Because I am always late to the writing party, I figured why not just add another Bryce Harper column, but with a Michael Taylor happy ending.  So what’s-his-face got hurt and now Mike Taylor returns from the DL to save the day.  Gone one day and BH is now what’s-his-face.  It sucks, but injuries happen.  That is why waivers and free agent pools exist.  So before Taylor inured his oblique in early July, he was on a torrid pace that was making him an asset for fantasy.  Now what capabilities will he have with that injured oblique?  Since this is the SAGNOF report, we only care about one thing.  Increasing his SB total from 10.  The thing in his favor is that the Nationals lineup is going to change slightly.  Because of the absence of “some guy”.  Small ball and base-to-base stuff still wins and it may have to happen without a middle of the lineup thumper (besides Zimmerman).  I can’t believe I just called him a thumper, well… suspend disbelief for a minute and just assume I didn’t mean it.  Taylor may take a few days to get into the swing of things but Bryce isn’t walking through the door anytime soon, so at-bats and top of the order stuff are coming. Happy SAGNOF’n!

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When it comes down to it at the end of the days, teals are steals and saves are saves.  Doesn’t matter how coyly they are obtained or if you are stealing from the waiver wire one day to only dump and chase the next.  The big wheel of accumulation keeps turning.  My near-the-end of the year strategy for closers is: I would rather chase on winning teams as the saves and chances are greater.  Steals… not so much, it is the exact opposite almost as the “look what I can do” type players come more from them, especially with September call-ups and such.  So to recap, saves for winners, stealing is for losers.  I sound like an after-school special starring Judith Light.  So now on to another loser, of the Philadelphia denomination… let us take a peek at the goodies that César Hernández is doing, and doing it fairly unnoticed.  He is owned in less then 40% of the four-letter word leagues and has been tuning up most opponents lately.  He is batting .379 with 10 runs scored and 6 steals in the last 15 games.  He also has a 12-game hitting streak and a poodle that can walk on it’s front paws.  Why do I bring attention to César ?  Because the middle infidel spot is always a good spot to find free-range steals.  It turned Merrifield into a household name and it’s the same place that Villar is still rostered in 70% of leagues.  I can’t ever explain everything, but I throw some deadly darts sometimes.  Have at this week’s SAGNOF do’s and doh’s…

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The trade deadline usually makes a real hash out of bullpens, and this year was no different.  Closers become just ordinary relievers.  Ordinary relievers become closers on teams punting.  Even further down, the holds through the obtuse guys now become a usable commodity.  Fantasy baseball with hold leagues, catch the spirit!  So like I was just saying, we have seen 5-6 teams rip apart their pecking order for hold-dom, and in some cases muddle up the closer order by trade, attrition, or subtraction.  This is a good thing, makes decisions easier.  Aim for guys on teams that are still getting you save opportunities. If you can’t find the stat, always fall back on the standings to guide your waiver wire hand.  Or even more finite, look at that teams W/L record over the last 10 games.  It is no coincidence that the top three teams in save opportunities since the All-Star break have winning records (Dodgers, Mariners, and Blue Jays).  Also, if you haven’t been streaming Holds yet this year, there is no better time than the present.  The list of holds leaders over the last 15 games is littered with names that weren’t even in print by me for the whole year.  So don’t be afraid to roster the unknown rather than a commodity because with the season basically over in six weeks (three if you have playoffs), every one counts and every H2H win counts.  Cheers!

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In the real world, the realm of 20 homers and 20 stolen bases has now become a cheap rack of cheaters at your local pharmacy.  The state of the power and thievery in the game, as a combined entity, is a pooh-fest currently filled with zero residents.  The possibilities of getting maybe three could happen by the end of the month and those names are first round darlings: Paul Goldschmidt (22/15), Jose Alutve (15/21), and Mookie Betts (17/17) are the closest to reaching the ranks of the common folk from 10 years ago.  I have gone over the numbers in previous years posts and the number of 20/20 players is on a perpetual downward slope.  So while nothing is guaranteed for the standard “he is a 20/20 player” from year-to-year, the reward when he does it is, well… rewarding.  If the standard for the dual threat is just being one of a few who does both, then they deservedly so belong in the first round.  Like the three names that I just mentioned.  All had ADP preseason in the top-10 and very comfortably.  I know it’s August and I am here waxing poetic about ADP… Well, it is the first of the month and the other ADP is all about paying people, so I thought it was apropos.  So when looking next year at what you can get out of a player, dumb down the 20/20 expectations and limit it to a select and proud few.  sad state of affairs, next thing you know we will be giving fantasy participation trophies to everyone so nobodies feelings get hurt.  Cheers!

