On Saturday, Jon Lester threw a gem: 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 15 Ks. Such a gem that if that were a blood diamond, diplomats from Monrovia would be lined up in the streets of Liberia for a taste of that. If that were an emerald, friends of Dorothy would stand outside of Ricky Martin’s hotel for weeks just for the chance he forgoes the hotel buffet and wants to eat out. If that were a ruby, it would stand outside a Dallas police station to cover any possible conspiracies and add fuel to other conspiracies. Lester has pitched spectacularly so far, and it’s not a product of luck. His 10.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 are elite. Those are fantasy ace numbers. His fastball doesn’t have renewed life, if anything he’s lost something on it. What appears to be the biggest difference is he’s almost completely abandoned his changeup and throwing his cutter a bit more. Since he’s always been good for 200 innings and has had huge success before, I’m willing to say he will hold the improvements to his rates and be an extremely reliable starter. Likely in the top 15 for the year. Yeah, he looks damn good. I want some, purdy puhlease. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Go, go, go, go, go, go. Go, Corey, it is your birthday. We want to party like it is your birthday. *dance like a white man that has on parachute pants* We will sip Bacardi like it is your birthday. And you know we do not give an expletive it is not your birthday. I see Corey Kluber on my iPad and I want to kick him in the ass, but I still can’t make heads or tails of him. “Mr. Kluber, why do you bring anguish to my potluck dinner?” Justin Masterson had RSVP’d already with anguish! Ugh, I really don’t know what to make of Kluber. He’s hella risky and, yes, I still say hella. After his start yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks — you obviously have to own him if he’s on your waivers. The good news is his BABIP is obscenely unlucky (.353). The bad news is his velocity is down. He gets the Angels next and the Stream-o-Nator doesn’t like it and I’d be lying if I told you I had the utmost confidence in him. In other words, own him, but it could be a rocky road without delicious marshmallows. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Terry Collins announced a change at the top of Mets bullpen system on the down, Jose Valverde would concede the job to Kyle Farnsworth. Valverde handed him the ball, and like a true sportsman said, “You can’t be worse than me, but I know you’ll try.” Terry Collins, or Mr. C as the players call him, told Valverde to sit on it, Farnsy’s cool. Some have speculated on Vic Black, Frank’s little brother. Didja you know when Vic was a young Black he went to his brother Frank and asked if he could play drums in the Pixies and Frank said, “Do drugs for six more years and then we’ll talk.” Rock ‘n roll, doodes and four doodettes! Will Farnsworth do a decent enough job as closer to hold it for the whole year? Seems doubtful, but I like his odds better than Valverde ever had. Farnsworth could get 25 saves and be a Donkeycorn by September. Likely, he gets around 12 saves, has a 4-something ERA and the Mets give Gonzalez Germen a little guten tag a’la vater, which is ‘how’s your father’ in Germen from someone who never took Germen. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Reds manager Bryan Price, who I thought was their catcher, has a long way to go to catch up to ex-manager, Dusty Baker, on the Crazy-Meter, but naming Jonathan Broxton the closer a week before he’s even healthy, is a great start. Now Price needs to throw Latos 147 pitches in his first game back and he’ll be running a dead heat. Apparently, Broxton can’t only fill pants, he can fill shoes too. Dumpster Pants isn’t safe by any means, but when a crazy-as-a-fox manager names someone the closer, and he could be the closer for the next two months, I’d pick him up. Not literally, no one can pick up Broxton literally. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Scott White from CBS hosted this AL-Only draft that started at 10 AM PST, but started around 1 PM PST for me because I refused to draft anyone for the price they were going. Instead of drafting, I watched my favorite cooking show, Celebrity Chef Mr. Hamiham. He’s the only one I know that makes a sandwich like my Eastern European nanny, Viktoria. Everyone that knows anything about sandwich preparation knows there’s no sandwich before adding the white cabbage. Rudy was in Tampa (slogan: We’re no San Diego, but just as classy), so I went it alone with this draft. All the mistakes (none!) and acclaim (some!) can fall fully on my shoulders. I drafted this on February 18th, so don’t say so-and-so may not make the rotation/lineup/team or is now injured, why did you draft him? I drafted him because at the time it seemed like a smart move. Okay, okay, at no point does it seem like a smart move to draft Kurt Suzuki. Point taken. It’s a 12-team AL-Only league and I drafted using that thing I linked to under the link-ma-whosie — seamless linking! Anyway, here’s my 2014 fantasy baseball AL-Only team:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I