Mark Ellis is considered a clubhouse leader. Listen, I’m gonna be real with you, there is no substitute for a leader in the clubhouse. These are real world intangibles you can’t quantify. Unfortch, no one has Clubhouse Leader as a fantasy category in their league, so good riddance as Kolten Wong was recalled. As Pitbull kinda says, “Hey, Mark Ellis, you’re going down, I’m yelling timber! Swing your butt, Mark Ellis is going down, he’s going down. I’m yelling timber!” Hopefully, the Cards give Wong a legit chance to play, but that’s not entirely clear yet. They should, since he could be Pedroia-like. For whatever reason the Cards seem to have a hard time going with a rookie in any kind of substantial role, but I’d still grab him in deeper mixed leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If you cheated and looked ahead before reading, shame on you! But, for those who didn’t, I am attaching my cart to Francisco Rodriguez. Not only has he done nothing wrong (which seems impossible for closers nowadays), but looks in no danger of getting the rug ripped out from under him. The team is winning, the bullpen is toight like a tiger, and Jimbo Hendo looks to be doing a swell job as second fiddle. Not only would I marry K-rod right now, he can also fart in my dinner… tonight. (Ed. Note– Protip: I wait until at least the second date before letting farts in my food.) I mean what he is doing is pretty remarkable– most saves in April, EVER. It reminds me of the good times when I played the jug in the band The Dixie Cups. For a barely drafted guy who wasn’t even the teams first choice for saves… and to also be giving your team a saves boost for basically nothing, you should wanna carry his luggage. So keep reading to see what other closer goodies I got for ya… or just skip to the comments and tell me something awesome.

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The H is O! Oh, no, Jose Fernandez has me so jazzed, I need to bust some rhymes. I came in the door, I said it before. I never let a top starter magnetize me no more, but watching Fernandez yesterday is biting me, fighting me, inviting me to want a number one starter just this one time. I can’t hold it back, I’m looking at his pitching line — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 14Ks. Taking off my coat, and that’s me quoting Rakim’s quote, his pitches were kicking it until his last hitter, Ryan Doumit. My mind remains refined, all kinds of ideas. Self-esteem makes it seem like his pitching took years to build, but his age is just twenty-one. Prepared, never scared, he’s just a blessed one. And you know that I’ve never seen that terrible movie with Jamie Foxx, think it was called The Soloist, so Jose F. make ‘em clap to this. I said it the other day, but in case you weren’t reading, Fernandez is going to be the best pitcher going into next year. Thought he was a donut, you tried to glaze him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As they say in a Jewelery District of any major city, Johnny Cueto pitched a gem. Well, any major city except Detroit. There they call a gem, “Slowly remove it from your finger, and no funny business!” Against the Pirates yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks. Pretty much across the board for Cueto’s career, I haven’t been a fan. His xFIP has always been much worse than his ERA, and his K-rate has never been close to an elite starter. Well, a weird thing happened on the way to his fifth start of the year, he looks like an ace. His xFIP is down to 2.55, his K-rate is 10.50 and his walk rate is 2.40. Those are fantasy ace numbers. Last year through April, he had a 2.80 xFIP, 9.35 K-rate and 3.12 walk rate. Those numbers aren’t that different. Hey, random italicized letters are my shtick. Not right now, Random Italicized Voice. Whoa, snippy! There is one fairly significant difference between Cueto this year and last. About a mile per hour on his fastball. In some instances, his fastball is averaging two extra miles per hour from last April, and he’s cut out his, uh, cutter, and his ground balls have remained. He’s pitching slightly different, slightly better, and, for the first time I can remember, I’m really liking what Cueto is showing. Ain’t that a kick in Jason LaRue’s head? His ERA won’t stay at 1.50, but I also wouldn’t be looking to sell him high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This has less to do with Jedd Gyorko than it has to do with panicking. You drafted Gyorko this year because of what he’s done in the past. Yes, you’re hoping for better in the future, but you’re going on what he’s done already. Fact or not fact? FACT or NOT FACT?! Fact. You want him primarily for his power. Fact or not fact? FACT or NOT FACT?! Fact. You knew he was on a lousy team. Fact or not fact? FACT or NOT FACT?! Fact. You knew he hit .249 last year. Fact or not fact? FACT or NOT FACT?! Fact. Last year, he hit zero homers in 93 ABs in April. It’s simply a fact! Of course you want better this year, but he hasn’t done anything less than he did last year thus far, and you still drafted him. If he does exactly the same as last year, but doesn’t get injured and miss a month, he will hit around 27 homers and have 75-ish runs and RBIs. You’re getting that from another 2nd baseman? Which one, cause I’d like to get in on that. Can we double date? Wanna hear something completely crazy? I’m typing this with my toes. Wanna hear something completely crazy related to fantasy baseball? Gyorko could have a better year than Tulowitzki. Tulo’s already hurt and said last year he’s no longer stealing bases. So, Gyorko hits 27 homers and .250, Tulo hits 27 homers and .295. A few weird bounces in BABIP and they hit the same. So why are you dropping Gyorko? Better yet, why are you not trading for him? Don’t drop guys that just happen to have a bad one or two weeks to start the season. In general, anyone that you drafted in the first ten rounds, should be untouchable in April. You need to let your Clydesdales carry your beer. There’s a fine line between reacting and panicking. Walk the line, Johnny. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Hello, Total Fiasco, it’s nice of you to join us. Can I just call you Total? You prefer your full name? Can I get you anything, Total Fiasco? Bullpens scrambling? Real baseball managers pulling their hair out? Fantasy managers wishing they had hair to pull out? How about I just give Jim Johnson the ball and step out of the way? That should be to your liking. While you’re waiting for a meltdown, here’s a hot towel for your face. So, the A’s announced they would move to a closer committee. The only thing ever done better by committee? Spice in jerk seasoning. The A’s have the luxury of a few options: Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle, which makes things harder for fantasy. Much easier if there’s one great handcuff and then junk behind him. I’d pick up the A’s relievers in the order I listed them. Saves could very well be divvied up with a little Gregerson, a little Cook and a little Doo. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Well, it sorta began last week, but there wasn’t really anything to report. We had one day of stats and a whole lot of J-FOH to deal with. Speaking of, I should point out that he did a wonderful job filling in for me last week as I traveled to the Bahamas and had a plethora of little umbrella drinks placed around my general vicinity. Haha, just kidding, I don’t drink anything with umbrellas in them. And the Bahamas are what I call my bar “area”. Which is really just a shelf with several Makers Mark bottles that have varying levels of fullness. I could have said emptiness, but I’m an optimist. And probably an alcoholic. That being said, we’re here now, together, once again, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean, I might, but that involves you buying me a steak dinner. Speaking of ways into my heart, Rudy has found a way to become legend to my soul, and you’ll learn what that is after the jump. So let’s start the story of your 2014 RCL Season…

