There’s a dark side to the expansion of rosters that no one wants you to talk about. Or people do talk about it, but they talk about it as written by the writers of The Honourable Woman so no one can understand it. You laid a cable modem through the Gaza Strip? But now the Palestinians can see which celebrities are on their side. “We got Rihanna! With a hashtag, baby! If we could only buy her albums. What does she sing? S&M? What’s that mean? Whips and chains? Oh, yeah, like torture? Oh. Regarding sex? Hmm, we’d kill her for singing that. What other songs does she have? Umbrella? It doesn’t rain here. What else does she sing? Only Girl in the World? That is neither accurate nor encouraging. Could she remix it to 72 girls in the world?” This MLB roster expansion has a side to it that is that disturbing. With teams expanding, they don’t need to DL players. A week ago if Dustin Pedroia was forearm shivered as he was on Saturday, he would’ve hit the DL. Now, well, he’s going to sit on the bench for at least a week. Miguel Cabrera may have also hit the DL a month ago, so he could rest his ankle. Now, the Tigers said he could sit for 4 to 5 days. It’s not great news, though with how he’s hitting, in some leagues it might pay to just bench him and grab a hot bat. As for Pedroia, I’d drop him in most mixed leagues. He could be out for a week or longer, and, brucely, he hasn’t done much this year when he has been playing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Sometimes, you wanna feel like the smartest guy/gal/thing in the room. Of course, that would have to make the title ‘Summa Iwakuma Laude’ but I didn’t like the flow of ‘Summa Iwakuma’. My titles are ridiculous enough anyways, I don’t need unintentional rhyme muddying the waters along with it. So we chose ‘with great honor’ rather than ‘with highest honor’. We just replaced ‘cum’ with Hisashi Iwakuma…you better read that word in latin, perv! Not Hisashi, of course, since his name is in his native language of Japanese. So did I just create a new language? Jatin? Lapanese? Eh, I’ll leave the Bennifers to Hollywood at this point. But really, Hisashi should make you feel like you graduated with honors from Sports Tech Fantasy University (GO STFU!) as his price of $9,100 on DraftKings puts him behind the big three 10K+ pitchers on the day but the Stream-o-nator says his start is the tops of his class on the day. I do think because of the bigger names on the slate, Iwakuma will have a slightly lower ownership than normal despite the fact his start is at home and against a whiff-happy team. Much like my pick up skills will be on the Razzball Radio Tour, the Twins strike out rates are at the bottom of the league already but when they step out on the road, they’re even worse as they own the second worst K% while out Jack Kerouac’ing. So let’s swing our tassel from one side to the other and walk down that aisle…ahem, I meant graduation tassels and the hat. Seriously! Well, whatever, you’ve graduated to the rest of the picks. Now get out of this lead and take your dirty mind with you! Here’s the rest of the Razzball picks for July 7th contests…

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What’s more American than Memorial Day weekend? How about an ex-country singer-dating, gun-toting, Texan, a guy that looks like he puts a hot dog in the fly of his pants and goes up to female reporters and asks them if they’re hungry, a guy who we call Red State Jeter, a guy that looks like he has the rhythm of Mark Madsen, someone who has Ted Nugent’s special I’m-a-huntin’ phone number, a guy that Roger Clemens probably watches and thinks, “I wonder if he’ll have sex with my wife while I watch,” throwing a no-hitter? With a no-hitter on Memorial Day, Josh Beckett just took your ‘Murica and raised it back to its 1950’s ‘Murica when we were more obvious about our contempt for other nations. Though for our fantasy porpoises — hey, dolphins! — I gotta be honest, I’m a bit worried about him throwing 128 pitches, but his peripherals suggest a guy that if healthy can be a solid fantasy number three. He is not an ace now, so if suddenly people think that, feel free to shop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I’m going to be completely honest with you……. bear with me I’ve spent the past 8 years in sales this isn’t something I’m used to. I loathe John Lackey. I hate his voice, I hate his face, I hate the way his mouth is always open as if it was some 24 hour 7-11, but most of all I hated the way he was overvalued in fantasy and reality during his time with the Angels. After posting a 6.47 ERA in 2011 I figured the man I mockingly call The Muppet was done, off to the land of Dontrelle Willis. Then after sitting out 2012 for the now mandatory Tommy John surgery he came back a different player. Keeping hitters off balance with great sequencing, Lackey was one of the big surprises for the World Champions last season. Thus far this season it’s been more of the same (if not better). He enters tonight’s game against the Tigers with a 5-2 record, a 3.57 era, and an 8.83 k rate, the highest of his career. In fact, outside of two rough outings back to back against the Yankees and the Orioles back in mid-April, he’s provided a quality start each time he’s taken the mound for the Sawx. The only thing that could derail his season is inappropriate text messages from a member of the media. Well that and Ian Kinsler and the Tigers. Over the years, several members of the Tigers (some of which will be covered later on!) have owned Lackey but none quite like Kinsler. In 39 PA’s Kinsler has a 1.345 OPS with 4 hr’s, 9 steaks, and a couple of steals. That sample size ain’t small folks (that’s what she said) and that OPS is huge! (that’s what Bill James said…?) Kinsler is a must own at 2b in all lineups over at DraftKings. With a cost of $4,900 he’s not cheap but I think based on his history he’s well worth the premium price.

