The 2014 season is two months old, so it’s data day here at the Razzball Steals Emporium. This is kind of like the chapter review our teachers gave us in school, except there is no test, so everybody wins. We have to mention Dee Gordon to start. His ADP was 222. This is ironic because that’s about how many steals he’ll likely end up with this year. With 34 stolen bases on June 1, the 26-year-old middle infielder is on a crazy pace for about 90 swipes this season. Billy Hamil-who?

Gordon has always had speed, but he’s doing more to utilize it this year in the majors. He’s been successful on the basepaths 92% of the time. He’s swinging at less pitches outside of the strike zone, making better contact, and striking out less in general. Gordon has also been hitting more ground balls, less fly balls, and significantly less infield fly balls. This has all resulted in a better batting average, better on-base percentage, and in turn crazy stolen base numbers. It’s almost as if someone reminded Dee that he was fast and should just try to put the ball on the ground. Amazing!

Gordon owners can enjoy the ride and shouldn’t stay up at night worrying about him falling off a cliff. If anything, I wouldn’t be shy to acquire Gordon off of an owner who was nervous about that very scenario. He won’t provide much outside of stolen bases, but he’ll help you come close to winning that category from a middle infield position, allowing you to roster more balanced players in your outfield slots.

Here’s where we’re at with steals through the first two months in 2014 fantasy baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Yankees are now in the fray to sign Kendrys Morales. A 30-year-old guy who seems to be five years older than he is and can’t play any position? The Yankees are interested in that? C’mon! Next thing you know, the Yankees are going to be linked with trading for Jason Giambi or coaxing Greg Luzinski out of retirement. What’s Ron Kittle up to? Why are the Yanks so interested in ex-White Sox players? Garry Templeton’s got some gams! So, I do think Kendrys will be signed in the next week-plus and now is around the time when you should consider stashing him. He can give a solid prorated season — think 17 homers, decent average and counting stats. I have no idea what kind of shape he’s going to be in or how long he’ll need to play in minor league games to get up to speed, but I’d guess if he signs within two weeks, he’ll be on the field by the third week of June, at the latest. It’s a long time to stash a guy that won’t be able to be DL’d, so keep that in mind. Or stash Greg Luzinski. The Bull’s seeing red! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m a self-confessed/afflicted Mariners fan. I have been since the days of The Kid, Bones and ‘The Martinez Brothers’. I remember Mike Blowers catching fire in the second half of 1995 as Seattle surged to take over the AL West pennant from a team led by a guy with a fish for a last name. Fast forward 19 years – make sure you don’t wear out your VCR doing that, it’ll take a while – and the Mariners are still chasing an Angels team that’s led by a guy with a fish for a last name, only now there is no Blowers, we traded for or signed at least 5 DHs in the off-season and get shut down by pitchers like Brett Oberholtzer, who sounds more like an item at IKEA than a major league ball player. All this to say, as a man who plays over at DraftKings, I know what to do with the pain of having this kind of struggle from my home team – take advantage of it. There’s a reason Brandon Maurer is only $5,500 over on the good ‘ole DK. No, I’m not suggesting you play Maurer. You think I’d start with this depressing open and then tell you to roll him out there? His ERA is 6.99. ERA not predictive enough for you? How about an xFIP of 5.09? Or a K/9 of 4.76? Seriously, trade for Danny Worth at this stage, M’s, and let him run out there in Maurer’s stead please. But until they do, consider any and all Angels in play. Consider this your fall-back stack for the day which probably will be overplayed in GPP but should bring reasonable value. No Mariners fan is safe tomorrow, that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits. And just in case you think I’m cray cray bae, HitterTron has got my back on this…and now it’s covered in oil discharge…if you’ll excuse me for a moment I’ll go clean up and finish off the rest of calling out these DK values. Oh and if you’re wondering where J-FOH is today, he called in sick with his own oily discharge going on. Feel free to Tweet at him random forms of sickness and hashtag it with #JFOHsIllness to make him feel better. No really, he loves ridicule. Promise!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In the past, I’ve gone out of my way to focus more on rookie hitters than pitchers, but after last year and living through season-after-season of diminishing offense, this is the world we live in. Before you blame anyone, look in the mirror. What do you see? Besides, the blackheads. You see someone that supported baseball ridding itself of PEDs. So, this is what we have. Pitching up the wazoo. I still contend it should be ‘out the wazoo’ and not ‘up the wazoo,’ but I’m playing by your rules now. I’m no longer sticking it to the man and going up the wazoo. Hmm, that sounded wrong, but never the hoo! Kevin Gausman just barely maintained rookie eligibility by only pitching 47 2/3 IP last year. Really showing a thing or two about not knowing what was coming or going either by having a 5.66 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. It really means nothing. First of all, his xFIP was 3.04, so his ERA shouldn’t have even been that bad. Second of all, he had a 9+ K-rate, which is right in line what you can expect. Third of all, there is no third of all. Why would you think there was a third of all? Gausman isn’t a 5+ ERA pitcher. He could be the best rookie pitcher this year. He has that kind of stuff. With the O’s, you gotta mind your P’s and Q’s. Excuse me, I had Alphabet Soup for lunch and just burped. What I mean is the O’s aren’t in the best division for nurturing along a young starter. You have to be on the top of your game in the AL East. Gausman has the stuff to tame the big offenses. As I’ve tried to beat into your head, a pitcher with great control and strikeout stuff is worth your attention. Gausman is that type of pitcher. The only real question is do the O’s stay with him in the rotation. If today’s game vs. the Tigers is a spot start and back to the minors, it’s not great. Opportunity + Stuff = Fudgie the Whale. Wow, my math is off there. It should’ve equaled “worth a flyer in all fantasy leagues to see if he stays in the rotation.” To give you an idea of this guy’s upside, in Prospect Scott’s top 25 fantasy baseball prospects, the top five are Tanaka, Abreu, Bogaerts, Taijuan and then Gausman. That’s elite company. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

