Allow me to paint a visual metaphor.  A vetaphor.  The entire league’s pitching is cornered on the grounds of a wildlife preserve.  A tiger, we’ll call him Blister, stalks towards the league’s pitching.  There’s no way out, but the league attempts to urinate on Blister to keep him away.  Then, out of nowhere, Nat Gio, dressed as Lord Beasley, a world famous butterfly collector from Gilligan’s Island, rides his Eddie Bauer jeep into Blister’s den, and befriends the beast, saying, “I slay pussy,” then off everyone’s look, “…cats.”  Yesterday, Gio Gonzalez had yet another great start — 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 2.49.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Gio hears people talking about the new baseball and how offense is up.  Maybe he’s the one pitcher who likes a tightly-sewn baseball.  Up until this year, he must’ve been like, “Geez, is this ball going to unravel when I throw it?”  Of course, his outlook for 2018 fantasy doesn’t look anywhere near as optimistic.  Besides his ERA, there’s nothing promising in his peripherals.  He has left 85.7% of men on base.  That’s more than a wife with a headache.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the season rolls along, my choices for starters to profile should be wearing thin. Luckily for all of you, myself, and my relationship with anyone not in the Crab Army, spot starts and rookie callups give me the perfect intersect of my two worlds. Now as any good Seinfield fan knows, worlds colliding can be catastrophic. Just ask George Costanza. That however is not the case for your loyal and eccentric Prospector/Pitchspector. It’s all good on this end. Why? Because I’m more than happy to dig into the ratio roulette that is rookie starting pitchers. In the grand tradition of my messiah like activity on the prospect side, I’m here to observe these wild cards, provide my take, and lead you on the path to true fantasy salvation. This is a really long winded, and pompous, way to say I’m profiling Reynaldo Lopez’s White Sox debut today. I’ve been lower on Lopez than many other prospectors in the industry. For what feels like two years now, I’ve been constantly banging my shoe on the table of the United Prospect Nations, sternly proclaiming that “Lopez is a pen arm!” I’d make a joke of my followers storming the town square with Pier 1 style tiki torches, but the rest of the Lifshitz clan prolly wouldn’t appreciate that. Anywho, here’s what I saw.

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Last week’s slate of two-start starters was pretty light, so it is nice to see our list back to being robust for Week 20. A week after not having any two-start starters with a positive dollar value who were owned in less than 75% of RCLS according to Streamonator, we now have three. Streamonator likes two of the starters and like likes another one. Enough stalling and fluff, here are your three beloveds for this week:

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It’s just like old times, as we here at Razzball are profiling a Brewers starter this week. I can’t put my finger on what that means, but I digress. The familiarity doesn’t just end there my friends, oh no, we just happen to be covering the MLB debut for one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, Brandon Woodruff. On the heels of a somewhat out of nowhere breakout in 2016, Woodruff exploded onto the dynasty league radar, and squarely into the ranks on several top prospect lists. After leading the minors in strikeouts last year, the righty credited an increased pace, thanks to the direction of AA pitching coach Chris Hook. After a solid showing in the challenging confines of Colorado Springs earlier this season, Woodruff was called up in mid-June to make a spot start. Unfortunately he was injured warming up, was scratched from his debut, and did a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Recalled Friday to face the contending Rays in Tampa, Woodruff might be an interesting stream down the stretch in re-drafts of all sizes. Let’s see how the highly touted rookie looks vs a seasoned AL East lineup. Not a bad litmus test.

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Maybe Carlos Rodon is a bit more high, ahhh, ummm, profile than the usual pitching, ahhh, ummm, profile candidate I cover. After all, at points over the last few years this is a guy who’s been universally owned. Things have definitely been a different story in 2017, as he missed all of April and May, and most of June recovering from a biceps injury. Following two strong starts upon his return, we’ve seen “Bad Carlos” over the last three turns. The former third overall pick has been steady, but inconsistent throughout his first two seasons in the big leagues. Apt to spells of poor control and command, that typically led to some ugly pitching lines. Is that what’s happening here? Simply a case of “Bad Carlos”? Good or bad, something has obviously been amiss the past few starts, let’s take a look under the hood and see what’s going on. Are these problems fixable or is there a lingering injury? On Sunday Rodon faced the red hot Indians and my guess is you already know what happened. Here’s what I saw.

