The year was 2005 and my buddy kept talking about his fantasy baseball team. I had no idea what he was saying most the time, because I had never played the game before. Actually I had barely watched any baseball at all. I was a jaded strike fan who was as casual as they come with my knowledge of the game. I knew a little about the local teams and that was about it. Any the hoo, he kept going on and on about this Ryan Howard kid until that name was stuck in my head. Fast forward to March of 2006, he talked me into playing with him and “his” friends for fun… and money. I get to the 10th round of the draft and I need a 1B, so I remember the kid that got drilled into my head the year before and I take Ryan Howard with the pick. That year he put up a 104/58/149/0/.313 line and I won that league. Actually I won for lots of reason, I rosterbated before I knew what that was and I streamed like a mofo. I also never gave him a dime, he took my entry out of my winnings, kept some of it for the next season and I played with them for free for the next five seasons. I hearted Howard like Grey hearts Giancarlo. He was my savior that year. I think I drafted Gagne in the 5th and Fatolo in the 4th… I had no idea what I was doing. But I learned the game by doing and picked it up pretty fast, and now you get to see me at least twice a week. If this angers you, then blame occasional commenter the Birdman for me being here. It’s all his fault.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There was a song in the 80’s by the surely-it-had-to-be made up stage name of Brenda K. Starr called I Still Believe. It was a typical, run of the mill, studio pop ballad sung by an artist who clearly made it her goal to sound like Madonna. It made the Top 20 in 1988 and Brenda K. Starr vanished into pop obscurity. Incredibly, her backup singer paid tribute to her former lead by re-recording it and having success in the 90’s with it. That backup singer, whose demo tape was passed forward by Starr to CBS Records and Tommy Mottola? Mariah Carey.

Early in the baseball season, it can be easy to look at some statistics and feel unsure whether someone’s previous year’s success was real or not. Corey Kluber came from the might-be level all the way to becoming the Klu-Bot, Cy Kluber last season. This year, Kluber has not looked so good, statistically, carrying an ERA of over 5.00.

But I Still Beliiiiiiieve in Kluber and I will sing it from the mountaintops. More importantly, I am happy to continue to roll him out in my cash and tournament games. In fact, I relish the fact that there is going to be a substantial part of the public that is going to back away from Kluber because of that fat ERA.

So why I am so sure that I am willing to perm my hair and sing as a soprano? For one, his K-rates remain rock solid, with a Swinging Strike rate of 13% and a K/9 rate of 9.3. These are elite numbers. That’s probably why his SIERA is much lower than his ERA, registering at a 3.20, which is 17th in the majors for pitchers with more than 20IP for this season.

In short, he’s still a top pitcher and due for some comeback. And all my singing will have been worth it. Well, to me at least.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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?

Mondays are just a mess. Most teams are traveling, the matchups that would seem to make sense sometimes just don’t pan out because of…well I don’t know what. I think travel fatigue plays a part. Look, we’re all human. You travel from place A to place B, finally get into your humble abode and are you well rested? Do you feel a bit of the lag of the jet variety? Just to clue you in, athletes may be millionaires but they haven’t built teleportation yet so just like you and I, they gotta deal with the troubles of travel. So for this Monday, I’m going a bit against the grain – unless that grain is for alcohol, then I’m all about said grain – and suggesting a pitcher who gets to enjoy a pitcher’s park and there’s no travel involved for him on this moving Monday. Said pitcher is Alex Colome, pronounced ‘CALL-uh-may’ but I just go with ‘Call On Me‘ given his stats. Over 10 IP this year, he has 10 K and zero walks. I know, sample size small, obligatory ‘that’s what she said’ following but the kid had aviary bird flu or sumpin’ to start the year or we’d have a larger sampling to work with. Now the Yankees are a hard team to K (19.2% overall, 17.6% on the road) so we are really hoping for some of those old bones in that Yanks lineup to have themselves a sleepless in Tampa Bay moment. As the call ain’t safe, it should be clear that this is a tourney only call and at $6,700, you don’t have to break you DK wallet to see if his endline ends up as beautiful as that aerobics instructor. Yes, you gotta click the link to get it. No, you shouldn’t really listen to the song. Yes, that is Steve Winwood…didn’t I tell you not to listen? But enough of my talk about Swedish techno tracks, it’s time for it. Here’s my blazing hot take on the Monday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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?

