If you can remember back a few years, Johnny Cueto 401KO’d Jason LaRue with a kick to his head. When he got up, LaRue couldn’t see straight and needed to retire. Elsewhere, Yordano Ventura (7 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 5 Ks in what might’ve been a spot start) has been honing his fight-picking and ability to be held back by teammates so it doesn’t look too obvious that he wants to be held back. After every game this year, Ventura sat in his hotel room, perfecting his Clubber Lang at the Rocky statue coronation. “Yo, if you want a real man, you come find me!” There was really only man that Ventura admired the league over. One man as diabolical. As lowdown! And now through a trade between the Reds and Royals, Cueto joins Ventura! This is like thunder meeting lightning! Bonnie and Clyde if they were both men! Germany and Italy joining forces to rid the world of non-mustached, non-broad shouldered women! Wonder Twin powers activate in the form of pure evil! So, Cueto’s trade to the Royals obviously doesn’t hurt him. He’ll be on a team that can win games and it’s a much better home stadium, but he also leaves the NL. That makes this feel like a push in value. Right now, his ERA is 2.62. How much lower could it be? Not much is my guess. He’s a 2.50-3.15 ERA pitcher anywhere he is, so that’s what he’ll continue to be. Unless Yordano throws Great Kabuki-style green dust into every hitter’s face when the ump’s back is turned. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“I don’t know what my face is doing right now.” “It looks like you ate a full Tony Luke’s cheesesteak and forgot to swallow.” “No. I mean, I did, but I took the sub out of mouth and put it in my glove compartment for later. But this is something else. Feel my cheeks, they’re, like, pushed up.” “You get that f**kin’ Botox?” “No! I’m a 45-year-old construction worker with bad knees. Why would I get Botox?” “Then what’s wrong with your cheeks? You’re freaking me out!” “Wait, I know what it is. I’m…I’m smiling and I’m a Phillies fan. This is better than the day Charlie Manuel stopped at our job site to use our Porta-Potty!” Yesterday, Aaron Nola looked great — 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, and Phillies fans, or Phans, have something to smile about. I watched a portion of the game and he looked like he could be an ace. Love, love, lurve the control and mid-90’s fastball. At worst, he’s a number three. I was pretty jazzed at what I saw. Whenever you have a guy that has great command and can strike out people, there’s a chance for wonderful. With that said (hold on to the starboard, Grey’s turning around!), he’s a rookie and there will be some Growing Pains, and not the good kind of boners. I would absolutely own him, but in shallower leagues I’d be careful of roofies. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As soon as you’re finished with this post, I want you to close your laptop, step outside and look at a bird in flight. Pick up a flower, breathe in its fragrance, sneeze from your allergies, wave to a neighbor and close your robe because you’re not just waving with your hand. How does that feel? Exhilarating? Then your dedication sucks! It should be a total bore. You should be more interested in whether or not I’m going to have a top 100 for the 2nd half of fantasy baseball tomorrow than what your significant other has been doing for the last three and a half months. Luckily, I will have a top 100 tomorrow, and your significant other can remain your fantasy team. Okay, enough hubbub on the tomfoolery! Yesterday, Rob Refsnyder went 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 1st homer as the Yankees called him up on Saturday to be their 2nd baseman. My middle infielder slot on all of my teams feels like the old adage, “Ridden hard and put away wet.” If a fantasy team slot could catch an STD, my MI slot would be it. There might not be a starter on any team that I haven’t tried once, thanks, Rendon! Refsnyder had seven homers and ten steals with a .290 average in Triple-A and looking at him, I’m immediately reminded of Pedroia. In other words, goodbye, Jace Peterson, hello, Refsnyder! Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Does this happen to people? You’re working on something, and listening to certain tunes and that informs the way you go about your work. I’ve never had a real job in my life, so I don’t know how this works for those. Does a toll collecting juggalo listen to Insane Clown Posse while working and violently throw change back at drivers? Is this why a building’s roof caves in because the construction crew was listening to Because I Got High by Afroman? Or if you were to suddenly change a hitter’s walk-up music from say Next Episode by Dr. Dre (which seems to be at least one hitter’s song on every team) to The Pina Colada Song would that change everything? I don’t know, but I’m a deep thinker, and I saw Johnny Cueto‘s start yesterday and thought he had to be listening to the Silver Jews, specifically this one section, because that gets me so jacked I could jackhammer a driveway with my foot. I took a hammer to it all! *banging foot on cement* Right?! Okay, maybe it’s me. That’s why we’re having this one-sided conversation, to better understand each other. Yesterday, Cueto threw a farkin sparkler — a farkler, if you will — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA down to 2.61. Cueto’s the bomb dot gov. He’s almost exactly in line with what he was doing last year when he had a 2.25 ERA in 243 2/3 IP. And, if anything, he’s actually pitching better this year, lowering his walk rate from 2.4 to 1.7. For whatever reason, he seems to stay out of the conversation for the best pitchers in the major leagues, but yesterday he took on Max Scherzer (4 2/3 IP, 5 ER) and took a hammer to it all. A hammer to it all! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s the 4th of July everybody and life is good. You’re probably spending your day with loved ones grilling, drinking, swimming, and reminding yourself why you hate your cousin Gary. Pretentious prick! Do I really care that you do Andrew W.K’s taxes? Do we always have to listen to “Let’s Get The Party Started” at every July 4th pool party? Oh BTW your wife Cheri propositions me every time we’re alone. What can I say she wants the Lifshitz naknik. Enough about me I mean you, yes you. This in no way bears any resemblance to my life. I don’t even have a cousin Gary! In fact if you’re here reading this then you probably have no friends or family and more than likely own cats or have dead bodies in your basement. It’s cool I’m not going to say anything. So I know the question on everyone’s mind “Ralph you’re rambling what’s the theme this week?” Well it’s the 4th of July. So that’s my theme, 4th of July’s of Lifshitz past. So each tier will include an offbeat story about my Independence Day misadventures. No these misadventures will not feature Will Smith, Bill Pullman, or aliens. Or will they? Week 14 Two Start Pitchers are upon us….

