This should go down easier than Danny Salazar‘s last start, but it’s still not going to be that easy to digest. You have a Tums handy? Good, take like seven of them. Don’t worry, if they give you kidney stones, it will take your mind off of K-Zar. Something is wrong. I hypothesized that he was tipping his pitches last time. It didn’t make sense that he would strikeout more guys in four innings than anyone has ever while still getting rocked. Maybe he is, I still have no idea. I don’t have my degree from the University of Pitch Scouting, which is still in a heated lawsuit with the United Parcel Service. You should sign the online petition for the United Parcel Service to change to the acronym NBU for Nice Brown Uniforms. If an online petition can’t get something changed, what can? Member when people actually protested things and not just clicked a box on an online petition site? Those in-person protestors were silly! Any the hoo! A larger problem with K-Zar is his velocity is down. Still decent for most mortals, but he could be hiding a larger issue with his arm. The other day when he K’d ten guys in four innings, it might’ve masked a bigger problem. Yesterday’s start was a real eye-opener — 4 2/3 IP, 5 ER and only 3 Ks — is terrible. That’s not tipping pitches, that’s something is wrong. The final ruling on K-Zar is you should hold him if you can, but I don’t think the short-term is going to be pretty. Obviously, you can’t start him next time out or until he throws a decent start. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So this DraftKings thing is new to the ole Smoke dog. I am not much of a gambler; I gamble every morning wondering if I hit the snooze button correctly and bare the frustration of never really falling back asleep. I dig it though, daily fantasy and it starts over and it only costs me a few shekels. So for today’s goodies I used a little bit of guesswork, some stuff I learned at Julliard and the crafty Razzball tools; Stream-O-Nator and Hitter-Tron. I mean with so many tools at your fingertips here between Razzball and DraftKings how could you lose? You literally should be winning everyday, splitting the profits with your local needy organization and basically making it rain at your own delight. There are lots of great division rivalries today, some that are avoidable but some that are going to be chocked full of nuts and stats. So build your team wisely oh master of your own domain and if you do win come back, gloat and throw it in everyone’s faces. Hatin’ on people is the new American past time. And if you wanna hate on people with even more cheddar in hand, try out the Sweet Spot contest. You can get a free ticket for simply signing up with DK. Wanna help us help you? Sign up using our promo DraftKings link. With that out of the way, enjoy the foray of games and good luck.

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So I’m writing this prior to Oakland even taking the field for the first time this year which worries me. Baseball is all about streaks. No, no silly, I didn’t need to see the inside of your undies (and gross, BTW). I mean hot and cold streaks. But we’re at the start of it all, so it’s hard to get a grasp on whether you’re hot or you’re cold, or if you’re yes and you’re no…sorry, started thinking about Katy Perry there. You know, for her singing skills…yeah, that’s it. But more on point, maybe Oakland has a huge game to start the year off and feels hot and bothered about playing Corey Kluber. If that’s the case, mea culpa. But I swear by my Corey Kluber Sleeper post that I do believe you get a good outing out of him today and at a dirt cheap price of $7,800. May God remove it from the interwebs if he fails…oh what am I saying, nothing ever leaves the internet! Keep that in mind as JFOH will never live this one down. But as promised yesterday, we’re gonna be a bit more lightning round’ish around here on our Draftkings writeups. That last link, BTW, is your gateway into the DK world care of Razzball. It’s a way for you to show us you love us without having to actually physically touch us. It’s the best of both worlds! And after you’ve signed up? How about another 50/50 Razzball Jamboree League? It’s just a buck. That’s less than a King Size Snickers! And if you win, guess what? You can now afford said King Size Snickers. Wow. But for realsies, let’s move on…to another link! Yeah, yeah it’s the first week, gotta make sure you guys still get in on the Razzball Draftkings Contest this Friday. Go reserve your seat and get your lineups going when they open. Ok, now really let’s move on. Here’s Razzball’s Draftking picks for April 1st, 2014…no foolin…ok I was. Three more important plugs. One is the Stream-O-Nator. Two is the Hitter-Tron. Three is…well, I can’t really tell you about that plug. But I hear Cougars everywhere love it! Now on with the show.

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Carlos Beltrán, Aníbal Sánchez, Clay Buchholz, Johnny Damon, Zack Greinke, Jed Lowrie, Eric Hosmer, Mike Sweeney. All above-average players. Most of them All-Stars. All have one thing in common: At some point in their careers, they were among the more than 100 major leaguers to have played for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Class A Kansas City Royals affiliate in Delaware’s largest city.

