Here we are halfway through the season – still a small sample size of games in the grand scheme of things, but I’m finally willing to admit that some of this year’s most surprising breakout hitters may continue to help fantasy teams as the season progresses. Just looking at the All Star starting lineups, each team has several pretty huge surprises (unless you correctly predicted back in April that Ryan Zimmerman, Zack Cozart, Justin Smoak, and Corey Dickerson would all be starting). In the outfield, I certainly didn’t see Marcell Ozuna and Aaron Judge getting the starting nod.
With all of these guys, I feel like the tendency from a fantasy perspective would be to sell high while you can, and avoid trading for them at all costs when their value is sky-high (and if you own any of them and you can, say, get a king’s ransom for Aaron Judge in a re-draft league, go for it). But if you find yourself on the other side, getting offered a guy like Ozuna by an owner who you suspect might be desperate to sell him when his value is as high as possible, making a deal to add a perceived over-performer may not be the craziest thing in the world.
Last year, I traded for Daniel Murphy right around this time of year, even though I knew I was getting a player who was most likely at the peak of a career year. But I knew that even if his batting average came down substantially (amazingly, it didn’t) and the power evaporated somewhat (it did, to about the extent I expected), he would still be a huge asset to my team in terms of helping me in a couple categories that would, and did, lead me to gain a few points in the standings. It never feels good to buy high on a player, but I don’t like to discount it as an option if I feel it might ultimately help my team over the long haul – especially in very deep leagues where you know the waiver wire pickings are always going to fall into the slim-to-none category. And speaking of slim pickings on the waiver wire, let’s get to some names who might be relevant in AL and NL-only leagues.
Every time the calendar turns to July, Mets fans across the world cringe at the nearly $1.2 million that migrates from Fred Wilpon’s wallet into the $1,000 Gucci jeans Bobby Bonilla probably hasn’t washed since he left the Mets in 1999. It seems universal that massaging Bonilla’s contract was terrible in hindsight – these checks will keep coming until 2035 – but I was enlightened with information that one reason for deferral of the $5.9 million was to free up funds to sign Mike Hampton. One of the better hitting pitchers in history – Hampton hit .246 with 16 HRs in his career – Hampton went on to win the 2000 NLCS MVP for New York. The Metropolitans then selected David Wright eighth overall in the 2001 draft with the pick Colorado relinquished to sign Hampton. Why do we feel bad for Mets fans all the time, it could’ve been worse right? Wait… they promoted Tim Tebow and his .647 OPS to St. Lucie, yet Amed Rosario is still in Las Vegas? Syndergaard tore his lat muscle because the words “medical” and “staff” aren’t allowed to be paired in Flushing? Saturday Night was Asdrubal Cabrera bobblehead night – and somebody paid $40 for one? Alright, so maybe the Mets never got out of the woods.
When Ian Happ (45.7% owned – increase of 25%) was called up in May of this year, we fantasy nerds were giddy with excitement. I imagine it was the same tingly sensation boys felt when they first saw a young Britney Spears on the Mickey Mouse Club. Unfortunately, Happ proceeded to bat .214 with only two home runs in his first month of major league experience. The dread was comparable to “young boy with tingly sensation” realizing that Britney was probably “studying” with fellow Mickey Mouse Club’er Justin Timberlake. In the month of June, though, Happ is batting .277. More specifically, since June 13th, he is batting .316 with five home runs. He’s had at least one hit in 12 of the past 14 games.
In honor of week thirteen of the major league baseball season, I thought I’d brieftly mention the topic of superstition. You always hear how superstitious baseball players are, but I’m starting to think baseball fans, and especially fantasy baseball players, may be just as afflicted. In general, I think of myself as one of the more pragmatic, least superstitious people I know… until it comes to baseball. I KNOW there is no such thing as a jinx, particularly during a baseball game happening hundreds of miles or more away from wherever I happen to be, and yet my behavior would often suggest otherwise. Last week, I actually benched Trevor Story in one league, in an attempt to “get him going” in another, figuring that the minute I hit the reserve button, he’d go off for a couple of home runs that night (spoiler alert: he didn’t).
