If Pirates played fantasy baseball, their league wouldn’t be all that different than the Razz30. There would be a fearless leader, as debonair as he is handsome. Let’s call him Captain Ralph Lifshitz, you know, just for Lifshitz and giggles. He would of course need a quality first mate, a tricked out pirate ship, and an army of ruthless heathens ready to snap at a moment’s notice. Our Jolly Roger, the Crab Army logo, would fly proudly above our vessel, as we sailed from port to port pillaging all we see. We are the Crab Army, fantasy baseball’s largest and most fearsome battalion of bandits. A consortium of like minded trolls, pranksters, and freaks from the fringes of society. Our reputation for ruthless commentary is only rivaled by the cleanliness of our gooches. With our sponsor Fresh Balls in tow, we press on through another month of top notch dynasty baseball action, and debauchery. May was a wild month, as The Army moved in on unclaimed territory, and took it for their own. We partied it up with Cowboy Cheerleaders, compared real and fake Topanga’s, and talked coffee. It’s the monthly update for the bad boys of Razzball. It’s the Razz30 Update. Two Claws way Up for my peoples.

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During the winter I made a somewhat bold statement, that I’m not sure many agreed with it at the time. I stated that, I’d rather have Rhys Hoskins long term than Tommy Joseph. There was a great deal of skepticism regarding Hoskins 2016, mostly because it took place in the comfy confines of FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium. And really, who can blame them? The ballpark is so bananas, it tricked people into thinking Darin Ruf, and Dylan Cozens were actually good. That said, there was a lot to like about Hoskins profile,  FirstEnergy (not a typo) Stadium not withstanding. Throughout his professional career he’s hit for power (.233 ISO), average (.291), gotten on base (.375), and walked at a high rate (10.4%). He’s also done all this while striking out at a sub-20% clip. Tell me that doesn’t scream MLB worthy? In the offseason I was by far the high man on Hoskins, ranking him 57th in my top 100. Fast forward two and half months, and Hoskins is the new danger, hitting a robust .350/.447/.675 with 8 homers, and 15 RBIs in just 24 games. Meanwhile Tommy J struggles in Philly, and the calls for Hoskins in Philly get louder. Sure he’s a righthanded throwing first baseman, but Paul Goldschmidt scoffs at you scoffs at your concerns. I put my money where my mouth is on Hoskins, and dealt Nick Gordon, and T.J. Friedl in the Basbeall Prospectus expert league, The Devil Rejects, back in November, and am quite happy with how my gamble looks to paying off. This prospector’s word of advice, go get Hoskins. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this week in the minors.

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In order to write this article, I quickly jot down any player who I see or hear about being reported injured throughout the week, just so I can check back later and see the extent of the injury. I have to judge if it is worth reporting on, or if the player is even fantasy relevant. That’s why you might not see me report about a guy like Christian Friedrich and his 5.37 ERA over 296 innings being injured. Saves both you and I the time and energy of reading about Christian Friedrich. So let me say right now — sorry for making you read such a long paragraph about Christian Friedrich!

Other times, someone gets injured on a Thursday or Friday and by the time I go to write them up (this article drops on Wednesdays) they’re back to 100%. Such is the case for 50 shades of Jon Gray this week.

Here’s who you shouldn’t forget about as the three months of Spring Training finally come to an end this week…

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Raisel Iglesias slipped in the shower and hurt his elbow and hip, which could cause him to miss Opening Day.  This has to be the nastiest Reds locker room incident since Aaron Harang dropped the soap and fell on Dick Pole while showering.  Previously, Harang had only slipped on a banana peel, ya know, a by-product of being The Harangutan.  The 2nd nastiest Reds locker room incident happened when Johnny Cueto swept Bronson Arroyo’s leg and he fell into Dick Pole.  Now that I think about it, all Reds locker room incidents involved Dick Pole.  So, Church’s elbow and hip sound like they will be fine, but Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen and Tony Cingrani, likely in that order, could sneak into the closer’s role, and steal the job, since I get the feeling Reds manager, Bryan Price, doesn’t really want Raisel in the closer role indefinitely.  This will likely be a shituation where Raisel, Storen and others share 30 saves, say, 17 saves for Raisel, 9 for Storen and the rest for others.  I’ve updated my fantasy baseball rankings, namely the top 500.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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In what very well may be the first hostile takeover of the closer year, we turn our eyes to the land of Primanti’s and Yinzers.  Yes my friends, I am talking about Pittsburgh.  The incumbent closer there, Tony Watson, has had a rough spring training.  One that usually I would brush aside and say “ehh ST stats mean bupkis” and he has the vet preference behind him to back him up.  I usually believe that type of big brother back-up mentality, but not when they signed a free agent who was viewed by several other clubs as a closer, that player being Daniel Hudson.  So before we get to Danny, let’s stay on Tony Watson for a bit.  He is the 19th closer off the board in most scenarios, which by all intents and purposes puts him in the lower-middle.  Last season he only took over the closer’s role after the trade of Melancon and notched himself 15 saves on the year.  But they weren’t all comfy ones.  Tony Watson is a phenomenal relief pitcher, notice, I said “relief pitcher”.  In my mind, he is just not a closer.  A closer by default last year though?   Very much so.  Now, you add the tumultuous spring that he is having; faced 24 batters, allowed eight hits, walked three and eight ER in four-and-a-third innings. good for a 16 plus ERA.  Looking for a silver lining, okay, there are two!  Zero home runs allowed and a K-rate above 12.  Yah… for peripheral stats, Hudson has been basically himself this spring, high-K middle-3 ERA, and holding opponents to a .200 BAA, while everyone is hitting Teddy Ballgame against Watson.  I am not completely panicking yet, because in reality I would have two higher ranked RP before Tony Watson comes off the board, but those looking to get a cheeky head-start on the SAGNOF craze, grab you some Daniel Hudson.  So for the first invasion of the season, I am flying the Jolly Roger upside down for distress.  Let’s see what else is going down for the end game of ballgames…

