We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Cubs Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Mauricio Rubio Jr. from CubsDen.

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Ryan Zimmerman went Yardo Montalban as he Tattooed the ball three times. Da plane, da plane…is flying right next to Zimmerman’s homers! My dear guests! I am Mr. Albright, your host. Welcome… to Fantasy Baseball! Smiles, everyone, smiles! No, seriously, smile, you paid a lot of money for those caps. Since it was a game between the O’s and Nationals, they shared announcers (since they share channels). So, the O’s announcers said everyone’s crazy for Machado, Jones, Zimmermann and Harper and not Ryan Zimmerman or Nick Markakis much anymore, after they were the stars of their respective clubs. Then the Nationals announcer says, “I can’t say I know much about Markakis myself.” Burn! I’d play that over the clubhouse speakers before every game. Not to motivate Markakis as much to mess with him. Oh, and Zimmerman! Right! Yeah, he had a huge game, and you might remember he goosed me in my nethers last year when I dropped him, because he hit 10 homers in July of 2012. Might be the start of another special run. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Hope everyone’s well rested and had a joyous Michael Bay Day. If you couldn’t be American yesterday, I hope at least you got drunk and ate a bunch of hot dogs. As they say in Mississippi, Amurica, spelling’s for sissies! The Mariners made it a bit more joyous for some of us fantasy baseballers when they demoted Dustin Ackley for Nick Franklin. Ackley was a guy I could never fully get behind, in a non-sexual way. He arrived in the majors with a ton of hype, but that’s more because Mariners fans lie to themselves more than anything Ackley showed. So, what does the Mustache King, Purveyor of Smart Stuff Who Should Be Able To Come Up With A Better Word Than Stuff If He Were That Smart think about Franklin? Brucely, I’m a bit meh, but I’d pick him up in all leagues and have. Franklin looks similar to Ackley. He has power and speed, but not in a huge way, which will be further suppressed by Safeco. Safeco: Where a hitter’s upside goes to die. Franklin’s best year in the minors was in A-Ball in 2010. To put that into a relatable comparison, you were your town’s best T-ball hitter, how well did you do in high school? You flunked out of high school? Point made. This year, he had 4 homers and 7 steals in Triple-A, and I’d put it at about a 25% chance that his end of the season numbers look the same for the Mariners. If you can’t find someone that can get you 4 homers and 7 steals from now until October, you’re not trying very hard. There is a chance for upside and he is only 22 years old, so I’d take the gamble and grab him. Best case scenario, 15 homers, 15 steals. Worst case scenario, he shows up at the nightclub you like to take your lady to, challenges you to a dance battle, beats you, screaming “You got served!” and your lady leaves with him. Most likely scenario, he hits 8 homers, steals 12 bases and bats .250, so watch how you spend your FAAB Benjamins on Franklin. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Well, last week I said the Boston situation would go swimmingly, results so far have been 2 drowning victims and an all-Asian rescue team. First, Andrew Bailey went down with triceps injury, then Joel Hanrahan said, “anything you can do I can do better,” and has a forearm strain. Now, I’m no doctor, I pretend to play one at 2 AM and it’s last call, different story, but you get my point, but isn’t it only one arm, not fore? So to the rescue in their tight red water panties are the best combo since Chico found the man, Koji and Junichi. The eighth and ninth innings for all games on NESN now will be in full anime, and Rem-Dog will be eaten. I fully expect Tazawa to be the focal point of save situations until either Bailey or Hanrahan return. He was closing for a tick last year at Pawtucket, which is like me fishing and saying I’m Gordon’s fisherman. The numbers this year are pretty outstanding (18 K’s in 14 In) so he has momentum, his only flaw is he is a fly ball pitcher and that tends to bite ya in the oshiri…sometimes. Stay tuned to see what else I see/saw or foresee coming up in the world of conclusionary pitchers and the gents that set them up.

