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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I wonder if Jake Smolinski had a sister that put out in high school. I could’ve swore I hooked up with an Eva Smolinski after her friend Dawn rejected me. Were my Cavariccis cuffed a little too high for you, Dawn? My B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirt too faded? I still hate you! Well, enough about me! *smacks self* Get a grip, man! Smolinski is hitting .408, and crushing pink cookies in a plastic bag since his call up, going 4-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI yesterday. The Rangers are like a prisoner with a life sentence (no offense to some of our readers; I believe you’re innocent!). Rangers have nothing but time on their hands to play their guys. Is Smolinski anything but a hot schmotato? God, no, but no one is this late in the year. I’d grab him if you need a hot bat, and who doesn’t? Dawn apparently! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a dark side to the expansion of rosters that no one wants you to talk about. Or people do talk about it, but they talk about it as written by the writers of The Honourable Woman so no one can understand it. You laid a cable modem through the Gaza Strip? But now the Palestinians can see which celebrities are on their side. “We got Rihanna! With a hashtag, baby! If we could only buy her albums. What does she sing? S&M? What’s that mean? Whips and chains? Oh, yeah, like torture? Oh. Regarding sex? Hmm, we’d kill her for singing that. What other songs does she have? Umbrella? It doesn’t rain here. What else does she sing? Only Girl in the World? That is neither accurate nor encouraging. Could she remix it to 72 girls in the world?” This MLB roster expansion has a side to it that is that disturbing. With teams expanding, they don’t need to DL players. A week ago if Dustin Pedroia was forearm shivered as he was on Saturday, he would’ve hit the DL. Now, well, he’s going to sit on the bench for at least a week. Miguel Cabrera may have also hit the DL a month ago, so he could rest his ankle. Now, the Tigers said he could sit for 4 to 5 days. It’s not great news, though with how he’s hitting, in some leagues it might pay to just bench him and grab a hot bat. As for Pedroia, I’d drop him in most mixed leagues. He could be out for a week or longer, and, brucely, he hasn’t done much this year when he has been playing. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s what I didn’t say in June, but could have, “With the promotion of George Springer and Gregory Polanco, Mike Trout and Mike Trout’s father, Tim Salmon, should make room in their mini-van that’s designed to look like a submarine because there’s new top hitters in the major leagues of baseball. Put down your periscope, Trout, no need to look any further. You have the new challenger for your supremacy. Polanco is especially intriguing due to his blend of speed and power, and inability to hit for a low average. There’s just no chance he hits below .280. No chance. Also, on August 25th play the Powerball numbers 37-08-32-11-09-38.” And that’s me quoting what I could’ve said! Of course, I didn’t say it exactly like that, but that was generally my feelings. As it started to appear like each was overmatched, I told you to sell both of them before they bottomed out. Springer’s got his strikeout problems, that I’ll go over at some point in the offseason, but Polanco got a raw deal. He had 6 homers, 12 steals in 64 games. That’s a 15-homer, 30-steal guy next year. The Pirates demoted him yesterday as some kind of neg designed by pick-up artist, Mystery. Polanco’s K-rate wasn’t terrible, his walk rate was fine, he was done in by a .241 average. A .241 average with the aforementioned strikeout rate that wasn’t bad. So what happened? He was unlucky. That batting average was being grounded by a .277 BABIP. With his speed, Polanco could easily have a .320 BABIP and a .290 average. For this year, you can lose him, but I’m still going to like him in 2015. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Low voice, “Wow.” Digs ditch, steps down, “Wow.” Need more emphasis. Buys a mini-excavator, consults with architects about installing a down escalator, begins construction, gets behind on schedule, fires a guy that smokes more than he digs, hires a foreman that seems like he knows what he’s doing, foreman runs off with money, tracks foreman down in Aruba hanging out with Andruw Jones, punches foreman, watches Andruw Jones make diving catch of forearm’s body, heads back to the States to oversee completion of down escalator, breaks champagne on escalator, travels down a full story and, “WOW!” Do you see what I go though to emphasize something for you? After Mike Fiers struck out 14 Cubs in 6 innings, he can have anything he wants. Sleep with my Cougs, she’s all yours! He now has a 1.29 ERA, a 10.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 after 21 IP, after blowing through the minor leagues with a 11.3 K/9. I grabbed him in one 12 team league and looked to pick him up in every league, but he wasn’t there. I forgot the most important lesson, you couldn’t get Michael Fiers if you were f***ing Michael Fiers! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yu Darvish hit the DL with elbow inflammation.  In Grey’s 2nd half rankings, he said, “BAM!  What?  (Darvish) should be in the top 20 with the rest of the big-name pitchers, but I’m worried about an injury, so I ranked him much lower and that gets a BAM!”  And that’s me quoting Grey!  Dayum, son, Grey called that one.  Sure, he called it so long ago that no one even remembers it, but he called it neverthehoo!  Actually sounds a bit like Grey is writing this.  Oh, shoot, here he comes!  Hey, who wrote those previous, beautifully written sentences?  Sure as heck wasn’t me!  Guess that’s what I get for leaving my computer open at a Starbucks while I order a double foam, half-Sanka, half-espresso mocha, goochie, goochie, ya ya latte, LaBelle-style.  Well, I told you I had concerns about Darvish and when I have concerns, I make it happen with my mind like some crazy, telekinetic-fantasy-baseball-Scott-Baio-in-Zapped mofo!  The Rangers haven’t given a timetable for Darvish’s return yet, but like I also said in the 2nd half rankings, the Rangers have nothing to play for so they could shut him down.  Give him more time with his lady friends.  What does Darvish’s girlfriend call Yu’s erections?  YD Bulger, and it’s in hiding.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I don’t really remember the first time I played ‘lambs’. It’s hard to remember much after being chloroformed, to be honest, but let’s just say I’m glad the game didn’t go on for too long. It was really creepy hearing Grey pet Ted and call him ‘Precious’ while asking ‘Would you F@#$ me? I’d F@#$ me’. Mainly because you’re supposed to tuck and do that into a mirror while dancing and tucking your junk. He screwed the game up so badly, we had to start over. The human body can’t take this much chloro! But all this to say, I’m ready and willing to play again, only I want the bucket to be filled with Kyle Lohse this time. What, you wanted a more seamless segue? Sorry, we can’t all be Christian Bale taking an axe to Jared Leto whilst waxing poetic about Huey Lewis & The News, ok? Let’s just talk baseball since that’s what you’re here for. Heading into the game against Peralta last night, the Cubs were striking out 27.5% of the time over the last 7 games while rocking a .274 wOBA. These numbers go in the ‘no bueno’ section of your baseball stats. So unless the wind is blowing monstrously out, I’ll take Kyle for the miniscule $8K price tag with the hopes of him going at least 7 while K’ing 6 and coasting into a 20+ DraftKings point night.

