his 13 games since returning from the disabled list and also has four steals. He’ll get a four-game set in Colorado heading into the weekend which is great for any hitter, but especially good from a steals perspective. Colorado owns baseball’s worst caught stealing percentage at 17%. The league average mark on the year is 27%. With Pollock currently owned in just 30% of ESPN leagues, he should be available to pick up. If he happens to be gone in your league, here are some other good steals matchups for this week in fantasy baseball…

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I’m going to look right in your eye and say, “I don’t know where Jacob deGrom‘s coming from.” Don’t turn away from me. *turns your face by chin* Look at me. I don’t know everything. I’m sorry. I know that upsets you like finding out that Santa Claus is really just a drunk man in a costume. I apologize profusely if you didn’t know that about Santa too. It hurts me to ruin your naivete more than anything. Your child-like innocence is what originally drew me to you. Alas, we’ll find something else. Like deGrom, for instance, we can discover him together. In Triple-A, deGrom had a 6.8 K/9 this year, and 7.5 last year. Always had nice control, but he has a 9 K/9 in the majors. You don’t see guys often jump up a pedigree when they go from the minors to the majors. He’s always featured nice command, which is the key here. When a guy can command his pitches and then learns how to throw a new pitch that is special, he can use it effectively. So, what did he learn? Supposedly, Johan Santana gave him the secret sauce recipe for The Change. Another key is his velocity. This isn’t a guy who is adding a new pitch with 89 MPH velocity. He throws his fastball in the mid-90’s. Throw one pitch in the mid-90’s and another dropped in around 84 and you have a recipe for Ks. As was the case yesterday — 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 baserunners, 13 Ks — when the Marlins were like Farmer Ted striking out at deGrom. Still think he’s closer to a high-7/low-8 K-rate guy with a mid-3 ERA, but it’s still a lot better than I thought he was when he came up. Now let’s move past this lapse of judgment by me and try to enjoy ourselves. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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No, that’s not a racist title. C’mon, really? Why would I go there? Besides, ‘Alfredo The Dark’ doesn’t even sound racist. Actually, sounds like your character name when you go out LARP’ing. Lemme guess, you start with a +5 in magic and wit but are low in power and physical combat. And, duh, you have black magic and not white magic. Am I nailing this? Mmm hmmm, I see your 20 sided die in your hand there. Please tell me it’s at least steam punk genre. Loved the Lord of the Rings but really don’t care if you’re out here battling orcs. Bores me. BTW, have you ever thought about the Civil War re-enactment? Totally LARP’ing there. Yeah, yeah, you’re a history buff. Well then go read the damn book. No need to grow out the handlebar mustache and go clean out your musket to enjoy a little American history…but yeah, what the hell? That got off track fast. I blame you and your talk of tinctures. Nah, I’m just alluding to the childhood fave of anyone not young enough to quote Lil’ Wayne. So basically, nobody’s gonna get it. Show was off and on for like 10 years…shut up, it’s my childhood! Moving on…what I’m trying to get at is, Alfredo Simon has been a bit of a bear to own in regular fantasy but he’s extremely enjoyable for we daily fantasy folk. You see, these young Cubbies…well, if you caught my last Stroman call you’d understand. They’re still learning how to play baseball the right way. Sure, they’re exciting to watch and it’s great to think about the future but most of their veteran bats are done for the year due to injury and what’s left is a group that’s K’ing at an alarming rate: 28.3% heading into Sunday, to be exact. That’s just 2% less than the Twins and they’ve faced Chris Sale this past past week. And in the end, Simon keeps the ball down reasonably well wtih a 1.62 GB/FB ratio so the ball shouldn’t be flying out of the park on him. In the end, this is a bit of a punt play to give room for those 10+ K pitchers because in the end they are worth it this Monday, believe me. Speaking of, let’s move on and get to them, shall we? So without further ado, here’s Monday’s hot takes on the DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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.

