Please see our player page for Yusei Kikuchi to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

With beloved Razzball writer Ralph Lifschitz finally revealing his true identity on Twitter, I realized it came down to me — the pitcher ranker and weekend editor — to unmask the final mystery man of Razzball: Grey Albright himself. So I invited the Fantasy Master Lothario to a fancy brunch that I never showed up to. Instead, I snuck into Razzball HQ…which wasn’t hard to do because Donkey Teeth is there literally every minute of every day searching for shirtless pics of Yusei Kikuchi. Grey never locks his office because he feels that he gives away all of his data for free on the internet; there’s no reason for anybody to break in. Except, for the holy grail: the real identity of the Master Lothario.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Just Dong Just Dong Just Dong Just Dong Just Dong…oh, and Just Dong. Then, when you get tired, and wanna go home, Just Dong some more.” That was the guy who hired Quasimodo to ring the bell at Notre Dame. It was also the Red Sox yesterday. Leading the Red Sox yesterday in the Just Dong parade of Just Dongers was none other than, you guessed it, Just Dong Martinez (4-for-6, 4 runs, 4 RBIs), who hit his 3rd, 4th and 5th homers, as he hits .472. Hey, Preseason Grey who hated J.D. Martinez, you suck. Always seem to get myself in trouble when I try to time the end of guys’ productiveness, rather than just going with guys until they’re no longer liable. Whit Merrifield and Nelson Cruz come to mind, too. So, I trust Just Dong now, right? Well, no, not entirely, but I also can’t point to any reason not to trust him, so process of elimination tells me, he’s a younger version of Nelson Cruz. Call him Nelson Dongz. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Welcome to my new column in Razzball: The Magazine! Every week I’ll be responding to letters from fans who are in a fantasy crisis. Let’s jump right in and see our first question:

Dear EverywhereBlair, 

I drafted Sixto Sanchez in the first round. I know! I’m a sucker for alliteration. I even named my team, “Sexy Sixto Stacks Stampede.” You told me ADP was a trap and I could draft whomever I want whenever I want! 

Signed, 

Suxto See Sixto Sick

Well, we’ve got ourselves a humdinger for the first mailbag question! Did you hear that Sixto has a sore arm? You really don’t need to be taking pitchers in the first round. But it’s your team, you do you. You can fix your team by drafting Jacob Stallings, and renaming it the Sticky Stallings Smashers. Onwards, to the main event!

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Aaaand we’re back. Aaand John Means is an Ace now. Wait–rewind. Means stifled the Boston bats and spoiled their home opener Friday afternoon, allowing just a single base runner (one hit) in seven innings of work and striking out five to notch his first win of the season. I know exactly what you’re thinking outdated Fry meme–not sure if Red Sox are this bad or John Means is this good. Well, as bad as the Sawx looked, Means probably pitched one of his best games in ever. He commanded the zone with 65 of his 95 pitches thrown for strikes, and generated 14 swings-and-misses, eight with changeup alone, which can be an especially nasty pitch when he’s got it working, paired with his 4-seamer. After an awful start to 2020, Means finished strong in September with a 1.52 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 30 strikeouts in 23.2 IP averaging around 94 mph on his fastball, up about 2 mph from 2019. Grey told you to BUY, gushing about his xBA and saying “if he can keep those gains, velocity increases, and stop handing out more gopher balls than a veterinarian with weird party favors, John Means could be a top 25 starter while costing nowhere near that price.” And that’s me quoting Grey! Look, I understand the hesitation owning Orioles pitchers, and Means HR/9 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. In fact, when I drafted Means on draft day I got a audible “HA!” for the pick. But we’ll see who’s laughing in September. Sure things aren’t getting any easier for the homer-prone lefty as he travels to New York next week to take on the Yankees, but Means is owned in less than 50% of leagues and has got some major breakout potential. I think he’s worth a flier at that price wherever he’s available. Means means business! That’s two “means”, and that means something?  Who else is confused? Where else you going to get an Ace after draft day. Now your chance! I means it!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I walked down a dark hallway of Razzball Headquarters, some corner I had never been before. The walls were the color of aquarium gravel. I squinted in the dim light to verify that I had the correct office. I knocked on the door and peeked my head inside, seeing the Fantasy Master Lothario himself, Grey Albright, sitting in an office chair behind of a well-built desk. The image of Don Draper in a sweater-vest.

“Everywhere!” he said, wringing his hands excitedly. He put his hand out for a shake. I reached for it, but he pulled his arm back as if almost touching a hot stove. “Nah-ah!” he smiled and wagged his finger. “Not in the time of Covid!”

