As they say in a Jewelery District of any major city, Johnny Cueto pitched a gem. Well, any major city except Detroit. There they call a gem, “Slowly remove it from your finger, and no funny business!” Against the Pirates yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks. Pretty much across the board for Cueto’s career, I haven’t been a fan. His xFIP has always been much worse than his ERA, and his K-rate has never been close to an elite starter. Well, a weird thing happened on the way to his fifth start of the year, he looks like an ace. His xFIP is down to 2.55, his K-rate is 10.50 and his walk rate is 2.40. Those are fantasy ace numbers. Last year through April, he had a 2.80 xFIP, 9.35 K-rate and 3.12 walk rate. Those numbers aren’t that different. Hey, random italicized letters are my shtick. Not right now, Random Italicized Voice. Whoa, snippy! There is one fairly significant difference between Cueto this year and last. About a mile per hour on his fastball. In some instances, his fastball is averaging two extra miles per hour from last April, and he’s cut out his, uh, cutter, and his ground balls have remained. He’s pitching slightly different, slightly better, and, for the first time I can remember, I’m really liking what Cueto is showing. Ain’t that a kick in Jason LaRue’s head? His ERA won’t stay at 1.50, but I also wouldn’t be looking to sell him high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Most of the league’s top aces took the hill last night, but none were more impressive than the Padres’ Andrew Cashner, who threw a one-hit shutout, tossing 108 pitches against the ferocious Tigers, walking just two and striking out 11. That’s straight Cashner, homey! Randy Moss would be proud. Cashner’s shutout was the first of the season in all of baseball, and just the second of his career. He now holds a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 22 Ks through three starts. It’s gotta be that beard, right? You don’t have to tell Razzball nation about the magic of facial hair, see: Albright, Grey. Mystic whiskers aside, Cashner was money Friday night, surrendering just the one hit to Rajai Davis (breaking up his perfect game in the 6th), and striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Yes, that Miguel Cabrera! I’ve always been high on Cashner, and I owned him everywhere last year, so naturally, I own him no where this year. After last night, I might have to hit the trade market, because if I can’t own him, no one should! “I want a Golden Andrew Cashner Goose now, daddy!” Andrew has had injury issues in the past, but he has always been solid when healthy, and with high a 90′s fastball that can hit the triple digits, doode throws some serious cheese. The key with Cashner remains his aforementioned health; if he stays healthy, I could see 12-14 wins, 160 Ks and some solid ratios. That kind of Cashner can pay off big for your fantasy team.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Most exciting thing to happen at spring training thus far.

Can the season start already? Spring training has all the excitement of watching The Bachelor finale through the holes in a cracker. Basically, your humble-but-nonetheless-superstitious Guru spends spring training lighting candles, arranging antlers True Detective-style and just praying guys I’ve already drafted don’t strain a bursa sac or meet the Yellow King mowing the outfield. With only a handful of RCL drafts completed – including the writers league – the fun is just getting started. Let’s fire up the jammer crammer machine ©, get to the hot corner and take a look at third baseman ranked outside ESPN’s top 100 players. The third base position is a whole lot of Pam Anderson kind of top heavy with the flat girls and their nice personalities stuck in the middle and the cross dressers in the back – sounds like the worst New Orleans strip club ever. If you miss out on the stacked guys like Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria or Adrian Beltre don’t panic, just make sure you’re stuffing dollar bills into the g-strings of David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman and or Josh Donaldson’s. Now if you pass on one of those guys too it might be time to take up morning drinking and fantasy NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes left really well – that’s it for my racing analysis. There’s only six third baseman in the top 100 and the guys that immediate follow test the gag reflex in a way that is not at all exciting – Aramis Ramirez *hiccup*, Pedro Alvarez *burp* and Brett Lawrie *gets bucket*. I’m passing on those guys and waiting a little longer like it’s almost last call in the Razzball Lounge – we’re holding out for something better. I’ll risk a late CI pick on a young skank like Todd Frazier that tries hard before I wake up next to the eager lady that looks like Mike Moustakas who rolls over in the morning to say, “Let’s play jam it or cram it.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

They say baseball is 90 percent mental. So it don’t matter if you got 95-plus mph juice like Zach Wheeler or Taijuan Walker or He-Man-esque skills at the plate like Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. If we open up your head and find a pile of rocks or all sorts of Milton Bradleycrazy or some actual problems, it could really screw up your season.

