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:

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James Paxton continued to pitch well last night versus the ferocious Tigers tossing six innings, allowing five hits, one run, walking one and striking out a pair to move to 3-0 on the year. We shall call you, Pax the Destroyer! Pax is also one of Guardians of the Galaxy, believe it or not. No, not the tree or the raccoon. No, he’s not Scott Hatteberg from Moneyball or the smoking hot green alien either, but the other guy. The big guy. Yeah, him, apparently, he can pitch too. Since returning from the DL at the beginning of the month, he’s got a 2.16 ERA in three starts, giving up 4 ER, 15 hits and 4 walks while striking out 11 in 16.2 innings against some of the leagues top offenses (Baltimore, White Sox and Detroit). Sure, the stats aren’t overwhelming, but he’s still adjusting after returning from four months on the DL with a strained lat, and if you take his early season stats into account, the Destroyer holds a 0.94 WHIP and a 24/6 K/BB ratio. Also, the sample size is tiny, but the .236 BABIP and the 2.61 xFIP sure are pretty to look at. The M’s need Paxton to step up big time down the stretch, and I think he could do the same for your fantasy team. Pax the Destroyer gets the Phillies next week, and he’s undefeated, getting better by the start. He’s available in little over 70% of leagues and you don’t have to be a space pirate, a weird alien tree man, or a even Xandarian collector to see he could be worthy of a pick up in most leagues.

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

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The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

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As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay's Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

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In a crazy day of trading, the blockbuster has to be David Price heading to the Tigers. Though, I’m not sure blockbuster is the right word anymore. Blockbuster is so 80’s. Blockbuster sold out to a fro-yo chain and is Blockberry now, isn’t it? The Netflix deal of the day? The Hulu pause-for-three-ads-every-five-minutes trade of the day? The Redbox snatch and grab? See, I wasn’t even talking about the trade in that last one. I wonder if Josh Reddick ever rubs up against a Redbox. Any the hoo! The Tigers rotation is now Price, Anibal, Verlander and Scherzer. Well, you got two aces again! Unless Tim McCarver is announcing and still thinks Verlander and Anibal are aces. As for fantasy, this does nothing to Price’s value. Maybe now that he doesn’t have a manager pulling names out of a hat for a lineup, he might get a few more wins, but did his bullpen get noticeably better? Eh. Did his division become noticeably easier? Eh, his career ERA vs. the White Sox and Indians is worse than his ERA vs. the Red Sox. That’s kinda irrelevant though, these are different teams then he faced previously. In all, it’s a solid lateral trade for Price’s value, but he was already a top arm in the game. No one is happier to see Price than the Tigers Assistant GM, Ted DiBiase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever.”

With that being said, it’s officially go time! Time to make that valiant push into the playoffs, time for me, Tehol Beddict, to assist you however possible in turning your dreams into reality. There’s no time to waste so let’s swan dive right into this thang. This is, Disgrace/Delight!

Note: Are you brave enough to battle not just my fantasy football wit, but my fantasy football loins… powered by the Elder Gods? Take me on in our fantasy football RCL’s for special prizes!

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Last night, Melky Cabrera hit two homers. Watch out, Melky’s lactating home runs! Sorry, I cribbed that from Rotowire’s notes. Kidding. Of course. Imagine you clicked on a player’s name on another site and the first thing it said was Melky’s lactating home runs. Only it would probably be more like this, “Melky has found his groove this year, especially vs. right-handers, who he’s hitting .330 against. In the power department, he’s lactating equally against righties and lefties.” Snooze! Wake me when you’re not regurgitating numbers. Tell me how you’re glad mom slept with the Melk Man. Or tell me how Melky and Coco Crisp had a threesome that they would refer to later only as a ménage à breakfast. Give me the Juicy Juice with an extra straw! Or give me the obvious, Melky has been a number one outfielder, ranking in the top 15 outfielders on our Player Rater. He’s being sustained by runs, RBIs and average that I won’t put much faith in next year, which will almost definitely make him overrated, but we’ll ferry cross that Melky when we come to it. (Note: We did not give Melky the lede in exchange for free web development.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Psych! Before we get into the roundup, I just wanted to point you to our fantasy football leagues. They are signing up now. Go there, and sign up for them. You can win expensive, custom-made prizes! No, not a mohair toupee! Who are you, Bud Selig? Anyway II, the roundup:

