As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Before a big test, my high school history teacher would always announce that it would “separate the Dukes from the Chiefs.” Since he liked to be known as Chief, and he called everyone he liked Chief, I’m assuming that this meant that the “Chiefs” were the good guys. Then again, Chief also liked to transport himself back to ‘Nam sometimes, stalking around the classroom looking for “Charlie.” The weirdest thing? I’m not even sure he was in ‘Nam.

Anywho, this legendary teacher from my youth came to mind as I was writing this week’s Two Startapalooza because at Week 4, we’re starting to be able to separate the Dukes from the Chiefs.

As in, it’s obvious that Darvish, King Felix and James Shields are still Chiefs. Yordano Ventura and Julio Teheran are looking like Chiefs. Cliff Lee, who was starting to look a little Duke-ish to me, is still pretty much a Chief. David Price, a surefire Chief a few years ago, is very much a Duke right now.

It’s becoming a lot easier to fill out the Third Tier and Don’t Starts, because we know who is a Duke and who is not. And to get in the Must Start category, you are most certainly a Chief or you have two starts against the Astros next week.

Aight, Chief, let’s get to it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As they say in a Jewelery District of any major city, Johnny Cueto pitched a gem. Well, any major city except Detroit. There they call a gem, “Slowly remove it from your finger, and no funny business!” Against the Pirates yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks. Pretty much across the board for Cueto’s career, I haven’t been a fan. His xFIP has always been much worse than his ERA, and his K-rate has never been close to an elite starter. Well, a weird thing happened on the way to his fifth start of the year, he looks like an ace. His xFIP is down to 2.55, his K-rate is 10.50 and his walk rate is 2.40. Those are fantasy ace numbers. Last year through April, he had a 2.80 xFIP, 9.35 K-rate and 3.12 walk rate. Those numbers aren’t that different. Hey, random italicized letters are my shtick. Not right now, Random Italicized Voice. Whoa, snippy! There is one fairly significant difference between Cueto this year and last. About a mile per hour on his fastball. In some instances, his fastball is averaging two extra miles per hour from last April, and he’s cut out his, uh, cutter, and his ground balls have remained. He’s pitching slightly different, slightly better, and, for the first time I can remember, I’m really liking what Cueto is showing. Ain’t that a kick in Jason LaRue’s head? His ERA won’t stay at 1.50, but I also wouldn’t be looking to sell him high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Yesterday, Andrew McCutchen nailed down his 3rd straight 20/20 season. He’s once again a top ten on our Player Rater. So, is it The Dread Pirate or Paul Goldschmidt (who notched a slam (34) and legs (15) last night — Au Shizz!) as the 3rd player off the board next year? Miggy and Trout are locked into the ones and twos like you in high school when you briefly thought DJ was a career choice. A case could be made for either of them, and I haven’t decided yet. It’s my, and every fantasy baseball ‘pert’s prerogative, to wait. You can’t just say I’m the handsomest, most musatchioed ‘pert and expect me to drop my pants and get into bed with you. That might work for AJ Mass when you want him to rank Carl Crawford third. Rub my shoulders, they’re sore from 6 months of blurb writing. There, that’s nice… Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah! McCutchen is an easy number three because you’re going to get steals, power, average, RBIs and runs….But Au Shizz gets you all of that with less speed, more power and 1st base eligibility…But McCutchen has a longer track record…But Au Shizz has a higher ceiling…But does he? But-but-but! I got more butts than Leyland’s ashtray. It might come down to a game time decision in January when I release the 2014 rankings…Assuming I don’t ride off into the sunset on a horse like I’m Julia Roberts when it’s time for me to get married this offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jose Bautista left yesterday’s game as Jose hip got amiss and he hit the DL. In his place will be Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar, who’s good friends with Jason Paritek and Kevin Poukilis, but even Pillar can’t stand Jonathan Ppappelbon. Pillar said, “He’s a pancing fool!” In the minors this year, Pillar had nine homers and 23 steals while maintaining a .300+ average. He profiles as a fourth outfielder, but you never know when someone gets hot. He hasn’t yet though. Meanwhile, Gose is good if you have the need…the need for speed! Or so says Maverick. Gose stole 70+ bases some years in the minors. No, that’s not a misprint. Unfortch, he never heard that anonymous credo, you can’t steal first. Together, they’re interesting from a Jays’ perspective. Together, not so much from a fantasy one, unless one steals the job (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, duck, duck, Gose!). In AL-Only leagues, I’d grab the Pillar and wait until someone says, “Hey, you making sure the Parthenon doesn’t fall?” In deep mixed leagues, I’d grab Gose if you’re desperate for steals. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Did you guys see that Clint Eastwood movie, “Trouble with the Curve”? No? Yeah, me neither. It got a 52% on RottenTomatoes.com, which is pretty awful, so I think it’s safe to assume we didn’t miss much. Anyway, I’m thinking the whole flick would’ve gone over better if it had just looped this clip from the Little League World Series over and over again:

Bhahahahahah. I laugh, but I’m sure my effort wouldn’t have been much better. Your two-starters are below.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jose Veras was traded to the Tigers, which is bad news for Veras and potentially Joaquin Benoit. It’ll likely only be bad news for Veras’s owners. My guess is Benoit will hold the job with Veras setting him up, but I would hold Veras until the Tigers confirm that through usage. It’s also potentially bad news for anyone who picks up the Lastros potential replacement, Jose Cisnero. Too bad Jose “Set The Table For The Opposing Team” Mesa retired, it sounds like there’s a Jose revival. “I can get someone to cover for me selling scratch-off tickets.” That was Jose Mesa, holding a presser at his local 7-11. Since the newest name to get some fantasy value is Cisnero, let’s be like a cyclops with a monocle and take a closer look. He’s been awful. You’d be hard-pressed like overpriced juice to find someone who has been as bad recently that could be getting saves. Since June 26th (last ten appearances), he’s given up eight runs in 8 2/3 IP. In that time, he’s allowed nine walks, nine hits and one homer. Only thing he’s not allowed is a legitimate reason to be the closer other than he’s young and the Asstros might like to try him out for next year. Another option for saves in Houston is the guys the Astros just called up, Josh Zeid and Chia-Jen Lo. Both of which sound like background extras in the cantina scene in Star Wars. Both are unproven, so likely headed for the middle innings or to see Boba Fett. Finally, there’s Wesley Wright, who sounds like the third Wright brother — the one that was scared of heights. “We’re gonna need you to put your seat in the upright position.” “You know what? You and Wilbur have at it.” That was Wesley getting off the plane right before that maiden flight. Wright is more of a lefty specialist, so he might only see a handful of saves. Then again, this is the Lastros, and there may only be a handful of saves for anyone. All in all, or whatever clunky intro you want on this sentence, I’m glad someone else beat me to the punch grabbing Cisnero. I sense a Mitchell Boggs reprise in the works, which isn’t the same as The Mitchell Boggs Reprisal that the Geneva Convention commissioned after Boggs attacked fantasy owners ratios earlier this year. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

How many times have you completely written off Francisco Liriano? Seriously. Probably four or five times, right? I know I’ve uttered the phrase “f**k that guy, I’m never using him again” at least once a year for the last five years. That’s the way it is with him — the K-potential has always made him an interesting option for fantasy streaming, but until this year, I don’t think he’s ever helped my team. Not once. Which is what makes Liriano’s 2013 production so absurd, and it’s definitely no fluke at this point. Through roughly 90 IP he’s posted a 2.23 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP while whiffing more than a batter per inning. And given his sub-3 FIP, the peripheral numbers bode well, too. I’m sure I’ll have to write him off again at some point, but it’s amazing to consider the path the 29-year-old Liriano has taken to transition from never-using-him-again streamer status, to one of the best arms in the league. He goes twice this week, making his debut in the must start tier. The rest of the week 18 two-starters are below.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First off, let me just say I am hanging my head in shame about my Danny Valencia call last week. Not only did he only see 3 at-bats up to Saturday morning, he was DFA’ed by Wednesday. Painful, and I’m not just talking about the shot to my pride. Grey’s paddle is pretty formidable and has ‘O.B. Badass’ written on one side of it. I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing till they got a hold of me…but I have to let the past lie in the past and move on. Or do I? Maybe instead this week I should go Back To The Future on y’all and revisit a man who used to be a great weekly ride but has shown his age a bit this year and see what’s left in the tank. So join me as we see why Luke Scott should be a nice pick-up for week 15 of the 2013 fantasy baseball season…

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Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter, and it was the first time a player who looked identical to Christian Bale has thrown the last two no-hitters in the major leagues. Johnny Vander Meer’s family is currently drawing bat ears on old photos of Johnny to try and contest that record. Nolan Ryan was the last non-Balehead to throw the majors back-to-back no-hitters in 1974 and ’75, but the coincidences don’t end there! Back then the only live action Batman was Adam West, and Nolan was pitching as far West as you can go in California and Joe West called Ryan’s fifth no-hitter and Kanye West wasn’t born yet but Jesus was and that’s who Kanye thinks he is. It’s a small word after all, which is played at Disneyland and that’s in Anaheim where Nolan played. My brain is bugging out! Bailey seems like he’s a one-game-a-year pitcher, but he’s been terrific all year. He’s in the top ten for FIP and has the 4th best K-rate in that group. That’s not a 2nd or third fantasy starter; that’s an ace, over-the-internet friend. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?