Per the usual, I have to drop a caveat when it comes to Deep League Thoughts about pitchers: there’s no such thing as a deep league pitcher. Unless you’re talking 20 team leagues and then you’re calling some relievers deep league pitchers. I ain’t going there so let’s realize upfront before you feel affronted. Now that we have that settled, when does a young pitcher settle? Two years? Four years? Do they ever? It’s all hard to predict. As we’ve seen through our years as fantasy baseballers, growth isn’t a promise from a young kid, it’s a possibility. How many rookies came and went on your rosters in 2014 alone? I’m not asking you, Grey. You’d add and drop the same player five times in one day so you don’t count, you chronic rosterbator. That said, I’m sure Trevor Bauer hit your roster more than once. He had some good with some bad in 2014. Maybe you got the bad from him and won’t go near him again. Maybe you had more of the good like I did and you’re willing to look into him a bit further. If so, trudge on with me. We’re about to go deep inside the enigma that is Bauer and what he can do for you for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

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My God, is it 2015 already? My how the time flies. It seems like only 365+ days ago it was January 1st, 2014! I hope you all had a Merry Festivus, a Happy New Year and maybe a great…President’s Day? IDK, I don’t know when you’ll get this blast from the 2014 fantasy baseball season past. It ain’t my place to say when this shall see the light of day. I just know I started a job and Imma finish it. We’ve been looking back at the fantasy baseball season through the eyes of pitcher rankings by month. We’ve now looked back at April, May, June, July, August (it’ll be out tomorrow because we like to keep you on your toes around here) and now, those who failed the sequence aptitude tests, guess what? We’re looking at September. It’s been an interesting series IMHO. IYHO, it was probably the worst but since IYHO isn’t real textual slanguage, I win so you will listen to every damn word I have to say. We’ve been exploring if #PitchingIsSoDeep really has merit which so far, there is some merit to it. That said, there’s a reason Kershaw finished numero uno on the player rater. But who’s that at #5? OH! *Fans self*. In reality, I wanted to see what the numbers had to say so I’ll let them speak for themselves. Here’s the final go at 2014 Fantasy baseball as we look back at the top pitchers from September…

