One of my longtime rules of fantasy baseball (and this one is shared by many) is to avoid older hitters.  David Ortiz?  Never drafted him (often and including this season to my detriment), Albert Pujols?  Nope.  Robinson Cano?  Again, my bad this season, but still I’m not drafting him.  Ben Zobrist?  Just can’t do it.  I know three out of the four guys I just mentioned are having great seasons thus far, but let’s see how they look in August, shall we?  We shall, since August is coming whether we want it to or not; how’s that for ominous?

Thing is I just don’t want to take the chance of injury or decline.  As I get older, and though I’m no athlete, it just takes longer to recover.  Recover from injuries, running or long walks even, the few weights I do lift, and mainly, hangovers.  I keep telling myself I’m one more bad hangover (which at this point is five or six beers and home by 11:00 PM and still takes two days to feel right again) from giving it up.

But good beer is so, so good.  Just not at the ballpark for $10 a 12 ounce.  As such when I go see my Cubs play the Cardinals in a couple weeks I’m bringing in a bottle of water, refilling it as often as I like in the many fountains, and eating hot dogs and nachos until my heart’s content.  You know who also makes my heart’s content?  Brandon Phillips.  (Well, no, he doesn’t but I didn’t have a good transition there and that one did the trick.  Or it didn’t.  You decide!) But he’s an old guy and you don’t own them; you just said this.  I know, but to be clear, I won’t draft these guys; nor will I trade for them.  What I will do is pick them up off of waivers/free agent wire and plug them into my lineup.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s 2016 and everyone is raving about their kale and quinoa diet, and if you’re drinking anything other than water you may die. But today I am here to tempt you with a tall glass of Aaron Nola. Obviously you have aces Strasberg, Arrieta, and Kluber all starting, but as I surveyed the pitching field, I noticed several bad pitchers and some decent pitchers with bad scenarios. Today is most certainly a day to pony up for pricy pitchers. I was almost going to suggest Mike Foltynewicz … that’s how bad it is out there. Nola’s price falls under 10K at $9,500. However, if he keeps pitching like he has been, that price is bound to rise. Nola has been ace-like to start the season. He has gone 7 strong in 5 out of his 7 starts, issuing 49 K and only 8 BB to the tune of a 2.54 xFIP. Only two pitchers own lower xFIP, who happen to be Kershaw and Syndergaard, so he’s in pretty good company on the xFIP front. Opposing batters haven’t been able to generate much solid contact off his pitches. Nola is 12th in average exit velocity at 86.6 among qualified starting pitchers. Nola again finds himself in the good company, as his average distance per hit is only flying 200 feet. That pegs him right in between Syndergaard (201) and Kershaw (199). Are you worried about him facing Cincy? Don’t be. The Reds are a completely different team on the road than they are at home. At home they are stroking a .733 OPS, with 98 runs (2nd), and have hit 31 HR (1st). Compared to .638 OPS, 37 runs (30th), and 5 HR (29th) on the road. It’s the weekend! Forget about your diet, sit back, and take a swig from the Coca-Nola bottle. With that, I give you the rest of my DraftKings picks…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday May 16th 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Remember when Bryce Harper was the bee’s knees. The cat’s pajamas. The top dog. A lot can happen in two weeks. As a matter of fact, Harper’s not even in the top five. With 122 points he finds himself ranked 6th, tied with David Ortiz and Daniel Murphy. Both Ortiz and Murphy are sporting a slightly higher points per plate appearance (PPPA). However, Harper’s current PPPA (0.84) is more in line with what I’d expect out of him than Ortiz and Murphy, both of whom are due to regress.

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*walks into a Moroccan marketplace*  I got me some Marra-CASH to spend!  Hoo-ah!  Wow, I sound a little like Al Pacino in my own head.  Okay, I’m going to go over to that table that is filled with players to buy low.  “Hello…*reads name tag* Djibooti, I see you’re selling slow-starting hitters for a deal.”  “Good deal!  Good deal!”  “Well, I’ll be the judge of that.”  *picks up Justin Upton*  “This smells like skunk.”  “No skunk!  Good deal!”  *goes through crates filled with albums that have a player’s face on them, lifts Lorenzo Cain*  “How much?”  “Djibooti need to check MLB Statcast.”  Djibooti looks at his iPad, looks up and snatches Cain out of my hands.  “No longer for sale!”  “Damn, Djibooti, don’t put your emotions in a tagine and get them all heated.”  So, Lorenzo Cain obviously was struggling mightily going into yesterday’s game, and, now, not so much — 3-for-5, 5 RBIs with 3 HRs (3, 4, 5).  This is why I rarely sell low on struggling top 50 hitters.  There was a reason they were drafted there in the first place.  Now the buy low is going to be much more difficult too.  “Djibooti, how much for David Price?”  “You take for free!  He’s yours!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jung Ho Kang returned to the Pittsburgh line up after being sidelined since last September with a fractured tibia and what a return he had. Tibia shmibia! Kang came back with style, hitting two ding-dongs and going 2-for-4 with 3 RBI. Talk about gung ho! Talk about an obvious headline! What? You think you can do better? Go ahead and try. Please don’t I need that .0001% of a cent per page view every month if I want to afford my obsessive soba noodles and MOBA habit. Kang slashed .287/.355/.461 last season with 15 homers and 58 RBI.  If there’s a possibility Kang is somehow still available in your league now’s your chance because he won’t be long. Me suspects manager Clint Hurdle will ease Kang into the daily line up slowly, but if he keeps hitting dingers we should see him playing everyday sooner rather than later. From the looks of it, Kang is going to pick up right where he left off and be a valuable fantasy asset immediately.

