The latest Cuban raftee, Hector Olivera, signed yesterday with the Dodgers. Olivera leaves Cuba with a slight tear in his UCL and he missed out on the 2012-13 season in Cuba due to a blood clot in his arm. Michael Moore just called, he says you better go back to Cuba for better healthcare. In related Cuban news in regards to the Dodgers, Alex Guerrero might be the first person to raft back to Cuba to play. “I was watching Coach Taylor in the Florida Keys, and I think I need to go back to Cuba to play 3rd base.” That’s Alex Guerrero discussing his future with loved ones while enjoying Netflix streaming. I’d love to interview Puig about this Olivera signing. Not because I think Puig would have anything interesting to say, but because Puig strikes me as a guy that is always at a strip club, and that would make for a fun interview. Olivera has some huge question marks like The Riddler’s leotards. He has those aforementioned health concerns, he’s about to turn 30 years old and he doesn’t have a place to play every day. The Dodgers are so concerned about his health, they put a provision in his contract in case he needs Tommy John surgery. He could take over for Uribe at some point, but he’ll need at least a month in the minors, maybe a few months. So, a guy with injury concerns that will need at least a month of minor league at-bats that doesn’t have a set place to play? Well, I’ve heard better scenarios. Want more wonderful that isn’t wonderful? Lots of baseball people seem to think Olivera is a Latin 29, i.e., he’s actually a few years older than what is being reported. Also, baseball people scratch themselves and spit a lot. Those same spitting, scratching people also think Olivera fatigues too quickly, because his conditioning isn’t there. I will say that after watching Olivera hit he looks like Hanley Ramirez to me. The me who has a minor in Punting Middle Infielders from the Fantasy Baseball College of Charleston. The me who is out on a limb like the Tootsie Roll owl saying that Olivera’ll hit 12-15 homers, steal 6-9 bases and hit .275-ish. There’s obviously a huge amount of risk, upside, downside and unknown here. He could be up in July or April. He could play every day and hit 22 homers while stealing 15 bags or platoon with Uribe and hit 8 homers and steal 2 bases. He reminds of another import from this offseason. Call him The Cuban Kang. For this year, I’ll give him the projections of 51/14/56/.272/6 in 400 ABs. That is admittedly almost complete conjecture. Or as I said in the top 20 3rd basemen after I ranked him, “Hector of Olivera, Cuban Baseballmania, Ole Uribe, Corey Seager year away, Dodgers beat Padres, Pope Vin, Puig X, Mattingly Lineup Sets, NL West blown away, what else do I have to say?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Anthony Rendon was cleared for baseball activities, which meant he was able to spit sunflower seeds and adjust his jockstrap with no pain. Then he reported discomfort when he bent his knee. Matt Williams, singing a’la Weird Al, said, “Rendon’s Opening Day is in jeopardy…Baby…Ooh…” Honestly, I feel like I’m in a pickle wrapped in a can’t-win-shituation surrounded by a chimichanga of head scratching with a Mexican saying, “No lo se,” and me saying, “No lose? More like no win, Jose!” We’re still two weeks away from Opening Day and Rendon could be fine by the end of the first week, which means he’ll miss maybe 25 ABs, which is nothing in the big picture. Dock him 3 runs, 2 RBIs and four hits and move on. This could actually be a buying opportunity in drafts if he falls too far. But if he’s downplaying his injury as every player who has been injured does, then he could struggle, hit the DL for a month or two and have a lost season. He never had blazing speed, so I worry that he might not steal with the knee injury or at least not as much in the early part of the year. Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis I lowered him out of my top 10 and into my top 20 where I’d be more comfortable drafting him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hey, don’t forget to check out the 2014 Razzball Reader Survey! Help us help you!

