Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, began yesterday, and Brad Ausmus, the Tigers manager who doesn’t believe in a manger, started atoning for his mistakes, by sending the Tigers closer, Bruce Rondon, home due to a lack of effort.  This sends an interesting message.  I’d guess, with a motorized scooter and knee-bypass surgery, Victor Martinez still wouldn’t be at 100% effort.  Kyle Lobstein and Randy Wolf wouldn’t be at 100% effort with a pitching machine standing next to them as they mimed throwing.  Shoot, I don’t know if Miggy was at 100% effort even in his Triple Crown season.  Also, what does this say about Ausmus?  That he’s managing a team in last place, but he’s coaching at 100% effort?  Wouldn’t he be better off pretending he was at, say, 60% effort?  How about this, “I sent Rondon home because he was at 40% effort.  I lead by example around here, and I demand everyone give 50 to 55% effort, as I do.  What?  You thought I was at 100% effort and we’re in last place?  Please!”  Alex Wilson is the likely replacement closer, maybe Neftali Feliz also sees some saves, but he blew one last night.  Then, in Kansas City, Greg Holland let the entire organization off easy by saying he had a tight elbow and is done for the year.  This saves everyone from calling for Wade Davis to close while berating and belittling Holland worse than a tourist who doesn’t smoke pot and hates windmills.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I start my lineups these days in one place: the starting pitcher. They’re the fulcrum upon which all things must work. You can find way more diamonds in the rough among the hitters than you can on the hill, so it behooves you to focus on this position first before attacking the rest.

That doesn’t mean you can’t target hitters, especially when there are Coors games and the like, but those hitters aren’t going to lift you as high if there is a SP in your slots working a negative number.

That said, it doesn’t mean you should just pop the first two pitchers you come to in the salary list and then mine the lineups for values. That happens sometimes, but what you should really do is look at the SP trends, matchups, splits, parks, swinging strike and K-rates to whittle down the slate to a few good men you could live with for the night.

Oh I’ve gone through this process and ended up with some strange birds on the hill. There was a night this season where Joe Blanton, patron saint of gas cans, actually went into Safeco and helped me to a nice payday. Recently, even, Kris Medlen has been helpful with his low salary and decent performances, allowing me to target more prime bats.

As I look at the slate for Wednesday, I was hoping I could log on, take a quick glance and know where I was going, but I couldn’t. This was because the best two SP on the slate happened to be the highest paid as well:

David Price, SP: $12,500

Jake Arrieta, SP: $14,000

Price in Atlanta and Arrieta in Pittsburgh were, at first glance, the best SP, so I had to dig deeper just to be sure and, sure enough, they came through the process on top.

Since they are so high priced, about 6K more than I like to dedicate to the cause, I didn’t automatically ink them in the lineup until I could see if there was indeed enough value in the hitters to make it work. Looking down the list, it was clear that I could roster two or three Phillies, who can hit a lefty fairly well and have a nice home park, to make it happen. Facing Gio Gonzalez, who has a mid 4s SIERA and nearly 800 OPS vs. righties over the last 30 days also made it easy to go that route.

