Went over the catchers, 1st basemen, 2nd basemen and shortstops and top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Guess what’s next! No, not pitchers. Read the title, man. In 2010, there were only 5 outfielders that hit 30 homers, in 2011 there were 9, 14 in 2012 and in 2013 there were 3. This year, small bounce back with 6. That did just mean there were less homers from other positions though, it didn’t mean a bounce back all around for baseball. We are only a few years away from someone leading the league with 25 homers. Steals were still around. There were 14 outfielders who stole 30 bases in 2012, 10 in 2013 and this year there were 11. As before, these rankings are from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. Anyway, here’s the top 20 outfielders for 2014 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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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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If you’ve been scouring all your picture books for a proper fantasy hitter in the final week, look no further. Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-4 with his 19th home run and two RBI last night. Arcia has a nice little six-game hitting streak, with four homers in that stretch. To be fair, however, he’s also sat four games in that span with a tweaked muscle in his upper back. Injury concerns aside, Oswaldo is destroying baseballs when he’s on the field. In his past six games, he’s clubbed four homers and with 8 RBI. He’s slugging .858 in the past two weeks while batting over .400, and with 19 homers (12 at cavernous Target Field) in 94 games, he’s got serious power and might be someone to consider on draft day next year. He’s worth the pick up in all leagues if you need some pop in the final week of the season. Oswaldo could power you to fantasy glory. He’s missed some time in the past few days, but he hasn’t shown any ill effects of the injury while on the field, so hopefully this back injury is behind him for the most part. Get it!?  Ha! Either way that shouldn’t discourage you from picking him up this hot little potato while he’s mashing.

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

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I’ll be honest, I really wanted to do a title about Rudy. After having a top-7 pitching week and moving into the top-10 overall, I wanted to kiss some a*s to the other man in charge. It was supposed to be “Rudy Comfortable”, a play on Rudy Huxtable, but then Grey told me to talk about you guys and four girl readers. I obliged and started looking at the top-10 and the player rater to see what they have in common. The top-4 teams, 5 total in top 10, all have Mike Trout and 3 of the top 5 have Jose Abreu. The top two teams have both. Jose Altuve, Todd Frazier, Michael Brantley, and Corey Dickerson are scattered throughout the top ten. In the pitching it’s a little all over the place. One trend I found interesting was in the bullpen where Cody Allen is on 4 teams and Wade Davis is on 3. I’m pointing those two out because they were both solid all year and probably owned all year. Allen being a draft day stash for save savy owners and Davis being a K/9 machine that caught our attention back in April. Take note of this next year. Instead of drafting next season’s Jose Veras, grab a great handcuff with a high K-rate and some faith. I know that’s easier said than done, being that very few MR’s repeat from year to year. Unless your name is Tyler Clippard. There are always themes to successful teams, if you got the first or second pick and drafted Trout your chances of winning increase exponentially, share with us in the comments how your team’s did where you got that sexy fish or any other studs that put you over the top. For the Trout owners you deserve a hat from the man himself.

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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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Shameless cross-pollination!  Yes, just as shameless as Tony Parker cross-pollinating Brent Barry’s wife, I’m hijacking the open of my post to let you know Fantasy Basketball rankings have begun!  I hope Grey doesn’t suspend me for conduct detrimental to the team… I’ve got my top 50 up earlier than anywhere else (well, no one has recent rankings up!) and if you suffer fantasy depression through winter, and/or hate that Fantasy Football is nothing but pure luck, Fantasy Basketball is the rebound (womp womp) for you!  The mix of percentages and counting stats appeal the Fantasy Baseball-ist in everyone, so if you’ve thought about trying hoops, hop over to basketball and into an RCL when they open next month (I sense another hijack coming…)!

“Get back to the diamond JB, this is a friggin’ baseball blog!”  Fine!  Has any pitcher in the initial top-50 (non-injured) had as tumultuous a season as Danny Salazar?!  Maybe Justin Verlander… But now he’s injured too!  Salazar pitched like a gangbuster (…? can you be only one gang buster?  Ask Ness…) closing out last year, but lower velocity, control issues, and just overall ineffectiveness were so bad he went back down to AAA.  After two months in the Minors, Salazar has been pretty good in 4 of his 5 starts since the call up in late July, including a decent outing yesterday.  Just can’t get deep into games!  To be honest, I haven’t watched a single Salazar start this year (using all my Indians time on Corey Kluber, k?!), so I decided to break down his afternoon against the Orioles and if he needs to be scooped up in more leagues even if his rotation spot is non-guaranteed:

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I don’t know about you, and let me preface this by saying most if not all of my league mates at least know I contribute fantasy baseball (OPS) content, but I keep getting the old “But, he’s a Catcher/Shortstop so he’s worth more” and from a position scarcity perspective, that’s obviously true. However, I am A) going for the win-now so all I want is to take the lead in certain (all) categories and B) position scarcity-schmarcity: give me the best available.

