Mike Fiers threw the first Astros no-hitter by a single pitcher in over 20 years last night and the very first no-no in Minute Maid Park to make his way into the Houston record books, alongside Houston greats such as Beyonce, Dennis Quaid….uh, Rory Gilmore…did I say, Beyonce already? Anyway, even more impressive, the 30-year old Fiers did it against one of the leagues top offenses in the LA Dodgers. You probably wouldn’t have started Michael Fiers unless you owned @#$%ing Michael Fiers! Fiers walked just three batters and struck out 10 in what was also his first career complete game. It took Mike 134 pitches to get through this one, but his stuff seemed to get better as he got deeper into the game. It was his first win with his new team. After struggling in relief in his first appearance with Houston, Fiers settled nicely into a starting role that he will be unlikely to relinquish after last night’s dominating performance. He’s allowed just one earned run in three starts with Houston, with a 19/6 K/BB rate. Fiers struggles with control at times but when he’s on the strikeouts numbers are nice and he can be a very useful fantasy starter. He’s available in over half of leagues and gets the Yankees next week, I’d grab him if he’s out there, he could be a helpful guy to own as the Astros make their run for a pennant.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know how they have 17 hours of unseen footage on the Anchorman DVD that you spent 17 hours watching to only keep saying, “Well, I know why they cut this out?” In a similar vein, I wrote about V-Mart in the Buy/Sell that’s coming later today, but have since cut it. Still, here it is in its uncut form, “Victor Martinez – Hey, it didn’t work out like you antissapated (sic) when you ignored my advise (sic) to not draft hymn (sic). In 12 to 14 team mixed leagues, he’s still tentatively a hold, but in shallower leagues, you really need to start looking elsewhere. (Maybe make this funnier, Grey, your intern wrote this and it’s hot garbage and who’s writing this note if it’s not you, Grey? Wait, are you asking yourself if you’re writing in third person? That’s like next level shizz!)” So, yeah, I was ready to move on from V-Mart in shallower leagues. He looked lost like the Lost writers during the final season of Lost. I told you not to draft him in the preseason, and I still don’t like him at all, but after he homered twice yesterday (2-for-4, 5 RBIs with his 7th and 8th homers), I’d definitely hold to see if yesterday was the K-turn he needed to get out of his cul-de-suck. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In the vast world of fast food, food, and fine dinning, you’ll find your pick of the garnishes to the delight your tastebuds. Some will be salty and some will be sweet, but only a pickle can be some of each. No where on earth such a veggie exists, you’ll it eat on burgers, and sausage, and fish. I run to the store to share some with friends, that here is the place where this story book ends. Or maybe begins as I took out my sack and I shared with my kins, cause I’m the pickleman mack. I gave one to Grey, Smokey, and Jay, I gave one to Tehol but he put it away. No, no silly Beddict keep that out of your rectum, these pickles are delicious I demand you respect them. Dan Pants said here, here as he munched on a gherkin, but Tehol didn’t hear he was too busy twerkin. Magoo and J-Foh enjoyed their half sours, as Jack waxed poetic about hating Joe Mauers. All was well in Razzland oh sweet pickled cucumber, it’s Two start pitchers, week I forget the number.

So big changes this week to the two start post, and I think the you’ll agree it’s for the better. I ramble less and instead provide you with a wide range of stats to justify my rankings. That’s better right? Hopefully I don’t leave you with a burning feeling like that girl in your dorm that had Daddy issues. Oh yeah and pickles!

BTW when you’re done here go read soccer, it’s good I swear!

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Who was actually good…

Last time, I used ADP data and player values to determine Kyle Lohse was the most under-drafted player of the last five years. Turns out, there are some assumptions in the calculation that could be tweaked, and the result could be a totally different most under-drafted player. Go figure! The methodology was to take the difference between a player’s preseason ADP and his end-of-season rank to determine  “undervalued-ness”. This time we’re still going to take the difference, but it’ll be between the square root of his ADP and the square root of his EOS rank.

Why the square rooting? The reason is to give more weight to better players, which square rooting accomplishes.

For reference, here’s the list from last time (that won one lucky man a Razzball T-Shirt):

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Last week I put together comprehensive year-to-date, rest of season and end of season rankings for batters. Quite honestly I think it was the bees knees, but that’s just me tooting my own horn. Do bees even have knees? If you are in a points league and missed it, I highly recommend you check it out. And when I say I “highly” recommend it, that does not mean I ate pot brownies two hours before making said recommendation. I was just standing at the top of a 30-foot ladder.

