Looking back on the unofficial first half of the fantasy baseball season can be a lot of fun, unless of course you are in dead last, in which case it’s about as much fun as watching your auntie’s cat play with its new Cat’s Meow toy while you eat stale Circus Peanuts. In any event, the gods of SAGNOF have not been as kind to us thus far in 2013, and it shows in the numbers. The total number of steals in the league, 1524, is the lowest it’s been since 2006. In addition, there are only 21 players with 15 or more steals at this point in the season. That’s also the lowest it’s been since 2006. It feels even lower given that just last year there were 28 players with 15+ steals at the break and 30 the year before that. This all means that players who steal 30 bags or more are a little harder to come by, and it’s no sure thing that each fantasy team will have one or two guys that can carry them in steals like in years past. It also means that having a guy like Ben Revere break his foot and lose his season is a much bigger blow to our fantasy squads (mine included) than it used to be. So what do we do if we lost a guy like Revere or missed out on a Jacoby Ellsbury or Everth Cabrera type? If you read my column regularly, you know I’m a big fan of playing the match-ups when it comes to steals, and seizing the opportunity to eke them out whenever possible against teams that are weak against the run. After all, just because steals are down in general, it doesn’t change the fact that they still make up 20% of our offensive points in most leagues.

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Two-start hoarders, welcome back. First things first: I’m vacationing in Mexico with what, by now, is a potentially-fatal sunburn. Not to worry, though, because the cervezas at this joint are unlimited, and I’m feelin’ no pain. Zero. I just arrived here yesterday, and I’ll be here through next Friday. That means my esteemed Razzball colleagues will be filling in for me in the comments for my next few posts. In any case, we’ve got a deep list of two-start options, and plenty of good streamers this week. The usual tiered rankings are below.

NOTE: I looked ahead at the two-start landscape a few days earlier than usual this week, so this group of probable pitchers is especially subject to change. Apologies in advanced for anything I may have missed. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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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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The Indians had themselves a good ol’ fashioned hometown community pow-wow in Chicago yesterday, scoring 29 runs off 33 hits in Friday’s double header. The Tribe tallied 19 runs in the first half of the double header, with eight different Indians having multi-hit games including 3-hit games from Asdrubal Cabrera, Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles. And as if the ChiSox weren’t having a bad enough night, the Injians managed to rally to score four runs in the ninth to win with a walk off home run by Nick Swisher in the second game. Jason Kipnis was the real hero going 4-for-7 with four runs, four RBI, four BB and his 18th stolen base. Kip’s got a .473 OBP in the past month, which is definitely worthy of a rain dance. Anyway, this is the second time Cleveland had scored 19 runs in a game this season, and they move within two games of first place in the AL Central. Rough night for ChiSox fans, but hey, Jeff Keppinger (6-for-8, 2 runs, HR, 4 RBI) had a great day, right? Right!? I’m making it worse aren’t I? I better take some happy pills quick before the world starts getting dark.

Sigh, well, here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball last night:

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We’re halfway through the H2H regular season, and for many of us, it’s time to make some moves in the standings. It’s not always so easy to negotiate trades, especially for those in public leagues, making additions from waivers an absolute necessity in most cases. A good method to get ahead in weekly formats is to keep up with the two-start landscape and stream the shizz out of the good options. If you’ve been lazy in this regard so far, it’s not too late. So quit looking for the new Kanye album that leaked yesterday (it’s not that great), and begin hoarding two-starters instead. I’m here every Saturday to help keep your hopes alive.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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There’s no way you haven’t heard, but the MLB is reportedly going to suspend, like, a team’s worth of players.  Maybe the potential suspendees should form their own team and own baseball league.  Maybe wear suspenders?  Womp, womp – that’s like a dad joke.  I heard Jose Canseco is still trying to play.  He’d fit in perfectly!

So you’ve got Ry-Ry Steroids-Steroids and steals king Everth Cabrera and have either the fantasy blues or fantasy roid rage.  Why not start afresh and draft a daily league team and win back that money your juicing up players are going to lose you in your fantasy league? Our friends at DraftKings continue to provide us with an awesome RAZZBALL EXCLUSIVE Can You Beat Rudy Gamble Contest where the top winner gets a ticket into their huge $100,000 Punch Out which runs next Friday with the top winner getting $20,000!  Remember you have to click on that link above, or this one here, or the same very one here to get in.  It’s secret to everyone else!  Then spots 2-10 double up to $10.00 on a measly $5.00 entry.

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Are you familiar with The Legend of Oso Blanco? It’s the very true story behind Evan Gattis, and it’s a must listen if you haven’t yet heard it. Even if you have, it’s still worth another run through. Atlanta sports radio 680 The Fan was on point with this bit, which should have some appeal among us here at Razzball. Thanks to Deadspin for bringing it to our attention. Anyway, two-starters… Week 9 features nearly a full-slate of action, so there are a shizzload of them to choose from. To help guide your two-start perusing, I’ve slapped together our usual tiered worksheet.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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I went ahead and picked up Jarrod Dyson this past week only to watch him sprain his ankle before even entering my lineup. ESPN has him listed as 0.0% ownership, so apparently my team doesn’t even count in their world. I was about to get all depressed about it and throw on my Skinny Puppy t-shirt and black eyeliner when I realized that this is a SAGNOF world, and that means when one speedster goes down, we just go to the heap for another. We’re about 1/4 of the way through the season already, and that means it’s time to take a look at some stats for pitchers, catchers, and teams to try to exploit when chasing steals. I’ll also take a look at what Will Venable is up to and how Pedro Florimon may be a possible source of cheap speed in very deep leagues. At the beginning of the season, I posted the 2012 numbers for pitchers and catchers who should be exploited or avoided when it comes to steals, as well as team SB allowed for matchup purposes. Here are those same stats through the first 40 games of the 2013 season.

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Adeiny Hechavarria had a heckavagamia against the Phillies on Sunday with a 3-run triple and a grand slam – both against Halladay. These types of games will be few and far between with this guy’s bat – he’s a glove first SS (though that’s what they said about Brandon Crawford and he’s flashing early power) – but tell that to the old Jews in Miami that think of God when they hear his name. I just wish Adeiny didn’t take off for the Sabbath as I had him Friday night in the DraftKings “Can you take down Rudy Gamble?” challenge. I had my worst finish – 15th out of 23 – so I guess the answer to the challenge was “Yes.” We are doing it every Friday so pay attention to Twitter and the comment boards on Friday for the contest link. Anyway, here are some other observations from this weekend’s games:

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Surprised that I showed up with a post today? I’m sure most of you thought I was still writing my 30-page thesis on R.A. Dickey. What can I say? It was more a labor of love than anything else. And that doesn’t mean I treat other players differently. In fact, if I had children, I would love all of them equally. Except Hunter, he’s just so bad-ass cause he knows how to drive stick and already has a brown belt in taekwondo, all at the age of three. That’s my number one seed son! Maybe I messed up by naming his sister Samardzija, because I dunno, ef her childhood I guess. But like I said, this post will not be tl;dr, only because my wrists are still sore from last week’s marathon. And I need my wrists for other things. It’s funny because I watch redtube.com all the time. Get it? So while you can be assured I love all baseball players, except Luke Scott, I won’t get out of hand like last time. Unless I ever happen to pick a player from the Padres to spotlight. Hint: I have 5000+ words ready to go on John Baker. I think Grey just threw up all over me. So, on to today’s subject, one Josh Hamilton.

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