The first four names in the Cubs’ lineup will be Fowler, Castro, Rizzo and Soler, then it will be O, Brother Where Art Thou Upside with fantasy owners being men of constant sorrow. Maybe Kris Bryant does come up in the middle of April with a lei around his neck made from gold-leafed, big-booty’d Renaissance women. I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to be more like a lei of Mona Lisa smiles. “Yay, he hit a home run!” Dot dot dot. “He’s gone 1-for-4 with an RBI in the last five games. I guess that’s okay.” Dot dot dot. “He’s hitting .250? Hmm…” Dot dot dot. “Yay, another home run!” Let’s do this comparison (this just isn’t for our podcast host, JB, either). Prime Aramis Ramirez or Kris Bryant this year? Prime Aramis easily. That’s 27 HRs, .290 average. This year’s Aramis Ramirez and Kris Bryant? I’d say Bryant, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk (to use another JB metaphor; ya know, he writes about fantasy basketball for us). Could Bryant give 25 HRs and a .260 average? Yes. Could Aramis? Yes. Would I draft Bryant first? Oh, God, yes, I’m just saying that Bryant being the 2nd coming of Jesus Trout Schmidt Timberlake Jackson, the Third might be a year off. At some point, I do expect to want to suck the Thetans out of Bryant’s body, I’m just not sure it will be this year. I mention this now because Bryant was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday. Then, further down the Super Awesome Cubs Sexy Upside Team, you have Javier Baez also sent down, which was slightly shocking to me. I figured they’d let him start the year in the majors, even if he was going to be a hacking mess. The Cubs likely figured it was best to save his swings and misses for the summer when it gets humid. The Whiffy City starring Javier Baez will be opening in Iowa, and I’ve updated my top 20 2nd basemen (and the top 20 shortstops). This news also means Arismendy Alcantara has a clearer path to playing time on the infield with only Tommy La Stelllllllla standing in his way. Move your fat L’s, Tommy! I moved up Arismendy in that same 2nd basemen ranking, but I don’t think Arismendy is yet a 500-AB everyday option. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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Danny Salazar was sent to the minors because the Indians are trying to make life difficult for themselves. As someone who needs to pat their lip with a kerchief after a sip of anything, I know about making your life difficult, but my mustache makes me sexy, Salazar going to the minors does the exact opposite. Behind this move was almost definitely The House of McAllister trying to boost their progeny, Zach. “I don’t need stirrups.” That’s Zach McAllister, talking to the Indians equipment manager, as he dons a kilt. McAllister isn’t terrible (or Allisn’terrible if portmanteaus light your fire), but he’s really nothing more than any standard 5th starter. He’ll have stretches where he’s usable in all leagues, and other stretches where your ratios will need stretchers. Pithy points! I’ve moved Salazar into my top 100 starters and down my top 400 and I’ve left McAllister unranked, because what will likely happen is he’ll be replaced by Salazar by June. The other half of the scheming House of McAllister is T.J. House, who will also be in the rotation. Sky gave you a T.J. House sleeper, and I’m a bit more excited about House’s foundation and have ranked him in the top 100 starters. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 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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How do you know if you’ve drafted a great pitcher? If his name is Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez, you are on the right track. But what about everyone else that is not them? Well, in head-to-head points leagues, I like to look at points per start (PPS). This gives me an idea of approximately how many puntos (that’s spanish for points) I am going to get, and is often a factor in helping me decide which pitchers to both draft and start.

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With the top 80 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball, I will say this, we are having such a gay time! Gay like Colin Firth would use it. In an 19th century period drama. As in merriment. We are having ourselves a merry old time! Okay, that’s very gay. Still the same definition of gay. Merry. Merry, merry, quite contrarian of you if you say different! The starters start to thin out a little when we get to this post — not you, Sabathia! — but there’s still plenty to go around. You could likely draft starters from only this post and do fine in some leagues. Think I’m a liar. Well, I’m offended, but in this post last year was Samardzija, Peralta, Ventura, Quintana and Pineda. How many of those guys had an ERA over 3.50? One, Peralta at 3.53. I just got goose pimples typing that, but I also have the flu so maybe I should drink fluids. All the 2015 fantasy baseball rankings are there. My tiers and projections are noted. Anyway, here’s the top 80 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Every year we get together in a Schenectady Sheraton to give away fantasy baseball awards for the past season. I’m your host, Grey Albright and I’m joined by Random Italicized Voice — What’s up, guys and four girls?” On the red carpet for everyone’s arrival is the Comatose Rangers Fan, “Let’s get started, I need to get home to see my Rangers face the Tigers!” Joining us up on the balcony is Kevin from ESPN’s “Get Him In Your Lineup” Department, “I’m high above the crowd, in more ways than one!” Today’s very special musical guest opening the show is…Counting Crows! Coming straight from opening for Pink! Not playing on stage prior to her performing, but literally opening a door for her. They now work as doormen. At hotels. It’s very sad. Anyway, here’s the 2014 Razzball Year End Awards:

