One of the things I love most about baseball, but particularly covering prospects, is when a guy I totally missed on pops up, and exceeds expectations. Sure, I could become obsessed with my own reputation, and shoot down any suggestion that I missed on a player. But what fun is that? So, when it comes to Nick Pivetta, I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t see this coming. Hell, I wrote up 15+ Phillies prospects, and name dropped another 7-8, and didn’t even mention Pivetta. Fangraphs covered 33 Phillies prospects, and Pivetta ranked in at 27! All this to say, that the “out of nowhere” label is somewhat appropriate when it comes to the Phil’s righthander. After an outstanding outing vs the Red Sox at home a few weeks ago, the strikeouts, and numbers in general seem to be trending in the right direction. So why not check him out, and see if we in fact have a breakout bubbling. Before we begin, big shouts to Oaktown Steve, who’s been hyping up Pivetta in the comments the past few weeks like a Sabermetrics Flavor Flav. Only he turned in his giant clock (read that fast), for an abacus, which I’ve heard can get a bit bulky when worn as a necklace. Anyway, let’s get into Pivetta’s last start vs the Cardinals at home, the second time he’s faced the Redbirds in four starts. He’s going today in Arizona, so maybe we’ll see if he’s worth rolling out… Actually no rookie pitcher with a heavy fly-ball approach should be started in Arizona, but that’s just common sense. On to the profile!

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From the land of Pilgrims, Cranberries, Sachems, and Ocean Spray, it’s Middleborough, Massachusetts’ own Sean Newcomb. A true Masshole through and through, over the course of his time in the minors, he’s refused to throw strikes with any regularity. This all changed last week, as Newcomb crushed two XL Great One’s from Dunks, and a marble cruller, before crushing the souls of the Mets. I’ve long followed Newcomb’s career dating back to his high school days at Middleborough. As he’s the rare professional sports product from my corner of the world. After some ups and downs, mostly due to control, or lack there of. Newcomb made his triumphant major league debut a little over a week ago, and in the process looked phenomenal. Flashing control and command he never possessed before. So today, we dig into the second start from the young lefty, at home vs Miami, and Giancarlo. A tough task for the rookie… Oh yeah, then we rank some pitchers.

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So loyal readers of mine are probably thinking – why the switch to Monday, and why the switch to FantasyDraft? Well, simply, the editors asked me to, and I said yes. Now, FantasyDraft and FanDuel have a lot of differences in gameplay, but one of those differences far outweighs all the other ones – the use of a second pitcher in your lineups. All the other differences are cosmetic.

Therefore, it makes more sense for those new to FantasyDraft to compare it to other two-pitcher sites – such as DraftKings. And when you look at it, the two sites are very similar in scoring systems and in salaries (FantasyDraft is almost always double DraftKings, with a few exceptions for what I like to call “pricing buckets”). But there is one major difference between FantasyDraft and DraftKings/FanDuel/most other DFS site that I know of – positional requirements. FantasyDraft requires you to have 3 Infielders, 3 outfielders, and 2 utility players. You do not need to roster a shortstop specifically – you can have Thames, Goldschmidt and Rizzo in a lineup, or for that matter, you could have a lineup of Alcides Escobar, Andrelton Simmons and J.T. Riddle (in which case, send me your FantasyDraft screen name so I can challenge you to a h2h match).

FantasyDraft’s different roster requirements, flexibility and pricing buckets can create a whole host of issues, but there is one noticeable consequence that pops up frequently and it has to do with being able to roster several outfield punts and not have to use punts (or pay up for subpar high end) at very weak positions. For the most part, value plays on DraftKings at every position except outfield are the glove-first, bat-second (or glove-first bat-never) players. Only in the outfield do you get value plays who actually can hit – Gregory Polanco and Billy Hamilton are both very affordable (and yes, I know Billy Hamilton can’t hit, but if you’re reading a DFS article, you know that stolen bases are important). Just to illustrate my point – today, Alcides Escobar is $6,000 and Gregory Polanco is $6,800. There is not a single scenario that does not involve Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale where I would voluntarily play Alcides Escobar over Gregory Polanco were it not for positional requirements.

