It’s that time of year again when your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru digs out his star-spangled turban, the seersucker suit, and attempts to pull the ol’ “hotdog” trick on the unsuspecting ladies at the annual Razzball cookout. Johnny Manziel’s got nothin’ on me! Welcome once again to the Razzball Lounge where your favorite fake baseball scribes gather to crunch the numbers, drink the grog, and avoid the Tehol – hey, the kid gets all handsy after a few! We raise our glasses this Memorial Day weekend to all those that served and we pour out a little to all those boys of summer that never made it home. Let’s lower the Razzball flag to half-mast in horror honor of the latest fantasy casualties: Prince Fielder broke his cervix (who knew?), Ryan Braun strained his oblique (‘roids help with healin’, cust kayin’), Nolan Arenado broke a finger sliding (here’s a finger for you Nolan) and Mike Moustakas burned the roof of his mouth on the Hot Pocket Mama Mous made for him. Fielder looks done for the year, Braun was done the minute his medicine cabinet contained nothing but baby aspirin and Ben-Gay, Arenado is down a digit and good ol’ Moosetacos will be spending the summer in Omaha – oh, no, he just fell into the thresher. RIP Moosetacos. Yes, we’re grieving our fake baseball teams in the lounge this long weekend. At the bar we find Sky crying in his Islay, “I’m an organ donor and Arenado can have one of my fingers.”  Sky, NO!!!! *raises machete, cuts off pinky* Over at the jukebox is our resident jukebox hero Jay(Wrong) playing “Candle in the Wind” for the 23rd time.  “This one’s for you my sweet Prince.”  *bottle smashes above head* Sauntering out of the ladies room, zipping up his fly, arm around his latest conquest, is international man of mystery Tehol Beddict, “Why the long faces, gang? I’ve been in last place since April.”  *gets punched in the face by J-Foh, breaks nose* Here at the pool table is your humble-but-nonetheless-dejected Guru. *closes eye, takes aim, fires cue ball through window*  “All is lost, I’m going to start playing fantasy cricket.”  And, with the Razzball crew at an all-time low, who should suddenly grace us all with his presence? The one and only Grey Albright, looking all Gatsby as he exits his convertible amidst a plume of sweet smelling vapor, a coug on each arm, mustache glistening in the summer sun. “Gentleman, don’t lose faith, it’s a long season, and even if we win, if we win, HAH! Even if we win! Even if we play so far above our heads that our noses bleed for a week to ten days; even if God in Heaven above comes down and points his hand at our side of the field; even if every man woman and child held hands together and prayed for us to win, it just wouldn’t matter because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Yahoo because they’ve got all the money! It just doesn’t matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER! Now, Guru, fire up your jammer crammer machine and someone get me a goddamn umbrella drink!”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s about that time, prematurely balding men and four girl readers. Gregory Polanco is nearing his call-up date. He is basically a young version of Starling Marte. As of this writing, he’s 22 years old. I’m hoping he’s still 22 years old when I’m done writing this post otherwise I spent way too much time on it. He can be a superstar, which has me excited. He won’t be a superstar this year, which takes the wind out of my sails for redraft leagues. Usually when I’m talking about wind in my sails, I’m wearing only my boxers and just ate a can of beans, so maybe it’s best if we ignore how much wind is in my sails. Polanco can hit 12 homers and steal 40 bags without killing you in average. Yes, I know, you love him too now. It’s okay, just because your father never loved you doesn’t mean you can’t love another man. In Single-A, Polanco had 16 homers and 40 steals. In Single-A, Marte had 3 homers and 24 steals. Granted, Polanco had 200 extra at-bats in his Single-A year. Granted, Part II: Granted Lives; Polanco was two years younger in his Single-A year. Marte doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline of Polanco, so, if anything, Marte will become a poor man’s Polanco. Polanco has the kind of pedigree right now that could mean he’s a top three rounder and one day supplanting The Dread Pirate as the best outfielder in Pittsburgh. I.e., The Sexy Dish That Ate Pittsburgh. Yes, I’m really excited for him. This past year between the two levels, he