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

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Jose Altuve is on pace for 60 homers.  He can’t even reach the cereal in the morning!  If an opposing manager were to ask to see Altuve’s bat, they would crack it open to reveal gumballs because he’s the leader of the lollipop guild.  If the major leagues were to institute a Daffy Duck ‘You Have To Be This Tall’ sign before getting to the batter’s box, Altuve would need his mother to escort him into the batter’s box every time.  That’s assuming she’s tall enough!  If she’s not, who does he get?  His uncle?  Erik Kratz?  If might were height, Jose Altuve would be a giant.  That much is true.  I love that lil’ bugger!  I want a Teddy Ruxpin in the shape of Altuve to cuddle at night.  Last night, he went 4-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 9th homer, hitting .330.  So, the question is, can he keep it up?  Up is not a word I associate with Altuve, and, no, he can’t keep it up.  No one could keep up this pace.  Of course, he’s still a .315 hitter with an easy 110 runs, 35 steals and 70 RBIs, i.e., a top ten bat.  So, keep it up?  No, not without four phonebooks under him.  Do enough to make you glad you didn’t sell high?  As a French dwarf would say, “Wee!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what a week for starting pitcher callups!  Thankfully we’re seeing Major League clubs unshy of bringing up their future aces instead of being little scaredy-cats and using the Super 2 as a crutch.  “Stop wasting some of your better pitched innings in the Minors, ya bums!”  That was me two years ago.  I was also skinnier and not married yet, so not everything has gotten better…

Right on the heels of the Jose Berrios callup, the A’s promoted Sean Manaea after an absolutely meteoric rise after being traded by the Royals in the Ben Zobrist deal.  Manaea always had power stuff and great K-rates, but never quite harnessed the command to get himself atop prospect lists.  But when you have awesome pure stuff, sometimes one minor tweak can take you from “meh” to “mania”!  After a 21:4 K:BB in Triple A over 18 innings this year, it certainly came with a lot of fanfare that Manaea was getting called up, and he’s surely scooped up in almost all leagues at this point.  Is he worth all the hype?  Here’s how he looked on Friday night in his MLB debut against the Astros:

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Hello everyone, Happy May and welcome to Sunday! We have another large slate, with 15 games on the All-Day docket, and 10 games on the Main Slate.

We have a interesting case on our hands today, as there are many games Vegas lists at 6.5 O/U. Why is this? Well, that’s because we have a slate full of many high-priced aces, as Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Danny Salazar, Clayton Kershaw, and David Price, all above the $10,000 salary range, are all scheduled to start today, which begs the question, which Ace do you want? I don’t need to get into a ton of statistics and heavy in-depth research, because arguments can be made to start each guy on any specific night, and you already know why these guys are so dominant. However, we can still get to some digging and eliminate pitchers that we don’t want, digging some more, eliminating more guys, so on, and so forth.

First up, what about the higher-priced guys? Yes, all are expensive, yet are you comfortable with selecting Clayton Kershaw (#1 cash option without thinking), at a crisp $12,300? If the answer is yes, you should also be fairly confident that he should pick up the win against the San Diego Padres, not to mention his elite strikeout upside and low walk rate, but you already knew that. What about Madison Bumgarner? Well, his biggest strength is his low-walk rate (4.5% in 2015) and his 3.00 SIERA in 2015 as well, but he is facing the Mets, which is not only tough, but he has to manage a win behind an offense facing Noah Syndergaard, and the same thing for him, as Thor has to muster a win against Mad-Bum. No thanks. I feel it is much more efficient to find cheaper options to solidify those stud bats we can roster, instead of having to pay for these top studs who are very likely to record multi-strikeout performances, yet equally have the potential to not collect the win, and to record a poor outing.

So who’s up next? There’Let’s get to it.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called a fantasy baseball season.  I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, forgive me if I recommend starting a hitter vs. Jake Arrieta and pray.  I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, I am Bartolo Colon and you will never understand how I get on these pants.  1, 2, 1, 2, 3.  Yeah.  I was working part-time in a five-and-dime, my boss was Willie McGee.  U got the look.  Jesus, McGee, that look.  Twenty-three positions in a one night stand.  Twenty-three positions in a very deep league fantasy team.  Who’s my short-second-short-1st baseman?  Why do we scream at each other?  This is what it sounds like when David Price’s owners cry.  “Sorry to hear about Chyna,” said the ghost of Farrah Fawcett.  Arrieta, you got the batter’s fly balls all tied up!  Don’t make the outfielders chase you!  Even doves have pride.  Why do we scream at each other when we don’t own Jake Arrieta?  So, Arrieta threw a no-hitter yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 BBs, 6 Ks.  Rather economical pitch count too (119).  Member when we were able to own him last year by drafting him in the 8th round?  Alas, he’s a Sexy M.F. and I would die 4 U.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So J.A. Happ was almost a tourney call for me and then I looked at the Yanks so far. I looked at how their offense was rolling. I looked at how they did when everyone was healthy last year. I looked at how it seems the old guys get their licks in early in the year, and when it was all said and done? I said to myself, ‘you know how that should go’. What, you want more Drake references? Look, I ain’t hip, I ain’t with it. For visual proof, here’s Drake and I together and I gotta say…well, I gotta say my turtle neck game is also on point but yeah, you don’t want that free-styling to open the post. Rather, we should talk about what bats we want to have a Happ attack. Alex Rodriguez at $4k? Check. Mark Teixeira at $4,200? Only if you can spell his name right. A little pricy but as a contrarian play, Aaron Hicks at $4K? I used to live in the country, so I’m fine with Hicks. Carlos Beltran for salary relief at $3,600? Sure, dive right in. This world is your oyster here and I strongly suggest you shuck the hell out of it. So with that, let’s move on. Here’s my Hotline Bling takes for this Wednesday 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?