Most of the league’s top aces took the hill last night, but none were more impressive than the Padres’ Andrew Cashner, who threw a one-hit shutout, tossing 108 pitches against the ferocious Tigers, walking just two and striking out 11. That’s straight Cashner, homey! Randy Moss would be proud. Cashner’s shutout was the first of the season in all of baseball, and just the second of his career. He now holds a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 22 Ks through three starts. It’s gotta be that beard, right? You don’t have to tell Razzball nation about the magic of facial hair, see: Albright, Grey. Mystic whiskers aside, Cashner was money Friday night, surrendering just the one hit to Rajai Davis (breaking up his perfect game in the 6th), and striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Yes, that Miguel Cabrera! I’ve always been high on Cashner, and I owned him everywhere last year, so naturally, I own him no where this year. After last night, I might have to hit the trade market, because if I can’t own him, no one should! “I want a Golden Andrew Cashner Goose now, daddy!” Andrew has had injury issues in the past, but he has always been solid when healthy, and with high a 90′s fastball that can hit the triple digits, doode throws some serious cheese. The key with Cashner remains his aforementioned health; if he stays healthy, I could see 12-14 wins, 160 Ks and some solid ratios. That kind of Cashner can pay off big for your fantasy team.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Our first full slate of games and two closers lost jobs. Mother Nature and/or Al Gore (if they’re different people), how is climate different than weather if both lead to a closepocalypse? An interested party is curious. It was a bit before concussions were in vogue, but did anyone ever check Robin Ventura for a concussion when he got cantalouped by Nolan Ryan? Cause he just lamebrained up my fantasy teams by naming Matt Lindstrom the closer– Um, Grey? What’s up, Random Italicized Voice? When Addison Reed was traded in December, you said, “White Sox GM Rick Hahn named Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Daniel Webb as possible replacements. Due to Scott Downs’ Syndrome, Downs is out of the mix. Jones will be a favorite by fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) due to his ability to strike guys out, but I’m guessing Lindstrom will end up with the job due to that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it closer experience quality.” And that’s me quoting you! DAH!!! I got wrapped in the allure of a young, sexy closer and forgot where my butter pickles were buttered! I imagine this shituation will get worse before it gets better, so if you have room, I’d hold Jones for now, but you should absolutely pick up Lindstrom in all leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As always, probable pitchers are subject to change.  For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

As esteemed Creed frontman Scott Stapp once sang: “Let’s play ball, it’s game day. We want strikeouts, base hits, duhbull plays.”

We should be havin’ a party, ya’ll. It’s the year’s first Two-Startapalooza!!

But yet something feels missing. With Clayton Kershaw out, it’s like Hendrix didn’t make it to Monterey Pop. With Yu Darvish out, it’s like Pearl Jam skipped Lollapalooza ’92. With Patrick Corbin gone for the year, it’s like, well, it’s like the Spin Doctors skipped Woodstock ’94. You get the idea.

Plenty of great double-dippers this week, though, so let’s get to it.

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Jay has so kindly asked me to take over this series for him.  He is passing on the metaphorical golden baton onto me.  I’m going to coat this puppy in silver, because gold is tacky.  To start things off, I decided talk about a guy who I think flies under the radar, Madison Bumgarner.  First off, how awesome is his name!?!  That’s reason enough to buy this guy.  Who names their boy Madison anymore?  Awesome parents, that’s who.  If you’re actually curious about baby Madisons, click here.  Don’t ask why I know about that website, all I know is that it’s super interesting…at least to me it is.  Back to our topic now.  On top of Madison, his last name is Bumgarner!  He is literally collecting booty, c’mon.  Oh look, a double entendre, I’ll clarify.  He is married, so I think he is all set on that booty front.  As for Pirate booty (Giants booty?), he is squared away too.  He signed a 5 year, $35 million contract after his second full season, at age 22!  YARGH, that’s a lot of booty!