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Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to turn around and say goodbye.  Until then baby, are you going to let them hold you down and make you cry? Don’t you know?  Don’t you know things can change, things’ll go your way, if you hold on for one more day.  

That music of genius was brought on by a smooth impromptu karaoke session in a West Boston saloon.  It was me and Ralph and a girl who was paid by the dollar to talk to us about her kid.  It’s all a true story.  Fun times were had, and at the time I didn’t realize how correlative the song was back then to this particular stat category and one that is by far my favorite to talk about.  Funny, it only took a Wilson Phillips song on the drive home from work to reminisce about Boston, Ralph, and relief pitching.  I love the stat, not everyone uses it, but I still love it nonetheless. If your leagues uses it, cool, well I will be your every other week destination for giving you the low-down on the hold situations going across the MLB.  So get comfy, with a week to go until Spring Training starts, and the full extent of the 2017 season yet to play.  You will get sick of me, in say… 30 weeks.  So get comfy on your favorite porcelain fantasy reading chair and welcome to a brand new year!

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You may want to plan on a second poop if you’re going to read this entire post. Let that be my warning to you, before we begin my latest adventure in verbose prospecting. Today we tackle arguably the best system, certainly one of the deepest systems, in all of baseball. For today we discuss the Top Los Angeles Dodgers Prospects!!! You may say to yourself, “Hey self”, (then punch yourself in the face for saying self) where have I recently seen…or HEARD (big clue) someone talk about the Top Los Angeles Dodgers Prospects before? Hmmmm, maybe on the Razzball Prospect Podcast last week. You would in fact be correct, we even had a guest no-show us with a mysterious aliment. Last time I trust Michael Lohan. Either way, we talked about it once, and I’ll write about it now. The Dodgers have become a player development machine. They draft well (Kershaw, Pederson, Seager), they win the international market (Urias, Puig, Maeda), and most of all they develop players. They spend the most of any team on scouting and it shows. In the last few years they’ve nailed picks all over the draft, including picks in the 20+ rounds with players like Jose De Leon, and Jharel Cotton. This is a well oiled and functioning farm system, with players of interest and excitement across every level for dynasty owners. Sometimes when I’m writing these I know I’m highlighting several future fantasy relevant. This is one of those times. It’s the Top Doyers prospects.

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The Halph is back and we brought our show mascot Stabby the Cat! Don’t ask for an explanation just listen. This week on the Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast Michael Halpern of Imaginarybrickwall.com and I dig into the Los Angeles Dodgers Prospects. It’s a very solid system with players like Jose De Leon, Cody Bellinger, Willie Calhoun, Yadier Alvarez, and a whole lot more. We were supposed to have Razzball locale yocal J-FOH, but he’s a coastal elite and decided to bail on us. So we were left to our own devices trying to sound out hispanic surnames. This did not go well. We still found time to review about two dozen players that should be on your dynasty radar. It’s the latest episode of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast.

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I was going to open this post with my favorite Future quote, but then I remembered that I don’t know what Future is saying ever. That’s okay, I just like humming along to the words anyway. Seriously, I think that’s Future’s appeal, you can hum to the words! Brave new world, ladies and gents! So why are we here? I know why I’m here, you should figure that out on your own. In the meantime read along, as I follow up my post from this past Wednesday updating y’all on the performances of the players taken in the first round of this year’s MLB draft. On Wednesday I’ll round out the series, with my later round draft sleepers. I’ll try and figure out what Future is saying between now and then. Today we’ll look at picks 17-34, and touch on a handful of players I like from the Competitive Balance Round. I mean I could have done the whole draft, but I don’t have time to write 2,000,000 words. I’m too busy watching minor league baseball, and trying to figure out what Future is saying.

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When Jonathan Lucroy vetoed the trade to the Indians this past weekend, I thought we were going to find out Lucroy was Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy.  Other teams were going to try and convert him into one of their players, but he was always going to continue to play for the other team.  Then, at some point, he was going to describe oral sex in insane, graphic detail, using balls, bats, and a gear shift, and other teams were just going to give up trying to get him to play for their team.  Then it turned out the Brewers were not going to be “Holden” him forever, you can “Banky” on it.  Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress were Chinese finger-cuffed to each other and sent to the Rangers for Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz.  By the way, Luis/Lewis is the Spanish version of tomato-tomahto.  I wonder what the Brewers finally said to Lucroy.  “We love you, but, dude, if you really love this organization, you’ll get the eff out of here.  Go!”  Then cried in the rain all super-weepy like Ben Affleck.  So, Lucroy gets a small boost in value from the lineup, but the stadium change is nearly a push.  As for Jeremy Jeffress, who is Jason Lee in this scenario, will work set up for Sam Dyson, who will keep the job.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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