B-T-Dubs guys (and 4… maybe 5 girl readers) if you haven’t played daily fantasy over at Draftkings you should. In fact just for signing up you’ll get a free entry into a contest….so click here and do it now…….I’m waiting….are you going to click? I don’t have all day folks, I got poopy diapers to change and 10 minute bathroom trips to check my fantasy teams to make…..Perfect, now let’s move on.

Dubba B-T-Dubs if you don’t trust me, the genius Rudy Gamble has put together another amazing tool in the DFSBot to aid you in finding value in your Daily Fantasy persuits.

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Happy Easter, festive heathen Razzaholics. You look so cute in your Easter bonnet. Have one of these Cadbury eggs I injected with Makers Mark, all Hunter S. Thompson-style. Now that’s a scotch egg! Come on funny feelings. Eat three of these and you’ll be seeing that Donnie Darko bunny in the mirror for a week. We’re going on a little Easter egg hunt today looking to fill our basket with sweet delicious bargains that’ll resurrect our ruined roster. Despite being crucified by injuries this season (I’ve lost Matt Latos, Ryan Zimmerman, David Robertson and now Michael Cuddyer) your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru is still hanging in there with three of my five RCL teams in the top three of the standings. While it’s still early, standings can change quickly and one bad week could ruin me.  I’m hurting for power and the SAGNOF! has been elusive thus far. That’s what we’re looking for today – homers, steals and saves. So strip out your Sunday best, toss the Easter tree out onto the front porch and stuff your face with Peeps, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

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First off, I would like to say Eric Sogard should be the Face of the MLB; that vote was rigged in David Wright’s favor.  Baseball needs more nerdy-looking, glasses-touting, Bernie-leanin’, jive-walking players.  But without further ado, here is the AL West Spring Training Showdown. (You can check out the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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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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In the summer of 1937, a woman went into labor. This woman’s name was Alfonsa Soriano. She was 78 years old at the time and the doctors worried she wouldn’t be able to deliver a healthy baby and she risked her own safety. The baby and the mother made it through. Unfortunately, due to her age, her skin wasn’t as elastic as a woman half her age and she walked the rest of her life like she was just jumping hurdles. Her son, Alfonso Soriano, adopted her long gait — a way to pay homage? — and it helped him later in life. He said because of his long strides, he made sneakers last twice as long because he used half the number of steps as most people. Heartwarming. Also, heartwarming is his insane season. Yesterday, he hit two more homers to bring his season total up to 32 and he now sits at 98 RBIs and 79 runs. Yeah, you were counting on that when you drafted him in the last round of your drafts, or as a late $1 flyer. Look away for the next moment if you don’t own him: on our Player Rater, he’s the 6th best outfielder! In front of him, Chris Davis, Mike Trout, Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen and Jacoby Ellsbury. Right after Soriano? Carlos Gonzalez! Absolute-Lee-Eff-In-Cray-Zee. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I went ahead and picked up Jarrod Dyson this past week only to watch him sprain his ankle before even entering my lineup. ESPN has him listed as 0.0% ownership, so apparently my team doesn’t even count in their world. I was about to get all depressed about it and throw on my Skinny Puppy t-shirt and black eyeliner when I realized that this is a SAGNOF world, and that means when one speedster goes down, we just go to the heap for another. We’re about 1/4 of the way through the season already, and that means it’s time to take a look at some stats for pitchers, catchers, and teams to try to exploit when chasing steals. I’ll also take a look at what Will Venable is up to and how Pedro Florimon may be a possible source of cheap speed in very deep leagues. At the beginning of the season, I posted the 2012 numbers for pitchers and catchers who should be exploited or avoided when it comes to steals, as well as team SB allowed for matchup purposes. Here are those same stats through the first 40 games of the 2013 season.

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