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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

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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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You, “So, Grey, I appreciate a well-coiffed mustache as much as the next straight man, but are you trying to tell me Luis Valbuena isn’t a virtual lock at 3rd base?” Crazy shizz, right? The Cubs made the right move and went with Mike Olt to at least platoon at 3rd base. Here’s what I kinda said in the past, “Don’t you love when New Yorkers say the expression, “I got your _____ right here!” Coming out of the right taxi driver’s mouth, it’s like a cello being played by Yo-Yo Ma. Sometimes it can get confusing when you are actually trying to tell someone you’ve located something. Like, “I got your cellphone right here!” Probably sounds like you’re being an a-hole. Well, in that vein, take a a scruffy taxi driver’s voice, throw it through two packs a cigarettes a day for 20 years and give me a little, ‘I got your loyalty to Luis Valbuena right here!’” And that’s me kinda quoting me! I wrote that nonsense in 2012 when he was on the Rangers and behind Michael Young. That’s how long this whole Mike Olt saga has been going on. I received straight C’s in math, but I’m gonna try to count Olt’s post-hype hypeness. Okay, ready? Good. He’s a post-post-post-post-post-post-POST-post-hype prospect. Whew. I hope I didn’t put the italics ‘post’ where the capped ‘post’ was supposed to go. Olt was supposed to break out two years ago. Supposed to be a Chris Davis clone. Last year, Olt was in a backwards spiral of epic proportions. He hit .168 in 152 plate appearances at the Cubs Triple-A affiliate, but he had something wrong with his eyes. His eyes are fixed and he has other strengths. Strength being one of them. He can hit the ball a country mile (which is further than a city mile due to a lack of public transportation). He also has a decent enough glove. It’s a Rawlings. It’s a tanned leather. He will platoon in the early going, but, at this point, there is absolutely no reason to hold him back if he can hit. He won’t put up a great average, but there is a chance here for 30 homers if he can get the at-bats. 30-homer 3rd basemen don’t fall off the wagon every day, unless it’s an overcrowded wagon specifically labeled, “30-Homer 3rd Basemen.” Oh, and I’ve moved him up in my top 400. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tanaka, Pineda, ooh, I’m gonna take you. To Sabathia, Kuroda, ooh, I wanna own you. K-Rob, oh hold up now, I don’t want Sabathia and I don’t care if I ruined the song. So, Michael Pineda will be the Yanks 5th starter, at least out of Spring Training. Damn you, qualifier! I don’t think the rest of the league will hit the stuffing out of Pineda (quinceanera pun for the win!), but I do think the Yankees will have have to limit Pineda’s innings at some point. He can’t return from serious surgery and throw 200 IP this year. I’m not adjusting Pineda in my rankings. He’s in the “Lottery ticket” tier and he will remain there, but you don’t need to wear overalls over to the Wawa to scratch him off and win. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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 Pirates Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Pat Lackey from Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke?.

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Something that may help you is my pitchers pairing post. Something else that may help you is our Fantasy Baseball War Room. Something else that may also help you is mocking Billy Butler. Nice moobs! So, these starters are all being drafted after 200 overall. Now, this is a (legal-in-all-countries-except-Trinidad-and-Tobago) supplement to the top 100 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball. Click on the player’s name where applicable to read more and see their 2014 projections. Also, I’ve gone over all positions for sleepers; to see them all 2014 fantasy baseball sleepers. Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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…

Please, blog, may I have some more?