As they say in a Jewelery District of any major city, Johnny Cueto pitched a gem. Well, any major city except Detroit. There they call a gem, “Slowly remove it from your finger, and no funny business!” Against the Pirates yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks. Pretty much across the board for Cueto’s career, I haven’t been a fan. His xFIP has always been much worse than his ERA, and his K-rate has never been close to an elite starter. Well, a weird thing happened on the way to his fifth start of the year, he looks like an ace. His xFIP is down to 2.55, his K-rate is 10.50 and his walk rate is 2.40. Those are fantasy ace numbers. Last year through April, he had a 2.80 xFIP, 9.35 K-rate and 3.12 walk rate. Those numbers aren’t that different. Hey, random italicized letters are my shtick. Not right now, Random Italicized Voice. Whoa, snippy! There is one fairly significant difference between Cueto this year and last. About a mile per hour on his fastball. In some instances, his fastball is averaging two extra miles per hour from last April, and he’s cut out his, uh, cutter, and his ground balls have remained. He’s pitching slightly different, slightly better, and, for the first time I can remember, I’m really liking what Cueto is showing. Ain’t that a kick in Jason LaRue’s head? His ERA won’t stay at 1.50, but I also wouldn’t be looking to sell him high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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He’s just lucky his name isn’t Kicked-In Nuts Bailey. If you turned a paper into your English prof and named the homer-prone pitcher, Homer Bailey, your prof would say it’s too expository. But the prof might’ve been more forgiving if you hadn’t named the mayor, Billy Gladhand; the police chief, Officer Corruptski and the fro-yo cashier, Barry Tart. It’s almost too ridiculous to be believable what Homer Bailey did yesterday. He gave up two back-to-back homers in two different innings, while also striking out the side. Who are you, Danny Salazar? No, you are not Danny Salazar! You’re supposed to be more reliable! (Oh, and the game was suspended, but you still get all of Bailey’s glorious stats. Lucky you. Or Yu, if Darvish is reading.) If you play in a Benjamin Netanyahu league were xFIP is a category, you’re doing well. Everyone else would like to kill someone. Potentially me since I advocated drafting Bailey. It takes alligator blood to check raise the bettor, but, after he struck out nine in only five innings yesterday (and gave up a shizz load of homers), I’d say now is the time to buy low on Bailey. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello, Total Fiasco, it’s nice of you to join us. Can I just call you Total? You prefer your full name? Can I get you anything, Total Fiasco? Bullpens scrambling? Real baseball managers pulling their hair out? Fantasy managers wishing they had hair to pull out? How about I just give Jim Johnson the ball and step out of the way? That should be to your liking. While you’re waiting for a meltdown, here’s a hot towel for your face. So, the A’s announced they would move to a closer committee. The only thing ever done better by committee? Spice in jerk seasoning. The A’s have the luxury of a few options: Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle, which makes things harder for fantasy. Much easier if there’s one great handcuff and then junk behind him. I’d pick up the A’s relievers in the order I listed them. Saves could very well be divvied up with a little Gregerson, a little Cook and a little Doo. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You’re about to get busted. Do you go harder, become more brazen, with the illegal activity or attempt to clean up your act quickly so you don’t get punished more severely? I don’t know. This is where fantasy baseball meets a PBS Frontline special. I think different people react in different ways. Not to get all philosophical on you like your college philosophy prof who would invite you over for lavash and hummus and marijuana, then try to feel up your girlfriend, but last year’s Ryan Braun — 9 homers in 61 games — could be exactly what he is off of PEDs. There’s no way of knowing when he was or wasn’t using. If he knew he was about to get suspended last year, he might’ve laid off of everything and been totally clean for that decent but not spectacular partial season, even while he battled a thumb issue. The same thumb issue that has resurfaced this year. I should’ve been more aggressive in the preseason about pointing that Braun wasn’t healthy last year. The kind of unhealthy that has lingered into this year. He admitted the other day that he was unable to take a normal swing due to battling a nerve issue. Or if you’re reading in your best Curly voice, a noive issue. That’s hella bad with hella having a hashtag that says 2004. I wouldn’t sell him for fifty cents on the dollar, but I’d be interested to see if someone would give me 85 or 90 cents on the dollar. Or if someone would give me the Euro exchange rate. Why are they still making pennies?! Tell me Yahoo! Answers! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It’s nice when your chickens come home to roost. Sure, chickens coming home to roost is usually used to indicate a negative, but whoever heard of roosted chickens not being delicious. Lemon pepper, rosemary and roosted chickens is my favorite menu item and this Chinese restaurant has the best #3 in town. So, now, chickens coming home to roost is a positive and so is Todd Frazier with two jacks yesterday like Nicholson in Mars Attacks!. Frazier has long been a favorite of mine — we were younger then, and you had more hair. I hit you with a sleeper post for him in 2013 and again this offseason. There I said, “(Frazier) dropped his K-rate from 22.2% in 2012 to 20.8% last year. This was counteracted by a falling line drive rate (22.4% to 18.1%). Make weak contact and balls get caught and your BABIP falls. His fly ball rate fell too. When a fly ball rate falls in a hitters’ park, your power numbers appear less than desirable. Cause and effin’ effect or effin’ affect or affin’ effect or affin’ affect. BTW, what’s a humpageddon? A pornmanteau. Take it, it’s yours. The good news is when Frazier did hit a home run, he hit them a long way (average distance was 403 feet). He was right there at the top of the league for guys who averaged the longest distance per home run. When he hit six homers (this past) September in only 88 ABs, it showed the player he can be every month.” And that’s me quoting me! Still, love Frazier, unlike a lot of you since he’s only owned in 50% of leagues. I’d absolutely grab him if he were available in my league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Reds manager Bryan Price, who I thought was their catcher, has a long way to go to catch up to ex-manager, Dusty Baker, on the Crazy-Meter, but naming Jonathan Broxton the closer a week before he’s even healthy, is a great start. Now Price needs to throw Latos 147 pitches in his first game back and he’ll be running a dead heat. Apparently, Broxton can’t only fill pants, he can fill shoes too. Dumpster Pants isn’t safe by any means, but when a crazy-as-a-fox manager names someone the closer, and he could be the closer for the next two months, I’d pick him up. Not literally, no one can pick up Broxton literally. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You, “So, Grey, I appreciate a well-coiffed mustache as much as the next straight man, but are you trying to tell me Luis Valbuena isn’t a virtual lock at 3rd base?” Crazy shizz, right? The Cubs made the right move and went with Mike Olt to at least platoon at 3rd base. Here’s what I kinda said in the past, “Don’t you love when New Yorkers say the expression, “I got your _____ right here!” Coming out of the right taxi driver’s mouth, it’s like a cello being played by Yo-Yo Ma. Sometimes it can get confusing when you are actually trying to tell someone you’ve located something. Like, “I got your cellphone right here!” Probably sounds like you’re being an a-hole. Well, in that vein, take a a scruffy taxi driver’s voice, throw it through two packs a cigarettes a day for 20 years and give me a little, ‘I got your loyalty to Luis Valbuena right here!’” And that’s me kinda quoting me! I wrote that nonsense in 2012 when he was on the Rangers and behind Michael Young. That’s how long this whole Mike Olt saga has been going on. I received straight C’s in math, but I’m gonna try to count Olt’s post-hype hypeness. Okay, ready? Good. He’s a post-post-post-post-post-post-POST-post-hype prospect. Whew. I hope I didn’t put the italics ‘post’ where the capped ‘post’ was supposed to go. Olt was supposed to break out two years ago. Supposed to be a Chris Davis clone. Last year, Olt was in a backwards spiral of epic proportions. He hit .168 in 152 plate appearances at the Cubs Triple-A affiliate, but he had something wrong with his eyes. His eyes are fixed and he has other strengths. Strength being one of them. He can hit the ball a country mile (which is further than a city mile due to a lack of public transportation). He also has a decent enough glove. It’s a Rawlings. It’s a tanned leather. He will platoon in the early going, but, at this point, there is absolutely no reason to hold him back if he can hit. He won’t put up a great average, but there is a chance here for 30 homers if he can get the at-bats. 30-homer 3rd basemen don’t fall off the wagon every day, unless it’s an overcrowded wagon specifically labeled, “30-Homer 3rd Basemen.” Oh, and I’ve moved him up in my top 400. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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Y’all know why this is happening to Kris Medlen, right? Why he’s preparing for Tommy John surgery? It’s the breeding patterns of the Flat-Billed Pitchypus and their likely extinction. If you iron your hat brim, you are putting yourself and potentially your family in grave danger. Exhibit A: Shawn Chacon now works at a Los Pollos Hermanos, making ‘deliveries.’ SPOILER ALERT! Wait, you need to know what I’m spoiling first. True Detective SPOILER ALERT! The Yellow King’s face looks like that due to ironing the brim of his hat while it was on his head. So, due to climate changes, mating rituals and the long hunting season of the Flat-Billed Pitchypus, the Braves went out and got Ervin Santana. The Baltimore Orioles said, “Aw, shucks, we were gonna sign him for sixteen dollars the day after the season started.” Too bad, O’s. Against me better judgement, I’m gonna talk like a leprechaun and move Ervin Santana up a hair in my top 80 starters and my top 400. Plus, we lost Randall Delgado, Kevin Gausman and Brandon Beachy, so there was room. Oh, have I mentioned I moved Beachy down? Yeah, I don’t like that he has soreness in his biceps. Prediction Alert! In the next few years, Dr. James Andrews is going to reveal to the world a serious gambling problem, and that’s why everyone that goes under his knife needs follow-up surgery and a massive amount of check-ups. Someone’s gonna pay the kitty, ya heard? Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Folks, the time is finally here for Razzball’s 2014 Bold Predictions, and I’m happy to once again be your host. This year, it gets real crazy, as you might be able to tell from the title. That’s right. Dragon Ninja’s, yo. Word is, they have lasers, but that’s okay. We have something called an Eno. Not to be confused with being emo, which I hear involves a lot of mascara and Dashboard Confessionals. Sounds dangerous. And like a girl I dated in college. Regardless, here’s the deal– Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has agreed to take on your very own lovable and quite handsome Jason Longfellow (yes, that’s my name, don’t wear it out) in a duel for the ages. His bold predictions will battle my bold predictions for COMPLETE AND UTTER SUPREMACY. Sort of like Highlander. We certainly need more Sean Connery, that’s for sure. And what’s at stake in this epic battle? Heads? Lightning swords? Shinobi’s? Naw. It’s beer. That’s right, beer. Whomever get’s the most predictions right, well, the loser has to buy him a six-pack of the beer of his choice. In this case, Eno has chosen DC Brau. Great selection, but it might come with side effects such as too much hipster and listening to Mumford. My choice? Koko Brown, because Hawai’i is the greatest thing ever known to man besides ice cream and blow jobs.  Have I intrigued you? I HAVE INTRIGUED ME, because, you know, alcohol. And Sean Connery…

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Another Cuban has washed ashore, dreaming of American capitalism and getting seriously laid in Miami. The Cardinals signed shortstop, Aledmys Diaz. Let’s give you a comparison that may or may not do it for you. Diaz hit 12 homers and stole 11 bases with a.315 average in his last year in Cuban ball. Recent raftee by the Dodgers, Alexander Guerrero hit 21 homers, stole 2 bases and hit .290. Right now, Guerrero might be losing the starting job to Dee Gordon who can’t hit his weight, and he weighs 143 pounds. It’s nice that another Cuban gets to realize his dreams like Yasiel Puig and Tony Montana, but I’m not even sure if Diaz will make an impact this year, or ever. Despite his name resembling “All Days,” he’s being projected as a bench player. Oh, and I just had a great idea. I’m not sure who can make this happen, but we should get Fidel Castro on the podcast to talk about baseball. Speaking of which, we’re recording the first podcast of the year today and it should be on-site tomorrow. You can hardly wait. No, you! Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?