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.

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Today is an interesting mix, wouldn’t you say?  There’s really only one sure thing at pitcher (sorry Stras), and there are many stacks that I like. With six games on the slate (MLB Thu 7:10 PM EDT – $2 entry – 1/20 spots filled and Top 5 paid…), why not get a little bit of the action from both of the big stacks? Straight to the cash, homie…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this  20 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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Never once did I think I would be writing about a creeper older than I am, and yet here I am, talking about Torii Hunter. Being the ageless wonder (or is it the wonder of agelessness, I’m not really sure), he still suits up every day and goes out and plays. I was racking my brain for some kind of analogy for the creeper and I found my inspiration from the Paleolithic 80’s flick Quest for Fire, for like this movie, we are just a bunch of uncivilized men searching for a player to catch fire. So why not a Hunter? Haha…get it? Okay, I’ll stop with the bad jokes. Hey, at least I didn’t do Caveman with Ringo Starr. Come to think of it, Hunter could be considered the Twins Ringo. Doesn’t really matter if he’s there or not. Oh well, the moment has passed and now we move on to why we are here…

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The first week I told you to buy Devon Travis. The 2nd week I told you to buy Steven Souza. This might be the most improbable streak since Joe DiMaggio’s. I’m not talking about his 56-game hitting streak, either. I’m talking about his lesser known streak, but equally improbable 117-day streak of him calling Marilyn Monroe, having another man pick up, but still thinking she was being loyal. That streak might actually be even more remarkable than the hitting one. “Who was that? Cable guy? There’s no cable for another thirty years. Oh, a guy that drives a San Fran cable car? It’s research for a part? Gotcha.” That’s Joe D. ringing up Monroe. Dexter Fowler‘s criminally underowned. Let’s just go on this alone: Fowler, Soler, Rizzo, Bryant, Castro. For the whole year. That’s the Cubs lineup. If Fowler doesn’t back into 95 runs, it’s due to injury. Next up, he looks like Pookie from New Jack City, but he has surprising ten homer power. Actually, 12 homers is likely the low end. A couple of windy days in Chicago when it gets hot and he’s getting 15 homers. If Jim Belushi bats his eyelashes at the right Cubs scorer, Fowler may just get gifted an extra homer. Steals? Well, that’s the tricky thing. He has 25-steal speed, but it’s been a few years since he’s shown it. He had 4 steals already this year. Just doing rudimentary math and he gets to 24 steals on the year. That can go up to 30 or down to 19. Either way, 95/12/40/.265/20 is ownable and startable in every single league. Now, excuse me, I’m returning to writing my one man stage play of Joe D. and Marilyn dating in heaven called, “And The Cloud Went Crazy.” Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Fantasy owners lost two good catchers this week in Travis d’Arnaud and Jonathan Lucroy. Even in 12-team formats, you probably threw up in your mouth a little when you went to the wire and saw your replacement options. God help you if you play in a two-catcher format. But not to fear, for the rookies are here! I’m looking in your general direction Kevin Plawecki…don’t disappoint me! When I went over the Top 10 prospects for every team this offseason, I typically spat on catchers in my rankings due to their limited upside. But it’s times like these when we need to bite the bullet and take a closer look at some rookie backstops. Here are six rookie catchers currently in the majors that you may need to roster while your studs are hurt. Yes, this list is ranked in the order that I’d personally add them.

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Jake Lamb hit the DL with a stress reaction in his foot. Now the Diamondbacks’ defense will go from Lamb to the slaughter with Yasmany Tomas taking over. Yasmany makes Sandoval look like a gazelle. Yasmany has the agility of an extra-wide trailer. Yasmany looks like the genie in Aladdin, which means the D-Backs’s 3rd base shituation was Lamb-or-Genie, which is also a northern Italian farmer’s lamb that he hung a car medallion around its neck and rides around to swap meets. I’d look at Yasmany in all leagues (yesterday, he went 2-for-3, 1 run with only one error!), because he does have power to spare — think 27-homer power — and he could surprise people with some regular playing time. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (10) | 2013 (16) | 2012 (24) | 2011 (20) | 2010 (25)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [79-83] NL East
AAA: [81-63] Pacific Coast League – Las Vegas
AA: [83-59] Eastern League – Binghamton
A+: [76-62] Florida State League – St. Lucie
A: [85-51] South Atlantic League – Savannah
A(ss): [42-34] New York-Penn League – Brooklyn