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What’s that I smell? Is it Spring in the air? The hope of baseball dreams wafting through the ether? Did I forget to take my semi-monthly shower? I took a shower 11 days ago, so it’s probably the baseball dreams in the ether one. And nothing says baseball dreams in the the ether like extremely bold, completely baseless predictions with little-to-no grounding in reality, brought to you by some of your favorite Razzball writers. I surveyed 10 of my favorite Razzball writers—the only ones who would talk to me—for their boldest predictions regarding the 2021 baseball season. Here were their bold predictions along with my reaction:

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Today concludes the fantasy baseball sleepers‘ portion of our program. *nudges homeless woman sleeping on my couch that I tried to get Cougs to agree to a threesome with* No more sleepers, Francine. Meh, I’ll let her rest. Like the 2nd basemen to target or outfielders to target, this post is necessary. You need to target the right names at the end of the draft for starters. Last year’s starters to target post included Kenta Maeda, Kevin Gausman, Pablo Lopez, Julio Urias, Joe Musgrove and Jake Odorizzi, who I apparently can never get enough of. They’ve moved way up ranks this year with one making the jump to my top 20 starters, and, well, can you believe ESPN ranked Maeda 206th overall last year and left Gausman unranked? Yeah, well, Pablo Lopez was unranked by Yahoo and 375th overall by NFBC, so, as I always say, starters are available later. As with other target posts, these guys are being drafted after the top 200 overall. Also, all Steamer hitter projections are updated just about every day (mostly small adjustments), and all 2021 fantasy baseball rankings are updated, as well, including for Zac Gallen, who I would no longer draft as I say in the top 40 starters. Anyway, here’s some starters to target for 2021 fantasy baseball:

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In Japan, you bond with your coworkers by going to an enkai. You say it like “N-kai,” and the Kai is as in Cobra Kai, not “Kay” as in, “I’m so American I can’t envision speaking any language than N-glysh. The enkai is usually where the office (not the TV show) gets together for some BBQ and beers. Everybody goes to the enkai, even if they don’t like beer and BBQ. Sometimes, Japanese managers conduct official office business at the enkai, which makes it somewhat awkward when they pass out documents to read while you’re navigating grilled meat. Then comes the nijikai, or “second meeting,” when the “cool people” leave the “squares” behind, and they go to a place where there’s more beer, some snacks, and some karaoke. But for the bold — and those who are truly initiated into the office — there’s the sanjikai, or the “third meeting.” This is the event where only the hardened drinkers, the Buddhist teetotalers, and those people trying to forget the horrors of 9-5 hyper-capitalism are found. For the sanjikai, you’re out there not because you have to, but because you want to. Because you’re driven, by some supra-rational urge that verges on the paranormal, to see what’s hidden behind the curtain. You want to suck the marrow out of life and maybe get a bone splinter in your gums. You know the world has made its mark on you, and you want to mark the world before you transit off this plane of existence into the cosmos, awaiting to be reborn on your ascent to Nirvana. You might not get home tonight if you go out to the sanjikai, but that’s OK because you’re willing to sit in the park and watch the stars until first train.

That’s what this third pre-season edition of the Top 100 Starting Pitchers is all about: You want to know what the others don’t know. You’ve probably drafted already, but you’re here to get prepped for who to pick up off the waiver wire and what to do for next year. You, my dear reader, are initiated into my office, and I invite you to the sanjikai of my weekly pitchers series.

This article is probably my greatest contribution to fantasy sports so far, and I hope you enjoy it.

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“I did it. It’s done,” Grey said, running his hand through his mustache in splendid celebration. A fire roared in the hearth and cup of sparkling Fresca waited by his side. He pulled on his faux fur thrift store coat, looking every bit the 5’7″ “Legend of Los Angeles” that Fantasy Baseballer Magazine had dubbed him. He moved to his easy chair, reached for the remote, and turned off the National Geographic documentary about the hunting patterns of the Siberian Tiger, which always put him in the mood “to eat the competition” in the draft room. With clear eyes and full heart, he recited his daily mantra, I am the fantasy master lothario. 40 rounds, player upon player upon player upon sleeper. Like a talk show host, he fended off attacks from the left and the right and emerged above the fray, insouciant to what carnage he left in his path.

His mental respite was shattered when Cougs came rushing through the door, home from the grocery store. She whipped off her mask, panting, the twinkle of a tear down her cheek. “Grey, I’m so sorry. Cookie crumbled!” she said.

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Since we’re talking closers, I just want to expand a bit on my closer strategy. I mentioned in part 1 of this article that my plan at closer is to wait and grab two of the tier 3 closers and then just try to play the FAAB game. Some may scoff at that idea and think it’s too risky but I think it’s the best play in this format. I get it, it’s human nature to crave safety and security. We come out of the womb and one of the first things we do is try and latch on to our mom’s boobs because that’s comforting. Similarly, many of us want to grab an early closer and feel that warm comfort of knowing that we have 30 saves locked up. Is grabbing a closer like sucking on your mom’s nipples? Somewhat. While there’s really not much downside to breastfeeding (at least according to my lactation consultant), there is a huge downside to taking a closer in those early rounds.

Please, blog, may I have some more?