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The week was going swimmingly, with inflatable swim muscles, I may add, then Kevin Gregg showed up and said “Oh, I thought everyone wore these glasses now.” I don’t trust Kevin for 2 reasons, closers come and closers go (Kyuji is coming back) so add that into your closer entree like a good splash of adobo. The second reason is he has two first names, I’m sorry, it’s a phobia of mine ever since I went to school with a kid named Ferris Ferris. No I didn’t stutter, that’s a true story. Next we move to Boston, where Joe-L is returning from the DL; John Farrell has said what is typical, we will see what happens. My 2 cents is that Bailey keeps it until he falters or Hanrahan whines enough to make a stink. If I could call Joel, this is how the convo would go. Sup Joel. Who is this? Then I would hang up and not answer when he star 69′s me. I do that cause I don’t like people messin’ around on my phone. Lastly this week, I have moved Jim Johnson, minus his cult following, into the top tier. He has shown me enough to warrant a bump up. The games he pitches in are showing the confidence that Buck has in him, like a great illegitimate dad would in his Maury Povich type son. The bump over Papelbon is based purely on stats and accumulation right now, Paps just isn’t seeing the chances that some other closers are seeing and that inevitably hurts my feelings and his stats/value. Enjoy the week as if you were listening to the soundtrack from Rocky 4, what could get better than that.? If you said that talking robot Pauly got, then we are on the same page my friend.

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I wish I was a mathematician or at least had one of those rad looking calculator watches. For now I will remain myself and take random, yet seasoned guesses at this thing that we covet so much, the save. It’s the only position that every person garnering save capability is owned in every league no matter how big or small, which makes it fun. They say all the fun is the chase, I guess that’s why I am bored with so many people tied up in my Gam-Gam’s basement. Digression, segue, punctuation. The Royals, or for better reference, Greg Holland, has figured out his mojo, while all of us hoping for a heated up Kelvin to pounce are reduced to wait for a Holland-days off. I am glad that Holland has shown what we all thought he could be, albeit for one glorious day. Two in a row is a winning streak, so said Lou Brown. So onto the rankings of closers and some of their ‘cuffs. This week’s random weird but true factoid, the Phillies are 13 games into the season and do not have a hold by any pitcher on their team. Put that in your cheese steak and smoke it

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Much like the more ballyhooed Closer Report, the alternate week Bullpen Report covers everything that those dudes who get quality starts don’t. It’s starting again, in case you haven’t noticed, and no, I am not talking about those unfortunate flare-ups that you cover with medicated ointment, bullpens are in flux. So you get a little of the saves, some of the holds, and some of me just ranting. Ugh, the situation for closers is an ugly ever-changing conundrum. This week’s cluster F belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals. Mitchell Boggs goes all Chernobyl on your weekly ERA and just falls apart. Have no fear as Trevor Rosenthal didn’t look much better. Boggs is still the guy you want here, Motte isn’t coming through that door anytime soon and no one else has the label as go to guy in the bullpen yet. So sit tight and just enjoy this closer-coaster with no seat belt. Here’s what I got this week, some sleeper Holds guys with improving, yet slightly arousing situations, and some other run downs on teams’ closer situations.

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Jered Weaver owners just found another reason to get down on one knee (although shelling out for a ring causes a similar sensation). Weaver will be going to renowned SoCal ‘Doctor of the Skateboarders’ Ollie Ramp. “I usually see these occur when some knucklehead tries to ride a railing and takes a header…or I guess an elbower.” Well, thank God for my Jered Weaver overrated post that helped all of you avoid Weaver in the preseason. Right? *crickets, birds chirping, a little fat kid running through a sprinkler* So, some of you drafted him anyway? Show yourselves for the world to see. You will not be mocked. You will be pointed at derisively. Okay, that’s mocked. The Weaver Drafter, “Everyone was down on Weaver, in the non-sexual way, so he came at such a discount… Besides, you were worried about his decreased velocity, falling K-rate, lucky ERA… You never said anything about him breaking his non-throwing elbow.” Hopefully, kind sir, they have an Excuses For Drafting Weaver category in your league. He’ll be back in 6 weeks. I look forward to others putting him on their DL until then. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Gird your loins – we’re going to be navigating positions battles in each division. Today I’m talking about the NL Central, which loses the Astros this year, so you can basically knock off five wins from each team’s 2012 win total. It feels like this could be a close race for the first couple months until the Reds replace Dusty’s toothpick with bubblegum at the trade deadline. There’s also a good amount of both young and rebound pitchers spread out across the division, so this could be a boon for late round draft picks in mixed leagues. Am I telling you to draft a pitching staff solely from the NL Central? Those are your words, not mine. Although I kind of wish they had been my words (you quick thinker, you). You can also read about the position battles for the NL East and the AL Central. Anyway, here are some of the position battles to watch in the NL Central:

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