Shin Soo Choo has been around for a while. I know this because I’m a pretty sentimental person. I’m the guy who stops walking when he smells a familiar fragrance, trying to pinpoint the memory. (Generally it’s an ex and nausea immediately follows.) I’m the guy who starts crying when someone quotes The Matrix, and I’m all smiles when I see how much Lego sets cost nowadays. (So much money saved by being an 80’s kid.) And of course being part Korean, Choo was a cornerstone to almost every one of my fantasy teams the last decade, because racism or something. Choo has also been entwined with my long history of content here at Razzball as a vehicle for kimchi jokes, because racism or something. But despite all that racism, there is another trend I’m noticing, and that’s I really have to remember to draft him this season. Granted, there are some red flags in his profile that we’ll address, but despite waxing poetic about how all my ex’s make me sick, I wanted to make sure you didn’t forget about Shin Soo Choo either…

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With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training now less than a month away prep for 2020 fantasy baseball is ramping up. With that in mind we’re kicking off New Faces in New Places with the Star Wars budget level contract of Gerrit Cole. Cole is leaving the comfy confines of Minute Maid Park for the bright lights of and pinstripes of the New York Yankees. Will he live up to the Broadway billing, or be overbought and overdrafted in 2020 fantasy leagues?

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It’s been awhile since there’s been any Trevors of note. In 1986, professional boxer Trevor Berbick became the first (and only) person to fight both Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. If you’re a fan of the Castlevania series of video games, the name Trevor Belmont might ring a bell. Most fantasy baseballers are undoubtedly familiar with Trevor Hoffman’s dominance from the mid 90s through the end of his Padres days (and with apologies to Mariano Rivera, it’s hard to forget the coolest entrance in baseball history). Lately though, there haven’t been too many newsworthy Trevors out there. Perhaps Trevor Noah would qualify, but longtime fans of The Daily Show would probably insist that it’s for all of the wrong reasons. In fantasy baseball, however, there’s been no shortage of relevant Trevors in recent weeks. Let’s start off by highlighting this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (69.3% owned; +32.1% over the past week). Known mostly for his extreme training techniques and inconsistency throughout his MLB career, Bauer had been notoriously unreliable from a fantasy perspective entering the 2016 season. Since making his MLB debut with the Diamondbacks in 2012, Bauer has posted solid strikeout numbers (8.45 K/9) but has been a ratio killer along the way (4.50 ERA, 1.38 WHIP entering this season). These poor ratios have been largely a result of shaky control (4.2 BB/9) and an inability to consistently keep the ball in the park (1.1 HR/9). This season, Bauer ditched his mediocre slider in favor of a cutter, and reduced his reliance on his fourseam fastball while leaning more heavily on his sinker, terrific curveball, and vastly improved changeup. The results have been impressive. Bauer has managed to maintain his solid K-rate (8.37 K/9) while drastically cutting down on his walks (2.99 BB/9) and homers (0.7 HR/9) allowed. His new pitch mix has resulted in a career high 50.0% GB% as well. Over his last five starts, Bauer has been downright dominant (37.2 IP, 37/9 K/BB, 1 HR, 1.67 ERA, 0.93 WHIP). If he can maintain his newfound control, you’re looking at a top 30 starting pitcher the rest of the way.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

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Now, I am not here to completely make a crap storm on Dellin Betances one single bit, I just wanna put that out there right away.  I am a Yankees fan first, and fantasy guys on my team second.  I am simply here to make a cumulative prognosis on stats from last year and how they correlate to this year.  In this early part of the preseason, Betances has a manageable ADP of 94, or basically the 5th closer off the books.  There are a few factors that I am worried about as we get nearer to the season, and I just wanted to point them out. (As if you were buying me a beer, and we were sitting at a bar swapping war stories, and comparing notches on each others belts.)

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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2014 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2014 Red Sox Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Conor Frederick from Red Sox Life.

