Not even a back injury can keep Clayton Kershaw from the top spot in my points leagues rankings. I thought about going with “He’ll Be Back” as my title considering his current DL designation, but I’m not really sure of the extent of his injury. However, Clayton Kershaw can probably get you more points while on the disabled list than several other pitchers whom are not. That’s actually a true statement considering multiple pitchers have turned in negative performances. Edinson Volquez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Dan Straily and James Shields are among those that have recently subtracted points from their teams’ totals. Plus, then I would have had to fill this post with both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Terminator references.

Last week I promised I’d focus on pitchers in the following week. Today is next week. It almost feels like time travel. Weird. Since I am a man of my word, here you go. Like last week, today’s pitcher rankings are based 70 percent on year-to-date performance, 30 percent on rest of season projections and 10 percent on experimental formulas.

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Johnny Cueto has been a controversial player in Major League Baseball for quite some time. There was that ugly Jason LaRue incident during a Cardinals/Reds on-field brawl in 2010 in which Cueto repeatedly kicked LaRue in the head and ultimately forced the former catcher to retire prematurely. Of course, there’s also the issue of his extremely unorthodox windup that has been compared by some to that of former Red Sox pitcher Luis Tiant, the legality of which has been questioned in recent years. However, one thing that hasn’t been questionable is Cueto’s results this year. In his first season with the Giants after signing a six-year, $130 million deal last offseason, Cueto has been one of the best pitchers in baseball during the first few months of 2016. His 11 wins are more than any pitcher in MLB outside of Chris Sale and Jake Arrieta. His 2.42 ERA is the 8th lowest among qualified starting pitchers. His 1.79 BB/9 rate is the 11th lowest in baseball. He’s giving up fewer home runs (0.31 HR/9) than any other starter. The question is: can Cueto maintain this impressive production?

Let’s take a look at Cueto’s profile to determine what can be expected from him during the remainder of the 2016 season. Here are a few observations:

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I’ve never had the privilege of posting Sunday, so forgive as I couldn’t resist the Mega Monster Truck lead in.  With truck names like Demon Seed, Ball Buster and Dutch Oven how can you not get fired up for Sunday!  Now that we’re fired up, let’s talk about the Monster Arms that are on the schedule for today.  Clayton Kershaw, $14,200 at Pittsburgh, Johnny Cueto, $13,600 vs Philadelphia, Jose Fernandez $13,100 vs Chicago, Chris Sale, $12,400 vs Toronto, and Justin Verlander, $10,700 vs Cleveland.  Aces are wild today, so who do we roll with in order to cash in?  Honestly you can’t go wrong with any of the top 3, but I’m leaning towards Cueto & JFer, as I think most people will roster Kershaw and I love the match-ups at home.  JFer has been straight nasty in his last 8 games, going 6-1 with a 1.16 ERA and 78 K’s in just 54 innings.  Yeah, he’s back folks and he’s facing a slumping Cubbies lineup that’s dropped 5 of their last 6 games. Now that all the Aces have been dealt, who can we roster so we can go all in?

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday June 27th to wet your DK whistle.  It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Evidently, Corey Kluber made some sort of promise to the city of Cleveland too, and not just to Kl-Uber Drew Carey home any time he sees him drunk-wandering in downtown Cleveland.  Yesterday, Kluber went 9 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 9 Ks, lowering his ERA at 3.59.  So, I’m going to get completely unscientific, then scientific, then mix the two, Grey says sounding like Don Herbert. (If you knew who Don Herbert was, you are old and a nerd.)  Unscientifically, Kluber will have an ERA around 3.60 this year.  He’ll throw a gem, get the ERA down to 3.40, then throw a stinker and the ERA will rise.  It will go on like this all year, because that’s what he’s done so far.  Then he will figure out if he drops his arm angle a little, due to the earth being flat, it will add more spin and he’ll have an ERA under zero in September.  Again, that was unscientific.  Scientifically, his peripherals looks as good as any previous year.  His velocity is a notch off previous seasons, but his 9 K-rate, 1.9 BB/9 and 3.27 xFIP are excellent.  So, he should be better than he has been, and could end up with a 3.20 ERA with 250 Ks.  Now, to mix the two methods, Kluber will match his 3.27 xFIP, and on off days, picket Phil Collins’ house with Carl Everett, with a sign reading, “The Book of Genesis Doesn’t Have Liner Notes.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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No, this is not a cheerleading move that requires an upside down split at the top of a human pyramid or some new fangled dessert menu item. Instead, it is a much less exciting and tasty occurrence with the pitchers throwing in Coors tonight. Typically, the intro paragraph is a great place to layout the best value of the day. Specifically, the best value pitcher of the day. Today however, it’s going to be used as a blanket statement to avoid stuffing my picks below with a ton of Yankees and Rockies hitters. Thanks to continuous interleague play (which I really can’t stand) we get a fun, little two game home and home between the Rox and the Yanks. Tonight will be game two of the Coors field showdown, which means all your Yankee starters should be good and used to the elevation and ready to drop a ton of fantasy points on poor Chad Bettis. At first glance you might think to load up on all the lefty bats the Yankees have. If you dig into Bettis’ stats a bit, though, you’ll notice that for his career (and this season) righties have actually hit him for a better average and a higher slugging percentage (.110 points higher to be exact). Some sneaky, against the grain plays might be Rob Refsnyder and Starlin Castro in the middle infield. On the other side of the rubber will be Ivan Nova who, believe it or not, also has some reverse splits going on. For his career, his platoon splits are about even, with an ever so slight nod to the righties. If you just take a look at this year so far you’ll see a .100 point uptick in OPS for righties vs. lefties. This is very rare for a right handed hurler and it’s worth noting. Most DFS players will blindly follow left/right match-ups when making a lineup decision. While it may not matter it what could be a typical Oprah-style showdown at Coors (“You get a homer, you get a homer, you get a homer…) it could also be a nice little edge for those keen enough to do some digging. Mark Reynolds and Nick Hundley may be avoided by many and could turn a nice profit tonight. Let’s see what else is cooking with today’s picks:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday June 20th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Bases haven’t been nearly full at all in Michael Fulmer‘s starts this past month!

