With three full months of baseball left to be played, a third horse may be emerging in the race for the first Razznasty dynasty league crown. R’azbahl Al Ghul has made solid win-now pickups and finds himself gaining some ground on the two frontrunners – Hannibal Montana and J-FOH. This month saw a group of about five or six teams ping-ponging around behind the leaders, but it’s been Ghul who has come out of June with sole possession of third place. Here is what else is happening around the league – including full standings, trades, and our league’s FAAB report…

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It’s funny how drastic and immediate changes can be from the Minors to the Majors.  Thinking back on Trevor May who was profiled a few weeks back – the guy was walking everyone in the Minors and in his short stint in the Majors last year, to become top-25 in K:BB ratio.

But that took some seasoning.  We’re seeing something even drastic-er and immediate-er with what’s going on with the Astros younguns.  Lance McCullers went from being old Trevor May with better Ks to having an 18:0 K:BB stretch before getting a tad wilder these past few…  But he was supposed to struggle through control issues, not Vincent Velasquez!  Vinny V went from a 4.11 K:BB mowing through AA this year to 1.70 so far this year in the show with 17 Ks and 10 BB through his first three starts.

I was pretty high on Velasquez when he was called up, but maybe it was a tad too early for the 23 year old to find immediate success.  So I decided to break down his start yesterday, that should’ve been a cakewalk at the Mariners, to see how he’s looking:

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Joe Ross was spectacular again Friday night, pitching 7.1 innings, allowing just six hits, one walk, one earned run and striking out 11 Pirates. He  grabbed his second win after coming off an 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 K gem last week in Milwaukee. Owning the zone, like a Boss. Striking out hitters, like a Boss. Racking up wins, like a–Ross. Ohh. See what I did there? Ross holds a 2.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 23/2 K/BB rate in 20.1 innings. It’s not like this is coming out of no where either, Ross has been pretty boss all year. In 50.1 innings at AA, Ross held a 54/12 K/BB rate, a 2.81 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP. Unfortunately, despite his boss-like tendencies of late, with Fister back and Strasburg set to return, Joe Ross is likely headed back to the minors for more seasoning. Gordon Ramsay might say any more salt would kill this dish, but the Nats and fantasy owners have to be pleased with Ross’ performance and he is certainly a name worth watching as the season goes on. Is it bad that I kind of want him to stay in the rotation over Strasburg? It is? Well, how about Roark? Maybe Doug Fister can get injured again? Here’s hoping we see Joe Ross again sooner rather than later.

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

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Razzball Exclusive! The Twins were seen on Saturday at the Factory Outlet Mall in St. Paul, shopping for an outfielder. Unhappy with the selection — everything was odd-sized or someone they had called up and sent down numerous times — they headed back to the car, deciding to go on to the Duluth Shop ‘n Zoo, a place, contrary to the name, that doesn’t sell animals. When they got back to the car, they realized they forgot their change purse in the mall. They raced back, but it was too late; it was gone. Frustrated and angry, they asked to use Spencer Gifts’ phone because they didn’t want to incur long distance charges on their own. Fed up and at their breaking point, they called up Byron Buxton, while also spotting a gag gift, fake vomit, that they shoplifted, figuring they can use it to play shortstop. Here’s what Prospect Mike said this offseason, “Buxton is ranked numero uno on my Top 50 fantasy prospects list, and it’s thanks to his ability to fill all five roto categories. He might be the closest thing we have in the minors right now to a first round fantasy talent with the power to hit 20 homers, the speed to swipe 30+ bags, and the ability to hit for a high average. Injuries limited him to 137 plate appearances in 2014, but that shouldn’t stop the 21-year-old from seeing the majors later this season. The ceiling is a perennial All-Star outfielder and a top ten fantasy player overall. In short, he’s wonderful and Grey’s terrible.” Oh, man, c’mon! In Double-A this year, Buxton had six homers, 20 steals (in only 59 games!) and was hitting .283. At points during this season, Mike has compared him to Carlos Gomez. That sounds like an apt comparison, which isn’t the same as roomier with two bathrooms. That’s an Apt. comparison. You should grab him in every league. Yes, even that 10 team league, where it’s you playing against nine of your email aliases. By the way, I can’t believe you’re losing to Imtoosexyforthisemail@aol.com. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Saturday has once again given us great pitching options to choose from. Pirates’ pitcher Gerrit Cole heads the list. Considering the price tag of $10,700 and facing the Phillies at home in Pittsburgh, he’s by far my favorite pitching option of the day. As you’ll read below, there are plenty of good pitchers to go with today, but Cole has the price and matchup that just makes me want to board ship and look for the booty. He’s won his last 4 starts, and has 6 straight Quality Starts. He’s well on his way to Cy Young contention with a 9-2 record. He has 86 Strikeouts in 78 innings pitched with a 1.73 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. The Phillies rank 26th in the league in team batting average, last in the league in OPS, next to last in the league in total bases, and last in the league in total home runs. Convinced? Roy Halladay, Curt Schilling, and Cliff Lee are not out there on the mound either. How about now? Okay, Sean O’Sullivan is the opposing pitcher. Even if Cole gives up a run, O’Sullivan might give up 3 for every run Cole surrenders. O’Sullivan has 19 strikeouts in 45 inning pitched, a 4.96 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP, and a .289 BAA. Needless to say, I like the chances of Cole getting the win. Keep on reading and checkout some of the other swashbucklers I like today.

