Hope everyone’s well rested and had a joyous Michael Bay Day. If you couldn’t be American yesterday, I hope at least you got drunk and ate a bunch of hot dogs. As they say in Mississippi, Amurica, spelling’s for sissies! The Mariners made it a bit more joyous for some of us fantasy baseballers when they demoted Dustin Ackley for Nick Franklin. Ackley was a guy I could never fully get behind, in a non-sexual way. He arrived in the majors with a ton of hype, but that’s more because Mariners fans lie to themselves more than anything Ackley showed. So, what does the Mustache King, Purveyor of Smart Stuff Who Should Be Able To Come Up With A Better Word Than Stuff If He Were That Smart think about Franklin? Brucely, I’m a bit meh, but I’d pick him up in all leagues and have. Franklin looks similar to Ackley. He has power and speed, but not in a huge way, which will be further suppressed by Safeco. Safeco: Where a hitter’s upside goes to die. Franklin’s best year in the minors was in A-Ball in 2010. To put that into a relatable comparison, you were your town’s best T-ball hitter, how well did you do in high school? You flunked out of high school? Point made. This year, he had 4 homers and 7 steals in Triple-A, and I’d put it at about a 25% chance that his end of the season numbers look the same for the Mariners. If you can’t find someone that can get you 4 homers and 7 steals from now until October, you’re not trying very hard. There is a chance for upside and he is only 22 years old, so I’d take the gamble and grab him. Best case scenario, 15 homers, 15 steals. Worst case scenario, he shows up at the nightclub you like to take your lady to, challenges you to a dance battle, beats you, screaming “You got served!” and your lady leaves with him. Most likely scenario, he hits 8 homers, steals 12 bases and bats .250, so watch how you spend your FAAB Benjamins on Franklin. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Sure, these aren’t your slightly older brother’s Yankees. Even Mel Hall would roll over in his Aryan cellmate’s arms if you were to compare these Yankees with the early-90′s Yankees. Still… Again and this time put a little sting on it… STILL! Mr. DeMille, Matt Moore looks ready for his close-up as he announced, “I am big. It’s the other pitchers that got small.” The Yankees can usually take a walk, and Moore’s on the wild side when the guys and four girl readers go, ‘Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.’ Yesterday, Moore only gave up two hits and three walks through eight innings while chipping in nine Ks. His season ERA now sits at 1.04. Sure, that’s gonna come up a bit, but I ranked him 16th overall for all starters for a reason. That reason is his stuff is nasty. Nasty as in good not nasty as in bad with that bad not being bad bad, he’s good bad. Kapeesh? Looking for a pitcher then can give you 200 Ks and a 2-something ERA then look at Strasburg. Looking for a guy that can get you the same amount of Ks and a low-three ERA, but will come a lot cheaper in a trade? That’s all the Moore reason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“The Nats Don’t Play,” was almost the title, but that’s too raw for all you suckas. It’s too cutting. It cuts the quick and bleeds ever-so-slightly that irritates you when you cut a lemon for your Arnold Palmer. Y’all can’t hang with my chinchilla fur that I’m wearing in my picture. (It’s just off my shoulder; you can’t see it.) B-Real said it best, “You don’t know where I’m going cause you haven’t been where I’ve been, understand where I’m coming from?” The Nationals know where I’ve been. They’ve dealt with the same thing as me, only they had to pay Zimmerman millions of dollars to get what I got. Which is an ulcer. Thanks, doode! I’ll send you the bill for the Zantac I’ve had to take for the last two years. The Nats called Zimmerman into their office and said, “You only have a hamstring issue, but if it’s anything like the injuries you’ve had in the past that have lasted about 60 days past when they were supposed to, we’re bringing up our best prospect, Anthony Rendon. We’re gonna tell everyone that it’s only for a few weeks while you heal, but we hope you don’t come back until July and we can trade you to the highest bidder. What? No, we don’t validate!” Rendon is gonna be a great one…some day. Damn, the fantasy baseball fortune cookie ending! Yeah, I’m not sure he’s ready just yet, but he’s worth a flyer in all leagues. I grabbed him in one league where I have Moustakas, because I’m tired of seeing that gyro-eating-motherfu– Let’s just say I’m tired of Moustakas. Best case scenario, Zimmerman has a set back and Rendon stays up and hits for a solid average and gives high-teen power with some very light speed. Another scenario, Rendon hits, Zimmerman returns and the Nats gutter ball Espinosa’s value and move Rendon to 2nd. Most likely scenario, Zimmerman returns and Rendon is demoted. Worst case scenario, Rendon shows up at your house at 3 AM and asks to sleep on your couch, seems fine at first then he tells you he has no place to live, stays for months, doesn’t ever flush the toilet or fill up the Tang in the fridge then starts dating your aunt, eventually marries her, making him your uncle, a title he insists you call him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar once said, “You can sum up in one word the game of baseball: ‘You never know.’”