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The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Go to a quiet, dark place and light a few candles (preferably scented). Cue up my theme musicNow close your eyes, listen to my intro in it’s entirety and visualize greatness. Then, and only then, may you open your curious eyes and continue on (make sure you go back and watch the video because it’s awesome). If you lack the heart of a champion, I strongly recommend you either 1) refrain from reading further, or in my opinion the better option 2) play my theme music on at full volume,on repeat, until you’ve built up the testicular fortitude to withstand any obstacle on your way to glory.

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Catcher-rye-full

Get it?

Time to finally hang up the fantasy football helmet, slip into my official Steve Balboni athletic supporter and get ready for some of the base and the balls talk. This nipple hardening February morning finds your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru loading the van up with scouting reports, clean turbans, eye black and my Jenny Dell inflatable doll for that long, lonely road trip to Fort Myers to prepare for spring training. As we cross the days off the calendar until we dive into some actual fake baseball drafting, it’s time to dig out the ol’ jammer crammer machine (available on Adam&Eve.com) and dig through this year’s jams and crams by position for the 2014 fantasy baseball season.

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I just went over the top 10 for 2014 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Most of you know how I feel about catchers. If you draft a catcher any time before the first 100 picks, you don’t know how I feel about catchers. Let me freshen up your cocktail with a splash of insight. I don’t draft top catchers in one catcher leagues. I Reggie Roby them. Last year, Napoli was the top ranked catcher at the end of year. He was the 11th best 1st baseman. The best catcher can’t spray aerosol deodorant on the top guy for another position. Everyone was crazy about Buster Posey last year (everyone except me). Buster Posey did about as much as Kendrys Morales. Lowercase yay. In the top five catchers last year were Lucroy, V-Mart, Rosario and Molina. One guy was drafted in the top 100, and that was barely. No one should draft a top catcher because there are no top catchers. They’re all hot garbage with a side order of stank. Catchers are unreliable to stay healthy; the job is grueling and takes its toll on offensive stats. There’s not much difference between, say, the tenth best catcher and nothingness. Jarrod Saltymochachino, Jason Castro and Salvador Perez were the 8th, 9th and 10th best catchers last year. All of them were on waivers in shallower leagues as late as July. Only the depth of 2nd basemen is worst, and I say punt them too. Yes, I am saying punt the positions that are most scarce. Finally, a reason that is new to this current crop of catchers — they’re actually deep in mediocrity. You can draft the fifth best catcher or the 12th best and they’re tomato-tomato said with a different emphasis. Because I ignore the top catchers doesn’t mean I’m starting the top 20 catcher list at number twenty-one; some of you might want to know the top catchers. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them draft Devin Mesoraco. In two catcher leagues, catchers are a little more valuable, but I’d still prefer to avoid them. You can see other top 20 lists for 2014 fantasy baseball under 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Listed along with these catchers are my 2014 projections for each player and where the tiers begin and end. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:

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This is a true story. In 1981, the St. Louis Cardinals bought a barrel of oil for $12, then sold that barrel of oil to OPEC for $13, netting the Cardinals one dollar. That one dollar was used by the Cardinals to buy a pack of gum that was used to repair a broken condom that was used by Albert Pujols’s father so there would be only one Albert Pujols and no competition for the best 1st baseman from 2001 thru 2011. Marxists and Capitalists have argued for years about the right of the Cardinals to use that dollar to stunt natural selection and why didn’t they just buy Albert Pujols’s dad one new condom rather than a pack of gum. This illustrates a very important point. You and I may want David Freese due to his position eligibility, but never underestimate the Cardinals ability to get the better side of a trade. If they’re smarter than OPEC, they’re smarter than us. Peter Bourjos is in the pile of scraps in mind that includes Brett Gardner and Michael Brantley as guys that I like a lot, maybe more than is reasonable. (BTW, my 2nd album that critics called ‘very emo’ is also called, Scraps In Mind. That’s purely coincidental.) Bourjos got a sleeper post from me for about three years in a row, though he had the misfortune of playing under The Sciosciapath, and The Sciosciapath doesn’t play the hitters he should — hello, Napoli. Bourjos had a 50-steal season in the minors one year. You don’t just lose that kind of speed, and, if you’ve ever seen him run out a triple, you know how crazy fast he is. Oh, and he’s not just SAGNOF. He also had 12 homers one year for the Angels. If he put together a 15-homer, 35-steal season, I wouldn’t be shocked. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 74/12/58/.263/20 with a chance for much more. He’ll definitely be someone I’ll be looking at in all leagues. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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