The H is O! Oh, no, Jose Fernandez has me so jazzed, I need to bust some rhymes. I came in the door, I said it before. I never let a top starter magnetize me no more, but watching Fernandez yesterday is biting me, fighting me, inviting me to want a number one starter just this one time. I can’t hold it back, I’m looking at his pitching line — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 14Ks. Taking off my coat, and that’s me quoting Rakim’s quote, his pitches were kicking it until his last hitter, Ryan Doumit. My mind remains refined, all kinds of ideas. Self-esteem makes it seem like his pitching took years to build, but his age is just twenty-one. Prepared, never scared, he’s just a blessed one. And you know that I’ve never seen that terrible movie with Jamie Foxx, think it was called The Soloist, so Jose F. make ‘em clap to this. I said it the other day, but in case you weren’t reading, Fernandez is going to be the best pitcher going into next year. Thought he was a donut, you tried to glaze him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Around here at Razzball we are one big family that is some freakish hybrid of the Brady Bunch meets the Addams Family. Honestly, I’m not really sure what to make of all this. First we have our father Grey, the dad who works all day, comes home every night to a daiquiri, and goes out on the weekend and buys us the $100 high tops we want, but mom won’t let us have. He does this to make up for all the little league games he missed because he was bringing home the bacon. Now, Rudy is our mother, and I mean this in the nicest, most masculine way possible. He’s there to keep everything sensible, clean, and in order. Jay and Sky are the older brothers we come to for advice when we get in trouble, or to teach us how to undo a bra with one hand. Guru is Grey’s illegitimate child from a high school girlfriend that is re-connecting with us, and getting to know his dad. Jeremy and I are the younger brothers just glad to get scraps and a hand me down that isn’t filled with holes. Mike is our reliable uncle, who taught us how to properly swing a bat and to drive our shoulder to the plate when we pitched. Smokey is our cool uncle, who gives us beer and taught us all how to roll a doobie so we’ll be ready for high school. Tehol is our creepy uncle, who wears ridiculous clothes that border on illegal, and who our parents never want to leave us alone with since the “incident”. Nick is our neighbor that takes too many pictures and video of the family, even when we aren’t aware of it. Scott is our bachelor neighbor, who drives a kick ass Iroc-Z and dates a different 20-year-old every week. Our cousins Pete, Josh, Dano, and Tom are always hanging out because their mother, Paulie, and father, Dan, are either drinking or drinking. It’s a family over here, I’ll cut any mother f***er who tries to mess with these guys, and have no problem doing a couple a months in county to protect them. That’s why when Jay called upon me to help him out and cover the RCL recap this week I was ready to step up to the plate and help a brother out.

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Carlos Beltrán, Aníbal Sánchez, Clay Buchholz, Johnny Damon, Zack Greinke, Jed Lowrie, Eric Hosmer, Mike Sweeney. All above-average players. Most of them All-Stars. All have one thing in common: At some point in their careers, they were among the more than 100 major leaguers to have played for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Class A Kansas City Royals affiliate in Delaware’s largest city.

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It’s everyone’s favorite ‘pert with everyone’s favorite self-flagellating exercise — Hey, look at my team! The ‘Hey, look at my team!’ exercise can go one of two ways. We can either agree that my team is awesome. Or you can combat the ‘Hey, look at my team!’ exercise with your own ‘Hey, look at my team!’ exercise. I’m guessing a lot of you will opt for the second, since the ‘Hey, look at my team!’ exercise seems to go over best from the first person. One word about the “Hey, look at my team!” exercise. It works best if you tell me how many teams are in your league and arrange your team as I have done in this post. Now, prior to you looking at my team, besieging your gut with warm cozies, I first should point out this is a 5×5, 15 team league with OBP subbed in for average because fantasy baseball ‘perts like to make things complicated and turn off 85% of their readers. So, before you say Dan Uggla is a terrible pick, he’s more of a so-so pick. So-so there! Anyway, here’s my 2014 Tout Wars team:

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It started with a twitter murmur. Hey Sky, you up to do a draft? Well, I say, I’m already in five leagues. What day? What is the set up? Are pants mandatory or optional? But of course with only 140 characters available, I had to abbreviate to ‘In 5. Day? Set Up? Pants? Lulz’. I don’t know why I said ‘Lulz’. I think it’s required to put in one text word into every tweet you send out or you get your account suspended. Ef you @Seaworld! Sorry, inside joke. Let’s move along. Suffice to say, over a long course of contact and back and forth I eventually joined into the fray that is The League Of Street Cred thrown together by Ryan Hodge of Fantasy Insiders. The title tells you exactly what you get by winning this league. Street Cred. That’s right, no money involved, unless Street Cred has an exchange rate. I’m assuming mine is worth one Bitcoin at this point…all this to say, the evite was accepted and I hopped in and drafted with this cadre of the fantasy expert macabre below…

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Seriously, how underrated were Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch?! When it comes to the top Hip-Hop artists of the early 90′s, how many were better than these guys? Basically none of them. I mean, god damn, Good Vibrations is so good. Amirite? No? Oh okay. That’s probably true, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch were actually pretty awful. Although I won’t can’t lie, Good Vibrations is pretty damn catchy. Luckily for Marky Mark, he moved on to bigger and better things like this, and this. Come on, who doesn’t wanna be Dirk Diggler when they grow up? Ahh, the American Dream… Anywho, I’m going to cover a couple players who have recently also moved on to somewhere new and should be on to bigger and better things. How about that segue (not to be confused with segway)? Yep, nailed it! Anyway, if you’ve already drafted, it may not be too late to try and make an offer for these guys before the word gets out. Well, I guess if your league-mates are smart, i.e. reading this, then its probably too late and they are onto your plan by now. Au Shizz!

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Royals Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of David Hill from Kings of Kauffman.

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In past years, I’ve said the following analogy. There’s years of looking up to your father, whether you agree all the time or not. Then, one day, he takes a poop on your couch. You take him to the hospital; he’s in need of some sort of psychology examination. If the tests come back conclusive that he pooped the couch simply out of laziness, then that’s ESPN. If tests come back that he’s gone crazy, well, over at Yahoo The Noise ranked Matt Carpenter 37th overall. A recipe for success at Yahoo involves Kosher salt because you need to take Yahoo’s rankings with a bigger grain of salt. Now, with that said, I think this year Yahoo’s flipped the script on ESPN. Yahoo’s rankings are better this year, i.e., they’re closer to mine than ESPN. At least that’s the vibe I get from looking at them, I didn’t actually stop and weigh the differences and divide that weight by pi to the seventh integer and multiply by X. I simply looked at what they had vs. me and think Yahoo did a better job this year. They have also changed their rankings dramatically in the last week. See, I originally had The Noise down as ranking Carpenter 30th overall. Just about every guy in the chart at the end of this post has moved closer to my rankings in the last week. I’m not saying they’re copying (or they’re not copying fast enough), because, well, they’re still off and now it’s time to spit fire:

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Welcome to the second annual Razzball Keepers Top-100 list-a-roo. I capped it AND italicized it, because it’s just that special. (The 2013 Top-100 can be found here.)

Spoiler Alert! We’re doing things keeper league style, dynasty style… which ever nomenclature you prefer. Basically, if you hold onto players for more than a year, these are the rankings you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Whole life man. Seriously.

Remember, the process for this list is quite unique. Unlike Grey, I didn’t type half of it with my mustache. Also, this isn’t your list. It’s my list. So, yeah, I’ll love guys a lot more than you will. I’ll also love your mom. Or vica versa. It’s just the way it is. If you stuck me in a keeper this very instant, this is pretty much the list, in order, of who I’d personally want long term. Things like previous production, expected 2014 production, projections for 2015-2017,  future potential, positional-scarcity, and injury-risk are all things I bake into the rankings. Regardless, the big takeaway here is that I believe in the Oxford comma. And I guess a lot of comma’s in general. And short sentences. And baking. And female nudity. Word.

Note: I’ve only ranked players who have pitched at least one inning or had one at-bat in their MLB career, sans Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu. Our prospect maven, Scott Evans, has the low down on all those MiLB guys I left out. Go check out his 2014 rankings (Top-25, Top-50), he won’t bite… I think.) 

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