We’re so close to the finish line!  The marathon is nearing the final push; your legs are weakening, you’re starting to feel incontinent… Well, Jonathan Papelbon sure was yesterday!  But we’re looking at the starting pitchers here in the Pitcher Profile corner, and the emergence of Carlos Carrasco since re-inserted into the rotation has been carrying fantasy owners in tons of leagues.  C&C Pitching Factory!

In six starts from August 10th to September 7th, C&C has had the fastball dancing now, with a 0.70 ERA and 42 Ks in 38.2 IP.  The fastball averaged well over 96 MPH, easily his predominant pitch.  Unfortunately for Carrasco owners, he struggled a bit against the Tigers last Friday, giving up 4 runs with the fastball velocity down.  It’s actually dipped under 96 MPH his past two starts, as well as a progressive trend of more-and-more sliders with less heaters in this late-season run.  So I decided to break down his start at Detroit and see if he’s a guy I’m going to trust in down the stretch:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was growing up, we had a hutch. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what piece of furniture it was that my grandparents used to call a hutch. So, like a child of the naughts, I Googled it. On Wikipedia, it says a hutch is where one prepares an evening tipple. Let me just say, I don’t remember anyone in Jersey ever preparing an evening tipple. An evening Sloppy Joe? Sure. An evening ‘bang on the side of the TV so the picture would come in?’ Yup. An evening ‘curse at the neighbors?’ Definitely! An evening tipple? Not in my Jersey. But, for the sake of argument, let’s all pour ourselves an evening tipple for Drew Hutchison. Last night, he went 8 2/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk and 8 Ks. See, nothing to it. The only mistake yesterday was a long ball surrendered to Chris Davis (now has back-to-back games with ding-shots). As I said when Hutchison was called up, he could be as great as any pitcher to come up this year. Sadly, it may not be this year that he is great. It’s the pickle that is young pitchers. I would own him, shoot, I’d even have a tipple with him, but I wouldn’t fully trust him until he has a longer track record. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have returned, my good Razzballians, from an excursion I can only describe with great glee. Seriously, school girl level teeheehees were shared as I got our good man Nick Capozzi to pick me up as he started his #32in32in32 tour kicked off in Seattle at the World Sports Grille. Not only did I get to stand next to those awesome vocal cords, but also got to check Tehol Beddict‘s pad – he’s as swag as advertised, bros – and also started a bit of a fling with The Guru as we bunked for a few nights in the same bed. Don’t worry, we had a pillow barricade. At least I thought it was one until ‘Da Gu’ shouted THOSE AREN’T PILLOWS! We live and we learn, right? Just because it’s soft and supple, does not appropriate head-rest material make. In either case, my short sojourn across this little part of the bigger trek Nick is doing across the USA went splendtastically. What? I can make up words as I go. You can’t hold me back, spell check! Sorry, I’ll just wrap up this cross-promo saying there are still some tickets left in cities near you so make sure to check it out. Heck, there’ll be one in Cincinnati where – and here’s your awkward segue – our pal Danny Salazar gets to take the mound. Now if you know anything about Sky (psst, that’s me BTW), you’ll know that he loves looking back over the last 7 or 14 days to see how a hitting team is doing. Granted, this isn’t the end all, be all of the research involved but let’s take for a moment a look at the last seven games for the Reds. Their wOBA? Third worst in the league. Check. Their ISO? First worst in the league. Discount Double check. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips still on the DL? Triple lutz with a salchow-ending flourish check. Given that Salazar has returned and performed quite well since his stint down on the farm, posting an average of 21.4 DraftKings points over three starts, I’m willing to roll him out there at his reasonably low price of $7,100, which will hopefully save me some cash for another, bigger arm or better yet, bigger, better bats. For me, I plan to release the Czar of the under-priced pitcher on most of my Wednesday lineups. But with that, here are some other picks for August 6th contests…

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!

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I was a little unsure of who would be profiled this week (I thought about Jacob deGrom, but Front Row Amy was in attendance so I’d be too distracted…), so I went with a twitter suggestion that make me scratch my head a bit.  Matt Shoemaker?  Is he really interesting at all?