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Kennys Vargas was demoted to Double-A. Shouldn’t it be Double-Kenny? It’s official, the Twins hate Vargas. They gave him all of about ten days to prove himself this time around. Maybe they just get off on killing Kennys. Oh, well, that’s all I wanted to say in the lede. Nothing else. Just gonna pick my cuticles until I get to that “Anyway, here’s what else” jazz that I always write. Oh, I guess I could mention Miguel Sano is being called up. I buried the lede worse than Kendall Graveman! First Buxton and now Sano, this is the most excitement Minnesota’s seen since Prince was spotted at a Cold Stone Creamery ordering raspberry sorbet, and, without missing a beat, the cashier said, “And if it was warm, you’d order much more,” then high-fived his oblivious co-worker. I just gave you my Miguel Sano fantasy. I wrote it with an 80’s glam Sharpie. I’ll add one thing to that. Grab him right now! He could hit .180 with power or he could hit .250 with power, but, either way, at corner infidel, you do worse, as my Jewish grandmother would say. After saying, “Oy, it’s hot in here.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yankees outfielder Chris B. Young has been on fire in the past week and Krispie’s monster week culminated in last nights 3-hit performance including a 3-run homer run, his ninth. Ol’ Young has got himself a nine game hitting streak, with two homers, two stolen bases and eight RBIs in the stretch. He’s also managed four straight multi-hit games. Not bad for a guy with a .313 OBP! Ugh. Well, that number actually is bad. Still, Young’s batting .370 with three homers, 10 runs and 10 RBI in June and he’s managed to bring his average up to a respectable .270. The counting stats aren’t that bad for a guy who’s been stuck batting in the bottom of the order most of the year, but the fact that he’s been hitting higher in the order as of late could be a big reason for his recent success. He even led off on Thursday night! His BABIP suggests he may actually be getting a bit lucky, but sometimes, particularly in fantasy, lucky counts for just as many points as good. In deeper leagues, if you’re hurting for an outfielder Chris B. Young is definitely worth a look while he’s hitting all the baseballs. At the very least, he’s a reliable source of power in a good line up and a great park, and at just 10% owned he’s definitely worth a flier while he’s hot.

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

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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:

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Before you accuse Jose Tabata of leaning into a pitch with two outs and Max Scherzer on the brink of a perfect game, let’s take you back to 2009. The then 19-year-old Jose Tabata was with his wife, the 54-year-old, Conchita Alonso Rivera Consuela Charlynn Torres, and she was pregnant. Conchita etc. would tell Jose to lean into her belly to hear the baby, and Jose leaned. At supermarkets, at carnivals, at the car wash, Conchita etc. asked Jose to lean and listen, and he did. Of course, there was no baby in her belly, it was actually a Betsy Wetsy doll that she shoved under her shirt. Later when Conchita etc. was arrested for falsifying a pregnancy and kidnapping a baby for Jose and her to raise as their own, they would meet at the glass partition in prison and she would tell Jose to lean in. Times were good, Jose leaned in. Times got rough, Jose leaned in. So, on Saturday, when the Pirates were one out from having a perfect game thrown against them, Jose did what he always did — he leaned in. After that no hitter, Max Scherzer has a 10.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a 1.76 ERA. So, yeah, he’s a top three starter, if not the best this year, and he is amazing. No kidding; hey, sorta like Tabata and his wife! (There is a lot more truth in this opening paragraph than you’d likely ever imagine. Just Google “Tabata wife” if you don’t believe me. Happy belabored Father’s Day, Tabata!) Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Remember when you used to open a pack of baseball cards and were only looking for the rookies? DFS Fantasy Baseball has been just like that for me this season. Instead of sliding my thumb from left to right on paper, it is now sliding up and down on my cell phone, looking for players like Kris Bryant, Joc Pederson, and Carlos Correa. I can’t remember a season where this many rookies have made such huge impacts early on. In DFS, DraftKings will price rookies that have just been called-up really cheap. Kyle Schwarber was only $2,200 on the first day he played. Now he is $4,000. Even at that price, he’s still a good option, especially at the Catcher position.The Cubs prospect was the best hitting player in the minors until his call-up a few days ago. Play him while you still can because it’s been said by Cubs’ management that he’ll be sent back down to the minors after the interleague games. By this time next week you’ll be back to picking your Catcher last and not caring who you pick. As much as I love the rookies, playing them in DFS can be daring. It’s important to look at the match-ups even more so than other players. I’m definitely staying away from a rookie hitter when facing a top pitching ace. Check out some more rookies I like today.

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?