“I know it was you, Alfredo, you broke my heart–because I should have picked you up yesterday. You’re nothing to me now. Not a brother, not a friend–but, I’ll admit you may be an intriguing add in fantasy baseball this week.” Michael Corleone’s words for his fantasy team are harsh but true. Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon continued his streak of success yesterday, pitching six scoreless innings versus the Cubs, allowing just six base runners and striking out three. Coming off the heels of an eight inning gem last week against Tampa, where he allowed just one run and struck out four, Alfredo now has pitched 21.0 innings, allowing just 2 ER and 13 hits, while grabbing two wins. It looks like he’ll stick in the rotation while Mat Latos is on the shelf. Simon’s sparkling 0.86 ERA is good for top 3 in the league, and the 0.81 WHIP sure is purdy. But before you go racing to the waiver wire dropping your Stephen Strasburgs or your R.A. Dickeys for this guy, just wait a second. Because I didn’t say Simon says? Got ya! I know. Bad. I’m sorry. Anyway, let’s examine if Simon says  you should grab Alfredo or not. If we look closer into the starts, it’s a small sample size but we get the sense he’s been pretty lucky so far, and not just because he’s faced the Mets, Rays and Cubs. Simon’s .194 BABIP is good for top 10 in the league. Along with a 3.14 FIP (3.90 xFIP) and an insane 94.3 LOB% we have a ton a nerdy stats that say major regression coming. Translation: Alfredo is probably gonna get sauced. Mama mia! That’s not to say that those numbers are not still very good. After moving to Cincinnati from Baltimore, Simon was awesome in relief, with a 2.76 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in two years from 2012-2013, way above his career averages (3.98 ERA and 1.33 WHIP). And he’s been extremely efficient as a starter this year as his 13.4 pitches thrown per inning (roughly 3.5 per batter) shows. Doode is doing work. The 13/4 K/BB ratio is nothing special, but he is working efficiently in his starts, going deep into games. So Simon says, if you need a streamer you can grab AlFredo for his next start in Pittsburgh. He’s under 20% owned, and he’s making us an offer we can’t refuse. Ride this hot streak out for now, but if he’s ready to sleep with the fishes don’t hesitate to take him out to the middle of Lake Tahoe and take care of business.

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

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As of 4/10, these middle infielders are all owned in less than 10% of ESPN leagues, and contingent on the context, I would conditionally own them all. And that’s how you alliterate league format dependency.

While they’re ranked by %ownership, I’ll furnish my zeal for each:

#1 – Kolten Wong (6.5%) – He’s only 23, so give him a little time. He’s already got a top-20 contact rate this year and has impressively walked more than he struck out. He’s batting .276 with a .382 OBP and 2 stolen bases. I’m not sure why he’s owned < 10%. Mark Ellis (DL/knee) and Daniel Descalso won’t consume that much time away from him. Very soon, he’ll be owned in over 10% of leagues, so make that happen sooner than later. 70+ runs near the top of that lineup with a 7HR-45RBI-20SB-.270BA is playable at MI.

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Lots of people tried to explain to me why you don’t slide into first base. I still don’t get it, so apparently I’m dense. Is 1st base lifted higher than other bases? Are there Lilliputians standing by first base with mini hammers? Is there a mini MC Hammer there singing U Can’t Touch This which is just so bizarre it screws you up and you hurt yourself? I get that it slows you down, so there’s no point to doing it. I understand that sprinters don’t slide into the finish line. I’ve heard that from countless announcers. I do kinda wish in the next Summer Olympics a sprinter would slide into the finish line just so announcers would stop saying it. I still don’t understand why people invariably get hurt doing it. Josh Hamilton for one. He’s out for 6-8 weeks with thumb surgery. He should’ve just had Ryan Braun look at it, he can cure thumbs just by brining them in vinegar. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Buy/Sell column is back after a long winter break and ready to do this thing better than ever! Let’s hear directly from it. Buy/Sell, “Why are you putting such pressure on me? Better than ever? How about ‘ready to do this hungover’ because it was in Panama City for the last week with James Franco, yelling, ‘Spring…Break…Spring…Break…’ is friggin exhausting! And haunting. I need a nap.” Kolten Wong was named the starting 2nd baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League Baseball Association, and nary a ‘cracker was lit. Upon his call-up last year, Wong was more wrong than right, but less riiiiiiiight than wrong if you’re sarcastic. He didn’t get enough playing time. David Freese kept playing more often than not and Matt Carpenter didn’t move over to third nearly enough. Even after Allen Craig was hurt, Fatt Adams filled in and Wong sat on the bench. Thankfully, the Cardinals finally moved on from Freese. The Freese has been thawed! What? No good? The Cards froze out that Freese! Still nothing? Now that Kolten Wong gets a full time job, he’ll immediately be mixed league relevant and around a top fifteen option with a chance for more. He’s a clone of Pedroia and not because they both need their tippy-toes to get the sugar from on top of the fridge. Wong can hit 15 homers and steal 20 bases with a solid average. Will he or Wongn’t he? No idea, but definitely worth owning in every mixed league. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy and sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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In the top 40 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball, Patrick Corbin headlined the tier named, “Taking a number three doesn’t mean a pee and poop combo.” Corbin now has UCL damage, so he actually is a pee and poop combo. Now, as Alfred Einstein once said, “For every negative reaction, there’s a not-negative reaction to it. I’m hungry, anyone have any snacks?” Alfred Einstein also took three years to pass 4th grade, until his teacher finally passed him saying, “I think all the chromosomes went to his brother Albert.” I’m here to defend Alfred; he did have a point. Corbin’s out, but that means Randall Delgado‘s back in. I’ve re-added him to my top 60 starters, top 400, the War Room and have adjusted my pitchers’ pairings. Where Corbin was a solid, if slightly yawnstipating number 3, Delgado is an exciting upside number five or six. You say tomato, I say that’s a one spicy meatball! What does this mean for Archie Bradley? He doesn’t get wet willied by Didi Gregorius anymore? Kirk Gibson stops calling his name like he’s Edith from All in the Family? Bradley starts the year in the rotation? No on all three. Bradley shouldn’t be affected by this Corbin injury. At least not at first. Since Delgado is now in the rotation, Bradley might be one more injury away from joining the Diamondbacks rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Orioles Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Jon Shepherd from Camden Depot.