I’m a big Angels fan, my most important dynasty now has Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Kole Calhoun, and Howie Kendrick manning my O (no one cares!), so I’ve seen some bits and pieces of Shoemaker here and there.  You could say, I’ve seen a sole and a… let’s go with shoelace.  A good mix of pitches but with nothing overwhelming, it was shocking to see two 10+ K games in his previous six, before tossing an absolute gem against the Tigers last Saturday.

So I decided to take a deeper look into Shoemaker and see if he has some spot-start or even backend rotation relevance for fantasy owners pushing towards the final stretch:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s nice to have a breather now and then. To kick back and relax, enjoy some time with your family and re-energize for the final home stretch of the baseball season. Of course, I’m talking about myself seeing as the All-Star break just happened and I didn’t write a post last week to do DraftKings coverage. What, you thought I was doing a send up to the actual ball players? Psssh, they’re finally tuned athletes, they don’t need no stinkin’ rest. Plug them into the wall, let’um recharge overnight and send them back out there, damned prima donnas. But as mentioned, it was nice to get a reprieve from the DK roll that we’ve been rolling on. It reminded me that life is short and that I should do something different than DK baseball. Yeah, something important. SOMETHING THAT COULD CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY. So I wrote about my team for the Scott Fish Bowl over on Razzball Football, of course. Yeah, that’s live right now if you wanna talk to me there while I’m also over here. Bi-posting, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. But for those of you who don’t give a rip about Fantasy Football, let’s get down to brass tacks. Your favorite niece may look pretty in a polka dot dress but my favorite, Jonathon Niese, probably wouldn’t look good in an armani suit. That nose, bro…but of course, what has looked good is starting a left-handed pitcher against the Mariners so far this year. To date, the Mariners have the second lowest team wOBA and wRC+ (.286 and 80, respectively) against southpaws. Not to mention the worst ISO against them on the year at .102. They always say it’s tough to start a pitcher coming back from a DL stint which is true but I think the matchup will hold precedence and Niese will keep the M’s at bay for the day, making him a solid shot as your SP1 despite only being priced out at $7,200. But enough family talk, let’s move on. Here are some other picks and observances for July 21st contests on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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As I mentioned in my first/intro OPS post, we’re looking at OPS differential by using expected (x)Homerun and expected (x)BABIP differentials. If you like Captain Planet or laser beams, or want to understand my general approach, then I recommend a gander. If you provide your email below, I can furnish the full list that you can sort. Wordpress doesn’t allow me to copy and paste it all pretty for you.

Let’s start with my xHR formula (PA*Ct%*OFFB%*HR/OFFB%). Here are the top 10 guys likely to drop off from a HR perspective: Albert Pujols, Adam Jones, Justin Morneau, Alexei Ramirez, Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon, Ian Desmond, Brett Lawrie, Hunter Pence and Salvador Perez.

Here are the top 35 guys likely to drop off from a BABIP perspective that you actually might own (meaning I’m excluding the Martin Maldonados of the world): Josh Rutledge, Justin Ruggiano, A.J. Pollock, Josh Hamilton, Stephen Vogt, J.D. Martinez, J.J. Hardy, Eugenio Suarez, Hunter Pence and Matt Adams.

Looking at both xHR and xBABIP differentials, here are guys you might own that I would consider selling in OPS leagues based on their expected vs. actual OPS (the differential is in parenthesis just like this statement. See what I did here?):

