I don’t know where it’s coming from with Jeremy Hazelbaker, so I called Keith Morrison of Dateline to investigate.  He went to St. Louis to investigate and left me this message, “Here, in bucolic St. Louis, all seemed right in the world.  Jeremy had just married his high school sweetheart, and they were on a honeymoon of a lifetime when the unthinkable happened.”  I picked up the phone, because I use an old school answering machine, “Keith, St. Louis isn’t bucolic, and I’m not looking for a suspicious murder scenario.  I want to know who Jeremy Hazelbaker is for fantasy baseball.”  Keith continued, “The neighbors had nothing but nice things to say about the couple.  But they didn’t see the dark side.”  “Keith, yesterday, Hazelbaker went 4-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI, and is hitting .526 through a week’s worth of games and hitting 2nd on most days.  Can he continue it?”  “Only that wasn’t pine tar on his bat, it was iron-rich blood.  Coming up after the break–”  So, I don’t know how the Cardinals do this with outfielders every year.  These outfielders that just come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant; I will call them, The Sons of Ludwick.  Will it continue for Hazelbaker?  It seems highly unlikely.  He profiles as a 5-7 HR, 15-17 SB guy who might hit .245.  But, ya know what, I don’t need to know where it’s coming from or if it will continue to own Hazelbaker, as I now do in a few leagues.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“With my last trick, I will make Paul Simon six feet tall, while throwing a 94 MPH fastball with pinpoint control.”  Then Ray Searage waved a fancy-style cape in front of the audience.  It didn’t block their gaze, but it was such an exotic-looking garment, they were distracted enough to not notice a six-foot-tall Paul Simon walk onto stage, towering over Art Garfunkel.  Simon then threw a brushback pitch while singing Home Plate Bound.  Prior, of course, Searage made the seemingly all-over-the-map Juan Nicasio into an ace.  Or at least an ace in spring training.  Do I believe Nicasio is fixed because of some spring training stats?  Actually, yeah, he could be, and is worth a flyer.  Last year, he averaged 95 MPH on his fastball, and his undoing was always his control, which Searage has helped other pitchers conquer.  Bring Searage your stuff, and he’ll make it work.  I added Nicasio into the top 80 starters and gave him the projections of 8-10/3.81/1.33/148 in 165 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Bryan Kilpatrick, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Colorado Rockies!

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Baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, took the podium yesterday and said, “Whether it’s the speed of the game, popularity of the game — as indicated by TV ratings — the amount of open-handed palm grabs of a crotch or spousal abuse, we will not become the NFL.  For better or worse, the number seven is indivisible under God and so are we!”  And with that, Our Man Fred suspended Aroldis Chapman for 30 games.   Trying to stay positive, Aroldis commented that he would not appeal the suspension but that “I am very glad I can still own a gun; I am getting married, after all.”  One of the top closers takes a huge hit in value, I knocked him out of my top 100 for 2016 fantasy baseball, and took him down in my top 500.  His auction value dropped from $20 to $9.  Hopefully, he can make up lost salary with endorsements for Smith & Wesson and as the opening act for Smif-N-Wessun.  A double threat of new income!  Andrew Miller received a slight boost, as well.  There’s also a long shot scenario that the Yankees are comfortable with Miller in the ninth, when Aroldis returns, and Chapman becomes the world’s best setup man.  Before you scoff, you scoffer, it’s not like Miller isn’t good.  Gun to my head, I’d draft Miller in any league.  Unless it was Aroldis’s gun, then I’d politely ask him who he wants me to draft and tell him I’ll happily marry him.  By the by, in just a few short years, Aroldis has been caught leaving a woman tied to his hotel room bed, choking a woman and firing gunshots.  It’s no wonder this is his new Topps baseball card.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball were once as bad as the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball that I went over the other day.  Now the shortstops have had an influx of youth — or utes, if Joe Pesci is reading — and the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades, Arvid.  I’m happy for the shortstops, and happier for myself.  For a while, the top 20 shortstops were Tulo and those other guys.  Kinda like the top 20 catchers is Posey and those other guys.  Oh, and there was a top 20 1st basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball post already too (organic linking!).  Hopefully, the shortstops aren’t just showing up in a librarian’s outfit with red-rimmed glasses and appearing sexy, then turning out to be Sally Jessy Raphael.  As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where tiers start and stop and my projections.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Unsuccinct!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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Fact. Everybody loves January Grey. In December you get Santa Claus and in January you get Grey. Instead of the jolly fat man, you have the jolly mustache man. Well… guess who’s making his January debut, has two thumbs and loves Blow Pops? That’s right, “this guy”! I actually don’t like Blow Pops, but I wasn’t sure it would get past our editors had I said “blowjobs”. I’m sure at least two of my ten readers from last year were wondering if I’d be back in 2016. Well, the suspense is now over. December Grey offered me the opportunity to continue sharing my immature and opinionated “points” of view and I accepted. I considered taking my talents to South Beach (espn.com), but then I remembered that they suck. So do many of the other sites and blogs out there “on the line“. Razzball is where the cool kids hang out.