So I did. It looks like a newb move, rosting the top two SP of the night, but you have to trust your process. Other nights, I would lay up short well short of this $$ commitment at SP, but tonight, it’s pay up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka went 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 baserunners, 10 Ks.  I took some guff in the preseason for being down on Tanaka, in the non-sexual way.  I projected him for the line of 10-4/3.49/1.15/150.  His line right now is 11-6/3.57/1.01/125.  Yeah, I was waaaaaaaaay off.  Multiple A’s to allow time for an eye roll.  Kids write me letters and say, “Unkie Grey, how did you know what Tanucky (sic) would do so mediocrely?”  My answer is always the same, I’m a witch.  Then I continue, “No, that’s just a broom.  Male witches ride around on Vespas.”  Tanaka was an easy person for me to avoid this year due to his elbow tendon.  For 2016, sadly, I don’t see my enthusiasm changing.  Or at any point for him until he has surgery, rehabs for 12-16 months and then returns.  I wish he would, because I would like to get excited about him, but it’s just not gonna happen, said like Dana Carvey impersonating George H. W. Bush.  Now, excuse me, I double-parked my Vespa on Sandoval’s foot.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There was a time when Mike Myers was funny. I know, weird thought, right? Not sure what happened to him. The Love Guru was an unmitigated disaster and everyone hangs the end of him on that but really, think about it. How many times can you do a Scottish accent as a big part of your career and get away with it? Myers proved there was a threshold for his antics because as we all know, we didn’t watch him for his acting chops (though I give props for his role in 54; definitely wasn’t playing a Myers character you’ve seen before there). In the end, there’s absolutely zero tie in here and I’m tired of talking about Mike so I’m segueing: Derek Holland! He’s a good pitcher. Isn’t that weird? Ok, not really. He’s shown flashes in the past but after his complete game shut out against Baltimore with 11 Ks, I picked him up in all season long leagues where he was available for this upcoming start. The Angels on the year haven’t struck out a lot against LHP but they have shown to be inept, posting a weak 88 wRC+ for the year and when you combine that with their trailing 30, 14, and 7 day wRC+, you could catch a dead team walking. At his $7,200 price tag, I’m hoping for 6+ innings, minimal on base damage and 7 K with room for upside. So come visit Holland with me won’t you? I’ll even buy you a bong and a blintz. But enough about my odd breakfast habits, let’s move on. Here’s my unfortunate smelting accident hot takes for this Saturday DK slate…

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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You never stop learning. Ever. The baseball season is a long race and while you think you may know what a player is or what you can expect, you have to keep checking in on trends to make sure you didn’t miss a zig when you been watching them zag all season.

Today’s J.D. Martinez is tomorrow’s Ryan Zimmerman. You may disregard a player like Brandon Moss, but if you are watching his power metrics and hard contact rate holding at an above average rate, you may just roster him in a tournament and watch him go deep with pride, as he did Thursday night.

Stay vigilant. Players returning from injury, like Stephen Strasburg, may have tightened up something that they weren’t getting right pre-injury. For Stras, it’s his curveball that he’s found that has jumped his swinging strike rate from 7-8% pre-injury, to 13 percent over his last several starts.

David Wright is a has-been who can’t be counted on anymore. *You check the numbers, find out he’s raking* Welp.

Making this part of the routine makes the DFS season fun and takes advantage of fish who have taken their eyes off baseball right now to bone up for the NFL season. Reel them in and cash on them — it’s what David Wright would want you to do.

