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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So here we are in week 24 if you don’t count the All-Star break. Where did the time go? It seems like only yesterday that this whole marathon got started. Tehol was speaking of the blessings bestowed upon Dominic Brown by the elder gods, Grey was telling you pitching was crazy deep, and Sky was freaking Nick and everyone else out with his creepy masks in the background of his podcast segments. Things were simple then, we all had hope, some of us still do. Oh who am I kidding you read Razzball of course you have at least one team in the playoffs. Everyone knows we only cater to savvy fantasy owners and snappy dressers. Maybe mustache aficionados also, but they only read Grey for the avatar. Mustachioed men are like the rich and Greek Nationalists, they stick with their own.

Regardless, the end is neigh good citizens of fantasy land. It’s now officially the end of  the beginning of the season. My beginning just so happens to last 5 months. The real ending for fantasy and real life players alike is that last month chasing a championship. Hence the end of the beginning, beginning of the end title. It’s also a not so subtle nod to my favorite Murs album  and possibly song, Done Deal.  The point is you have 3 weeks left max, and should be doing all you can to edge your league mates in the H2H playoffs or Roto standings. Either way we’re all hustling like Freeway Ricky Ross, and I mean the Drug Dealer not the rapper. I’d only say we were like Rick Ross the rapper if I was in a room with Matt Adams and Billy Butler. Even then it would be about them and not me. For the record I’m built like a Greek God and bearded like one as well. I’m sort of a fantasy sports version of Dan Bilzerian, but without the trust fund, harem, and over the top douchiness. Well I guess the last one is up for debate. Okay everything I just said about myself is up for debate…Sad Trombone.

You know what isn’t up for debate (Segue! FTW) the quality of the high end double dipping starters this week. We have 4! Count’em! 4 must start options this week in Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer, and Jon Lester. That’s great for any owner with those guys and bad news bears for any owner facing them in the playoffs. It’s okay there’s some hidden gems in the lower tiers with some good matchups. Also feel free to chime in with any double dippers flying under the radar. Whether you feel I’m overlooking them, or that they have under appreciated fantasy appeal. We’re all in this together, unless you’re in one of my leagues, then you’re on your own.

The tier names this week are a nod to my all-time favorite HipHop Group Gang Starr…

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Recently, Matt Adams and his melon-ball shape has either been dreadful or benched for Daniel Descalso. The only time Descalso should be in front of Adams is in pictures, so the photographer can see him. It’s odd to think Fatt Adams isn’t getting it done at the plate. I do have a useful suggestion for everyone in Missouri. Send a topless Adams into Ferguson. That would lighten the mood for everyone involved. “I hate your guts!” “Speaking of guts…” And everyone smiles and laughs at the naked fat man. Peace brought to you by the ingestion of copious amounts of lard. Now, instead of Descalso, the Cardinals have a real option to move over moobs, Xavier Scruggs. What? No Crockett? How can the Cardinals go with a platoon of Scruggs and Tubbs? It’s crazy talk! Scruggs is A) Old to never be in the majors yet. B) Legit power threat that could hit .190. C) There’s no C. He has Quad-A player written all over him, but sometimes Quad-A players are exactly the kind of hitters that excel in September when they’re facing a bunch of Quad-A pitchers. Too early outside of NL-Only and deep mixed leagues to worry about Scruggs, but this does put the kibosh on any value Tubbs had, not to mention now he’s phantomed-up an oblique injury. Like anyone could even find his oblique! In all but very deep leagues, I’d drop Adams. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Well that’s a new one. No player. Nope. Not giving you a pitcher. Ok, I kinda am. Sale is da bomb dot gov. But you don’t need me to tell you that. Unless, of course, you haven’t paid attention to this sport we call baseball for the last three years, then maybe you need my insight on the guy that coulda been AL Cy Young if it weren’t for a DL stint. And heck, I’m not even giving you a specific hitter. I’m talking fat stacks…or phat stacks if I were Chris Tucker and it was 1997. Remember when he was funny? Yeah, I don’t either…anywho, this was a theory discussed with a good friend who’s into the DFS game and who had a great take on the psychology of a baseball game. So when you’re the pitcher opposing a certified ace and aren’t really ‘on your game’, you’re gonna get like your GF’s panties get during that certain time of the month: spotty. And when you get spotty, you get dicey. And when you get you know what, I just can’t do the Direct TV commercial. It’s been done to death. The key thing here is recognizing that the other team and their opposing pitcher can get a bit intimidated going up against an arm like Sale. These types of feelings are hard to get around. An error here, a booted double play there…the big thing is, Baltimore and Bud Norris are in a bad spot for today and I plan on taking advantage. And speaking of Bud…gross. That’s both about the beer and the pitcher splits. Norris isn’t great at all at this point but away from Baltimore, he has a 4.55 ERA and a near doubled HR/9 rate at 1.28 away from the ‘friendly confines’ of Camden Yards. In particular, lefties have given him the most trouble with 6 HRs in 33.1 IP and a .354 wOBA. So if you’re against a huge stack, keep in mind Adam Dunn, Alejandro De Aza, and Conor Gillaspie when you’re building your rosters for the day.

