Imagine you are given a perfect list of auction values. Like you walk to the top of Mt. Sinai and instead of the Ten Commandments, God hands you a sheet of perfect dollar values for your upcoming auction. (Relative to burning bushes and other ways God has made his “presence known”, I’d say this would rank about middle of the pack in terms of directness). What would you do with these values?

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Can the Braves please trade Craig Kimbrel?  This isn’t a fantasy question, it’s a real question.  What need does a team, who is obviously rebuilding for 2017, have for the best closer in baseball?  Plus, closers are the most overvalued position in sports. Rant over, sorry.  Okay, let’s get to some fantasy baseball…

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Writing for Razzball is a pretty sweet gig. The fantasy master lothario himself, Mr. Grey Albright, has provided me with a tremendous amount of creative control over the subject matter that I choose to write about. All that I’m required to do in return for this freedom is ensure that the topics that I choose to discuss are fantasy-relevant as well as consistently heap praise upon my employer (nice stache Boss!). While this arrangement is usually a blessing, it can also be a bit of a curse at times. There are so many different things to write about, so many potential angles to pursue when analyzing statistics. It can be difficult to narrow it down and focus on a specific set of search criteria. Sometimes, I know exactly how this guy feels.

Want to take me on in a Razzball Commenter League? Join my league here!

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The day of reckoning is upon us. You could even say that today is judgment day. The pitching machine known as the Klubot didn’t feel pity, or remorse, or even elbow pain en route to 269 hitter terminations via the strikeout last season and earning the ’14 Cy Young Award to take into the future. But the question remains, “Why was Terminator Salvation even made?” Wait a second, wrong question. The one we’re looking to answer today is: “Who is the next Klubot off of the assembly line?”

In the first part of this series, we identified the starting pitchers who met the “Kluber criteria” during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. But what exactly are those criteria comprised of? Here are the search parameters that I used to try to find the next Corey Kluber:

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Greetings all, and welcome to the first installment of The Numbers Game. “Boy, that title sounds about as exciting as it would be to draft Omar Infante in 2015.” Hey, quiet in the peanut gallery! Fantasy baseball is, as the title of this series makes blatantly obvious, all about the numbers. The idea behind these posts is to identify players who fit a specific set of search criteria using statistics accumulated over the past three seasons. The various criteria that I’ll be using will be established based on player comps and/or the MLB averages in key statistical categories. Some results will include data from 2014 only, while others will include some combination of the previous two seasons as well. The ultimate goal of these exercises is to provide a different perspective that will help to confirm your evaluations of certain players and perhaps reconsider your opinions of others. While I’ll be providing my two cents from time to time, it’ll be up to you to decide how valid the results truly are.

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Keeper league rankings are here (the 2014 Rankings can be found here), and I am going to absolutely shock the world with my number one. This is all about zagging when others zig. You gotta get out in front of the pack with advanced statistics and clever strategory. Sometimes you have to be bold and go against the grain to get that competitive edg…what’s that? Everybody else has Mike Trout number one too? It’s common sense? Well…crap. These are my personal rankings and take into account the 2015-2019 seasons. Don’t start flipping through your calendar – that’s 5 years. It means the senior citizen players are really going have to provide some nice statistics in the first year or two to rank highly. It also means players who are in or, better yet, just entering their prime get a bump. It’s not a hybrid list, so no prospects or Cuban rookies…sorry. It’s also not set for any specific pricing or league settings so assume a standard 5×5 roto format with no penalties to keep a player. Basically it’s a ranking of what I think these players will be worth over the next 5 years as a whole. It’s that simple. Here are my top 100 keepers for 2015 and beyond…

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It started with a simple email. Hey Grey and Rudy, wouldn’t it be cool if someone wrote about the top pitchers broken down by month? And within those months, to evaluate with and without wins to ascertain who pitched well and gave good value vs. who pitched for a 90 win club and had a 4-0 month? Response was a resounding yes, of course. And of course, it was my own damn fault for having such a good idea because now I’m here giving you offseason content prior to January. Clearly the time that everyone is reading about fantasy baseball. Oh well, let’s get to it. Here’s a look back at April’s pitching to see if it holds any keys going forward to 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Long before I became a hack over here at Razzball, I was a frequent commenter known as “Jack Full of Hate”. J-FOH is an acronym for those that haven’t figured that out yet. I was known for my rants, smack and general disdain for anything and everything. Then one day that angry guy with a heart of gold was recruited by Sky out of the comments section and turned into a contributer for the best fantasy sports website on the net. After starting to write for the football side and passing his Silence of the Lambs test I got the green light to join the baseball side. You might ask yourself, what is a Silence of the Lambs test? It’s the part of the interview where Sky threw me in a pit, tucked his junk, held his 80-pound dog and yelled at me it rubs the lotion on it’s skin or else it gets the hose again as I screamed “I want to write for Razzball!” Then he got me drunk, took me to a football game, and then threw me back in the pit. I never understood the second trip into the pit because thats where it got really weird. He blared this song while he danced around wearing clown make-up as he flung chili at me for the next day and a half. Now what does Sky’s eccentricity have to do with the RCL updates this week? It’s a two part response, with the first being advised by my therapist to get this off my chest, and the second to demonstrate how he broke me. That hateful one has been reined in but alas a savior came to my aid when last week Grey told me I can go ahead and do a shame segment this week. I’ve been watching highlights of this play to get my anger up. F**k you Brian Sabean…F**k you Bruce Bochy and F**k you Baseball for ruining my game even more than it already has been. It’s f**king baseball b*tches lets play it like it’s meant to be. This is why I love fantasy so much because the reality of the real game makes me want to slit my wrists and start listening country pop. [Jay’s Note: Not necessarily in that order…]

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As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay’s Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

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As I write this, I’m on a plane. I knew I wouldn’t have internet, so I asked myself what data could I pull and play with to help you play with your team. Let me play guarantee fairy again… I’m supposed to be writing about Deep Impact. I guarantee you can use this list to trade away pitchers that are over-performing for long term deep impact while targeting other pitchers that can provide you with more short-term value. Use the comments section below and I’ll scold or virtual high-five your trade offers.

Please, blog, may I have some more?