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I’m a stat junkie. Way back in the pre-internet days when I was just a little Magoo, I would run outside first thing in the morning to grab the daily paper so I could immediately check out the previous night’s box scores. There’s Tony Gwynn leading the league in batting average yet again. A slam and legs (before I even knew what that was) by that Bonds fellow. The Big Unit piled up another dozen Ks. Another high scoring game in Colorado. What’s the deal with that place anyway?

This fascination with statistics has led to the fantasy baseball obsession that I’m burdened with today. Only now, with all of the advanced statistics and metrics that are available at the click of a button, the obsession is worse than ever. Fortunately for you, all of the man hours that I’ve wasted poring over stats this offseason has allowed me to discover some interesting nuggets of information that I think are fantasy-relevant for the upcoming season, and I’d like to share some of them with you today. At least, I find them to be interesting and potentially useful for fantasy purposes, and I hope that you will too.

From here on out, I’ll be listing various statistics with little to no analysis so that you can be the judge of how relevant each statistic and/or trend is in regards to the 2016 season. This article focuses on hitters only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (home runs, stolen bases, batting average, counting stats) to the slightly more advanced (plate discipline, batted ball profile).

And now, without further ado, here are some interesting stats and trends to consider for the 2016 fantasy baseball season:

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Welcome back for another star-studded event!  Assuming you hack into your favorite online dictionary and replace the definition of ‘star’ with “guy who lives in his mom’s basement and screams when someone finishes his Doritos,” and next to the definition of ‘stud’ you put a picture of yourself.  The Razzballies are the only award show where it’s totally fine to show up in sweatpants and for your fingers to be orange from Cheetos.  We don’t judge.  We will occasionally mock.  Mock-judge, tomato-tomahto.  Get over it!  So, without further ado (cause I have to do a doo), here’s the year-end awards for the best and worst of fantasy baseball:

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I love when halfway decent starting pitchers are given away for practically free on DraftKings. I especially enjoy it when it happens on a Coors field day. That of course could be read as a “Coors Field” day or as a Coors “field day”, because both are true. When you’re trying to squeeze in as much Coors exposure as you can, a 4K pitcher opens up an awful lot of options. Logan Verrett sits at $4,500 tonight and gets to square off at home against one of, if not the worst hitting team in the majors in the Atlanta Braves. Jon Niese just completely shut them down. That’s the same Niese who had given up 11 runs in his previous 8 IP mind you. The Braves have the lowest team OPS in the majors and their “lead” in the category seems to grow by the day. Verrett has been a more than capable spot starter for the Mets as they try to limit every one of their young pitcher’s innings. Tonight he fills in for deGrom and should be good to go for at least 75-80 pitches, possibly more. He only threw 63 against the Marlins over 5 IP, but the Mets let him air it out for 93 a month ago at Coors field. All he did there was hold the Rockies to 1 run in 8 IP and strikeout 8. The strikeout upside is limited with the Braves as they are pretty stingy when it comes to striking out, but posting zeros works too and a win should be easily obtained. For $4,500 you can’t get too greedy. I do imagine Verrett will be fairly highly owned at this price and Coors field on the docket so despite the low price he may be more of a cash game play than a GPP. Let’s look at some more plays for tonight’s DFS slate:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 5 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Wouldn’t we all like to be in Justin Verlander‘s shoes? Yep I thought so- who wouldn’t want to be one of few major league players to be MVP and Cy Young in the same season? It’s been four years since he has accomplished that amazing feat, but have we noticed how well he’s been pitching lately? Verlander has pitched 7 Quality Starts in his last 8 outings. Today he faces the Cleveland Indians at home in Detroit. He’s faced them 41 times in his career, the most of any team. His lone start against them earlier this season was very good, allowing only 3 base hits. The walks have been down and the 1.08 WHIP is impressive. He’ll only cost you $9,600 today too. So as we all envy the guy for his incredible career accomplishments, don’t scroll by him, letting the first thought of super model pop in your head. Keep your eye on the prize. Keep reading and check out some of my other DraftKings picks for today.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?