It started with a simple email. Hey Grey and Rudy, wouldn’t it be cool if someone wrote about the top pitchers broken down by month? And within those months, to evaluate with and without wins to ascertain who pitched well and gave good value vs. who pitched for a 90 win club and had a 4-0 month? Response was a resounding yes, of course. And of course, it was my own damn fault for having such a good idea because now I’m here giving you offseason content prior to January. Clearly the time that everyone is reading about fantasy baseball. Oh well, let’s get to it. Here’s a look back at April’s pitching to see if it holds any keys going forward to 2015 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’ve been scouring all your picture books for a proper fantasy hitter in the final week, look no further. Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-4 with his 19th home run and two RBI last night. Arcia has a nice little six-game hitting streak, with four homers in that stretch. To be fair, however, he’s also sat four games in that span with a tweaked muscle in his upper back. Injury concerns aside, Oswaldo is destroying baseballs when he’s on the field. In his past six games, he’s clubbed four homers and with 8 RBI. He’s slugging .858 in the past two weeks while batting over .400, and with 19 homers (12 at cavernous Target Field) in 94 games, he’s got serious power and might be someone to consider on draft day next year. He’s worth the pick up in all leagues if you need some pop in the final week of the season. Oswaldo could power you to fantasy glory. He’s missed some time in the past few days, but he hasn’t shown any ill effects of the injury while on the field, so hopefully this back injury is behind him for the most part. Get it!?  Ha! Either way that shouldn’t discourage you from picking him up this hot little potato while he’s mashing.

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

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Rusney Castillo is expected to join the Sawx on Tuesday. Whoa, did you see that? There was a rainbow going over the world and when I said that it turned red. I wonder if that’s because he’s Cuban. Oh, it’s probably because the Red Sox paid to sponsor the rainbow. That makes more sense. I didn’t think Mother Nature would sell rainbow naming rights, but there ya go. Someone’s gotta pay for the sun; the world we live in. So, Rusney’s getting a little taste of how’s your father with the Red Sox, but I don’t think he’ll A) Play every day. B) Be much a factor this year. C) There’s no C. Now, for 2015 fantasy baseball, well, there we’re gonna have to talk for a sec. Sorry, I know you’re late to be moral support at your wife’s surgery, but she can wait. Here’s what Prospect Mike said about him previously, “The one tool that is not in question is (Rusney’s) speed. A 30+ steal season from Castillo is a possibility as soon as 2015. The power is still up in the air. Some have tagged him more as an 8-12 homer type guy while others have said 15 or maybe even 20 homers could be in the cards. With any player, we get lots of comps thrown around. Two of the comps I’ve heard the most are Shane Victorino and Rajai Davis. Honestly, the Davis comp makes the most sense to me. The one that makes the least sense is Grey, he’s just a buffoon.” Hey, what’s that all about? To me, the Rajai comparison feels heavy on the speed; Victorino seems a better equivalent, but, honestly, there’s a ton of unknown here. He could be anywhere from a 7 HR/20 SB fourth outfielder to a 20 HR/40 SB superstar. Victorino feels about right — 12 homers, 30 steals. The more I read that he only had 66 steals in 1097 plate appearances in Cuba, I wonder if the hype machine hasn’t taken Rusney and thrown him into the spin cycle, making him more than he is. Shizzton of risk either way you slice the cake, and, brucely, I love cake, so I hope you’re sharing. For this year, I’d take a flyer if I could platoon him. For 2015, I’d take the risk for something special, but don’t expect more than Victorino. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Throughout the year I’ve learned many things about Daily Fantasy baseball. Avoid lefties against the Rockies at Coors, never trust a Nationals pitchers, and always target hitters on a hot streak. With the last lesson in mind I’ve complied a lineup entirely filled with smoking hot bats. This strategy has been wildly successful for me all year, and typically is a great way to get a potent lineup on a limited budget. A good way to figure this out is to take a deeper look at the stats over the last two weeks. I’m about to give you a lesson in my native tongue of Stat Geek.

