James Paxton continued to pitch well last night versus the ferocious Tigers tossing six innings, allowing five hits, one run, walking one and striking out a pair to move to 3-0 on the year. We shall call you, Pax the Destroyer! Pax is also one of Guardians of the Galaxy, believe it or not. No, not the tree or the raccoon. No, he’s not Scott Hatteberg from Moneyball or the smoking hot green alien either, but the other guy. The big guy. Yeah, him, apparently, he can pitch too. Since returning from the DL at the beginning of the month, he’s got a 2.16 ERA in three starts, giving up 4 ER, 15 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 in 16.2 innings against some of the leagues top offenses (Baltimore, White Sox and Detroit). Sure, the stats aren’t overwhelming, but he’s still adjusting after returning from four months on the DL with a strained lat, and if you take his early season stats into account, the Destroyer holds a 0.94 WHIP and a 24/6 K/BB ratio. Also, the sample size is tiny, but the .236 BABIP and the 2.61 xFIP sure are pretty to look at. The M’s need Paxton to step up big time down the stretch, and I think he could do the same for your fantasy team. Pax the Destroyer gets the Phillies next week, and he’s undefeated, getting better by the start. He’s available in little over 70% of leagues and you don’t have to be a space pirate, a weird alien tree man, or a even Xandarian collector to see he could be worthy of a pick up in most leagues.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, and the illustration next to it was Salvador Perez’s abuelita. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back.” I thought I knew what love was. I owned Javier Baez in every league I could grab him, but what did I know? Those minor league days are gone forever. He’s got to let them go! I can see you, Baez, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun. You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby. And I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong. Not Giancarlo strong, but strong never the hoo! Baez’s minor league numbers are eye-popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone Movie — 23 homers, 16 steals and a .260 average in only 104 games. What are you? A 35/25 guy at shortstop? Why stop there? Why not just dress up like the Sun-Maid girl and feed me shrunken grapes? What? It’s my fantasy! Like Don Henley and later The Ataris sang, I grabbed Baez in every league that I could. He might not be any better than, say, Danny Santana this year, his K-rate in the minors is a little scary, and he might hit .220. Whatevs, it’s an upside gamble, which I like at middle infield. I’m guessing Baez will play 2nd base, Arismendy (I still love you!) will move to center field and one of the Cubs platooners will sit. To paraphrase Harry Caray, if the moon was made of Javier Baez would cha eat it? Well, would cha? I would! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Don’t be confused, I don’t want you to pass on Alex Cobb today. I want you to inhale his awesomeness and value today and play play play him. Usually an $8,100 play on an off day Monday should be reason enough to convince many of you to go with the Cobb. Oh no J-FOH, he has to go on the road to Oaktown and face the Amazing A’s!  I know I know diligent commenter but over his short career he owns a 1.80 ERA at the O.Co with 13 K’s in 15 innings. Career against them he sports a 2.78 ERA over 35.2 innings with 28 K’s. The only player on the A’s that has been his killer is Coco Crisp who has been out with a nagging neck injury. I like the start a lot and Stream-O-Nator is pretty neutral on him at a $7.5 dollar play. Cobb has been getting back into the form (July stats: 2.23 ERA in 32.1 innings with 36 K’s) that made him such a highly touted pitcher coming into the year. To close out 2013 he had a mid 2 ERA with 58K’s in 59.2 innings and is looking like he has found himself again. You could say he is hitting his montage scene for 2014.  Montage? Hhmmmm… Ok I’m inspired now and here are some classic 80’s montage’s off the top of my head for you guys to have some fun with: Real Genius, Back to School, Better off Dead, and the greatest motivator for you to finish 2014 strong montage. Speaking of 80’s movies, my buddy the Birdman’s buddy Chazz, who I met at the bachelor party, looks like the perfect 80’s campy movie villain. He would be an Alpha Beta in Revenge of the Nerds or challenge me to ski the K-12 in Better Off Dead or even get the other Cobra Kai’s to hold me so he can kick my ass. Chazz is rad to the max to hang with. For realzzz.