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It’s all fun and games when the lights go off and the special things in life glow under different color light.  Laundry detergent, player names, and the puns that are associated with them… and believe it or not a good ole bottle of Hennessy.  So now that we have concocted that cocktail and images in your head, let’s move onto the Fantasy Baseball portion of this relationship.  That being Marcus Semien.  I am going to be the first to admit that I really like the idea of this guy on my team after last season’s output, as he produced 27 HR’s and 10 steals.  Not the elite of foot by any stretch of the SAGNOF imagination, but the 27 taters from a middle infield spot takes a lot of gleam off the cube.  So why now?  Well, his season was derailed by injury and he only still has 86 at-bats on the year.  Ignore all the other facets, he is not going to hit for average and not going to score a ton of runs in the A’s lineup, but he has 7 steals in those 86 at-bats.  (He only had 10 last year in 586 at bats, remember I just said that.)  So he has gone from a once every 60 plate appearances per steal guy to one every 10.  I am by far no mathematical genius, but that looks like a gigantic difference.  Since he returned from the DL, he is hitting 30 points above his career average, which is only .230, but still, .265 is better then .230.  The steals are what we want and that’s why we here.  So with the expectations of him not slipping out of the lineup now that he is returned he could easily be a cheap source (8.6% owned in ESPN leagues).  With the way that the middle infield spots turn over and the trade deadline around the bend stats at any chance are better then none.

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Well, the All-Star break happened and now here I sit.  Only three games of data to expunge my sort of genius onto the masses… that’s like the Gettysburg Address stopping at “four score and seven”. So with limited research, I gotta get creative with words.  Like, have you checked out Fantasy Soccer, yeah… it’s that oddly shaped ball at the top of this page.  Don’t play? Well you should.  So onto the number seven with bacon.  Also known as the KC stealer.  Over the past 15 games that oddly enough dates back when we were still celebrating fireworks and stuff, Whit Merrifield leads the majors in steals with 7.  Big deal, 7 whole steals!  Well, the steals bandwagon has lost some steam this year with Billy not doing consistent Billy things and Trea doing game-ready stuff at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but strangely enough he still needs an adult with him.  Curse you baby-faced guys!  Whit isn’t just a dead stick as he has revitalized the Royals line-up, as they have an unbelievable record since his insertion into the leadoff spot.  It’s not George Springer-type good, but for SAGNOF, we take what we can get.  Currently owned in half of the ESPN leagues, which means that he is owned in every RCL league (basically), so kudos for all of us that are paying attention.  But on the happenstance that he isn’t owned, go grab him, do it gently though, he pees when he gets nervous.

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The fastest answer to the title is that no, you can not just fix what Trea Turner was giving you and the lack thereof for the next few weeks.  Dude was a man among spatulas.  Twenty two steals in the month of June alone was more then four teams in the entire majors.  For fantasy, he was the only person over 20 in the last 30 games, only person in double digits in the last 15, and now he will get you zero for the next, presumably, six weeks…  So where do you turn?  The answer is: I wish I knew, because the waiver wire is not going to give you that type of production.  Trade?  Sure, if you have the assets, or you can just plain ignore the stat.  Interestingly enough is that if he is gone from the league, it kind of evens the playing field for steals across the board.  Billy hasn’t been Billy in some time, Dee is probably the most prestigious thief left right now is universally owned, and the waiver wire is littered with 2-3 steal guys every 10-game types.  I am not saying that losing Trea Turner is a good thing… it is an excellent thing for everyone that doesn’t own him.  If you are the sad owner of him, replacing Turner is not the biggest need.  In reality, you just need to maintain the fort ion the steals department.  That’s where me and this column come in.  SAGNOF to your wildest content.  The waivers are now your oyster at the SS, OF, or wherever you had TT employed.  Moves a plenty should be made and don’t be afraid to play match-ups versus catchers or pitchers or both.  Luckily for you, I have supplied one after the bump.  Happy post-Independence day.  Cheers!