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You: Pete Nice, did you say we should start Marcus Stroman this week at Boston and at Houston?

Jay(Wrong): You DON’T have to answer that question!

Me: I’ll answer the question! You want advice?

You: I think I’m entitled to…

Me: YOU WANT ADVICE?

You: I WANT THE TRUTH!

Me: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

[Jay's Note: My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer...] Guys, we live in a fantasy baseball world that has risky matchups, and those risky matchups have to be taken on by writers who have to suggest two-starting inexperienced young pitchers with 95 mph-plus fastballs. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Guru? You, Sky? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly imagine. You worry about Stroman, and you curse the Blue Jays. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Stroman’s road performance, while thus far in 2014 has been kind of crappy – 17 hits in 16 IP with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP – will improve with time. And Stroman’s existence, while excitingly intriguing but also slightly scary, can help your fantasy team. You don’t want this advice because deep down in places you don’t talk about at baseball games and fantasy drafts, you want Stroman on that hill. You need Stroman on that hill. We use words like FIP and K/BB ratios. We use these words as the backbone of a fantasy team trying to win something: Stroman’s 3.11 FIP places him in the Top 20 of all MLB pitchers and his K/BB per 9 ratio of close to 6.00 makes him an ownable pitcher, not a streamer, according to Dr. Grey Albright PhD. You use these things as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to readers who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very information that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up Stroman, and set your lineup. Either way, I don’t give a damn who you grab off the wire for two starts this week.

You: Did you order the two-starts for Marcus Stroman?

Me: I did the job…

You: DID YOU ORDER THE TWO-STARTS FOR MARCUS STROMAN?

Me: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID! AND HERE’S SOME MORE TWO-START PITCHERS FOR NEXT WEEK!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like a good Jewish boy, Brad Ausmus said to his Bubbie, “Bubbie, I love sulfites, nitrates and pig a**holes, but every time I see a Nathan’s, I get the runs. Bubbie, do you have a remedy?” His Bubbie lowered her knitting and said, “You need to get a goddamn decent closer!” And so it was done. Unfortunately, due to being wracked with guilt (or possibly due to a rather hard knock on the head), Ausmus couldn’t pull the trigger and said Nathan will remain the closer. Oh. WHAT?! The Rangers traded Joakim Soria to the Tigers because Joe Nathan is making Detroit look even lousier. I can’t imagine Soria remains the set-up man for very long, since Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and has looked completely lost for the better part of the season. For now, I’d hold both of them. Over in Texas, I have a rooting interest in Neal Cotts getting saves, because I own him and not Neftali Feliz. If I had my druthers, and knew what the hell druthers were — hmm, maybe then I do have druthers — I would grab Neftali first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?