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There are three guarantees on a Razzball website. Seinfeld references, Simpsons references, and Grey mustache references. I’ll give you three guesses as to which one of the three this title is referencing and the first two don’t count. If you’re a young pup, google will guide the way for you. Seriously, just try googling ‘stupid’, type the space, and then type the ‘s’ and see the rest fill in for you. It’s that recognizable of a quote, y’all. Hell, there’s even a looped YTMND song from the early 200o’s about it. BTW, if you’d like for your brain to not melt, kindly don’t click on that link. Of course, you’re not here for nostalgic jaunts back to a time when the Simpsons were actually funny, you’re here to talk some DraftKings with me and I couldn’t help but notice Yohan Flande sitting out there at $4,600 as the lowest pitcher on the DK totem pole. So here’s where I’m gonna tell you to start him, right, cuz the Cubs, like, suck and stuff? Heck no! I’m all about danger but there’s not a statistically good argument I could make for starting Flande. In fact, I’m calling this post ‘Stupid, Sexy Flande!’ because now I can’t get a Cubs stack out of my head. For as bad of a team the Cubbies have been this year, they have actually hit quite well against southpaws for the year as they have the 3rd highest team wOBA and the 4th highest team ISO in the major leagues vs LHP. I really hate the idea of believing in the North Side, but my lineups will be bleeding Cubbie blue today. Hopefully, my account won’t hemorrhage into the red and I’ll be gushing green when it’s all done. With that, let’s take a look at some more picks for this Monday’s slate on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…after I’ve told you about something cool that’s been burbling for a while but is now coming to a frothy head. Our Razzball Radio host Nick Capozzi is revving the engines up to head out on the 32in32in32 tour. Yes, August is almost here and you haven’t bought your ticket. I don’t wanna hear your excuses, if you wanna come out and see various peeps from across the Razzball Universe, this is your chance. Who knows, maybe Nick will even let you touch his bus. But don’t get all bold and ask him, just let nature and a few beers take their course. And now moving along…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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!

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You: Pete Nice, did you say we should start Marcus Stroman this week at Boston and at Houston?

Jay(Wrong): You DON’T have to answer that question!

Me: I’ll answer the question! You want advice?

You: I think I’m entitled to…

Me: YOU WANT ADVICE?

You: I WANT THE TRUTH!

Me: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

[Jay's Note: My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer...] Guys, we live in a fantasy baseball world that has risky matchups, and those risky matchups have to be taken on by writers who have to suggest two-starting inexperienced young pitchers with 95 mph-plus fastballs. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Guru? You, Sky? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly imagine. You worry about Stroman, and you curse the Blue Jays. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Stroman’s road performance, while thus far in 2014 has been kind of crappy – 17 hits in 16 IP with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP – will improve with time. And Stroman’s existence, while excitingly intriguing but also slightly scary, can help your fantasy team. You don’t want this advice because deep down in places you don’t talk about at baseball games and fantasy drafts, you want Stroman on that hill. You need Stroman on that hill. We use words like FIP and K/BB ratios. We use these words as the backbone of a fantasy team trying to win something: Stroman’s 3.11 FIP places him in the Top 20 of all MLB pitchers and his K/BB per 9 ratio of close to 6.00 makes him an ownable pitcher, not a streamer, according to Dr. Grey Albright PhD. You use these things as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to readers who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very information that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up Stroman, and set your lineup. Either way, I don’t give a damn who you grab off the wire for two starts this week.

You: Did you order the two-starts for Marcus Stroman?

Me: I did the job…

You: DID YOU ORDER THE TWO-STARTS FOR MARCUS STROMAN?

Me: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID! AND HERE’S SOME MORE TWO-START PITCHERS FOR NEXT WEEK!

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Jay(Wrong) sent presentation rights over to me with the departure/hiatus of Tom Jacks. Tom passed the torch to me by way of a Captain Planet quote: “The Power is Yourz.”

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You all seemed to appreciate his content, and I hope to fill your passion-buckets with the same sense of quality. I will offer some value in my next post through OPS differential and possible pick-ups, but I wanted to take this time to summarize a few thoughts from Mr. Jacks’ last post, while sharing my general approach. Hopefully Jay(Wrong) strategically publishes this in a slot where you all aren’t salivating for immediate pick-ups! That’s right. In my very first OPS post, I wrote Jay, slot and salivate in one sentence. [Jay's Note: Go easy on the ladies my friend.]

Please, blog, may I have some more?