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 Rays Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Jason Collette from The Process Report.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You take a guy fresh off a boat — let’s call him Sailor — and Sailor’s boat left a country that didn’t have baseball. After explaining what baseball is, you tell Sailor that one baseball team, the Yankees, throws dollars at free agents. After a lengthy explanation that dollars are our currency and why presidents are on low denominations and a non-president is on the hundred and what the hell a free agent is, you then list the top free agent bats for this year: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran. You then ask Sailor which of those guys the Yankees will get. He’ll probably say one of the first couple of players. Or maybe he’ll say Robinson or Cano Jacoby because he won’t know their names and confuse where commas are when spoken. It’s such an obvious Yankee move to get Ellsbury that even Sailor figured it out. It reeks of throwing money at the team. Or maybe the Yankees just figured if they can’t work with Jay-Z, they’ll work with J-E. The short porch in right won’t hurt Ellsbury. What could hurt him is just about everything else that seems to hurt him every other year. Since 2009, his games played has been 153, 18, 158, 74 and 134. Saberhagenmetricans shudder at the thought of drafting Ellsbury following a big year. I’m with them. I won’t be drafting him anywhere, especially not after he gets bumped up in drafts from his newly adjusted Yankee tax. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 98/13/57/.279/32. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So the All-Star break has come and swept us away and now its onto the last 19/32 of the season. The chase for saves is becoming more and more concrete as the season grows, and the closepocalypse of 2012 is just a great conversation starter, just like super storm Sandy. The list of reliable closers with concrete gigs is growing and the rankings this week show a reflection of that. There is a huge have and have not factor going on, it’s either reliable and tried and true or it’s a 2 AM special where you’re trying to convince her to give you a Bryant Gumbel. The top of the list remains stout and the names are fairly consistent, it’s just getting to be a very swanky restaurant and the salad menu is expanded to accommodate more guests…so to speak. So enjoy the ensalade and don’t forget to ask for the endless breadsticks.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Matt Cain had his shortest outing of his career with 2/3 IP and 3 ER. At least Bochy had the sense in his giant watermelon-sized head to remove Cain quick enough that yesterday’s damage was that of a bad Heath Bell outing. Wait a second, did I just compare Cain to Heath Bell? I just rang my own bell and answered with, “Holy crap no one wants to be compared to Heath Bell.” Where did it all go wrong for Cain and can Cain (almost stutterer!) get it back to good, assuming you’re not just signing a Matchbox Twenty song? Looking at his K-rate from last year to this year, he’s actually been better this year. His velocity is fine. His xFIP is nearly the same as last year when he had a 2.79 ERA. The only big change is his luck and his walk rate. He’s missing his spots. This can come one of two ways. He can miss his spots off the plate and walk guys or he can miss his spots in the zone and give up hits and homers. He usually works up in the zone. Done it his whole career. If you miss up…up, it’s a ball. If you miss up…down, you’re Sandy Duncan with one glass eye while watching with your other eye as the ball is leaving the park. The Giants are saying he might not be healthy, but I don’t think Cain is hurt. Still could land on the Disgraceful List. More likely, he needs to tweak something in his mechanics. Until that happens, I’d stay away from him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Let’s start with an SAT question as old as this world that we call Planet Earth, assuming the SATs were around thousands of years ago when man was staying warm by humping a Buysellatops until they were feeling bi and sore. Which number doesn’t belong: A) 21.4% B) 21.7% C) There’s no C. D) 5.7%. If you answered C, I hope your folks are rich so you can get into an accredited college. Just think, after you graduate you can put Harvard on your resume just like everyone else new to the workforce. If you answered A because it’s the only even number, you’re overthinking; odds and evens is something you can forget after elementary school unless you plan on working the roulette table. If you answered B, because it’s the only B, at least you can get your pants on in the morning. They are on backwards though. If you answered D, you’re right. Those are Matt Kemp‘s last three years of homers per fly ball. 5.7% is silly bad. Last year that would’ve put him in the company of Alexei Ramirez and Michael Young. If there was no offseason shoulder surgery for Matt Kemp, that number alone would mean Kemp is a huge buy low. Of course, there was the surgery and his home run distance is down. He’s not driving the ball as far as he has in previous years. So, as I said in this week’s fantasy baseball podcast, I’m buying Kemp for the first time in about two years. I’m only buying him because his value is so low. I’m not buying him for 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th, 5th round talent. I’d want a discount, but I’d still buy. Look at a guy like Justin Upton last year. He was nursing an injury, then hit 9 homers in the last six weeks of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kemp do something similar. He could easily regain some strength as the season progresses and hit 17-20 homers in the final two months with 15 steals. He’s still a risky play because of the injuries, but for the right price, I’m buying. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?