We’re so close to the finish line!  The marathon is nearing the final push; your legs are weakening, you’re starting to feel incontinent… Well, Jonathan Papelbon sure was yesterday!  But we’re looking at the starting pitchers here in the Pitcher Profile corner, and the emergence of Carlos Carrasco since re-inserted into the rotation has been carrying fantasy owners in tons of leagues.  C&C Pitching Factory!

In six starts from August 10th to September 7th, C&C has had the fastball dancing now, with a 0.70 ERA and 42 Ks in 38.2 IP.  The fastball averaged well over 96 MPH, easily his predominant pitch.  Unfortunately for Carrasco owners, he struggled a bit against the Tigers last Friday, giving up 4 runs with the fastball velocity down.  It’s actually dipped under 96 MPH his past two starts, as well as a progressive trend of more-and-more sliders with less heaters in this late-season run.  So I decided to break down his start at Detroit and see if he’s a guy I’m going to trust in down the stretch:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“We’re more alike than we are different.” That’s what Mary Ann said of her and Ginger, but it could also be said of Marcus Stroman and a Flat-Billed Pitchypus. He needs maybe a fifteen-second ironing and a quarter-cup of starch and he’d be there. Considering the tumultuous recent years of the Flat-Billed Pitchypus, maybe it’s for the best. “You want more starch on this?” “Yes.” Dontrelle Willis reaches for his TGIF’s hat, drops jalapeno poppers on his foot and screams. Yesterday, Stroman threw a shutout in 93 pitches. Greg Maddux called and said, “You owe me a nickel.” Stroman’s sparkling like I screwed his head into my SodaStream, pushed down the level way too long and bubbles started coming into his eyes. Mary Ann’s existential quote could also be used to say there’s more similarities than differences between Stroman and an ace. He shouldn’t generate that much velocity from a five-foot-nine frame. Yet, there he is throwing 94 MPH while high-fiving his teammates on a step stool. He’s credited with a six-pitch arsenal that he can locate with pinpoint accuracy. I’m going to have a Marcus Stroman post for 2015 fantasy baseball to highlight his sensational stuff for next year, and then he’ll probably be in the top 10 pitchers for 2016. A star is born just don’t iron the brim any further; you’re good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, and the illustration next to it was Salvador Perez’s abuelita. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back.” I thought I knew what love was. I owned Javier Baez in every league I could grab him, but what did I know? Those minor league days are gone forever. He’s got to let them go! I can see you, Baez, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun. You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby. And I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong. Not Giancarlo strong, but strong never the hoo! Baez’s minor league numbers are eye-popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone Movie — 23 homers, 16 steals and a .260 average in only 104 games. What are you? A 35/25 guy at shortstop? Why stop there? Why not just dress up like the Sun-Maid girl and feed me shrunken grapes? What? It’s my fantasy! Like Don Henley and later The Ataris sang, I grabbed Baez in every league that I could. He might not be any better than, say, Danny Santana this year, his K-rate in the minors is a little scary, and he might hit .220. Whatevs, it’s an upside gamble, which I like at middle infield. I’m guessing Baez will play 2nd base, Arismendy (I still love you!) will move to center field and one of the Cubs platooners will sit. To paraphrase Harry Caray, if the moon was made of Javier Baez would cha eat it? Well, would cha? I would! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Tommy Medica had the game of his life last night, going 5-for-5 with two home runs (5 & 6), 4 runs and 4 RBI. Somebody call a doctor, because Tommy Medica is so sick! Now wait just a minute, hold onto your coffee, and don’t drop anything or anyone just yet, (especially not your coffee because that may burn and I can’t afford a lawsuit). Medica, who generally sits against righties, has been filling in for Yonder Alonso the past month or so while he’s on the shelf. He has squandered the opportunity, batting just .217 with zero homers and 4 RBI in 46 at-bats in July. Even for the Padres, that’s barely a major league starter. I guess his hitting coach has been advising him to study Jedd Gyorko early season game tape. More likely than not, Medica will be headed back to the platoon role once Yonder Alonso returns, but the trade of Chris Denorfia could potentially open up some more playing time. Either way, what a game Tommy Boy! Holy schnikes! I added Medica in a few places on the off-chance this performance buys him some more playing time, but I’d keep the expectations low outside NL-Only and deep mixed leagues. For the time being, Tommy Medica is batting 1.000 and slugging 2.200 in August and certainly a name worth monitoring over the weekend.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Signs you should’ve had someone else name your group: mispelling a common word is NOT a band name. Seriously, try it. Tom Petty Andd The Heartbreakers…yeah, did ya need the extra ‘d’? Rhetorical. No you didn’t. Hrm, maybe it’s just a sign you’re a bad group and should give up music entirely? Well, history has made it so. In many ways, streamers are just like one hit wonders, even when you look back and wonder how they even had a hit at all. By the end of the year, the Reds should get guys like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips back, making Cincy’s lineup a bit more imposing down the stretch. But we’re not there now, we’re here where guys like Ramon Santiago is batting second in the lineup and they’re starting two catchers. You shouldn’t even do that in a fantasy league that doesn’t require two Cs. Every fantasy player knows this but the Reds literally have no choice right now. All this to say, maybe some day you’ll look back with nostalgia on that one time you started Tom Koehler against the Reds and came out with some major DraftKings change for doing so. Prior to yesterday’s game, the Reds owned the worst team wOBA of the major leagues over the last 14 days while striking out 25.7% of the time. Though Koehler’s numbers on the season aren’t that inspiring, he does average 6 more DK points at home then he does on the road. Considering he’s only $6,400, he’ll leave you all the room you need to roster a big arm or big bats. And when he’s done, I’ll probably never start him again and forget how awesome he was for that one day. But for the time being, Koehler, I Wanna Sex You Up.