Welcome to the “Wacky World of Sports!” I’m your host, Wax Winkingdale. This week we’ve got some weird, wild stuff for you. First up we’re catching up with a bit of silly from last month, when Andrew Cashner played left field for one batter in an extra-inning game for no real reason at all. Whoa, that Bud Black is one crazy guy! And really smart too. Much smarter than Tony LaRussa. [Ed. Note -- With less drunk driving to boot!]

Next is more madcap fun from San Diego, where a dinosaur threw out the first pitch before a game last Wednesday against the Royals. And no it wasn’t Steve Garvey! So who was the catcher for this zany occasion? Why it was the Swinging Friar, the team’s mascot. And oh look, the baby T-Rex is on the attack – he heard Friar and got the wrong idea!

Dino

Perhaps the weirdest story of the week comes to us from Toronto, where fantasy experts continue to disrespect a pitcher with a 6-1 record, 1.91 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Regression, they INSIST, is coming for Mark Buehrle as certain as winter is coming for Jon Snow and everyone else in the Seven Kingdoms. One writer said this is because Buehrle is lucky, noting, among other things, his small Home Run to Fly Ball ratio, favorable FIP (Field Independent Pitching) rate and weak K/9 rate. So Buehrle is lucky because he gave up fly balls and not home runs? There’s no skill in that? Guess he was lucky when he threw a perfect game too. And, OKAY, Buehrle doesn’t get a ton of strike outs, and I guess good things are happening when balls that he throws are hit, and that maybe those good things won’t continue happening if balls continue to be hit and not missed by batters. Given all that, by the FIP measurement Buehrle’s ERA would be more in the All-Star zone (low 3’s) and not exactly Cy Young territory (under 2). I don’t think this did the best job of illustrating his point. I’m not really sure how much stock I put in something that looks like this anyway: “FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant.” Sounds like Mr. Kowalski’s boring-ass algebra class, not analysis of a sport. There’s a lot of writers a lot smarter than me who use these numbers to make valid points. There’s even more who wank off to print outs of these formulas in the same way that White Goodman rubs one out with a slice of pizza. Here’s my analysis: Buehrle has been excellent, and even though his track record indicates that this isn’t normal, it’s also very possible that he will have the career year the Blue Jays thought he was going to have when they splurged on free agents before the 2013 season. Or at least a career first half. I think we will know which way this is going to go after this week, as Buehrle draws the Angels at home and a trip to the gauntlet in Arlington.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If Nick, the Podcast-Now-Radio host put on a glove, or even an oversized mitten, the Mets would move Eric Young Jr. to the bench because of how much the Mets dislike him — Young, not Nick. Sure, it helps that Nick is like seven-feet tall, but he doesn’t have any athletic ability. Now, imagine the hate for EY and multiple it by seven. That’s how much the Mets hate Ruben Tejada. He once landed on the DL with hurt feelings. The Mets tried to trade him this offseason for a closer parking spot to their stadium, and they own the parking lot so they didn’t even need it! Finally, unable to look at Tejada’s stupid face anymore, they brought up Wilmer Flores to play shortstop. In Triple-A this year, he hit 5 homers in 29 games. That’s a small sample size — that’s what she said! — but it’s nothing new for him. Last year, he hit 15 homers in 107 games; 18 homers between Double and High-A the year before, etc. etc. etc. He has better-than-average power for a middle infielder, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s worth owning in 12 team mixed leagues by the All-Star Break. For now, I’d grab him in deeper mixed leagues because Flores is ready to bloom. Pun noted and unavoidable, though I didn’t try very hard. Then