Happy Easter, festive heathen Razzaholics. You look so cute in your Easter bonnet. Have one of these Cadbury eggs I injected with Makers Mark, all Hunter S. Thompson-style. Now that’s a scotch egg! Come on funny feelings. Eat three of these and you’ll be seeing that Donnie Darko bunny in the mirror for a week. We’re going on a little Easter egg hunt today looking to fill our basket with sweet delicious bargains that’ll resurrect our ruined roster. Despite being crucified by injuries this season (I’ve lost Matt Latos, Ryan Zimmerman, David Robertson and now Michael Cuddyer) your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru is still hanging in there with three of my five RCL teams in the top three of the standings. While it’s still early, standings can change quickly and one bad week could ruin me.  I’m hurting for power and the SAGNOF! has been elusive thus far. That’s what we’re looking for today – homers, steals and saves. So strip out your Sunday best, toss the Easter tree out onto the front porch and stuff your face with Peeps, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“I know it was you, Alfredo, you broke my heart–because I should have picked you up yesterday. You’re nothing to me now. Not a brother, not a friend–but, I’ll admit you may be an intriguing add in fantasy baseball this week.” Michael Corleone’s words for his fantasy team are harsh but true. Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon continued his streak of success yesterday, pitching six scoreless innings versus the Cubs, allowing just six base runners and striking out three. Coming off the heels of an eight inning gem last week against Tampa, where he allowed just one run and struck out four, Alfredo now has pitched 21.0 innings, allowing just 2 ER and 13 hits, while grabbing two wins. It looks like he’ll stick in the rotation while Mat Latos is on the shelf. Simon’s sparkling 0.86 ERA is good for top 3 in the league, and the 0.81 WHIP sure is purdy. But before you go racing to the waiver wire dropping your Stephen Strasburgs or your R.A. Dickeys for this guy, just wait a second. Because I didn’t say Simon says? Got ya! I know. Bad. I’m sorry. Anyway, let’s examine if Simon says  you should grab Alfredo or not. If we look closer into the starts, it’s a small sample size but we get the sense he’s been pretty lucky so far, and not just because he’s faced the Mets, Rays and Cubs. Simon’s .194 BABIP is good for top 10 in the league. Along with a 3.14 FIP (3.90 xFIP) and an insane 94.3 LOB% we have a ton a nerdy stats that say major regression coming. Translation: Alfredo is probably gonna get sauced. Mama mia! That’s not to say that those numbers are not still very good. After moving to Cincinnati from Baltimore, Simon was awesome in relief, with a 2.76 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in two years from 2012-2013, way above his career averages (3.98 ERA and 1.33 WHIP). And he’s been extremely efficient as a starter this year as his 13.4 pitches thrown per inning (roughly 3.5 per batter) shows. Doode is doing work. The 13/4 K/BB ratio is nothing special, but he is working efficiently in his starts, going deep into games. So Simon says, if you need a streamer you can grab AlFredo for his next start in Pittsburgh. He’s under 20% owned, and he’s making us an offer we can’t refuse. Ride this hot streak out for now, but if he’s ready to sleep with the fishes don’t hesitate to take him out to the middle of Lake Tahoe and take care of business.

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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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:

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Kolten Wong has received the Grey seal of approval from the BUY column, but I’d like to take a minute to talk about his wheels, considering he’s owned in less than 20 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s hitting higher in the batting order for the Cardinals now, and has stolen three bases in the past week. He’s also hot, riding a six-game hit streak entering today. Wong stole 26 and 23 bases in the last two years respectively, so 20 steals is a safe bet, especially if he can gain some more at-bats from hitting towards the top of the lineup. Last year at Triple-A Memphis, Wong stole 20 bags and was only caught once. He’ll draw the Brewers and Nationals this week. Both have been stingy in allowing stolen bases so far this season, so Wong might not have an easy go of it. Over the Wong haul, though, I like him for 20 steals the rest of the way. Here’s some of this week’s steals plays…

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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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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 Mets Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Eno Sarris from FanGraphs.

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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 start of this series will focus on NL East…

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Time to move on from the 2013 data (quit livin’ in the past, man) and get to the 2014 SAGNOF previews. Just a disclaimer, these posts are mainly focused on guys who will go later in drafts or possibly even undrafted in some shallower leagues – in other words cheap. You won’t see much written about Billy Hamilton or Jean Segura or Jacoby Ellsbury around these parts since their stolen-base contributions will most likely cost you quite a bit. This is all about *not* paying for steals (Steals Ain’t Got NO Face).

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SAGNOF refers to “saves/steals ain’t got no face”. In other words, they can come from unlikely sources throughout the season and us fantasy baseball folk shouldn’t sell the farm for them on draft day. Let me tell you, 2013 was no exception. When I received my series assignment from Grey earlier this year, I was excited to explore steals as a topic for my column, if only because I knew it would help a lot of people out there do better in the category. I also couldn’t recall many other fantasy sites hitting steals as a primary topic week-in and week out, so hats off to Razzball for being ahead of the game yet again.

It was fascinating to follow along as players rose and fell in value based on steals alone, and even more fascinating to watch match-ups against certain teams yield steals in bunches. This offseason, I’ll be posting every other week and sticking with the stolen base as my focus. We’ll start by taking a look back, but then we’ll shift our gaze forward to 2014 and see if we can get a leg up on the competition prior to our drafts next spring. Let’s get started with a look at the big picture when it comes to steals over the last five years…

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