Get ready for all the feels. Back in the preseason someone, either JB or an emailer, asked Grey on the Razzball Podcast (did you know we had one? Subscribe!) who could be the next Corey Kluber in fantasy baseball, a pitcher that had a high K%, a good minor league trajectory, and displayed something that would trigger a breakout? In 2014 Kluber ascended into Cy Young status, and won many a fantasy league for owners everywhere (this guy included – love you Corey!). It’s the type of question posed every offseason, because finding the diamond in the rough is part of what it takes to really excel in fantasy baseball. The season is so long, there is such a huge accumulation of stats, and there are so many players. If only you can find that special one.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.” Woo. Woo. Woo! Welp, I don’t know that even Joltin’ Joe could help the Yanks this year, but across town in Flushing ole Simon and Garfunkel may change their tune, because baseball nation is awaiting the return of one of its aces. New York’s in need of a hero (aren’t they always?), and I’m not talking of the Norse god variety. No, they need someone who speaks them, looks like them, gets them…someone who is them. The Dark Knight himself: Matt Harvey.

In 400+ IP from 2012-2015 his ERA never crept above 2.73, including 2.71 in 189 IP last season after fully recovering from the ol’ TJ surgery. He’s been as dominant as it gets, and should be the anchor of a nasty Mets rotation. But 2016 has been nothing of the sort. Yet. His 4.76 ERA is the ugliest thing in his life these days, because you know he can date whomever he wants in NYC. Just like how Batman always a lady friend stalking him, Harvey’s gotta have strong offerings galore. If only ‘strong offerings’ were also indicative of his pitches in 2016. Despite all other peripherals remaining consistent from years past, his bread and butter, the fastball, dropped a full MPH in velocity. Harvey needs his stuff to return, and fast. Well, to fast? And it needs to be fast, yes, but really it must get to its previous fast. Yeah…that works. And with a little luck, mixed with some well-timed visits from a few special opponents, I believe the Mets Dark Knight will be returning from the ashes soon. Really soon.

A hero is only as good as his villain, and Batman’s had his fair share. However, not all stack up the same, so let’s have some fun with the Week 5 Rankings by categorizing them by the best Batman villains. And no, don’ get confused, we’re not ranking the pitcher’s opponents, but man, when looking those two up against Harvey, his turn around happens now or it may be time to turn in the cape on 2016.

Please, blog, may I have some more?


I mean, were you expecting a different answer? Why in the balls would that question even be posed? It’s DFP (figure it out). However, in case he’s not on one of your teams, Price carries a 7.06 ERA into next week, which could sound the alarms of some novice fantasy owners. And just in case that’s you, woo-sah kemosabe. Let’s look at why David Price is quite alright…

This will be the first Two-Start Pitcher post to utilize 2016 stats in determining the rank of these double dragons. Almost one month in, and at least three starts down for most starters, there’s enough evidence to gather a solid idea of how pitchers are performing. So, like we talked about in the Two-Start Pitcher Primer, we’re going to look at opponents, ERA, FIP, K/9 and BB/9. And each of them will show the evidence of why certain starters are better than others, in particular, a SP with a 7.00+ ERA.

You want to find SP with high K/9 and low BB/9. That goes without saying. So why did I say it? I don’t know. Moving on. ERA is the standard stat the world uses to determine a pitcher’s value. It’s simple. It’s easy to understand. How to actually calculate it? Not so easy, but not tricky. I’m just an English major that hasn’t taken a math class in 13 years. (Suck it, Georgia Tech nerds!) While ERA matters immensely, especially in fantasy formats, it’s not necessarily the greatest indicator of true performance or future trajectory. Enter Fielding Independent Pitching. Or, FIP. From the Fangraphs vault, here’s the math for FIP:

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No, not a Pirates of the Caribbean reference there. Well, maybe it’s inspired from it. Is that better? But rather than the dreaded undead ship that rises from the abyss of Davey Jones Locker, this Dutchman fills his opponents with dread while letting his luscious locks flow henceforth through the strong winds of the…Flushing skyline? Alright, it stops there (for now). Who we talking about? Noah Syndergaard. Sweet mercy, if he aint the best Mets starter out of their vaunted rotation then I don’t know what everyone else is thinking. Well, this week at least.

One of the best indicators into determining the success of a Two-Start pitcher is examining his opponents. Plurals. Two of ’em. You want the pitcher that doesn’t just slay one dragon in a week, but two of ’em. Double Dragon. Two Dragons. I digress. Or do I? Taking down two opponents isn’t an easy task, but when a top-tier pitcher is served the Phillies and Braves on a silver freaking platter, guess what? Here comes the dragon slayer…if the dragons played are essentially of the AAA variety. Two poopy lineups vs. one mighty SP means the top of the rankings for that blonde behemoth taking the mound for the Mets.

