Happy Friday everyone! We have a 14-game slate on FanDuel to start the weekend. During draft season of 2018, I had a pitching starved dynasty team where I made Dinelson Lamet ($8,200) one of my first round pick. Four days later, I lost Lamet to TJS. This year an owner who’s clearly smarter than me took a shot on Lamet in the 20th round, as the 541st player rostered. That minimal risk is now paying dividends as Lamet has returned to his pre-TJS self, with some slight improvements. Lamet has bumped up his swinging strike rate and strikeout rate, while lowering his walk rate and home run rate. Today, Dinelson Lamet gets his cushiest matchup since his return in Oracle Park against the Giants. For the season, the Giants have put up a 86 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, however, that number drops to 68 when you factor in only games they’ve played at home. Let’s take a look at the rest of today’s slate.

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I was craving sashimi last night, so I sauntered to my local sushi joint. When I walked through the door, I heard the familiar, “Irrashaimase maido,” from the chefs behind the counter. As I nodded my head down reverently, I realized there was a new member of the crew. I like to live dangerously, so I sat down at the bar in front of him. I usually ask the chef, “What’s good today?” but last night it was just, “Prepare what you think is best.” Like I said, I like to live dangerously. If I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation, I would’ve knocked my chair backwards and banged my head on the floor from the show I was presented. It was all so un-Benihana-esque. The skill. The grace. As he wiped the sweat from his forehead after slicing and dicing the manta rays placed before him, I asked him one simple question. “Who are you?” He looked me in the eye and responded, “I am Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees.” Tanaka was perfect for five innings Friday night. He ended up allowing two hits, one earned run, did not walk a batter, and struck out 14 in eight innings. 77-of-109 pitches were thrown for strikes. That’s how you earn a big tip! Now, keep in mind that Tampa Bay strikes out the fourth-most frequently against RHP and the huge night knocked down his ERA to 5.09 for the year. He did give up four, three, and five earned runs in his prior three starts and got pummeled in his two previous starts against TB. As Friday night showed, though, Tanaka does have the ability to absolutely dominate. When I eat raw fish, I know there’s always the risk that I could be eating some three-eyed monster from Fukushima. That’s how I feel about starting Tanaka. As I said before, I like to live dangerously.

Here’s what else I saw from Friday night’s action:

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tuxes

Welcome to the 2016 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I mean everything, folks. We’ve got line-ups, charts, Slurpees, lube, a guide for beginner electricians, and even a cactus! Well, that’s a lie. That’s what Jay had last year sitting in front of him. This year? Um…a little less lube? Take that as you will. But hey, we’ve got teams to preview and questions to ask, so let’s hop to it. We a very special guest for this post…Matt Lyons, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2016 holds for the Cleveland Indians!

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The Indians have a balanced system with good bats, good arms, and fantasy upside at all levels. At the tippy top there’s Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier. Both should arrive in the next two years and the one you like better depends on whether you’re more of a speed freak or a power geek. You really can’t go wrong with either at this point. 2015 was the debut of Francisco Lindor, who exceeded expectations with his bat and was as advertised with his slick fielding at short. Given how hard it is to find offense at the position, it will be interesting to see how strongly fantasy players believe in his rookie year numbers and how high he’ll go in 2016 redrafts. I’m guessing pretty high. The Tribe had, in my humble opinion, a great 2015 draft and walked away with good players at great values. Their low minors is well stocked and it was honestly difficult to choose which players to profile down there.