Well said Joaquin, well said.

You never know how the season will go and what stars will emerge and what stars will fade to black (someone please cue up Metallica here. I’m tired of boy bands). That’s part of the fun and frustration of fantasy sports. But even if you drafted well, with all your players off to a hot start and you are filled to the brim with confidence and trash talk, you just never know when you are going to hear that one word the game of baseball truly despises: The disabled list. *tips cap to Professor Andujar*

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FantasyRazzballFantasy Razzball is the game where the goal is to manage the worst fantasy baseball team possible. You hope to find terrible players who don’t get sent to the minors. As in the RCL, a team’s points are multiplied by the League Competitive Index. The LCI is based on the total points of the top 8 teams per league. The overall standings will be up later in the season. Points are credited as follows:

Hitters (AB = +2, H = -3, R = -4, HR = -6, RBI = -4, K = +2)

Pitchers (IP = -1, HR = +4, L = +8, K = -1, ER = +1.5, H+BB = +1).

You can find links to the six Fantasy Razzball leagues (along with the 64 RCLs) here.

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An exciting kickoff to the 2013 MLB season. I’m sure  Ken Burns documented it all with black and white photos, mournful fiddle music and the soothing voice of Doris Kearns Goodwin. But, in case you missed it, here’s…

The good: Yu Darvish nearly perfect, 2-homer opener for Bryce Harper,  Michael Morse pretends he’s Hammerin’ Hank and Heidi Watney’s tight black dress.

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He’ll make you feel good and bad and happy and sad. But mostly just sad. And mad. And glad…you don’t own him. I’m talking, of course, of Jose Valverde. Motown just can’t resist the temptations of signing Papa Grande. Smokey just went over all the fantasy baseball closers. There’s $12 Salads. There’s Donkeycorns. There’s Brain Freezes. There should be another category underneath the Brain Freezes for Valverde: Tossed Salad That Gives You Botulism. He seems like a great idea. Why do you need a side of rigatoni when you’re having lasagna for dinner? It makes sense to get the side salad. Go with the tossed salad. Unfortunately, the tossed salad was prepared in 2007 and is piled in the corner of the kitchen holding the employee’s bathroom door open because Brian lost the key. Once in a while Brian also forgets to stock the bathroom with toilet paper, so the iceberg lettuce doubles its duties, so to speak. That’s Valverde. There’s so many reasons to not pick him up, but let’s stick with the two most important ones: 1) He wasn’t good last year when he had the job. 2) Detroit even replaced him when games really mattered. 3) I said let’s stick with two reasons so why would you even mention 3? I wish I could sit here — and I am sitting, in a Barclay Lounger, a matter of fact — and tell you the signing of Valverde means the Detroit shituation has become crystal clear now. That, now, Valverde will close games. Yeah, he might get shoved into the closer role, but closing games is another issue. He was signed to a minor league contract. He’ll now take anywhere from two to four weeks to get ready, then the Tigers will either call him up or release him. I’d put his chances to get saves within a month at 35%. There’s still Benoit, Coke, Dotel and Al Al’etc who could take the job and run with it in the mean’s while. After seeing Dotel enter the game in the 6th yesterday, there’s no telling what will happen. Someone get close to Leyland’s cigarette pack and check to see if there’s a warning that reads, “Caution: May Cause Smoker To Use The Wrong Man In The 9th Inning.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Indians Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Lewie Pollis from Wahoos On First.

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One of my favorite things to do is to hide players, especially pitchers, for as long as I can in positions that they either don’t play or don’t play yet. This year there are numerous guys that have dual eligibility that are great fantasy options already – Hisashi Iwakuma and Kris Medlen to name the best two. I am talking about something different, like crayon sharpener in the back of the box different. Guys that have only RP eligibility to start the season that are speculated to open the season in the team’s starting rotation. Granted, you can only hide them for 5-10 starts based on your league settings, but that could be 2 months, which if your keeping track is 1/3 of the season. So have a peek at the guys that have RP, soon to have SP.

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Gird your loins – we’re going to be navigating positions battles in each division. Last week, I covered the NL East. Today I’m talking about the AL Central, which actually looks fairly interesting this year. At first glance, the Tigers should run away with the division. At a slightly closer glance, the Indians, Royals, and White Sox all appear to be trying to contend. Who knows? Maybe Verlander’s arm will fall off after pitching over 1,000 innings across the past four seasons, while Miggy and Fielder enter a 24/7 all-you-can-eat buffet in Vegas and never return. Anyway, here’s some of the position battles to keep an eye on in the AL Central:

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