Hello one and all, it’s the off-season but like those douches at your local gym who are constantly drinking protein shakes and talking about their glutes would tell you, ‘there is no off-season’. If you’re unaware of what we’re trying to do with this post, I humbly ask you go take a look at the Top April Pitchers post from…well, I don’t know when this post is going live so I’ll just say ‘from earlier this off-season’. THERE IS NO OFF-SEASON! Ok, I get it Max! Go back to checking your ass out in the mirror with those spandex on and calm the eff down…now where was I. Oh yeah, this post! We’re doing a bit of a look back on the 2014 fantasy baseball season through the lense of #PitchingIsSoDeep and asking ‘but was it really’? And instead of giving generalities, we’re gonna look at this from an actual numbers perspective. Did it really pay to pay up for pitching? Or was it easier to cull your pitching stats from the waiver wire over the course of the year? We’re using Grey’s top 20 as a basis point for the argument. I’m using this simply because I couldn’t find a consensus top 20 and because Grey’s mustache is so beautiful…hey Grey? Yeah, you’re the editor, not the subject changer. Can we move along from how luscious your lip hair is? Thanks…so without further ado, let’s take a look back on the top May pitchers from 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Like the end of anything that was good, there is only one thing left to do as the MLB regular season comes to a close: lay it down really hard. Finish strong, as they say. Earn your season-long awards. Kershaw is possibly making his last case for a seemingly deserved MVP as a starting pitcher tonight and he has the added motivation to embarrass his team’s greatest rival and clinch the NL West. After spending the majority of the year avoiding writing about my beloved Dodgers, I can no longer avoid the allure. Tonight offers a matchup as sexy as anything to come out of San Fernando Valley in the last 20 years. Let’s start with the NL Cy Young and MVP probable, Clayton Kershaw, P: $14,800. Considering that the best starting hitter on the Giants BvP line is held by Pablo Sandoval who has a growing trend of being incapable of hitting from the right side, Kershaw is a no-brainer today. The NL MVP should have no problem punishing the shrinking Giants’ bats into submission. Sandoval’s leading BvP by the way is 14-54 with 3 2Bs equaling a .596 OPS… the best they have to offer.

I got ideas and the DFSBot has finely honed predictions. You have ideas and the DFSBot has finely honed predictions. The DFSBot is critically acclaimed on the internets. I sleep at night and the DFSBot never stops working. You and I have a lot in common. I hope you sleep too. Listen to the DFSBot.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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First off, congratulations fellow nerd, if you’re reading this it means one of two things. 1. You’re just as painfully boring as I am and you read everything Razzball posts. Or 2., You’ve made it to the second or third round of your head-to-head league playoffs. Pretty impressive if you ask me! Now go tell everyone about it and be sure to let them know how you couldn’t have done it with out the good folks at Razzball! Best fantasy sports coverage in the industry, and all that happy horse shizz as my Vavo would say. What’s a Vavo you ask? It’s a Portuguese grandfather. See, you learn something new everyday. Well, I don’t because I know everything there is to know. It’s okay marvel at my excellence.

As for this week in double dipping, we have a couple of rude party guests in the Red Sux, Diamondbacks, Cubs, White Sox, Astros, and Padres, who have decided to move to 6-man rotations. Who would have guessed that the rudest guests at this two start party would come from Massachusetts, California, Texas, Arizona, and Chicago? Regardless of those skipping the cake and ice cream that is this week’s TwoStartapalooza we still have a whole bunch of good options to discuss. I’ve decided to add another element to these posts going forward. I’m now going to add in each pitchers home or road ERA, as well as the opponents wOBA against that pitcher’s handiness, and their home/road wOBA. I feel this provides you the reader with better statistical data, as well as better transparency into the reasoning behind each ranking. This week I’m just going with each opponents home/road wOBA because I’m on vacation, and if I spend any more time writing, my wife will kill me. So starting next week I’ll have all these numbers for you. The greater point is this data paired with Rudy’s new handy dandy two start matrix makes these posts that much more helpful. Knowledge is power boys, and raw Imma give it to ya with no trivia raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia. Ohhh U-God you had one good line in 25 years….

