Put down that Fantasy Football magazine!! (Do they even make fantasy sports magazines any more? Man, I miss walking to the mailbox in late February and seeing my beautiful new fantasy baseball magazine sitting there.  Damn interweb!  Wait, if it weren’t for reading about fantasy sports on the internet, I wouldn’t be writing this right now.  Hmm, may need to rethink my position on this).  Anyway, I know it’s hard to pay attention to fantasy baseball at this time of year, even if your teams are hanging in there, and it’s emotionally and mentally grueling to follow along if your teams have already crashed and burned. I get it… another weekend of one step forward (Colin McHugh) and two steps back (Jake Odorizzi and Roberto Osuna – thanks, guys!) had me so frustrated in a deep AL-only league where my team is fading fast, that I barely remembered to set my lineup this week. I’ll also admit that when I sat down to write this article, I was almost immediately distracted by all of the pretty pictures of NFL players, and spent about twelve minutes thinking about whether to rank Bilal Powell or Carlos Hyde higher in a football draft that isn’t happening for another week and a half.

But even if it’s only a few minutes each week, check in on your poor, neglected friend, your old pal fantasy baseball. Even if you don’t have a team vying for a money spot, keep your head in the game. Do it for your league-mates, and do it for yourself… even if it doesn’t make a difference this year, maybe it will impact your 2018. You may uncover a hidden gem of a player, or a piece of information that will percolate in your brain over the winter, and turn into a late-round steal or early waiver wire pick up next year.  Those of us who missed the Ryan Zimmermans, Justin Smoaks, and Scooter Gennetts, of the world in 2017 know just how big a difference a couple of these fellas can make.

For now, though, we remain in 2017… with another handful of players who may be available in your NL or AL-only league to assist you in getting through the season’s remaining weeks:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Kolten Wong (14.2% owned – increase of 9%) was far from being the most added player over the past week. In fact, he barely made the list, but the fact that he made the list at all is amazing. It would be Wong of me to not at least dig into him further, no?

Ok, I apologize. That was bad. Anyways, since the start of the month, Wong has a triple-slash of .375/.458/.583 with one home run, five doubles, one triple, 12 runs scored, 10 RBI, and one stolen base. Remember, back in 2014 Wong hit 12 home runs and stole 20 bases, so there’s some potential here. Let’s break it, break it down. He’s walking 10% and striking out 14% of the time. Those are nice numbers and an improvement from his 2014/2015 numbers. BUT…they are very close to his 2016 numbers when he hit .240. The swinging strike rate hasn’t changed but the chase rate has improved by 5%. In addition, his contact on pitches outside the strike zone has increased 6%. He’s also hitting left-handed pitching very, very well so far (.333 average vs .258 career mark). Now, to the portion of the show that you’ve all been sitting on the edge of your seats for…..We are not Wong to be overlooking Kolten. The BABIP is a sky-high .353. That batting average is going to come back down to the .260-ish range. That batting average against lefties is fueled by a .385 BABIP. Nothing in the peripherals shows a drastic change that motivates me to think that his recent success is sustainable. Looks like a lot of luck. TRASH

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I miss old school Eddie Murphy. It pains me to think about the Dr. Dolittle movies he made. Anyways, I give thanks everyday that I live in the day of YouTube so that I can re-watch his classics. I still cry myself into the fetal position when I load up Raw. In particular, the part where he talks about seeing Johnny Carson in a tabloid magazine with the look of a man that’s struggling to take a shit. Why does he have that look? Because he’s getting divorced and the wife is taking half. Now Eddie is like F that. I’m going to Africa to get me a bush woman. But as his new African queen gets friendly with the native women of America, they teach her about rights and power (NSFW)…