hit 12 homers and 37 steals while hitting .286. Christian Yelich went from Double-A to the majors and hit fine. Lots of players do. The Pirates weren’t that aggressive. If they were, then Polanco would’ve shot up my preseason rankings and I would’ve told everyone to draft him in every single league. Instead, Polanco went to Triple-A and continued to bash like your 12-year-old self idealizing Jose Canseco. As with rookies, you need to keep expectations in check. To misquote the immortal words of John Popper, “Nobody should think or expect too much while everyone is calling for the movie rights. Singing, ‘Hey, babe, let’s keep in touch. Hey, baby, let’s keep in touch.” He will be up in early June and now is the time to stash him. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 32/8/36/.250/15 in 300 ABs. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Four teams were showing interest in Stephen Drew. No official word on which four teams, but I’m guessing the Yankees, Tigers, Red Sox and whoever didn’t want the Yankees, Tigers or Red Sox to get him. Probably the Giants. That Sabean is a real party pooper! “Stephen Drew is under 40 years old, but he comes across as a guy that is aging twice the speed of the average human.” That’s Sabean weighing Drew’s pros and cons. Well, tough noogs, Sabean, the Red Sox secured their long-coveted, barely above replacement level shortstop. In a news conference, the Red Sox said they hadn’t had a news conference in a while and felt like now was as good a time as any. “We were gonna hold a presser to say Jerry Remy was down to a pack and a half of smokes a day, but this is so much better!” Drew hasn’t been worth owning in fantasy in about six years, so I wouldn’t expect you picking him up will work as a Viagra substitute. He’s around that of a 12-homer, 5-steal, .250 hitter. Lowercase yay. This will move Xander Bogaerts to third base and Will Middlebrooks to an outside chance of being a deep league sleeper in 2015, if he gets a few good at-bats off the bench when he returns because he’s now out of a job. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Once again, the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball look a whole lot better than the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. For the first time that I can remember, I want a shortstop from the top tiers. Usually I punt shortstops along with catchers due to how bad they are, but this year it’s pretty clear 2nd basemen are worse than shortstops and I like quite a few shortstops. Hey, you gotta be malleable in this fantasy baseball game. Malleable is also a great name for a baby girl. Feel free to take it for your daughter if you so desire. As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where I think tiers start and stop and my projections. All the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Unsuccinct! Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Top 20 catchers, 1st basemen and 2nd basemen are in the books. What a strange, glorious trip it’s been! Though not really. Today, the top 20 shortstops for 2013 fantasy baseball get to shine. Hmm… Actually, most of these won’t shine. They’re cloudy with a chance of crapballs. To be a bit more specific, the top ten shortstops were about equal with the 2nd basemen through the top 10, then they actually go a bit deeper than the 2nd basemen. Yes, shortstops are deeper. Barely. Mike Aviles was 18th overall for 2nd basemen, here he doesn’t even make the list coming in 22nd. Either way, it’s ugly. Okay, enough of the hubbub on the tomfoolery. To recap, this final ranking 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 shortstops for 2013 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Well, this is it folks. As alluded to last week, we have reached the last Saturday of the regular season, and therefore, have reached the last Saturday Daily Notes of the season. Obvious statement is obvious. To celebrate such a glorious occasion, I have formulated a thought. Incredible, I know! Me? Formulating thoughts? Quick, someone file estoppel action! Anyways, we’ll be doing notes like we always do, in that, there will still be the ever popular bolded and hyper-linked player names along side the world famous Razzball player blurb thing-a-ma-jigs. But we are going to go a little GIF heavy this time around. Why? Because I thought it would be fun. And this is my series. Deal. But there’s a rub here. Because brisket bro. Also, because these GIFs will represent the story of each specific player when it is used.