After a rocky beginning to his Major League career, Fulmer has been absolutely on fire the past month, vaulting from “meh, another big prospect called up too early, schwatev” to “this guy is ROY!”  As in, Roy Campanella!  Wait, I don’t think he was a pitcher…

Featuring a huge fastball and an awesome beard, it’s getting tougher and tougher to not jump on board the Fulmer train on his incredible scoreless streak and 5 Ws in a row.  I usually write the intro before breaking down the start, but I worked a little out-of-sequence today.  Spoiler alert!  I’m so on board.  I’m trading in my “Mustache Rides – $0.25” shirt with Grey on it to “Beard Rides – $0.50” with Fulmer.  So without any more ado or facial hair-play, here’s how Fulmer looked yesterday in a dominating start against the Yanks:

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Yesterday, Matt Harvey (5 IP, 5 ER, ERA up to 6.08) briefly held the honor of having the worst ERA of any National League starter at 6.08, which means Harvey is the only one happy with Shelby Miller this year.  It’s time we addressed the giant imaginary rabbit in the room, Harvey.  The Mets thought that Harvey’s problems were mental and considered burning all of his locker’s contents to rid him of the bad juju.  Can you put his “animosity for Terry Collins” in the locker too?  How about his “bitterness at not being the star pitcher anymore?”  Does that fit in a locker?  What about “brooding?”  Does brooding fit in a locker?  Someone needs to salve Harvey’s ego with some Jergen’s lotion because you can see his buttsoreness (totally a word!).  His velocity looked fine yesterday, but his slider is not being located with precision.   Also, check this:  1st time through the order facing Harvey:  .241/.292/.373; second time:  .301/.326/.518; third time:  .509/.563/.764.  What does that tell me?  He’s having a hard time keeping his pitches fresh the 2nd and 3rd time a hitter sees him, which goes back to the slider.  I don’t think his problems are unfixable, but he may need a trip to the Disgraceful List with a mysterious ailment to clear his head and figure out his slider.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Don’t let the title fool you, I am by no means a Styx fan. I actually had to look up who sang this song when I decided to use it. Does anyone even say “look up” any more or has the term been officially replaced with “google”. Speaking of Google, whatever happened to the “I’m feeling lucky” button. I wonder how many times Clint Eastwood clicked that thing? I wonder if he sued Google to have the button removed. I have questions that need answers. In the meantime, let’s talk points leagues. For weeks I’ve been promising to focus on pitchers in one of these posts and today’s the lucky day. Do you feel lucky?

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Junior Guerra has a backstory that puts the odd in odyssey.  The Braves signed him as a 16-year-old catcher out of Venezuela.  In 2006, he had position reassignment surgery and became a pitcher.  As a herbathrowdite in Georgia, bathrooms and strike zones were hard to find, so he was released.  He found courage from the support group, “PAC IO,” which is Pitchers And Catchers Input/Output, and tried his hand at Independent leagues.  Eventually, he played in Mexico, Spain, and Italy.  In Italy, it was especially difficult to be a pitcher because every time a hitter came up to the plate a large, mustachioed woman umpire would say, “Guerra, you hafta throw the meatballs.  C’mon, the hitter’s starvin’ over here.”  And Guerra’s cheeks would constantly be pinched.  But, miraculously, Robin Ventura found him in Italy, while mistakenly thinking that’s where Jim Rome taped his show, and signed him.  Of course, the White Sox had no place for Guerra, and his journey took him to Milwaukee, allowing him to be the first person with an Italian stamp on his passport in Milwaukee since Arthur Fonzarelli.  Yesterday, he went 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners, 11 Ks to move his record to 3-0.  He’s touched 99 MPH with his fastball, averaging around 92-95 and has a split-finger change that falls off the map like an explorer in the 1400’s.  Is he more than a streamer?  Hard to say at this point.  He will get strikeouts and faces the Braves next so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and grab him for that start.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Jon Gray pitched seven innings Friday night versus the Mets, allowing just five hits, two runs, a walk and struck out eight in his first win, in well, in ever. Congrats on your first major league win, chief! It only took you nine months! How about that headline? That was a bad Fifty Shades joke. If you don’t like it I will tie you up and make you like it. Mmm. Bondage. Anyway, Jon Gray–Coors pitchers be damned! After surrendering 11 runs through his first two starts, Gray has been damned good in his past three starts, giving up just four runs and 10 hits in 20.0 innings, and his 1.15 WHIP and 36/7 K/BB are certainly impressing me mucho. I know what you’re thinking, still a Coors pitcher pitches at Coors and even in the most stream worthy of starts it makes him very hard for me hard to recommend. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be on your radar, folks. You should be watching him closer than the latest episode of Game of Thrones, looking for secret hidden fantasy clues in the sand. You guys, I’m pretty sure the scarring on Jon Snuh’s chest spells out R+L=J! Oh em god, wait! The “J” must stand for, dot, dot, dot…Jon Gray! But Jon Gray knows nothing. He must be Targaryen!

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

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