Japhet Amador is a giant man, standing at 6-foot-4, weighing in at 315 pounds. In the Mexican League, where he’s played for the last four years, they called him El Gran Burrito. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto once remarked that Amador is welcome at the Presidential Palace anytime, as long as Amador brings his own snacks. When Jose Altuve heard the Astros signed Amador, Altuve was thrilled. No more walking around for Altuve; Amador will just carry him around in a baby bjorn. I watched video of Amador and I’ve never seen such a slow bat through the zone. He looks like a Mexican Meat Loaf in a celebrity softball game. I swear, Amador stopped to eat one of those spicy dried mango candies halfway through his swing. His power is huge, but I’m not sure he’d gonna be able to catch up to anything. Last year in the Mexican League, he hit 36 homers and he’s 27 years old. The Mexican League is supposedly comparable to Triple-A, only instead of buses for transportation, the teams pile into a Toyota Tercel. Right now, he looks pegged for Triple-A, but since the Astros have Robbie Grossman, Marc Krauss, Jesus Guzman and J.D. Martinez vying for everyday ABs, anything could happen. I’d take a flyer on Amador in AL-Only leagues, and wait and see in mixed leagues. Best case scenario, he gets the DH job and hits 25+ homers and .220. The worst case scenario, you draft Altuve and Amador accidentally sits on him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw recently in spring training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Ahh..the refreshing feelings of a vacation high-a-tus really slows down the passion for fantasy baseball. Not helping it at all is the beginning of footieball, which turns the baseball week from 7 days to 6 now with all of our attention to fantasy football. A shout out to the fellas as Razzball Football who straight up kill it from week to week, and if you aren’t reading it daily then you suck and I hope you get stalked ritualistically by carnies. So back to the grind of the final few weeks here and the state of the bullpens are pretty stagnant. The only situation that I see taking a chunk of fantasy value is the situation in Pittsburgh (which is a great situation for actual baseball cause it’s great to see the ‘burgh with playoff intentions). Jason Grilli returned from the DL and has jumped into a set-up role for now and Melancon is proving to be a Cy Young type reliever this year. He won’t win but his numbers are stupid great. Like a really dumb Tony the Tiger great, so insert that image in your head, and play over and over again. Addicting isn’t it. I can see Grilli getting a chance this upcoming week to garner some save chances, mostly in an alternating role so if you cuffed yourself right then pay attention to the day before and insert into roster accordingly. Stick around for some goodies, and maybe a chance for some punch and pie.

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Gird your loins – we’re going to be navigating positions battles in each division. Last week, I covered the NL East. Today I’m talking about the AL Central, which actually looks fairly interesting this year. At first glance, the Tigers should run away with the division. At a slightly closer glance, the Indians, Royals, and White Sox all appear to be trying to contend. Who knows? Maybe Verlander’s arm will fall off after pitching over 1,000 innings across the past four seasons, while Miggy and Fielder enter a 24/7 all-you-can-eat buffet in Vegas and never return. Anyway, here’s some of the position battles to keep an eye on in the AL Central:

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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 2013 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2013 Royals Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy Michael Engel from Kings of Kauffman.

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Yes, I went Crazy Town on you. Look, the more and more you do this, the more you realize there are good title days and bad title days. And let me tell you this friends. Today is an amazing day. You know what the opposite of amazing is? Tim Lincecum in your left ocular region. Even though his star had been dimming slowly each year since 2009, many if not most did not predict such a precipitous drop. And when I say drop, it’s a landing that made a convincing doo-doo splat, but with fake dubstep. I feel like I am just too close to up-WUB you. You know, that’s a good ZZZZUHHHH CHUHHHHHHH BZZZZZZZAAAAAA Doo-doo splat! WAAAAAAW WAAAAAAAAWA WAWAAAHHHH!!!! During the two seasons before 2012, his strikeout rate dropped while his walk rate increased, both trending in a non-zesty direction. While he had a slight up-tick in his fastball velocity in 2011, the improved velocity did not show up in his SwStr% (swinging strike percentage), scoring a 10.7% from a 11.0%. It was an unlikely proposition that he would ever return to a 10.0+ K% pitcher, but it was rational to expect at least a strike out per inning while still holding league average control and still inducing grounders at an above average rate. After all, those three things are still ingredients for a top of the rotation starter.

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That title is lifted from Jimmy Dickens’ A Tale of Three Cities, the younger brother’s blatant ripoff of the classic novel.  For what Jimmy Dickens lacked in originality, he made up with his ability to avoid cholera and scurvy.  His brother, Charles, used to say it was because Jimmy was the rat spreading the dreaded disease.  

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