Just ask Yovani Gallardo. The derailment of his 2013 season began in November of 2012, when his mom died. Then came his much-publicized booze-cruise in April 2013, when he was charged with a DUI for driving around Milwaukee at three times the legal limit. Then he missed a chunk of the year with a hamstring injury.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, we went over the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball and today we (hint: it’s in the title) go over the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Now that we’re knee deep in the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings we can get a better idea of how deep certain positions are. Martin Prado is 16th overall on the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball but 23rd here. Juan Francisco is 34th on the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball, but 28th here. Quickly we can surmise that the 3rd basemen is shallower than the 1st basemen, but deeper than the 2nd basemen. Outfielders are obviously the deepest, and will be coming tomorrow, and, after that, positions rank from deepest to shallowest: 1st basemen, 3rd basemen, shortstops, 2nd basemen then catchers. Not much change from previous years, except for the flip-flop with the middle infielders. As always, my projections and tiers are noted. Oh, and if you don’t believe the magic in my fingertips, here’s the review of my rankings from last year. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, it was the day of the pitcher. Since I started this blog, I can’t remember a more pitcher dominated day. Did anyone get a hit yesterday in any game outside of Coors? Put on your long johns with the flap on the butt, the Dead-ball Era is back. Yesterday reminded me when I was in a heated battle for 1st place in my first fantasy league. The year was nineteen-naught-eight. Skeets Lincoln was a staunch racist, unlike his great-uncle, and I hated him for it, but my Gramsie said, “You’re gonna get polio sitting on the radiator,” and I realized how short life was so I grabbed Skeets and he went 1-for-4 with 4 steals (at that time there were seven bases between first and home). Yesterday, Kyle Lohse threw a gem, but, really, who didn’t. He kept the Braves to two hits with no walks and five Ks. He ends the year with a 3.35 ERA and less Ks than a Klan rally as Skeets would’ve said. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sorry, I was just testing out these new three-ply tissues Cougs bought for me. I wasn’t crying. I was cutting onions while watching Manny Machado get hurt. When you think you’ve had too much of this life, hang on. Everyone hurts…sometimes! Michael Stipe, you are my bald little friend that sits in my glove compartment and waits for me to be sad to come out and sing to me. Sit on my lap, Stipe, and tell me it’s going to be okay. Tell me Machado won’t struggle to be healthy again by next year. Alas… Jesus, what a depressing way to start a sentence. Alas? Alas my ass, Machado’s hurt bad. It’s a shame. Not because I own him this year, but I don’t want anything to stand in the way of me liking him in 2014 and a knee injury is the kind of thing that could deflate my enthusiasm. Oh, well, guess we’ll see how he’s doing next February. For right now, feel free to drop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Some players do something so wonderfully fantastic in one game that they force themselves into the lede. Some players do something so terrifically awful that they find themselves in the lede. Other players take on a slow burn of a Neil LaBute movie. They’re just guys hanging out in an office; they’re just messing with a deaf girl, the deaf girl is falling in love and Brandon Moss is killing it like T.J. Lavin would say! Damn, Brandon Moss, you wanna touch my butter so I can dip my lobster in it? I mean, gee-dee-eff-why-zee Brandon Moss’s on fire. (Gee-dee-eff-why-zee is my new exclamation for wonderful, feel free to use it often.) He now has seven homers in the last ten games and yesterday he even threw in a steal because Brandon Moss DON’T TAKE NO MESS THOUGH I DON’T LOVE THAT I FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO SAY HIS WHOLE NAME EVERY TIME RATHER THAN JUST BRANDON OR MOSS; I ALSO DON’T NEED TO BE SCREAMING THIS, PROBABLY! Brandon Moss makes me so crazy I can’t even capitalize properly. All along I’ve been saying you need to platoon Brandon Moss, and you do, but he’s also making it worthwhile that you should absolutely be doing just that with him in every league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Pirates are in it to win it, y’all! Maybe too aggressive. Okay, the Pirates are in it to make it seem like they’re in it to win it, y’all! Yeah, that’s probably a closer approximation. If we’re sitting here in October and saying the Pirates couldn’t have won the World Series without the help of Marlon Byrd, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle and pay for my monkey nephew to go to college, which is a lot of money. Luckily, I think they can win it with or without Byrd, as a Nikki Dinki-hosted show would say. Thankfully, none of this matters for fantasy, so why are we even talking about it? I don’t know, clunky expository question! Byrd will likely prop up the bottom of the Pirates lineup when he plays and prop himself onto the mascot’s shoulder on off days. Byrd gains a tad bit of value with this move since the Mess offense was nothing to write home about unless you were locked up abroad and ran out of things to write on postcards, and ‘Hitters Are Better Outside Of Metco’ is a bumper sticker I don’t own, but endorse. Also, going to the Pittsburgh Bucs is John Buck. Buck will change his New York nickname of “Midnight Cowboy” to “Swash,” and steal some looks behind the plate from Martin. Going the other way is Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later. Unless that player is Andrew McCutchen, there’s not a whole lot to talk about on the Mets receiving end. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?