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Yesterday, Latos was traded to the Dodgers, then not traded. Then CarGo was traded to the Mets, then not traded. Then Cole Hamels was traded to the Rangers, and really traded, I think. I don’t know, I’m dizzy. Ruin Tomorrow Jr. was sad to see Hamels go, but this is the business he chose, after getting fired from Duane Reade for mixing up the garbage with “the important stuff.” And after getting fired for explaining to kids there is no Santa, after being dressed as the mall Santa. After being fired as Ruin Tomorrow Sr.’s personal assistant, but he maintains that was a misunderstanding. He thought, “Don’t tell your mother,” meant, “Don’t tell your mother until you see her.” After his no-hitter the other day, I said, “(Hamels’s) peripherals look fine and he’s just getting a tad unlucky. I could see someone thinking they’re selling high after this no-hitter, but Hamels is a low-3 ERA pitcher with a 9.6 K/9, i.e., a low-end fantasy ace.” And that’s me quoting me! I would’ve preferred to see him go to the NL, but Arlington is about a push with Citizens Bank and could see him stringing together a sub-3 ERA for two months. Jorge Alfaro, Jerad Eickhoff and Nick Williams were acquired by the Phils, and I’m sure Prospect Mike will go over them, after he gets their posters up in his living room. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Dude’s on fire. No. Need better! He is a high-speed torrent download of a yule log burning. Need better! He is Smokey the Bear at a Porno for Pyros concert, wearing earbuds and listening to Firestarter by Prodigy. Need better still! He’s a pyrotechnician smacking a sparkler out of your hand and giving you instead the detonator for the Statue of Liberty’s 4th of July celebration fireworks. Yesterday, Mitch Moreland went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and his 13th and 14th homers, and now has five homers in four games and six homers in six games. I already told you yesterday that Moreland has been better than Brandon Belt, Lucas Duda and Brandon Moss, and some other corner infidels, according to our Player Rater. That’s on the year, not in the last week. In the last week, Moreland’s been better than everyone. Let’s take a hootie-hoo at who Moreland has more homers than on the year: Prince Fielder, Beltre (not close), Adam Jones, Big Papi, Tommy Tomstein, Freeman, Yoenis, Billy McDugal, Kris Bryant, Tulo, McClutchin and Sandoval. Sure, some of those guys I only named to rub salt in my own wounds — I hate you, Sandoval! — and other guys I mentioned don’t even exist, but Mitch don’t kill my vibe for the better part of the season now, and, if he’s available, I’d grab him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Chi Chi Gonzalez went 7 IP, 1 ER, 11 baserunners, 4 Ks, ERA at 0.42. Hey, Major League Baseball retired that number! If this pitching thing ever stops working out for Gonzalez, he can go into Eastern medicine, and open a clinic called Chi Chi’s. Or a tea shop called Chai Chi. Or a tea shop where all the workers are dressed in karate apparel called Chai Tai Chi. Or how about a karate, Eastern medicine clinic that serves tea called Chai Tai Chi Chi’s? Or how about a Mexican restaurant called Chi-Chi’s? Or how about a karate, Eastern medicine clinic that serves tea and Mexican food called Chai Tai Chi Chi Chi-Chi’s? I can keep going. So what’s the deal deal with Chi Chi? He had a 5.4 K/9 in Triple-A with a 4 BB/9. I don’t even know why he was called up let alone has done so well. Sure, he gets ground balls, but how big is Elvis Andrus’s mitt? Seventeen feet wide and twenty feet long? I mean, this is ridiculous. Through three games started in the majors, he has a 3.3 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. Hahahahaha…Breathe, Grey, breathe! I almost lost it there. Wow, is that silly. So, Chi Chi has been cha-ching, but if I owned him, I’d cash out my Chi Chi chips. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2014 (18) | 2013 (20) | 2012 (29) | 2011 (7) | 2010 (3)

2014 Affiliate Records
MLB: [85-77] AL Central
AAA: [79-65] International League – Columbus
AA: [73-69] Eastern League – Akron
A+: [62-74] Carolina League – Carolina (2015: Lynchburg)
A: [65-74] Midwest League – Lake County
A(ss): [33-42] New York-Penn League – Mahoning Valley

Graduated Prospects
Trevor Bauer, RHP | T.J. House, LHP | Jose Ramirez, SS | Roberto Perez, C

The Gist
Several of Cleveland’s younger players made waves during the 2014 season. Corey Kluber pitched his way to a Cy Young award, Michael Brantley broke out in a big way (h/t Grey), and Carlos Carrasco rode a down and up season that included a trip to the bullpen. He ended up as one of fantasy’s best starters over the final two months. You could even throw Jose Ramirez into the mix, who held his own at shortstop for the Tribe down the stretch. Looking ahead, this is a system headlined by top prospect Francisco Lindor, who should be in Cleveland at some point in 2015. Beyond Lindor, it’s a farm that is strong “up the middle” (catcher/middle infield/center field) and there is plenty of impact talent lurking in the low minors. It’s worth noting that two of the top five prospects were 2014 draftees.

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