Decisions, decisions…we all love when a bad hitting team gets to go up against a good to great pitcher. But do we love it when it’s in a friendly hitter’s park? This is the question you’re going to have to ask yourself today. With so many good pitching options on this slate priced reasonably, is it the kind of day you should toss Jon Gray out there on your team? Clearly Gray isn’t without risk given Coors is the backdrop but lets consider a few things for a moment. His K/9 on the year is nestled right in between David Price and Jake Arrieta. His GB% sits at a healthy 47.8% and his xFIP (3.53) is nearly a run less than his ERA (4.33). Also, Gray has done a tremendous job this year of taking advantage of cush matchups no matter where he was at. He went seven and K’d seven Padres back on June 10th in Coors and just finished up the Braves in Atlanta with eight Ks for a seven inning shutout. When Jon is given an opportunity to take down a bad team, he does it with authority. The asking price of $8,200 isn’t the cheapest nor is it unmanageable; it’s just there asking you if you like taking a bit of risk with your LU. Well, do ya punk? Alright then, let’s get on with the getting on. Here’s my fuerte taeks for this Friday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday July 25th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

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Did you enjoy your time away from DFS during the All Star Break?  It’s time to pull yourself away from wandering into traffic to catch Pokemon and back to grinding out DFS wins.  The time off is a good time to look back and see what has worked and what hasn’t worked so far this season.  Have you been withdrawing like a baller?  Then keep on doing what you do.  If you’ve been bleeding money to the sharks though, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate the process.  Try something different for a few weeks and see if results improve.  It’s really hard in this game to know what changes are making a positive impact on results and what can just be chalked up to variance.  For example, I had a great April and May, followed by one of my worst months I can remember in June.  Nothing changed, in fact, it’s the same process I’ve used for the past three successful DFS seasons.  July has been a bounce back, but the point is; sometimes, you just go cold.  Try not to panic too much and watch that bankroll.  Bankroll management is a HUGE part of long term success in this game and that might be the most important part of the process to nail down.  Don’t get too high after a win and suddenly start playing in $100 tournaments.  You should scale back after a string of losses until you get off the schnide though.  It’s not an exact science, but we’re here to help if you have any questions.  Enough jibber-jabber, let’s get into the picks for Saturday’s slate of games and help you start off the second half with a win:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday July 18th 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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Jason Heyward has really been a thorn in my fantasy baseball (and real baseball) side for too long. He keeps poking me with his thorns and I do not like it.  It’s been an up-and-down ride with him for me the last couple seasons.  Prior to 2015 he was a member of the Atlanta Braves and he had the look of a future 30/20 guy at worst.  In 2012 he hit 27 homers with 21 steals at age 22!  He looked like a power hitter, and he had a solid defensive game to boot.  A future superstar.  But there were signs he wasn’t all that (his minor league numbers showed little power) and they continued in subsequent seasons with the Braves, where he only stole bases and never hit more than 14 homers.  The Cardinals thought they were getting a good deal for Shelby Miller (not as good as the Braves got for Miller sheesh) and Heyward produced a decent fantasy season with 13 homers and 23 steals and a .797 OPS.

So, being a Cubs fan and a (now former) St. Louis resident when he signed with the Cubs I was pretty excited.  He was a bonus to the Cubs and it made Cardinal fans pissed; that’s a win-win for me.  Now all he had to be was as good as he was on the Cardinals and it’d be a win-win-win.  Even though the Cubs are doing really well Heyward has stunk.  Like terribly as many of you are aware. In 75 games so far he has four homers and seven steals and a .089 ISO and an OPS killing .649.  If he’s bringing steals then you could argue him as a fifth OF, but he’s not even doing that.  At least Joe Maddon finally, this past week, put him down, er, moved him down in the order.  I can’t believe it took that long…

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Yesterday, Matt Harvey met with the Mets’ front office and told them, “You ruined my shoulder!  I was the Dark Knight!  Now I’m 1960s Batman in hard-to-watch Technicolor unable to move my arms to do the Batusi!”  Matt Harvey asked Bartolo if this ever happened to him and he said, “Nah, I am 90% jelly and custard.  My nerves are coated in more sugar than a churro.”  Harvey needs shoulder surgery due to thoracic outlet syndrome.  Sandy Alderson said it’s inevitable.  Pitchers who have had this surgery take at least a year to recover and sometimes never regain past form.  It could not only be a season killer, it could be the end of Harvey as we know him.  He could opt to rehab his shoulder without surgery, but rehabbing it won’t magically make his pitching better than he’s been all year, which is atrocious.  If you don’t have DL room, I could see dropping him.  Fun fact!  You know who suffered from thoracic outlet syndrome?  The Lispasaurus.  Tiny arms, big body.  Other dinosaurs pickin’ on ’em because of their lisp — why’d every dinosaur have to have an S sound in its name?!  Total recipe for messed-up shoulders.  “I hate Thoracic Park!”  Spielberg can make a Thoracic Park movie where an injured pitcher tries to repair his relationship with his pre-teen son while genetically-modified dinosaurs chase after them.  “I know I wasn’t there for you when you were growing up or for your keeper league team in 2014 or for that velociraptor attack 15 minutes ago, but I’m here for you now.”  The boy looks up, “How did that velociraptor throw a Warthen slider?”  The father responds, “He’s learning!”  Seth Smith is working on the script.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Lately, thanks to my home league dynasty team, I’ve noticed the production of a catcher that still too few people have noticed. His name: Cameron Rupp. This guy is your stereotypical catcher; he’s a bulky guy, sweet beard, and oh yeah, lately he’s been raking. He takes a trip to the thin air of Denver today, and will be the catcher you need to have in your lineup. There is no doubt in my mind he will have no problem hitting a couple Rupp jobs off of Chad Bettis.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday July 11th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to ourDFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

