Put down the turkey leg and up your bandwidth. This is the part where we all huddle around the warm glow of our computer screens to watch streaming video from countries not buried in seven feet of snow. Dust off your Spanish dictionary – it’s time for the winter leagues. Granted there will be names you’ve never heard of but there are cheerleaders…and prospects. There are also some major leaguers getting in the extra reps before we put a bow on 2014. Several leagues playing now will continue until the end of December, but the majority of the players we follow are concentrated in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues, so we’ll roll with them for the most part. Just like the AFL, these are small sample sizes and the competition varies, but some performances stand out and are worth mentioning. Plus dynasty players don’t know the meaning of the word offseason. Here, in no particular order, are some of the players that have stood out to me in the winter leagues so far (stats through Friday)…

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Well, it’s about that time folks. I’ve taken a small break from running Razzball Football to go over how my 2014 Bold Predictions turned out. If you remember, 2013 was a fantastic year for me, as I got zero predictions correct. So by “fantastic”, I mean a total sh*t-fest. Which is also Nickelback’s favorite venue. Of course I had to up my game, so showing no proof whatsoever that I knew what the heck I was doing, I decided to take on Eno Sarris of FanGraphs, mano a mano, or, in this case, mother’s basement a mother’s basement, and have a prediction competition of the ages! All of them…

Here were the terms: Eno Sarris of FanGraphs has agreed to take on your very own lovable and quite handsome Jason Longfellow (yes, that’s my name, don’t wear it out) in a duel for the ages. His bold predictions will battle my bold predictions for COMPLETE AND UTTER SUPREMACY. Sort of like Highlander. We certainly need more Sean Connery, that’s for sure. And what’s at stake in this epic battle? Heads? Lightning swords? Shinobi’s? Naw. It’s beer. That’s right, beer. Whomever get’s the most predictions right, well, the loser has to buy him a six-pack of the beer of his choice. In this case, Eno has chosen DC Brau. Great selection, but it might come with side effects such as too much hipster and listening to Mumford. My choice? Koko Brown, because Hawai’i is the greatest thing ever known to man besides ice cream and blow jobs.

Here’s what happened…

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Cuban sensation Rusney Castillo did his part to ensure he’ll be over valued in fantasy leagues next year going 2-for-3 with a home run and a stolen base last night versus the Yankees. He’s now 4-for-7 with two homers, four RBI and a steal starting in center field in the past two games. I guess it’s pretty clear from his bat that’s where he’s most comfortable. With New England, the new home for Cuban All-Stars and Big Papis, sure to be buzzing all offseason over these final games, the hype should build enough that Rusney Castillo is the next Manny Ramirez by draft day. At the very least he’ll be the next Jackie Bradley, Jr.  Still, desperate times, call for desperate fantasy measures and Castillo could be a hot schmotato with a whole lot more to prove in these final two games than most players.  We know he can steal. We’re seeing him hit. Two homers in two days, people! It’s mathematical! You’re trying to win a championship, right? Well, this Rusney trombone could be the reach around your fantasy team needs for the final push. Did I just type those words that way? Doesn’t matter it’s my last day of the season, is anyone still reading this? If you are, it’s about time you picked up Rusney Castillo and let him help you bring home a trophy.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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The end is here, and the needs of the few take precedence over the many. If you’re playing for the championship in your H2H league, then you need this. If you are in the hunt for your roto title, then this is for you. If you’re playing for fifth place, well… then better luck next year. Your title may come down to one stolen base, one home run or a few extra RBI’s to edge out your opponent. A batty call today is gone tomorrow, and a new one comes in and takes the others place. I’m still going to keep the % owned low, but be aware of who has been dropped as other owners become desperate and have to drop a “stud” who has been cold to the free agent pool. Either way I’m throwing my Creepers out there like the Amigos threw the villagers at El Guapo’s gang at the end of the Three Amigos. I like the music for more dramatic effect.