There are a few metrics that are particularly telling and I personally feel hold more weight in daily fantasy. My two favorites are wOBA and wRC+. I was put onto wOBA earlier in the year by the one and only Sky, and I have to say it was a revaluation. wOBA if you don’t know is based on linear weights and measures a players offensive contribution per plate appearance. Huh? I know right? I stole that definition from wiki. To put it in layman’s terms they apply a value to each positive offensive contribution whether it be a walk, a single, home run, etc and divide that total by the number of plate appearances. I have to be honest it’s not the only number I look at, but I now put more weight into that particular statistic than I do batting average, OBP, or OPS. It’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of a player’s overall performance without having to dig through stats for hours. Saving time on your homework is a huge advantage when playing daily fantasy. Of course you could just use Rudy’s DFSbot but my opening would have been really short.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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So here we are in week 24 if you don’t count the All-Star break. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that this whole marathon got started. Tehol was speaking of the blessings bestowed upon Dominic Brown by the elder gods, Grey was telling you pitching was crazy deep, and Sky was freaking Nick and everyone else out with his creepy masks in the background of his podcast segments. Things were simple then, we all had hope, some of us still do. Oh who am I kidding you read Razzball of course you have at least one team in the playoffs. Everyone knows we only cater to savvy fantasy owners and snappy dressers. Maybe mustache aficionados also, but they only read Grey for the avatar. Mustachioed men are like the rich and Greek Nationalists, they stick with their own.

Regardless, the end is neigh good citizens of fantasy land. It’s now officially the end of  the beginning of the season. My beginning just so happens to last 5 months. The real ending for fantasy and real life players alike is that last month chasing a championship. Hence the end of the beginning, beginning of the end title. It’s also a not so subtle nod to my favorite Murs album  and possibly song, Done Deal.  The point is you have 3 weeks left max, and should be doing all you can to edge your league mates in the H2H playoffs or Roto standings. Either way we’re all hustling like Freeway Ricky Ross, and I mean the Drug Dealer not the rapper. I’d only say we were like Rick Ross the rapper if I was in a room with Matt Adams and Billy Butler. Even then it would be about them and not me. For the record I’m built like a Greek God and bearded like one as well. I’m sort of a fantasy sports version of Dan Bilzerian, but without the trust fund, harem, and over the top douchiness. Well I guess the last one is up for debate. Okay everything I just said about myself is up for debate…Sad Trombone.

You know what isn’t up for debate (Segue! FTW) the quality of the high end double dipping starters this week. We have 4! Count’em! 4 must start options this week in Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer, and Jon Lester. That’s great for any owner with those guys and bad news bears for any owner facing them in the playoffs. It’s okay there’s some hidden gems in the lower tiers with some good matchups. Also feel free to chime in with any double dippers flying under the radar. Whether you feel I’m overlooking them, or that they have under appreciated fantasy appeal. We’re all in this together, unless you’re in one of my leagues, then you’re on your own.

The tier names this week are a nod to my all-time favorite HipHop Group Gang Starr…

