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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Damn, after reading that title, now I want to eat pasta. Has anyone ever watched The Godfather and not wanted to eat Italian right after? It’s an American rite of passage. Once you’re old enough to crave Italian food after The Godfather, then you’re an adult. That should be the only test to vote or get into the military. “Listen, maggot, you want to go fight for your country? Then sit down and watch this three-hour movie and tell me what you want to eat afterwards. If you want a burger, fries and extra ketchup, you’re a baby. Go home.” Adam Duvall homered last night off Clifford Lee, and Duvall had 26 homers in Triple-A this year in 310 ABs. Of course, they play in the PCL, a league that pumps their baseballs with helium. He will only fill-in while Brandon Belt is on the concussion DL, but that could be anywhere from a week to a month. In NL-Only leagues, I’d definitely grab him, and even look at him in deeper mixed leagues, if you’re desperate. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The first half is in the books.  You suffered through the HR Derby and stomached the ASG.  Congratulations, you’ve weathered the first “half” storm.  We have about 65-70 games left, depending on the team, and you now have a good look at your team.  Or do you?  Plenty of players have outperformed expectations and a seemingly equivalent contingent of guys have been duds.  I’m not gonna bore you with a long intro here.  Let’s look at guys who should have increased value rest of season.  Buy em or don’t sell em, but use it to your advantage.

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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jay(Wrong) sent presentation rights over to me with the departure/hiatus of Tom Jacks. Tom passed the torch to me by way of a Captain Planet quote: “The Power is Yourz.”

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You all seemed to appreciate his content, and I hope to fill your passion-buckets with the same sense of quality. I will offer some value in my next post through OPS differential and possible pick-ups, but I wanted to take this time to summarize a few thoughts from Mr. Jacks’ last post, while sharing my general approach. Hopefully Jay(Wrong) strategically publishes this in a slot where you all aren’t salivating for immediate pick-ups! That’s right. In my very first OPS post, I wrote Jay, slot and salivate in one sentence. [Jay's Note: Go easy on the ladies my friend.]

