It’s hard to pick which Ross is hated more: the one in Friends whose character is so annoying David Schwimmer could never get work again, or the dynamite starter for the Nationals, who even after pitching mad impressive through his first few starts, wasn’t even the first SP to get the call when Stephen Strasburg went back to the DL yet again.  Why wasn’t he the first call?!

After Joe Ross‘s first run in June, I kept him in the ranks a few more weeks even without a for-sure rotation spot, and when Strasburg tweaked the oblique, I was ready to vault him into the top-50.  But nooooooo, instead they use, I dunno, Taylor Jordan or someone who doesn’t matter?  C’mon Nats, what did Ross ever do to you?!  Finally the Nationals got Ross back up to face the Mets last week in a decent – albeit underwhelming – start given the matchup, so I decided to break down his 5th MLB start at the Pirates, in a pitcher’s duel Sunday afternoon against Gerrit Cole.  Here’s how Ross looked:

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Here’s a prospect post that even a redraft leaguer can love. At Razzball there are a lot of great tools, but the one I use the most when looking at potential trades or player acquisitions is the player rater. It’s basically a way to evaluate players based on Steamer’s projections for the rest of the year. What makes it particularly useful is the fact that it’s also updated daily by Rudy to account for playing time changes, lineup changes, injuries, etc. I thought it would be fun to look at how our rookies are faring in the machine. I found 54 players in the rater who were under the 130 AB/50 IP cutoff to start the year. Then I sorted into three subcategories for the hell of it. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a couple of names (hopefully no big ones) and there’s probably nothing incredibly enlightening to glean from this (Correa is good at baseball and projects to be good at baseball in the second half…thanks Mike!). But…there were some surprises for me when I gathered it together. At any rate, hopefully it spurs some discussion and provides a snapshot for the massive wave of quality prospects we’re seeing reach the majors in 2015.

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“I don’t know what my face is doing right now.” “It looks like you ate a full Tony Luke’s cheesesteak and forgot to swallow.” “No. I mean, I did, but I took the sub out of mouth and put it in my glove compartment for later. But this is something else. Feel my cheeks, they’re, like, pushed up.” “You get that f**kin’ Botox?” “No! I’m a 45-year-old construction worker with bad knees. Why would I get Botox?” “Then what’s wrong with your cheeks? You’re freaking me out!” “Wait, I know what it is. I’m…I’m smiling and I’m a Phillies fan. This is better than the day Charlie Manuel stopped at our job site to use our Porta-Potty!” Yesterday, Aaron Nola looked great — 6 IP, 1 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, and Phillies fans, or Phans, have something to smile about. I watched a portion of the game and he looked like he could be an ace. Love, love, lurve the control and mid-90’s fastball. At worst, he’s a number three. I was pretty jazzed at what I saw. Whenever you have a guy that has great command and can strike out people, there’s a chance for wonderful. With that said (hold on to the starboard, Grey’s turning around!), he’s a rookie and there will be some Growing Pains, and not the good kind of boners. I would absolutely own him, but in shallower leagues I’d be careful of roofies. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Remember when Shane Greene was a thing?  Those were the days, spring had just sprung and there was so much hope, so much optimism.  Your team ERA was so pretty then.  You had a shiny new toy fresh from the free agent pool and after his second of two 8 IP, 0 ER gems, you were feeling like the smartest guy your league.  Then, April 24th happened.  4 IP, 8 ER vs. the lefty-heavy Indians lineup.  Still you believed and then, 4.1 IP, 7 ER.  You were wounded, beaten, bloodied and you team ERA was approaching the double digit mark.  If this sounds familiar, it’s OK, we’ve all been there.  Now is the time to act and seek a little revenge against the one who hurt you.  It became apparent fairly early that Greene had some trouble with southpaws.  In fact, his season splits read like a hall of famer to be, lefties are slashing .349/.401/.592.  There are a handful of pitchers I adore stacking against and when Greene was optioned to AAA, I was sad to lose one of the best.  Aaron Harang and Bud Norris can only do so much here.  Greene is back now though and in his first start back in the majors proceeded to go 4.2 IP and give up 7 ERs.  There’s the Shane we know and love.  I really can’t dream up a more nightmarish match-up for Shane besides maybe the Yankees in the house that Jeter built.  Seattle can go lefty-heavy with the best of ‘em and I could easily see another 3 IP, 8 ER outing here.  There’s not a Seattle lefty I won’t be trying to squeeze into my lineup tonight and I’ll mention one or two below so you don’t forget.  Just remember, left on Greene and you’ll be on the road to sweet redemption.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 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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Does this happen to people? You’re working on something, and listening to certain tunes and that informs the way you go about your work. I’ve never had a real job in my life, so I don’t know how this works for those. Does a toll collecting juggalo listen to Insane Clown Posse while working and violently throw change back at drivers? Is this why a building’s roof caves in because the construction crew was listening to Because I Got High by Afroman? Or if you were to suddenly change a hitter’s walk-up music from say Next Episode by Dr. Dre (which seems to be at least one hitter’s song on every team) to The Pina Colada Song would that change everything? I don’t know, but I’m a deep thinker, and I saw Johnny Cueto‘s start yesterday and thought he had to be listening to the Silver Jews, specifically this one section, because that gets me so jacked I could jackhammer a driveway with my foot. I took a hammer to it all! *banging foot on cement* Right?! Okay, maybe it’s me. That’s why we’re having this one-sided conversation, to better understand each other. Yesterday, Cueto threw a farkin sparkler — a farkler, if you will — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks, ERA down to 2.61. Cueto’s the bomb dot gov. He’s almost exactly in line with what he was doing last year when he had a 2.25 ERA in 243 2/3 IP. And, if anything, he’s actually pitching better this year, lowering his walk rate from 2.4 to 1.7. For whatever reason, he seems to stay out of the conversation for the best pitchers in the major leagues, but yesterday he took on Max Scherzer (4 2/3 IP, 5 ER) and took a hammer to it all. A hammer to it all! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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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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The election for the Sons of Sam Horn government would be an ever-evolving oligarchy. David Ortiz (1-for-3) would be the honorary Papi emeritus, Dustin Pedroia would be the Secretary of Sparky Anklebiters, Alejandro De Aza (2-for-4, 1 run, 3 RBIs) would be a stunt double in case of an assassination attempt, Pablo Sandoval (2-for-4, 2 runs) would be the ambassador to the International House of Pancakes, Wade Miley (6 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 7 baserunners, 8 Ks, ERA at 4.88) would be in charge of the Armed Farces and the election for president would be a popularity contest between Brock Holt (4-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 2nd homer, hitting .309) and Mookie Betts (3-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI) after Jackie Bradley Jr. was told to take a walk. For a half season last year, Holt hit .327 with three homers and six steals. So, he’s done this over an extended period of time before, and yesterday was the first day the Red Sox really have looked themselves all year, so I highly doubt Holt will fall much lower than the two hole in the lineup any time soon. If he’s available in your league, I’d definitely grab him. Brock Holt! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?