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Coors really must be messing with Lance Lynn‘s pricing today.  I mean, I know Lynn isn’t Max Scherzer by any means but facing the Rockies away from Colorado can sure make you seem like it. And actually, here’s the most perplexing part of Lynn’s $14,800 price tag: the Rockies haven’t been good anywhere this year.  Rockies at home?  They’ve got the fifth worst wRC+ there…the Padres have better home numbers than these guys!  The scary thing is, it actually gets worse on the road where they’re 3rd in wRC+ while also giving us a 24.2% K rate.  If you need further proof, Leake threw 7 shutout innings against these guys last night, K’ing 6.  Leake’s K/9 is 6.04 this year…and Lynn’s is 7.93.  Giddy up!    In all, Lynn in both cash and tourneys today should be just fine.  Now that we’re done with that, let’s get on with this.  Here’s my scorching hot summer taeks for this Tuesday FD slate…

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On the podcast coming later today, I felt a reverb.  Luckily, I do everything while standing in a doorway because who has time to run to a doorway in the event of a earthquake?  This reverb wasn’t God practicing his spinning of tectonic plates.  Oh no.  This reverb wasn’t Dr. Dre messing with Technics either.  No siree, Bob.  This was the Padres trading Brandon Maurer and Trevor Cahill to the Royals for Matt Strahm, Travis Wood and Esteury Ruiz.  Damn, San Diego, save some of the trading deadline hype for other people.  Okay, I’m laying it on too thick.  This trade is okay for both teams.  Royals appear to have playoff aspirations, and get bullpen depth that they should never use in Maurer and Cahill, who has some of the most extreme splits I’ve ever seen.  In Petco:  0.72 ERA; elsewhere:  5.75 ERA.  Goodbye, my old friend!  Of course, this means Brad Hand officially officially becomes the closer.  Wouldn’t totally shock me to see Hand dealt — to who?  Phil Ivey? — and Maton become the closer, but that’s more for NL-Only.  Matt Strahm is an interesting name for NL-Only leagues for next year.  As of now, he’s out after knee surgery, and he’s from the crazy Ks and crazy walks variety show, Krazy BBs.  By the way, I believe Esteury Ruiz is Rio Ruiz with a badly thought out new name in the Witness Protection Program.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If your approach in RCL leagues is anything like mine, then you’re carrying maybe 2-3 starters, and filling in the cracks with well researched streamers. Part of my process, as I’m sure it is with many of you, is to check the streamonator for the highest value available probables. Then I dive deeper into the matchup stats, and follow that up with a glance at the starters recent track record. One of the more common suggestions over the past few weeks has been Mets starter Rafael Montero. Best described as a AAAA starter, he’s long been the shuttle guy, and spot starter, whenever an elbow pops in the Mets rotation. With injuries a plenty in Flushing, there’s been abundant opportunity for Montero to stick for the better part of the next month, and beyond. Let’s take a deep dive into Montero’s Sunday start vs. the Oakland Athletics, and see if he might be an arm to keep in mind, as we stream our way to the promised land.

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The highest rated two-start starter on the Streamonator who is owned in less than 70% of RCLs is, gulp, John Lackey. The ‘nator likes him at a $13.90 value for his starts against the Chicago White Sox at home and the Milwaukee Brewers on the road (does anyone one else close one eye and grimace every time they write Milwaukee and wait to see if spell check flags it or not?). Here is the full list of players Streamonator gave a positive value who are owned in less than 70% of RCLs:

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Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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