More on this and today’s picks once I find a reason to play Alcides Escobar on Fantasy Draft…

New to Fantasy Draft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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Another week, another Clayton Kershaw start pushed to Monday. At least this week they moved the start before I wrote and submitted this article. If they move it again Saturday morning, then I will be convinced that Dave Roberts is just doing this to troll me every week. As of now, he is your top two-start starter for Week 12. He might even deserve his own tier.

For Week 12, there aren’t a ton of attractive options after our first two tiers. In previous weeks, we have had middle-of-the-road arms with some good peripherals or some recent success that were available in the majority of leagues. This week, though, I’m not crazy about any of the starters on this list that are going to be available in most leagues. Just look at the numbers in the chart below.

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It’s Peacock week here at Razzball, and I for one, have been trying my damnedest to use some of the lessons taught to me by my mentor, the sometimes debonair, but mostly creepy, world-renowned pickup artist Mystery. You might remember this sexual predator from MTV at some point in the last 10 years. MTV, ruining everything since 1981! You might not recall this, particularly if you’ve never been under the spell of a man dressed as the lead singer of Jamiroquai, but Mystery has long preached the word of “Peacocking”. I can’t be sure, but I’m almost certain that this is the act of pretending you’re Brad Peacock to pickup women. I mean how could this not work have you seen “The P-Cock” in all his glory? Gorgeous just like a horse is, to say the least. The 29 year old Peacock has spent parts of 5 seasons in the majors, mostly as a shuttle arm, between AAA and the majors. In 2017 however, the righty has been a bit of a revelation for the Astros, first in the bullpen, and now in the rotation. Grey wrote him up on Friday, and he’s been one of the more interesting streams over the last few weeks. If only due to that heavenly 15 K/9 over his first three starts. So let’s dig into Peacock and see what he’s doing on the mound, when not going into liquor store rages.

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Something struck me the other day.  Luckily, not a bus.  No, it was a thought.  Bus-sized thought!  I was looking at Rob Neyer’s Twitter account, and he’s almost completely stopped talking about baseball and it’s all about politics.  It’s like he’s taken “stick to sports” as a directive of what not to do.  Occasionally, I’ll make a joke about Trump, but no more than I joke about being married to a Cougar, being a Jew who thinks he’s black, Mike Napoli’s mom’s breasts, hating C**nt Hurdle or an array of things.  Honestly, I miss baseball Rob Neyer.  His hot takes on politics are fine.  Personally, I agree with his politics, but at a certain point doesn’t he miss baseball?  He was the one person who I read religiously at ESPN.  Might be the last person I’ve ever read at ESPN.  The grand game misses you, buddy, come back from the MSM hot takes.  Any hoo!  Rudy’s title inspired me to talk on that topic, but Joe Ross.  He’s why we’re here.  Yesterday, he went 7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners (0 BBs), 12 Ks.  Is it a Mirage or is the Circus, Circus back in town and he’s a Treasure Island of Wynn (I don’t know why I’m in Vegas now.)  His peripherals can go either way.  His 9.7 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and 3.48 xFIP are gorge, but his velocity is way down.  Down to the point where his Hard Contact is up nearly 10% to just under 40%.  The absolute worst of the worst allow Hard Contact at that rate.  Yesterday was a great sign, and I’d hold or grab him, but I want to see another start before saying he’s back.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It feels like forever ago that Michael Pineda was busted for having pine tar on his neck in a start against the Red Sox. Now, over three years later, Pineda takes on the Red Sox at home and is a strong play on FanDuel. First things first: the Red Sox lineup hasn’t been as good as you might expect. They are 16th in the league in wOBA against right-handers at .321, so they’re pretty much league average. And while the start is at Yankee Stadium, Pineda has actually been much better at home this year with a 2.31 ERA. I’m hoping that the matchup scares off others, because it’s actually pretty favorable despite looking scary so this would make Pineda a great contrarian play. Pineda has had himself a fine season, posting a 9.32 K/9 and 2.09 BB/9 and avoiding the poor results he’s had over the last two seasons as his ERA is down to 3.76. At $8,200, he is cheaper than any other elite option at pitcher so “stick” him in your lineups to get some production.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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So let’s just get this whole curse thing out of the way. Seems like every starter I’ve profiled since taking over this here gig has hit the DL, with lone exception being Luis Severino. Some how he’s escaped my DL wrath, which means he made a deal with the devil, or knows strong voodoo. Poor Charlie Morton, Vince Velasquez, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nate Karns, y’all never had a chance without Severino’s voodoo. Yeah, seriously, the “Ralph Curse” is that real! Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, my condolences to the owners of this week’s victim Dinelson Lamet. Let’s pray for a shared secret between he and Luis from the BX. Because DANG, he looks good. He feels like one of those prospects that’s never bad, but falls through the cracks on some lists (mine), while being higher on others (other people not named me). He’s two strong starts, and 10 innings into his major league career, and he’s scheduled to go twice this week. So he’s firmly on the fantasy baseball radar. Enough with the bollocks, let’s dig into the bangers and mash, see what we have here, and determine if he’s someone to hold in the right formats.

