So long, farewell, goodnight, Prince Fielder. One of the most disappointing starts to the 2014 season has been Mr. Fielder with his .162/.205/.216 line.  To exacerbate things, his offseason move to Texas led to him being hyped heading into drafts and his current owners paying top dollar to roster his .421 OPS. Following a disappointing 2013 season, his slow start has caused some owners to panic, pointing to his inability to walk or hit a home run. So what do I recommend doing at this point? Buy Prince Fielder while you still can. I really don’t like using “small sample size” to dismiss early starts, because it feels like the lazy way out. A better approach would be to see that Fielder has had 0 for 4 games against Alex Cobb, David Price, etc., notice that his batted ball distribution hasn’t dramatically changed, and remember why he was rated so highly in drafts. Even with the slow start, I’d be surprised if Fielder didn’t improve on last year’s .279/.362/.457 line this year, especially the slugging. And while it’s on my mind, here’s a few other players who have had surprising starts and what it means for OPS and OBP leagues:

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Our first full slate of games and two closers lost jobs. Mother Nature and/or Al Gore (if they’re different people), how is climate different than weather if both lead to a closepocalypse? An interested party is curious. It was a bit before concussions were in vogue, but did anyone ever check Robin Ventura for a concussion when he got cantalouped by Nolan Ryan? Cause he just lamebrained up my fantasy teams by naming Matt Lindstrom the closer– Um, Grey? What’s up, Random Italicized Voice? When Addison Reed was traded in December, you said, “White Sox GM Rick Hahn named Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Daniel Webb as possible replacements. Due to Scott Downs’ Syndrome, Downs is out of the mix. Jones will be a favorite by fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) due to his ability to strike guys out, but I’m guessing Lindstrom will end up with the job due to that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it closer experience quality.” And that’s me quoting you! DAH!!! I got wrapped in the allure of a young, sexy closer and forgot where my butter pickles were buttered! I imagine this shituation will get worse before it gets better, so if you have room, I’d hold Jones for now, but you should absolutely pick up Lindstrom in all leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Carlos Beltrán, Aníbal Sánchez, Clay Buchholz, Johnny Damon, Zack Greinke, Jed Lowrie, Eric Hosmer, Mike Sweeney. All above-average players. Most of them All-Stars. All have one thing in common: At some point in their careers, they were among the more than 100 major leaguers to have played for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Class A Kansas City Royals affiliate in Delaware’s largest city.

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The_Good_The_Bad_and_The_Ugly

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. AKA, yo momma. ICE BURN.

Hey, really quick, did you hear the news? Or, I guess in this case, read the news? Razzball has a radio now! AND we’re going on tour this August. That’s right, Nick the Podcast Host and I will be traveling to every NFL city to have a beer with you! Click here for the details.

So here we are, another week gone by, another wave of drafts. And for this set, we’ll be playing a game. And that game is taking a look at your leagues and deciding which picks were good, which were bad, and which were ugly. Don’t take it personally though, as I’m sure you could find my team’s and pick apart my decision making process. Really, there is no perfect draft. ONLY PERFECT BOOBS. Just kidding. They’re all perfect. Honestly, this post is really just a vehicle to mention Clint Eastwood. The spaghetti western version. Not that having a stroke at the Republican convention version. So let’s take a look at some leagues that drafted this past week, in no particular order, and pick them apart. And don’t worry, I’m plenty hard on myself. That’s what she said. Wait, what?

