It’s funny how drastic and immediate changes can be from the Minors to the Majors.  Thinking back on Trevor May who was profiled a few weeks back – the guy was walking everyone in the Minors and in his short stint in the Majors last year, to become top-25 in K:BB ratio.

But that took some seasoning.  We’re seeing something even drastic-er and immediate-er with what’s going on with the Astros younguns.  Lance McCullers went from being old Trevor May with better Ks to having an 18:0 K:BB stretch before getting a tad wilder these past few…  But he was supposed to struggle through control issues, not Vincent Velasquez!  Vinny V went from a 4.11 K:BB mowing through AA this year to 1.70 so far this year in the show with 17 Ks and 10 BB through his first three starts.

I was pretty high on Velasquez when he was called up, but maybe it was a tad too early for the 23 year old to find immediate success.  So I decided to break down his start yesterday, that should’ve been a cakewalk at the Mariners, to see how he’s looking:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Son of a plumber, the real American dream has returned for another week of two start scrutiny. I’m here to do the dirty work. I drop the bionic elbow on your dome to enlighten you to the two start knowledge that I possess. I’ve seen hard times recently, and it’s due to Rick Flair, Nate Karns, Mike Foltynewicz, and Tom Cruise! You don’t know what hard times are Daddy! Hard times is when the factory workers are out of work and got 4 or 5 kids. Hard times are when the Auto Workers are out of work! Hard times are when a man who’s worked at a company for 30 years gets a watch and gets told a computer can do his job! Hard times Daddy! I’ve been stuck in hard times. Well screw Mike Foltynewicz until he tricks me into believing in him again. We’re back this week and it’s no holds barred we’re taking the folding chairs out of the front row and fighting dirty. We’re going with the theme of 1980’s and early 90’s wrestling. This is pretty much the last time I watched wrestling. They ruined it with all the complex storylines and other non-sense. Remember when it was just sort of some meaningless beef and you got to watch them duke it out on Saturday morning? In my humble opinion it was the best it ever was, but what do I know?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Sometimes you think you know what a player is. He’s a stud. He’s a stiff. He’s hot. He’s not. And so on. Players get labels pretty quick as they come into our consciousness and it’s awfully hard to shake that.

The same goes for teams throughout a season. Oh, they aren’t hitting well or that’s a hitter’s park. These types of unwitting biases can keep you from rostering the exact players you need to win so it’s important that you keep investigating the trends that are going on throughout the season.

Those that though, prior to the 2014 season, that Anthony Rizzo can’t hit lefties were right…..prior to that season. In 2015, Rizzo broke out and it was, in a significant part, due to a much improved approach against LHP. Those that didn’t just accept the current track record were rewarded when they rostered Rizzo against lefties when few other people did.

This season, maybe it’s a guy like Tampa’s Erasmo Ramirez, who looks to be turning the corner as a pitcher and has put up some solid numbers so far this season. You might write him off as stinky based on prior track record or by him burning you when you did roster him, but a look at the most recent 30 days show a different story.

It’s a good idea to look at a player’s metrics over the last 30 days or so to get an idea which way the player it trending or if he’s been able to continue a trend that he hasn’t exhibited before. You’re likely to find some player emerging and give you an edge over your competitors who are still reading last month’s news.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Who is Chi Chi Gonzalez?

He’s a pitcher I only really knew because of his incredible name (and seeing it a few times on prospect lists)… I knew almost nothing about this guy.  So instead of doing any research or pounding the Fangraphs, I decided to go into this week’s Pitcher Profile blinded.  I’m going into it like walking into a crowded room, desperately yelling “Chi Chi?!  Chi Chi!??!?!”