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Does anyone remember when Vince Vaughn was funny? It was a time long ago in a land far, far away, your wife was still dating guys wearing Armani Exchange shirts, and George W. Bush was using words like strategrey. It was long before the abortion that was True Detective Season 2, or Couples Retreat, and sometime between Swingers, and The Breakup. In that wrinkle in time Vince Vaughn ruled the box office, and the douchy part of our soul where things like Ed Hardy t-shirts, mirror selfies, and Criss Angel performances still roam free. So where am I going with this awkwardly constructed analogy? I’ll hurry up and get to the point, today’s subject Vince Velasquez has much in common with his big screen brother in initials, way beyond his first name and banal use of the word “Bae-be”. He too started his career with a bang, and universal love during his brief stay in Houston, and then the early season dominance in 2016. And much like Mr. Vaughn, Velasquez took on the task of leading man in the drama that is the Philadelphia Phillies 2017, but unfortunately he just hasn’t been able to recapture the magic. Maybe Velasquez’s nightmare seems less like a heroin dream, and more like a string of poor performances. But the effect is still the same, you just don’t view their latest release with the same excitement you used to. So when I was tasked with covering Velasquez this week by our fearless leader Grey Albright, it felt like a choir singing to me. Perhaps it was the angelic voice of Mr. Albright, perhaps it was my paycheck. Either way, when Grey Albright comes to you and asks “Can you see what’s happin’ with this young brother”, you A. wonder when he became a member of 5% Nation, B. you profile Vince Velasquez. So to the God Grey Albright this is for you…

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On Saturday, Stephen Strasburg went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 15 Ks, ERA at 2.94.  That’s right, fifteen strikeouts, a career high.  Ah… If only every starter got to face the Padres in every game…*wavy lines*  Hey, Danny Salazar is facing the Padres?  This is awesome!  Wait, why is he walking a guy with a .260 OBP?  Did he just give up a homer to Erick Aybar?  He’s having an epileptic fit trying to pronounce Szczur?!  He’s wiping a booger on my Reggie Jackson rookie card?!  How does he even have my Reggie rookie card?!  Mom, did you give Danny Salazar my Reggie rookie card?!  Oh my God, make it stop….Please… *wavy lines*  Worst dream sequence ever!  On this day of BBQs and Memorials, hot dogs and beer, baseball and refreshing our fantasy baseball team page, we can be thankful Strasburg is not a dream.  Though, the reality is Strasburg was a 2.62 ERA pitcher in the 1st half last year and a 6.15 ERA pitcher in the 2nd.  Happy Memorial Day!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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