Robert Downey Jr. and Phil Hughes have more in common than you might think. Both dealt with notoriously weak starts to their careers in The Big Apple. Hughes in pinstripes had four straight years of a 4+ ERA, and Downey on SNL. Both had to deal with brace-faced divas, Joe Girardi and Anthony Michael Hall. One was scouted by Gene Michael, the other Lorne Michaels. One wanted to impress Pettitte, one wanted to avoid petting Randy Quaid’s pet squirrel. One had to wait for A-Rod to finish frosting his hair before he could use the bathroom, one made frosting out of cocaine. But once they were out of New York, the world opened up to each. Yesterday, Hughes won his 16th game, going 8 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks, and lowering his ERA to 3.52. His K-rate is 8 and his walk rate is 0.7, as he set the all-time strikeout-to-walk ratio at 11.63. Think about that walk rate for a second. Okay, the second is up. He walked 16 guys in 209 2/3 IP. That’s as terrific as 186 Ks, which is what he had. His ERA doesn’t look amazing in today’s day and age where everyone has a sub-3 ERA, but Hughes was actually unlucky and had a 3.15 xFIP. Everything together has me excited about Hughes for 2015 fantasy baseball. I could see him being relegated to 2nd fiddle status with some other 3rd or 4th fantasy starters, but outperforming his draft spot. Circling back to AMH, any time a guy like Hughes strikes out as much as Anthony Michael Hall and walks less than Uncle Buck, color me excited. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like the end of anything that was good, there is only one thing left to do as the MLB regular season comes to a close: lay it down really hard. Finish strong, as they say. Earn your season-long awards. Kershaw is possibly making his last case for a seemingly deserved MVP as a starting pitcher tonight and he has the added motivation to embarrass his team’s greatest rival and clinch the NL West. After spending the majority of the year avoiding writing about my beloved Dodgers, I can no longer avoid the allure. Tonight offers a matchup as sexy as anything to come out of San Fernando Valley in the last 20 years. Let’s start with the NL Cy Young and MVP probable, Clayton Kershaw, P: $14,800. Considering that the best starting hitter on the Giants BvP line is held by Pablo Sandoval who has a growing trend of being incapable of hitting from the right side, Kershaw is a no-brainer today. The NL MVP should have no problem punishing the shrinking Giants’ bats into submission. Sandoval’s leading BvP by the way is 14-54 with 3 2Bs equaling a .596 OPS… the best they have to offer.

I got ideas and the DFSBot has finely honed predictions. You have ideas and the DFSBot has finely honed predictions. The DFSBot is critically acclaimed on the internets. I sleep at night and the DFSBot never stops working. You and I have a lot in common. I hope you sleep too. Listen to the DFSBot.

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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to check the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After speculating who might get the call this September, we now know which prospects are getting their feet wet in the majors. More importantly, we can decide which ones may provide some fantasy value. Unlike hitter call-ups, pitchers sometimes change roles completely when they first break in. So an arm like Taijuan Walker – whom we all know is destined to be a starter – finds himself pitching out of the pen to help the Mariners in their playoff hunt. It’s not exactly Earth-shattering and it happens often, but it means we’re not going to be streaming a start from the likes of Walker or Andrew Heaney over these last two weeks, making them all but irrelevant in anything but the deepest of redraft leagues. Here – in no particular order – are the September pitcher call-ups with varying degrees of fantasy relevance for the rest of this season…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

September call-ups are almost upon us. Despite monster minor league numbers, it appears the Cubs are not going to add Kris Bryant to the roster. Bryant dominated in 2014, hitting an obscene .328/.438/.674 with 43 home runs, 114 runs, 102 RBIs and even 15 steals across two levels of the minors. I couldn’t hit that in Bases Loaded on my Nintendo. While the Cubs did promote Javier Baez and Jorge Soler to get their feet wet, they seem content to leave Bryant where he is whcih in turn makes him worthless to the prospect hounds in redraft fantasy leagues.

