*swirls a glass, takes a gulp. spits it back in a bucket*  “That’s vintage Justin Verlander,” said Kate Upton.  “Okay, this might sound gross, but can you spit into my mouth?”  That’s you getting up the nerve to say something to Kate Upton.  I just thought of a moneymaking idea for Shark Tank!  You stand outside of Comerica Park with a cardboard cutout of a naked Verlander and have people pay $10 to take a picture with him, pretending to be Kate Upton.  Oh, and no, this post isn’t an attempt to Bleacher Report up Google’s rankings by mentioning Verlander and Upton repeatedly, though it does seem that way…Verlander/Upton, Verlander/Upton and Verlander/Upten for the illiterates.  So, Verlander did look magnificent yesterday until the 8th inning when he began to tire, ending up with a one hitter –> 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (1 Hit), 9 Ks with an ERA at 3.45.  Big Magoo captured Verlander’s upside about two weeks ago with this post.  Worth reading, but the key part (cause I know, y’all can only read so much), “Since the All-Star break, Verlander’s 7.25 K/BB ratio is the 5th highest among qualified starting pitchers, and his 1.1 BB/9 is the 6th lowest.  He shares the same swinging strike rate (12.1%) as Jake Arrieta and Gerrit Cole over that span as well.  Now, excuse me as I go drain the weasel on a picture of Grey.”  Hey, wait a minute!  I didn’t remember that last part.  So, if Verlander is out there in your league, the one-hitter yesterday doesn’t seem to be a hirame.  Sorry, I just had sushi.  It’s not a fluke.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jorge Soler is likely done for the year with a strained oblique.  This is one of those injuries that comes with a sigh of relief.  Yay, I don’t have to keep running Soler out there and being disappointed.  Disappointment, you are the mistress of expectation, aren’t you?  Soler fascinates me in a car crash that you rubber neck while you pass sorta way.  Here’s a preseason tweet from Peter Gammons, “John Mallee (Cubs hitting coach) says Jorge Soler hasn’t swung at a pitch out of the strike zone all spring.  Scary good.  May be best of Cubs lot right now.”  Cubs committed to playing him, and, by the end of the year, you had to wonder if they should’ve just been committed.  If his year is over, he ends with 7 HRs, 3 SBs and a .265 average in 278 plate appearances.  Worse (yeah, it can get worse), his strikeout rate zoomed, and not in the fun way like Aretha Franklin’s zooming.  On our Player Rater, he was about as valuable as Will Venable, Brandon Moss and Jeff Francoeur.  Or make that, as craptastic as those guys.  In 2016, Soler will be one of those guys that goes in the 150 range that could be as valuable as Pollock this year, or as valuable as the Pollock that parked so close to your car you couldn’t get in your door and needed to climb through the trunk, knock down the backseat and crawl through to the steering wheel.  Time, not the magazine, will tell.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

What a night! I spent last evening at Razzball’s Boston stop of the #32in32in32 tour kicking it with the one and only Nick Capozzi, Smokey (my new best friend) and a whole bunch of Razzaholics at the Greatest Bar in Boston (obnoxious Boston bar name alert). Though the focus was football, there was a whole lot of Daily Fantasy baseball talk with so many daily junkies in the building. A few conversations about lineup strategies and spending approaches came up. The overwhelming sentiment seemed to be how much cheaper hitters had gotten since the DraftKings acquisition of Draft Street. I’d have to agree, I also have to say I don’t dislike it. It’s made the format even more competitive and allowed me to get aces into my rotation more frequently, which I’m good with. As any good DraftKing knows it’s all about the pitching baby! Well, loyal Razzballers (Grey’s mom’s term?) today is no different. With a full slate of games and a full slate of pitchers to choose from I feel a little underwhelmed. I can say that there are only three starters who I’m actually excited to start today. One of which I’m taking on blind faith. Well maybe not quite blind becauseKyle Hendricks has been damn good since his call up (5-1, 1.66 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) and has put up three start starts of 20+ points on DK. The K rate leaves something to be desired but 3 straight starts of 7 innings or more makes up for the lack of punchouts. It doesn’t hurt that his price is cheap at $7,100, allowing you to target some high end bats in the early games.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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 check theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tommy Medica had the game of his life last night, going 5-for-5 with two home runs (5 & 6), 4 runs and 4 RBI. Somebody call a doctor, because Tommy Medica is so sick! Now wait just a minute, hold onto your coffee, and don’t drop anything or anyone just yet, (especially not your coffee because that may burn and I can’t afford a lawsuit). Medica, who generally sits against righties, has been filling in for Yonder Alonso the past month or so while he’s on the shelf. He has squandered the opportunity, batting just .217 with zero homers and 4 RBI in 46 at-bats in July. Even for the Padres, that’s barely a major league starter. I guess his hitting coach has been advising him to study Jedd Gyorko early season game tape. More likely than not, Medica will be headed back to the platoon role once Yonder Alonso returns, but the trade of Chris Denorfia could potentially open up some more playing time. Either way, what a game Tommy Boy! Holy schnikes! I added Medica in a few places on the off-chance this performance buys him some more playing time, but I’d keep the expectations low outside NL-Only and deep mixed leagues. For the time being, Tommy Medica is batting 1.000 and slugging 2.200 in August and certainly a name worth monitoring over the weekend.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lights cigarette, takes a deep inhale, ahhhh that was satisfying. Looks over at DraftKings app and says “It’s good to have you back”. That’s how I felt last night with the return of baseball. After what seemed to be the four longest days of my life, I was more than happy to get back to a night of watching baseball and playing in Razzball’s Daily Leagues. In my best night in awhile, I cashed in all but one contest I entered. Winning one of our two nightly leagues, placing in a GPP, and winning a couple of head to heads. It was a good start to the second half! Well we’re back again today with another contest for the 11 games this evening. It’s an unusual Saturday in that the majority of games are tonight as opposed to afternoon contests.

