The 2014 season is two months old, so it’s data day here at the Razzball Steals Emporium. This is kind of like the chapter review our teachers gave us in school, except there is no test, so everybody wins. We have to mention Dee Gordon to start. His ADP was 222. This is ironic because that’s about how many steals he’ll likely end up with this year. With 34 stolen bases on June 1, the 26-year-old middle infielder is on a crazy pace for about 90 swipes this season. Billy Hamil-who?

Gordon has always had speed, but he’s doing more to utilize it this year in the majors. He’s been successful on the basepaths 92% of the time. He’s swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, making better contact, and striking out less in general. Gordon has also been hitting more ground balls, less fly balls, and significantly less infield fly balls. This has all resulted in a better batting average, better on-base percentage, and in turn crazy stolen base numbers. It’s almost as if someone reminded Dee that he was fast and should just try to put the ball on the ground. Amazing!

Gordon owners can enjoy the ride and shouldn’t stay up at night worrying about him falling off a cliff. If anything, I wouldn’t be shy to acquire Gordon off of an owner who was nervous about that very scenario. He won’t provide much outside of stolen bases, but he’ll help you come close to winning that category from a middle infield position, allowing you to roster more balanced players in your outfield slots.

Here’s where we’re at with steals through the first two months in 2014 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The wait has been overbearing… The anticipation in the air… palpable.  I almost typoed Palpatine.  Which is what you loyal starting pitcher-aficionados probably think of me!

We had a start pushed back.  We had me an unbelieving heathen.  Then Memorial Day!  Plus my near-descent into the inability to get out of bed when I watched Yordano Ventura‘s start the other day – saw him torched, velo fall, and taken out early.  Now we get “valgus extension overload” which sounds like some sort of Eastern European sex move…

But alas!  We’ve finally gotten here.  A Pitcher Profile wholly dedicated to Dallas Keuchel, as he continues to rock-m sock-m robot opposing hitters.  Did I just make that a verb?  Yup!  Add yet another complete game to his docket (very nearly three in a row), and he’s easily become the flashiest, out-of-nowhere add to legions of fantasy squads.  But is he a guy to cut at the first sign of danger?  To try and sell high?  Let’s take a looksy at his start this past Sunday where he went the distance against the Mariners:

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CC Sabathia is out until at least July. ESPN said, “The Yankees clearly want to save their ace for a late-season run, so will exercise caution, making sure to not rush a return.” Seriously, is ESPN purposely five years behind everyone else or do they try to anticipate what other people think and just feed off of that? Are they under the assumption that casual (read: lazy) fans think Sabathia is the Yankees ace, so they just go with that? Are they ignoring Tanaka? Are they afraid of upsetting Yankee fans? Do they think Yankee fans are stupid? I have questions, y’all! Sabathia hasn’t been an ace in two years and I see no return to that any time soon. Even if he loses another 75 pounds and grows back his belly, only now it’s from being malnourished, and he shows up at the ballpark with flies buzzing around his head. Chase Whitley will remain in the rotation now and he had a 10+ K/9, 2.4 BB/9 in Triple-A, but he wasn’t even a starter prior to this year and the Yanks are throwing crap against their dresser hoping it forms a pretty, flower-doily design. I wouldn’t mess with him outside of AL-Only leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to live tweet this post: Tweet: #pitchingissodeep, we can lose every third starter and still have enough pitchers to go around. Tweet: Pitching isso deep? What’s an isso? Tweet: Why do I care where you ate dinner? And why am I following you? Tweet: @SolangeKnowles I’d hold the elevator door for you. Tweet: Twitter bores me. I’m done with this. So, there you have it, our first live tweet post. I’m so hip; tweeting shizz like a baller! Why do I think ballers don’t use many semi-colons? Is there a less hip punctuation mark? Jose Fernandez has an elbow sprain, which is code for you’re fudged in the effhole if you own him. If you want, I’ll form a prayer rhombus with you, but I gotta be honest, since I don’t own him, my heart won’t be in the rhombus. I’ll be faking the rhombus. You’re better off with someone else. Until Andrew Heaney is ready (June), the Marlins are likely to fill their empty rotation spot with Brad Hand or Kevin Slowey. Too bad they can’t find room for both, then they can get The Pointer Sisters to sing, “I want a rotation with a Slowey, Hand.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I mustache you a question, when you drafted, were you Axfording a hard time from your closer? Then you got it. John Axford finally was removed from the closer role. Francona said, “I’ve seen crap before, but Assford demonstrated a whole new level of excrement.” Or something to that effect. I’m not one for details. Axford was replaced by the committee of author Bryan Shaw, Nick at Nite star Cody Allen and The RZE. That’s also the order I’d pick them up. There’s prolly no reason to mess with The RZE, especially after he was treated like Jodie Foster in The Accused yesterday. Speaking of The RZE, Method Man and Raekwon forgot one way to torture their opponents when they talk about rusty screwdrivers and whatnot. “I’ll hack your fantasy team and pick up John Axford and leave him in your active lineup and let him keep feeding you terrible stats, and feeding you, and feeding you and feeding you.” Now, that’s gangster. There’s a good chance Axford never sees another save this year. Collective wisdom says Cody Allen will be the closer, but collective wisdom also said Obama was going to make a difference. Yesterday, the Indians set up the game so Shaw would be the closer, whereas Allen’s one save came when Axford was garbage and Shaw had already been used. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Troy Tulowitzki is hitting .408. I’m not even joking. Member those days when you’d open up the paper and look at the league leaders? You’d then rub your face with your ink-stained fingers and you’d look like Bucky Dent with the eye black, then you’d overdo it and you’d look like Al Jolson and you’d get your family in a race war with your neighbors. Do you even know league leaders now without the newspaper? I don’t. I mean, I know guys that are doing well, but actual league leaders? It is irrelevant to a certain extent. If a guy is tied for 2nd most wins in the AL (Martin Perez) and he goes out and gets bombed yesterday (5 IP, 5 ER), does it matter? I guess it does matter with Tulo since he’s hitting four hundred and eight preceded by a decimal. That’s kinda beautiful. I own him for the first time in my life, and, due to that, he’s going to stay healthy all year. What, it’s putting it out in the universe. Yeah, unlikely, but hot dizzamn he’s good when going well. Yesterday, he hit two homers and in the last week he’s hitting over .600. As lyrics say in the lone single to go platinum off my Rod Stewart/MC Hammer mash-up album, “Stay forever young, Tulo legit, to quit.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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