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Y’all better be ready.  (Gotta love some fantasy baseball puns that involve some Cypress Hill.)  Well, even if you didn’t like it, I did.  So there’s that.  So A.A. Ron Hicks hit the DL with an oblique injury… but I have to ask: Why is it so oblique if we actually know what it is?  If anything, it’s an un-oblique injury because we know what the injury is.  Regardless, and I am dropping the “ir” because it is not a word, though it should be.  Jacoby Ellsbury has returned like a stallion on a white stallion. Unfortunately for fantasy, Jacoby hasn’t been such since dunkaroos were still a cool snack.  As a Yankee rooter, Hicks’ injury hurts because he is versatile and Ellsbury is just a DL nightmare.  The rewards that you reaped from the waiver wire add of Hicks aren’t lost though, because it is a substitute by substitute principle.  It’s like walking through the store and finding a 20 dollar bill.  Only to realize that a month later it was your money to begin with.  So reinvest that sorta found money to the waiver wire and keep digging.  The expectations for Ellsbury should remain limited, but are boosted by where he bats in the Yankee lineup.  Though in his SAGNOF defense, he did have 8 steals in just 149 plate appearances, so he does have some value as it relates to steals and such.  And with the scuppering Yankees in a fall from fantasy grace, minus Judge, he could ease out some OF 4-5 value.  Stay glued to that chair, more goodies after the jump on swipes, thievery and save-dom.

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Experiments are fun.  When I was a youth, we used to play a game called killer UNO.  Basically, the gist of the game was don’t get caught with the most cards. Similar to regular ole UNO, but this is where the killer part came in.  The loser had to drink a concoction of any four things mixed together from the kitchen.  So while you are trying to think of actually how gross that is and the possibilities, let’s look at the strange thing about four things soon to be in Milwaukee…  (Including prized prospect Lewis Brinson or soon to be lack there of.)  The way he is playing and the imminent return of Ryan Braun from the DL spells one thing: Minor leagues.  He is being outplayed by Keon and even twice on Sunday. Subtle Domingo joke folks.  So with Braun coming back, the regular a bats are not going to be there.  Brinson definitely has the goods, it just isn’t his time.  He came up with some SAGNOF promise and basically gave us, to date, 3-for-21, .143 batting average, and one whole counting stat.  A steal for all the kids at home screaming it.  Cut bait and go in another direction.  I get that he has sexy name appeal and can juggle, but in redraft leagues, move elsewhere and see what’s what in a month or two with the Brewers roster and pennant push.  In September, he could be a sneaky Dave Roberts type of late game entry with some steal capability.  So I bid you fair the well Sir Lewis of Brinson of the Colorado Silver Sox clan.  Carry on SAGNOF surfers, let’s see what else is hopping on the good foot to do the bad thing in the thievery department.  As always I like to include a chart of some sort, makes it all pretty like…

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You know what Tuesday’s are good for… SAGNOF.  And remembering to put your recycling out.  Funny enough, I am correlating the two this week.  Co-mingling, if you may.  This week, I wanna bring something old, something not so new, and he wears blue… pajamas.  (Because p-jays make the man.)  Let’s look at some old SAGNOF gold and the familiar name that is Eric Young Jr..  Hell, this is SAGNOF, it ain’t a beauty contest… it’s not even that B.S. 15-buck prize from Monopoly when you land on the community chest.  Why I like E.Y. Jr. is multi-faceted; First, he is on a team where he doesn’t have to throw base-running as a caution to the wind.  The Angels are second behind only the Reds’ legs in steals, and with an 80% success rate, they prolly won’t be choosing another tact to manufacture runs while Trout is mending his fin.  He isn’t sexy, and he has a track record of being a good for a few games then falling off a plateau, but since receiving regular at-bats, it is in the same breath as Trout going down.  He has an OBP of over .410, and if you think it’s kind of a fluke, check his minor league stats prior to call-up.  His OPS was at .950 in 44 games at Triple A with 15 steals.  The days of stealing 50-plus bases ala 2013 are long gone, but if you need to find a place for a steal here or there, check the Angels ownership and steals totals.  Maybin, Simmons et al.  So with that, let’ see what else is shaking in the 90-feet of thievery department.  Chart added for flavor.  Cheers!

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