And honestly, I wouldn’t have broken down his debut against the Red Sox on Saturday had it not been a no-hit bid into the 6th.  Debut bias alert!  “JB, you got suckered in…”  Darn tootin’!  But I was unable to watch the start live, so even though I figured there was some smoke and mirrors going on, you never really know until you sit down and watch a guy to see how he looked.  So alas, here’s how I saw Chi Chi’s Major League debut:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Travel back in time with me if you will, to a place where fanny packs, male ponytails, and Jordache jeans were all the rage. A time when Bruce Jenner was a symbol of masculinity, and O.J. Simpson was America’s favorite star! Travel with me to the age of Nintendo, a time when video games had two buttons and you didn’t need a degree in molecular biology to play. That last sentence made me sound very old, oh well. Anyway the theme of this week’s two start pitchers soiree is Nintendo! No not Super Nintendo (which was awesome BTW, #GoldenEye4life) or Wii, just plan old “blow on the console” to clean it NES. If you were anything like me then you played your fair share of Zelda, Super Mario, Duck Hunt, Tecmo Bowl, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, RBI Baseball, Double Dribble, Blades Of Steel, the list goes on and on. [Jay’s Note: Where’s Excite Bike and Battle Toads?] Aww the good old days when video games had easily exploitable glitches, like throwing to the outside of the plate with Nolan Ryan. Or pressing the Duck Hunt gun against the screen because that damn pooch kept laughing at you. Don’t look at me swan! Anyway, this week we have one of the deeper rosters of two-start pitchers in recent memory, and arguably the four best arms in the game double dipping. Not to worry if you don’t own one of the four horsemen there’s plenty of other great options in week number 9. So get up off of that thang and take a gander at this week’s two start madness.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cuban phenom and top prospect Rusney Castillo debuted for the Red Sox last night going 1-for-4 with a run scored and a fielding error on a fly ball that resulted in a few boos from the Sawx Nation. “You ahre nevah gunna be like owah Tawmmy!” Be nice you guys, he’s new. OK, so not the best debut, sure, but Castillo made good strong contact on a few fly balls and showed flashes of that speed we’ve all heard so much about. Russy was slashing .293/.341/.440 with six steals, two homers and 10 RBI in 18 games at Pawtucket, and Boston is in desperate need of an offensive jolt right now. If he’s still available in your league you need to go grab him immediately, he was number one on Prospector Mike’s Power Rankings and Grey told you to BUY. If I’m projecting conservatively, I could see 10-12 homers and 15 steals from Rusney with a .275 AVG, but there is a lot of upside here and the homer in me wants to project 25 jacks, 30 steals and .325 AVG, because that’s way more fun. He also has the same hair cut as David Ortiz so they should be best friends forever in no time, and that’s always a bonus, especially if your league counts “Hugs Received” as a category.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh man, what a week of pitching!  Filled with intrigue, romance and murder!  Eh, a little carried away there, although poor Jarrod Parker might indeed have his MLB life cut short.  Get well soon, J-Park!

Then yesterday afternoon Michael Pineda swiss-cheesed the Orioles bats in a near-historic K-fest.  He hasn’t ever had shoulder issues, let him throw 150!  Johan Santana is like, “…not the best idea…”