And since we’re talking about the Flying Dutchman, we’ll carry over the precedent set by the Week 2 Two-Start Pitcher Rankings and categorize the tiers through a film franchise: Pirates of the Caribbean! And whaddaya know, it even fits with the amount of tiers we have. Gee whillakers!

In the Two-Start Pitcher Primer we discussed the strategy to finding the best two-start options. Being early in the year it’s difficult to pull statistical data on the opposing team’s lineups, so these rankings will revert to some 2015 stats for the pitchers. Are we really doing that again? Ya dern right. We’re dropping last year’s Park Factors, and staying with the pitcher’s numbers. Waaaay too many invariables to rely upon that number for the third week in April 2016. Also, as this is being written, the White Sox are 8-2. Think that’s a true indicator of future production? (And everyone outside of the Southside said, ‘Uh, no.’) We’ll stick to 2015 one more time.

And don’t worry… even if I used this year’s stats to designate rank, Syndergaard would still be at the top. Dude’s been unhittable.

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In a time long ago, when men were men and athletes freely used performance enhancing drugs to little or no consequences, there was a gameshow. A show that celebrated such athletes both male and female, athletes that invested their time, money, and focus into becoming the most gargantuan human beings they could become. On this show they matched average everyday sclubbs against these well built steroid fueled warriors in feats of strength and agility. What is this show pray-tell? Well of course it’s a little show called American Gladiators. Ever heard of it? No young-ins, I’m not talking about that gross bastardization of a program that was on 7-8 years ago, I’m talking the genuine article. The flag waving, patriotic leotard rocking, testosterone train ride, where the women had high hair and the type of muscles that would have you asking them to open the olive jar. The early 90’s were a simpler time friends.

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Much like Bruce Jenner’s genitals, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click this link.

Hey everybody, I hope your 4th went well! Me, I had a great time with some friends, some beer, some family, some more beer, some burgers, some jaeger, some policemen, some angry white guys at the local drunk tank…really couldn’t have asked for anything more! Could you keep it down please, I have a roaring headache! Oooooh right, forgot about that part. Me, I just asked they cook Alka Seltzer directly into my hamburger patty the entire time. Worked like a charm! Sorry to the seagulls my jerk friend fed my leftovers to that day, though…R.I.P. Don’t worry, I got him back for you later by telling him the mentos were Alka Seltzer and fed him some Diet Coke. Exploding living things isn’t funny now is it, Craig! Of course we know now none of this intro is true. I have no friends! But what I do have is an iPhone and people text me on it and one said person is Grey. Yeah, I name dropped, whatevs. He said our friend Pete Nice needed some help for this week 14 on the Two Start Pitcher tip so I said ‘how much?’ and Grey said ‘we won’t charge you to write for us this time’ and I said ‘what a deal!’ and jumped on it like Sugarhill Gang. You see, typically I’m slanging you some DraftKings knowledge here on the Razz but sometimes I like to slang other thangs at you and here’s my chance. So without further ado, here’s my take on week 14 two start pitchers for 2014 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.

Everyone got all excited last Wednesday because Bartolo Colon hit a double in a game that he also won. Obviously, this was worthy of some attention given the fact that Colon is 41, bears a close resemblance to “Big P*ssy” Bonpensiero, and the fact that he twirled eight innings of one-run ball en route to the victory in St. Louis, which is not an easy place to pitch. Lost in all of that was the fact that Terry Collins took Colon out heading into the 9th at only 86 pitches. Unless Colon asked to come out because his mummy arm was falling off, I just don’t get it. It’s another one of those robot moves that make baseball managers so infuriating. Oh, it’s the 9th inning and we have a lead of three runs or less, time to bring in the closer. Nevermind that we don’t really have a closer, and that the closer of the night is Jenrry Mejia, whose birth certificate was typed up by someone who liked to eat peanut butter at their desk. Nevermind that the backup plan for that is a guy (Dana Eveland) who has a different hat on in his fantasy baseball profile photo. Well, Mejia almost blew it, which would have not only cost the 700-year-old Colon a well-deserved victory but would have also pissed off fantasy managers everywhere, including right here. Except for a few turdlet pies, Colon has been surprisingly sturdy in 2014. Maybe it’s not so surprising given his strong performance in the telling strikeout per walk category, where he’s at 5.3, good for sixth right behind Stephen Strasburg. It would have looked really silly, but I almost put Bartolo in the first tier, with starts in his cavernous home against Oakland and continues in Pittsburgh, where teams just don’t score a lot for some reason. He’s only 36 percent owned in Yahoo, 37 percent owned in ESPN. He’s definitely worth a spin while he’s going good, especially at Citi Field.

