Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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How many of you remember the watershed 1993 film Dazed and Confused? In this coming of age saga, a young righty, with the flowing locks of Sampson himself, embarks on a journey that will change his life forever. It is in that film where we first meet Mike Clevinger. I could go on a lengthy diatribe about the film with the Indians righty supplanted as the protagonist, but I already did that a year and a half ago when I first introduced you to Mr. Clevinger. It’s like I’m watching my kids grow up right before my eyes. Either way Clevinger is long haired and goofy just like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. Not to toot my own horn, but to totally toot my own horn, I called this developing breakout a year ago. The Indians acquired the former 2011 4th rounder from the Angels back in 2014 for pen arm Vinny Pestano. Since then it’s been a classic Cleveland starter story, as the organization focused on bringing Clevinger along first as a pen arm, and now as a starter. With a 14.1% SwStr, and a 28.5% K%, there’s some signs that Clevinger, in a season of disappointing starters, could be a diamond in the rough. Let’s look under the hood, and then go pitch by pitch through his Sunday start vs. the division rival Detroit Tigers.

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There is no truth to the rumor that Elvis Andrus stole his entire playing career from “Fats” Domingo, “Ivory” Roberto Kelly or Nate King Colbert.  Elvis hits the covers off the ball better than Cam “Carl” Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis Brinson.  It is not Elvis’ fault that the way he plays the bat is seen as an appropriation of a top shortstop of yesteryear.  He’s got the chops to knock down that axe!  (All guitar knowledge I possess was used in that nine word sentence.)  Yesterday, Elvis Andrus had the best game of an already great season, going 3-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs with his 8th and 9th homers.  On our Player Rater, he’s in the top 20 overall.  Not for shortstops, for all hitters and pitchers.  Love me tender!  Some of the names he’s above Giancarlo, Correa, Mookie and Dee Gordon.  Love me sweet!  Never let me go!  Well, not so fast there.  If I thought you could actually get value for Andrus in a trade, I could see it since he’s likely at his peak value.  Unfortunately, there’s little chance you’d get back in a trade anything resembling Andrus’ value, so I’d Bubba hold Tep.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I wish I knew more about Street Fighter so I could come up with better Ryu puns or references. My knowledge of SF (do people abbreviate it like that?) ends at knowing it was fighting video game I had growing up that wasn’t as good as Mortal Kombat (hot take alert). And for the record, yes, I know Hyun-Jin Ryu pronounces his name differently. Give me a break, and go with it.

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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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On Thursday night, Gumby will be taking the mound for the Yankees, taking on the Athletics at the Coliseum. Gumby, of course, is rookie left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who has put together a nice season thus far, with an 8.67 K/9 and a 3.27 BB/9. This is good for a 3.55 ERA and a 3.57 FIP, and there’s nothing in Montgomery’s profile to scream regression. He’s facing a weak A’s lineup that is 23rd in wOBA against lefties at .298, and in a great pitcher’s park. At just $7,500, Gumby is a great bang for your buck.

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It is the time of year where we see daily grind injuries. Sore backs, back stiffness, back discomfort etc. A lot of injuries that just accumulate from playing six games a week in the summer heat. If you thought we’ve had a lot of injuries so far — I have a sneaking suspicion there are going to be more of these type of injuries. Not season ending — just break down injuries. If you have an opportunity to acquire a multi-position player like Brandon Drury, Danny Valencia, Chris Taylor or Taylor Motter you might make it through these injuries better than your opponents. 

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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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Cameron Maybin returned from the disabled list last night after a minimum stay and got right back to business. Leading off, Maybin went 3-for-4 scoring four runs, and stole four bases to bring his total to seventeen for the year. That’s right, folks. FOUR STEALS! Sweet sassy molassy! Killer Cam already has more steals than he did all of last year in Detroit (15), and he became the first player since 2013 to steal four bases in a game, and just the 12th player in EVER to steal four bases and score four runs. Have a day! Setting records! Making history! Years ago I wrote a lede pleading with my readers to pick up Cameron Maybin in April and he ended up having one of his most productive seasons ever. So here’s hoping lightning can strike twice, and by lightning I am of course referring to Maybin’s speed. He stole 10 bases in May in 89 at bats hitting .270 with two home runs. Basically, if you got a need for speed, you’re not going to do much better than Maybin, who is available in a little over 80% of ESPN leagues at the moment. With the Angels outfield decimated by injuries, Cam should have ample opportunity to play, and leading off can only help his stolen base numbers. He’s capable of putting up big speed numbers for your team (he stole 40 for San Diego in 2011) if he can stay healthy, which of course with Maybin is a huge Aaron Judge-sized “if.” Still, Cameron is worth riding while he’s leading off, and hitting, and stealing and healthy and I’d add him everywhere I had a need for speed. Let’s hope Maybin this time will be different.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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