If you still aren’t sure about DraftKings then lets change the words around and say let’s play King of the Draft. How’s that for you? You think you have what it takes to be king of the hill? The high hog of the trough? The top of the heap? You get what I’m saying. The worst thing that happens is you lose a few bucks you would of spent on something else you don’t need in your life and if you are a stickler for the monthly budget then live a little and mix it up. I’m kidding though, you can also play for free but why not throw down a little scratch and challenge some readers and writers at Razzball and take our pride and money. Ralph has been really good at roaming the comments to pick up any new players that post their info so go sign up, post your handle and Ralph will get you in. It’s that easy.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay’s Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in June, about six weeks ago, the Twins were liking their chances this year. They went out and spent money on Kendrys Morales, just to put them over the hump. Then about five weeks and six days ago, they realized their chances for the playoffs were slim to anorexic, and regretted their move. They had buyer’s remorse quicker than Betty Draper’s new husband. “How could Don not appreciate this blonde beauty?” Dot, dot, dot. “Oh, that’s why.” I personally thought trading for a complement to Willingham, Arcia, Plouffe and Colabello was a good idea. I mean, who among those guys is a power, lousy average and no speed threat? Oh, wait, they all are. Now back to the Mariners, yeah, they need another 1B/DH-type. We’ll assume Kendrys plays every day (which he should). In the 2nd half of last year, he hit 9 homers and a .274 average. I don’t see much more from him this year. If anything, maybe a few less homers since he’s been struggling. Basically, what you can get off waivers in most mixed leagues. Or what the Mariners already had in Coreygan Smoakison, their Frankenstein 1B/DH. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Odrisamer Despaigne almost threw a no-hitter yesterday (7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks) in his Padres camo fatigues, which had Fidel completely uncertain how to react. “I love to wear camo too, but now he’s doing it for the American Baseball Organization and representing their military? I am torn like Natalie Imbruglia.” Luckily, Fidel had someone who burped too loud to assassinate to take his mind off things. Odrisamer Despaigne, or Otis Spunkmeyer as I always want to call him, now has a 1.31 ERA on the year (34 1/3 IP) and a laughable K-rate (4.46). Speaking of communists, that’s even laughable for Correia. Maybe the Mets couldn’t see Spunkmeyer’s pitches because the Padres were also using their trademark camo-painted baseball? Oh, wait, this is the Mets we’re yakking up. How silly of me. Spunkmeyer is definitely worth riding when in home starts, and even favorable road matchups while throwing well, but I wouldn’t trust him long-term. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m staring out on a prairie in the middle of Palm Springs. Okay, it’s not a prairie. It’s more of a dirt field with a bingo card blowing through it. But let’s pretend it’s a prairie. Why am I standing in a prairie that’s not really a prairie? Because all great baseball moments happen this way. Just one man and rows of corn. Except those aren’t rows of corns, but walkers lined up against the window of a Starbucks. But let’s pretend they are cornfields! I’m pulling off my cap (not wearing a cap; don’t want to mess my hair), staring directly into the sky (wearing sunglasses) and screaming at the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, “Why do you have to make the rest of us suffer for the childhood you never had?!” Okay, I need to move on before the OPP (Old People Police) come after me. We should’ve known a rather pedestrian 7 IP, 4 ER from Masahiro Tanaka was a sign that he was hurt. We should’ve known! Or an even worse 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER start the next time out. We should’ve known! Alas, we didn’t know. So, Tanaka’s going for a variety of tests, and hopefully it’s nothing, but any time there’s something wrong with a pitcher’s elbow it’s something. Are we sure he didn’t inflame his elbow using Hideki’s porn collection? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, we had our first July 31st trading deadline deal, and it paid off for all the A’s fans who paid Oaktown’s own, Bubb Rubb, to break into Billy Beane’s office and turn his iCal forward a month. “Any ideas what you want to do for the 4th of July, Billy?” “I celebrated last month with some friends.” Screen spirals out and slam cuts to Bubb Rubb, maniacally (bubb)rubbing his hands together. When the A’s are playing like it’s playoff baseball in September, don’t say your mustachioed over-the-internet friend didn’t warn you. So, the trade that went down was Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for David Addison Leave Me Alone Maddie Russell, who I will get to after this lede. Samardzija and Hammel both gain value going to the A’s, which isn’t often the case with an NL pitcher going to The Land of Milk and Honey-Flavored DHs. Wrigley isn’t a great place to pitch — one day it’s overcast with winds blowing straight out, another day winds are just swirling overhead like a toilet bowl genie. As we’ve seen in the past, pitchers can do just about anything in a short period of time. Could Hammel and Samardzija completely poop the sheets? Fo’sho. Likely? Prolly not. O.co is like Petco and Metco, a big cavernous wasteland for hitters and they have more foul territory than Roseanne Barr’s privates. Samardzija brings strikeout stuff to hitters that aren’t as familiar with him and could be the 2nd half’s Kazmir. Yesterday, in his first A’s start, he had a line of 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks. Dividends paying out quick there. Hammel keeps the ball down and O.co will love him. This trade only really hurts Tommy Milone, who was shipped to the minors. The A’s just made themselves a serious contender and having a friend in Bubb Rubb pays off once again. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

While you’re taking time from your family to read this on this beautiful Fourth of July, I just want to say a few quick thank yous. *intern whispers in my ear* I’m told Thanksgiving is the time for that thanking people crap and the 4th of July is for hot dogs, red, white and blue Jell-o shots and almost losing a finger when a fuse goes off prematurely — that’s what she said! Huh? You know what’s more apple pie (appley-er?) than the 4th of July? A guy that was once lost in the abyss of self-despair and Fruit Loops making good– Wait that’s the intro for Celebrity Fit Club. Okay, better than apple pie is a guy that looks like a stick figure and pitches like Adrian Adonis (in his heyday, obviously), and going into Coors and taming the mountain better than the Red Viper. Zack Greinke threw 8 IP, 1 ER, 11 baserunners and 8 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.66. His peripherals aren’t much worse either — 9.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and a 2.72 xFIP. He’s pretty much a top five pitcher. So, on today, when we celebrate flashes of color in the sky and a bunch of drunk white guys signing parchment 238 years ago, let’s raise our fruity, rum-filled concoction and toast Greinke. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?