in Texas they called up Rougned Odor, which only sounds like a discontinued brand of Lysol. “So, we’re thinking about a new smell to mask dirty socks. It’s the smell of rotten eggs. Yes, it’s bad, but you don’t smell socks anymore.” And then that Lysol employee was fired, sued for discrimination and was awarded two-point-six mill. Don’t you wish you’d get fired from a corporate job? That’s where it’s at! Odor is going to play 2nd base while Profar is out, which is actually the issue with Odor. Once Profar returns, does Odor keep playing? Only if Odor’s hitting like .350 and spark plugging the entire team. Odor has 30-steal speed and some light power that won’t kill you in average. I like him, but if I had to bet who would get more ABs this year, I’d say Flores. But for short-term value in shallower leagues, I want Odor above Flores because speed translates quicker. Again, noted and I didn’t try to avoid it. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ryan Zimmerman should just join a kickball league. His upper stuff doesn’t work right. He’s got a bad case of waist-up-is-not-up-to-snuff-is. He should tent his entire body, because he’s got an infestation of the bad health termites. They lay dormant, living off of bacteria that is produced naturally by your secretions. Then one day you wake up and you dive into the 2nd base bag and break your thumb. The preceding was taken directly from WebMD, I can’t vouch for its accuracy. It’s a thumbpocalypse! So, Zimmerman’s gonna be out for six weeks with a broken thumb. I’d point out that I told you on Friday to sell him, but that’s in poor taste. As would simply pointing and laughing at you. Mostly due to the fact, I don’t know where you are, you don’t return my phone calls! So, put Zimmerman on your DL, and let’s pray his shoulder gets miraculously better in the mean’s while. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s me yesterday looking to pick up the new Yankee closer…. *types Kelly into waivers box, presses Enter* Inner monologue, “Joe Kelly?! No, I don’t want him! Casey Kelly?! Blech! C’mon, this is a 15 team mixed league, I’m not in an NL-Only keeper! Someone beat me to the waiver wire? Really? For the first time in three years, I’m watching a Yankees game because nothing else is on and serendipitously David Robertson is announced with a groin strain, so there’s no way anyone beat me to the waiver wire… I’m here first, I have to be! So where’s Kelly?! Fine, I’ll click the button that shows the players that are owned too. Wait, he’s not even listed there. What in the holy name of Christ Colabello–” And that was around the time I realized his name was spelled Kelley, not Kelly and while I was misspelling it someone else swooped in and grabbed him. This has been the latest installment of Grey Albright: Are You Sure You Want To Listen To This Man? So, Robertson is out for a few weeks with a groin strain — easy on the noodes, doode! — and Shawn Kelley is your new closer in New York, and, even though yesterday was Kelley’s first career save, it doesn’t mean he can’t be successful for the next three weeks. Or unsuccessful, but I’d pick him up either way in any league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

It feels like there’s a lot of overreaction going on this year. Maybe it’s just because I live in the Philadelphia sports market, where one day you’re a popular All-Pro with a banner on the side of the stadium and the next you’re slandered and labeled a malcontent gang-banger.

Or maybe it’s some of the fantasy writing I’m seeing this year where a guy changes course five times in the same thought – “Mike Olt was a great prospect for Texas, but we don’t see him holding onto the third base job in Chicago, then again it’s always possible his power stroke could be dangerous in Wrigley. Still, Olt is a rookie and should be treated as such, unless he gets on a roll. Then you should pick him up, if you want to. But you don’t have to. We would.”

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

Please, blog, may I have some more?