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?

I’ve been forced to travel a lot lately. Today’s installment comes to you from the friendly confines of the Denver airport. I just came out of the smoking lounge. People are crazy out here, man. I was excited because I thought all U.S. airports had done away with indoor smoking lounges. I went in, sparked a cig and like 20 people gave me dirty looks until one guy ran over flailing his arms and yelling at me that I was “harshing the whole room’s mellow!” I wasn’t bothering anyone! Whatever. I left. I guess that’s why they got rid of the indoor smoking lounges. People go crazy in there. I feel tingly after being in there for only 30 seconds. Anyway, on to Draftkings!

Today’s bold prediction: The Washington Nationals will be kicking the Rox all over the place today. Not bold enough? It gets bolder. (or Boulder?) Jordan Zimmermann at $8,800 is worthy of starting today. I’m recommending to start a pitcher in Coors Field. And as such, I shall start my obituary as a DFS writer… Yes, I understand how risky Coors is for pitchers and I’m slightly ok with it anyway. Zimmerman has owned the Rockies in his career and he’s not afraid to pitch in Coors. Over the past 3+ seasons, Zimmerman is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA at Coors Field. He’s sporting his best K rates of his career and the Rockies are cold and injured. Tulowitzki is doubtful for today’s game, and if he’s out I’ll roll out Zimmerman. Cuddyer is out and Arenado and CarGo just came back from injuries and haven’t gotten it going.

I’m also gonna stack Washington hitters today. Which Nats players you ask? If he’s in the starting lineup for the Nats today, I’d stack him. Yep any of em. I don’t care who it is. Name him, I’d stack him. That sounds dirty, but it isn’t. It’s ok. Just do it. If you haven’t stacked yet, today is your day. This one is so luscious. The entire lineup is hot right now. They’re in Coors. Yohan Flande. Yohan Flande? Yohan Flande! That was fun.

Speaking of fun… join a bunch of Razzballers for a friendly 20 team league over at DraftKings. I’ve added to the fun by paying out the top 5. If you’re signing up for the first time, make sure to use our link to sign up. Think of it as voting for your favorite fantasy site! Don’t wanna play with us small timers? Well try the big time tourney with a $20 buy-in for the $100K pot by clicking here. Top prize gets $20K. That could afford you a couple of nights in Paris! I’m sure she could use the publicity at this point, anyway.