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This marks my 100th post here at the Razzball baseball blog and I must say how thankful I am that I have a home at a blog where I can provide below average fantasy baseball analysis while referencing Jules Verne, Scientology, Jon Snuh and ayahuasca all in the same post. It’s been a wild couple a years and I outlasted many a writer I didn’t think I’d outlast. Remember when the Guru disappeared in a van? Remember Razzball TV on the Radio? And what ever happened to Kenyon!? That guy was hilarious. I remember when Grey first found me. I was trying to get my Harry Potter erotica/fan fiction off the ground and writing signs for homeless people to make a quick buck. “Why Lie I Need A Beer,” ever see that one? Yep, that’s a Dan Pants original. Grey said he could use my talents to express undying love for shortstops named Xander and tell people they shouldn’t own two catchers. The rest is history, folks. Special thanks to Grey, Rudy, and Jay. Not Tehol though–[expletive deleted] that guy. But enough about me, you’re here for the sub-par fantasy advice. The New York Mets (lol, Joakim Noah!) called up rookie Brandon Nimmo last Sunday and after going 0-for-4 in his debut, he’s hit safely in his past five games. He’s led off for NY the past two games and responded in a big way last night going 2-for-3 with a 3-run home run (a 440 foot shot). Curtis Granderson remains hobbled and with Michael Conforto “working things out” in the minors Brandon has been given an opportunity to shine at the top of the order. He slashed .328/.409/.508 with five homers and five steals in 63 games AAA this year. If you are looking for an outfielder in NL-Only and deeper mixed leagues you might consider finding Nimmo on your waiver wire.

