As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Before a big test, my high school history teacher would always announce that it would “separate the Dukes from the Chiefs.” Since he liked to be known as Chief, and he called everyone he liked Chief, I’m assuming that this meant that the “Chiefs” were the good guys. Then again, Chief also liked to transport himself back to ‘Nam sometimes, stalking around the classroom looking for “Charlie.” The weirdest thing? I’m not even sure he was in ‘Nam.

Anywho, this legendary teacher from my youth came to mind as I was writing this week’s Two Startapalooza because at Week 4, we’re starting to be able to separate the Dukes from the Chiefs.

As in, it’s obvious that Darvish, King Felix and James Shields are still Chiefs. Yordano Ventura and Julio Teheran are looking like Chiefs. Cliff Lee, who was starting to look a little Duke-ish to me, is still pretty much a Chief. David Price, a surefire Chief a few years ago, is very much a Duke right now.

It’s becoming a lot easier to fill out the Third Tier and Don’t Starts, because we know who is a Duke and who is not. And to get in the Must Start category, you are most certainly a Chief or you have two starts against the Astros next week.

Aight, Chief, let’s get to it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Most of the league’s top aces took the hill last night, but none were more impressive than the Padres’ Andrew Cashner, who threw a one-hit shutout, tossing 108 pitches against the ferocious Tigers, walking just two and striking out 11. That’s straight Cashner, homey! Randy Moss would be proud. Cashner’s shutout was the first of the season in all of baseball, and just the second of his career. He now holds a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 22 Ks through three starts. It’s gotta be that beard, right? You don’t have to tell Razzball nation about the magic of facial hair, see: Albright, Grey. Mystic whiskers aside, Cashner was money Friday night, surrendering just the one hit to Rajai Davis (breaking up his perfect game in the 6th), and striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Yes, that Miguel Cabrera! I’ve always been high on Cashner, and I owned him everywhere last year, so naturally, I own him no where this year. After last night, I might have to hit the trade market, because if I can’t own him, no one should! “I want a Golden Andrew Cashner Goose now, daddy!” Andrew has had injury issues in the past, but he has always been solid when healthy, and with high a 90′s fastball that can hit the triple digits, doode throws some serious cheese. The key with Cashner remains his aforementioned health; if he stays healthy, I could see 12-14 wins, 160 Ks and some solid ratios. That kind of Cashner can pay off big for your fantasy team.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well, it sorta began last week, but there wasn’t really anything to report. We had one day of stats and a whole lot of J-FOH to deal with. Speaking of, I should point out that he did a wonderful job filling in for me last week as I traveled to the Bahamas and had a plethora of little umbrella drinks placed around my general vicinity. Haha, just kidding, I don’t drink anything with umbrellas in them. And the Bahamas are what I call my bar “area”. Which is really just a shelf with several Makers Mark bottles that have varying levels of fullness. I could have said emptiness, but I’m an optimist. And probably an alcoholic. That being said, we’re here now, together, once again, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean, I might, but that involves you buying me a steak dinner. Speaking of ways into my heart, Rudy has found a way to become legend to my soul, and you’ll learn what that is after the jump. So let’s start the story of your 2014 RCL Season…