We’re gonna need to find ways to afford all those expensive Nats hitters. The DFSBot has been impressively accurate in predicting player values. Make sure you put it to use in your favor and check your starting lineups prior to first pitch. Here’s a few guys I recommend as well:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you take enough shrooms, you start to dream about how Rick Porcello is from the magical land of Zeranok, where Buehrles and Moyers can cruise 15 MPH below the speed limit. Off shrooms, you just see Zeranok as zero ERA, no K. Yesterday’s 9 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 0 Ks was solid, great, adjective. Hard to not get excited about a complete game shutout, but I’m gonna try. Heard a lot made of the fact that Porcello only needed 95 pitches to finish off the A’s. That’s wonderful. Somewhere, Greg Maddux smiled, then he tried to go behind the counter at his local post office to show them how they can be more efficient and nearly got arrested. “Can we all just form a two-person line as we wait for Wet Willie’s Wild Slide?” That’s Maddux at a water park with his kids. I hear ya, Greg, when people are grouped together in a party of six in an amusement park line it drives me crazy too. The worst is when they get up to the front and suddenly they have 25 other friends that were with them. Any the hoo! A 95 pitch CG SHO is great IRL (you like how I was illustrating efficiency with acronyms; though this parenthetical defeats that purpose), but Porcello’s efficiency doesn’t do a whole lot for me in fantasy if it comes with no Ks. His K-rate is 5.2 and his walk rate is 2. That’s pretty blehtastic. I’d own him, since he gets the Rays next. He’s not suddenly shooting up to ace status for fantasy. I know, I know, that Porcello is one funghi, but he’s actually pretty close to borderline for 12-team mixed leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings all as I wrap up this month of June DraftKings coverage. Be sure to drive the right speed today as it’s a little known – ok well known – fact that the popo need to meet their minimums and they’re out to get you. Don’t laugh! The closest I ever came to getting a ticket was at the end of the month. Don’t get me wrong, I speed all the time. I don’t have a lead foot, per se. I more like to think of it as a permanent slab of immovable iron and that sits on the gas pedal whenever I drive. As the great poet laureate Samuel Roy Hagar once stated, ‘I Can’t Drive 55′ and it’s true for me. Unless of course the speed limit is 25 then I can prolly swing it. But enough about my illegal driving habits, we came here to talk some DK strategy and I think there’s an ace in the making taking the mound today that’s way too cheap to pass up given the matchup. I’m of course talking of Taijuan Walker, the illegitimate son of famed Sergeant Cordell Walker of the Dallas-Fort Worth-based Texas Rangers (not true). This son of Sgt. Walker (still not true) is adept at catching the bad guys in Texas and as luck would have it, he’ll be in Houston today where he’ll get to face the Astros. Now these aren’t your typical gang of bad guys unless you’re talking plate discipline and if you are, well, they’re the baddest guys in town. The Astros lead the MLB in K% on the year at 23.6% and I have recently been struck out 8 times by Verlander and 13 times by Scherzer. Since Walker’s going rate is $7K, he’s worth the risk as your SP2 based on pricing alone and given the upside of the matchup, I think he helps you seek cash money by the end of the day. Even the DFSBot sees the silver-lining of this play as even though he’s only the 9th best arm on the list, he’s also underpriced by about $1500 DK doubloons. So now that we’ve established a solid number 2 (not that kind; you’re gross), let’s move on to see what other bargains we can find. Here are your Razzball picks for June 30th on DraftKings for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Royals are Daddy Rich from Car Wash or Max Scherzer owed Verlander a favor. “Hey, Scherzer, do me a solid and do a solid on the mound so my Monday start doesn’t look so bad. You feel me? If you do, I got a Ms. Upton to feel you.” Little did Scherzer know that Verlander wasn’t talking about Kate Upton, but about Justin and B.J.’s sister, Misshapen. “Misshapen, your legs are so curvaceous they remind me of the coastline of Africa.” Or maybe Verlander is just spreading something around the clubhouse. Anibal, you better not touch him or I will know it! Scherzer only lost once all of last year at home, which is slightly misleading like I’m saying he is that much better at home. He only lost twice on the road last year and his ERA on the road was almost a run and half lower. Yesterday, it all went to pot — Lincecum, “That’s where I want to go!” — as Scherzer gave up 10 runs in four innings. Leyland was right. Pitchers are like barbecuing pork. You need a lot of indirect smoke to tender up their shoulder and get ‘em right. If this allows a buying opportunity on Scherzer, unlike Verlander, I do think this was a hiccup rather than a long, extended burp. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?