Hehe, I’m such a jerk.  I finally dedicate a lede to Jason Vargas and it’s to point out how bad he was last night — 2 2/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA up to 3.06.  Well, look at it this way.  If he wasn’t good for so long, him being bad wouldn’t matter.  For unstints, my friend texted me yesterday, “R. Kelly’s being accused of holding girls against their will in his cult.”  I texted back, “That’s one cult where you really don’t want to drink the Kool-Aid.”  It was the least surprising news yesterday.  2nd least surprising is the Vargas regression.  What happens with regression, stays in Vargas.  He’s not done regressing either, if his peripherals hold.  He has a 6.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 4.87 xFIP, i.e.,  A lost Vargas is not just a Wynn, but one of those sure-cuts, sure-cuts.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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Grey was in such a great mood to begin the podcast, talking about frolicking around town on his off day eating rolled ice cream and LA ham sandwiches with little Asian girls. That is until I mentioned a bad podcast review we got on iTunes, which irreversibly changed the tone of the entire podcast and had him flying off the handle. He talked crap on the comments he gets under his daily articles which bother him, he goes hard at Fangraphs for incorrectly predicting Rougned Odor’s lack of power would make him cry at the all-star break, and he threatens to ban the IP address of the rogue bad reviewer if he ever finds out who did it. Through the angst, we manage to breakdown his Top 100 2nd Half Rankings, starting at the top with Bryce Harper, Paul Goldschmidt, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, and Mookie Betts. We dig into his optimistic Aaron Judge ranking and cautious Cody Bellinger ranking, and also discuss his ranking of young aces Lance McCullers, Luis Severino, Alex Wood, and James Paxton. Finally, we bring on our boy Kenneth Cashman from RotoWear.com to talk t-shirts and rapping, and he leaves us with an insane Razzball rap to end the interview. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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So, this legit blew my mind.  As you know, I’m busy getting my top 100 for the 2nd half ready for next week, and I was looking at our Player Rater.  So, Domingo Santana?  He’s top 50 on the season!  No, not for outfielders.  For all players!  Seriously!  For all hitters and pitchers.  Digest that for a second.  What are you swallowing?  I was speaking metaphorically.  What does this mean?  Invest in players with home games in domestic swill parks.  Rename PNC Park to Iron City Park and I want me some Jordy Mercer!  Busch Stadium is the exception that proves the rule, whatever that means.  This also means fantasy value is about filling out five categories.  All your Miggys and Edwins are purdy, but you get a guy that hits 15 homers and steals bases, and you’re getting value.  Yesterday, Domingo went 4-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs with his 9th steal, as he hits .288 with 14 homers on the year.  That’s how you get fantasy value.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dodgers lefty Rich Hill gets an enticing matchup at home against the DBacks on Thursday, making him a valuable play on FanDuel. In his last three starts, Hill has been the dominant pitcher that we came to know last year, striking out 26 batters in 19 innings with just six walks and a 1.89 ERA. The Diamondbacks might seem like a scary opponent, but when they’re away from their home ballpark, they’ve got just a .299 wOBA, which ranks them 26th in the league. Furthermore, they struggle mightily against left-handed pitching, with a .289 wOBA against southpaws, as well as a 25.3% K-rate. So on the road against a lefty, the Diamondbacks are actually among the worst lineups in baseball. With Rich Hill pitching his ass off, $8,700 is an outstanding price for his upcoming outing. Just hope there’s no blisters.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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How many of you remember the watershed 1993 film Dazed and Confused? In this coming of age saga, a young righty, with the flowing locks of Sampson himself, embarks on a journey that will change his life forever. It is in that film where we first meet Mike Clevinger. I could go on a lengthy diatribe about the film with the Indians righty supplanted as the protagonist, but I already did that a year and a half ago when I first introduced you to Mr. Clevinger. It’s like I’m watching my kids grow up right before my eyes. Either way Clevinger is long haired and goofy just like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. Not to toot my own horn, but to totally toot my own horn, I called this developing breakout a year ago. The Indians acquired the former 2011 4th rounder from the Angels back in 2014 for pen arm Vinny Pestano. Since then it’s been a classic Cleveland starter story, as the organization focused on bringing Clevinger along first as a pen arm, and now as a starter. With a 14.1% SwStr, and a 28.5% K%, there’s some signs that Clevinger, in a season of disappointing starters, could be a diamond in the rough. Let’s look under the hood, and then go pitch by pitch through his Sunday start vs. the division rival Detroit Tigers.

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One of the things I love most about baseball, but particularly covering prospects, is when a guy I totally missed on pops up, and exceeds expectations. Sure, I could become obsessed with my own reputation, and shoot down any suggestion that I missed on a player. But what fun is that? So, when it comes to Nick Pivetta, I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t see this coming. Hell, I wrote up 15+ Phillies prospects, and name dropped another 7-8, and didn’t even mention Pivetta. Fangraphs covered 33 Phillies prospects, and Pivetta ranked in at 27! All this to say, that the “out of nowhere” label is somewhat appropriate when it comes to the Phil’s righthander. After an outstanding outing vs the Red Sox at home a few weeks ago, the strikeouts, and numbers in general seem to be trending in the right direction. So why not check him out, and see if we in fact have a breakout bubbling. Before we begin, big shouts to Oaktown Steve, who’s been hyping up Pivetta in the comments the past few weeks like a Sabermetrics Flavor Flav. Only he turned in his giant clock (read that fast), for an abacus, which I’ve heard can get a bit bulky when worn as a necklace. Anyway, let’s get into Pivetta’s last start vs the Cardinals at home, the second time he’s faced the Redbirds in four starts. He’s going today in Arizona, so maybe we’ll see if he’s worth rolling out… Actually no rookie pitcher with a heavy fly-ball approach should be started in Arizona, but that’s just common sense. On to the profile!

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Oakland promoted Franklin Barreto this weekend, and a friend of mine who I only see when he’s mowing my lawn said, “You got to go to The Mission if you really want a Barreto.”  Recalling my 1600 Yelp reviews of every Chipotle in Los Angeles county, I exclaimed, “No way, Jose!”  But he replied, “Mr. Grey, my name is Julio.”  Then we laughed, and, even though he laughed with jajajajaja and I laughed with hahahaha, we found a common ground.  As for fantasy, Prospector Ralph said, “Barreto offers hard contact, some speed.  Gets caught a lot, and who knows how much the A’s send him.  He’s exciting though.  Upside guy with a low floor this season.  Now can I go back to bitching about Tanaka?”  There ya go!  Right from the prospect whore’s mouth!  I tried to get Barreto in all of my leagues, but, alas, he was gone.  Yesterday, he went 2-for-5, 1 run, after homering in his first game on Saturday.  He’s worth a flyer in all leagues in case he sticks with Semien.  Ew.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I think you’ll agree (because Would I Lie To You?) that it’s been an up-and-down couple of weeks for us Saturday FanDuel devotees when it comes to pitchers. But I’m pleased to report that this week, we’re swimming in them (so to speak). Yes, you could, of course, play Clayton Kershaw, but TBH I’m leery of starting anyone against the Rockies right now, and ClayKer does have his worst ERA at home (that’s 3.11, mind you, but still), and given he costs $12,300, I’m going to steer clear and look to some other, more affordable pitching options. And there are a few, as you shall see. My very favorite is Robbie Ray: yes, his start today takes place in the somewhat terrifying Chase (The Ball Across The) Field in Arizona, but it’s versus the Phillies, who hit .233 against lefties and now have the least wins in the entirety of MLB. (Sorry to remind you of that, Phillies Fans.) Let’s check out some more options after the jump.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?