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Most exciting thing to happen at spring training thus far.

Can the season start already? Spring training has all the excitement of watching The Bachelor finale through the holes in a cracker. Basically, your humble-but-nonetheless-superstitious Guru spends spring training lighting candles, arranging antlers True Detective-style and just praying guys I’ve already drafted don’t strain a bursa sac or meet the Yellow King mowing the outfield. With only a handful of RCL drafts completed – including the writers league – the fun is just getting started. Let’s fire up the jammer crammer machine ©, get to the hot corner and take a look at third baseman ranked outside ESPN’s top 100 players. The third base position is a whole lot of Pam Anderson kind of top heavy with the flat girls and their nice personalities stuck in the middle and the cross dressers in the back – sounds like the worst New Orleans strip club ever. If you miss out on the stacked guys like Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria or Adrian Beltre don’t panic, just make sure you’re stuffing dollar bills into the g-strings of David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman and or Josh Donaldson’s. Now if you pass on one of those guys too it might be time to take up morning drinking and fantasy NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes left really well – that’s it for my racing analysis. There’s only six third baseman in the top 100 and the guys that immediate follow test the gag reflex in a way that is not at all exciting – Aramis Ramirez *hiccup*, Pedro Alvarez *burp* and Brett Lawrie *gets bucket*. I’m passing on those guys and waiting a little longer like it’s almost last call in the Razzball Lounge – we’re holding out for something better. I’ll risk a late CI pick on a young skank like Todd Frazier that tries hard before I wake up next to the eager lady that looks like Mike Moustakas who rolls over in the morning to say, “Let’s play jam it or cram it.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have been put to the task of writing a sleeper post about Will Middlebrooks. Sorry guys, it’s the intern, J-FOH here, filling in for the man with the stache that launched a thousand ships. Hey, the man is busy, he’s a writer, husband, dog owner, constant flavor changing vaporbator, and stalker of Giancarlo Stanton. He’s only human and he needs some help from time to time. I’ve had to move the new furniture in his place three times since the wedding as the coug tries to find the right “flow” for their place. I am here to fill in and try to convince you all that 3rd base is really deep this year and that you can wait in your draft to get some really nice upside. Lets’s take a quick peek into how deep it is.

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First off, I would like to say Eric Sogard should be the Face of the MLB; that vote was rigged in David Wright’s favor.  Baseball needs more nerdy-looking, glasses-touting, Bernie-leanin’, jive-walking players.  But without further ado, here is the AL West Spring Training Showdown. (You can check out the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Welcome to the second annual Razzball Keepers Top-100 list-a-roo. I capped it AND italicized it, because it’s just that special. (The 2013 Top-100 can be found here.)

Spoiler Alert! We’re doing things keeper league style, dynasty style… which ever nomenclature you prefer. Basically, if you hold onto players for more than a year, these are the rankings you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Whole life man. Seriously.

Remember, the process for this list is quite unique. Unlike Grey, I didn’t type half of it with my mustache. Also, this isn’t your list. It’s my list. So, yeah, I’ll love guys a lot more than you will. I’ll also love your mom. Or vica versa. It’s just the way it is. If you stuck me in a keeper this very instant, this is pretty much the list, in order, of who I’d personally want long term. Things like previous production, expected 2014 production, projections for 2015-2017,  future potential, positional-scarcity, and injury-risk are all things I bake into the rankings. Regardless, the big takeaway here is that I believe in the Oxford comma. And I guess a lot of comma’s in general. And short sentences. And baking. And female nudity. Word.

Note: I’ve only ranked players who have pitched at least one inning or had one at-bat in their MLB career, sans Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu. Our prospect maven, Scott Evans, has the low down on all those MiLB guys I left out. Go check out his 2014 rankings (Top-25, Top-50), he won’t bite… I think.) 