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Our first full slate of games and two closers lost jobs. Mother Nature and/or Al Gore (if they’re different people), how is climate different than weather if both lead to a closepocalypse? An interested party is curious. It was a bit before concussions were in vogue, but did anyone ever check Robin Ventura for a concussion when he got cantalouped by Nolan Ryan? Cause he just lamebrained up my fantasy teams by naming Matt Lindstrom the closer– Um, Grey? What’s up, Random Italicized Voice? When Addison Reed was traded in December, you said, “White Sox GM Rick Hahn named Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Daniel Webb as possible replacements. Due to Scott Downs’ Syndrome, Downs is out of the mix. Jones will be a favorite by fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) due to his ability to strike guys out, but I’m guessing Lindstrom will end up with the job due to that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it closer experience quality.” And that’s me quoting you! DAH!!! I got wrapped in the allure of a young, sexy closer and forgot where my butter pickles were buttered! I imagine this shituation will get worse before it gets better, so if you have room, I’d hold Jones for now, but you should absolutely pick up Lindstrom in all leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings and salutations my fine and not so fine readers. I’ve peppered you a bit this off-season with Draftkings info, dropping a Primer as well as a little Strategy Guide to wind your way through the @Draftkings world. What’s the first link, you ask? Oh nothing, just a way to sign-up for DK (that’s what I call Draftkings cuz we’re friends like that) that helps us along the way which if you’re reading gives you a guilt-laden excuse to sign up and help a brotha out. Alright, now that the pimping is done, let’s get down to why you’ve arrived here. Wait, what was that? You want more links you say? Well how about a big ‘ole Razzball Draftkings Contest one for this coming Friday. Check the specs and see if it’s up your alley. Also, though we’ll eventually have our very own DK evaluation tool, in the interim, feel free to use our Streamonator and our Hitter-Tron to flesh out if a matchup is worthy or not. And BTW, I wasn’t just punning on DK’s name in the title, y’all. I have a player in mind to kick out the jams with on opening day. That players name is King Felix Hernandez. Plus anytime you can squeeze in a Mel Brooks reference? You do it. The reality is, you’re gonna be hard-pressed to find pitcher value plays. It’s opening day, everyone has their ace on the mound! Besides, as I mentioned in some of the off-season DK content, spending your money on pitching is a wise play. Don’t fight it, embrace it even if it costs you $11K. Also as an FYI, this will probably, maybe be the longest post of the year you see on here. As I’m sure you can understand, I had a little time before it came out. So don’t hold me to diatribes of this nature in the future nor the other six writers we have coming at you soon. Ya dig? Yeah, ya dig. And before we get to the next part of this little game, let’s keep one thing in mind: it’s opening day of a new season. No one knows which team will suck or not. We have our guesses but everything is predicated on a season that is behind us now. Like Rafael Furcal says to himself in the mirror in March each year, ‘I feel fresh and ready to start the season. Nothing can hold me back!’ before he trips on a doggy chew toy and breaks a fibula. Wait, can you break a fibula? I honestly don’t know, I’m no doctor except when on particular ‘adult’ sets. All this to say, it might be messy to start the year, I’d stick with trusted arms and play matchups on hitting as best I can until some small trends start emerging. Also, you’re reading this at 9:45 PST. Seem like an odd time? Well, get used to it cuz that’s when you’re gonna be getting these. So work on your clicking speed and get your lineups right before everything goes horribly wrong. Alright, blathering done, now lets get you lathered up about opening day with Draftkings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

As esteemed Creed frontman Scott Stapp once sang: “Let’s play ball, it’s game day. We want strikeouts, base hits, duhbull plays.”

We should be havin’ a party, ya’ll. It’s the year’s first Two-Startapalooza!!

But yet something feels missing. With Clayton Kershaw out, it’s like Hendrix didn’t make it to Monterey Pop. With Yu Darvish out, it’s like Pearl Jam skipped Lollapalooza ’92. With Patrick Corbin gone for the year, it’s like, well, it’s like the Spin Doctors skipped Woodstock ’94. You get the idea.

Plenty of great double-dippers this week, though, so let’s get to it.

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Jay has so kindly asked me to take over this series for him.  He is passing on the metaphorical golden baton onto me.  I’m going to coat this puppy in silver, because gold is tacky.  To start things off, I decided talk about a guy who I think flies under the radar, Madison Bumgarner.  First off, how awesome is his name!?!  That’s reason enough to buy this guy.  Who names their boy Madison anymore?  Awesome parents, that’s who.  If you’re actually curious about baby Madisons, click here.  Don’t ask why I know about that website, all I know is that it’s super interesting…at least to me it is.  Back to our topic now.  On top of Madison, his last name is Bumgarner!  He is literally collecting booty, c’mon.  Oh look, a double entendre, I’ll clarify.  He is married, so I think he is all set on that booty front.  As for Pirate booty (Giants booty?), he is squared away too.  He signed a 5 year, $35 million contract after his second full season, at age 22!  YARGH, that’s a lot of booty!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Look at me, mom, I did it, I really did it. Wow! What a long road it’s been to get here. I’ve finally reached the mountaintop, the pinnacle, if you will, and it wouldn’t have been possible without all the love and support I’ve received along the way. I have so many people to thank that helped get me to this point.  Sorry, about that… I was practicing what I would use as an acceptance speech at the Oscars. You mean to tell me that was last Sunday? And I wasn’t nominated for anything? Well, shizz. Maybe Ryan Braun can use this for his speech when he wins another MVP award without the help of PEDs. Wait, he probably used them in 2011 when he first won the MVP? I guess it just depends who you ask. Go ask Matt Kemp what he thinks, I dare you. Better yet, I double dog dare you! Au shizz, now you have to!

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First off, I would like to say Eric Sogard should be the Face of the MLB; that vote was rigged in David Wright’s favor.  Baseball needs more nerdy-looking, glasses-touting, Bernie-leanin’, jive-walking players.  But without further ado, here is the AL West Spring Training Showdown. (You can check out the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?