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“We’re more alike than we are different.” That’s what Mary Ann said of her and Ginger, but it could also be said of Marcus Stroman and a Flat-Billed Pitchypus. He needs maybe a fifteen-second ironing and a quarter-cup of starch and he’d be there. Considering the tumultuous recent years of the Flat-Billed Pitchypus, maybe it’s for the best. “You want more starch on this?” “Yes.” Dontrelle Willis reaches for his TGIF’s hat, drops jalapeno poppers on his foot and screams. Yesterday, Stroman threw a shutout in 93 pitches. Greg Maddux called and said, “You owe me a nickel.” Stroman’s sparkling like I screwed his head into my SodaStream, pushed down the level way too long and bubbles started coming into his eyes. Mary Ann’s existential quote could also be used to say there’s more similarities than differences between Stroman and an ace. He shouldn’t generate that much velocity from a five-foot-nine frame. Yet, there he is throwing 94 MPH while high-fiving his teammates on a step stool. He’s credited with a six-pitch arsenal that he can locate with pinpoint accuracy. I’m going to have a Marcus Stroman post for 2015 fantasy baseball to highlight his sensational stuff for next year, and then he’ll probably be in the top 10 pitchers for 2016. A star is born just don’t iron the brim any further; you’re good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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After Rafael Soriano once again looked like his apologetic alter ego, Sorry-yo, Matt Williams said the Nats won’t have a set closer. Let’s backtrack to August 18th, it was a day after the fourth time Soriano had given up runs in the matter of two weeks. At that point, I wrote there was a problem, and I grabbed Drew Storen. That was three weeks ago, and things haven’t gotten better. So, why was I able to spot there was a problem with Soriano three weeks prior to the Nationals manager, Matt Williams? Terrific question. There’s a few possible reasons A) Matt Williams’s Oakleys are worn to shield TV cameras from showing he’s actually asleep. B) Matt Williams can’t find steroids that make him smarter. C) There’s no C. D) In a secret meeting in Bud Selig’s wood-paneled basement in Milwaukee in 1999, Major League Baseball declared that every team must have at least one Mark McGwire. Matt Williams was elected to be Arizona’s Mark McGwire. (Sosa was elected to be the Cubs’ McGwire, which is why he bleached his skin.) The experiment to have a McGwire on every team was a success at first, but soon the players that were elected to be McGwire began to say, “I’m not here to talk about the past,” every time any question was asked. The biggest offender of this was Matt Williams, so, rather than risk being found out, MLB made him the Nats manager. Any of these reasons could be right, but it’s probably D. So, with Soriano in trouble, the Nats could go to Storen, Tyler Clippard or Matt Thornton. My guess is it’ll go in that order, and yesterday Storen got the clean save, helping his case. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The H is O! Oh, no, Jose Fernandez has me so jazzed, I need to bust some rhymes. I came in the door, I said it before. I never let a top starter magnetize me no more, but watching Fernandez yesterday is biting me, fighting me, inviting me to want a number one starter just this one time. I can’t hold it back, I’m looking at his pitching line — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 14Ks. Taking off my coat, and that’s me quoting Rakim’s quote, his pitches were kicking it until his last hitter, Ryan Doumit. My mind remains refined, all kinds of ideas. Self-esteem makes it seem like his pitching took years to build, but his age is just twenty-one. Prepared, never scared, he’s just a blessed one. And you know that I’ve never seen that terrible movie with Jamie Foxx, think it was called The Soloist, so Jose F. make ‘em clap to this. I said it the other day, but in case you weren’t reading, Fernandez is going to be the best pitcher going into next year. Thought he was a donut, you tried to glaze him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Terry Collins announced a change at the top of Mets bullpen system on the down, Jose Valverde would concede the job to Kyle Farnsworth. Valverde handed him the ball, and like a true sportsman said, “You can’t be worse than me, but I know you’ll try.” Terry Collins, or Mr. C as the players call him, told Valverde to sit on it, Farnsy’s cool. Some have speculated on Vic Black, Frank’s little brother. Didja you know when Vic was a young Black he went to his brother Frank and asked if he could play drums in the Pixies and Frank said, “Do drugs for six more years and then we’ll talk.” Rock ‘n roll, doodes and four doodettes! Will Farnsworth do a decent enough job as closer to hold it for the whole year? Seems doubtful, but I like his odds better than Valverde ever had. Farnsworth could get 25 saves and be a Donkeycorn by September. Likely, he gets around 12 saves, has a 4-something ERA and the Mets give Gonzalez Germen a little guten tag a’la vater, which is ‘how’s your father’ in Germen from someone who never took Germen. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Tanaka, Pineda, ooh, I’m gonna take you. To Sabathia, Kuroda, ooh, I wanna own you. K-Rob, oh hold up now, I don’t want Sabathia and I don’t care if I ruined the song. So, Michael Pineda will be the Yanks 5th starter, at least out of Spring Training. Damn you, qualifier! I don’t think the rest of the league will hit the stuffing out of Pineda (quinceanera pun for the win!), but I do think the Yankees will have have to limit Pineda’s innings at some point. He can’t return from serious surgery and throw 200 IP this year. I’m not adjusting Pineda in my rankings. He’s in the “Lottery ticket” tier and he will remain there, but you don’t need to wear overalls over to the Wawa to scratch him off and win. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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I love the Aussie people; they have goofy words for a barbecue and even goofier animals — koalas and kangaroos? Is Australia animated? Those things are goofy! Why not just get a duck-billed platypus and anteater and call it a day, you wacky-animal-having country! How about baseball there? Did all the fans in attendance win a Bowie knife if a player hit a home run into the big marsupial pouch? Did Crocodile Dundee throw out the first pitch? Did the batters hit with a fraternity hazing paddle? I don’t know, because it was at four in the morning! Selig really needs to stop doing this to Opening Day. The players will be exhausted from traveling and won’t be able to get their usual reps in during the spring. The first pitch of the season should be at a time when 7-year-old North American boys and girls can watch it. Not at 4 AM EST. What if the first game went extra innings or someone got hurt? Can they just call up someone from the minors for the next game? No, so then you’ll have a team playing short. Do these stunts in December as a goodwill trip. Don’t make major league baseball teams into the Harlem Globetrotters for a regular season game. Eh, whatevs, baseball is back, who cares if it comes with a big helping of Vegemite. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

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Once again, the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball look a whole lot better than the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. For the first time that I can remember, I want a shortstop from the top tiers. Usually I punt shortstops along with catchers due to how bad they are, but this year it’s pretty clear 2nd basemen are worse than shortstops and I like quite a few shortstops. Hey, you gotta be malleable in this fantasy baseball game. Malleable is also a great name for a baby girl. Feel free to take it for your daughter if you so desire. As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where I think tiers start and stop and my projections. All the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Unsuccinct! Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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