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Yesterday, we went over the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball and today we (hint: it’s in the title) go over the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Now that we’re knee deep in the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings we can get a better idea of how deep certain positions are. Martin Prado is 16th overall on the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball but 23rd here. Juan Francisco is 34th on the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball, but 28th here. Quickly we can surmise that the 3rd basemen is shallower than the 1st basemen, but deeper than the 2nd basemen. Outfielders are obviously the deepest, and will be coming tomorrow, and, after that, positions rank from deepest to shallowest: 1st basemen, 3rd basemen, shortstops, 2nd basemen then catchers. Not much change from previous years, except for the flip-flop with the middle infielders. As always, my projections and tiers are noted. Oh, and if you don’t believe the magic in my fingertips, here’s the review of my rankings from last year. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Third base was far from an epic fail like something JayWrong would have a GIF for. There were a good ten 3rd basemen and another handful that could’ve covered your corner infidel slot. The problem is after the top fifteen the 3rd basemen fall off the map like a 12th century explorer. Here’s you, “Hey, I’m gonna go to India heading west.” You’re whistling, everything is good, then you have Mark Reynolds in your corner infidel slot and you’re dead from scurvy. This year there were fewer 3rd basemen coming out of nowhere to give you value, so if you didn’t have a top guy, you were probably stuck piecing together waiver scraps. This final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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I’ve been mentioning him here and there in the blurb sections of the roundups, but I can’t wait until Friday’s Buy, or until the offseason when I’m gonna gush over him in a sleeper post. I love Cody Asche. I love him for everything he is, and for everything he’s not. One thing he’s not is on many, if anyone’s radar. He’s not even owned in 1% of ESPN leagues, though once Matthew Berry picks him up on 24,000 of his teams that number will shoot up to 99% owned. Yesterday, Asche went 3-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 3rd homer in 28 games. Prorate that over a full season and he’s hitting 40 homers– Wait, I had my calculator to Chris Davis math. Okay, so it’s only about 15-20 homers, but he can also steal 10 bases and should hit around .290. He’s like a modern day Eric Hosmer, if Eric Hosmer weren’t already modern day. I remixing The Game for this Outkast and Asche’s to Asche’s, ah ha, don’t make me hush this fuss! Why do I love him for this year, but much more for 2014 fantasy baseball? The Phillies need to move towards the future, and Asche will have a starting job, and get drafted in the late 200′s in most mixed leagues, but have the upside of a 70/17/82/.285/10 player. Yes, I just gave you my first 2014 projection. Cody Asche, you make me excited, let’s cuddle. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Taijuan Walker will start vs. the Astros on Friday. The Mariners’ front office decided if they were going to sell him for ten cents on the dollar this offseason, then it was best to give him some major league experience. Here’s what Prospect Scott had to say in the preseason, “Walker is my #3 overall SP prospect, behind only Dylan Bundy and Jose Fernandez. He brings legit ace potential, and he should be ready for big league ball this year. Still, Taijuan’s greatest asset is his ability to hit Grey in the head with a fastball every time I dream about it.” Hey! That snippet was obviously prior to Bundy’s injury problems. Here’s what I said the other day, “It could be roofie burnout, but I’m not interested in shallower mixed leagues. In deeper leagues, I’d stash Walker to see if you catch a firefly in a bottle, or whatever that yokelism is. He definitely has shown great stuff in the minors (10+ K-rate) if a bit wild (4+ BB/9) in Triple-A. He will be a great pitcher, it probably won’t be this year. Think Wheeler when he was called up.” And that’s me quoting me! Well, I also lied. Kinda. I didn’t intend to lie, but he was just sitting there and I had a free roster spot… Ugh, I’m a glutton for punishment. I need serious help. Why can’t I turn down any high-upside rookie pitcher? Am I an adrenaline junkie like Keanu Reeves in Point Break? Hopefully, Walker doesn’t hang ten earned runs on my pitching line, but I’m expecting him to get Ks and have a relatively unremarkable start on Friday for earned runs and WHIP. For 2014, Taijuan is on the top of the list of guys that could be Matt Harvey 2.0, and I’ll have much more to say about him in the offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Why don’t I have Yu Darvish on any teams? Why don’t I have him on every team? It’s not like I ranked him low in the preseason. Maybe not crazy high, but I should’ve drafted him once. In ten leagues, you would’ve thought it had to happen. I wanna find a Japanese man and feed him grapes and tell him, “Yu are beautiful.” I wanna walk five paces in front of a Japanese woman and tell her how much I love Yu. He just jazzes me up so much I wanna do weird shizz with Japanese people! Something that takes my mind off not owning Yu in fantasy and transports me to living in some kind of weird fantasy with Yu surrogates. Cradle me in your arms, Japanese surrogate that I found on the street, and tell me Yu love me too. So, yesterday, Yu was dazzling again. This was his fourth game with 14 strikeouts as he went seven strong with zero earned runs and only five baserunners, resurrecting the Diamondhacks. After yesterday’s game, Arizona now wants to close all borders. It’s a little early to be talking about this, but I want Yu Darvish in every fantasy league in 2014, but I know now I won’t be able to afford him. Come here, Japanese surrogate, you fill in for Yu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In what can only be described as the biggest trade ever made for some Hoes, Bud Norris was traded to the O’s for L.J. Hoes. Hoes ain’t shizz against pitches and tricks! An almost title, “Hoes Go South, Norris Makes O’s Face.” But too gangster for you. You can’t handle such gangster frivolities! You play your tennis at the country club and call your girl and tell her, “Guess what, baby? Houston got some Hoes!” See where that get you. Get you a month straight in the man cave watching pay-per-view Hoes. That’s where it get you. So, Norris goes to Baltimore, and takes his 3.93 ERA with him, replacing the newly-DL’d Jason Hammel. He’s a trifling Bud that can’t get out lefties all that well. I wouldn’t put him at more than match-up capable against weaker righty heavy teams. So, does his fantasy value go up with this trade? Hoes please! Another barely fantasy-relevant starter to move at the trading deadline was Ian Kennedy. Reminds me of the idiom, there’s a place for everything and everything in its place. This also applies for any starter who is struggling. There’s only one place for them. Petco! It’s no surprise that his career numbers are superb in Petco — 2.27 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 48 Ks in 35 2/3 IP. His major problem everywhere is the home run ball and this is negated in a park that is 1025 feet to dead center and has tumbleweeds blowing past a statute of Nate Colbert in left. Also, it certainly — or sointly if you’re reading in a Stooge voice — does not hurt — or hoit — that he was facing the Padres. He could easily be a low-3 ERA pitcher at home. I still wouldn’t start him in road match-ups, but I’d own him in all fantasy leagues for home games. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?