just went over the top 10 for 2014 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Most of you know how I feel about catchers. If you draft a catcher any time before the first 100 picks, you don’t know how I feel about catchers. Let me freshen up your cocktail with a splash of insight. I don’t draft top catchers in one catcher leagues. I Reggie Roby them. Last year, Napoli was the top ranked catcher at the end of year. He was the 11th best 1st baseman. The best catcher can’t spray aerosol deodorant on the top guy for another position. Everyone was crazy about Buster Posey last year (everyone except me). Buster Posey did about as much as Kendrys Morales. Lowercase yay. In the top five catchers last year were Lucroy, V-Mart, Rosario and Molina. One guy was drafted in the top 100, and that was barely. No one should draft a top catcher because there are no top catchers. They’re all hot garbage with a side order of stank. Catchers are unreliable to stay healthy; the job is grueling and takes its toll on offensive stats. There’s not much difference between, say, the tenth best catcher and nothingness. Jarrod Saltymochachino, Jason Castro and Salvador Perez were the 8th, 9th and 10th best catchers last year. All of them were on waivers in shallower leagues as late as July. Only the depth of 2nd basemen is worst, and I say punt them too. Yes, I am saying punt the positions that are most scarce. Finally, a reason that is new to this current crop of catchers — they’re actually deep in mediocrity. You can draft the fifth best catcher or the 12th best and they’re tomato-tomato said with a different emphasis. Because I ignore the top catchers doesn’t mean I’m starting the top 20 catcher list at number twenty-one; some of you might want to know the top catchers. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them draft Devin Mesoraco. In two catcher leagues, catchers are a little more valuable, but I’d still prefer to avoid them. You can see other top 20 lists for 2014 fantasy baseball under 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Listed along with these catchers are my 2014 projections for each player and where the tiers begin and end. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Scott Boras got Shin-Soo Choo his Christmas present after all. A $130 million contract to play for the Texas Rangers of the American League West. The only stipulation of the contract was Choo will buy the island nation of Bora Bora and change its name to Boras Boras. A small price to pay for Boras getting him the big bucks. I wonder what Boras could do for me. Maybe one-point-two million dollars per page view? A five hundred thousand bonus for every waxed mustache hair? A stipend to feed the monkeys that type up these posts? Ling-Ling wants a banana! (On side side note, my friend from Frazers’ Edge provided the comic at the bottom of the post.) Wikipedia tells me Dallas has the 2nd largest Korean population in the southern United States. Shin-Soo Choo blushes at the thought. Or maybe he’s just been drinking. This doesn’t do a whole lot for his fantasy value. He was already in a great park atop a terrific lineup. He’s really an odd duck because he’s so damn consistent yet has such dramatic splits. He regularly bats .320+ vs. righties and barely .200 vs. lefties. If he has a bad year vs. righties, he’ll be awful. I’m not talking a .250 or lower year either. I mean, a .280 year vs. righties would kill him. Due to his splits, the tightrope he walks is thin but he’s managed to traverse it well thus far, so there’s no reason to think the end is nigh, not to mention no one has any idea what nigh means. Is it really near? It’s not saving letters by writing nigh. Is there a nighby? Who says that? The bigger pickle Choo’s brined with this signing is Leonys Martin will be relegated to batting ninth for another year. There’s no chance he bats 2nd or moves up in the order vs. lefties either because he’s just as bad as Choo vs. them. For 2014, I’ll give Choo the line of 101/20/59/.277/20. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sean Connery enjoyed the landing of B-Weezy.

So it’s official. Just in time for your playoffs or late-season run for a title, Matt Cain has joined Jason Heyward and Rafael Betancourt, all recent casualties, on the DL. Even though the X-ray’s came back negative after Cain got hit by a line-drive on Thursday, Bruce Bochy said it was too soon to say whether or not he would make his next start. A mere seven hours later, which I guess was not too soon anymore, it was decided that Cain would not only miss his next start, but at least three. You’d figure with such a big head, Bochy would have a better grasp of time. And, you know, bullpen usage. Granted, this season wasn’t shaping up to be Cain’s finest and was pretty up-and-down (more down) in general. But his second-half ERA of 2.84 and improved walk rate were representing an expected regression. So the timing couldn’t be worse, especially since the Giants are not postseason bound and really have no reason to rush a recovery. Relevant. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday…

Please, blog, may I have some more?