Man, I have not watched a Braves game in a frog’s leap, but lemme tell you, Freddie Freeman takes batting seriously. It is no joke when he steps to the plate. First off, Too Close by Alex Clare is his walkup song. Not a bad choice to set a  dramatic tone. What happens is Freeman enters the batter box, takes a quick glance back at the catcher and umpire, as if he’s making sure they’re still there. Then he swivels his head around ever-so-slowly until it faces the pitcher directly, coming to a dramatic stop. After a quick smirk like he knows something you don’t, he assumes his batting stance and awaits to clobber the heck out of whatever you’re about to throw. Since breaking out big in 2012, Freeman has mostly repeated those numbers this year, albeit with a small amount of regression involved. Without an injury history to speak of, Freeman’s the kind of high-floor player that may not be able to win your league outright, but won’t prevent you from winning either.

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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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Koji Uehara has been removed from the closer role temporarily after surrendering two homers in a blown save on Thursday night. This was just the latest in the series of unfortunate innings. In his last six appearances he’s given up a total of 10 runs and 14 hits. Owners know Uehara has been very un-Koji like for a while now, posting a 5.09 ERA in 17.2 innings since the All-Star break, while opponents have batted .307 against him. Bad news for Koji owners, but for those desperate for saves in these final weeks, this news could be Mujica to your ears. Edward Mujica will reportedly take over as closer for the next few days. If you’re scrambling for saves,  Edward could be one of the last of the Mujicas available as far as closers go. Is that enough Mujica puns for you? Because I made a whole list of them. Sorry, they’re all pretty bad. Mujica’s numbers aren’t quite as bad, but they’re not great either. He’s got a 4.13 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP on the season, but he’s been much better since the All-Star break posting a 1.53 ERA in 17.2 innings, with batters hitting just .242 off him. He should be able to net you a couple saves over the next week, but he’s no sure thing to lock up the job for the rest of the season. Manager John Farrell said the plan is for Uehara to regain the role, but its certainly possible Mujica could run away with the job. Just don’t drop your Koji Uehraras just yet. Regardless, if you’re as desperate for saves as I am for compliments and affection, Edward Mujica in the closer role could help save your fantasy season.

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

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Quick! Before Rudy completely makes my column obsolete with great new tools like the Hitter Planner, let’s get in another Lineup Maximizer. Sometimes there are players I want to highlight as pickups, but don’t have a game on Thursday, so they don’t fit the criteria for this article. Nate Freiman, the A’s regular at first when facing a lefty, is one such player. Over the past week, he’s been in Single-A Beloit because of arcane rules regarding MiLB playoffs and the September roster expansion. Despite that, Freiman is back with the big league club and will continue hitting the ball hard and being tall. Before the demotion, Freiman was 5 for his last 14, with three homers and five RBI. Alas, Freiman doesn’t play on Thursday so I can’t recommend him for the next stretch of games in when the A’s face three lefties in their next five. What a damn shame.

Anyhoo! Here’s who I can recommend for Thursdays games:

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In 1778, Benjamin Franklin pulled the first American flag from Betsy Ross’s, uh, clutches and proclaimed a holiday to be called Labor Day in the then-resort city of Philadelphia. Since then there’s been a long history of great Philly pitchers: Steve “Lefty” Carlton, Jackie “Kid” Gleason, Robin “ESPN anchor” Roberts, Curt Schilling, who later went on to be known for saucing his French fries with ketchup out of his sock, Jim “Beds Are” Bunning and Brett “I’ll Show You Slap Hits” Myers. Philly’s not the same town now as it was in Ben’s day, as the battle for best cheesesteak tore up most of the city. “Geno’s? How about I give you a jihad wit wiz?!” It’s ugly, without much joy in the City of Brotherly Love, a nickname adopted due to the popularity of a WWF manager in the early 90’s. Yesterday, for a moment, all of that sorrow was told to go to ‘morrow, as Cole Hamels and Jacob Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a no hitter. Hamels only made it through six innings, because he took Labor Day literally and struggled with five walks. If I had to give an award out because I had an award and didn’t know what to do with it, I’d ask someone next year if Jacob Diekman ever threw a no-hitter, and would reward them with that unwanted trophy if they said yes. A great day for Philly fans everywhere (except for the fans that came to the game with D batteries hoping for a reason to throw them at a player). Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hello Razzballers! Happy Sunday before the non-waiver trade deadline. *Pops party popper* Today I bring you a Creeper that feels more like a buy, but because Josh Rutledge is only 7.4% owned, he qualifies for my purposes. This is the time of the year that we need to make moves fast, cut the dead weight and change how we value our players ROS. When an opportunity arises we need to jump on it like Sky at a creepy Korean mask sale. Josh Rutledge is this opportunity, and we need to do it while the getting is good. When Tulo went down for his annual DL visit, Josh got his chance to be the post post-hype sleeper we know and loathe. He was Brad Miller and Jedd Gyorko before we even knew them. One thing I have always felt about Josh is that his manager has been one of the driving forces to both mine and Josh’s frustration. When you jerk a player around with his development, you start to mess with their psychological approach. I’ve watched this over the years and never understood it. The Sciosciapath and the Maddening Hatter come to mind first. Excuse me for a second while I go punch some holes in the wall.