Other than myself, congrats to last night’s other winners PC Bomberos, and Rasjuba who were the 2nd and 3rd place winners from contest one. As well as the winner of our 2nd contest and the owner of the highest total (139.15) between the two leagues; our very own Schlurricane. He was followed by Bearcats594 and jackieinertia respectively. If you’re not playing DraftKings yet, do yourself a favor and get signed up. Just for joining with us today you’ll get a free entry into a contest. It’s a sweet deal! Plus we have tons of tools to help you get setup and on the right track with your lineups. Check out the DFSBOT, the Stream-o-Nator, the Hitter-tron, and the Ombotsman.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“All this time, I had a dead possum on my head and I didn’t even realize it.” That was overheard recently by Selig. There should be a rule that anyone that can’t make the determination that their toupee is obvious to everyone should not be in any high-powered position. Rule number two: They should be able to hear. Or maybe he’s saying to an off-camera female reporter, “Where can I get one earring like that for this ear?” But since Selig can’t figure out the most-basic concepts, I’m going to break it down to him real simple as I did on yesterday’s Razzball TV on the Radio. How do people get excited about a particular day if no one knows when the hell that day is? Super Two status day is, um, well, no one has any idea! It changes for every player. A team could think they’re delaying it now and in two years realize they haven’t delayed it. Major League Baseball should say all rookies keep the extra year of eligibility if they stay down until May 31st. So this way everyone can focus on June 1st as the big day. Or make it June 5th. I don’t care, just make it one day so fans can get excited about a specific day. Like how there is a trading deadline. Any the hoo! For Jon Singleton, it’s irrelevant because the Astros gave him a contract and he will now be their starting 1st baseman. I already gave you my Singleton fantasy, it went like this, “Singleton was suspended for 50 games last year for smoking marijuana. Singleton wasn’t even tested until he kept forgetting the pitch count and called time out to grab some nachos. After his suspension, Singleton said, “I made an error in judgement. I should’ve cleansed by downing a 3-liter jug of cranberry juice rather than Nature’s Way Detox Tea. Damn you, Tommy Chong, for endorsing that inferior product!” Any self-respecting marijuana smoker will tell you that players aren’t suspended for DUIs but marijuana gets them… Then they trail off and their argument becomes less coherent and they’ll ask if they can borrow your Snuggie so they can take a nap. We should throw out his 2013 season. Who knows how long it took for him to return to form after his suspension. He’s still a prospect and only 22 years old. In 2012, Singleton hit 21 homers with 7 steals and a .284 average in 131 games. That’s more like what his minor league season should look like, and he does have 30-homer power, but won’t hit for a huge average. He strikes out too much. Singleton reminds me a lot of fellow Astro, Chris Carter. See, the truth is out there. Maybe Chris Carter and Jon Singleton can get together and make an X-Filez movie. Last year, Carter hit 29 homers and .223 with an insanely terrible 36.2% strikeout percentage. Singleton could do the same. More than likely, he won’t be quite that bad for average. Singleton could hit for the same amount of power and hit for a .260 average. Singleton will give you a line of 32/14/39/.258/4 and be up in June.” And that’s me quoting me! I’d grab him in every league for the chance for some sweet, sweet upside, and have already. Here’s hoping he can fill my giant gaping, Fielder-sized hole at 1st base. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ve said before Homer Bailey is someone you should acquire in a trade. SAME! I’ve said Homer and homers are synonymous. SAME! Those homers should come down, literally. SAME! I…went…scuba…diving…while…eating…Captain…Crunch…SAME! His K-rate is down from last year and his walks are up…NOT SAME! I’ve also said his BABIP is absurdly high, which means he’s getting unlucky. SAME! I’ve said before the difference between his xFIP and his ERA are huge, but after his last start his ERA is starting to come down. Um, SAME but different? He’s not the same pitcher as he was last year. SAME NOT SAME! His Ks are a bit off. NOT SAME! It’s more likely he has a low-3 ERA the rest of the way than the plus-5 ERA he has right now. Um…Well…Dah, the Gobstopper! I wouldn’t trade anyone too huge to acquire Bailey, but the beauty of this is you don’t have to. He’s got a 5+ ERA, so trade for him your Never Nude jorts. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome to the second edition of the Lineup Maximizer! If you’re here as a result of my Reddit AMA, glad to know that that day wasn’t all for naught. Kidding! My motivations for dispensing fantasy advice are purely altruistic.