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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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Yesterday, Wilmer Flores went 3-for-4, 2 runs, 6 RBIs with his 5th and 6th homers. With David Wright hurt, Flores has been playing every day. The Mets are thankfully still able to get Ruben Tejada into their lineup. The Mets said, “We’ve wanted to drop Tejada, send down Tejada or trade Tejada for a nickel on a dollar, but since we can’t figure out the paperwork, we’re playing him every day for the last three years.” No Met in particular said that; all of them did. Why do I care about Flores playing? In Triple-A in 2013, he hit 15 homers and .321 in 107 games. That was when he was 22 years old. Maybe he’s not God’s answer to Bac-Os and able to make every game better, but I bet he could’ve been as good as David Wright this year. The reason why baseball people and the media doesn’t like Wilmer is he fields like he has a golden glove. Not that he won a golden glove. Like he’s literally trying to catch grounders with a metal statue. If he gets a job out of spring training in fifteen after twenty, this won’t be the last time you hear me try to convince people Wilmer Flores isn’t bad. For now, he’s only viable in very deep leagues as we watch Flores’s stock bloom. Flores’s stock bloom! Flores’s stock bloom! Springtime for Wilmer, and the Mets… (BTW, when did this site become so pro-Mets? I feel dirty. Though, that could be because I haven’t showered since March.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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What a world we live in. Just a couple of months ago, me telling you an Oakland stack would be a good idea would’ve lead to you rolling your eyes, giving me your best Charlie Sheen, and ignored the rest of what I had to say because I was clearly not giving any info others weren’t already doling out. YO GUYS LISTEN TO ME, KING FELIX IS A MUST START TODAY. Sheeeiittt, like we don’t know a top pitcher is a good get for the day. But again, days go by and still I think of the times when the Athletics were the stack du jour. You couldn’t tune into any write up about DFS without being told to at least throw in a Brandon Moss or a Josh Donaldson. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Not only have the A’s relinquished the lead in the AL West, they’re now scratching and clawing just to stay the lead wild card for the AL. But that’s what happens when guys like Moss hit 21 bombs in the first half and follow up in the second half with only three while hitting .178. Yes, it’s been that brutal. Why did they trade away Cespedes again? Oh well, what’s done is done. But that definitely makes them a nice stack on a day in which they should be good but probably won’t be looked upon given their offensive struggles. Fair warning here: this stack call ain’t for the faint of heart. The Athletics have scored more than 10 runs just twice in the last two months. This is an offense that’s been giving us more struggle face than Rob Ryan could ever muster. But I will be building an Athletics stack for GPPs today and yes it will have it some Donaldson and Moss. Heck, it might even get a Coco Crisp, Sam Fuld, Josh Reddick, and/or Adam Dunn. We all know everyone is gonna be on the COLvsLAD game in terms of stacks but that doesn’t always win you the tourney calls. You have to think outside the box and the Athletics have become just that. Oh and I guess we should talk a bit about why: Nick Tepesch. Hrm, you need more than that? Well what about his .378 wOBA away from Texas. Yes, he’s worse on the road than he is at home. Hard to do, I know, but given the Rangers season we can’t be all that surprised. But now that I’ve given you an off the wall stack, let’s get down to business. Here’s how I’d play today’s DK slate the rest of the way…

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 theDFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m going to look right in your eye and say, “I don’t know where Jacob deGrom‘s coming from.” Don’t turn away from me. *turns your face by chin* Look at me. I don’t know everything. I’m sorry. I know that upsets you like finding out that Santa Claus is really just a drunk man in a costume. I apologize profusely if you didn’t know that about Santa too. It hurts me to ruin your naivete more than anything. Your child-like innocence is what originally drew me to you. Alas, we’ll find something else. Like deGrom, for instance, we can discover him together. In Triple-A, deGrom had a 6.8 K/9 this year, and 7.5 last year. Always had nice control, but he has a 9 K/9 in the majors. You don’t see guys often jump up a pedigree when they go from the minors to the majors. He’s always featured nice command, which is the key here. When a guy can command his pitches and then learns how to throw a new pitch that is special, he can use it effectively. So, what did he learn? Supposedly, Johan Santana gave him the secret sauce recipe for The Change. Another key is his velocity. This isn’t a guy who is adding a new pitch with 89 MPH velocity. He throws his fastball in the mid-90’s. Throw one pitch in the mid-90’s and another dropped in around 84 and you have a recipe for Ks. As was the case yesterday — 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 baserunners, 13 Ks — when the Marlins were like Farmer Ted striking out at deGrom. Still think he’s closer to a high-7/low-8 K-rate guy with a mid-3 ERA, but it’s still a lot better than I thought he was when he came up. Now let’s move past this lapse of judgment by me and try to enjoy ourselves. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?