Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello, I’m Keith Morrison of Dateline. Today’s story is about a young closer who had the life that we all dream about — money, girls, Tony La Russa’s private phone number to find out if a product used animal testing. What Trevor Rosenthal didn’t have, his shut ‘em down stuff. We pick up the story right after Rosenthal took the mound on April 7th. He was in for his third save, but there was something wrong. Could it have been he lost his control? Or was something else lurking deep in his past — perhaps a high school sweetheart who assumed the identity of Rosenthal’s favorite Starbucks barista, who was putting Visine in his favorite latte drink. Visine that has been known, when digested, to cause runs. Coming up later, Rosenthal can’t find the strike zone for three months, he blows numerous saves, Pat Neshek looks incredible in a setup role and Matheny groans. This is the story of The $12 Salad That Became A Brain Freeze. So, the Cards have been patient with Trevor Rosenthal, even while he hasn’t looked good for the majority of the year, but recently he’s been hideous. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards go to Neshek, who has a 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and four saves already. Yesterday, Seth Maness (no relation to Brandon Guyer) got the save, but that was more because Neshek had thrown already in the game. As for the title, you may not stay…for Trevor stung! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s a scenario for you: Hanley Ramirez and Carlos Gonzalez get onto a plane. Knowing their inability to stay healthy, you A) Get off the plane. B) Purposely get yourself thrown off the plane by calling the male flight attendant, Mr. Stewardess, and asking him if he’s the pimp for the female stewardesses and if you could have a multi-person shag in the lavatory. C) There’s no C. Any of the above answers would work, even C and there wasn’t a C. CarGo can’t stay healthy and Hanley doesn’t seem to want to. If you count 145 games played as a full season, CarGo’s played one full season. This year, he might not play in 71 games and he’s at 70. Yes, he could be done for the year. Yes, it’s bad news with CarGo. Freight so. Even if he plays again, he has 11 homers and 3 steals in 70 games. Yunel Escobar looks at that and talks to a trademark attorney. It’s gonna be fun next year hearing people draft CarGo while they say, “I just need him to stay healthy for 120 games.” Those people are called delusional. As for Hanley, he’s supposed to return as soon as his DL stint is over, and he should as long as he doesn’t have to play hard in a rehab assignment. That would be impossible for him even if healthy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Carlos Carrasco was bumped from the rotation. Do I smell a 400-foot, long-tossing fool from Columbus, Ohio that has a rap group that plays to sell-out shows in the furnished basement of his parents’ house? Trevor Bauer, your time is near. I said that last line in a Darth Vader voice. Trevor, I am your father. I said that in the voice of someone who has a son named Trevor. Am I confusing you? How about now? Trevor Bauer may have overcome his past WHIPping post issues and could be usable in all mixed leagues. They worked with Trevor in Triple-A. They taught him to pitch from the rubber instead of short center. I would speculate on him, as I said in Friday’s Buy column, I wouldn’t go and drop anyone too crazy valuable. Josh Tomlin may instead be called up to replace Carrasco. Tomlin can’t pitch out of the bullpen because it takes him like 2 innings to get out of his oversized chair. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Try not to act so jealous, Frank Thomas. A new superstar has arrived in Chicago. After Evan Longoria hit a go ahead 2-run home run in the ninth inning last night against the Chicago White Sox, most thought the game was all but over. But not Jose Abreu. People have been telling him “No Way, Jose!” all his life. A real defector at heart, he was ready to prove them wrong the only way he knew how– with his bat. The crowd was slowly filtering out, the concessions employees were removing the hot dogs from the rollers and placing them back in the warm stagnant water for the next day, and Adam Dunn was already in the locker room, eating his post-game bucket of oats. But White Sox rookie slugger Abreu aka the Grande Dolor aka or is it el Gran Dolor? aka “I guess it doesn’t really matter, he’s just a monster” Abreu had a different idea. Chicago loaded the bases for the phenom and he promptly sent it into the stands with the grand slam and the walk off win. He finished the day 3-for-5, with two home runs and six RBI. Ay carumba! The final home run was Jose’s league-leading ninth jack of the year, and he also tied for the lead with 27 RBI and his .632 SLG% and .968 OPS are among the league’s best as well. He set the rookie record for April home runs too, and counting. Abreu is making those who gambled on him early in drafts look like geniuses, jacking homers every 10.6 at bats and rocking a sick and a 26.9% HR/FB ratio. That means he’s going to hit more home runs. Like, a lot more. And if he’s as fun to own in fantasy as he is to watch in actual real-life-not- in-a-box score-but-on-the-field baseball, then Abreu could likely find himself in the upper echelon of the fantasy elite as soon as this year.

