Most of the league’s top aces took the hill last night, but none were more impressive than the Padres’ Andrew Cashner, who threw a one-hit shutout, tossing 108 pitches against the ferocious Tigers, walking just two and striking out 11. That’s straight Cashner, homey! Randy Moss would be proud. Cashner’s shutout was the first of the season in all of baseball, and just the second of his career. He now holds a 1.29 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 22 Ks through three starts. It’s gotta be that beard, right? You don’t have to tell Razzball nation about the magic of facial hair, see: Albright, Grey. Mystic whiskers aside, Cashner was money Friday night, surrendering just the one hit to Rajai Davis (breaking up his perfect game in the 6th), and striking out Miguel Cabrera to end the game. Yes, that Miguel Cabrera! I’ve always been high on Cashner, and I owned him everywhere last year, so naturally, I own him no where this year. After last night, I might have to hit the trade market, because if I can’t own him, no one should! “I want a Golden Andrew Cashner Goose now, daddy!” Andrew has had injury issues in the past, but he has always been solid when healthy, and with high a 90′s fastball that can hit the triple digits, doode throws some serious cheese. The key with Cashner remains his aforementioned health; if he stays healthy, I could see 12-14 wins, 160 Ks and some solid ratios. That kind of Cashner can pay off big for your fantasy team.

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Make sure you check out Scott Evans’ Prospect ETA’s for a sense of potential high impact call-ups. I’m going to focus on prospects and MLB sleepers beyond the obvious list of prospects. If I list a prospect, that said prospect should have the opportunity to make an impact this year, and in my opinion, have the minor league numbers/skill to translate well enough.

My ‘translate’ for fantasy purposes is simple: do they make enough contact (how often they put the ball in play); what is their approach to putting the ball in play (balls in play mix i.e. linedrives, flyballs, groundballs, HR/FB, infield flyballs, etc.); and what power/speed potential do they have from a fantasy counting stats perspective. Speed won’t have much of a weight in this post though.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the seminal prog band Emerson, Lake and Laura Palmer once sang: “Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside.” (The song went on for 45 minutes before ‘Yes’ came out and kicked their ass.) Opening day is here and the Razzball Lounge is open for bid’ness. Have a seat, grab a cold one and a pickled egg, and don’t get hypnotized by my bedazzled turban my fantasy freaks. Here in the lounge we dedicated, often celebrated, and usually acquitted (we have a great legal team) Razzballin’ scribes gather every opening day to bicker and banter, indulge and imbibe and moan and marvel at our fantasy teams and Grey’s magnificent ‘stache. On this last lazy Sunday (before things get serious) we find Sky in a dark corner slowing rocking back and forth muttering his mantra of “Tulo, Tanaka, Trumbo” over and over. Bellying up to the bar is podcasting paladin Nick Capozzi, clad only in his Expos throwback demanding another Labatts, showing off pics of his rolling Razzball ride and asking no one in particular, “Get your 32in32in32 tickets yet, eh?” Dropping quarters in the jukebox we find Jay Wrong demonstrating his “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” interpretative dance – “Will you love me forever?”  *bottle smashes above head* Stumbling out of the ladies room is the one and only Tehol Beddict casually zipping up his skinny jeans and introducing his new lady friend, “Guys, I’d like to introduce you to my cousin. Ain’t she pretty?” And here at the pool table is your humble-but-nonetheless handsome Guru putting the finishing touches on my 27 rosters. *closes eye, takes aim, sinks eight ball off two rails, drops shot glass into pint, downs boilermaker, lights cigar, sets turban on fireWith the drinks starting to flow let’s run though the jams and crams at each position for Week 1 of the 2014 fantasy baseball season. We’re not talking Miggy, Trout or Goldy here, we’re looking at players owned in less than 50% of most leagues that could help grab you an early lead on your way to fantasy glory. Good luck this season, it’s time to jam it or cram it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As of right now, is anything in this endless universe more scorching hot that Matthew McConaughey? When you take into account his performance in the criminally underrated film, Mud, his epic scene stealing performance in, The Wolf of Wall Street, which was possibly the greatest part of the movie which one would think impossible considering the countless classic scenes that Wall Street has within, and his Oscar winning performance in the true story of, The Dallas Buyers Club, the answer is a resounding, NO! There is none hotter.  Oh yea, I almost forgot to mention, Matty Ice, tag teaming viewers into submission along with partner, and legend in his own right, Woody Harrelson, in the undeniable classic series, True Detective. If his Oscar speech didn’t prove to you that this man cannot be touched right now, then you may want to go see a doctor, for you are clinically insane.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It began as a whisper… a promise… the lightest of breezes danced above the cries of  men and women cheering him on in little league. That breeze became a wind. A wind of freedom… a wind of justice… a wind of vengeance. The time has come, my Beddictites, to prepare yourselves for a breakout of epic proportions. I speak not of the Herp, but of the Harp; Bryce Harper to be clear.

