Let me begin by saying that each of my H2H teams has been officially eliminated, and being so, I’ve decided to submit the most spiteful two-start post of all time. Ok, fine, I didn’t go that far. But I sure as shizz wanted to. Anyway. It’s the last week of the season, and anyone still reading this post is surely making a championship push, so good for you, and good luck this week. I want to thank everyone for reading along this season. I hope these weekly posts did more good than harm throughout the year. I’ll be digging into MiLB previews before long, and those posts will continue throughout the offseason. But this wraps up our two-start coverage until next spring. Now, go win some championships.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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Jorge Alfaro | C, Rangers | Born: 6/11/1993

When we published my mid-season top 50 fantasy baseball prospects back in July, naturally there was some discussion in the comments section regarding the list’s more unforgivable omissions. The one that popped up the most was Cleveland Indians shortstop prospect, Francisco Lindor, but there were also folks clamoring for guys like Lucas Sims or Austin Hedges or Joc Pederson or any number of other borderline top 50-ish prospects. No one, however, asked why Jorge Alfaro wasn’t ranked, or how far off he was from cracking the list. But two months after posting that top 50, Alfaro, in my eyes, is the unforgivable omission. He’s potentially a top 25 talent, boasting a fantasy ceiling that is as good or better than any other catching prospect in the game. I’ve been slow to tout the 20-year-old, but I’m trying to make up for lost time with his very own post right here. Do take note.

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I did some complaining last week about how the plethora of six-man rotations this time of year dilutes the two-start pool and makes two-start forecasting quite difficult. And while all of that is surely true, it’s also true that at this point of the season is probably the easiest time all year to get your greedy little hands on some quality two-start streamers. If you’re still reading this post midway into September, you’re in the minority. Week 25 is the finals in most H2H formats, the semis just about everywhere else. And if you play in one of the weird no-playoffs H2H leagues, odds are there aren’t more than two teams in serious contention at this juncture. Point is, there just aren’t that many people exploiting the two-start scene anymore. From this point forward, you should be able to snag some usable streamers without much trouble. Of course, if you’ve made it this far, I’d like to think your staff is strong enough to succeed without the help of fringy waiver adds.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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Kyle Crick | RHP, Giants | Born: 11/30/1992

The hype machine has a habit of shutting itself off when it comes to injured prospects. It’s the nature of things in prospectland — it’s hard to get excited about a given player’s future when he’s not even on the field. Such was the case with San Francisco Giants pitching prospect, Kyle Crick, who missed two months of the season with an oblique injury. Not to imply that Crick is getting no hype — he’s pitching too damn well for that — but because his name hasn’t been at the forefront from April through August, he’s probably not getting the full attention that he deserves. In 14 High-A starts this season (11 of which have come after the DL stint), the 20-year-old has posted a 1.57 ERA, and a K/9 at 12.5. That line includes his final start of the regular season (7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K), but it does not include his first career playoff start, which took place this past Sunday (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K). These last two outings make it impossible to deny that this is a prospect who’s ready for a test in the upper levels. Crick will get a taste of that advanced competition in the Arizona Fall League next month, where he’ll be one of the prospects I’m most excited to track.

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I’m gonna double-dip on what I wrote a year ago in my week 23 MiLB report because 1) I think it still holds, and 2) I’m a double-dipper: “The Minor League Baseball season has reached it’s glorious culmination. Well, actually, it’s not very glorious. No, no one really cares who wins in the New York-Penn semis, or the International League title, or the Midwest League championship. It’s just not that interesting. Not even for me. Sure, organizations do their best to instill winning attitudes throughout their farm systems, and I absolutely agree that’s important. It’s why Jeff Luhnow is still tweeting crap like “#JETHAWKS WIN”. Yay, Jethawks… It’s fun for the players, I suppose. It’s fun for the small-town fans, too. And it’s a small source of pride for player development types. But that’s about the extent of it. All that said, the various MiLB playoffs are still worth keeping an eye on, if only for the handful of real-deal prospects who’re performing on a slightly grander stage than usual. So, to wrap up this year’s Minor Accomplishments series, I leave you with a brief rundown of what’s happening with some of the more notable prospects in their respective postseasons.”

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We’re almost into mid-September, which means the fantasy season is growing a little long in the tooth. It’s a stressful time for those of us still alive in H2H land — the fantasy baseball playoffs can be a depleting time for both your liquor cabinet and your liver functionality. It doesn’t help, then, that this is the time of the year when managers — especially those of teams out of contention — like to mess around with their starting rotations. I don’t blame them; it makes perfect developmental sense for the White Sox, or any other team, to move to a six-man rotation in order to see what they have in arms like Andre Rienzo or Erik Johnson. But as a weekly leaguer, this sort of rotation shuffling can be maddening if you’re trying to gauge the two-start landscape. This is all to say that now, more than ever, it’s imperative that you check and re-check the probable pitchers prior to locking your weekly lineup. Good luck in the playoffs, my friends.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is always painful, but it’s also necessary. What follows is a look back at my preseason prospect rankings — a self audit, if you will. To be clear, this isn’t a re-ranking or anything, but it should suffice to remind all of you that I am mostly stupid. Please keep in mind that these guys are very early in their careers, and there is plenty of time for each to either figure it out, or get figured out. Anyway, let’s cut to it. Here’s the list as it appeared back in February:

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The Arizona Fall League has announced its preliminary rosters, and as usual, this year’s AFL is loaded with high impact talent. Offensive headliners include Byron Buxton, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, and Jorge Soler. On the pitching side of things, we’ve got Kyle Crick, Alex Meyer, Andrew Heaney, and Marcus Stroman. I’m leaving out plenty of other notable prospects, too. These rosters are always a welcome relief for us prospect enthusiasts who fear the onset of the withdrawal symptoms that inevitably come with the baseball off-season. The AFL should keep the nervous twitching and general malaise at bay, if only for a little while.

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Weekly leaguers, you’re here to read weekly league advice, of course. But let’s begin this week by broadening our horizons with a little daily league chatter. If you’ve been paying attention to JB throughout the season, you know that we’ve teamed up with DraftKings to offer exclusive Razzball contests all year long. As JB mentioned on Wednesday, next week’s contest is our last of the year, and it’s a good one. 50 entries, $10-per, six get paid, and the winner pockets a few Benjamins. If you haven’t given it a shot yet this year, I highly recommend you join our game next Friday. It’s quite fun — you have my word on that. More details to follow. Now for the two-starters.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Back in May, I wrote a Courtney Hawkins fantasy. You can read it here. At that point in time, Hawkins was at High-A Winston Salem knocking homers at a good rate, but he was struggling to make contact, striking out more than 50% of the time he stepped to the plate. Near the end of the writeup, I said this: “The Sox must be thrilled with the huge power Hawkins is showing, but if the K’s continue at this rate, they’ll need to consider bumping him down the ladder to a level where he can more easily focus on approach and pitch recognition. There’s plenty of time for him to improve in that regard, and for fantasy baseball purposes, I truly hope he doesn’t go the way of the Donkey. Either way, though, he’s a fascinating dude to follow.” So here’s our Courtney Hawkins update, almost four months later: .182/.252/.407, 19 HR, 9 SB, 38% K-rate in 95 games at High-A. In other words, the whiffs continued, and the White Sox never demoted him. Hawkins is an extraordinary athlete with enormous upside, and I rarely am one to question a team’s development strategy, but it bothers me that the Sox have allowed their 19-year-old prized prospect to struggle so severely all season long. He won’t be ready for Double-A next spring, and I’m beginning to worry that this 1st rounder might never realize his potential.

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