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:

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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:

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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.

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There was some speculation that the Mets were considering moving Noah Syndergaard (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks) to the bullpen and bringing up Steven Matz. The NY Post seemed to believe the Mets were talking about it, at least. It could be that a NY Post reporter, hiding in their usual spot inside a Mets equipment broom closet with a Solo cup pressed to the door, overheard, “Hey, should we move Noah to the bullpen and bring up Matz?” “Maybe, but I’m the front office intern and you’re the ticket taker from Gate 3C so I’m not sure our opinion matters.” “Or is that Matzers?” Then they laughed, and the NY Post reporter shot off an article detailing the discussion, but left off the sources. More respected Mets journalists thought Syndergaard wouldn’t go to the bullpen, and Dillon Gee would be designated for assignment. Gee, guess who was right. Right now, Matz has a 2.30 ERA and 9.3 K/9 in Triple-A in 78 1/3 IP. Those numbers are great, fabulous, adjective, but they get better. He’s pitching in the PCL, which is like hitting in an anti-gravity chamber with an aluminum bat. What makes Matz so damn desirable is he can strikeout out hitters and has good control. That’s the one-two punch of “Let me put hearts on my Trapper Keeper.” The Mets are saying Matz will come up around July 1st, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s called up for this weekend, so I’d stash him right now. Or if you have a DeLorean, stash him yesterday. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Son of a plumber, the real American dream has returned for another week of two start scrutiny. I’m here to do the dirty work. I drop the bionic elbow on your dome to enlighten you to the two start knowledge that I possess. I’ve seen hard times recently, and it’s due to Rick Flair, Nate Karns, Mike Foltynewicz, and Tom Cruise! You don’t know what hard times are Daddy! Hard times is when the factory workers are out of work and got 4 or 5 kids. Hard times are when the Auto Workers are out of work! Hard times are when a man who’s worked at a company for 30 years gets a watch and gets told a computer can do his job! Hard times Daddy! I’ve been stuck in hard times. Well screw Mike Foltynewicz until he tricks me into believing in him again. We’re back this week and it’s no holds barred we’re taking the folding chairs out of the front row and fighting dirty. We’re going with the theme of 1980’s and early 90’s wrestling. This is pretty much the last time I watched wrestling. They ruined it with all the complex storylines and other non-sense. Remember when it was just sort of some meaningless beef and you got to watch them duke it out on Saturday morning? In my humble opinion it was the best it ever was, but what do I know?

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I was in my IROC at a red light when a Camaro Z28 pulled alongside, revving the engine. I knew he wanted to race, so I pushed the button for my rear spoiler to emerge that reads, “Spoiler Alert: You Suck!” and spun my wheels until smoke enveloped both cars, then…I burned away from him! Turned out, the light was still red, I narrowly avoided hitting a few pedestrians and the Camaro Z28 was actually a cop. While the police officer was writing me a ticket, I got to thinking about how I’m always out in front of things. Whether it’s telling you to avoid Cano or draft Bryce, Donaldson or Arenado, it’s like I see the future. Sure, my Magic 8 Ball has a few blind spots, like the cop, red light, pedestrians diving out of the way and Gyorko, but I still beat him through the light. With this said, you need to get through the red light and get to Jon Lester first. Save conjecture and anecdotal evidence for the tales you tell your grandkiddies one day about your fantasy team, assuming you’re still talking about the imaginary team that got away in forty years. I know I will about Ryan Klesko’s 1-for-4 on the final day of the 2001 season that cost me everything. Everything! I mean, I already sent my bedroom wall measurements to ESPN for the championship pennant! So, what we know is Jon Lester used to pitch for the Red Sox, where Epstein was the GM. They are Peaches and Herb, and reunited does feel so good. Would Epstein go out and get damaged goods that he knew so well? Seems unlikely. Lester’s velocity is essentially the same this year as last, his K/9 is .2 different, which is nothing. His walk rate is up, and June has been his worst month for control (2.9 BB/9). From year to year, his walk rate went from an even 2 to (stutterer!) 2.3. Not a huge difference, but it’s there. Well, last year his May walk rate was 3.6 and ERA was 3.90, so he even had bad months last year, and his ERA last year was 2.46. It now sits at 4.25, and his BABIP is .344, which is unlucky. Yadda squared, what do all of these numbers mean?! It means Lester could have four months of a 2.50 ERA from here until September and it wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’d absolutely go out and buy him. Now, if you’ll excuse me *rear spoiler emerges, tires spin, car darts out into traffic* Spoiler Alert: You Suck! Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Member how I was saying yesterday that I owned Zack Cozart in multiple leagues, and he was a top five shortstop this year on our Player Rater, but I didn’t really appreciate him? Do I even need to tell you what happened next? Can you guess? If you hold your ear to the computer, does it help you guess? Cozart lunged for the 1st base bag as he was going down the line, hyperextended his knee and is headed to the DL. Einstein was right, “Absence does make the heart grow fonder.” Or maybe that was Peabo Bryson. I always confuse those two on attributing quotes. It’s usually one or the other. Was it Peabo Bryson who did the theory of relativity? Why can’t I spell genius without spellchecker? Questions for another day. One potential fill-in is Ivan De Jesus (1-for-4, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer). De Jesus now has homers in two of three games, that’s twice as many homers as his dad had in his final 600 plate appearances. With Cozart out for who knows how long, De Jesus Jr., or as Christians and Nike marketers like to call him Lil’ Jesus, could be the shortstop, but so could Kris Negron (1-for-4). Negron, please! If it’s Lil’ Jesus, well, it’s worse than Negron, please! Lil’ Jesus doesn’t have much power or speed, while Negron, please, at least swiped 30+ bags one year in the minors. Neither are advisable outside of NL-Only leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?