The greatest sporting event in the history of mankind takes place tonight (if all of mankind lived in a Louisiana trailer park and were named Mick Foley) – Wrestlemania! I’ll admit I come from the deep south of the far north where the pro rasslin’ rivals lobster wranglin’ and coffee brandy drinkin’ as favorite sports. I’ll also admit I haven’t watched wrestling since I was about 11 when Ivan Putski delivered the “Polish Hammer” upside the head of Superstar Billy Graham at the Lewiston Armory.  Fortunately, my Hulk Hogan costume still fits! You may be asking yourself, “Guru, you got that turban on too tight? What do headlocks, pile drivers and the ‘Camel Clutch’ have to do with fantasy baseball?” Well, my Razzballin’ Rick Rude lovers, they are both fake sports and I have 1500 words to fill. This week’s jam or cram has your handsome-but-nonetheless-figure-four-leglocking Guru comparing those old school wrestlers to fantasy ballers that could crown you king of the ring. We’re not talking Mike Trout here. We all know he’s the Iron Sheik of fantasy ball and he’ll make any team he faces humble. We are digging down into the lower levels of the waiver wire (owned 50% or less in most leagues, although it can vary league to league for reasons only Matthew Berry knows) searching for the players that will knock the competition stone cold – Gimme a hell yea! With us Razzballers just a week into the season, DL spots already filled, Closepocalypse 2 upon us and a number of studs delivering duds we have to make some early season roster shuffling. No, don’t panic yet and trade away Andrew McCutchen for Coco B. Crisp just because the dread pirate is being outperformed by a man and is parrot friend. We’re just looking for some outside interference à la Captain Lou Albano style to keep the fight going. With all that ‘splainin’ out of the way, it’s time for my signature move – it involves your eyes and my scotch. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

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Around here at Razzball we are one big family that is some freakish hybrid of the Brady Bunch meets the Addams Family. Honestly, I’m not really sure what to make of all this. First we have our father Grey, the dad who works all day, comes home every night to a daiquiri, and goes out on the weekend and buys us the $100 high tops we want, but mom won’t let us have. He does this to make up for all the little league games he missed because he was bringing home the bacon. Now, Rudy is our mother, and I mean this in the nicest, most masculine way possible. He’s there to keep everything sensible, clean, and in order. Jay and Sky are the older brothers we come to for advice when we get in trouble, or to teach us how to undo a bra with one hand. Guru is Grey’s illegitimate child from a high school girlfriend that is re-connecting with us, and getting to know his dad. Jeremy and I are the younger brothers just glad to get scraps and a hand me down that isn’t filled with holes. Mike is our reliable uncle, who taught us how to properly swing a bat and to drive our shoulder to the plate when we pitched. Smokey is our cool uncle, who gives us beer and taught us all how to roll a doobie so we’ll be ready for high school. Tehol is our creepy uncle, who wears ridiculous clothes that border on illegal, and who our parents never want to leave us alone with since the “incident”. Nick is our neighbor that takes too many pictures and video of the family, even when we aren’t aware of it. Scott is our bachelor neighbor, who drives a kick ass Iroc-Z and dates a different 20-year-old every week. Our cousins Pete, Josh, Dano, and Tom are always hanging out because their mother, Paulie, and father, Dan, are either drinking or drinking. It’s a family over here, I’ll cut any mother f***er who tries to mess with these guys, and have no problem doing a couple a months in county to protect them. That’s why when Jay called upon me to help him out and cover the RCL recap this week I was ready to step up to the plate and help a brother out.

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Our first full slate of games and two closers lost jobs. Mother Nature and/or Al Gore (if they’re different people), how is climate different than weather if both lead to a closepocalypse? An interested party is curious. It was a bit before concussions were in vogue, but did anyone ever check Robin Ventura for a concussion when he got cantalouped by Nolan Ryan? Cause he just lamebrained up my fantasy teams by naming Matt Lindstrom the closer– Um, Grey? What’s up, Random Italicized Voice? When Addison Reed was traded in December, you said, “White Sox GM Rick Hahn named Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Daniel Webb as possible replacements. Due to Scott Downs’ Syndrome, Downs is out of the mix. Jones will be a favorite by fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) due to his ability to strike guys out, but I’m guessing Lindstrom will end up with the job due to that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it closer experience quality.” And that’s me quoting you! DAH!!! I got wrapped in the allure of a young, sexy closer and forgot where my butter pickles were buttered! I imagine this shituation will get worse before it gets better, so if you have room, I’d hold Jones for now, but you should absolutely pick up Lindstrom in all leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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So, we’re running on fumes over here at RCL Update Central. We’ve talked about the RazzBALLiest and Razz, um, ball-ee-least?? selections. At least I think that’s what it was about. Who knows with such things. Then, naturally, we moved to what Clint Eastwood thought of your drafts. Thankfully there were no leagues named ‘Empty Chair’. And now that the season has officially started (at least down under), (that’s what she said btw…), I’m here to cap things off with something I would call comfort food for the mind. And that’s a Star Trek themed post. But that’s not all you get in this post. SAY WHAT? We have J-FOH in a supporting role to bring some Star Wars into this. Because a post like this could always use more sci-fi pew pew. And of course he would be the one to have undying love for a franchise that’s about to blugdeon us to death for at least ten more years. All so George Lucas’ chin can eat more cats.

