How does that old adage go? A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush? Basically, having in hand and ‘knowing’ what you have is worth more than the potential of what you could get elsewhere. Well, because this is my post and I can kinda do whatever I want, I’m gonna mix up that metaphor into a fruit cocktail of fantasy baseball jargon. A Rocky in the Mountains is worth two in the McCovey. Yeah, take that! Basically, for every one Rockies hitter you’d take in Colorado, it would take two to get the offensive production you’d expect to get from that one. You feel me? I’m glad you do. Now stop feeling me, you’re making me this write up dirty. The point here is the Rockies on the road have a rocky road as they’re the 4th worst wOBA away from their friendly confines. Well golly gee, DraftKings players, look what we have here. It’s a Cy Young blast from the past on the mound to face this fragile lineup in Jake Peavy. It may seem like the last time Peavy was good that Leave It To Beaver was a popular television show and truth be told, that may still be the case. He hasn’t looked fully ‘right’ over the last few years and his best days are behind him. But, he’s a bulldog on the mound and he’s also pitched well since rejoining the senior circuit, posting a 3.58 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Not Earth-shattering numbers but when he has a matchup he can exploit – like his last turn against the Cubs, going 7 innings while striking out 8 – he typically delivers. The Rockies K nearly 24% of the time while on the road and even if they dial one up on him, the AT&T Park rarely delivers good service. We’re sorry, but the HR you have hit is no longer the right distance. Please hang up your batting helmet and try again. I rarely call lines, but give me at least 6 IP with 6 K and minimal walks and hits to go along with it for the Peav’er. Here’s some other picks for the Monday slate on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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 check theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Hello, I’m Keith Morrison of Dateline. Today’s story is about a young closer who had the life that we all dream about — money, girls, Tony La Russa’s private phone number to find out if a product used animal testing. What Trevor Rosenthal didn’t have, his shut ‘em down stuff. We pick up the story right after Rosenthal took the mound on April 7th. He was in for his third save, but there was something wrong. Could it have been he lost his control? Or was something else lurking deep in his past — perhaps a high school sweetheart who assumed the identity of Rosenthal’s favorite Starbucks barista, who was putting Visine in his favorite latte drink. Visine that has been known, when digested, to cause runs. Coming up later, Rosenthal can’t find the strike zone for three months, he blows numerous saves, Pat Neshek looks incredible in a setup role and Matheny groans. This is the story of The $12 Salad That Became A Brain Freeze. So, the Cards have been patient with Trevor Rosenthal, even while he hasn’t looked good for the majority of the year, but recently he’s been hideous. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cards go to Neshek, who has a 0.86 ERA, 0.57 WHIP and four saves already. Yesterday, Seth Maness (no relation to Brandon Guyer) got the save, but that was more because Neshek had thrown already in the game. As for the title, you may not stay…for Trevor stung! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Low voice, “Wow.” Digs ditch, steps down, “Wow.” Need more emphasis. Buys a mini-excavator, consults with architects about installing a down escalator, begins construction, gets behind on schedule, fires a guy that smokes more than he digs, hires a foreman that seems like he knows what he’s doing, foreman runs off with money, tracks foreman down in Aruba hanging out with Andruw Jones, punches foreman, watches Andruw Jones make diving catch of forearm’s body, heads back to the States to oversee completion of down escalator, breaks champagne on escalator, travels down a full story and, “WOW!” Do you see what I go though to emphasize something for you? After Mike Fiers struck out 14 Cubs in 6 innings, he can have anything he wants. Sleep with my Cougs, she’s all yours! He now has a 1.29 ERA, a 10.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 after 21 IP, after blowing through the minor leagues with a 11.3 K/9. I grabbed him in one 12 team league and looked to pick him up in every league, but he wasn’t there. I forgot the most important lesson, you couldn’t get Michael Fiers if you were f***ing Michael Fiers! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I don’t know about you, and let me preface this by saying most if not all of my league mates at least know I contribute fantasy baseball (OPS) content, but I keep getting the old “But, he’s a Catcher/Shortstop so he’s worth more” and from a position scarcity perspective, that’s obviously true. However, I am A) going for the win-now so all I want is to take the lead in certain (all) categories and B) position scarcity-schmarcity: give me the best available.