When did pitchers become such complete morons?

Michael Pineda’s pine tar party is way old news now, but let’s just go back and revisit what was truly dumb about it: It’s not that he tried to use pine tar, it’s that he tried to hide it on his neck!

Last week’s dummy was Matt Cain. Apparently, he read some of the scouting reports that said his 2013 was a tale of two-halves, which might have given him the idea to make a sandwich in the Giants’ clubhouse before the team’s game last Tuesday against the Padres. Whoops! Cain sliced his index finger instead of a tomato, or whatever, and had to be scratched. It’s not dumb that Cain wanted to have a sandwich on game day. It’s idiotic that he had to make one himself. Don’t they bring in catering before the game? Why are they making their own sandwiches? Aren’t these guys pampered millionaires?

There is an actual fantasy point here. What made Cain’s first half of 2013 so rough is that he was giving up dongs despite his ability to keep the ball in the yard throughout his career. This year he’s yielded five homers, which is up among the league leaders, but not horrid. The sandwich debacle hurts because Cain needed to bounce back strong after a poop-fest in Colorado that followed two quality starts in losses.

The good news is he has two starts in pitcher friendly parks this week (PNC Park and Dodger Stadium). The bad news is that damn cut kept opening up last week when Cain tried to throw. What if it flies open in Pittsburgh and someone mistakes the blood for ketchup and slathers it on their Primanti Bros. sandwich?

Dumber things have happened. Like, say, messing around with a knife before you start a major league game …

… and some of these two-start pitcher rankings. Enjoy!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Carlos Carrasco was bumped from the rotation. Do I smell a 400-foot, long-tossing fool from Columbus, Ohio that has a rap group that plays to sell-out shows in the furnished basement of his parents’ house? Trevor Bauer, your time is near. I said that last line in a Darth Vader voice. Trevor, I am your father. I said that in the voice of someone who has a son named Trevor. Am I confusing you? How about now? Trevor Bauer may have overcome his past WHIPping post issues and could be usable in all mixed leagues. They worked with Trevor in Triple-A. They taught him to pitch from the rubber instead of short center. I would speculate on him, as I said in Friday’s Buy column, I wouldn’t go and drop anyone too crazy valuable. Josh Tomlin may instead be called up to replace Carrasco. Tomlin can’t pitch out of the bullpen because it takes him like 2 innings to get out of his oversized chair. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to take a different approach to this week’s Deep Impact post and talk about my up-to-this-point woulda-coulda-shoulda team, and point out the surprises with whom I think will have a sustainable, deep into-the-season impact. I’m omitting the non-surprises i.e. Adam Wainwright, Felix Hernandez, and Jose Fernandez who are naturally in the top-20 so long as they stay healthy.

Here are thine options (within the top-100) to date with their ESPN Player Rater rankings in parenthesis as of Friday, 4/25:

Please, blog, may I have some more?