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!

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What a week to be a Nationals pitcher, you’re six games up in the division and you have the D-backs and the Giants rolling into town. So much of my focus this year has been on Daily Fantasy that I tend to see things through DraftKings colored glasses. If you’re unfamiliar with the format and scoring, pitchers have much higher floors than hitters and the scoring is laser focused on K’s and innings. Low strikeout/ good ratio guys need not apply. Both Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg have been good but I always seem to be a little underwhelmed by what I get from them. I’m hoping for a big week from both of them. The Diamondbacks and Giants are both in the bottom 1/3 of the league in wOBA over the past fortnight and both have a k% over 20%. Don’t be surprised if owners of the Nats frontline starters run the table in ratios this week.

Other than the aforementioned Nationals aces, Max Scherzer‘s week sets up to potentially be a monster one. The Tigers and the Scherz-nit travel to both Tampa and Minnesota, as he faces crappy offenses in pitchers parks. Reverse HodgePadre Ian Kennedy gets two road starts this week. I wonder if he’s the first Friars pitcher to be better away from Petco? It’s so confusing I devoted a chapter to it in my forthcoming book “Things That Don’t Make Sense”. Should be a best seller, Gary Busey did the foreword. Most of the content covers the last 5 years and a two week period in 1639. Diamondbacks Ace(?) Chase Anderson looks to continue his hot streak against Washington and San Diego. I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t come away with another two quality starts. Overall this week’s two start pitchers remind me of the stock at a Marshall’s, a couple of finds, a whole bunch of mediocre crap, and a few things so ugly they can’t be unseen.

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Yu Darvish hit the DL with elbow inflammation.  In Grey’s 2nd half rankings, he said, “BAM!  What?  (Darvish) should be in the top 20 with the rest of the big-name pitchers, but I’m worried about an injury, so I ranked him much lower and that gets a BAM!”  And that’s me quoting Grey!  Dayum, son, Grey called that one.  Sure, he called it so long ago that no one even remembers it, but he called it neverthehoo!  Actually sounds a bit like Grey is writing this.  Oh, shoot, here he comes!  Hey, who wrote those previous, beautifully written sentences?  Sure as heck wasn’t me!  Guess that’s what I get for leaving my computer open at a Starbucks while I order a double foam, half-Sanka, half-espresso mocha, goochie, goochie, ya ya latte, LaBelle-style.  Well, I told you I had concerns about Darvish and when I have concerns, I make it happen with my mind like some crazy, telekinetic-fantasy-baseball-Scott-Baio-in-Zapped mofo!  The Rangers haven’t given a timetable for Darvish’s return yet, but like I also said in the 2nd half rankings, the Rangers have nothing to play for so they could shut him down.  Give him more time with his lady friends.  What does Darvish’s girlfriend call Yu’s erections?  YD Bulger, and it’s in hiding.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Wada start! Wada player! Wada guy! Tsuyoshi Wada continued to pitch well last night, tossing six innings, allowing just four hits and one walk, while giving up two earned runs and striking out six. He didn’t get the win but Wada you gonna do? After dominating AAA earlier in the year (113.2 IP, 2.77 ERA, 120/28 K/BB ratio), he struggled a bit in his second big league outing versus San Diego (4.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 K), but T-Dubs has rebounded since then, letting up just 2 ER or less in his past three starts with a 2.41 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 18/4 K/BB ratio. Maybe you’re thinking, Wada crock! But the next level stats don’t suggest any regression is coming, although it is a small sample size.  His 3.60 xFIP is great, as is his .292 BABIP and 7.7% HR/FB.  In addition, his excellent 21.7 K% demonstrates he can be a plenty useful starter for your fantasy leagues. He gets the Brewers next week and I’d take a flier on Tsuyoshi Wada if you are in need of a starter. He’s available in over 90% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. So Wada you waiting for… pick him up!