What are you all doing here today? It’s Mother’s Day… shouldn’t you be getting out of the basement and going to pick up the pizza for her for once! Go put on your fancy sweatpants, you know, the ones without the hot pocket stains, and put on actual shoes. Slippers or flip flops are not okay today. Seriously, try and do something! Did you remember to write her a Dear Mama letter? What about being mothers little helper and taking out the trash or refilling her bourbon? There are lots of things you can do to help out your Mother. I know they like telling you what to do or what not to do, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. At least you know mama tried and wasn’t just standing in the shadows… I hope. Let’s be nice to her and  just lay off the yo mama jokes for the day? Cool. Oh, that’s right, you are here for fantasy baseball and not just songs and jokes. Yeah I got jokes.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ll be honest, picking a creeper early in the year is not an easy task. We have small sample sizes to work with, players under performing and pitchers very hard to predict. I ask myself every week as I prepare these: what angle can I find to make a call? What is a constant that doesn’t change? Where are my pants? Well, the third question is nearly impossible to answer because it’s like trying to figure out where Jimmy Hoffa is buried. The other two are things we always look for, regardless of what point of the season we are at, are park factors, lefty/righty match-ups, Schmotatoness, and batter vs. pitcher history. For example, this week, Brad Miller plays six games and for five of them, he faces right-handers. On the year, he bats .348 against RHP (good thing), but among the five he faces this week, he bats .191 against (not so good), and Hitter-Tron (-$2.5) says he won’t be any good. I’ll pass too. That’s a little snapshot into my process.  This week, I’m going for Schomtatoness and park factors to make my call. Would you like to hear more? Oh c’mon, I’ll give you some Arby’s coupons? Dairy Queen? Fine, then skip to the top 100 and we can fight about that in the comments instead.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Call the Sons of Sam Horn! Get Matt Damon on the line! Someone tweet @RemDawg! Unfreeze Ted the Head! Avengers Assemble! The Red Sox are set to promote their next top super-prospect, Blake Swihart, today to serve as the primary catcher while Ryan Hanigan is on the shelf. If the legends spoke of in ancient Fenway lore are true, he could be the one who will bring balance back to a Red Sox pitching staff that has looked somewhat questionable in the early going. A late first round pick in 2011, Swihart gathered a lot of buzz in spring training this year after slashing .333/.375/.533 with a HR and 8 RBI. In 18 games with AAA Pawtucket this year he’s hit .338/.392/.382 with 3 doubles and 11 RBI. With just 22 home runs in five minor league seasons I wouldn’t expect much power from Swihart, but as a spray hitter the bat certainly seems to be major league ready. Initially, Boston felt Swihart’s defense needed a bit more seasoning in the minors, but there is unquestionably some offensive upside, especially in Boston’s heavy hitting, run scoring line up. Here’s what Razzball’s prospector Mike said last week about Swihart, who was ranked #11 in his Prospect Power Rankings, “With the injuries and such at the catching position right now, folks will be chomping at the bit to add Swihart to their teams when he arrives.” He’s so right, you guyz, if your fantasy catcher situation is anything like mine, you’re cycling out a cast of characters the likes of Nick Hundley, Tucker Barnhart, Crash Davis and Caleb Joseph, some of whom do more harm than good. I’d take a chance on Blake Swihart if you need a catcher, he’s owned in less than 5% of ESPN leagues but as soon as Brandi-Lynn from Southie finds out everyone will know so act quickly. There is potential runs and average here, and like every Sawx prospect, there is all that sweet, sweet upside, so here’s hoping Blake can rake.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Masahiro Tanaka hit the DL with a strained forearm. It’s not related to his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. So, here’s my question? Why not just play through the forearm strain too? That’s where he draws the line? It’s like, “I was fine sleeping with my wife’s sister, and having a baby with her that no one knows about, and plotting to kill my wife on a weekend jaunt to Mexico, but I will not jaywalk. Those people in New York are crazy!” You have nothing to lose, Tanaka, get in there and shank someone in the yard and Hacky Sack the ball to the plate! The Yankees haven’t announced how long Tanaka will be out, but maybe they’ll try to sneak in Tommy John surgery while he’s sleeping. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome back my friends and opponents to the best RCL coverage on the net… hey, wait, didn’t I say that last week? Get some new tricks J-FOH! Oh hi there Sky, how did you get into my post? I don’t appreciate you telling everyone that I’ll be jumping out of a cake. You know I hate cake and consider myself a pie guy. Sorry, but I thought the pie trick would be messy. Would you prefer if I have you jump out of an over-sized keg? Perfect, as long as it’s half full, now carry on. [Jay’s Note: I’m pretty sure he would demand that it be a fad microbrew instead…] Thanks for coming in Sky. Okay, now back to where I talk about you readers. It’s still early and it looks like some of you are going into panic mode and that’s one reason why I’ll be highlighting some trades that have gone down this past week that show how hard people are reaching… (these views and opinions do not reflect Grey Albright Inc./Razzball and any affiliates and/or subsidiaries). Not all of them are reaches, but I wouldn’t make some of these trades. I hope some of the traders read this and come in and talk about those deals. As usual, we have the leaders of the week, the leaders of the pack (the top-10) and a new twist on an old staple where I highlight a random league for the whole world to see. You better put your pants because you never know when I will be popping in to take a snap shot. Oh, who am I kidding, who wears pants when they play fantasy baseball? I literally wear the same basketball shorts and sleeveless shirt all season. I wash it during the all-star break.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Addison Russell was playing some some 2nd base in Triple-A yesterday, minding his own business, when the Cubs management heard something they didn’t like, five full minutes of non-Cubs prospect talk on sports radio. Four minutes is not cool, but five? Nuh-uh, they said, as they wagged their finger. So, the Cubs called him up, and plan to send down Arismendy Alcantara. This offseason I said, “So, the first thing we know about Russell is Billy Beane traded him away. This is obviously a strike against him. The last prospect Beane gave up on was Brett Wallace, and that was partly because Wallace looks like his face is constantly pressed against a window and that’s disconcerting. Right now, it appears Beane got the worst side of this Russell trade. Maybe he shouldn’t have been in such a rush to get back to the gym to pump iron and waited to negotiate a better deal. It’s still early though, and prospects can flame out. Russell, however, doesn’t look headed in that direction. Russell looks like he could be better than Starlin Castro as early as next year. Second thing we know about Russell is he’s got power and speed. Yummers! Third thing we know about Russell is there is no third thing. Russell’s shown solid power in the minors (17 HRs in High-A in 2013 and 12 HRs in only 50 games in Double-A last year after the trade to the Cubs). His speed is a tad below that, which concerns me a bit because speed is the one thing we can always count on translating. He did steal 21 bags in High-A, but, well, that’s High-A. They call it that because everyone’s stoned. Last year in Double-A, he only had five steals all year, and two after the trade. It’s not great, and I think we’re seeing closer to his actual speed level in Double-A. Maybe he’ll reach 15-20 steals at some point, but he’s never going to be a 40-steal guy. He did hit .294 at Double-A after the trade, and I don’t see him hitting much below .280 without some bad luck.” And that’s me quoting me! While drinking Sanka with Lou Avery, I’ve decided Russell should be owned everywhere. Yes, even that league. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 61/12/44/.287/6 with upside from there. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week I’m making a little one-week tweak to the Creeper of the Week and going with Creepers because we have something that doesn’t always happen. What is that Big J? Well eager reader, it’s a seven-game Monday-through-Sunday home series for the Rockies. By my count, this will only happen three times this season. The hard part was finding an under-owned player not taken on the Rockies playing everyday, and it’s so barren right now that even the French DJ is over-owned to qualify for this post. Hey there French DJ can you drop me a cut for this creeper post? Very nice, old school, but isn’t that a little too obvious? I get it, you are on the 1’s and 2’s, so the choice is yours. Can I at least get one cut with a baseball name in the title? What’s that? You don’t do requests? Sheesh, that Charlie Blackmon ego is rubbing off on your euro sensibilities. Forget about it, let’s move on to the reason we are here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?