Please see our player page for Zach Plesac 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.

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Joe Musgrove pitched the first no-hitter in Padres history Friday night, but this isn’t about him. It’s not about how he dominated the dreadful (so, so bad) Texas Rangers line up allowing just a single hit batsman to reach base in the fourth inning. Or how he he struck out 10 of these so, so bad Rangers. Moss Grove is already owned in all fantasy leagues. If he’s available well then by all means go pick him up now. This is about a player you can pick up. The Cleveland Baseball Team’s new, maybe, possibly, could be, I really don’t know but can you imagine if it was, closer Emmanuel Clase. Manny got his first save of the season Friday night pitching a perfect inning with two strikeouts. That’s right. Clase Closed. It’s almost too perfect. He did it with just 14 pitches. He reached 100 mph on 11 of those pitches and topped out at 101.2 mph with his cutter. Sweet sassy molasse! Let’s give him the chop! James Karinchak was the de facto closer in many minds going into the season but he’s blown a save and he’s also anti-VAX which is not a good look right now. We just might have ourselves a bit of a committee. So let’s speculate. Considering only Nick Wittgren and Clase have gotten saves so far, and Nick Wittgren doesn’t have a 101.2 mph cutter, hmm, imma grab Clase if I’ve targeting saves, or just some stinky, smelly cheese. He’s got the stuff to run away with the ninth inning gig in C-Land and the Cleveland Baseball Team’s closer has usually paid rich fantasy dividends in the past. I wouldn’t drop your James Karinchaks for him just yet, but I’d grab him wherever I needed saves. Clase closed! Ha! I love it!

Here’s what else I saw Friday night 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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Baseball watchers are funny, right? Corbin Burnes (6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 1 hit, 11 Ks) was absolutely dazzling. I’m talking one of the best performances of the young season. Everyone was talking about him. Just filth and people wanted that filth rubbed in their eye balls. “Is that eye black?” “No, it’s Burnes’s filth. I applied it myself.” That was everyone. But why was no one talking about Jose Berrios? He matched Burnes, then one-upped him with a 6 IP, 0 ER, 0 hits, 12 Ks, performance. Is that, oh, I don’t know, as I pause here for emphasis, not good? Both of these guys were fantastic, but one of them gave up a home run to Byron Buxton, and one of them was Jose Berrios. Early season overreaction alert! Both of these guys are going to be top 20 starters this year, but only one of them (Burnes) is being treated that way. Berrios is a safer bet for a huge season, and might actually be able to throw 175+ IP this year. Joe Berry has been berry berry good to me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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The season is almost upon us which means it’s time to get your rosters all dialed in for the season. So, who’s set to breakout and who’s set to break our hearts. Breakouts are guys that I think will outperform their draft position. Heart breakers as you can guess, are the opposite. Guys that you have to spend a high pick to acquire that will only make you regret your decision. In most cases it’s not that I wouldn’t touch any of them with a 10 foot pole, but I don’t think they’ll return the investment required to roster them.  You don’t win  your league at the draft but a bad first or second pick can hamstring your team. 

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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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What is up everybody? It’s March, which means March Grey has been burrowing out from his hibernation hole (which is what he calls his pantry) and starting to educate you all about your fantasy baseball teams. DRAFT THIS, NOT THAT! The beautiful spring chirp of the March Grey bird resounds through the forest of fantasy baseballers staring at their Fantrax apps. Just as you’re about to draft Dinelson Lamet in the first round, March Grey swoops in and caws, DRAFT CHRIS PADDACK IN THE TENTH! He then lands in the nearest tree and swigs from an abandoned boba container that may or may not have been sitting there all winter serving as a transient’s chaw spittoon. Now, while Grey’s spending the rest of the week sanitizing his mouth with detergent, I’m coming in hot to give you my takes on starting pitchers for your 2021 fantasy baseball season!

Let’s find that free use graphic I made of Zack Greinke in his Royal Blues!

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I feel like I say this every year around this time — but I LOVE keeper leagues. Especially all the crazy rules and context to them. “If you drafted him in the 13th round, he becomes a 10th round keeper next year, then a 4th round keeper the year after that, then a 1st the year after that. And if you keep him in the 1st you can’t keep anyone else with a 1st.” or “If you bought him for $5 his inflation becomes $18 in 2022. Then in 2023 he’ll be $31.43” or “You can’t keep anyone in the first 5 rounds, because one year Smitty somehow kept Miggy, A-Rod, Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols and Roy Halladay and broke the league.” And let me tell you — I love ALL of it. Your league’s crazy rules are what make it unique and interesting. Navigating this craziness is part of the fun. So these are just my rankings for your standard, vanilla 5×5 roto league. But my favorite part of this article — is always in the comments helping you guys breaking down your crazy keeper rules and making the best choices. So get down there and tell me your league’s crazy keeper system and how I can help you make your best decision! 

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