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Last week Grey had the great idea to put my ADP treasure trove of data to good use, and ask people which player they thought has been the most under-drafted over the past five years (2010-14). Who put up good numbers year after year and still was not given the benefit of the doubt?

We got lots of guesses, but only one person got the right answer. Who is this person and which player did they guess? Scroll down to go straight to the destination, or you can first relive some of the journey that got me to the answer…

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It’s the 4th of July everybody and life is good. You’re probably spending your day with loved ones grilling, drinking, swimming, and reminding yourself why you hate your cousin Gary. Pretentious prick! Do I really care that you do Andrew W.K’s taxes? Do we always have to listen to “Let’s Get The Party Started” at every July 4th pool party? Oh BTW your wife Cheri propositions me every time we’re alone. What can I say she wants the Lifshitz naknik. Enough about me I mean you, yes you. This in no way bears any resemblance to my life. I don’t even have a cousin Gary! In fact if you’re here reading this then you probably have no friends or family and more than likely own cats or have dead bodies in your basement. It’s cool I’m not going to say anything. So I know the question on everyone’s mind “Ralph you’re rambling what’s the theme this week?” Well it’s the 4th of July. So that’s my theme, 4th of July’s of Lifshitz past. So each tier will include an offbeat story about my Independence Day misadventures. No these misadventures will not feature Will Smith, Bill Pullman, or aliens. Or will they? Week 14 Two Start Pitchers are upon us….

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Remember when you used to open a pack of baseball cards and were only looking for the rookies? DFS Fantasy Baseball has been just like that for me this season. Instead of sliding my thumb from left to right on paper, it is now sliding up and down on my cell phone, looking for players like Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson, and Carlos Correa. I can’t remember a season where this many rookies have made such huge impacts early on. In DFS, DraftKings will price rookies that have just been called-up really cheap. Kyle Schwarber was only $2,200 on the first day he played. Now he is $4,000. Even at that price, he’s still a good option, especially at the Catcher position.The Cubs prospect was the best hitting player in the minors until his call-up a few days ago. Play him while you still can because it’s been said by Cubs’ management that he’ll be sent back down to the minors after the interleague games. By this time next week you’ll be back to picking your Catcher last and not caring who you pick. As much as I love the rookies, playing them in DFS can be daring. It’s important to look at the match-ups even more so than other players. I’m definitely staying away from a rookie hitter when facing a top pitching ace. Check out some more rookies I like today.

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?

Sometimes you think you know what a player is. He’s a stud. He’s a stiff. He’s hot. He’s not. And so on. Players get labels pretty quick as they come into our consciousness and it’s awfully hard to shake that.

The same goes for teams throughout a season. Oh, they aren’t hitting well or that’s a hitter’s park. These types of unwitting biases can keep you from rostering the exact players you need to win so it’s important that you keep investigating the trends that are going on throughout the season.

Those that though, prior to the 2014 season, that Anthony Rizzo can’t hit lefties were right…..prior to that season. In 2015, Rizzo broke out and it was, in a significant part, due to a much improved approach against LHP. Those that didn’t just accept the current track record were rewarded when they rostered Rizzo against lefties when few other people did.

This season, maybe it’s a guy like Tampa’s Erasmo Ramirez, who looks to be turning the corner as a pitcher and has put up some solid numbers so far this season. You might write him off as stinky based on prior track record or by him burning you when you did roster him, but a look at the most recent 30 days show a different story.

It’s a good idea to look at a player’s metrics over the last 30 days or so to get an idea which way the player it trending or if he’s been able to continue a trend that he hasn’t exhibited before. You’re likely to find some player emerging and give you an edge over your competitors who are still reading last month’s news.

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?

Who is Chi Chi Gonzalez?

He’s a pitcher I only really knew because of his incredible name (and seeing it a few times on prospect lists)… I knew almost nothing about this guy.  So instead of doing any research or pounding the Fangraphs, I decided to go into this week’s Pitcher Profile blinded.  I’m going into it like walking into a crowded room, desperately yelling “Chi Chi?!  Chi Chi!??!?!”

And honestly, I wouldn’t have broken down his debut against the Red Sox on Saturday had it not been a no-hit bid into the 6th.  Debut bias alert!  “JB, you got suckered in…”  Darn tootin’!  But I was unable to watch the start live, so even though I figured there was some smoke and mirrors going on, you never really know until you sit down and watch a guy to see how he looked.  So alas, here’s how I saw Chi Chi’s Major League debut:

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