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

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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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Yesterday, Alex Cobb‘s line was 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 12 Ks. March Grey, “You’re welcome.” April Grey, “Figures you show your face now.” May Grey, “You know how much crap I took for you, March Grey?” June Grey, “Seriously!” All the Greys start yammering over each other. March Grey, “Hey! Hey! Hey! July Grey, defend me here!” July Grey, “Don’t be too hard on him, Cobb was injured. He has a 2.23 ERA in July.” April/May/June Grey, “Shut up!” March Grey, “What about the Ks, July Grey? Tell them about those too.” April Grey, “We don’t want to hear it!” July Grey, “36 Ks in only 32 1/3 IP in July. Oh, and in April his ERA was 1.89, so I have no idea what your problem is.” April Grey, “Peer pressure.” March Grey, “April Grey’s still in a daze from Dozier’s April.” June Grey, “Yeah, April Grey, how’s Mike Morse doing too?” April Grey, “You know what? I’m hanging up now.” May Grey, “Probably wants to check on his Brett Lawrie-led offense.” So, Cobb hasn’t been dazzling all year like I expected, but his ERA is down to 3.54 on the year, his K-rate is 8.6, walk rate is 2.6 and his xFIP is 3.27. Everything I liked about him in the preseason still stands. March Grey, “That’s what I’m saying! Now, are you sending the bail money or what? This Nicaraguan prison sucks. Greys? Are you guys still there?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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You: Pete Nice, did you say we should start Marcus Stroman this week at Boston and at Houston?

Jay(Wrong): You DON’T have to answer that question!

Me: I’ll answer the question! You want advice?

You: I think I’m entitled to…

Me: YOU WANT ADVICE?

You: I WANT THE TRUTH!

Me: YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

[Jay’s Note: My mother always wanted me to be a lawyer…] Guys, we live in a fantasy baseball world that has risky matchups, and those risky matchups have to be taken on by writers who have to suggest two-starting inexperienced young pitchers with 95 mph-plus fastballs. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Guru? You, Sky? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly imagine. You worry about Stroman, and you curse the Blue Jays. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Stroman’s road performance, while thus far in 2014 has been kind of crappy – 17 hits in 16 IP with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP – will improve with time. And Stroman’s existence, while excitingly intriguing but also slightly scary, can help your fantasy team. You don’t want this advice because deep down in places you don’t talk about at baseball games and fantasy drafts, you want Stroman on that hill. You need Stroman on that hill. We use words like FIP and K/BB ratios. We use these words as the backbone of a fantasy team trying to win something: Stroman’s 3.11 FIP places him in the Top 20 of all MLB pitchers and his K/BB per 9 ratio of close to 6.00 makes him an ownable pitcher, not a streamer, according to Dr. Grey Albright PhD. You use these things as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to readers who rise and sleep under the blanket of the very information that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up Stroman, and set your lineup. Either way, I don’t give a damn who you grab off the wire for two starts this week.

You: Did you order the two-starts for Marcus Stroman?

Me: I did the job…

You: DID YOU ORDER THE TWO-STARTS FOR MARCUS STROMAN?

Me: YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID! AND HERE’S SOME MORE TWO-START PITCHERS FOR NEXT WEEK!

Please, blog, may I have some more?