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Has the Derek Jeter Memorial Midsummer lovefest ended in Minnesota yet? I need an afterglow cigarette and one of those Jeter gift baskets after that All-Star reach around. Hey, as a Red Sox fan I can actually tip the turban to Jeter for a great career ( I just vomited in my mouth a little), but it’s not like Jeets is on his death bed muttering “Rosebud” or was the greatest player of his generation. Or was he? At least Adam Wainwright wasn’t grooving pitches to him for the last 20 years. With the fantasy DT’s settling in, I turned my trembling hands to Razzball’s Historical Fantasy Baseball Player Rater to check the numbers. I was surprised by what I found. No surprise that the top 3 fantasy players of all-time were Ruth, Aaron and Cobb, but it is interesting to note that Jeter ranks in the top 50 at No. 41. The Yankees captain ranks just ahead of Hall of Famers like Jim Rice, Paul Molitor, George Brett and should be Hall of Famer Pete Rose. According to the Razzball Rater, Jeter is the No.6 shortstop all-time ahead of Robin Yount, Barry Larkin, Joe Cronin and Pee Wee Reese. Now, as Jeter rides off into the pinstriped sunset, he currently ranks as the 22nd best shortstop in our fake ballin’ world. Not great, but still better than more heavily owned players like J.J. Hardy, Xander Bogaerts and Brad Miller. In honor of the departing Jeets, his “dating diamond”, the Midsummer Classic and the fantasy baseball DT’s, let’s jam or cram the currently under-owned (60% or less) waiver wire All-Stars.

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At least one of you is reading this with a bandaged thumb from a fireworks mishap. I had a Cousin Pete (Italian side of the family) who lost the tip of his thumb on the 4th, but rather than stop the festivities, he taped the tip of a hot dog on his thumb to act as a tourniquet for the rest of the 4th, so we could all go about our fun-having business. I suggested my Cugino make a PSA about hot dog tourniquets, but I was turned away by NBC Cares. Let us bow our heads and pray that if anyone loses a finger, may there be a proper-sized hot dog nearby. Robinson Cano hasn’t been bad. Let’s put that misconception behind our ears like the baby ounce of Drakkar you do every morning. Not bad. Low on homers? Yes. Not bad though. The perception is he’s struggling. Having a real hard time of it in Safeco. He’s on pace for better numbers than last year, except for power. So, where did all the power go? (I sang that like Paula Cole.) He’s insanely off for homers per fly ball, and down in the fly ball department, in general. Those aren’t great things, but — what are you gonna do with that big fat but? — his April/May are dragging down the homers per fly ball. He had four homers in June and looked relatively the same as he’s always looked. There’s no way he makes it to 25 homers on the year (he’s at 6), but four homers per month is doable and about what you always got from Cano. As already pointed out, he’s still doing everything else that made him a top 12 player in March, so if someone is down on Cano, in the non-sexual way, I’d look to see if I could buy him a little cheaper than he’s actually worth. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Wanna really mess with your brain? Think about how you could have the same thing as Guy Pearce in Memento and you would never know. Okay, don’t think about it too long, it’ll mess with your brain too much and then I’m gonna get sued by your loved ones. “Judge, Grey Albright, Fantasy Master Lothario (don’t abbreviate it), told my darling boy, Josh, to think about how he could have a brain dysfunction and now I have to change his diaper and order in for Chinese food every fifteen minutes because he keeps forgetting he just ate.” That’s your momma in front of the judge, suing me. Steve Pearce is a thirty-one-year-old journeyman. That’s not a cartographer, that’s a guy who isn’t very good and just travels around offering his services for all-you-can-drink Gatorade. Yes, he hit two homers yesterday and has hit 9 homers in just two months while batting .336. This isn’t a matter of “Maybe he’s breaking out now.” No, there’s no breaking out for Steve Pearce. He doesn’t even sound right if you don’t say his full name. There’s no Steve and no Pearce. There’s only Steve Pearce and he’s the hottest schmotato in the land and is worth picking up while he’s swinging a hot bat, but I wouldn’t expect it to last that long. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Way out east there was this fella… fella I wanna tell ya about. Fella by the name of Lucas Duda. At least that was the handle his loving parents gave him, but he never had much use for it himself. Mr. Duda, he called himself “The Dude”. Now, “Dude” – that’s a name no one would self-apply where I come from – especially one with a career average of .247. But then there’s a lot about the Dude that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense – including his 12 homers this year. And a lot about where he lived, likewise. But then again, maybe that’s why I found the place so darned interestin’. They call New York the “Capital of the World,” a “Modern Gomorrah.” I don’t find it to be that, exactly. But I’ll allow there are some nice folks there – excluding Yankee fans. ‘Course I can’t say I’ve seen London, and I ain’t never been to France. And I ain’t never seen no queen in her damned undies, ‘cept Tehol. But I’ll tell you what – after seeing New York, and this here jam I’m about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin’ every bit as stupefyin’ as you’d see in any of them other places. And in English, too. So I can die with a smile on my face, without feelin’ like the good Lord gypped me. But sometimes there’s a man, sometimes, there’s a man. And I’m talkin’ about Duda here. Sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s the Dude. Aw. I lost my train of thought here. But… aw, hell. I’ve done introduced him enough. Now let’s crack a nice sarsaparilla and jam it or cram it.

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If you’re looking for some bonus jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio.

Please, blog, may I have some more?