Of all the teams to predict to sweep their first series, who would have guessed the Mariners as one of those clubs? Well, aside from our resident Mariners fans –Tehol and Sky, and Grey, who put some serious coin on them to win the World Series. Who’s the crazy one now? Ha! I know the M’s weren’t supposed to be that bad this year, so its not all that surprising. It’s more surprising where some of the production is actually coming from. We expected it from Robinson Cano and Felix, and shoot, we even expected some from Miller, Erasmo, and Paxton. But Smoak? Ackley? I sure didn’t. Seems like anyone could put on a Mariners uniform and mash right now. MLB should probably take a further look into what’s going on behind the scenes up there. Maybe they’ve hired Grey as a trainer, a la Barry Bonds, to inject their guys with the special sauce. But wait, clearly that doesn’t work for everyone,  *cough* Jesus Montero *cough*… Or maybe Tehol has actually sacrificed himself to the gods to make such things come true! Who really knows? And with it being such a small sample size (a measly three games), there isn’t much we can draw from any of the numbers, relative to long-term production. But some guys have really started off hot and may be playing themselves into a hot schmotato for the next week or two or three or, well you get the point. Some guys, quite frankly, have not. Let’s take a look at who’s catchin’ my eye in points leagues in the VERY early going.

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There’s SAGNOF – now there’s BGLIF or BABIPGLIF.

B(ABIP)GLIF = BABIP’s Got Little Face. As you delve into players for your drafts and you see a surprising glorious batting average from last year, ensure you validate it. Use Razzball Fantasy Baseball BABIP vs. Average Comparison. I’ll point out some sleepers below using this method.

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“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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Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:

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Yesterday, on Fifth Avenue, Bud Selig was seen going into a photo shoot. That photoshoot was for him to be dressed as Uncle Sam for posters that will go up around the country. Under Uncle Bud, it will read, “I Want You!” You see, MLB lost a lot of players yesterday to suspensions and now they need people to play baseball. Tryouts will begin early next week and no one will be turned away due to their sex or age. If back in the day your grandma used to don the rawhide in that baseball league of their own, pull up her knee-highs and get her out there! Everyone must do their part to keep baseball together and moving forward. We need some Rosie the Pivoters at middle infield in San Diego and Detroit with the loss of Everth Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta. We need some bombers with the loss of Nelson Cruz in Texas. We’re gonna have some fatherless children on our hands with the troops heading off to battle on the diamond, but ironically Antonio Bastardo‘s kids will have their dad because he’s being sent home. When we’re in the bunkers amongst enemy pitchers, we’ll need someone to believe in with the loss of Jesus Montero. We’ll be without any guys that sound like names from a Harry Potter Name Generator with the loss of Jordany Valdespin, and we won’t have anyone that looks like The Great Gazoo with the loss of Francisco Cervelli. It’ll be a trying time for all of us, but we need to come together as a nation of Razzballers and fight through. Plus, really, for fantasy, we only lost Everth and Cruz, so don’t get so bent out of shape. Logan Forsythe or Alexi Amarista will take over for Everth, probably a bit of both until one emerges. Neither have the value of Everth, but Amarista could have some speed and he knows how to make a great frappuccino. Forsythe has little speed and power, but is dealing with a knee problem, so he may not be at 100%. In Texas, Engel Beltre or Jurickson Profar could see more time, but so far in 49 games Profar has a .244 average and four homers and no steals, so I wouldn’t go dropping anyone great in redraft leagues for him. Rangers also have Berkman coming back at some point in the next few weeks, so they could get crowded again. In Detroit, Jose Iglesias is the Indians’ backup plan, but if I saw him on waivers, I’d back up. In all, a bad day to be a cheater, but a good day to be an American. Now everyone will have a shot to make it to the major leagues. Just don’t be shocked if your grammie tests positive for HGH. She does, after all, take a lot of meds. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Jesus Montero was sent down and the Mariners called up Jesus Sucre. Jesus for Jesus was the original name of Jews for Jesus when it only had one member. The only thing that I pray is that my Brayan Pena don’t fail me now…Jesus sucks! And I don’t think there is nothing Montero can do now to right my wrongs…Jesus Sucks! I want to talk to Yan Gomes, but I’m afraid because we ain’t spoke in so long…Jesus Sucks! To the SAGNOF hustlers, worm burners, lefty murderers, HGH drug dealers especially A-Rod’s cousin… Jesus Sucks for them! To victims of Ron Popeil ‘Set it and Forget It’ catcher management style for we living in hell here hell yeah, Jesus Sucks for them! I.e., good riddance, Montero. With Easter passed, I have no idea when Jesus will be back, but I’d drop him in all leagues. Shoppach will take over full-time now, but this should put Mike Zunino firmly on your radars. On the most recent prospect power rankings, Zunino was honorably mentioned. Last time Scott, our prospect writer, really hooked his chompers into Zunino, he said this, “Zunino will likely surface in Seattle at some point in 2013, but his fantasy value, once up, is tough to gauge. His tools profile suggests he’ll eventually develop into a very nice big league catcher, and one you’ll want in fantasy leagues. But most people around baseball don’t see the Travis D’Arnaud/Jesus Montero/Devin Mesoraco-type ceiling with Zunino. Then again, he’s surpassed expectations at every stop thus far, and it’s within reason to think he could continue to do so at the highest level. A real overachiever, like our very own Grey.” Hey, thanks! A word about that quote. (Actually a few words.) Jesus Montero is mentioned in there, and that’s not a goof by Scott, this just shows you what catcher prospects look like when they come up. Catchers tend to take a while to develop because they’re learning defense as much as offense. They can’t just hit, they need to play defense. Well, except for Mike Piazza. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Diamondbacks said J.J. Putz needs elbow surgery. Imagine the doctor misreads Putz’s chart and J.J. walks out with a new putz that is an arm, elbow to hand. Would that have him get to third base and home all with one swing of the bat? It would help him avoid that awkwardness when you try to hug and undo a girl’s pants. He could also towel himself down while opening a door. Actually, this sounds like a plus-plus, or rather, a putz-putz! I’m reinventing the knuckle shuffle! The Diamondbacks also officially announced yesterday what I announced the day before, Heath Bell would be the closer. Ya know this means he’s going to crap your face and call it Google Glass, right? You know this, right? I do, and I still grabbed him. I’d also grab David Hernandez in case the only thing Bell rings in are blown saves. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Sure, these aren’t your slightly older brother’s Yankees. Even Mel Hall would roll over in his Aryan cellmate’s arms if you were to compare these Yankees with the early-90′s Yankees. Still… Again and this time put a little sting on it… STILL! Mr. DeMille, Matt Moore looks ready for his close-up as he announced, “I am big. It’s the other pitchers that got small.” The Yankees can usually take a walk, and Moore’s on the wild side when the guys and four girl readers go, ‘Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.’ Yesterday, Moore only gave up two hits and three walks through eight innings while chipping in nine Ks. His season ERA now sits at 1.04. Sure, that’s gonna come up a bit, but I ranked him 16th overall for all starters for a reason. That reason is his stuff is nasty. Nasty as in good not nasty as in bad with that bad not being bad bad, he’s good bad. Kapeesh? Looking for a pitcher then can give you 200 Ks and a 2-something ERA then look at Strasburg. Looking for a guy that can get you the same amount of Ks and a low-three ERA, but will come a lot cheaper in a trade? That’s all the Moore reason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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According to Wikipedia, the Dozens is a game of spoken words between two contestants, common in African-American communities, where participants insult each other until one gives up. Yesterday, we got a fantasy baseball version. Felix Hernandez started in on Max Scherzer first, “Your name sounds like a character from a Michael Chabon novel!” Scherzer lobbed back, “You could throw a no-hitter and lose!” F-Her redoubled his efforts, “You need two sets of colored contacts!” Scherzer stepped back and threw, “You’re gonna be traded to the Orioles for Erik Bedard!” F-Her fired back, “Your first baseman is so fat his blood type is Ragu!” “Oh, yeah? Well, your center fielder is The Big FraGu!” F-Her threw 8 shutout innings with 12 Ks against one of the best offenses in the game; Scherzer gave up one run with 12 Ks against one of the worst. Both: Great. Winner: Last night, it was F-Her. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If you’re like me, once you finish your fantasy draft, you have a photographer take a picture of you with your team. You pull up your team page on your laptop, and the both of you sit next to a flower bed. The setting is similar to your mother’s yearbook picture. The cameraman even uses the filter that blurs out everything around you. As you wait for the makeup person to dab cover-up on your nose pimple, you reach into the flower bed and pull out a hydrangea. Then you speak directly to the SAGNOF Gods and recite his prayer, “He loves me, he loves me Motte, he loves me, he loves me Motte, he loves….” And the last petal ends on “He loves me Motte.” And you weep. Motte has an elbow strain and you’re stuck with his litigious brother-in-law, Mitchell Boggs. The Cardinals are currently saying all the right things, “Motte will be fine,” “Mitchell will temporarily fill-in,” “We had no idea McGwire was on steroids.” An elbow strain sounds like a thing that’s going to take Motte from his 40-save potential to an eight-save season with a 5.00+ ERA, which will be interrupted by surgery. Grab Boggs in every league, he could easily be a top five closer for this year. If you own Motte, you obviously DL him and hope for the best. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2013 fantasy baseball:

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