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 know who I feel bad for? The eight other Tigers that have to sit on the other side of the bench now to balance out Miggy so the bench-seesaw doesn’t topple. Prince Fielder was sent to the Tigers for a Player to be Named Later. The later was about thirty seconds when the Rangers said they would send Ian Kinsler. What? Someone had to offer a guy first. Okay, maybe it was Ian Kinsler that was sent for a Player to be Named Later and that later was ten seconds. There’s no way the Rangers and Tigers simultaneously said Prince Fielder and Ian Kinsler. I just don’t see how that could’ve happened. Only room for one Semien in the AL Central, I suppose. See, Prince Fielder’s middle name is Semien and there’s a Marcus Semien…is this getting better as I explain it? Don’t worry, I still have in my back pocket when Marcus Semien hits a game-winning home run — Semien, the shot sprayed ’round the world. Penthouse Letters will enjoy that. So, Prince Fielder in Texas just changes everything. They need to change the size of the door frames, they need to start making tofu cows… It’s gonna be a whole rigamarole! Obviously, this is a boon for his value. Last year, Comerica — or as people in Detroit call it, “The One Building That Isn’t Abandoned” — played better for homers and runs than Arlington, but that has more to do with the two clubs that were on the field. Put the Tigers lineup last year in Arlington and Arlington would’ve looked like it was a dome filled with helium. Historically, Arlington is great for a power hitter and once the summer hits, balls fly out. After Fielder alternated between great and solid seasons for his whole career, last year was supposed to be a great year, but it was merely a solid one, buoyed by counting stats. He shouldn’t have much problem bouncing back in 2014. He’ll still only be 30 years old and I don’t see him taking an extreme dive until around 32, if he can stay healthy. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 89/33/108/.282/1. Definitely locks him into the top rounds and moves Miguel Cabrera back to first base, where he can hopefully stay healthy and drunk. More healthy than drunk, but who am I to judge? Nick Castellanos could now see a shot at 3rd base, but I don’t think the Tigers are done yet. Muahahahahaha…. Hmm, that evil laugh wasn’t totally necessary. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves and what they mean for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Why don’t I have Yu Darvish on any teams? Why don’t I have him on every team? It’s not like I ranked him low in the preseason. Maybe not crazy high, but I should’ve drafted him once. In ten leagues, you would’ve thought it had to happen. I wanna find a Japanese man and feed him grapes and tell him, “Yu are beautiful.” I wanna walk five paces in front of a Japanese woman and tell her how much I love Yu. He just jazzes me up so much I wanna do weird shizz with Japanese people! Something that takes my mind off not owning Yu in fantasy and transports me to living in some kind of weird fantasy with Yu surrogates. Cradle me in your arms, Japanese surrogate that I found on the street, and tell me Yu love me too. So, yesterday, Yu was dazzling again. This was his fourth game with 14 strikeouts as he went seven strong with zero earned runs and only five baserunners, resurrecting the Diamondhacks. After yesterday’s game, Arizona now wants to close all borders. It’s a little early to be talking about this, but I want Yu Darvish in every fantasy league in 2014, but I know now I won’t be able to afford him. Come here, Japanese surrogate, you fill in for Yu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s doubtful that Chicago will start singing, ‘Baby, what a big surprise,’ when Garza’s traded. I don’t imagine there will be that many that are left holding their Putz when the Diamondbacks trade for a closer. Every fifteenth rumor you hear between now and July 31st has at least a two percent chance of happening. So, that rumor about how your old lady is sleeping with your mechanic? Still unlikely no matter how many times you tell her, “Quiet, the game is on.” This Buy is about a rumored trade of yours for Yoenis Cespedes that you can make happen. Cespedes was touched on briefly by JayWrong yesterday, which caused Boras to call Razzball HQ and ask that Yoenis stop being touched on now and fo’ever more. I’m here to say I concur — JayWrong shouldn’t touch on people, and I also concur Cespedes is a solid buy low with enough reasons to count on all 100 of Cespedes’s feet. With regards to his BABIP, he’s been getting unlucky. He’s been hacking a bit less, but saying a hitter hacking less is a bad thing is a stretch for even Rubber Boy Daniel Browning Smith. Yoenis has been swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, but more aggressive at pitches inside the strike zone. Cespedes is the kind of hitter who could have a huge 2nd half and suddenly be in the MVP conversation as Who. As in, Trout, Miggy and who? The only drawback is Cespedes won that stupid long ball hitting contest, so he might not be as low on the radar as he should be. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy and sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Ahhhh July.  The 4th.  Hot dogs.  Fireworks.  Sparklers and going to other neighboring states to get the fireworks.  You know the good ones (I don’t know if people outside of NC will get that one).  I love July.  In baseball we get a little fantasy break to watch the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.  Side note – they should have an MLB skills games like the NBA.  Throw a 100-MPH fastball through the target.  Get down a bunt on the third base line against the pitching machine set at 120 MPH.  OK maybe not the best idea.

But our friends at DraftKings have got their stuff better together than my pipe dreams, with their huge Midsummer Classic coming up on July 19th for $500,000 worth of payouts with a $125,000 winner.  Must cost an arm and a leg and a first-born to get in, huh?  Nope!  Just play in our RAZZBALL EXCLUSIVE CAN YOU BEAT RUDY GAMBLE contest for an entry fee of $10, beat the exclusive Razzball-only players, and a ticket into the Midsummer Classic is yours!  2-10 still double up to $20 and if you’re still new, first time depositors will get a $2 Qualifier ticket that wins you a circuit to the Midsummer Classic as well.  As I said on the Podcast this week, I’m gonna be back in the contest this week with my eyes on that Midsummer ticket.