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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 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 Giants Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Trevor Cole from Giants Baseball Blog.

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If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note -- JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note -- I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Welcome to the second annual Razzball Keepers Top-100 list-a-roo. I capped it AND italicized it, because it’s just that special. (The 2013 Top-100 can be found here.)

Spoiler Alert! We’re doing things keeper league style, dynasty style… which ever nomenclature you prefer. Basically, if you hold onto players for more than a year, these are the rankings you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Whole life man. Seriously.

Remember, the process for this list is quite unique. Unlike Grey, I didn’t type half of it with my mustache. Also, this isn’t your list. It’s my list. So, yeah, I’ll love guys a lot more than you will. I’ll also love your mom. Or vica versa. It’s just the way it is. If you stuck me in a keeper this very instant, this is pretty much the list, in order, of who I’d personally want long term. Things like previous production, expected 2014 production, projections for 2015-2017,  future potential, positional-scarcity, and injury-risk are all things I bake into the rankings. Regardless, the big takeaway here is that I believe in the Oxford comma. And I guess a lot of comma’s in general. And short sentences. And baking. And female nudity. Word.

Note: I’ve only ranked players who have pitched at least one inning or had one at-bat in their MLB career, sans Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Abreu. Our prospect maven, Scott Evans, has the low down on all those MiLB guys I left out. Go check out his 2014 rankings (Top-25, Top-50), he won’t bite… I think.) 

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With the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings for every position done, we turn our lazy eye towards the top 100 for 2014 fantasy baseball. These 2014 fantasy baseball rankings are one part fresh and two parts to def. They own a cat, a dog and a lizard in a two bedroom apartment where pets aren’t allowed. Know why? Cause they don’t care! None of this top 100 for 2014 fantasy baseball is meant to surprise. *jumping out of a closet* Boo! Now, that was meant to surprise. This top 100 is just taking my positional rankings and putting guys in The Big Picture. You really should read each ranking post because the blurbs in this top 100 are on the skimpy side because there’s so many of them, and I went over each one of these guys already. Obviously at a hundred players, some guys just didn’t make it. About 300, to be inexact. It’s okay; there will be a top 400 tomorrow. Shortly, Sloth, you’ll have your Baby Ruth. Not to get all biblical on you, but this is the gospel. Print it out and take it to Mt. Sinai and it will say, “Win your 2014 fantasy baseball league, young prematurely balding man.” Projections were done by me and a crack team of 100 monkeys fighting amongst themselves because there were only 99 typewriters. Somebody please buy Ling-Ling his own typewriter! To help with your drafting, there’s also a list of players with multiple position eligibility. Anyway, here’s the top 100 for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies. It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown. I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted. Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth. Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around. Simple Math, “Don’t put words in my mouth!” In most leagues, there’s a ton of guys on waivers that can help you — all year. Not just in April, and then they disappear. With the help of the Stream-o-Nator (it’s not populated right now because there’s no scheduled games), you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest. To read more about streaming as a draft strategy. Rudy’s also going to be doing a post shortly about streaming hitters and starters. There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck. Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to shift due to which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs. Finally, the best starters can give you four categories. The best hitters can give you five categories. If you don’t trust my rankings, you should. As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included and my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Two weeks ago we looked at the speedsters from 2013 and there were more than a few names on the list that were available on the waiver wire at some point. For deeper leagues and daily fantasy players that need to maximize each and every matchup, even the smallest advantages can mean the difference between a win and a loss. That’s why we focused a lot on matchups this past year, and we’ll do it again in 2014. Even the best base stealers get caught once in a while, so it’s good to know as much as we can about who might be doing the catching before deploying our fantasy lineups. There’s a lot that goes into a stolen base, of course, and the battery of pitcher and catcher is a large piece of the puzzle. Pitchers who are good at holding baserunners can be avoided while pitchers who have a tendency to cough up a lot of steals can be exploited. Here’s how some starters fared in 2013 and over the last three years against the stolen base.

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