We’re so close to the finish line!  The marathon is nearing the final push; your legs are weakening, you’re starting to feel incontinent… Well, Jonathan Papelbon sure was yesterday!  But we’re looking at the starting pitchers here in the Pitcher Profile corner, and the emergence of Carlos Carrasco since re-inserted into the rotation has been carrying fantasy owners in tons of leagues.  C&C Pitching Factory!

In six starts from August 10th to September 7th, C&C has had the fastball dancing now, with a 0.70 ERA and 42 Ks in 38.2 IP.  The fastball averaged well over 96 MPH, easily his predominant pitch.  Unfortunately for Carrasco owners, he struggled a bit against the Tigers last Friday, giving up 4 runs with the fastball velocity down.  It’s actually dipped under 96 MPH his past two starts, as well as a progressive trend of more-and-more sliders with less heaters in this late-season run.  So I decided to break down his start at Detroit and see if he’s a guy I’m going to trust in down the stretch:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

King Salomon Brothers, the overseer of the Iron Bank, was mortgaging castles that he shouldn’t have been and fighting to get repaid, so he decided to sell his crown that was bespeckled in quinoa and Boca Burgers. The crown itself was worth more than all castles together. The world could be saved of economic ruin if the crown could get safely to the world’s largest pawn broker, Wei-Yin Chains. Unable to leave the kingdom himself, King Salomon Brothers gave Prince Fielder the crown, entrusting it to his overweight son, knowing if there was one person not interested in the healthy adornments on the crown it would be he. Unfortunately, heavy is the neck that wears Prince’s crown, and he gobbled up the crown like he gobbled up all the fantasy trust I put in him when I drafted this man the size of four horses. Goddammit! Dubya tee eff, doode! You can’t put on a neck brace and get up to bat? Shoot some cortisone is your cellulite! DAH!!! The only positive in this travesty that has befallen the fattest POS in the seven kingdoms? You’ll get to drop him! Fielder exclamation mark, exclamation mark, exclamation mark, I hate you. Sincerely, Your Drafter. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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We already went over the top 20 catchers and the top 20 1st basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball. Today, we dip our big toe into the top 20 2nd basemen. End of the season-wise, the 2nd basemen don’t seem as shallow as I thought they were in the preseason, but, really, they’re not that much deeper on second glance. They are just barely shallower than shortstops, but it’s so close, I’m sure an argument could be made for the shortstops being shallower. Before you make that argument, remember what you’re arguing about. To recap, this final ranking for last year is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason. Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Grey’s in transit to Texas Wine Country for a friend’s wedding so Drunk Uncle Rudy’s has control of the ol’ roundup post. Yup, Texas has a wine country. If you guessed the wine is mediocre and they only sell it in magnum bottles because everything’s bigger in Texas, you’re half-right (you can buy it in barrels too). But mediocre wine ain’t so bad. My mother-in-law brought us Arkansas wine the other day that she and her husband picked up on a recent roadtrip. Oofa! I had a sip and thought, “Are they trying to make this taste like Manischewitz?” Did they run out of grapes and substitute with purple gobstoppers? I bet when Arkansas winery sales reps stop by Wal*Mart HQ, the wine buyer has to euphemize, “We appreciate you make wine in our state but we don’t think it meets the standards of our indiscriminate clientele.”

Since there is no big news today, I thought I’d revel in the awesomeness of Arquimedes Caminero – the Marlins middle reliever who pitched 2 scoreless innings last night in a mop-up role. It isn’t his talent or potential that is awesome – it’s the name. The first name adds some Greeky Latin to the Italiany Latin Giancarlo and Placido and explains the spiraling fortunes of the Marlins. The last name sounds like a Chevy car designed especially for Staten Island with a Camaro front and an El Camino pickup truck back. Haul trash to the local landfill by day – charm the guidettes by night. The Caminero! (BTW, Chevrolet’s social media agency, if you’re reading this, totally recommend the Caminero to GM and stop with that Chevy Silverado ‘Strong’ commercial on Pandora. “Everybody knows he ain’t just tough…he’s strong.” More like everyone knows that song doesn’t just suck….it blows!

Anyway, here are some Grey bragging about his RCL team-free notes from a short schedule Thursday…