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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In past years, I’ve said the following analogy. There’s years of looking up to your father, whether you agree all the time or not. Then, one day, he takes a poop on your couch. You take him to the hospital; he’s in need of some sort of psychology examination. If the tests come back conclusive that he pooped the couch simply out of laziness, then that’s ESPN. If tests come back that he’s gone crazy, well, over at Yahoo The Noise ranked Matt Carpenter 37th overall. A recipe for success at Yahoo involves Kosher salt because you need to take Yahoo’s rankings with a bigger grain of salt. Now, with that said, I think this year Yahoo’s flipped the script on ESPN. Yahoo’s rankings are better this year, i.e., they’re closer to mine than ESPN. At least that’s the vibe I get from looking at them, I didn’t actually stop and weigh the differences and divide that weight by pi to the seventh integer and multiply by X. I simply looked at what they had vs. me and think Yahoo did a better job this year. They have also changed their rankings dramatically in the last week. See, I originally had The Noise down as ranking Carpenter 30th overall. Just about every guy in the chart at the end of this post has moved closer to my rankings in the last week. I’m not saying they’re copying (or they’re not copying fast enough), because, well, they’re still off and now it’s time to spit fire:

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Go to a quiet, dark place and light a few candles (preferably scented). Cue up my theme musicNow close your eyes, listen to my intro in it’s entirety and visualize greatness. Then, and only then, may you open your curious eyes and continue on (make sure you go back and watch the video because it’s awesome). If you lack the heart of a champion, I strongly recommend you either 1) refrain from reading further, or in my opinion the better option 2) play my theme music on at full volume,on repeat, until you’ve built up the testicular fortitude to withstand any obstacle on your way to glory.

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When January Grey was working on the rankings, I doubt he ever thought he’d be setting up February Grey to write an overrated post on Joe Mauer. January Grey, “Don’t be mad cause I’m doing me better than you doing you (repeat 3 times).” Here was a guy (Mauer, not January Grey or Childish Gambino) who hasn’t done well in years. Not just last year. In 2012, he was completely healthy and played in 147 games and notched 545 at-bats. Both marks would be generous to give any everyday player, so it had nothing to do with missing games due to catching. If you said to me you can draft Miguel Cabrera but you’ll only get 147 games and 545 at-bats, I’d take it in a second. In 2012, Mauer was also 29 years old and had Morneau for 134 games and a 35-homer Willingham in the lineup with him. Plouffe hit 24 homers that year and Denard Span and Ben Revere were getting on base and stealing bases. This wasn’t a bad Twins team. Not good, but not bad. They were 16th in the major leagues for runs scored and 10th for OBP. That year Mauer had the stat line of 81/10/85/.319/8. Shoot, I must’ve did something wrong. Hold on, I need to say it louder — That year Mauer had the stat line of 81/10/85/.319/8! Oh, well, I thought balloons might drop from my ceiling after I said his line. Maybe it wasn’t so good even though he had a healthy 545 at-bats. Anyway, why is Joe Mauer overrated for 2014 fantasy baseball?

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Catcher-rye-full

Get it?

Time to finally hang up the fantasy football helmet, slip into my official Steve Balboni athletic supporter and get ready for some of the base and the balls talk. This nipple hardening February morning finds your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru loading the van up with scouting reports, clean turbans, eye black and my Jenny Dell inflatable doll for that long, lonely road trip to Fort Myers to prepare for spring training. As we cross the days off the calendar until we dive into some actual fake baseball drafting, it’s time to dig out the ol’ jammer crammer machine (available on Adam&Eve.com) and dig through this year’s jams and crams by position for the 2014 fantasy baseball season.

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My fellow Razzballers: there is a massive epidemic that needs to be stopped! It’s what I call “David Ortiz Disease.” I need your help in containing this outbreak that has led fantasy owners everywhere to shun a certain type of old and injury-prone player (more on that later), causing their price to plummet relative to their production and hindering the chances of every would-be owner. The most surprising aspect of this disease is that it applies to players who are coming off productive seasons. Unfortunately, authorities have been unable to contain this disease to a specific league, causing neither keeper nor re-draft fantasy owners to be immune. However, some old and injury-prone players will not be undervalued in drafts this year, such as Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano, and Jacoby Ellsbury. What could they possibly have in common to prevent them from being undervalued and how does this affect fantasy baseball, particularly OPS leagues?

Please, blog, may I have some more?