There are two sides to the situation. On one hand Bryant could be added to the roster which gives him some major league at bats and makes all of us fantasy owners very happy. On the other hand, the Cubs could give him the full year in the minors without having to drop anybody from their 40-man roster or start his clock. That clock is important, as Bryant being called up a month or two into next seeason could buy the Cubs another year of his services should he decide to become free agent when eligible. Bryant will be worth the wait, but that’s what we’ll have to do – wait. That leaves us to figure out who is worth a look this September. Assuming that the following players will all be called up, here are some of the names (along with their 2014 MiLB stats) that I think could help fantasy owners in redraft leagues this September…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rosters expand on Monday to allow for the big league clubs to take a look at 15 more players during the last month of the season.  All the mainstream experts say to pick up the top prospects who will get to see playing time for the last month to boost your roster.   But I’m so bitter today that I can’t recommend doing anything like that if you’re in a points league.  You see, I woke up early and picked out just the perfect outfit, but not one person has mistaken me for homeless.  I hate people.  And I hate prospect call ups (for points leagues).  They’re so new and trendy and just not sustainable enough for me.  In fact, even my moustache hates them.  I’m so heated over the matter that all 12 handlebars I waxed into it are now pointing down.  I used Burt’s Bees and now I can breathe like Brian Wilson on the mound.  Sinuses are so clear!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Prospects, prospects, and MORE PROSPECTS!!! Plenty of youngsters making noise as their seasons wind down and players scramble for the chance to get their feet wet when organizations call players up at the end of the month to get a taste of “The Show”.  That signals time for Razzball’s Sunday morning look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game – prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 21 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top-50/Top-100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

Disclaimer: The bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top-50/Top-100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Wednesday again already??? Time flies when you’re having fun (or the Braves are playing terrible baseball) it seems. That signals time for our Razzball midweek look at what’s become the most important commodity in our favorite game– prospects. Our “Prospect Primer” reflects a handful of the prospects I’m keeping a close eye on heading into Week 20 (for both shallow and deep fantasy leagues). Our bi-weekly prospect columns (Sundays and Wednesdays) will continue to focus on the more “well-known” prospects (our Top 50/Top 100) that are likely going to affect shallow to mid-level fantasy teams.

We will continue our “Panning For Gold” series moving forward for owners in deeper leagues, but these won’t be a regularly-scheduled feature, but keep checking in for true “sleepers” daily… I’ll continue trying to “shine the light” on players that may not impact your leagues in the short-term, while revealing players you might scoop your fellow owners with as time warrants and permits. Our prospect coverage will always be a work in progress as we try to provide pertinent information that will help owners that participate in deeper leagues as well, and features will be adjusted and added in our effort to be able to help fantasy GMs as much as possible regardless of the depth of league you compete in.

Disclaimer: the bi-weekly lists AREN’T a “re-ranking” of our Top 50/Top 100/Organization Lists. The players mentioned will typically be guys that owners in somewhat regular leagues NEED to be aware of (regardless of their current level) to keep from slipping behind as they want to stay competitive in “keeper leagues”. There may be a sleeper mentioned from time-to-time, but they may be more important to managers in deeper and more long-term leagues. The players listed aren’t in any particular order (you’ll notice they’re listed alphabetically), they’re simply guys you need to keep an eye on and someone you might be interested in targeting when you’re wheeling and dealing.

Now it’s time to refill that cup of coffee or take your lunch break and open your spreadsheets – here’s who I’m tracking over the next few days…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Like a good Jewish boy, Brad Ausmus said to his Bubbie, “Bubbie, I love sulfites, nitrates and pig a**holes, but every time I see a Nathan’s, I get the runs. Bubbie, do you have a remedy?” His Bubbie lowered her knitting and said, “You need to get a goddamn decent closer!” And so it was done. Unfortunately, due to being wracked with guilt (or possibly due to a rather hard knock on the head), Ausmus couldn’t pull the trigger and said Nathan will remain the closer. Oh. WHAT?! The Rangers traded Joakim Soria to the Tigers because Joe Nathan is making Detroit look even lousier. I can’t imagine Soria remains the set-up man for very long, since Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and has looked completely lost for the better part of the season. For now, I’d hold both of them. Over in Texas, I have a rooting interest in Neal Cotts getting saves, because I own him and not Neftali Feliz. If I had my druthers, and knew what the hell druthers were — hmm, maybe then I do have druthers — I would grab Neftali first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?