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Ever since the Tampa Bay Rays selected Tim Beckham (41.6% owned – increase of 31.8%) with the number one overall selection in the 2008 MLB Draft, it’s been a headache for the city and the organization. Young girls flocked from all over to see him. The increase in the number of tourists strained the infrastructure. The paparazzi were everywhere! Even when the organization denied that David Beckham was not bending balls around posts, it was deemed as #Fake News. Pictures of Tim Beckham were tweeted and sent to news organizations all over the world to provide visual evidence that it was indeed not David. Regardless, conspiracy theorists alleged that the pictures were doctored and/or David was wearing an elaborate mask. Finally, in June of this year, the Rays finally took the necessary steps to alleviate themselves of the problem by trading two prospects to the Miami Marlins for Adeiny Hechavarria and, finally, trading Tim to the Baltimore Orioles for a pitcher. Like a lion freed from the cages at the circus, Tim has been wreaking havoc. In eight games with the Baltimore Orioles, he’s batting .500/.515/.938 with three home runs, three doubles, and a triple. Now, there’s a lot of ugly to his game, as he strikes out 30% of the time and has a swinging strike rate of 16%. With that said, he’s moving to a better park for hitting and he’s been batting sixth in a potentially potent lineup. I’ve seen mention that JJ Hardy will supplant him when he returns. In best Nancy Kerrigan voice, Whhhhhhyyyyy????? Anyways, Beckham obviously isn’t going to continue hitting at the torrid pace that he’s on. There’s just too much swing and miss to his game. But there’s a ton of upside. TREASURE

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Not gonna lie: the pickings are slim at this time of year. After a couple of weeks where it seemed like there were actually a few almost-interesting names on the wire in NL and AL-only leagues, the pool is pretty dried up.  When I looked up “blech” on dictionary.com just out of curiosity to see whether or not it was considered an actual word, I was amused to see the sample sentence for its entry:  “Blech, I feel like vomiting.”  I suspect that is how many of us feel each time we peruse the waiver wire looking for help in an NL or AL-only league.  In deep leagues, it can get incredibly frustrating reading recommendations about how it might be a good time to grab Reynaldo Lopez or Rhys Hoskins, when those guys have been owned in your league since April (if not before). But every once in a while, an under-the-radar minor leaguer, post-hype prospect, or washed-up pitcher who has a surprisingly good run of starts slips through at this time of year, so it’s still worth paying attention to who’s getting added and dropped.

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Image result for jose bautista bat flip

From 2010-2015, Jose Bautista was one of the best power hitters in the game. If not for injury, it’s conceivable to think he could’ve had six consecutive 40+ home run seasons. For perspective, Babe Ruth has the record with seven seasons. The next two? Alex Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa. Things that make you go, hmmmmm. I’m not saying anything, but I just wrote something, so I am saying something without actually saying it. Hey! Look over there! Now that I’ve mind mind melded you, Bautista has a triple slash line of .215/.322/.383 with 17 home runs, 65 runs scored, 49 RBI, and five stolen bases for the 2017 season. What can we expect going forward?

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In case you can’t tell from my dull, unoriginal title, I really tried to find a way to open this column with Saberseminar 2017 in Boston.

Yesterday and today, the most analytically inclined minds in the baseball industry gathered in a college lecture hall on Boston University’s campus to mull over the most finite details in the game. Rick Hahn (White Sox GM) spoke candidly about his club’s rebuild and how he and his staff emotionally deal with “teardowns” – he even spilled some beans that Reynaldo Lopez might be called up for a start Friday (#LanceTheBeatWriter) – while Tom Tippett, Red Sox Senior Analyst, dove into all the details unaccounted for in dollar-per-WAR retrospective contract valuations. There was even a chemist by the name of Stephanie Springer – unrelated to George Springer – who closed her powerpoint with an ominous bullet-point implying players might have an advantage in PED screening (yowzas indeed). I plan on detailing my experience in a post for my brainchild BigThreeSports, but let’s get to the matter at hand.