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

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Picture this. Stephen Strasburg comes to you and says up close, I want you to draw me like one of your French Girls wearing this. At this moment, he pulls out his sports rope necklace from underneath his jersey. Sure, you respond as you pour over his fantasy baseball stats, clearly distracted and not mindful of the subject. And then he follows up this conversation with, wearing ONLY this…Oh and now it’s on. You quickly whip out your charcoal pencil set and diligently get to work as he lavishly drapes himself across an old davenport couch. Turn your head so I can’t see your oversized Adam’s Apple, you brusquely say. So serious, Stras says to you with a mock scowl upon his face but with a clear glint of mischievousness in his eye. But you don’t care as you are immersed within your art and all of the sudden you hear some weird Canadian singer tell you she believes the hot dogs will go on. And it’s at that moment you wake up from your nightmare screaming but while rocking a semi. Told you not to drink so much on a Friday night, bro! There’ll be pictures on the internet later. Last night was at ‘The Hangover’ level of messed up. But maybe the DraftKings Gods are trying to tell you something. Quickly! Rush to your nearest internet providing device and find that the Stream-O-Nator has him down as the second best pitcher to Price on the day. And then you dig a bit further and find him at $11,500 and it makes you worry that maybe the Rent Is Too Damn High. But then you dig even further and find out that the Atlanta Braves are still one of the worst in the game at striking out as their 2014 K rate (26.2%) is sitting up near where it was last year at 22.6%. And then you put the two together: The Braves strike out a lot and Strasburg strikes a lot of hitters out. Win + Win = EPIC WIN. Even the Hitter-Tron is lukewarm on Atlanta’s lineup and he’d squirt his motor oil on anything that moves if given the chance. All this to say, a 10K+ performance could happen and you kinda wanna be in on that action. But with all that out of the way, let’s tread on. Here’s our picks for 4/5/14 contests on Draftkings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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See Nate Eovaldi throw 99 MPH! Stop. In a part! Stop. Never before seen! Stop. As he takes on the role! Stop. Of Stanley Fastballski! Stop. He’s got a method fastball! Stop. Adapted from the book! Stop. You Shall Know My Eovelocity! Stop. If you want to park in the underground garage! Stop. No, seriously, stop! Stop. We don’t Eovalidate that garage! I loved what I saw the other day from Eovaldi. As Alicia Keys says, he throws fiiiiiiiiiiire! Fiiiiiiiiiire! Fiiiiiiiiiiire! He averaged over 96 MPH in his first start. That’s really good. That would’ve been the best fastball velocity for any starter for all of last year. Better than Matt Harvey. I don’t think he can maintain 96, but even if it falls to 94 on average, which it has been his entire career, he’s still in the top 1% of all starters. Only seven guys threw that fast last year. The list is a who’s who of guys you want on your team — Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, Samardzija, Homer Bailey, Cashner and the aforementioned Harvey. For his velocity alone, you should pick up Eovaldi in every league. Wins will be hard to come by, but a 3.50 ERA and a 7+ K-rate won’t be. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You, “So, Grey, I appreciate a well-coiffed mustache as much as the next straight man, but are you trying to tell me Luis Valbuena isn’t a virtual lock at 3rd base?” Crazy shizz, right? The Cubs made the right move and went with Mike Olt to at least platoon at 3rd base. Here’s what I kinda said in the past, “Don’t you love when New Yorkers say the expression, “I got your _____ right here!” Coming out of the right taxi driver’s mouth, it’s like a cello being played by Yo-Yo Ma. Sometimes it can get confusing when you are actually trying to tell someone you’ve located something. Like, “I got your cellphone right here!” Probably sounds like you’re being an a-hole. Well, in that vein, take a a scruffy taxi driver’s voice, throw it through two packs a cigarettes a day for 20 years and give me a little, ‘I got your loyalty to Luis Valbuena right here!’” And that’s me kinda quoting me! I wrote that nonsense in 2012 when he was on the Rangers and behind Michael Young. That’s how long this whole Mike Olt saga has been going on. I received straight C’s in math, but I’m gonna try to count Olt’s post-hype hypeness. Okay, ready? Good. He’s a post-post-post-post-post-post-POST-post-hype prospect. Whew. I hope I didn’t put the italics ‘post’ where the capped ‘post’ was supposed to go. Olt was supposed to break out two years ago. Supposed to be a Chris Davis clone. Last year, Olt was in a backwards spiral of epic proportions. He hit .168 in 152 plate appearances at the Cubs Triple-A affiliate, but he had something wrong with his eyes. His eyes are fixed and he has other strengths. Strength being one of them. He can hit the ball a country mile (which is further than a city mile due to a lack of public transportation). He also has a decent enough glove. It’s a Rawlings. It’s a tanned leather. He will platoon in the early going, but, at this point, there is absolutely no reason to hold him back if he can hit. He won’t put up a great average, but there is a chance here for 30 homers if he can get the at-bats. 30-homer 3rd basemen don’t fall off the wagon every day, unless it’s an overcrowded wagon specifically labeled, “30-Homer 3rd Basemen.” Oh, and I’ve moved him up in my top 400. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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You’re gonna find this utterly incredible, but, with these top 100 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball, I’ve put out all of my 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Tomorrow will be the top 100 overall, then the top 400 overall, but that’s just putting everyone in perspective. I’m going to now soak my finger bunions in pickle juice and read a good book. Anyone read the Charles Nelson Reilly autobiography? I hear it’s a real eye grabber. Oh, guess I should finish this post first. As always, my projections are included and where tiers start and stop. Anyway, here’s the top 100 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?