What if I told you there was a pitcher on the Indians with a sub-3.00 ERA with a swinging strike rate above 12%. This mystery man has been a cog in the gears of Francona’s first-place ballclub after some wondered whether their devastating loss in game seven of the World Series could be overcome simply by adding Edwin Encarnacion. What if I told you I’m not talking about Corey Kluber?

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The greatest rivalry in sports reasserted its standing this weekend.

New York versus Boston; corporate versus blue collar; Mookie Betts versus Aaron Judge; Aroldis Chapman versus…. himself?

Baseball rivalries are unique in the frequency at which the clubs meet. More than twenty times in a given season, you’ll see navy and red clash, and even though common intuition might assume this devalues each individual matchup, the tenacity of a decades-old rivalry like this abandons the adoption of that rule.

If you’re looking for a fantasy rivalry of the same caliber, it is with great pleasure I bring you a centuries-old matchup.

Grey versus Rudy…

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July 9th at 4pm marks the exact time I’m certain Prospector Ralph’s mind will explode with excitement. That feeling of pure elation can only be achieved in one scenario. Watching the game’s budding talents in the 2017 Futures Game – streaming on MLB.com – after spending countless hours researching and following prospects of this caliber (From the Razzball family and its incredible base of readers, we sincerely thank you for your work Ralph!). Well, maybe there are a few other scenarios. According to BuzzFeed there are 42 others where this pure form of joy and satisfaction arises. They include unraveling knittingcrunching leaves, and breaking the yolk. Aside from the fact that I’m certain breaking the yolk is a sexual innuendo for something completely different, we live in a truly sad world if these things make people as happy as Ralph on Futures Game Sunday.

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Every time the calendar turns to July, Mets fans across the world cringe at the nearly $1.2 million that migrates from Fred Wilpon’s wallet into the $1,000 Gucci jeans Bobby Bonilla probably hasn’t washed since he left the Mets in 1999. It seems universal that massaging Bonilla’s contract was terrible in hindsight – these checks will keep coming until 2035 – but I was enlightened with information that one reason for deferral of the $5.9 million was to free up funds to sign Mike Hampton. One of the better hitting pitchers in history – Hampton hit .246 with 16 HRs in his career – Hampton went on to win the 2000 NLCS MVP for New York. The Metropolitans then selected David Wright eighth overall in the 2001 draft with the pick Colorado relinquished to sign Hampton. Why do we feel bad for Mets fans all the time, it could’ve been worse right? Wait… they promoted Tim Tebow and his .647 OPS to St. Lucie, yet Amed Rosario is still in Las Vegas? Syndergaard tore his lat muscle because the words “medical” and “staff” aren’t allowed to be paired in Flushing? Saturday Night was Asdrubal Cabrera bobblehead night – and somebody paid $40 for one? Alright, so maybe the Mets never got out of the woods.

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“Due for a bounce-back season,” is a phrase which fantasy owners can use to dig themselves cavernous holes prior to their fantasy teams even producing an inning of stats. It primes the mind for reliance on success without any statistical, or even tangible, evidence. If you were an owner who carried that mindset into the start of the 2017 season, I’m fairly confident shipping away Pirate, Andrew McCutchen, in a deal – pun intended – after a wretched month, was the move made by the majority of disgruntled owners.

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I’m not afraid to admit that I owned Joc Pederson on four of my five most coveted teams heading into the 2017 fantasy baseball season. Stacking my various squads with a player I believed in the skill set of was much easier for me to stomach given the 16th round price tag and rumblings that Dave Roberts would give him a chance to play everyday. After ripping an Opening Day grand slam and tallying five RBI, Pederson went into hibernation. 48 straight days without a home run and 48 nights where I went to bed convinced another stretch of dominance was just around the corner. Instead, the last few months have brought Pederson owner’s multiple DL stints and as many homers as Joe Panik.

So how on earth do I find myself back at square one, staring at the green add button in ESPN leagues, and wondering why I torment myself with such decisions?

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Quick, what do Luis Severino and Jimmy Nelson have in common?

If you answered both have a strikeout rate above 24%, a walk rate below 6%, and the exact same FIP before Saturday’s slate of games, you’re correct! I’m a big fan of arbitrary thresholds for drawing comparisons between players, even when it works in the opposite direction of my above example. Why don’t we try another?