We need to talk about Aaron Nola…

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Camelot is the supposed castle and court of the legendary and romanticized King Arthur. Over time, it’s come to mean “any idyllic place or period, especially one of great happiness.” My view of Camelot is best expressed by Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Which seamlessly transitions to Ben Gamel (25.7% owned – increase of 9.7%). As you can see, I had some difficulty with this week’s post. Gamel has definitely made the Mariners and fantasy owners happy. He’s batting .313/.364/.449 with six home runs, 56 runs scored, 36 RBI, and three stolen bases. You want legendary? Since 1871, Gamel is currently ranked 22nd OVERALL in BABIP with a .410 mark. Ty Cobb has two seasons better than him and Babe Ruth is seventh with a .423 mark. For some useless information that could possibly net you money at a bar or something, Ross Barnes has the two greatest BABIP seasons of all-time with a .438 mark. What does it mean? Well, that number is coming down. It’s like the probability of Snap trading below it’s IPO price. It was bound to happen because all the VC’s and funds that got in for a $1 or less were going to unload some of their shares for a huge profit at the first opportunity. Now, that doesn’t mean that the shares are going to zero. In fact, look at how Facebook and Twitter traded around their IPO’s. Ok, back to Gamel. It’s very encouraging that he’s hitting both lefties and righties well. In fact, he was in the two-hole when the Mariners faced off against Chris Sale. With that said, he still only has six home runs and three stolen bases in 364 plate appearances. What’s the upside here? TRASH

Here’s what else I saw over the past week:

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A few weeks ago, Grey listed Billy Hamilton in both the Buy and the Sell sections of the same column. It was a great reminder of how much player values change as the season progresses, and particularly how much a single player’s value can differ from one fantasy baseball team to another. By this time of the season, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your team could use to gain some precious points in the standings, and what would just be excess that does you no good at all.  Hamilton could be serious difference-maker on one team, and unnecessary waiver-wire fodder in another.

Obviously things are vastly different in NL-only, AL-only, and other particularly deep leagues — guys like Billy Hamilton aren’t just sitting around on waivers. It’s still important to remember how different a player’s value can be from one team to another though, especially when it comes to trades. I have a few leagues where there’s still a week or two left before our trade deadline, and it amazes me how many offers I’m still getting that would be of no help to me whatsoever — and, even more ridiculously, wouldn’t be of much help to the owner offering the trade either. Sometimes owners are so worried about getting the “best” or most owned player in a deal, that they forget to pay attention to whether or not those players could actually help their team rise in the standings. And even when going through the slim pickings of a deep-league waiver wire, don’t forget what you’re shopping needs are. Unless you’re playing defensively or have a trade in mind, there’s probably no reason to pick up a bad reliever just because he might close, or a horrible hitter with a little speed, if you already have more saves or steals than you know what to do with.

Speaking of players like bad relievers that may close, time to look at some guys who might be available in NL or AL only leagues:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Never judge a book by it’s cover. F that.The first thing I do is immediately judge a book by its cover because on the cover is written the title of the book. If I don’t like the sound of it, there’s a 99.9% chance I move onto the next. The 0.1% is reserved for books that have pictures of naked ladies on the cover. I’ve got kids to raise and DFS lineups to make. I ain’t got the time to not judge a book by its cover. The same principle can be applied to most things in life. Whether we like it or not, we judge people by how they look. It’s only natural, as that’s usually the first piece of information we are exposed to.The roots can probably be chased back to our caveman days when everything had to be classified as either friend or foe. What if we can’t see a person? But can only judge them by the sound of their name? Manuel Margot. How did you pronounce it? Was it like MarGO? Like Vincent Van Gogh or escargot? Sounds French. Smooth and sophisticated perhaps. How about like MarGOT? Like Marge Schott? Sounds rough and abrasive. The cool thing about baseball is that we don’t give a shit whether a player is black or white, tall or short, fat or skinny, or is named Rusty Kuntz or Johnny Dickshot. At the end of the day, it’s all about whether they produce or not. Will we be soon be calling him Manny MarGOAT?

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