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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Madison Bumgarner threw a near-perfect game vs. the Rockies, ending with a one hitter and 13 Ks. Tim Lincecum was the first one to congratulate him, saying, “I’ll see you in the bullpen in two months.” Then Lincecum laughed, a hallow, empty laughter and his eyes glazed with what appeared to be tears. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive that even Gattis said, “I’d bunk in a cardboard box with that Bum anytime.” Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Brian Sabean altered Bumgarner’s contract, making him twelve years older. Yesterday, Bum was so impressive, Giants fans didn’t roll their eyes when someone had white wine with a burger. On the year, Bumgarner has a 3.02 ERA, 9.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and is about as consistent as a starter that you can find. Oh, and he’s only 25 years old. *Homer Simpson drool* Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here we are in the home stretch of yet another year in fantasy baseball, and we are left with decisions that we would have never considered a month or two ago. Under-performing “Player A” has to be cut for Hot Schmotato “Player B”, or “Pitcher 3″ has to be cut loose because I won’t reach my innings or game starts and need to get aggressive with my streaming. All these decisions will leave you with a quilted patchwork roster at the end of the season that resembles nothing like your All-Star break squad, let alone your draft day roster. I recall in 2006, my first year playing, when I grabbed Marlon Anderson in early September when he put up a line of 12/7/15/2/.375 to close out the year, and I walked away with $400 and my first fantasy baseball title. Prior to that month, he had hit all of 5 HR’s on the year, and it made zero sense owning him at all, but a bat that produces dongs is just that, a dong producing bat. This week I like current Hot Schmotato Zach Walters to do what he does. Hit home runs, go 1-for-4, and help you catch your opponents in the standings or win the all important H2H matchup.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is happening on the other side of my laptop as I sit here writing the Two-Startapalooza…

owierazz

Yes, that is a dog dry-humping Boo the star Pomeranian in stuffed animal form. He does it all the time, but for some reason it seemed profound to me and strangely relevant to this week’s batch of pitchers. [Jay's Note: Uhhhh. Okay?] Perhaps my dog represents the fantasy gods, and Boo is fantasy owners everywhere, especially those on the playoff bubble in their leagues. No Clayton Kershaw, no Max Scherzer, no David Price, no mega-aces to speak of. Combustible No. 2’s. A lot of mediocrity. Dudes obviously pitching over their heads, and dying to, well, eff you over. And then the looming threat of namby-pamby real-life baseball managers pulling guys early in games to get ready for the real-life playoffs and even scratching top-flight starters with mysterious blisters, hangnails and other assorted bogus injuries in an effort to save them for the postseason. The nerve! But I see two little gifts from these same fantasy gods: Two guys with potential who have good-to-great matchups this week.

First up is Eric Stults, a Hodgepadre with two home starts (Brew Crew and Dodgers) and a nice run going. He’s 3-1 in August with a 1.49 ERA, and only one of those starts was in Petco. Also, he’s only walked two guys in his last three starts, and has the potential to strike guys out on top of that. Then there’s Dillon Gee, who looked like a potential ace out of the gate this year but then missed two months with a back injury. He’s been about as appealing as amusement park food since his return, racking up a 5.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with no wins over the last 30 days. But if you drill down into his last four starts, he hasn’t been that awful. He held down the Giants for the most part on Aug. 4, giving up two runs over 5-plus innings. He then dominated the flat-lining Phillies in Philly. Now I’ll make some excuses. Is there shame in getting a little shaken (4 ER in 5 innings) in a loss to the first-place Nats at home or a road loss to first-place Oakland? This week, Gee welcomes two beatable opponents to Citi Field: The strikeout happy Braves and then those same crappy Phillies. I like Gee and Stults as streamers who won’t “screw you over” (heh) and nothing else. Now let’s see what else we got in the Two-Starter cupboard this week.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Grizzly Adams did have a beard, and so does Adam LaRoche ($4,800), who’s hitting at an insane clip this month (.636 SLG and .348 ISO). He’s also a notorious slow-starter, but his lifetime OPS in August is .903, which is well higher than any of those other stupid months. Hold up, we’re not done here. I got stats on stats on stats. LaRoche also owns a .417 wOBA and .225 ISO at home versus RHP, and he’s 4-for-11 (1 HR) versus Trevor Cahill, who has been hit hard in 2 career starts at Nationals Park (5.11 ERA).

Man, I hope at least some of those numbers don’t lie, but I know if I ever have any doubts, I can bounce my ideas off the DFSBot. This thing is getting all sorts of accolades lately and was probably banging lines with dimes somewhere in VIP last night. Oh to be the most accurate projection system on the interwebs. Congrats Bot, live it up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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?

As I scrolled through the under-owned players yesterday, I kept trying to find a guy that was a one week rental, but all I saw was Yugo’s on the lot. Then I saw something I had overlooked because I own him and he wasn’t in the free agent pool. Kennys Vargas has been swinging a solid stick since his call up, and I like what he brings to the table over the next 7 days and beyond. For this week’s title, I was inspired by the San Diego tour stop this past Thursday and the circus type atmosphere we had going. I  had a blast hanging with Nick “the voice” Capozzi, Master Lothario Grey Albright, Frequent Commenter Royce, and the great group of guys that trekked down to San Diego and drafted live with us atthe  Player’s Sports Bar.

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So why are you talking about this J-FOH? Because I write for both football and baseball, and I want you all to try and make it out to one of the tour stops. Nick is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and it’s great being around other fantasy players to talk shop and have a drink with. Yes this is a plug and yes I want you all to play football with us too. (Join one of our RCL Leagues today! New to fantasy football, but still want a try at prizes? Jay was happy to make a Beiginners Guide, just for you. They call him… philanthropist.) Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know when Shin-Soo Choo (2-for-4, 2 runs and his 10th homer) is hitting homers there’s a Dong Party going on. Dong Party is also my lead single off my album, “Who Let In All These Guys?” The CD cover had me dressed like a sailor, begrudgingly hoisting a man for a keg stand. None of this is ringing a bell? That’s weird, but it did perform better in Asia than here. Choo hadn’t homered since July 4th and only has 4 homers since May 22nd and is hitting .238. Can we say bust? If you can’t, you might want to see a speech therapist. Also joining the Dong Party was J.P. Arencibia (3-for-5, 4 RBIs and his 7th homer). That Arencibia is one spicy meatball! You know what one meatball said to another meatball? What’s up, metaball? What? No good? Okay, I won’t submit it to Highlights. Arencibia has 4 homers in the last eleven games, and has been known to go on a dong run. For those of you who just found us today Googling “dong run.” We won’t judge you here. Next up, for the Dong Party was Robinson Crusoe. He’s got a novel idea. It’s about a shipwrecking. Quite the yarn! Chirinos (3-for-5, 3 runs and two homers) has 11 homers on the year, and I’ve enjoyed owning him in a few two-catcher leagues, but he’s hitting .237 and I wouldn’t get too excited, especially not while you’re at a Dong Party. Finally, arriving at the Dong Party with a homer in the first inning was Adrian Beltre (1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 16th homer). Getting a bangfizzle at a Dong Party is such a bummer. By the by, Such A Bummer was my follow-up single. Tell me if you want the Sound Cloud link. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay's Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

Please, blog, may I have some more?