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Today, it’s time for the top 60 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball, but, first, let’s jump in the world’s worst time machine and go back to this past Tuesday morning when Rudy released the Steamer Hitter/Pitcher projections along with the fantasy auction values for every conceivable league. If you go to the ESPN 12 team auction values (or any page from the menu on that auction value page), you’ll see little boxes above each column. Go to the POS box and type in SP. Frank Voila! Now it’s just listing pitchers (you can sort for whatever you want in the top boxes). Now click on the $/G box. It should turn black. You are now sorting by the dollars expected to earn per game for starters. If you click on the $K column, you are now sorting by who is expected to rack up the most Ks. So on and so forth. All of my 2015 fantasy baseball rankings are there. As always, my tiers and projections are included. Anyway, here’s the top 60 starters for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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The Braves had the 5th best ERA last year in the major leagues. That’s with a down year by Mike Minor, and injuries to Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen. Their runs scored were second to last in the majors. Only the Padres’ offense was worse. So, naturally, they trade away Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, who had a sub-5 K/9 in High-A last year. Oh…*pounds out a chicken cutlet, fills it with spinach and ricotta cheese, rolls it up, ties it with twine, bakes it on 450 for 18-22 minutes, pulls it out and breathes in the aroma* …kay. That’s the Chicken Florentine pause. Practiced by many, only able to be pulled off by a few. I rarely pull out the Chicken Florentine pause, but trading a top hitting prospect that is only 25 years old, when your team is hurting for offense, is straight up baffling with a pickleback. Are the Braves trying to bring the entire organization down to Fredi’s level of intelligence? Did Fredi tell management that they had too many top of the order hitters (they have none) and they needed another arm (they don’t)? Are the Braves trying to get featured in the third sequel to Major League? I got questions, y’all! From a fantasy perspective, Heyward’s value goes up simply because the Cardinals are a better offensive team. Like someone doing yoga, Heyward will now be surrounded by Matts, Carpenter and Holliday. What will Heyward produce? Go ask the Sphinx. One year he looks like a 30-homer hitter, another year he looks like a middle infielder with 20 steal speed. He could be anywhere from a 15-homer guy to a 30-homer guy. The 20 steals, now in two of five seasons, looks possible, until you see he has a year of only 2 steals. His .271 average last year is around his career average (.262), so that seems repeatable, until you see his .227 average in 2011. At some point, he could have a 30-homer, 20-steal top 20 fantasy season, but to say it’s definitely coming is you lying to yourself. You already lie to yourself in other areas of your life, let’s not start with Heyward too. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 91/20/75/.274/15. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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Let’s break this down like Murray Chass would want it. Felix Hernandez has the 2nd best ERA in the AL, fourth most Ks, and 14 wins. When his team needed a win more than anything, so Grey (me) could possibly collect on a preseason bet he foolishly made for the Mariners to win the World Series, Felix choked up 8 ER in 4 2/3 IP, raising his ERA to 2.34. Felix has the 2nd best xFIP, 3rd best WAR for a pitcher and 8th best K-rate, but since we’re doing this as Murray would’ve wanted it, “What the flip is xFIP and I fought in Dubya Dubya Two and F-Her doesn’t know anything about WAR! Now stop with the Pollyanna chicken crap!” Did F-Her just lose the Cy Young award? He did if all the voters are subjected to a fifteen minute wait in a post office line with Mr. Chass. “Mr. Chass, did you print out an email to snail mail it?” “I don’t trust the internet!” Did the Mariners just lose all hope at the playoffs? F-Her, you effed me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I wonder if Jake Smolinski had a sister that put out in high school. I could’ve swore I hooked up with an Eva Smolinski after her friend Dawn rejected me. Were my Cavariccis cuffed a little too high for you, Dawn? My B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirt too faded? I still hate you! Well, enough about me! *smacks self* Get a grip, man! Smolinski is hitting .408, and crushing pink cookies in a plastic bag since his call up, going 4-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI yesterday. The Rangers are like a prisoner with a life sentence (no offense to some of our readers; I believe you’re innocent!). Rangers have nothing but time on their hands to play their guys. Is Smolinski anything but a hot schmotato? God, no, but no one is this late in the year. I’d grab him if you need a hot bat, and who doesn’t? Dawn apparently! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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“We’re more alike than we are different.” That’s what Mary Ann said of her and Ginger, but it could also be said of Marcus Stroman and a Flat-Billed Pitchypus. He needs maybe a fifteen-second ironing and a quarter-cup of starch and he’d be there. Considering the tumultuous recent years of the Flat-Billed Pitchypus, maybe it’s for the best. “You want more starch on this?” “Yes.” Dontrelle Willis reaches for his TGIF’s hat, drops jalapeno poppers on his foot and screams. Yesterday, Stroman threw a shutout in 93 pitches. Greg Maddux called and said, “You owe me a nickel.” Stroman’s sparkling like I screwed his head into my SodaStream, pushed down the level way too long and bubbles started coming into his eyes. Mary Ann’s existential quote could also be used to say there’s more similarities than differences between Stroman and an ace. He shouldn’t generate that much velocity from a five-foot-nine frame. Yet, there he is throwing 94 MPH while high-fiving his teammates on a step stool. He’s credited with a six-pitch arsenal that he can locate with pinpoint accuracy. I’m going to have a Marcus Stroman post for 2015 fantasy baseball to highlight his sensational stuff for next year, and then he’ll probably be in the top 10 pitchers for 2016. A star is born just don’t iron the brim any further; you’re good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in 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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The Denver Homerlette is like the Slam & Legs, except it’s 2 HRs, while Tulo and CarGo hold their legs. As most of you know, Rudy writes the title for most of these. Currently, Rudy and I are in a tough battle for 1st place in our RCL and he owns Corey Dickerson, so I thought I’d share with you the first few titles Rudy suggested, “Dickerson Poops On Grey, But Of Coors” and “Suck My Dickerson.” Stay classy, Rudy! Since Rudy won’t or can’t toot his own horn, I will for him. Hmm, that sounds weird. Maybe if he could’ve tooted his own horn, his wife wouldn’t be spitting out kids like they were sunflower seeds. In February, Rudy released his rankings, and he had Dickerson at 102 overall. I don’t think I saw Dickerson within 100 spots of that anywhere. I was one of the other few people who even ranked him, and I didn’t have him within 150 of that. Yesterday, Dickerson hit two bombs, raising his season total to 22. In addition, he has a .311 batting average to go with 8 steals. Right now, he’s top 60 overall on our Player Rater and near the top 15 for outfielders. That’s after Walt Weiss played with his ding-a-ling for a month, platooning him. That ranking won’t be far from where he’s ranked for 2015 either. Everywhere he’s played he’s shown solid power, average and some speed, then throw Coors into the equation and he could be a top 30 bat overall in 2015. Yup, I kinda love him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’m a Twins fan (we comin’ in 2016), but I have little trouble picking on Trevor May, who has gotten knocked around like a guy in Knockaround Guys (never saw – looked dumb). Through his first four career starts (14.1 IP), May holds an 8.79 ERA and 8.16 BB/9…no bueno. He actually didn’t walk anyone his last time out, but May was so concerned with throwing strikes, he ended up tossing meatballs to the Tigers, who tagged him for 5 ER off 11 hits. Things will get better for the touted prospect but probably not tonight in Baltimore. The Orioles lead the majors in HR versus RHP (121), and they’ve averaged more than 6.5 runs over their last 9 home games. I say all birds are in play, and once I decide which 6 to use (most hitters allowed on DK from one team), I am confident they will do my bidding.

Are you not feeling confident in that advice? Did you find yourself rooting for Skynet during any of the Terminator movies? Well then, you need to check out the Stream-o-Nator, Hitter-Tron, DFSBot, and Ombatsman. These Razzball exclusive tools have been on the money when it comes to making money, so pay a visit to Rudy’s clever creations. I may be a simple human, but I’m still going to give you some other picks…

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!

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