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Taijuan Walker will start vs. the Astros on Friday. The Mariners’ front office decided if they were going to sell him for ten cents on the dollar this offseason, then it was best to give him some major league experience. Here’s what Prospect Scott had to say in the preseason, “Walker is my #3 overall SP prospect, behind only Dylan Bundy and Jose Fernandez. He brings legit ace potential, and he should be ready for big league ball this year. Still, Taijuan’s greatest asset is his ability to hit Grey in the head with a fastball every time I dream about it.” Hey! That snippet was obviously prior to Bundy’s injury problems. Here’s what I said the other day, “It could be roofie burnout, but I’m not interested in shallower mixed leagues. In deeper leagues, I’d stash Walker to see if you catch a firefly in a bottle, or whatever that yokelism is. He definitely has shown great stuff in the minors (10+ K-rate) if a bit wild (4+ BB/9) in Triple-A. He will be a great pitcher, it probably won’t be this year. Think Wheeler when he was called up.” And that’s me quoting me! Well, I also lied. Kinda. I didn’t intend to lie, but he was just sitting there and I had a free roster spot… Ugh, I’m a glutton for punishment. I need serious help. Why can’t I turn down any high-upside rookie pitcher? Am I an adrenaline junkie like Keanu Reeves in Point Break? Hopefully, Walker doesn’t hang ten earned runs on my pitching line, but I’m expecting him to get Ks and have a relatively unremarkable start on Friday for earned runs and WHIP. For 2014, Taijuan is on the top of the list of guys that could be Matt Harvey 2.0, and I’ll have much more to say about him in the offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Why don’t I have Yu Darvish on any teams? Why don’t I have him on every team? It’s not like I ranked him low in the preseason. Maybe not crazy high, but I should’ve drafted him once. In ten leagues, you would’ve thought it had to happen. I wanna find a Japanese man and feed him grapes and tell him, “Yu are beautiful.” I wanna walk five paces in front of a Japanese woman and tell her how much I love Yu. He just jazzes me up so much I wanna do weird shizz with Japanese people! Something that takes my mind off not owning Yu in fantasy and transports me to living in some kind of weird fantasy with Yu surrogates. Cradle me in your arms, Japanese surrogate that I found on the street, and tell me Yu love me too. So, yesterday, Yu was dazzling again. This was his fourth game with 14 strikeouts as he went seven strong with zero earned runs and only five baserunners, resurrecting the Diamondhacks. After yesterday’s game, Arizona now wants to close all borders. It’s a little early to be talking about this, but I want Yu Darvish in every fantasy league in 2014, but I know now I won’t be able to afford him. Come here, Japanese surrogate, you fill in for Yu. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Tyler Chatwood continued his red hot play last night pitching seven innings, surrendering just six hits, two runs, and walking none while striking out 11 Brewers for his seventh win. He also went 2-for-2 at the plate with 2 RBI because apparently he is Tyler the Run Creator now. How about that headline, you guys? I woke up in the middle of the night and saw it in bright lights. And as much as I kept telling myself it was really, really bad — sometimes these things are too bad to be denied. Back to Tyler Chatwood. Hello there, strikeouts! Have we met? You’re just visiting for the weekend? Oh, that’s too bad. The Ks may be a bit fluky and that Milwaukee line up is inspiring fear in no one these days, but Chatwood’s success over his past few starts can’t be denied. He lowered his ERA to 2.48 and has allowed 2 ER or fewer in his past four starts. He has also managed to notch three wins in those four starts, with the tough luck loss coming after pitching 8.0 innings of one-run ball. He is a great option on the road and is at criminally under 10% owned in RCL. I’d absolutely grab him for his start in Atlanta next week if you need starting pitching help. He cannot be stopped right now! I better go knock on Chat-wood.

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

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Matt Moore had the line of 5 IP, 8 ER, 13 baserunners, 6 Ks. But he only allowed one walk! What? Like putting frosting on a doodie cupcake? Like eating only cupcakes for three weeks, then pooping into a cupcake pan? Do you eat the cupcake ingredients separate, then let them mix in your stomach? Does it matter? Either way, Moore was crap. If you thought he was a sub-2 ERA pitcher, you were lying to yourself. Remember, it’s okay to lie to others, dangerous when you lie to yourself. Moore’s xFIP is egregious, which meant he had some regressing to do. His walks are out of control — literally. His walks right now are Jonathan Sanchez bad. Yes, that made me shudder too. If you build a pitching staff house with a bunch of Jonathan Sanchezes, it’ll be shuttered. Hopefully, Moore’s next game vs. the Royals will stall further regression and he can cut his walks (and not just when he gets rocked). If Moore can’t get it together vs. the Royals, he’ll have a tough Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers stretch to get through that might need a lengthy benching, i.e. less Moore is more or less Moore. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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In the words of one Champ Kind, “That’s a whaaammy!” Hanley Ramirez left the game last night with a hamstring injury in just his fourth game back from the DL with a torn ligament in his thumb. HanRam will have tests done this weekend but early signs are not good. He did that “Oww! PAIN!”-grab-the-back-of-the-leg move that Giancarlo Stanton owners are no doubt familiar with, and he needed the help of two trainers to get off the field. Manager Don Mattingly said it looked like he’ll miss “…a good amount of time,” and wouldn’t expect him back anytime soon. Don also added, “Hot damn-ley! This screws up all my plan-leys!” That makes two of us, Donny. Ramirez’s rehab for his thumb went so smoothly we should have known some doom and gloom was on the way. In addition to returning ahead of schedule and bursting with confidence (I don’t think I ever heard HanRam speaking so enthusiastically about playing, I guess leaving the Marlins can do wondrous things for morale), Hanley started out mashing right out of the gate, batting .455 with a homer and stolen base. It was too good to be true. Sure, no one thought he was Ironman-ley (III: Gandhi’s Revenge!), but this is tough luck for anyone. Hopefully owners haven’t dropped their Josh Donaldsons, Brandon Crawfords or various other replacements just yet because they could likely be without HanRam for the next 3-5 weeks, if not more.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?