Growing up was tough in the Phillies organization. His older brother, Ryan Howard, got mixed up with the “Three Outcome” gang and couldn’t get out when the homers stopped coming. His moms wanted a better life for Jon Singleton and called up his Pops in Houston to provide a safer home. In a perfect world, Jon wouldn’t have to grow up fast — stay with the minors — but they need a man in the house in Houston and who they have at first base now could only look worse if he had jheri curl. In the last few games, Chris Carter’s DH’d and Marc Krauss has played 1st base. Doesn’t entirely matter, the Astros have to make room for Singleton. Makes no sense to keep him in the minors. Just as it didn’t for Springer, and they called him up. Why do we care? Singleton is in the mold of a young Ryan Howard. He could hit 40 homers right now. In the minors this year, he has 8 homers in 19 games while batting .325. There’s nothing left for him to prove. I’ve already stashed him in one league, and I rarely waste roster spots on rookie stashes. Moo stashes on the other hand, well… I did already give you a Jon Singleton 2014 fantasy, but that was projecting for a June call-up, and I think he could win the landmark case of sooner vs. later, which would tag about six homers on his projected total. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Stepping aside from my DraftKings role here, I used to feel sorry for coach Porter. He’s dealing with all the fluff that won’t be in an Astros uniform by 2015 in his starting 9 minus Springer right now. He’s there to instill the day to day process and hustle into these kids. But you know what he’s not here to do? Stir stuff up. Yeah, yeah, you’re trying to show your team that you have heart by taking exception to Jed Lowrie‘s bunt in the first when you’re down 7-0 in the first inning last week. Well then don’t play the shift! Give up now, Bro Porter, or forever hold your beef. BTW, I don’t call people Bro unless I don’t like them, Porter. So now that we’re clear on that mess, Bro Porter had the audacity to send his reliever out to plunk Jed last night after he’d already gone 3/4 against his team while he was down 8-1. Now, I’m not a big believer in ‘revenge’ games but Oakland is just the better team right now, Bro Porter, and you’ve essentially kicked the hornet’s nest. What’s this all mean to you, you ask? Well, I’m hard-pressed to believe this mess puts a charge into the lethargic Astros and Jesse Chavez gets to mop up. I’m not gonna lie and tell you I’m a full season Chavez believer but what I do believe in is this: the Astros as a team strike out at a 4th worst 24.3% strikeout rate and Jesse averages over a strikeout per inning on this young season. When you add those numbers together, JC Super-Arm is due for at least 57.2 Ks today…give or take about 50. The reality is, he has zero weather issues and looks to be the safest arm to rely on for Friday given the weather concerns circling the East Coast. Even though the Stream-O-Nator is lukewarm on the idea, there’s some gold here and I’d take advantage if I can afford it. I’ll put it to you this way: the highest rated batter on Hitter-Tron for this tilt that plays for the Astros is George Springer and he’s batting .171 at the moment. If this were twitter, I’d say #yikes. But it’s not so I’ll move on and remind you that today – yes TODAY – is the Sweet Spot kickoff. We’ve been talking about it for forever and now you get to put your moola to work. I wish you the safest of journeys on your trek to financial glory. May the best man/woman/fantasy baseball vermin win. And with that, let’s get on with the pickins…

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The H is O! Oh, no, Jose Fernandez has me so jazzed, I need to bust some rhymes. I came in the door, I said it before. I never let a top starter magnetize me no more, but watching Fernandez yesterday is biting me, fighting me, inviting me to want a number one starter just this one time. I can’t hold it back, I’m looking at his pitching line — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 14Ks. Taking off my coat, and that’s me quoting Rakim’s quote, his pitches were kicking it until his last hitter, Ryan Doumit. My mind remains refined, all kinds of ideas. Self-esteem makes it seem like his pitching took years to build, but his age is just twenty-one. Prepared, never scared, he’s just a blessed one. And you know that I’ve never seen that terrible movie with Jamie Foxx, think it was called The Soloist, so Jose F. make ‘em clap to this. I said it the other day, but in case you weren’t reading, Fernandez is going to be the best pitcher going into next year. Thought he was a donut, you tried to glaze him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Terry Collins announced a change at the top of Mets bullpen system on the down, Jose Valverde would concede the job to Kyle Farnsworth. Valverde handed him the ball, and like a true sportsman said, “You can’t be worse than me, but I know you’ll try.” Terry Collins, or Mr. C as the players call him, told Valverde to sit on it, Farnsy’s cool. Some have speculated on Vic Black, Frank’s little brother. Didja you know when Vic was a young Black he went to his brother Frank and asked if he could play drums in the Pixies and Frank said, “Do drugs for six more years and then we’ll talk.” Rock ‘n roll, doodes and four doodettes! Will Farnsworth do a decent enough job as closer to hold it for the whole year? Seems doubtful, but I like his odds better than Valverde ever had. Farnsworth could get 25 saves and be a Donkeycorn by September. Likely, he gets around 12 saves, has a 4-something ERA and the Mets give Gonzalez Germen a little guten tag a’la vater, which is ‘how’s your father’ in Germen from someone who never took Germen. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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“I know it was you, Alfredo, you broke my heart–because I should have picked you up yesterday. You’re nothing to me now. Not a brother, not a friend–but, I’ll admit you may be an intriguing add in fantasy baseball this week.” Michael Corleone’s words for his fantasy team are harsh but true. Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon continued his streak of success yesterday, pitching six scoreless innings versus the Cubs, allowing just six base runners and striking out three. Coming off the heels of an eight inning gem last week against Tampa, where he allowed just one run and struck out four, Alfredo now has pitched 21.0 innings, allowing just 2 ER and 13 hits, while grabbing two wins. It looks like he’ll stick in the rotation while Mat Latos is on the shelf. Simon’s sparkling 0.86 ERA is good for top 3 in the league, and the 0.81 WHIP sure is purdy. But before you go racing to the waiver wire dropping your Stephen Strasburgs or your R.A. Dickeys for this guy, just wait a second. Because I didn’t say Simon says? Got ya! I know. Bad. I’m sorry. Anyway, let’s examine if Simon says  you should grab Alfredo or not. If we look closer into the starts, it’s a small sample size but we get the sense he’s been pretty lucky so far, and not just because he’s faced the Mets, Rays and Cubs. Simon’s .194 BABIP is good for top 10 in the league. Along with a 3.14 FIP (3.90 xFIP) and an insane 94.3 LOB% we have a ton a nerdy stats that say major regression coming. Translation: Alfredo is probably gonna get sauced. Mama mia! That’s not to say that those numbers are not still very good. After moving to Cincinnati from Baltimore, Simon was awesome in relief, with a 2.76 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in two years from 2012-2013, way above his career averages (3.98 ERA and 1.33 WHIP). And he’s been extremely efficient as a starter this year as his 13.4 pitches thrown per inning (roughly 3.5 per batter) shows. Doode is doing work. The 13/4 K/BB ratio is nothing special, but he is working efficiently in his starts, going deep into games. So Simon says, if you need a streamer you can grab AlFredo for his next start in Pittsburgh. He’s under 20% owned, and he’s making us an offer we can’t refuse. Ride this hot streak out for now, but if he’s ready to sleep with the fishes don’t hesitate to take him out to the middle of Lake Tahoe and take care of business.

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

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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.)

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This is the year of the pitcher, it’s so deep that people are even naming their kids deep. But that doesn’t mean you need to wait til the end of your draft to fill out your staff. It means don’t waste your top-3 picks on arms and be wise when you grab a pitcher because you might be able to take a bat and then get a pitcher the next round that is on the same tier as the guy you passed on. I drafted with the writers the other day and wow, that turned out to be one big hangover with a side of blurred vision the next day. I still have no idea how I got this cut on my head.  Two things I learned, don’t drink and draft because you might end up with Michael Saunders in your OF and taketh what the draft giveth’s. Yes, I said it, plans are nice, but don’t miss a great opportunity when something beautiful appears and the guy you had penciled in at that round is also on the board. I don’t mind a few stretches here and there but don’t make it a habit. I’m a best player available drafter, I like to punt the middle infield positions and Catchers can go hang out with kickers on the football side of the site… except you Wilin Rosario, you can come sit next to Big Papa. Here is my all Late-Round Flyer Team, LRFT for short. It’s comprised of guys I like and people that Grey and other Razzball writers like. I’m here to serve them and fill their coffee and weird requests. Sky likes his green skittles separated into a wooden bowl, Guru makes me starch his turbans and JayWrong makes me tag everything that belongs to Nick at the Razzquarters… Best Internship Ever! Here are the guidelines, this is written for the default ESPN style format and the players have to be less than 20% owned and drafted after the 20th round, yup that’s it.

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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.

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This top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball goes to about forty-six. Last year, I said the first base position is going through a transition. Pujols isn’t what he used to be; Howard, Te(i)x and Konerko are washed up; guys like Chris Davis, Hosmer and Trumbo were on the way up. Right, right and yup. The position is still deep in that transition. We’ll come out of the other side this year with a good idea of where we stand. If Pujols continues to fall, if the washed up ones are completely done and if the up-and-comers are still on the move. Hey, that sounds like a commencement speech from a school for porn. Okay, let’s get into it because I can’t count to twenty and this list goes on forever. As always, for each player there’s my projections and where I see tiers starting and ending. There’s the position eligibility chart for 2014 fantasy baseball, and all the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings are under that linkie-ma-whosie. Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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It’s a closerousel! Which is a play on carousel, not arousal. Pick up your pants. Recently, the Cleveland Indians organization talked to the media about moving away from the unfortunate Native American stereotype their team is known for. They said, “We respect the people who came before us. This was their land, and we drove them out. Scalping was a crime on humanity. In other news, we just signed a guy that goes by the Ax Man. Chief Wahoo, can I get a woohoo?!” John Axford should be perfectly competent as the closer in Cleveland, until he’s not. What I mean is he’ll be handed the job and will hold it the whole year unless he reverts to his hideous ways. I was burnt by him in more leagues than I care to remember, but I would still draft him again. SAGNOF, after all. Then Theo Cubstein went out and got Jose Veras to close games. Cubs fans will miss the days when their games went an extra fifty minutes due seven men getting on base in the ninth inning. If you throw out Veras’s first five appearances and start his stats on April 13th of last year, he had a 2.48 ERA. Yeah, that’ll work just fine. Then the Orioles pulled their best Billy Beane impersonation when they let one high-priced closer go and got Grant Balfour back. Oddly enough, Billy Beane was the one that took the high-priced one. I scream, what’s the world coming to?! Then Billy Beane shoots Spider dead. Then Beane turns to me and says, “Not so fast, amigo. Check Balfour’s health. Oh, and amigo is being sarcastic, you dumbass.” I knew that! But not about the health. No one did. Except for the Jedi master. Of course, there was more to it. So, now Balfour’s deal may fall through with the O’s due to health concerns raised in his physical. It’s a developing situation as they say in third world countries about their water and cable TV. Finally, Addison Reed went from the Chicago White Sox to Arizona. Now the Diamondbacks won’t have to worry about what happens when J.J. Putz hurts himself opening a tin of Band-Aids. Irony only takes you so far, Putz. This leaves a vacuum in the South Side of Chicago in the ninth inning, but I guess they don’t plan on winning any games. 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. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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