So it’s time for your 5×5 (HR,SB,R,RBI,OPS) rankings for both position scarcity and position schmarcity.

FYI, I use the FVAR (fantasy value above replacement) approach to fantasy valuation vs. SGP (standard gains points) approach since I don’t have all of your leagues’ current and historical information. Feel free to look this up or ask below.

For reference, here are the positional replacement 5×5 values and associated players (the 5 z-scores for each category are summed up; the sum is adjusted in each position by this positional replacement value i.e. each Catcher gets .73 added to their z-sum while each First Baseman only gets .01 added to their z-sum i.e. all catchers values are inflated more because of the lower replacement-value):

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You know how when you move out of a place, you throw out a majority of your stuff, but a few things you just slide into the cubbyhole behind the washer/dryer? Maybe nothing significant. Just something to leave your mark, like an old pair of underwear. Then in a few years, maybe ten, you go back to your old place, knock on the door and ask to see what they’ve done with the place. Once inside, you ask if you can launder your pants and while in the basement, you check for your old underwear, and there they are. You shake the rat droppings off them, breath them in and they still smell of you. What? You’ve never done this? Okay, you’re weird, but Jake Peavy did, and now he’s going to get to smell his old gotchies that he left in the NL West. San Francisco has a lot of hills and their pitching staff has gone over all of them. They’d like Petit more if he had more T’s and E’s in his last name. Want to spot a Giants starter in San Fran? Find a hill, go over it. They’re on the other side. This is a boost for Peavy’s value. Obvi! He had a 7.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9, which is borderline streamer in most shallower mixed leagues, but that was the AL East, and even while he’s been in the AL the last few years (while not pitching that great), he’s been solid vs. NL teams. They have no DH! The pitcher hits! Etc. Etc. Etc. Last night against the NL West’s best offense outside of Coors, he had a line of 6 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners, 5 Ks. I’d take a flyer on Peavy in all leagues, and his next matchup on the Stream-o-Nator says it agrees. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Like a good Jewish boy, Brad Ausmus said to his Bubbie, “Bubbie, I love sulfites, nitrates and pig a**holes, but every time I see a Nathan’s, I get the runs. Bubbie, do you have a remedy?” His Bubbie lowered her knitting and said, “You need to get a goddamn decent closer!” And so it was done. Unfortunately, due to being wracked with guilt (or possibly due to a rather hard knock on the head), Ausmus couldn’t pull the trigger and said Nathan will remain the closer. Oh. WHAT?! The Rangers traded Joakim Soria to the Tigers because Joe Nathan is making Detroit look even lousier. I can’t imagine Soria remains the set-up man for very long, since Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and has looked completely lost for the better part of the season. For now, I’d hold both of them. Over in Texas, I have a rooting interest in Neal Cotts getting saves, because I own him and not Neftali Feliz. If I had my druthers, and knew what the hell druthers were — hmm, maybe then I do have druthers — I would grab Neftali first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So it’s not really the 2nd half mark in the fantasy baseball season, but it’s the All-Star Break so what else are we going to talk about? Hell’s Kitchen? Is it even believable that these people would one day be in charge of a kitchen? There’s Real World castmates who seem like they have their shizz together better than these schmohawks. I like the one guy who burps a lot. He seems ready to run a kitchen! MasterChef, though, that show is the Sistine Chapel of reality shows. Okay, as with all of the other 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt. If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade the outfielder for the 2nd baseman. Also, things change in fantasy baseball. Daily. I could put Miggy number three on the top 100 list for the second half of 2014 and he could get in a fight with a bartender (not Tom Wilhelmsen) tomorrow, then he wouldn’t be number one. See how that works. This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued. It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache. This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half of their season. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today. So while Carlos Santana did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because I still believe. The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2014. I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what guys will do. Welcome to the future! Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2014:

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I Can’t Remember Anything
Can’t Tell If this Is True or Dream
Deep down Inside I Feel to Scream
this Terrible Silence Stops Me
Now That the War Is Through with Me
I’m Waking up I Can Not See
That There’s Not Much Left of Me
Nothing Is Real but Pain Now