Here’s some more two-start pitchers for the week:

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.

I did some soul-searching math the other day, and I determined that 54 percent of the time, I’m right every time. But that benchmark of psychic-level foresight seems to no longer be reachable in these turbulent times. Although a few recent stumbles have me questioning myself a bit lately, there are some things I do know for sure. Taking a page out of Jimmy Fallon’s playbook, I give you my “True Facts of Truth” for the 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season:

1) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? More tightly wound balls?) has sapped the power out of guys who used to have power. Robinson Cano, Billy Butler, Jedd Gyorko and Evan Longoria are among those who have experienced major power outages.

2) Roughly 32 percent of all adult males get excited when they see Matt Adams rub a bat between his moobs, but only 30 percent will admit to it (Cards’ fans).

3) Something (Bigger crackdown on P.E.D.’s? Climate change? Less tightly wound balls?) and not something else (kids throwing curveballs too early) has made Dr. James Andrews and very busy man and caused carpel tunnel issues for whoever types up the disabled list section of the transactions that run in newspaper sports sections.

4) The “R.A.” in R.A. Dickey stands for “Really Acting”.

5) Guys who were aces heading into the season (Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, Gerrit Cole, Gio Gonzalez, Homer Bailey) are not aces in 2014, and therefore not automatic green lights as two-start pitchers.

6) Guys who were not aces heading into the season (Johnny Cueto, Dallas Keuchel, Phil Hughes, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, Josh Beckett) are pitching like aces and becoming dang near must-starts as two-start pitchers.

7) In cricket, the game of pepper is called “circle jerk.”

8) When in doubt, go with the Stream-O-Nator.

9) If you’re still not sold, look at a dude’s K/BB per game ratio.

10) Ronald Belisario is actually 61 years old.

Maybe you saw something in the list you can use and apply to the rankings below. Or maybe you saw some things that have you questioning the future of the human race. Regardless, let the Two-Startapalooza begin!

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.

If someone had told me on Aug. 15, 2013 that Zack Wheeler would only be half-owned in Yahoo and ESPN leagues at the start of June 2014 I would have quit fantasy baseball immediately and wailed the loudest Nicolas Cage wail I could muster. That day was the height of early Wheeler Mania: 6 IP and 12 Ks to just one walk in a no-decision at San Diego. At the time Wheeler was not only a member of the rookie pitcher crew that also included Gerrit Cole, Michael Wacha and Sonny Gray, he was arguably the main attraction. If that group was New Kids On The Block, he was at best Jordan Knight, or at least Donnie Wahlberg, but he wasn’t no Danny Wood. Control problems kept him from being all that he could be, they said. Bad catchers (John Buck) can make good pitchers pitch badly, they said.

Well, here we are in the weeds of the 2014 season and Wheeler is on the verge of getting kicked out of the group. Cole, Wacha and Gray have been, for the most part, pitching like the budding studs they were supposed to be, and Wheeler has looked more like Nuke LaLoosh before Annie had him wearing garter belts and breathing through his eyelids. Wheeler might not have found his Crash Davis in Travis D’Arnaud, but something is clicking. He got bashed around pretty good in D.C. on May 18 but he finally found the plate, walking only two guys. May 24 against the Diamondbacks was even better, as he K’ed 7 to just one walk. You can blow this K/BB ratio thing out of proportion and go ga-ga over Wheeler’s last start, a win in which he blew away nine Phillies and walked none in 6-plus innings. It wasn’t what he did in that start, it’s how he looked doing it. Wheeler had the command that scouts and experts who know way more than me said he was missing. He looked like he was pitching downhill. His curveball was wicked and his fastball was popping. I know road starts in Wrigley and whatever they’re calling the Giants’ stadium now are not ideal, but I think this is the week Wheeler returns to his place next to the Coles and Wachas of the world.

Here’s some more two-starters for Week 10:

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.

The story of Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto is the Tale of Two Reds.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times to have Dusty Baker as a manager. It was the age of the possibility, with two pitchers on the same team going after the Cy Young every year. It was the age of those two hurlers sharing an apartment and duking it out on PlayStation. It was the epoch of mid-90s fastballs, it was the epoch of a Cincinnati team that never made it, it was the season of 2008… It was the season of throwing way too many pitches, but it was the spring of hope …

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