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The name says it all, it’s what everyone keeps asking for,  NSVH.  It sounds like a spin-off of CSI, or Law and Order.  Except with really geeky dudes who shouldn’t really have an actual head-shot of themselves for use as their avatar.  We know who they are, and pointing fingers isn’t polite unless it’s the one that I normally get from people at the retirement home I frequent for volunteer duties.  Much love Shady Acres.  So this week we delve into the numbers game, the ones that mimic me and steal my Nutella sandwich.  These projections are highly irregular and tougher than most other stats in the pretend game.  The fluctuation of personnel by teams is mind boggling and makes me look goofy.  So in the chart below I am giving you the top-60 NSVH chaps with some pertinent stats that help all.  During the year, I’ll get into more of the sustaining stats, but since we aren’t there yet, I can’t just make them up.  Those tendency stats that I am referring to (Inherited Runners, Inherited Runners Scored, and Appearances with Lead) are my way of determining both closer and set-up guy efficiency.  How they are used and when they are used.  So those that are looking forward to that, hooray for you.   So without further adieu, here are some projections for the top NSVH guys for this year.

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The first bullpen report of the year is always league-dependent, so read this with a grain of salt.  Some of the top-chaps will be and should be rostered in most normal scoring leagues, while some are strictly reserved for Holds only leagues.  For those of you with the ever trending upward Saves+Holds leagues (NSVH), (a trend I have tried for a few years that seems to work) the process isn’t really a groundbreaking formula where you need a calculator watch and/or an abacus to figure out.

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For the second straight week, we have a new Razzball Commenter League overall leader. MasterofGrond’s Waco Night Terrors (Imposing Sea Creatures) moved up from 5th place as they had their best week of the season in steals (13) and saves (9), as well as a fine 2.05 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. They were also among the league-leaders in runs with 54. Norichika Aoki (7 Runs/4 SB) and Rajai Davis (6 SB) were key, along with Max Scherzer, Justin Masterson, Madison Bumgarner, and A.J. Burnett.

Check out the Master Standings (you can also access them via the Leagues menu up top) to see where your team ranks in comparison to the other 767 teams through Sunday. The page now includes sortable stats.

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