Before we get under with this week’s streaming picks, let’s recap how we did last week in honor of commenter Simply Fred. Record-keeping and accountability are taken seriously around these parts.

Last Week & Season Results

16 AB, 2 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB, .188 AVG.

My first edition’s picks did perform as well as hoped, but if you agree with the process, results should follow over a larger sample. The question should be raised though, what should we expect from these players? Sure, most of them have favorable matchups, that’s why I highlight them in the article. But they are still available in the vast majority of leagues for a reason, that reason being they aren’t good enough to be owned in the vast majority of leagues.

I could try to compute a baseline scientifically, something like the rate at which replacement level hitters score runs, homers, etc. on a per game basis, but let’s instead just do something that feels nice. A .250 average, that feels nice. If the hitters I suggest here end up getting one hit for every four at-bats, I think everyone would agree it was worth our time to do this. Also arbitrary, I’ll aim for .5 runs per game, .5 RBI, .2 HR, and .2 SB. If one of every five players hits a home run (one per article), I think we all go home happy.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Over the off-season Rudy laid out his argument for why it’s important to maximize at-bats in fantasy leagues with daily moves (like the RCL ones). Even if the mathematical proof don’t resonate with you, there’s no denying the good vibes generated from streaming a hitter for a night and getting even just a 1-for-4 line with a run. Don’t know that feeling? Seriously, loosen up man. Do something crazy. Get black AND pinto beans on your next Chipotle burrito. Pay extra for guac. Add Mike Carp for a night. Just one.

The only downside to this strategy is time. The time it takes to sort through the options and decide who to add and who to drop. Razzball offers tools like Hitter-Tron and Stream-o-Nator to help speed up the process, but even then you have to scroll through its table to find who is available, make sure he will actually play, the game won’t be rained out, etc. For those of you with a wife, two kids, and a job, I get it. It’s tough being a loving father and winning fantasy manager.

I have no wife and zero kids so what I’m offering is to add meaning to my life and do some of that work for you. What I’ll do is scroll through Hitter-Tron, find the best players that are mostly unowned and likely to start, and present them here in an easily digestible format. My plan is to do this every Sunday and Wednesday so you can fill out your lineup on Mondays and Thursdays (the days when teams have off days and you’ll need to stream guys). Sound good? You’re not sure? Whatever, I’m not you trying to convince your girlfriend to try anal. It won’t hurt to do it once.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Four teams were showing interest in Stephen Drew. No official word on which four teams, but I’m guessing the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox and whoever didn’t want the Yankees, Tigers or Red Sox to get him. Probably the Giants. That Sabean is a real party pooper! “Stephen Drew is under 40 years old, but he comes across as a guy that is aging twice the speed of the average human.” That’s Sabean weighing Drew’s pros and cons. Well, tough noogs, Sabean, the Red Sox secured their long-coveted, barely above replacement level shortstop. In a news conference, the Red Sox said they hadn’t had a news conference in a while and felt like now was as good a time as any. “We were gonna hold a presser to say Jerry Remy was down to a pack and a half of smokes a day, but this is so much better!” Drew hasn’t been worth owning in fantasy in about six years, so I wouldn’t expect you picking him up will work as a Viagra substitute. He’s around that of a 12-homer, 5-steal, .250 hitter. Lowercase yay. This will move Xander Bogaerts to third base and Will Middlebrooks to an outside chance of being a deep league sleeper in 2015, if he gets a few good at-bats off the bench when he returns because he’s now out of a job. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?