Also this weekend, we finally got to see Carlos Rodon start a game, his first in his MLB career Saturday night hosting the Reds.  I bet he got all confused facing the Reds since he pitched for NC State and all…  North Carolina bias!  I didn’t see him pitch at all through Spring and only a highlight or two in his bullpen stints, so I was excited to break down his debut and see what he can bring to fantasy owners in 2015.  Here’s how he looked:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Another week of two-start pitchers and another music focused theme to guide you in your conquests. Wait that sounded sexual, you’re not trying to sleep with two start pitchers right?  I mean it’s fine if you do this is a judgement free zone, but I wanted to be clear about my usage of conquests.  I don’t want to start showing up for searches based around jersey chasing.  Then my comments might be questions like “What’s the best type of underwear to wear when trying to seduce Max Scherzer?”.  Jesus, how did I get here?  I just want to talk a little 90’s grunge and throw a few stats at you.  Stream of conscious writing isn’t for everyone.  Let’s put aside my ramblings for a moment and get into the meat of this sandwich shall we?  Anyone see the Kurt Cobain documentary “Montage of Heck”?  I watched it three times this week and was reminded of how much I loved Nirvana as a 10 year old Ralph.  For anyone that’s a Nirvana fan it’s a worthy take.  So thanks to the film and last week’s spirited music debate in the comments I’ve been inspired to base this week’s tiers on my favorite groups from the Seattle Grunge scene.  Hell it’s probably the last good thing to come out of Seattle. I see you Tehol.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“This is a smart decision by the Nationals franchise to not let Stephen Strasburg pitch in the playoffs,” said every sports reporter two years ago. Let’s try another one, Google, just give me the search results from 2010 when Strasburg was first promoted. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime arm that the world has not seen since Sidd Finch.” Strasburg, Virginia even considered renaming itself Stephen Strasburg. I’m not joking. The hype was real, prematurely balding man. In the past seven months of baseball: Sonny Gray or Strasburg? Is it close? Who’s been better, Strasburg or Lance Lynn? Can I now ingest that laced-Halloween candy that I got from the sketchy guy that I’ve been saving for a special occasion? Yesterday, Strasburg left the game after three innings and two earned runs, saying he has irritation under his shoulder blade. The Nats say it’s an alignment issue that could be corrected by a chiropractor. He’ll be looked at by Jon Cryer from Two and A Half Men. Probably from his stupid inverted W. Why not just call it an M?! No idea how long Strasburg will be out, but obviously this isn’t great news. But, Part II: If Ifs And Buts Were Candy And Nuts, I’d Be A Diabetic Squirrel, it’s better Strasburg not pitch injured and keep getting rocked. But, Part III: But Lives, I’d grab Tanner Roark in case he’s moved into the rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

There’s a lot of hate towards qualifiers out there. I get it, you feel like the odds are long when you have to spike two rosters to make it count. I also get the sentiment that people feel like they get raked twice when they play qualifiers. If you can win a qualifier however, and you do spike that second lineup, that my friends is bankroll changing. I’m not saying to stop playing you regular tournaments or anything, I’m just trying to make sure you aren’t ignoring what could be a great opportunity to drastically increase your fun money. I’ll lay it out for you using one of DraftKings upcoming featured contests, the Slugfest. This contest is a $33 buy-in, $300K total prize pool event with 10,300 total entrants. Buying straight into that bad boy might be a little out of your price range, and that’s fine. Perhaps the Moonshot tournament is more your style, at $3 buy-in and 30,600 entrants. You may want to consider passing on the Moonshot one or two nights and maybe playing a $3 Slugfest qualifier instead. These qualifiers are 758 entrants with the top 60 earning a spot in the Slugfest. Roughly 8% of entrants will win here. Low odds you say, and you’re right. If we compare these odds to the Moonshot odds however, you’ll see it’s not that bad. In order to win enough in the Moonshot to pay for your buy-in to the Slugfest you’d have to finish 130th or better (winning $40). Your odds there my good friend are a mere 0.4%. Them’s bad odds right thur. If you have a lineup that can get you in the top 8% on the night of the qualifier and then just min cash in the Slugfest (a top 20.1% lineup will get you there), you’d walk away with a cool $65. If you’d like to turn your $3 Moonshot into that kind of cash, you’d have to place in the top 60, in other words a top 0.2% lineup. The other great thing about these qualifiers is, since they have such a bad rap, there is often overlay. Overlay is your friend. Look for it, embrace it, play it often to great success. Look, I’m not saying playing these things is going to allow you to quit your job or anything, I just want you to be aware of them. Don’t let a good thing slip by just because you heard it was bad, try it for yourself and see what you think. Now, let’s cover some plays that might help you win yourself a ticket tonight.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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 subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

But wait, there’s more! Sticking with the program here, last Tuesday’s Razzball Friend’s and Family DraftKings contest was none other than your humble author. I feel a little awkward shouting myself out, but hey, at least you know the guy handing out advice isn’t finishing 23rd out of 25 every night, so there’s that. Now, back to regular scheduled programming.

Please, blog, may I have some more?