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Matt Kemp is headed back to the DL. He needs Chris Brown to slap some health into him. Obviously, this a terrible sign for Kemp since it’s his shoulder that he had surgery on that is bothering him. Prior to last week, I stayed away from him all year. Teach me to waffle. Billy Butler, “Who’s making waffles?!” On the bright side, Andre Ethier (3-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI yesterday) should see everyday playing time. I’m not sure who that’s a bright side for outside of Ethier and his close relatives. Maybe in some leagues where you’re struggling to find a fifth outfielder, you give Ethier a bit of how’s your father. There’s no bright side for Kemp. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten foot pole or touch a ten-foot Pole named Stanislaw. He’s the Pole I’ve been seeing in my dreams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Happy Fourth of July, unless you own Yasiel Puig, then you’re wondering if A) He’s healthy B) Where was Carlos Quentin during this? If you haven’t seen it, here’s another look of Puig crashing into the wall. Why do I suddenly want to buy a Subaru? This comes the same day he won Player and Rookie of the Month honors. That’s the first time a player has won Player of the Month honors their first month in the majors. It’s not the first time a player has won Rookie of the Month honors in their first month. If that’s surprising, you should take your medication. After crashing into the wall, Puig originally stayed in the game and he’s a cyborg, so I think he escaped without anything serious happening. Right now, he’s listed as day-to-day with a bruised hip and thigh. Let’s hope it heals quickly because I just sold my Cougar’s engagement ring for 3,000 Yasiel Puig rookie cards. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Okay, sue me for Safecoexual Erasment, but I need some Erasmo Ramirez right now. Who is stopping him? Joe Saunders, The Harangutan or is it Jeremy Bonderman? Whips and chains excite me, but Bonderman does absolutely nothing for me. The tantric Mariners will eventually succumb to an Erasm. They have to. They are pleasure seekers like all of us fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!). Ewww, just got the shudders talking about my mom with all of these double entendres. “Grey, your moostasha is full, but I don’t like this dirty word talk!” That’s my mom fresh off the boat from Sicily. Ramirez has an under 2 BB/9 and over 9 K/9 in Triple-A this year, and he’s not an out of the blue pitcher or without major league seasoning. Last year with the M’s, he threw 59 IP with a 3.36 ERA and an even 1.00 WHIP. There was even talk he’d start the year in the Mariners rotation, until he got injured. He’s fully healthy right now and blowing people away, biding his time for entry into the M’s rotation. Looking for that pitcher that could be this year’s Kris Medlen? Look no further! Unless, of course, you’re looking about 3 inches short of your computer screen, then look a little further. What does the Buysellatops think? It doesn’t think; it’s a dinosaur! I realize Erasmo pronounced backwards is, “I’m sorry,” but he won’t disappoint. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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If you found us from Google due to this title, you might want National Geographic or an African safari forum where discussion quickly turns into a story about how ‘your old lady doesn’t let you watch scary movies.’ Here, when we say our ‘old lady,’ we’re not using a euphemism for a wife. It’s for my fiancee. Gio Gonzalez had a throwback to the days of wine and roses. The wine being anything but Boone’s. The roses being McGowan. He went seven innings and didn’t give up a hit past the first inning with only 4 baserunners and 11 Ks vs. the Phils and Kyle Kendrick (7 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 6 Ks). This was a battle between two teams you think are good offensively, but are not. The Bryceless Nats couldn’t score for Gonzalez and needed an Ian Desmond grand slam in the eleventh to win. This no decision was Gio’s 7th in his last 8 starts — c’mon, Gio, make up your mind. Or console yourself with a QS, Gio! This was a nice start after I had reservations about his falling K-rate and rising walk rate. Again, it was the Phils, so I wouldn’t just accept he’s back to last year’s tricks. It’s an illusion! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I recently came across the book (remember those) Sixty Feet, Six Inches by Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson at a yard sale and found my 75 cents well spent. I also picked up Judas Priest’s British Steel on vinyl for a buck. Breakin’ the law, breakin the law. It was a great day all around, but I don’t know what I’m going to do with this. Anywho, back to the book. In the rectangular thing that has words written on paper, the two Hall of Famers discuss a number of topics including gaining an edge. Here’s Reggie and Gibby discussing it on what may or may not have been an appearance on Between Two Ferns. Baseball players are all about getting an edge. Some ways are subtle: peeking back at the catcher, stealing signs, watching for tipped pitches. Some, not so subtle: an arm slathered in Coppertone, a bat full of superballs, some ground up deer antler injected directly into the brain stem. A way to gain an edge in our world of fake baseball (time to toot the Razzball horn) is using the Hitter-Tron, the Stream-o-Nator, and paying attention to lefty/righty splits with Platoony Tunes. Now someone buy Rudy a drink! I spend more time with these tools than I do with my own. Sorry ball-peen hammer. Sorry Dremel. Sorry oscillating bandsaw, but last time I used you it didn’t go so well.

This week let’s look at some jammer crammer platoony types. Streaming the overlooked bat that crushes lefties or righties is a cheap source of power. Personally, I like to have an open roster spot or two and rotate hot hitters depending on matchups. If you’re in a “set it and forget it” weekly league or have a short bench, you probably don’t have the room to carry a guy just to face lefties once or twice a week. However, if your roster’s big enough and managed wisely, going a bit Platoony Tunes is an easy way to pad the stats and gain an edge. Time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?