Graduated Prospects
Travis d’Arnaud, C | Jake deGrom, RHP | Jeurys Familia, RHP | Wilmer Flores INF

The Gist
This is a strong farm system that boasts both talent up the middle and arms to bolster a young rotation headlined by Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Jacob deGrom. Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud were acquired in the R.A. Dickey trade, and with Syndergaard arriving sometime this summer, Mets fans will finally see the fruits of that trade at Citi Field. Dilson Herrera should also stick in the majors at some point this season. One of 2014’s pleasant surprises was the recently graduated deGrom, who will look to build on a 2014 rookie campaign in which he posted a 2.69 ERA with 144 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched. After a demotion to Triple-A early in the year, Travis d’Arnaud also posted good numbers with 13 homers in 421 plate appearances.

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Welcome to the All-Star break gang – the unofficial beginning of the second half signals the time to reorganize, revamp, and re-think approaches for us, as well as the folks making the calls for your favorite MLB teams. And, coincidentally, it also marks the time for me to revisit my Prospect Rankings. These are the current top-50 guys on my board that haven’t accumulated the standard minimum 130 AB/50 IP at the MLB level that most fantasy leagues recognize. When compiling my rankings, I try to consider as many variables as possible, but my main focus tilts toward future “difference-makers”… those guys that have the potential to make significant impacts when they reach “The Show”. Some players you’ll find on this list may be further away from making that impact than others, some may be struggling a bit right now (they may have been recently promoted to the next level to challenge them and are adjusting to stiffer competition), some may be on the shelf because of injury, etc., but this list represents the top-50 players I’d pick if you give me the first 50 picks in the MiLB phase of a draft in a newly forming fantasy league. These are the prospects GMs “dream on”, regardless of their current minor league level – the players they plan to build their rosters around at some point in the near future.

So here we go…

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…And by “IBS”, I don’t mean irritable bowel syndrome. In this context, I mean BABIP verified by ISO and Spd scores. Two things induce my real life IBS: nutrition, and my high impact dynasty leagues. Consider this series your dynasty IBS treatment.

BABIP has little face, so I use ISO (isolated slugging) and Spd (FG’s speed score) to verify the BABIP.

Check out Part 1 of this series where I delved into Trois-A assets. While Joc Pederson and Gregory Polanco naturally lead the rankings in conjunction with Quad-A guys like Andrew Brown and Chris Dickerson, I pointed to some translatable future impact in Chris Taylor and Domingo Santana, among others.

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (16) | 2012 (24) | 2011 (20) | 2010 (25) | 2009 (17)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [74-88] NL East
AAA:  [81-63] Pacific Coast League — Las Vegas
AA:  [86-55] Eastern League — Binghamton
A+:  [71-60] Florida State League — St. Lucie
A:  [77-61] South Atlantic League — Savannah
A(ss):  [38-37] New York-Penn League — Brooklyn

Graduated Prospects
Juan Lagares (OF); Josh Satin (INF); Anthony Recker (C); Zack Wheeler (RHP); Scott Rice (LHP)

The Run Down
Hoo boy, Mets fans, that R.A. Dickey trade is looking mighty nice these days.  I liked the swap for the Mets from the moment it went down, but in the year that’s passed since the transaction, we’ve seen Dickey regress considerably and Noah Syndergaard emerge as a front-of-the-rotation prospect.  Provided Travis d’Arnaud can stay healthy, that trade should be perceived as one of the more lopsided moves in recent history.  Syndergaard and d’Arnaud are the headliners in this org, but there’s impact depth behind them, and plenty of it is set to surface in the bigs this season.  For 2014 fantasy purposes, this Mets system should be one of the more influential groups in the game, as the top 5 names on this list prepare to step up to the highest level.

Please, blog, may I have some more?