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Ryan Braun revealed he doesn’t have a thumb issue, he has a whole hand issue. Unfortch, he’s also proving to have a ‘can’t stay on the field without steroids’ issue, which is the result of a ‘steroids has broken down his ability to stay healthy’ issue that’s brought up a ‘is he really trying to get on the field’ issue that all came about when he was ‘wearing scrubs, watching his wife spit out a kid and his wife was squeezing his hand too tightly’ issue that leaves the issue, ‘will he return and do anything this season?’ Basically, Braun’s got more men’s health issues than Ricky Martin. Whether or not you drop him or just bench him comes down to who you have to replace him, but, in September, he’s hitting .200 with zero homers, and he hit .240 in August with four homers, so chances are good you can find someone better than him for the final two and a half weeks. This will definitely muddy waters on if Braun is a mannish boy or what to expect from him in 2015 fantasy baseball. Unless Lame-Ass-Busta Excuses is a category in your league, then Braun has it on lock. (Also, applies if the category is spelled Lame-Ass-Buster Excuses or simply Lame Excuses.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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In Fantasy Baseball, it doesn’t matter if it’s daily or redraft, strikeouts hand out nerd boners. Don’t worry, straight fantasy baseball players, it’s not a gay thing (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It comes down to playing a sport that is built for strikeouts dominating your pitching desires and in fact, I’d say in daily fantasy a 10 K day would have you bordering on priapism. So pardon me while I go back to the Trevor Bauer well with you. Yes, we’ve done this before and with success. For some reason, Trevor at home feels…well, at home as he has a 3.32 ERA, 9.11 K/9 and a .309 wOBA against at Progressive Field. Obviously he’s not perfect at home – he does have a 1.34 WHIP and a 3.6 BB/9 ratio there – but for the price of $6,500, you could have yourself 10 K. Oh, I see that got you all flushed. So go light some candles, sprinkle rose petals around the laptop you build your DK lineups on and put on some appropriate music to anoint the mood while you anoint yourself with other things…ahhhh yeah. Maybe his start will be so successful, you can afford the plumber to fix your wife’s leaky pipes and order an extra large italian sausage pizza like she’s always asked for. Bet she’d like that. But before our ‘innuendo’ turns into ‘in your end hole’, let’s get this show rolling. Here’s Razzball’s picks for today’s slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 team league 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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Here’s a scenario for you: Hanley Ramirez and Carlos Gonzalez get onto a plane. Knowing their inability to stay healthy, you A) Get off the plane. B) Purposely get yourself thrown off the plane by calling the male flight attendant, Mr. Stewardess, and asking him if he’s the pimp for the female stewardesses and if you could have a multi-person shag in the lavatory. C) There’s no C. Any of the above answers would work, even C and there wasn’t a C. CarGo can’t stay healthy and Hanley doesn’t seem to want to. If you count 145 games played as a full season, CarGo’s played one full season. This year, he might not play in 71 games and he’s at 70. Yes, he could be done for the year. Yes, it’s bad news with CarGo. Freight so. Even if he plays again, he has 11 homers and 3 steals in 70 games. Yunel Escobar looks at that and talks to a trademark attorney. It’s gonna be fun next year hearing people draft CarGo while they say, “I just need him to stay healthy for 120 games.” Those people are called delusional. As for Hanley, he’s supposed to return as soon as his DL stint is over, and he should as long as he doesn’t have to play hard in a rehab assignment. That would be impossible for him even if healthy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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You know when Shin-Soo Choo (2-for-4, 2 runs and his 10th homer) is hitting homers there’s a Dong Party going on. Dong Party is also my lead single off my album, “Who Let In All These Guys?” The CD cover had me dressed like a sailor, begrudgingly hoisting a man for a keg stand. None of this is ringing a bell? That’s weird, but it did perform better in Asia than here. Choo hadn’t homered since July 4th and only has 4 homers since May 22nd and is hitting .238. Can we say bust? If you can’t, you might want to see a speech therapist. Also joining the Dong Party was J.P. Arencibia (3-for-5, 4 RBIs and his 7th homer). That Arencibia is one spicy meatball! You know what one meatball said to another meatball? What’s up, metaball? What? No good? Okay, I won’t submit it to Highlights. Arencibia has 4 homers in the last eleven games, and has been known to go on a dong run. For those of you who just found us today Googling “dong run.” We won’t judge you here. Next up, for the Dong Party was Robinson Crusoe. He’s got a novel idea. It’s about a shipwrecking. Quite the yarn! Chirinos (3-for-5, 3 runs and two homers) has 11 homers on the year, and I’ve enjoyed owning him in a few two-catcher leagues, but he’s hitting .237 and I wouldn’t get too excited, especially not while you’re at a Dong Party. Finally, arriving at the Dong Party with a homer in the first inning was Adrian Beltre (1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 16th homer). Getting a bangfizzle at a Dong Party is such a bummer. By the by, Such A Bummer was my follow-up single. Tell me if you want the Sound Cloud link. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!

What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).

Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!

Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.

A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…

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As I type this, I’m in a small, but expected depression as a disgruntled Mets fan living in Minnesota after today’s non-waiver trade deadline. In the middle of thermal packaging related activities, I saw deal and deal and deal swing by. All I get from both the teams that I follow most? A Kurt Suzuki extension. Oye. All that did was disgruntle me more, as I like Josmil Pinto quite a bit. I figured at least Bartolo Colon would get traded for some PTBL or a BoB (bucket o’ balls). Ah well.

On the other hand, if you’re a Tigers fan (I’m not a bandwagon A’s fan until the Mets are good, I decided today), you must be pretty excited. Drew Smyly wasn’t as dominating as a starter and Austin Jackson continued to short-come expectations. Instead you have an second ace, and can now appropriately consider Justin Verlander your number 3 or 4 or 5. [Jay’s Note: Or playoff closer?] Verlander has not been good, but he’s also been almost as unlucky as he’s been bad, or he’s hurt and isn’t saying anything/doesn’t know it.

July 1st, I noted the luckiest pitchers to date, but the one thing I didn’t do at that time was look at the pitcher’s luck/bad luck relative to their career rates. So for this post, for luck, I z-scored each pitcher’s luck stats relative to their career stats (homerun to flyball ratio, left on base% and BABIP). I weighed each z-score by the stats correlation to ERA. Therefore the luckies pitchers (using luck alone and excluding skill) as of 7/27 is: Josh Beckett, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Scott Kazmir, Garrett Richards, Zach Britton, Jordan Lyles, Drew Pomeranz, Dellin Betances, Alfredo Simon and Danny Duffy. Chris Young, Jason Hammel and Jesse Chavez (update: both Hammel and Chavez were rocked in their last start). However, this all excludes skill (contact rate, strikeout% minus walk% and ground ball to flyball ratio). Incorporating this, here are the actual luckiest pitchers as of 7/27:

Please, blog, may I have some more?