If you selected A, then you are correct. Anytime a headline for a story reads, “Nationals’ Michael Taylor Might Have Had The Worst Game In Baseball History,” you’re always in consideration for being labelled a bad baseball player. I mean, the article opens with, “We’re not even exaggerating…” So, Taylor went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts and left five men on base in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That’s not even the end of the story. In the bottom of the ninth, with the Nationals up by one run, Taylor charged a ball hit by Yasiel Puig but the ball went under his glove, which allowed two runs to score. Okay, one game does not make a player bad. It just means one game was played poorly. You gotta admit, though. That was pretty bad.
“Due for a bounce-back season,” is a phrase which fantasy owners can use to dig themselves cavernous holes prior to their fantasy teams even producing an inning of stats. It primes the mind for reliance on success without any statistical, or even tangible, evidence. If you were an owner who carried that mindset into the start of the 2017 season, I’m fairly confident shipping away Pirate, Andrew McCutchen, in a deal – pun intended – after a wretched month, was the move made by the majority of disgruntled owners.
I must say, I’m not too excited about the waiver wire in either my NL-only or AL-only leagues this week. Not that I ever feel like there is a ton to choose from, but at least up until this point in the season I’ve felt like there are almost always one or two guys in each league that either got called up under the radar/got surprisingly shoved into a starting rotation/fell into a job due to injury/etc, that had at least a distant shot at mixed-league relevancy. This week, though, I’m not so sure.
This might be the only Razzball article where you will find a RuPaul’s Drag Race quote, some lyrics from the Broadway musical Wicked, a reference to Matt Harvey’s sex appeal AND a Tyra banks gif. It’s no wonder some people on this site think I’m female! Here I was thinking it was just my name…
Who doesn’t love sugar? Okay, a diabetic, but there’s a good chance that they loved sugar a little too much, no? How could someone not love a commodity that makes any food or drink sweeter and is used to describe “good lovin?” The thing about sugar, though, is that it is a complementary item. Granted, I used to love popping those C&H sugar cubes into my mouth. The sweetness. The way it felt when the cube melted from the saliva in my mouth. Mmmmm. Do you think I have a future as an erotic writer? Penthouse forum writer for sure. Anyways, sugar can never be a main item. No matter how you dress it up or package it. Which brings me to Lorenzo Cain.
Andrelton Simmons (48.9% owned – increase of 12.2%) is the No. 12 shortstop in Razzball’s Player Rater. Addison Russell (63.5% owned – decrease of 9.2%) is the No. 31 shortstop. It’s as if the names should be swapped. Russell should be 48.9% owned and Simmons should be 63.5% owned. I have the sudden urge to listen to some jams from Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records…
Russell plays for the Cubs. Woohoo…He’s 23 years old. Yipee…He hit 21 home runs last season. Woo saaaa…Can you feel the excitement? I’m about to open up an incognito window on my computer. Hold up. Give me like 20 seconds….Sarcasm alert. Not about the incognito window thing, though. Now, I like Russell in dynasty. As mentioned above, he is young and could be a monster in a few years. But we trying to win rings like Kevin Durant now!!! Nothing has really changed with Russell in regards to batted ball profile and plate discipline. He pretty much is who he is right now. .240-ish hitter with 10-15 home runs. He also hits seventh, in front of the pitcher. As for Simmons, he’s always been a low strikeout/high contact batter. He has some pop and will probably end up with around 10- 12 home runs, but with a batting average closer to .275. The surprising thing with Simmons this season is the number of steals. So far, he’s pilfered 10 bags, after ending up with that total in 124 games last season. Stealing bases is one of the few stats that a player has more direct control over, so that’s a nice trend. In this week’s Razzball Baseball podcast, Grey touched on the value that power/speed guys have. Go listen to the pod and…LEAVE A REVIEW!!! Special things will happen. Anyways, back to Simmons. Actually, it’s more a rant against the Sociopath. Simmons is batting .180 against LHP and .305 against RHP this season. His career numbers are .268 vs RHP and .244 vs LHP. So, what does the Sociopath do? He bats Simmons 6th against righties and 2nd against lefties. To bring everything full circle, I guess it makes sense that Simmons is owned in 48.9% of leagues and Russell in 63.5%. What a world. TRASH for Russell. TREASURE for Simmons.
Here are a few others that stood out to me in this week’s add/drop list: