In the past, I’ve gone out of my way to focus more on rookie hitters than pitchers, but after last year and living through season-after-season of diminishing offense, this is the world we live in. Before you blame anyone, look in the mirror. What do you see? Besides, the blackheads. You see someone that supported baseball ridding itself of PEDs. So, this is what we have. Pitching up the wazoo. I still contend it should be ‘out the wazoo’ and not ‘up the wazoo,’ but I’m playing by your rules now. I’m no longer sticking it to the man and going up the wazoo. Hmm, that sounded wrong, but never the hoo! Kevin Gausman just barely maintained rookie eligibility by only pitching 47 2/3 IP last year. Really showing a thing or two about not knowing what was coming or going either by having a 5.66 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. It really means nothing. First of all, his xFIP was 3.04, so his ERA shouldn’t have even been that bad. Second of all, he had a 9+ K-rate, which is right in line what you can expect. Third of all, there is no third of all. Why would you think there was a third of all? Gausman isn’t a 5+ ERA pitcher. He could be the best rookie pitcher this year. He has that kind of stuff. With the O’s, you gotta mind your P’s and Q’s. Excuse me, I had Alphabet Soup for lunch and just burped. What I mean is the O’s aren’t in the best division for nurturing along a young starter. You have to be on the top of your game in the AL East. Gausman has the stuff to tame the big offenses. As I’ve tried to beat into your head, a pitcher with great control and strikeout stuff is worth your attention. Gausman is that type of pitcher. The only real question is do the O’s stay with him in the rotation. If today’s game vs. the Tigers is a spot start and back to the minors, it’s not great. Opportunity + Stuff = Fudgie the Whale. Wow, my math is off there. It should’ve equaled “worth a flyer in all fantasy leagues to see if he stays in the rotation.” To give you an idea of this guy’s upside, in Prospect Scott’s top 25 fantasy baseball prospects, the top five are Tanaka, Abreu, Bogaerts, Taijuan and then Gausman. That’s elite company. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Unless you followed the career of boxer Brandon Burke, or are a connoisseur of German speed porn, you’re probably not used to seeing this many guys go down so soon.

Injuries to baseball players have become a national epidemic, especially among frontline pitchers.  In just a few short months, we’ve seen players like Kris Medlen, Patrick Corbin, Bobby Parnell, Jarrod Parker and (most likely) Matt Moore require Tommy John surgery.

While those pitchers are done for the season (and maybe even parts of 2015), there are in fact some players returning from various ailments who are waiting patiently to be scooped up off your fantasy baseball league’s waiver wire.

The “DL stash” is a time-honored tradition that all fantasy baseball champions employ.  Last week, I went over the hitters who are/were residing on the disabled list, and this week I’ll be covering the guys throwing the balls to them.  If you have an open DL spot, or spots, in your league, it’s imperative that you use them.

You won’t see me suggesting guys like Cole Hamels or Mike Minor, because something tells me that you have more cojones than to play in a league so lacking in competition that they would still be available.  Rather, I will highlight some pitchers more suited for deeper leagues, as well as NL- and AL-only leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Get in a line, and limp.” That’s the master of ceremonies at the latest calfalcade. Chase Headley has a Grade 1 strain of his calf. Grade 2 or higher would be a cow. Semantics, perhaps. He’s supposed to be out for two to (stutterer!) three weeks. I’ve dropped him a couple of spots in my top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball and my top 400 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Probably if he was in Coors for his home games, coming off a 30-homer season and/or whispered in my ear sweet nothings about Giancarlo, I wouldn’t have moved him in my rankings at all. However, he’s in Petco, coming off a 13 homer season and any reason to not mess with a Padre is good enough for me. You say confirmation bias, I say keep your Psych 101 terms and Headley. To give you a present day example of another player with a calf strain who I’m not currently moving in my rankings: Josh Hamilton. If this were the 2nd week of March, I’d re-rank him, but he’s got time to heal or get injured worse. I’ll be monitoring Hamilton like a cyclops with a monocle. Anyway, here’s what else has been going down in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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So, how’s your season? *connects hose to tailpipe* That good, huh? Well, the end is near my depressed Razzballin’ droogs. Some of us are prepared for the sprint to the finish and others are drinking too much Colt 45, screaming “Ike Davis” at confused strangers and assembling Fantasy Football draft boards in their tighty whities and Ken Stabler throwbacks. Speaking of which, everyone say hello to Sky. He’s our Fantasy Football Czar and would like to meet your acquaintance here. If you’ve enjoyed our weekly jammer crammer sessions, once we wrap up this here baseball season in a pretty little bow, your humble Guru will continue jamming and cramming on Fantasy Football Island. So join a RCL League now. As for our fake baseball teams, how did you do? Taking a look at The Guru’s collection of teams, I’d have to say it’s been a satisfying season. Currently I’m staring at 10 firsts, 5 seconds and a third. 16 teams? Yes, I admit I do have a problem with moderation. Excuse me while I pour another scotch. Good morning. The areas that have been problematic for me this year have been steals and saves. SAGNOF! Injuries to Jason Motte and Joel Hanrahan certainly didn’t help and had me scrambling to the waiver wire early and often for the likes of Koji Uehara and Rex Brothers. When it comes to steals, the early injury to Jose Reyes and now the suspension of Everth Cabrera put me in the SAGNOF hole. Ouch! Stay away from my SAGNOF hole, it’s an exit not an entrance. As we enter the final three weeks of the regular season, here’s hoping your season has been a success and all the credit can be heaped upon your motley crew of Razzballin’ scribes. If you are out of it, damn the fantasy gods, troll Tehol on Twitter and let me pour you a tumbler of Islay. Enjoy and leave a comment below on the state of your season. It’s time to jam it or cram it – SAGNOF! Part II: Red, White and Screwed.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Mark Twain wrote there are three types of lies; there’s lies, damned lies and baseball stats. That’s from Huckleberry Finn, Page 84…I think. I’m not entirely sure as I went to an “alternative high school” in Maine which was a flannel-clad cross between Glee and Lord of the Flies. Now everybody sing “Don’t you Forget About Me” while I impale this pig’s head on a spear. Happy Mother’s Day!

*Now back to our regularly scheduled blog*

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jered Weaver owners just found another reason to get down on one knee (although shelling out for a ring causes a similar sensation). Weaver will be going to renowned SoCal ‘Doctor of the Skateboarders’ Ollie Ramp. “I usually see these occur when some knucklehead tries to ride a railing and takes a header…or I guess an elbower.” Well, thank God for my Jered Weaver overrated post that helped all of you avoid Weaver in the preseason. Right? *crickets, birds chirping, a little fat kid running through a sprinkler* So, some of you drafted him anyway? Show yourselves for the world to see. You will not be mocked. You will be pointed at derisively. Okay, that’s mocked. The Weaver Drafter, “Everyone was down on Weaver, in the non-sexual way, so he came at such a discount… Besides, you were worried about his decreased velocity, falling K-rate, lucky ERA… You never said anything about him breaking his non-throwing elbow.” Hopefully, kind sir, they have an Excuses For Drafting Weaver category in your league. He’ll be back in 6 weeks. I look forward to others putting him on their DL until then. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s the first week of the season and there is really only one question as we enter the first week of fantasy SAGNOF-ville. What in the name of Brian Boitano are the Tigers doing with the closer situation. Well I liken it to a drug cartel, 3 Latinos and some coke, with some equal distribution until someone gets too big for their britches and knocks everyone else off. I like a good even mix of Al-Al, Benoit, Dotel and Coke to all get some run based on the situation and it being too early for Leyland to cash in his Marlboro miles for that new kayak. So with the first post of my inauguration, I am starting from scratch and the rankings start with this post so no fancy pluses or minuses until the next post. I will also try and alternate between closers and Holds guys for my weekly posts.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the Season draws closer, hell, it’s basically here tomorrow, the Closer Apocalypse of 2012 is starting to be as ritualistic as a Mayan prediction. So, for those not in the know, it’s basically going to happen again, and has already started. Injuries either that are lingering from last year or new ones that get covered with Snoopy boo-boo strips are popping up. It’s going to happen, but don’t fret. Smokey is here with a doomsday prepper’s guide to handling the relief situations that are always in flux. So grab your prepper’s bible and 12 lbs. of powdered eggs and let me settle you down some. Here are some guys that I am storing away for the inevitable next closer carousel situation, because staying ahead of the waiver wire is cool and gets you stickers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Chris Perez has been shut down for 3-4 weeks. The Indians are saying it’s due to a shoulder strain. Seems pretty coincidental that Chris Perez rocks a mullet and there’s a guy with a “business on top, party in the back” haircut on The Amazing Race this season. I’m calling BS. “Yeah, what’s up?” Sorry, didn’t mean to actually call BS. “Cool, now you’re wasting my time. I’m gonna call myself on you!” So with Perez out, a giant gaping hole opens in Cleveland, and I don’t mean when Drew Carey is eating. Vinnie Pestano should take over the closer role in the mean’s while. Unfortunately (depending on how you’re looking at it), Perez went down so early that he could return as soon as the first or second week of the season. That means you need to draft Perez and Pestano. My advice is to wait two seconds after someone drafts Perez then take Pestano. This will be real cute in auctions. They’ll either have to spend $15-ish to have both Indian closers or they’ll be stuck without one. If I could only draft one, I’d take a late flyer on Pestano. As with most things SAGNOF-related, there’s no sure thing in the bullpens and the cheaper way to get saves is always the most preferable. Anyway, here’s all the closers for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?