The National League Least has the Marlins, Braves and Phillies to thank for the Least moniker, as none of those teams were able to win 72 games last year. The Braves and Phillies are in rebuild mode. What’s your excuse Marlins? At least, they have an awesome sculpture in the outfield. Why? Thank goodness, for the fanatical few on the East Coast that actually read this, least means smallest and not bereft of everything. The Metropolitans and Nationals are juggernauts and represent the division well. Speaking of representing… RIP Phife Dawg. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Chicks dig the long-ball, so it’s a good thing that some of the preeminent boppers reside in this division. Pitching wins championships, though, and some of the most exciting and young arms are on display. With that said, there are plenty of spots open for the taking. I will discuss the major ones below for each team.

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marlins

Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Scott Gelman, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Miami Marlins!

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Yesterday, Rubby de la Rosa threw 9 IP, 2 ER, 6 baserunners (0 BBs) and 5 Ks, a semiprecious stone of a game. (Maybe I didn’t need to use a thesaurus for the word gem.) Rubby reminded me of Celine Dion and her baby. If I could hold Rubby to my ear, what would his future sound like? *paints Rubby on a seashell for makeshift future-telling device, puts seashell up to ear* I hear Johnny Gill saying, he will Rubby me the right way! That’s amazing! But how can we be sure Johnny Gill isn’t just saying that because no one has asked for his opinion on anything in 25 years? Wait, maybe we haven’t heard from him because he’s been living in a seashell all of these years. Rubby’s K-rate is 8, his walk rate is 2 and, yes, they’re even numbers, unless we’re going to the 2nd decimal, and 2nd decimals are for nerds! Speaking of which, his xFIP is 3.43 and he’s been a tad unlucky to have a 4.08 ERA. I don’t see Rubby as a potential ace breakout candidate, but I own him in multiple leagues, and like him since he throws hard, has solid control, should get cushy matchups and could have a fantasy number three to four year. Now how do we get Johnny Gill out of this seashell?! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“Hello, this is the Liquid Paper corporate office. How may I direct your call?” “Well, I’m not sure, to be honest. I run this fantasy baseball blog and–” “You want marketing. I’ll direct your call.” “No! No, sorry, I don’t want marketing. See, I have this pitcher, Corey Kluber, and his stats are saying he’s doing one thing, but it’s all a mistake and I see a big correction coming and…” “You want shipping and orders?” “No, I don’t think I do. I’m not looking to purchase anything.” “Sir, I can’t hear you over your cackle. Is someone tickling you?” “I’m trying to get a pitcher to correct himself, and I thought corrective fluid could work. Maybe I’ll try R&D.” “Transferring you.” “This is R&D. How may I direct your call?” “I want to know how I can get Corey Kluber’s stats to reflect his ability.” “BABIP problems?” “Yes!” “Just have him strike out everyone, get out of the first inning without surrendering any runs, have Roberto Perez consult with Yan Gomes on a game plan, and trust his stuff.” “Thanks so much!” “Would you mind taking a quick survey after the call?” “Sorry, I don’t have time.” Yesterday, Kluber went 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, zero walks and 18 Ks. The best baseball fans are in St. Louis. At least when Kluber pitches to them! Hey, I told you to buy him about two weeks ago. Whether you did is on you. Now, please someone talk to Strasburg! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Josh Hamilton was acquired by the Rangers as originally reported by Dan Pants on Saturday. Gammons, Dan Pants, Heyman, that’s the top three most quoted baseball reporters. Dan Pants is a bit more optimistic than me for Hamilton’s return to the Land of Spurs, Twinkie-frying and hats with gigantism. I wouldn’t own Hamilton unless I had a free DL spot and don’t expect much from him. I’ve chimed this triangle before, but have you recently seen Brett Butler? She looks like she’s 89 years old. She’s 57. Have you seen Lohan recently? She looks like she’s 50; she’s 28. Haley Joel Osment just looks awful, I don’t know if he was an addict. Addicts age poorly. Hamilton, 33, has the body of a 60-year-old. Breaking down left and right just getting out of bed. He says he’ll be back in a few weeks, but he’ll go down to another injury, and then when the doctor goes to prescribe something, Hamilton won’t be able to take it due to his addictions and he’ll be back on the DL. It’s a feel-good story (if the only other stories you’ve ever heard involve Amanda Bynes), but I wouldn’t bother. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Apparently, it was never the elevation in Coors. It was because it was cold in Colorado. Or at least that’s what the Yanks/Tigers game looked like last night while it was played in Arctic temps (granted, a hot day in the Arctic) and snow. Other teams may get some ideas that it’s all about the cold. “Let’s get Howard, Utley, Galvis and Asche on that side of the air conditioner, and the outfield on the other side. Now go straight from the AC to the batter’s box. No, don’t stop at the on-deck circle! You’re dropping to room temp!” Yesterday, David Price gave up 8 ER on 13 baserunners in 2 1/3 IP. That reminded Yankee fans of their teams from the 1950s, or when most of the current roster was teenagers. Obviously, this is just a blip, but if you can buy Price from a panicked owner, I’d consider it, even if it did seem yesterday like Price was Rocky screaming at Mickey to cut him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“For Kris Bryant‘s first game, can we have Steve Bartman throw out the first pitch and have a goat catch it? Or maybe we carry Bartman through the streets like a Muslim funeral and rip the clothes from his body. Yeah, go with the 2nd idea!” That was the recently fired Cubs PR guy. You know the billboard that announces the Cubs World Series win in Back to the Future II? I took a freeze frame and blew it up, noticing something interesting. It’s not exactly the dead ghost girl in the window of Three Men and a Baby, but I could’ve sworn I saw Kris Bryant’s face reflected in the billboard. I’d show you, but I threw it away by accident. Sorry! So, Kris Bryant is being called up and I don’t own him anywhere, but I do get a certain pleasure out of the Cubs calling him up just after the extra year of team control kicked in, er, kicked Boras in the nuts. In my projections, I had him down for 42/19/54/.256/3, but not getting called up until June 1st. Now, 30 homers is a legit possibility. I do think he could have a 30%+ strikeout percentage and hit below .240, but I’ll give him the highest compliment I can, I wish I owned him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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When Grey and Jay first approached me about doing some preseason posts about Two Start Pitchers “Strategy” I thought “uhhhh, play the best guy”. Problem is that doesn’t really make for intriguing content, now does it? So instead, I’m going to do 1500 words about soccer! Naw, I’m joking…if you wanted to be inundated with my footie ramblings, you’d be reading our soccer site…(shameless plug alert). So instead I’ll focus my post on the very things I look for when ranking my two-start pitchers from week-to-week. An overview of what to look for when scouring the wire for that pick up to tip the scales of your counting stats in your weekly head-to-head match-up. So we’ll break everything into sections; home vs. road splits, opposing lineup righty vs. lefty splits, K/BB ratio, and HR/9. To illustrate this we’ll use an example player to discuss each when appropriate. Sound good? Just say yes, I don’t care what you think! Muhahahaha!

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Well at this point you kinda sorta maybe know what this is all about. I mean, I’ve now dropped April, May, June and July on you so if you’re lost about what we’re trying to look at it simply means you haven’t been keeping up. That’s ok, that’s what hyperlinks are for. Now if you’re asking me to spoon-feed you info…well, ok. Vvvvvvvvvvrooooooom, open the mental hangar, we’re about to drop some #PitchingIsSoDeep knowledge on you. We’ve been looking back at 2014 to get some feel for just how deep the pitching rabbit hole really went. Did we reach Wonderland? Well, I’m not here to make a verdict on either side but so far we have seen an abundance of ownable arms either for extended periods or for at least a few weeks that were sufficient if you didn’t draft a ‘top’ arm in the draft. Better yet, if your top arm was Jose Fernandez, you had your chances to make up for it. This isn’t a West Side Story thing, BTW. I’m not ‘team draft late arms forever’ any more than I am ‘draft Kershaw in the first’. I want to see both sides and weigh them out for myself so that’s why I’m here. Come join me, will you? Here’s the top August arms from the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…

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