What do Bronson Arroyo and Jordan Zimmermann have in common?

If you answered they’re the only qualified pitchers in baseball with FIPs above 6, you’re correct! Also of note, Zimmermann is roughly 10% more owned than Arroyo. To all those out there who stopped managing your teams in week two, football season doesn’t start for another 13 weeks; you have no excuse.

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If you had to choose one word to describe the 2017 fantasy baseball season, where would your imagination take you? ‘Disastrous’ for all the ESPN leagues you’re in that don’t have enough DL spots to let you breathe? ‘Unexpected’ for one guy in the history of the universe that selected Ryan Zimmerman and Aaron Judge at the turn of the first round? Or what about ‘covfefe’ for all the unbelieveable coverage Razzball’s fantastic hub of writers has bestowed to the masses?

My darkhorse pick is ‘superteam.’

With Trout hitting the DL for six to eight weeks after shredding his thumb on the home run statue in centerfield of Marlins Park, we’ve stumbled into a glorious window of time where the construction of superteams is possible without the complaint of collusion. Imagine this window for superteam construction as the parallel universe where all those Crawford-esque Red Sox contracts actually worked themselves out. I’ve done my best impression of what I’d like to call “rational Dave Stewart” and wheeled my way into one more share of Mike Trout, with aspirations for more. The titan of baseball is now embodied in all his thumb-less glory on two of my most coveted teams (I detailed my portfolio of fantasy baseball assets back in March). My intention with this column is to breakdown the rationale behind that acquisition and help all of you not only acquire Trout, but understand the thought process around acquiring any injured player of this caliber in the future.

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Positional depth is a fascinating topic. Preseason, it’s one of the first things returning owners look at when emerging from their offseason hibernation. Thoroughly fattened by chips and Dominos’ pasta dishes – please tell me nobody is actually spending money on those – understanding where “fall offs” occur at positions is essential in constructing overall rankings and providing guidance for where targeting positions might be more appropriate.

A narrative I remember hearing in March was that elite first basemen were hard to come by. We had Goldschmidt, Votto, Freeman, and Encarnacion, followed by some Wil Myers believers (justified!), and a stretch of murky waters. As with any depth estimation, what happens in-season always throws a metaphorical wrench in what we initially thought. Cody Bellinger gets called up after less than one month, Freeman is lost for 10 weeks, Encarnacion once again starts slow, and everything we thought we had ironed out is tossed like that salad you should have eaten instead of that Dominos’ pasta dish! Has Jenny Craig taught you nothing?!

Enter our two darlings of the first base position two months in, Justin Bour and Justin Smoak, single handedly causing disgruntled twitter followers to tweet at the likes of Tristan Cockcroft and complain that he should do his job better. Yeah Cockcroft, we want four LABR titles in a row, three isn’t enough!

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With the state of the pitching landscape, moments like last Thursday night, when Twins’ prospect Jose Berrios finally flourished in the major leagues force all fantasy owners turn a very watchful eye north to Minnesota, with a club that has situated itself atop the AL Central heading into Sunday’s action.

After two starts, Berrios has 15.1 innings of work under his belt with 15 strikeouts and two walks. Good for a sub 1.00 ERA and a FIP, that isn’t as good as Kenley Jansen’s -0.95, but will be buoyed by the advanced control always touted as a strength. How much of his current line is indicative of what we should actually expect is more of a puzzle after how dominant he was at home against the Rockies. Tampering expectations might come because his matchup was the second of a double header, and despite the Rockies hold on the NL West, their WRC+ in both home and road games is sub 90, suggesting they might be playing a bit over their heads.

Now that I’ve gotten the two most obvious points to calm us down from Ian Desmond’s comment that Berrios’ stuff looked like Jose Fernandez, I still can’t get over the fact that Berrios had 20 swinging strikes, seven on his curveball, 12 on his fourseamer, and a lone whiff to his sinker. This was basically double the amount of whiffs he had on his fastball and curveball independently, at any point in his major league career. Needless to say, this was a glimpse at the peak of the Berrios mountain. Watching this start, it was painfully obvious that the Rockies had no chance on his curveball, which he threw near 35% of the time and generated about 20% swinging strikes on.

Thursday was a game of firsts for Berrios, but as with any player that storms onto the scene, taking a step back to look at what is actually possible moving forward is extremely important.

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