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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jorge Soler is likely done for the year with a strained oblique.  This is one of those injuries that comes with a sigh of relief.  Yay, I don’t have to keep running Soler out there and being disappointed.  Disappointment, you are the mistress of expectation, aren’t you?  Soler fascinates me in a car crash that you rubber neck while you pass sorta way.  Here’s a preseason tweet from Peter Gammons, “John Mallee (Cubs hitting coach) says Jorge Soler hasn’t swung at a pitch out of the strike zone all spring.  Scary good.  May be best of Cubs lot right now.”  Cubs committed to playing him, and, by the end of the year, you had to wonder if they should’ve just been committed.  If his year is over, he ends with 7 HRs, 3 SBs and a .265 average in 278 plate appearances.  Worse (yeah, it can get worse), his strikeout rate zoomed, and not in the fun way like Aretha Franklin’s zooming.  On our Player Rater, he was about as valuable as Will Venable, Brandon Moss and Jeff Francoeur.  Or make that, as craptastic as those guys.  In 2016, Soler will be one of those guys that goes in the 150 range that could be as valuable as Pollock this year, or as valuable as the Pollock that parked so close to your car you couldn’t get in your door and needed to climb through the trunk, knock down the backseat and crawl through to the steering wheel.  Time, not the magazine, will tell.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was able to pick up Pedro Alvarez (2-for-4, 19th homer) for the batty call yesterday, which is kinda silly since he has four homers in the last week, and now I don’t see how I can drop him.  Wouldn’t be the first time a batty call turned into living with each other for a few years, until the fighting becomes too much for each us.  But we’re not brave enough to leave, so we bitterly sleep with our backs to each other, and when Pedro falls asleep before me, I pull out my iPad, lower the volume so he can’t hear the sites I’m visiting and I excite my “Josh Reddick” until my “Marcus Semien” arrives and I cry myself to sleep.  Or something along those lines!  *giggles awkwardly, coughs, clears throat*  So, yes, that’s a vote for Pedro (just don’t get married to him).  Seriously, he’s hitting .252 with 19 homers, how is he only owned in 50% of leagues?  Not to answer, but to judge others.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m picturing Droopy Dog saying, “Going down,” to my Excitement for Jose Fernandez. My Excitement for J-Fer is hooking up with a strobe light honey at a club, and my Excitement for J-Fer’s friend later tells my Excitement for J-Fer, “She was cute, except for that protruding Adam’s apple.” My Excitement for J-Fer just got a $300 red light camera ticket. My Excitement for J-Fer put the green trash can at the curb the day it was supposed to put the blue can and then puts the black can at the curb the day the green can was supposed to go out. My Excitement for J-Fer exclaims, “Why can’t I even throw out the trash right?!” My Excitement for J-Fer sighs and puts an emoji in its text messages that symbolizes its childhood hero Hulk Hogan being a racist. As you’ve likely heard, Fernandez is out indefinitely with a bicep strain. Hopefully, he can be fine for next spring, i.e., I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t return this year. Otherwise, as the old beer jingle will tell you, J-Fer, the pitcher to draft when you’re DL’ing more than one. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Of course, the title is referring to Nelson Muntz, but Jimmy Nelson sounds like a sitcom character too. Like the kid who is sweet to the parents, but is really the devil incarnate when no one is looking. Eddie Haskell, if your references go back that far. Fun fact! Chad Billingsley’s grandma starred in that show. So, Jimmy Nelson had a solid game last night (6 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 4 Ks, and his ERA is down to 3.57), but that’s not THAT good (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics). No, but his month of July ERA was 1.64. THAT is THAT good (not for emphasis, but now my autocorrect ‘learned’ THAT and wants THAT capped and I can’t shut THAT off). Where is all of this coming from? Great question, clunky expositional transition! I’d say it’s not where it’s coming from, but where has it been? Ooh, you like that switcheroo. Nelson had a 1.46 ERA in the PCL with a 9.2 K/9 last year, throws 93 MPH and has worked hard to add a curve that he never had before this year. He feels like a guy that will click at some point, and be a top 20 starter. This year could be rocky still, but I think he’s worth trying for a few starts to see if he’s already turned that corner. I’ve been rocking three starters in my RCL league since April, but after streaming Nelson yesterday, I kinda want to hold him. While an Air Supply song plays softly in the background. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have returned from my much needed and financially reasonable vacation. I went to San Diego for five days and four nights with the family, and enjoyed almost every damn second of it. I learned one thing while I was away, and that’s the closer I got to Mexico, the browner I got. Seriously, I need to go by Juan Lleno de Odio until I kick this tan. I’m going to cut to the chase today, as I have lots to go over and little time for small talk… unless you want to chat it up in the comments about whatever is on your mind, I don’t mind that. Oh wait, before I move on to the good stuff, I would like to self-celebrate today. Today is my 100th post for Razzball baseball. As some of you may know, I started on the football side when Sky took a chance on me. After I went to Oregon and passed the Sky test/initiation, Grey hit me up and invited me to come over to the baseball side. Then came my first Razzball baseball post and the rest is history. Thanks you two for allowing me to be a part of this.

Please, blog, may I have some more?