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Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If you’ve been scouring all your picture books for a proper fantasy hitter in the final week, look no further. Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-4 with his 19th home run and two RBI last night. Arcia has a nice little six-game hitting streak, with four homers in that stretch. To be fair, however, he’s also sat four games in that span with a tweaked muscle in his upper back. Injury concerns aside, Oswaldo is destroying baseballs when he’s on the field. In his past six games, he’s clubbed four homers and with 8 RBI. He’s slugging .858 in the past two weeks while batting over .400, and with 19 homers (12 at cavernous Target Field) in 94 games, he’s got serious power and might be someone to consider on draft day next year. He’s worth the pick up in all leagues if you need some pop in the final week of the season. Oswaldo could power you to fantasy glory. He’s missed some time in the past few days, but he hasn’t shown any ill effects of the injury while on the field, so hopefully this back injury is behind him for the most part. Get it!?  Ha! Either way that shouldn’t discourage you from picking him up this hot little potato while he’s mashing.

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

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So here we are, the last week of the season. If you’re playing now, you’re in the money game of your head-to-head league, or you’re in a dog fight to pull ahead in the roto standings. I’ve said this for the last three weeks but, congratulations! You did something right. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there are a few things you definitely didn’t do, you didn’t draft Justin Verlander, you didn’t draft Buster Posey or Joe Mauer anywhere near the first 5 rounds, you didn’t invest in one of the top 3 closers, and you probably didn’t draft Dominic Brown (Sorry Tehol). They say fantasy championships are made after the draft. Whoever they are? Seriously do you know? I’m just going to guess that if there is a they that writes these cliches, then they know Nick Capozzi. Mostly because he knows everybody in the fantasy industry. I’m also going to assume it’s a secret club that I’m not privy to. You know, like Skull and Bones.  Wow that escalated quickly! Where was I? Oh yeah winning fantasy championships. Well my belief is that the secret to winning in the final week is pitching, and how you use your streams. If you’re in a H2H league with a limited move number than be careful. One must choose wisely. With this in mind I have created a new format for these posts. As I mentioned last week I had the vision of putting my rankings in spreadsheet form and providing a couple of key metrics I felt gave you the readers full transparency into my thought process. Well my vision is reality behold the new and improved two startapalooza. You’ll see that in addition to the Pitcher’s name and opponent, I’ve also provided the pitcher’s handedness, the pitcher’s Home/Road ERA, the opponent’s Home/Road wOBA, and the opponent’s Right/Left wOBA split. These are the numbers I look at most closely when creating my rankings for the week. So why not share them with you? Enjoy, I put some time into this and I believe you’ll find it extra helpful. I hope it also sparks more debate in the comments and gives you guys all the more reason to challenge my tiers. I’ve also made sure that I based my Two-Start roster off of Rudy’s new two start pitcher SON/tool. This way all the information mirrors each other and gives some continuity to the post. Thanks again for reading and I’m looking forward to bringing this format back next season. Go Get’Em!

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Rusney Castillo is expected to join the Sawx on Tuesday. Whoa, did you see that? There was a rainbow going over the world and when I said that it turned red. I wonder if that’s because he’s Cuban. Oh, it’s probably because the Red Sox paid to sponsor the rainbow. That makes more sense. I didn’t think Mother Nature would sell rainbow naming rights, but there ya go. Someone’s gotta pay for the sun; the world we live in. So, Rusney’s getting a little taste of how’s your father with the Red Sox, but I don’t think he’ll A) Play every day. B) Be much a factor this year. C) There’s no C. Now, for 2015 fantasy baseball, well, there we’re gonna have to talk for a sec. Sorry, I know you’re late to be moral support at your wife’s surgery, but she can wait. Here’s what Prospect Mike said about him previously, “The one tool that is not in question is (Rusney’s) speed. A 30+ steal season from Castillo is a possibility as soon as 2015. The power is still up in the air. Some have tagged him more as an 8-12 homer type guy while others have said 15 or maybe even 20 homers could be in the cards. With any player, we get lots of comps thrown around. Two of the comps I’ve heard the most are Shane Victorino and Rajai Davis. Honestly, the Davis comp makes the most sense to me. The one that makes the least sense is Grey, he’s just a buffoon.” Hey, what’s that all about? To me, the Rajai comparison feels heavy on the speed; Victorino seems a better equivalent, but, honestly, there’s a ton of unknown here. He could be anywhere from a 7 HR/20 SB fourth outfielder to a 20 HR/40 SB superstar. Victorino feels about right — 12 homers, 30 steals. The more I read that he only had 66 steals in 1097 plate appearances in Cuba, I wonder if the hype machine hasn’t taken Rusney and thrown him into the spin cycle, making him more than he is. Shizzton of risk either way you slice the cake, and, brucely, I love cake, so I hope you’re sharing. For this year, I’d take a flyer if I could platoon him. For 2015, I’d take the risk for something special, but don’t expect more than Victorino. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?