In a time long ago, when men were men and athletes freely used performance enhancing drugs to little or no consequences, there was a gameshow. A show that celebrated such athletes both male and female, athletes that invested their time, money, and focus into becoming the most gargantuan human beings they could become. On this show they matched average everyday sclubbs against these well built steroid fueled warriors in feats of strength and agility. What is this show pray-tell? Well of course it’s a little show called American Gladiators. Ever heard of it? No young-ins, I’m not talking about that gross bastardization of a program that was on 7-8 years ago, I’m talking the genuine article. The flag waving, patriotic leotard rocking, testosterone train ride, where the women had high hair and the type of muscles that would have you asking them to open the olive jar. The early 90’s were a simpler time friends.

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Dressed in a tuxedo, Ron Kittle walks up to Leon Durham, looking fabulous in a red dress and high heels, and says, “It would be my pleasure to give you a lesson in marksmanship.” Leon scoffs, “You couldn’t give me a lesson in long-distance spitting.” Then they begin to go back and forth, “Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything, better than you.” “No, you can’t, Kris Bryant!” “Yes, I can, Carlos Rodon!” “No, you can’t, Kris Bryant!” “Yes, I can, Carlos Rodon!” “You four-eyed honkey, KRIS BRYANT!” “You four-eyed non-honkey, CARLOS RODON!” And so went the Annie Get Your Gun musical performed by the White Sox and Cubs alumni this weekend. Rodon is ready to perform, but why start his clock to pitch out of the bullpen? Unless the White Sox are sick of Noesi butting into their rotation where he doesn’t belong. I’d have to guess that’s what’s happening here. The White Sox are saying Rodon will work out of the bullpen, but within a week or two, he’ll be in the rotation. Why do we care? Because he can be the best pitching prospect call up of the season. Yes, he can! I’d own him in any league, but he’s likely gone. No, he can’t! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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If you take a look at the overall landscape of major league baseball, several things are likely to become apparent fairly quickly. The Padres are pulling out all of the stops in the hopes of contending this year. The Braves are not. Mike Trout is an elite professional baseball player. Skip Schumaker is not. The Cubs are a team that’s on the rise. Veteran offseason additions (Lester, Fowler), a new big ticket manager, and an impressive collection of young organizational talent (Rizzo, Bryant, Soler, Russell) has fans dreaming of finally breaking the longest championship drought in professional sports. Amidst all of the hoopla, Starlin Castro seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle somehow. Or has he?

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Writing for Razzball is a pretty sweet gig. The fantasy master lothario himself, Mr. Grey Albright, has provided me with a tremendous amount of creative control over the subject matter that I choose to write about. All that I’m required to do in return for this freedom is ensure that the topics that I choose to discuss are fantasy-relevant as well as consistently heap praise upon my employer (nice stache Boss!). While this arrangement is usually a blessing, it can also be a bit of a curse at times. There are so many different things to write about, so many potential angles to pursue when analyzing statistics. It can be difficult to narrow it down and focus on a specific set of search criteria. Sometimes, I know exactly how this guy feels.

Want to take me on in a Razzball Commenter League? Join my league here!

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Greetings all, and welcome to the first installment of The Numbers Game. “Boy, that title sounds about as exciting as it would be to draft Omar Infante in 2015.” Hey, quiet in the peanut gallery! Fantasy baseball is, as the title of this series makes blatantly obvious, all about the numbers. The idea behind these posts is to identify players who fit a specific set of search criteria using statistics accumulated over the past three seasons. The various criteria that I’ll be using will be established based on player comps and/or the MLB averages in key statistical categories. Some results will include data from 2014 only, while others will include some combination of the previous two seasons as well. The ultimate goal of these exercises is to provide a different perspective that will help to confirm your evaluations of certain players and perhaps reconsider your opinions of others. While I’ll be providing my two cents from time to time, it’ll be up to you to decide how valid the results truly are.

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Today, it’s time for the top 60 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball, but, first, let’s jump in the world’s worst time machine and go back to this past Tuesday morning when Rudy released the Steamer Hitter/Pitcher projections along with the fantasy auction values for every conceivable league. If you go to the ESPN 12 team auction values (or any page from the menu on that auction value page), you’ll see little boxes above each column. Go to the POS box and type in SP. Frank Voila! Now it’s just listing pitchers (you can sort for whatever you want in the top boxes). Now click on the $/G box. It should turn black. You are now sorting by the dollars expected to earn per game for starters. If you click on the $K column, you are now sorting by who is expected to rack up the most Ks. So on and so forth. All of my 2015 fantasy baseball rankings are there. As always, my tiers and projections are included. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Sometimes I use opening paragraphs of off-season content to remind myself what I was doing at the time of writing it. It’s hard to say when this stuff will come out so I like to treat these like that YouTube guy did with himself. Sky, this is me from the past! Are you falling asleep to Jeopardy now? Do you have dentures? Are you, by any chance, dead? If so, can I have your stereo? Sorry, you just never know when these posts might go live. Maybe if I pass along the way, this post could become a piece of art reveled by many…or it could just be another one of my crappy posts. Yeah, prolly one of those! Oh well, if you’re not famil with the series, take a look back at Top April and Top May pitcher posts from earlier. The premise is pretty basic. We’re slowly looking back on the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season in month sets of data just to see how much value you got from drafting a high end pitcher compared to what you could’ve gotten late in the draft or from your free agent pool. As you may or may not remember/know, we were chirping ‘#PitchingIsSoDeep’ earlier in the year so here’s us – well, me at least – trying to see if that was truly true. So without further ado, let’s begin anew…sorry, got caught up in rhyming. Let’s just get on with it. Anyone want a peanut? Here’s the top June pitchers from last year to see what we can gleam for 2015 fantasy baseball…

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Recently, Matt Adams and his melon-ball shape has either been dreadful or benched for Daniel Descalso. The only time Descalso should be in front of Adams is in pictures, so the photographer can see him. It’s odd to think Fatt Adams isn’t getting it done at the plate. I do have a useful suggestion for everyone in Missouri. Send a topless Adams into Ferguson. That would lighten the mood for everyone involved. “I hate your guts!” “Speaking of guts…” And everyone smiles and laughs at the naked fat man. Peace brought to you by the ingestion of copious amounts of lard. Now, instead of Descalso, the Cardinals have a real option to move over moobs, Xavier Scruggs. What? No Crockett? How can the Cardinals go with a platoon of Scruggs and Tubbs? It’s crazy talk! Scruggs is A) Old to never be in the majors yet. B) Legit power threat that could hit .190. C) There’s no C. He has Quad-A player written all over him, but sometimes Quad-A players are exactly the kind of hitters that excel in September when they’re facing a bunch of Quad-A pitchers. Too early outside of NL-Only and deep mixed leagues to worry about Scruggs, but this does put the kibosh on any value Tubbs had, not to mention now he’s phantomed-up an oblique injury. Like anyone could even find his oblique! In all but very deep leagues, I’d drop Adams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In 1778, Benjamin Franklin pulled the first American flag from Betsy Ross’s, uh, clutches and proclaimed a holiday to be called Labor Day in the then-resort city of Philadelphia. Since then there’s been a long history of great Philly pitchers: Steve “Lefty” Carlton, Jackie “Kid” Gleason, Robin “ESPN anchor” Roberts, Curt Schilling, who later went on to be known for saucing his French fries with ketchup out of his sock, Jim “Beds Are” Bunning and Brett “I’ll Show You Slap Hits” Myers. Philly’s not the same town now as it was in Ben’s day, as the battle for best cheesesteak tore up most of the city. “Geno’s? How about I give you a jihad wit wiz?!” It’s ugly, without much joy in the City of Brotherly Love, a nickname adopted due to the popularity of a WWF manager in the early 90’s. Yesterday, for a moment, all of that sorrow was told to go to ‘morrow, as Cole Hamels and Jacob Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a no hitter. Hamels only made it through six innings, because he took Labor Day literally and struggled with five walks. If I had to give an award out because I had an award and didn’t know what to do with it, I’d ask someone next year if Jacob Diekman ever threw a no-hitter, and would reward them with that unwanted trophy if they said yes. A great day for Philly fans everywhere (except for the fans that came to the game with D batteries hoping for a reason to throw them at a player). Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yu Darvish hit the DL with elbow inflammation.  In Grey’s 2nd half rankings, he said, “BAM!  What?  (Darvish) should be in the top 20 with the rest of the big-name pitchers, but I’m worried about an injury, so I ranked him much lower and that gets a BAM!”  And that’s me quoting Grey!  Dayum, son, Grey called that one.  Sure, he called it so long ago that no one even remembers it, but he called it neverthehoo!  Actually sounds a bit like Grey is writing this.  Oh, shoot, here he comes!  Hey, who wrote those previous, beautifully written sentences?  Sure as heck wasn’t me!  Guess that’s what I get for leaving my computer open at a Starbucks while I order a double foam, half-Sanka, half-espresso mocha, goochie, goochie, ya ya latte, LaBelle-style.  Well, I told you I had concerns about Darvish and when I have concerns, I make it happen with my mind like some crazy, telekinetic-fantasy-baseball-Scott-Baio-in-Zapped mofo!  The Rangers haven’t given a timetable for Darvish’s return yet, but like I also said in the 2nd half rankings, the Rangers have nothing to play for so they could shut him down.  Give him more time with his lady friends.  What does Darvish’s girlfriend call Yu’s erections?  YD Bulger, and it’s in hiding.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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