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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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The title comes from Rudyard Gamble’s novel about a young Astros prospect named Carlos Correa that is saved by a non-Portuguese man named Jeff. Jeff Luhnow is his full name, and he’s the only straight man named Jeff in the northern hemisphere. A point that Rudyard only alludes to in the 4th chapter, when he says, “As he read the Doppler radar outputs that track the ball in three dimensions, Jeff chewed corn from the cob, careful to not disturb his mustache that still had the fragrance of a dame.” The adventure novel is full of twists and turns. Correa is signed as a 17-year-old in 2012 and hits, then is called up to Single-A and hits, then is called up to High-A and hits, then is called up to Double-A–Now that I think about it, it’s pretty straightforward. Not too many twists. Correa hits everywhere he goes. According to the novel, Correa even succeeds when he comes upon a fellmonger on the Appalachian plain. Rudyard’s adventure novel first appeared in serialisation form in SABReader’s Digest underneath the horoscope. A fact that once disturbed Rudyard, but when his horoscope read, “The two-plus months of waiting are over, Correa’s being called up,” even he took pause. Any the hoo! I already went over my Carlos Correa fantasy about two weeks ago. I told everyone to grab him then, so the same holds true now. If you don’t think you have room, think of the trouble Jeff, Rudyard and Correa went through to make this possible. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Today is the first Saturday in June, and the first day that it really feels like summertime. At least in Southern California it does. Warm weather and baseball just go hand-in-hand. So if you’re not at a game today, fulfill your Saturday baseball with some Razzball picks on DraftKings. Starting Pitchers are your most important position. Are you going to spend your money on a young unproven rookie pitcher, or a pricey proven pitcher that “should” run up your score? It’s a hard decision sometimes, but when you have choices like today, you should feel good about your chances. My strategies usually consist a little of both. Play it safer in 50/50’s. For example, if you’re in a 100 person entry, you can pretty much count on pitchers like Kershaw and King Felix to be owned around two-thirds to three-quarters of the league. You aren’t going to want to gamble and pick Lorenzen and another low to mid-tier pitcher and stack heavy on hitting. You’ll usually get the most points out of you pitchers, so my strategy is to play it safe and stick with the heavy priced pitchers. However, if I’m playing a big ‘Guaranteed’ entry where there are thousands of entries and thousands of dollars to be won in a top five finish, I’m gambling a lot more, and not spending my money on Kershaw and King Felix. It’s all or nothing for me in those type of entries. I’m not saying I’d start Lorenzen and a low-tier pitcher, but I’m certainly not picking the two pitchers which I think will be owned the most. What has worked for you? Have you had a really big win on DraftKings? Share you success in the comments below and tweet at me using #RazzballReader. Enjoy the games!

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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (14) | 2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [77-67] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [78-61] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [61-79] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss):  [27-49] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Jedd Gyorko (2B/3B); Robbie Erlin (LHP); Nick Vincent (RHP)

The Run Down
When gauging this Padres farm from a fantasy perspective, the ballpark factor cannot be ignored.  Virtually any arm in contention for regular starts at Petco is an arm that carries great fantasy potential — all of the pitchers here have a chance to outperform their tools thanks to the cavernous confines of their park.  Conversely, the upsides of the hitters in this org are limited for the same reason.  All that said, there are exciting pieces in this San Diego org on both sides of the fantasy game.  This Padres system has plenty of depth, as usual, and there’s some high-end talent sprinkled in too.  Quietly, San Diego has been one of the more impactful organizations with regard to the fantasy game.  That trend should continue into the foreseeable future.

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Jorge Soler was off to a great start at High-A Daytona, batting .435/.519/.739 with 2 homers through his first six games. The was promising news for the Cubs, who inked him to a nine-year, $30 million contract last summer. The 21-year-old Cuban is not a cost-controlled prospect — there’s an opt-out clause that would make him eligible for arbitration after three years service time, but both sides would be thrilled if it came to that. In any case, there’s incentive for the Cubs to develop him quickly in order to make sure the bulk of those nine years are spent at the highest level. Chicago was smart to make such a long-term investment in Soler — it gives them a little developmental cushion — but they’re still trying to avoid unnecessary setbacks. Things were going well in that department up until Wednesday, when Soler decided to brandish a baseball bat as he sprinted toward the opponent’s dugout following a benches-clearing incident. The league suspended him five games, which isn’t a huge setback, but the Cubs are reportedly investigating the matter further and could tack on more time. I doubt it’ll come to that, but the ordeal still raises some major character concerns. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident and that the new regime in Chicago doesn’t enable such behavior as the old group did with headcases like Carlos Zambrano.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29) | 2008 (13)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [56-88] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [60-80] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [69-71] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [69-71] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss): [47-29] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Yonder Alonso (1B); Yasmani Grandal (C); Anthony Bass (RHP); Brad Brach (RHP); Dale Thayer (RHP)

The Run Down
Pitching depth is the best asset of this San Deigo farm system. From the upper levels down to the complex leagues, the Padres’ farm is flush with quality arms. There are high-ceiling arms, and there are safe, high-floor guys, too. That sort of depth is hugely important — strength in numbers usually prevails in the volatile practice of developing pitchers. This top ten, however, is headlined by hitters. Rymer Liriano, Jedd Gyorko, and Austin Hedges all bring high-impact upside for the fantasy game, and Gyorko could be providing plenty of value this season. It might not be the best system in baseball, but it’s a damn good one. We can look forward to this San Diego organization churning out fantasy-relevant talent in bulk for the next few years.

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