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The hardest division in the league, which includes last year’s world champs, looks to be just as intense again.  For that matter, it probably will be that way for the foreseeable future.  My favorite team is also being covered here.  I’ll do my best not to be biased about the Yankees, and I think I’m pretty good at keeping my emotions away from the reality of the team.  That being said, I think the Yankees are going to win 120 games this season. (You can check out the NL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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Oh, how we are going to miss Mariano Rivera. I’ve never owned him, but always wished I did. Personally, I’m a Yankee hater, but I always enjoyed watching him work his ninth inning magic like a smooth pick up artist. So now we are left without one of the greatest closers to ever play the game and a permanent fixture on the $12 salad menu. But like all things fantasy, we must move on and start prepping for next season by keeping our minds sharp and our cheat sheets easily accessible. The great mix up called free agency and the winter meetings are just a stones throw away and will hopefully give us some clarity into what comes next.

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I’d say Alex Cobb was fantastic again last night, but I have to pay David Stern a nickel to use the word fantastic and money is tight, yo. If it wasn’t for the ball off his melon, The Tampa Bay Peach would’ve been a top 15 starter this year. I’m currently debating if Cobb is going to be in my top 15 for 2014 fantasy baseball. (What I mean by debating is I have three monkeys stand against a wall with signs that read, “Yay,” “Nay” and “Let Rudy decide.” Ling Ling, put down the sign until I ask the question. Ling Ling! Hard to find a well-trained monkey nowadays. His K-rate wasn’t otherworldly like I prefer my beefcake starters. It ended the year at 8.41 K/9. That is ace-ish, but not straight aces rollin’ through Compton flashing signs. His walk rate was 2.83. Again, it’s solid, I’d like to see better on that. Now his ERA ended up being 2.76, but his xFIP was 3.02. That’s not shabby at all. That’s right around Jose Fernandez, Chris Sale and Anibal Sanchez. Guys with seasons you would hump if a ‘season’ wasn’t an amorphous thing. For 2014, I think Cobb’s gonna be right around 15-20 overall for starters, which does mean Cobb is ready to emerge from the husk. Zadow! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So the end is Bill Nye the science guy. The last hurrah for the year of 2013 in regards to bullpens. Don’t be upset, you won’t even know that I left, I’ll even make it less awkward and do the Irish goodbye and just sneak off to the bathroom and never come back. So, it has been a fun year from start to finish, it wasn’t as exciting as last year but we still had 19 guys over 30 saves as compared to guess what from last year. The suspense isn’t that awesome because it’s also 19. Crazy how things change but never ever really change, stats are a finicky bunch all muddled with consistency. Damn you numbers and your ever chronologically ordered entanglement. So it saddens me as a Yankee fan to have to write the final time the name of Mariano Rivera. There is nothing else to say about Mo that hasn’t been said by numerous other more famous sites. The stats are crazy and to me he is my Tawny Kitaen crawling across the hood of that car looking all 80’s, but an awesome 80’s. Unfortunately that makes Joe Torre David Coverdale and that just ruins it all. So happy trails GOAT, it’s been real and we appreciate your fantasy aptitude for as long as you have supplied it. So have at the final rankings of the year for the closers and the dudes who wait for injury or next year.

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Felix Hernandez is the pitcher to pitcher when you’re facing more than one Brewer. *sips from frosty mug* Ah…. Almost as satisfying as a good porgasm, which is the ecstasy reached when you finally find a rest stop after you have to pee for about two hundred miles. Yesterday, F-Her threw eight shutout innings with 9 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.28. He’s not even close to how good he was his Cy Young year. He’s MUCH better (caps for emphasis, not so the guy who’s reading over your shoulder can see better). He has a career high strikeout rate, which is like, “Hey, this Filet Mignon can’t get any better– Oh, wait, I don’t have to pay for it either?” And it’s not because you cut out a chunk of your hair and put it on the plate. F-Her also has a career low walk rate and a career low xFIP, which tells us his ERA isn’t even fluky. He’ll probably be overshadowed by Yu Darvish or Max Scherzer in the offseason, but F-Her is finally coming into his own at the ripe young age of 27. In 2014, when people are going Kershaw and Darvish and Wainwright, there F-Her will be again coming at a discount because of some perceived weakness due to win potential. Bunch of Murray Chasses (Chassi?), every one of you. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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