So it’s time for your 5×5 (HR,SB,R,RBI,OPS) rankings for both position scarcity and position schmarcity.

FYI, I use the FVAR (fantasy value above replacement) approach to fantasy valuation vs. SGP (standard gains points) approach since I don’t have all of your leagues’ current and historical information. Feel free to look this up or ask below.

For reference, here are the positional replacement 5×5 values and associated players (the 5 z-scores for each category are summed up; the sum is adjusted in each position by this positional replacement value i.e. each Catcher gets .73 added to their z-sum while each First Baseman only gets .01 added to their z-sum i.e. all catchers values are inflated more because of the lower replacement-value):

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Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, and the illustration next to it was Salvador Perez’s abuelita. A little voice inside my head said, “Don’t look back. You can never look back.” I thought I knew what love was. I owned Javier Baez in every league I could grab him, but what did I know? Those minor league days are gone forever. He’s got to let them go! I can see you, Baez, your brown skin shinin’ in the sun. You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby. And I can tell you, my love for you will still be strong. Not Giancarlo strong, but strong never the hoo! Baez’s minor league numbers are eye-popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone Movie — 23 homers, 16 steals and a .260 average in only 104 games. What are you? A 35/25 guy at shortstop? Why stop there? Why not just dress up like the Sun-Maid girl and feed me shrunken grapes? What? It’s my fantasy! Like Don Henley and later The Ataris sang, I grabbed Baez in every league that I could. He might not be any better than, say, Danny Santana this year, his K-rate in the minors is a little scary, and he might hit .220. Whatevs, it’s an upside gamble, which I like at middle infield. I’m guessing Baez will play 2nd base, Arismendy (I still love you!) will move to center field and one of the Cubs platooners will sit. To paraphrase Harry Caray, if the moon was made of Javier Baez would cha eat it? Well, would cha? I would! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Au Shucks, Au No, Au Crap, Au Whatever You Want To Say, it’s Au Not So Good. Au contraire mon frere, it’s auful. On Friday night, in a meaningless at-bat in a meaningless game in a meaningless season by the lowly Diamondbacks team, lowly’s meaning: less, Paul Goldschmidt entered the game as a pinch hitter and was plunked* (*trademark Eric Plunk), and now has a broken hand. Au, c’mon, can’t we have anything nice? Au, guys and four girls, it’s au so bad. Am I au right? Au, sadly no, I’m not au right; shizz has gone pear shape and au wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t have paid retail for this word ‘au;’ now I feel compelled to use it so auften. Aufortunately, Goldschmidt is droppable in redraft leagues. Here’s hoping he’s fine for next year. Au please. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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It’s not easy being Hensley Meulens. Not only is his name Hensley Meulens, he’s also responsible for a Giants offense so inept of late that the Padres have a wOBA 20 points higher.  Don’t get me wrong being, the Giants Batting Coach isn’t easy; his team plays in a canyon of a ballpark, his lineup is on the yuck side of meh, and he works for a GM that thought taking a flier on Dan Uggla was a good idea. It’s gotten so bad that Giants fans don’t even know what a great hitter looks like anymore. My brother-in-law is a Giants fan and recently told me how much he loves watching Hunter Pence hit. Really? Would he have to wear depends if he watched say Jose Abreu everyday? What I’m getting at is the Giants can’t hit and you can start pretty much anyone against them. Well with the exception of Mike Minor he sucks and I hate him. Seriously homeboy got pooped on by the Padres last night.

Enter Jacob DeGrom. The Mets pitcher has far exceeded expectations this season coming out of nowhere like a shart on a “going commando” day. Only his results have been good, unlike an underwear-less shart which is just a mess. A big mess. DeGrom has been good to the tune of a 2.79 ERA, 8.59 K/9 and a BB/9 of 3.21. Sure you’d like the walks a bit lower but according to his FIP/xFIP (3.06/3.44) he’s only been slightly lucky. In all honesty, I’ve only started him once on DraftKings in his 14 starts this season. Razzball readers that all changes today. After back to back 20+ point games, I’m all in on DeGrom and his cushy date with the Giants. Sure he’s the second most costly arm on the board but it’s still only $9,800. At that price you could grab another solid arm (there’s a few today….read on) and still have enough coin left to buy premium bats.

Do you think all the DraftKings writers at Razzball are idiots? Are you against handsome men like myself? Does the picture of J-Foh that surfaced scare you? Are you feeling alienated and alone? Do you only trust Rudy and his sweet afro/glasses combo? No fear we have a set of tools to help! Check out the Hitter-Tron, Stream-o-Nator, DFSbot, and the Ombatsman.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?