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

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It’s been awhile since there’s been any Trevors of note. In 1986, professional boxer Trevor Berbick became the first (and only) person to fight both Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. If you’re a fan of the Castlevania series of video games, the name Trevor Belmont might ring a bell. Most fantasy baseballers are undoubtedly familiar with Trevor Hoffman’s dominance from the mid 90s through the end of his Padres days (and with apologies to Mariano Rivera, it’s hard to forget the coolest entrance in baseball history). Lately though, there haven’t been too many newsworthy Trevors out there. Perhaps Trevor Noah would qualify, but longtime fans of The Daily Show would probably insist that it’s for all of the wrong reasons. In fantasy baseball, however, there’s been no shortage of relevant Trevors in recent weeks. Let’s start off by highlighting this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (69.3% owned; +32.1% over the past week). Known mostly for his extreme training techniques and inconsistency throughout his MLB career, Bauer had been notoriously unreliable from a fantasy perspective entering the 2016 season. Since making his MLB debut with the Diamondbacks in 2012, Bauer has posted solid strikeout numbers (8.45 K/9) but has been a ratio killer along the way (4.50 ERA, 1.38 WHIP entering this season). These poor ratios have been largely a result of shaky control (4.2 BB/9) and an inability to consistently keep the ball in the park (1.1 HR/9). This season, Bauer ditched his mediocre slider in favor of a cutter, and reduced his reliance on his fourseam fastball while leaning more heavily on his sinker, terrific curveball, and vastly improved changeup. The results have been impressive. Bauer has managed to maintain his solid K-rate (8.37 K/9) while drastically cutting down on his walks (2.99 BB/9) and homers (0.7 HR/9) allowed. His new pitch mix has resulted in a career high 50.0% GB% as well. Over his last five starts, Bauer has been downright dominant (37.2 IP, 37/9 K/BB, 1 HR, 1.67 ERA, 0.93 WHIP). If he can maintain his newfound control, you’re looking at a top 30 starting pitcher the rest of the way.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Here’s what I said this offseason, “Before watching the video on Lucas Giolito, I looked at his vitals.  This is something I don’t usually do.  Doesn’t really matter to me if a guy is six-foot-one or five-ten.  But, dizzamn, Giolito is a strapping young man, huh?  He’s listed at six-six and 230.  He’s only 21 years old, but I think he’s done growing.  Hopefully, cause his mom tells CBS Sports that his “feet already hang off the bed.”  With a six-six frame, as you can imagine, he throws fast.  (Christall Young is the exception that proves the rule, an idiom that never made any sense to me.  If it’s an exception, how does it prove anything?  It proves that there’s exceptions, but that’s about it, right?  I’m gonna move on before my brain hurts in my thought-nodes.)  Giolito hits 97 MPH on his fastball, which is actually up a tick from the previous year.  If he keeps steadily increasing his fastball every year, by the time he’s 40 years old, he’s going to be throwing 117 MPH.  He throws from nearly right over the top, so the ball fires downhill and hitters have about no chance of hitting it.  A 9+ K/9 seems to be a given once he gets settled in the majors.  With speed comes no control, to sound like a drunk Yoda.  Or does it?!  Snap, reversed on that.  No, Giolito has control too.  97 MPH with command?  I’ll say it for you, hummna-hummna.  Oh, and his strikeout pitch is his hard breaking curve.  In 20 years, Al Pacino could be playing the role of a Hall of Fame pitcher in the film, Giolito’s Way.  Assuming Pacino has eighteen-inch stilettos.  He could be special, and TMZ spotted Pacino shopping for eighteen-inch stilettos, so that could be a good sign.”  And that’s me quoting me!  He should be added in all leagues, like yesterday.  To put just the tiniest bit of dampers in these happiness diapers, Kershaw had a 4.26 ERA his rookie year in 107 2/3 IP.  Rookies give roofies and take your kidneys.  Hashtag truth.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Matt Shoemaker, $9,900, AKA The Cobbler, came out of no where and put up some Ace like numbers in the second half of 2014. He went 9-2, striking out 62 batters in 72 innings, all while posting a nice and tidy 1.87 ERA. I was one of the lucky ones that scooped him up and I road that train all the way to multiple Title Towns. In 2015 he was one Grey’s preseason favorites and then he did his best Francisco Liriano impression, but seemingly nose dived 5 times harder. It was tough to watch as he still held a special place in my heart, just like Kris Medlen of 2012, Kendrys Morales and Dallas Keuchel circa 2015. Unfortunately, the long ball absolutely crippled The Cobbler last year, as he coughed up 24 HR’s in just 134 innings of work. In May of 2015, I said my farewells to The Cobbler and bid him adieu. This year started out no different than 2015, as he had a terrible April posting a 9.15 ERA while giving up 6 HR in just 20 innings. With those type of numbers I figured he was going to get sent down to the minors, but the Angels pitching staff was so bad that they actually needed someone to eat up innings. Then halfway through May something magical happened. I can’t explain it as there haven’t been any injury reports, but I do have a theory. Late one May night, amid the thick Anaheim fog, the Disney Pixie’s awoke from their two year slumber and visited The Cobbler, just like they did in 2014. They sprinkled him with some special Pixie Dust shizz and then he went out and pitched an absolute gem against a tough Baltimore offense going 7.1 innings with 12 K’s and 0 ER. The mysterious missing magic was back in his next start vs Houston going 8.1 innings with 11 K’s and 0 ER. He’s returned to the circle of trust as he’s been solid over his last 7 starts, striking out 62 in just 51.2 innings while posting a 2.11 ERA vs some strong AL opponents. I don’t know how long the magic dust is going to last this time, but he’s limiting the long ball and I like him tonight at home. He’s facing a tough offensive Houston Astros team tonight, but they’re also the number 3 in strikeouts vs RHP.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run today 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?

Trevor Bauer has a long history of not being great like he has long toss, which is to say he has it.  Was that clear?  Good.  I’d hate to start us behind the eight ball for understanding one another.  Unless it’s a Magic Eight Ball, then we’d be finishing each other’s sentences.  But since you didn’t finish that sentence maybe our Magic Eight Ball says ‘Outlook:  Cloudy.’  I feel like I just went into Home Depot, bought the color paint, Persimmon, then painted myself into a logic corner.  Can we start again?  Trevor Bauer’s history is as long as his long toss, which is to say he could throw from here to China, have the ball begin a trade agreement for fortune cookies, with us sending them to China, have fortune cookies become our number export over Kardashians and balance the budget, making Trump announce his running mate is Bauer’s ball from his long toss, the Ball Broker, as it’s colloquially known.  That’s how long Bauer’s toss/history is.  Long story short, Bauer’s been around a while.  Long people short, Altuve.  Bauer came up in 2013 with ‘He can be an ace’ pedigree, and failed.  Then failed for three more years.  Old dude I’m moving on, is what you’re thinking.  Well, you’re thinking wrong.  He’s only 25 years old.  His velocity upticked to 93.3 MPH this year vs. 92.8 last year.  His walks have always been issue.  So far this year, not much of an issue.  His Ks are always around 8.5, still there.  His ground balls have been whatevs in the past.  This year, they’re way up, which is to say down.  Everyone has been burned by Bauer.  Been there, need aloe for that.  But he looks like he’s finally turned a corner, and he wouldn’t be the first pitcher in his third full year at the age of 25 to accomplish that.  If you need a starter, I’d grab him.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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