Regardless, I’m not quite sure how this is going to work, and I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen, but if the picture above and the empty Markers Mark bottle to my left is any indication, it’s that I need fried food immediately. Also, you should probably set your phasers onto the highest stun setting. Because when we look at my randomly selected RCL drafts, you will get stunned. See what I did there? No, I’m seriously asking if you can see what I typed… everything is so freaking blurry…

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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 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Giants Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Trevor Cole from Giants Baseball Blog.

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If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note -- JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note -- I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out 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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Greetings plebeians and plebeianettes. You may remember a little about this series from the former me: Oregon Nut Cups. Or you probably don’t because it’s been like 2 years since it happened and I’m changing the format to target one player rather than rambling about everyone based on their position. But of course, you don’t care about taking a trip down memory lane with me nor down mammory lane as we talk about great scenes from adult entertainment history. Asia Carrera, my heart and crusty socks go to you…nay, you’re here to snuggle up to some bargain players in your draft this year. As we all know – and if you don’t, now you do – I’m talking to you deep leaguers. Whether it’s a 14 teamer or a large starting roster, you gotta find bargains where you can and of all positions this is tantamount, catcher is probably the biggest in my book. It’s one where the haves and the have nots line isn’t as big as people want to draw it up to be and where you can get away with ignoring a bunch of players once the top few fly off the board…which is just how I like it. Keep in mind, I’m the artist formerly known as ONC that brought you Wilin Rosario with my Wilin Rosario Sleeper post back in 2012. Way back then, you could get a gallon of gas for about 25 cents, your shoes shined for a nickel and Rosario went undrafted. My how times have changed…So here I’m going to bring to you the man that has pretty much been declared the starting catcher for the Indians for this year – Yan Gomes – and why he’s a nice snag in deeper leagues for the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…

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In past years, I’ve said the following analogy. There’s years of looking up to your father, whether you agree all the time or not. Then, one day, he takes a poop on your couch. You take him to the hospital; he’s in need of some sort of psychology examination. If the tests come back conclusive that he pooped the couch simply out of laziness, then that’s ESPN. If tests come back that he’s gone crazy, well, over at Yahoo The Noise ranked Matt Carpenter 37th overall. A recipe for success at Yahoo involves Kosher salt because you need to take Yahoo’s rankings with a bigger grain of salt. Now, with that said, I think this year Yahoo’s flipped the script on ESPN. Yahoo’s rankings are better this year, i.e., they’re closer to mine than ESPN. At least that’s the vibe I get from looking at them, I didn’t actually stop and weigh the differences and divide that weight by pi to the seventh integer and multiply by X. I simply looked at what they had vs. me and think Yahoo did a better job this year. They have also changed their rankings dramatically in the last week. See, I originally had The Noise down as ranking Carpenter 30th overall. Just about every guy in the chart at the end of this post has moved closer to my rankings in the last week. I’m not saying they’re copying (or they’re not copying fast enough), because, well, they’re still off and now it’s time to spit fire:

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Welcome to the second annual Razzball Keepers Top-100 list-a-roo. I capped it AND italicized it, because it’s just that special. (The 2013 Top-100 can be found here.)

Spoiler Alert! We’re doing things keeper league style, dynasty style… which ever nomenclature you prefer. Basically, if you hold onto players for more than a year, these are the rankings you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Whole life man. Seriously.

Remember, the process for this list is quite unique. Unlike Grey, I didn’t type half of it with my mustache. Also, this isn’t your list. It’s my list. So, yeah, I’ll love guys a lot more than you will. I’ll also love your mom. Or vica versa. It’s just the way it is. If you stuck me in a keeper this very instant, this is pretty much the list, in order, of who I’d personally want long term. Things like previous production, expected 2014 production, projections for 2015-2017,  future potential, positional-scarcity, and injury-risk are all things I bake into the rankings. Regardless, the big takeaway here is that I believe in the Oxford comma. And I guess a lot of comma’s in general. And short sentences. And baking. And female nudity. Word.

Note: I’ve only ranked players who have pitched at least one inning or had one at-bat in their MLB career, sans Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu. Our prospect maven, Scott Evans, has the low down on all those MiLB guys I left out. Go check out his 2014 rankings (Top-25, Top-50), he won’t bite… I think.) 

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