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At least one of you is reading this with a bandaged thumb from a fireworks mishap. I had a Cousin Pete (Italian side of the family) who lost the tip of his thumb on the 4th, but rather than stop the festivities, he taped the tip of a hot dog on his thumb to act as a tourniquet for the rest of the 4th, so we could all go about our fun-having business. I suggested my Cugino make a PSA about hot dog tourniquets, but I was turned away by NBC Cares. Let us bow our heads and pray that if anyone loses a finger, may there be a proper-sized hot dog nearby. Robinson Cano hasn’t been bad. Let’s put that misconception behind our ears like the baby ounce of Drakkar you do every morning. Not bad. Low on homers? Yes. Not bad though. The perception is he’s struggling. Having a real hard time of it in Safeco. He’s on pace for better numbers than last year, except for power. So, where did all the power go? (I sang that like Paula Cole.) He’s insanely off for homers per fly ball, and down in the fly ball department, in general. Those aren’t great things, but — what are you gonna do with that big fat but? — his April/May are dragging down the homers per fly ball. He had four homers in June and looked relatively the same as he’s always looked. There’s no way he makes it to 25 homers on the year (he’s at 6), but four homers per month is doable and about what you always got from Cano. As already pointed out, he’s still doing everything else that made him a top 12 player in March, so if someone is down on Cano, in the non-sexual way, I’d look to see if I could buy him a little cheaper than he’s actually worth. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Greetings all as I wrap up this month of June DraftKings coverage. Be sure to drive the right speed today as it’s a little known – ok well known – fact that the popo need to meet their minimums and they’re out to get you. Don’t laugh! The closest I ever came to getting a ticket was at the end of the month. Don’t get me wrong, I speed all the time. I don’t have a lead foot, per se. I more like to think of it as a permanent slab of immovable iron and that sits on the gas pedal whenever I drive. As the great poet laureate Samuel Roy Hagar once stated, ‘I Can’t Drive 55′ and it’s true for me. Unless of course the speed limit is 25 then I can prolly swing it. But enough about my illegal driving habits, we came here to talk some DK strategy and I think there’s an ace in the making taking the mound today that’s way too cheap to pass up given the matchup. I’m of course talking of Taijuan Walker, the illegitimate son of famed Sergeant Cordell Walker of the Dallas-Fort Worth-based Texas Rangers (not true). This son of Sgt. Walker (still not true) is adept at catching the bad guys in Texas and as luck would have it, he’ll be in Houston today where he’ll get to face the Astros. Now these aren’t your typical gang of bad guys unless you’re talking plate discipline and if you are, well, they’re the baddest guys in town. The Astros lead the MLB in K% on the year at 23.6% and I have recently been struck out 8 times by Verlander and 13 times by Scherzer. Since Walker’s going rate is $7K, he’s worth the risk as your SP2 based on pricing alone and given the upside of the matchup, I think he helps you seek cash money by the end of the day. Even the DFSBot sees the silver-lining of this play as even though he’s only the 9th best arm on the list, he’s also underpriced by about $1500 DK doubloons. So now that we’ve established a solid number 2 (not that kind; you’re gross), let’s move on to see what other bargains we can find. Here are your Razzball picks for June 30th on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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How old do you have to be to get the title? I’m gonna guess at least over 30. Clearly I’m dating myself…no I don’t mean that in a narcissistic way, I’m simply claiming old-fogeyness over here. I say that because I want a simple raising of the hands: how many of you knew the singer/rapper of Rico Suave wasn’t actually Rico Suave but in fact Gerardo? Mmm-hmm, go ahead and put your hand down, I can see you still have pimples. You too, I can tell you can’t legally drink a beer by your One Direction t-shirt. It’s ok, you aren’t going to impress me by knowing, though you COULD impress me by having better musical taste. Don’t go laughing at Gerardo and hum ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ with the same mouth, kiddo. I just wanted a feel for how close I am to cultural irrelevance and know now I’m at death’s door. Duly noted. If you think our pal JFOH wouldn’t make the same old musical reference well…you don’t know JFOH. Yes, I’m subbing in for our resident hater as he told me he was gonna go do something in Brazil this weekend. Something about blowouts and waxes, I think. But yeah, you don’t care about my impending demise, a bad rap song from the early 90s, or JFOH’s hair stylings, you came to talk creeper and it’s high time we get to it. So let’s keep with what the title tells me we should talk about and look at why Eugenio Suarez is a solid pick up for week 14 of the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…

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I swear that box score turning blue to alert people there’s something historic going on is the mother of all jinxes. Not to mention, all the people talking about the perfect game. Member when that was a jinx? Since we’re currently living in the Age of Opinion (which is not the Scorsese movie, though if it gets the green-light, Gary Oldman could play the lead), everyone talks about the perfect game while it’s going on. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitbook, PinkedIn. In my day, we never mentioned a perfect game on Friendster! And on my General Gist band page on Myspace? Nary a whisper! Well, Jake Arrieta still pitched outstanding yesterday — 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 2.05 — even if the bid for a perfect game came up short. Like Altuve short. Like Kershaw looks at Arrieta’s perfect game bid and giggles. Still, this is about where Arrieta’s been and where he can go. What I said the other day still remains true — his swings and misses are going up, his control is getting better and he’s using his cutter more — a pitch he can dominant with. I’d still look at him in every league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?