Some would argue that Nostradamus’s greatest prophesy was made in the year 1566, mere days before his horrific case of the Gout brought him to his death bed. “What prophesy is this you speak of, oh wise and charming Beddict?” Ask and thou shalt receive. A deep search into the annals of Nostradamus’s journals produced this historic find– “In the year of our Elder Gods, 2014, a breathtakingly handsome young writer will come out of the shadows and change the world forever. He will no doubt be criticized by many a troglodyte [Ed. Note-- Good word usage bro.], but he shall not hold it against them, for they not know better. On March 10, 2014, this debonaire young man, who will be known as the Mark Twain/William Shakespeare of his generation, will make a prediction about another chosen one, another young man I have seen in my dreams, an athlete of sorts.  These overwhelmingly powerful visions of this brutish boy swinging what seems to be a wooden stick at a bloodless round object have seemingly pushed me to the brink of my grave. It’s either these visions or this Mother F’ing gout! Anyway, I know not what this prediction shall be, but whatever it is, it will have an 85 percent chance of coming to fruition. These two young men’s futures will be forever intertwined for better or for worse. Take heed, for it has been written. I can now die in peace knowing my last true vision has been recorded in my leather-bound and padlocked journal. Now, if only this useless peasant, wife of mine would bring me my favorite chocolate sprinkled crepes along with some brie. Tis a virtual certainty she’s yet again, getting bent over in the barn by my stable boy, Mortimer. By the Gods, I despise that whore.” It’s been said those were the last sentences ever written by Damus, as he passed and now resides with Hood in “House Death.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the start of this series will focus on NL East…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To begin, I should make it clear that this is not a list of my top overall prospects.  No, this is a 2014-specific list, and it exists only to serve those of us in fantasyland.  The names that follow are, at this moment, the prospects who have the best chance at offering positive fantasy contributions during the 2014 season.  Those of you who follow my Prospect Power Rankings series during the season, understand that time-specific prospect rankings are fluid — it’s a tricky game, weighing potential impact against current opportunity, and outlooks can change drastically overnight.  There are too many variables at work to peg these ETA’s accurately, and that is precisely why we revisit these rankings often throughout the year with the aforementioned power rankings.  Consider this a starting point.  Numbers 26-50 will run next week, but for now, let’s dig into the top-25.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (16) | 2012 (24) | 2011 (20) | 2010 (25) | 2009 (17)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [74-88] NL East
AAA:  [81-63] Pacific Coast League — Las Vegas
AA:  [86-55] Eastern League — Binghamton
A+:  [71-60] Florida State League — St. Lucie
A:  [77-61] South Atlantic League — Savannah
A(ss):  [38-37] New York-Penn League — Brooklyn

Graduated Prospects
Juan Lagares (OF); Josh Satin (INF); Anthony Recker (C); Zack Wheeler (RHP); Scott Rice (LHP)

The Run Down
Hoo boy, Mets fans, that R.A. Dickey trade is looking mighty nice these days.  I liked the swap for the Mets from the moment it went down, but in the year that’s passed since the transaction, we’ve seen Dickey regress considerably and Noah Syndergaard emerge as a front-of-the-rotation prospect.  Provided Travis d’Arnaud can stay healthy, that trade should be perceived as one of the more lopsided moves in recent history.  Syndergaard and d’Arnaud are the headliners in this org, but there’s impact depth behind them, and plenty of it is set to surface in the bigs this season.  For 2014 fantasy purposes, this Mets system should be one of the more influential groups in the game, as the top 5 names on this list prepare to step up to the highest level.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I just went over the top 10 for 2014 fantasy baseball and the top 20 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Most of you know how I feel about catchers. If you draft a catcher any time before the first 100 picks, you don’t know how I feel about catchers. Let me freshen up your cocktail with a splash of insight. I don’t draft top catchers in one catcher leagues. I Reggie Roby them. Last year, Napoli was the top ranked catcher at the end of year. He was the 11th best 1st baseman. The best catcher can’t spray aerosol deodorant on the top guy for another position. Everyone was crazy about Buster Posey last year (everyone except me). Buster Posey did about as much as Kendrys Morales. Lowercase yay. In the top five catchers last year were Lucroy, V-Mart, Rosario and Molina. One guy was drafted in the top 100, and that was barely. No one should draft a top catcher because there are no top catchers. They’re all hot garbage with a side order of stank. Catchers are unreliable to stay healthy; the job is grueling and takes its toll on offensive stats. There’s not much difference between, say, the tenth best catcher and nothingness. Jarrod Saltymochachino, Jason Castro and Salvador Perez were the 8th, 9th and 10th best catchers last year. All of them were on waivers in shallower leagues as late as July. Only the depth of 2nd basemen is worst, and I say punt them too. Yes, I am saying punt the positions that are most scarce. Finally, a reason that is new to this current crop of catchers — they’re actually deep in mediocrity. You can draft the fifth best catcher or the 12th best and they’re tomato-tomato said with a different emphasis. Because I ignore the top catchers doesn’t mean I’m starting the top 20 catcher list at number twenty-one; some of you might want to know the top catchers. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them draft Devin Mesoraco. In two catcher leagues, catchers are a little more valuable, but I’d still prefer to avoid them. You can see other top 20 lists for 2014 fantasy baseball under 2014 fantasy baseball rankings. Listed along with these catchers are my 2014 projections for each player and where the tiers begin and end. Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Before we get this post-Festivus celebration of the back-end of this mock-u-mentiful draft going, I’d like to pass along a special thanks to our very own Grey Albright and Bryan Curley of Baseball Professor for setting up this multi-site super exposition of this crazy idea, because I apparently have nothing else to with my time during the off-season. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you can find the Round 1-5 Recap by clicking on this linkadink. For the Round 6-10 Recap, go ahead and marvel at this linkadink. For the complete results, you can check them out here. (Dat nineties website design, bro.) So let’s go to the jump and get this present unwrapped. HOLIDAY THEMES!

Please, blog, may I have some more?