That’s Metallica singing their ode to darkness, landmines and your 2014 fantasy roster. While I’m a big fan of the San Fran thrashers (and make a quick appearance in their Binge and Purge video collection), I’m not a fan of the creeping death that is the 2014 fantasy baseball season that currently has 151 players on the disgraceful list. As we hit the halfway point of the season the fantasy battlefield is littered with disposable heroes *insert 151 players here*. The latest casualties include Masahiro Tanaka (elbow), Edwin Encarnacion (quad), C.J. Wilson (ankle), Yadier Molina (thumb) and Brandon Phillips (thumb). Oh, is there anyone else for whom the bell tolls? Yup. Hanley Ramirez is getting injections in his shoulder, Mat Latos tweaked his back twerking, George Springer is dealing with a cranky knee, David Price has the sniffles and Jordan Zimmermann accidentally zipped up his zimmy. FML. I’m not one to quit mid-season, but I’m at my frayed ends of sanity here and it may be time to take up fantasy cricket. Before we hit the All-Star break, we have to drag the broken, beat and scarred off the stage and fire up the jammer crammer machine© as we go through the never looking for those players that just might inject some life into a lineup that is ready to fade to black. Take my hand, it’ s off to never never land – it’s time to jam it or cram it.

If you’re looking for more jams and crams, check out Razzball Radio.

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So, we had our first July 31st trading deadline deal, and it paid off for all the A’s fans who paid Oaktown’s own, Bubb Rubb, to break into Billy Beane’s office and turn his iCal forward a month. “Any ideas what you want to do for the 4th of July, Billy?” “I celebrated last month with some friends.” Screen spirals out and slam cuts to Bubb Rubb, maniacally (bubb)rubbing his hands together. When the A’s are playing like it’s playoff baseball in September, don’t say your mustachioed over-the-internet friend didn’t warn you. So, the trade that went down was Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for David Addison Leave Me Alone Maddie Russell, who I will get to after this lede. Samardzija and Hammel both gain value going to the A’s, which isn’t often the case with an NL pitcher going to The Land of Milk and Honey-Flavored DHs. Wrigley isn’t a great place to pitch — one day it’s overcast with winds blowing straight out, another day winds are just swirling overhead like a toilet bowl genie. As we’ve seen in the past, pitchers can do just about anything in a short period of time. Could Hammel and Samardzija completely poop the sheets? Fo’sho. Likely? Prolly not. O.co is like Petco and Metco, a big cavernous wasteland for hitters and they have more foul territory than Roseanne Barr’s privates. Samardzija brings strikeout stuff to hitters that aren’t as familiar with him and could be the 2nd half’s Kazmir. Yesterday, in his first A’s start, he had a line of 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks. Dividends paying out quick there. Hammel keeps the ball down and O.co will love him. This trade only really hurts Tommy Milone, who was shipped to the minors. The A’s just made themselves a serious contender and having a friend in Bubb Rubb pays off once again. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Let’s look at some potential homerun decliners based on the following “Power Score” or expected homerun (xHR) formula and compare it to their actual homerun totals. Here is the formula:

Plate Appearances(PA)*Contact Rate(Ct%)*Outfield flyball rate(OFFB%)*Homerun per Outfield Flyball ratio(HR/OFFB).

Make sense? Sure it does: How many homeruns does a player hit per outfield flyball? How much of their contact results in an outfield flyball? How much overall contact does a batter make when swinging the bat in a plate appearance? This should provide us with an expected HR total.

The below lists are ranked by the largest actual HR-expected HR differentials. Their HR related performance (PA, Ct, OFFB, HR/OFFB) is listed along with their average homerun and flyball average distance and rank.

Two contingencies worth noting at this time: 1) Our samples size still isn’t huge and 2) We’re not taking into account platoon hitters, i.e. Scott Van Slyke as a right-hand hitter only raking against left-hand pitchers. So when I extrapolate the data, keep this in mind. In other words, if Scott Van Slyke consumed more playing time against right-hand pitchers, there’s a good chance his performance/power would drop off.

Here are the top potential HR decliners (I think you will see the value of this xHR comp immediately):

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