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Now that I’m married Jimmy Carter’s line, “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” Really stands out to me. I don’t necessarily want to think about Jimmy Carter in lust, or even contemplating lust. The thing he doesn’t say is if he wasn’t married, he’d be lusting too. Men are men, and Jimmy Carter is no different. Jimmy Carter is one tightly wound ball of lust, and probably hooked Clinton up with Lewinsky. Jimmy Carter is a pimp! If Jimmy Carter was president in the 2000′s, he probably would’ve had Outkast to the White House and would’ve been like, “What’s colder than our relations with the Middle East? Ice cold!” In that similar vein, I lust after rookie pitchers. They are so dang sexy prior to actually pitching in the major leagues. Jimmy Nelson is just another. I like him a lot, and glad to see Marco Estrada was replaced by him. From Nelson, could see a 9+ K/9 and a middling walk rate. Due to the walk rate, that has ballooned at times, he could be absolute death — like games of 5 IP, 6 ER death. He could also run over the NL with games of 6 IP, 8 Ks. I’d grab him in all leagues for the upside, but be wary of the downside. As Jimmy Carter also once said, “You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can. Speaking of can, that’s where I like to stick my peanuts. I said PEANUTS!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m staring out on a prairie in the middle of Palm Springs. Okay, it’s not a prairie. It’s more of a dirt field with a bingo card blowing through it. But let’s pretend it’s a prairie. Why am I standing in a prairie that’s not really a prairie? Because all great baseball moments happen this way. Just one man and rows of corn. Except those aren’t rows of corns, but walkers lined up against the window of a Starbucks. But let’s pretend they are cornfields! I’m pulling off my cap (not wearing a cap; don’t want to mess my hair), staring directly into the sky (wearing sunglasses) and screaming at the Fantasy Baseball Overlord, “Why do you have to make the rest of us suffer for the childhood you never had?!” Okay, I need to move on before the OPP (Old People Police) come after me. We should’ve known a rather pedestrian 7 IP, 4 ER from Masahiro Tanaka was a sign that he was hurt. We should’ve known! Or an even worse 6 2/3 IP, 5 ER start the next time out. We should’ve known! Alas, we didn’t know. So, Tanaka’s going for a variety of tests, and hopefully it’s nothing, but any time there’s something wrong with a pitcher’s elbow it’s something. Are we sure he didn’t inflame his elbow using Hideki’s porn collection? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Manny Machado‘s epitaph: He always found more success throwing a bat at a ball. Better than Salvador Perez’s: Together again! Machado wasn’t just struggling, he was like that friend of yours that not only is having a rotten time at a party, but also sucks the prettiest girls in the room into his sad funk of despair and before long, the girls are like, “I don’t want to go out and get drunk and party and potentially hook up with you. Your friend Manny Machado is too depressed.” The buzz kill friend. Yesterday, Machado went 5-for-6, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 8th homer, and fourth homer in his last seven games (skipping the suspension games). About time he listened to your advice, did a body shot off the tummy of the girl that wants to be a physical therapist and cheered up! I don’t own Machado anywhere this year, due to the knee issue coming into the season, but he just turned 22 years old (almost literally; his birthday was Sunday) and I’ll be all over Machado again next year. Of course, if you can acquire him in a trade this year, by all means, which sounds like it was said by Malcolm X’s less militant brother, Bobby X. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you take enough shrooms, you start to dream about how Rick Porcello is from the magical land of Zeranok, where Buehrles and Moyers can cruise 15 MPH below the speed limit. Off shrooms, you just see Zeranok as zero ERA, no K. Yesterday’s 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 0 Ks was solid, great, adjective. Hard to not get excited about a complete game shutout, but I’m gonna try. Heard a lot made of the fact that Porcello only needed 95 pitches to finish off the A’s. That’s wonderful. Somewhere, Greg Maddux smiled, then he tried to go behind the counter at his local post office to show them how they can be more efficient and nearly got arrested. “Can we all just form a two-person line as we wait for Wet Willie’s Wild Slide?” That’s Maddux at a water park with his kids. I hear ya, Greg, when people are grouped together in a party of six in an amusement park line it drives me crazy too. The worst is when they get up to the front and suddenly they have 25 other friends that were with them. Any the hoo! A 95 pitch CG SHO is great IRL (you like how I was illustrating efficiency with acronyms; though this parenthetical defeats that purpose), but Porcello’s efficiency doesn’t do a whole lot for me in fantasy if it comes with no Ks. His K-rate is 5.2 and his walk rate is 2. That’s pretty blehtastic. I’d own him, since he gets the Rays next. He’s not suddenly shooting up to ace status for fantasy. I know, I know, that Porcello is one funghi, but he’s actually pretty close to borderline for 12-team mixed leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I see you back there. Yes I’m talking to you. You love risk and I know you do. How can I tell? Well for starters you’re reading my column here at the ‘ole Razzball rag. You don’t know what a ‘rag’ is do you? It’s ok, you’re the internet generation, we’ll let it slide. I can’t wait for the days when my walk up to the check out at the grocery store has touch computer screens of ‘The Sun’ and ‘People’ rather than actual magazines. I’ll swipe my iPhone past Vibe E-zine to get the latest copy and read about 2Pac’s hologram tour across Europe with the Notorious B.I.G. after their rights have been bought out by Apple. It’s gonna be crazy in 2015 y’all! But of course, you didn’t come here for a glimpse of the future…well you did, just not that far so let’s talk Tom Koehler or better yet, let’s talk Chicago Cubs. We know the drill: Cubs offense = teh suck. Team SLG%? Bottom ten. Team wOBA? Bottom five. Team K%? Bottom three. Admittedly, Koehler has been middling at best on the year but given the spacious confines of his home ballpark and the team he gets to take the mound against, I’d say he’s a solid SP2 for your GPP games over on DraftKings today. Don’t like my take? Well how about the DFSBot saying he’s worth about $8K on the day which is what Weaver goes for. As long as he isn’t needled with singles and walks all game, this should be a 20 point start in my book and it’ll free up some dough to buy a high end pitcher and not kill your batting budget. BTW, if you’re used to our resident stock symbol BTXJ on your Mondays, I have a special surprise for you…he’s dead and buried under my gardenias in the back yard. Woah, wrong surprise and dead body! No, my Thursday nights have become too hectic to handle the rigors of DFS writing so we’ve done a perma-swap. Just keep that in mind if you’re looking for me later in the week before you have a Freaky Friday. And with that, it’s time to move on. Here are some other Razzball picks for June 16th contests on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?