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The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Japhet Amador is a giant man, standing at 6-foot-4, weighing in at 315 pounds. In the Mexican League, where he’s played for the last four years, they called him El Gran Burrito. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto once remarked that Amador is welcome at the Presidential Palace anytime, as long as Amador brings his own snacks. When Jose Altuve heard the Astros signed Amador, Altuve was thrilled. No more walking around for Altuve; Amador will just carry him around in a baby bjorn. I watched video of Amador and I’ve never seen such a slow bat through the zone. He looks like a Mexican Meat Loaf in a celebrity softball game. I swear, Amador stopped to eat one of those spicy dried mango candies halfway through his swing. His power is huge, but I’m not sure he’d gonna be able to catch up to anything. Last year in the Mexican League, he hit 36 homers and he’s 27 years old. The Mexican League is supposedly comparable to Triple-A, only instead of buses for transportation, the teams pile into a Toyota Tercel. Right now, he looks pegged for Triple-A, but since the Astros have Robbie Grossman, Marc Krauss, Jesus Guzman and J.D. Martinez vying for everyday ABs, anything could happen. I’d take a flyer on Amador in AL-Only leagues, and wait and see in mixed leagues. Best case scenario, he gets the DH job and hits 25+ homers and .220. The worst case scenario, you draft Altuve and Amador accidentally sits on him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw recently in spring training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Last week we rolled out our Top 25 Fantasy Baseball Prospects for 2014, and today we’re moving on to numbers 26-50.  Remember, this is a 2014-specific list — we’re doing our best here to identify prospects who have the best chance at contributing in the fantasy game this season.  A year ago, the second half of this same list included names like Christian Yelich, Matt Adams, Nolan Arenado, Tony Cingrani, Chris Archer, Michael Wacha, and Avisail Garcia.  I suspect that there will be a handful of impact players found in this group, as well.  Do take note.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (17) | 2012 (20) | 2011 (21) | 2010 (8) | 2009 (9)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL East
AAA: [77-67] International League – Norfolk
AA: [71-71] Eastern League – Bowie
A+: [61-78] Carolina League – Frederick
A: [54-82] South Atlantic League – Delmarva
A(ss): [40-32] New York-Penn League — Aberdeen

Graduated Prospects
 T.J. McFarland (LHP); Steve Johnson (RHP)

The Run Down
Hey, it’s our first weekend post! Draft season must be near. Rejoice!  And when you’re done rejoicing, feel free to take in some words about the Baltimore Orioles farm, a top heavy group, but its headliners are extreme high-impact.  There’s a case to be made for Kevin Gausman being the top rookie pitcher in 2014, and it’s equally plausible that Dylan Bundy could carry that title in 2015.  The top three arms in this group are about as impressive a trio as you’ll find across Minor League Baseball.  On the other side of things, however, there aren’t many heavy hitters here.  This Baltimore system is depleted when it comes to power bats, and it’s fairly light on offensive talent as a whole.  But considering the absurd power and general awesomeness of their big league hitters, I doubt that O’s fans are too concerned right now with that aspect of their farm.

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