Now, you may say to yourself, isn’t this a cheap way to not do any work? And I say to you… maybe. But also, let me put it this way. GIF hunting is hard. GIF making is hard. GIF editing is hard. Achieving proper context is hard. All of this is hard. That’s what she said. Hey-ohhh. But yeah, enjoy the show. Or don’t. It’s the last one this season, so really, do whatever you want. After all, that’s what I did. Here’s what I noticed yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gerrit Cole has filthy stuff. He can hit 100 MPH with his fastball and make all four of our girl readers go, “Ooh…” Which reminds me of my Walk on the Wild Side remixed chorus, “And the four girl readers go doo do doo do doo do do doo.” There was a whole lot of nonsense, or whole lotta if we stick with the rock theme, when he was first called up that Cole didn’t want to strike people out. Does Alf not want to get back to Melmac?! Does macaroni not mean awesome when Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni!? Does everyone with glasses not look goofy on a 1980′s baseball card?! Ron Kittle? I rest my case! Of course, Cole wants to strike out guys. You can’t stop that! Yesterday, he struck out 12 of them. In 111 1/3 IP this year, he has a 7.60 K-rate and if you throw out June, when he was saying that nonsense about throwing to contact, his K-rate would be near 9. Oh, bee tee dubya, everything else is purdy, too. His FIP is 2.98, his walk rate is barely over 2, he gets ground balls. For 2014 fantasy baseball, Cole could easily be a top 20 starter for all of baseball and will be someone I’ll get plenty googly about this offseason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m Asian, so it’s not raycess. Err, I think.

There have been many a fine years for a many a fine players in this 2013 Baseball season. As summer comes to a close and your mother puts her top back on, we can surmise the season like so — we have seen some good things, some bad things, and some strange things. Mostly because I’m including Tehol in the sample. Why? That matters less than you think. But this is why the game is played. And that point being established, I must say, Hisashi Iwakuma‘s year can be lumped in as a very fine year. A former Japanese starting pitcher, turned reliever by the Mariners, turned back into a starter by the aforementioned Mariners, Iwakuma has solidified the fact that he belongs on your Fantasy Baseball roster, including a 7.0 IP, 0 ER performance against the Cardinals last night. But to what degree does he belong on your roster? And are we doing Celsius or Fahrenheit? All important questions. Well, based on numbers, he looks to be around the James Shields, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels area. There doesn’t appear to be a crazy amount of regression due, the environment is a big plus, and there’s an okay history of health here. I’m willing to buy him in that zone next year. Anyhoo, here’s what else I noticed yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Welcome into the Razzball Lounge, fantasy freaks. Here in the lounge we celebrated Razzball scribes like to kick back, relax, sketch Grey’s mustache, debate Yasiel Puig and lament our fantasy baseball failures over a couple of scotch and sodas as we prepare for some football drafting here. What do you mean it’s too early for scotch? It’s 11 in the morning, Guru. Well, get me a Pop-Tart with it. On this lazy Sunday in the lounge we find Sky in a dark corner trying to decide where to rank Bilal Powell, “Isn’t baseball season over yet? How many games do they play, like a 100?” Dropping his quarters into the jukebox is our resident bear or bull, JayWrong, “You guys should really pick up Jhoulys Chacin. Mind if I play Elvis Costello again?” *bottle smashes above head* Bellying up to the bar is our Podcast host and resident Canadian arguing with the bartender, “Whaddya mean you don’t have Labatts? How am I gonna wash down this pickled egg, eh?” Meanwhile, in the ladies room we find the one and only Tehol mid fondle with a handsome honey he’ll soon discover has an Adam’s apple, “Uh, guys? GUUYYSS?!” And here at the pool table is your humble and almost as manly Guru preparing a list of ballers that are going to deliver you a fantasy baseball championship. *closes eye, takes aim, sinks eight ball in corner pocket, downs scotch* What are we doing here again? Oh yeah, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Felix Hernandez is the pitcher to pitcher when you’re facing more than one Brewer. *sips from frosty mug* Ah…. Almost as satisfying as a good porgasm, which is the ecstasy reached when you finally find a rest stop after you have to pee for about two hundred miles. Yesterday, F-Her threw eight shutout innings with 9 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.28. He’s not even close to how good he was his Cy Young year. He’s MUCH better (caps for emphasis, not so the guy who’s reading over your shoulder can see better). He has a career high strikeout rate, which is like, “Hey, this Filet Mignon can’t get any better– Oh, wait, I don’t have to pay for it either?” And it’s not because you cut out a chunk of your hair and put it on the plate. F-Her also has a career low walk rate and a career low xFIP, which tells us his ERA isn’t even fluky. He’ll probably be overshadowed by Yu Darvish or Max Scherzer in the offseason, but F-Her is finally coming into his own at the ripe young age of 27. In 2014, when people are going Kershaw and Darvish and Wainwright, there F-Her will be again coming at a discount because of some perceived weakness due to win potential. Bunch of Murray Chasses (Chassi?), every one of you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?