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The Denver Homerlette is like the Slam & Legs, except it’s 2 HRs, while Tulo and CarGo hold their legs. As most of you know, Rudy writes the title for most of these. Currently, Rudy and I are in a tough battle for 1st place in our RCL and he owns Corey Dickerson, so I thought I’d share with you the first few titles Rudy suggested, “Dickerson Poops On Grey, But Of Coors” and “Suck My Dickerson.” Stay classy, Rudy! Since Rudy won’t or can’t toot his own horn, I will for him. Hmm, that sounds weird. Maybe if he could’ve tooted his own horn, his wife wouldn’t be spitting out kids like they were sunflower seeds. In February, Rudy released his rankings, and he had Dickerson at 102 overall. I don’t think I saw Dickerson within 100 spots of that anywhere. I was one of the other few people who even ranked him, and I didn’t have him within 150 of that. Yesterday, Dickerson hit two bombs, raising his season total to 22. In addition, he has a .311 batting average to go with 8 steals. Right now, he’s top 60 overall on our Player Rater and near the top 15 for outfielders. That’s after Walt Weiss played with his ding-a-ling for a month, platooning him. That ranking won’t be far from where he’s ranked for 2015 either. Everywhere he’s played he’s shown solid power, average and some speed, then throw Coors into the equation and he could be a top 30 bat overall in 2015. Yup, I kinda love him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here we are in the home stretch of yet another year in fantasy baseball, and we are left with decisions that we would have never considered a month or two ago. Under-performing “Player A” has to be cut for Hot Schmotato “Player B”, or “Pitcher 3″ has to be cut loose because I won’t reach my innings or game starts and need to get aggressive with my streaming. All these decisions will leave you with a quilted patchwork roster at the end of the season that resembles nothing like your All-Star break squad, let alone your draft day roster. I recall in 2006, my first year playing, when I grabbed Marlon Anderson in early September when he put up a line of 12/7/15/2/.375 to close out the year, and I walked away with $400 and my first fantasy baseball title. Prior to that month, he had hit all of 5 HR’s on the year, and it made zero sense owning him at all, but a bat that produces dongs is just that, a dong producing bat. This week I like current Hot Schmotato Zach Walters to do what he does. Hit home runs, go 1-for-4, and help you catch your opponents in the standings or win the all important H2H matchup.

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When you get a little cumin, coriander, curry, power and speed in the same dish, you got a Marte party! Whatever happened to that Next Food Network Star? She disappear with every other one, except Guy Fieri? As Anthony Bourdain aptly said, Fieri is the Poochie of the Food Network. Due to Fieri’s success, they keep trying to sandwich (pardon the word) new personalities onto their network. This past season they awarded a Hee Haw Fieri. Instead of the frosted hair, he had a cowboy hat. We call this show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Farting By The Fire! Any the hoo! Going into yesterday’s game, Starling Marte was tied with George Springer and behind Michael Morse on our Player Rater. To that, The Count would say blah blah blah. Crazy enough, Drew Stubbs was above all of them, and in the top 40 outfielders. By the power of Coors, I pronounce you fantasy worthy. Of course, Marte went 3-for- 4 with his 7th and 8th homers yesterday, so he’ll probably shoot above those aforementioned outfielders. Marte’s a little behind his pace from last year, but I’m going to like him next year for one simple reason: a guy that can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bases is very valuable as long as he doesn’t hit .220. That’s like a manhole in Fantasy Town! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What a week to be a Nationals pitcher, you’re six games up in the division and you have the D-backs and the Giants rolling into town. So much of my focus this year has been on Daily Fantasy that I tend to see things through DraftKings colored glasses. If you’re unfamiliar with the format and scoring, pitchers have much higher floors than hitters and the scoring is laser focused on K’s and innings. Low strikeout/ good ratio guys need not apply. Both Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg have been good but I always seem to be a little underwhelmed by what I get from them. I’m hoping for a big week from both of them. The Diamondbacks and Giants are both in the bottom 1/3 of the league in wOBA over the past fortnight and both have a k% over 20%. Don’t be surprised if owners of the Nats frontline starters run the table in ratios this week.

Other than the aforementioned Nationals aces, Max Scherzer‘s week sets up to potentially be a monster one. The Tigers and the Scherz-nit travel to both Tampa and Minnesota, as he faces crappy offenses in pitchers parks. Reverse HodgePadre Ian Kennedy gets two road starts this week. I wonder if he’s the first Friars pitcher to be better away from Petco? It’s so confusing I devoted a chapter to it in my forthcoming book “Things That Don’t Make Sense”. Should be a best seller, Gary Busey did the foreword. Most of the content covers the last 5 years and a two week period in 1639. Diamondbacks Ace(?) Chase Anderson looks to continue his hot streak against Washington and San Diego. I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t come away with another two quality starts. Overall this week’s two start pitchers remind me of the stock at a Marshall’s, a couple of finds, a whole bunch of mediocre crap, and a few things so ugly they can’t be unseen.

Please, blog, may I have some more?