My wife and I have a long running joke on what’s worse, Hot Dog breath or hot dog breath?  Hot dogs are a requirement for me at the ballpark, but the last time I was there, I gleaned some interesting information about the difference between the jumbo dog and the regular dog.  That is, there is no difference.  At least not at my local stadium, named after a terrible beer.  I asked for the jumbo dog, didn’t have enough cash for it, and asked for the regular.  They were the same size, except one was in silver and blue foil, the other in silver and red.  I asked the woman at the counter what’s the difference? She smiled and said “nothing.”  I appreciate that kind of candor and told her so; so I took my regular hot dog, covered it in mustard and onions, and enjoyed my favorite food at the ballpark.

Furthermore, the breath you get after eating a hot dog isn’t great.  On the flip-side, in the middle of summer after taking the dog on a long walk, yields some strong hot dog breath.  Is there a difference?  Sure, but not too much.  So I pop a mint, the dog takes one of those dog improving breath treats, and we move on.  What did all that have to do with fantasy baseball?  Uh…not much, so take the hot dog tip, avoid hot dog breath in all cases, and add Ben Paulsen to your fantasy teams.

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I want to start talking about a little piece of OPS strategy that has worked for me over the years.  This works for AVG and OBP Leagues but I think works especially well for OPS leagues.  I call it: “Pair two players (PTP).”  Sexy, I know.  Usually it’s the combination of a power guy (say Giancarlo Stanton) with a speed guy (say Billy Hamilton).  Simple, yet efficient.  Giancarlo Hamilton, as it were.  Other examples: Edwin Pillar, Ender Rizzo, Lorenzo Abreu, make up your own! It’s fun.

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Hello, Razzball Readers and six reader-ettes (Grey says it’s five, but now my wife will read (or says she will), so let’s up that number to six, shall we?). The name is Phil, and I’m here to provide some OPS league analysis. I’m from St Louis, but I’m no Cardinals Fan; so the Browns Logo it is.  I’m also not as funny as some of the writers on this site, but I’ll try to work in some humor; we’ll have a few beers, a few laughs, stop at In-and-Out burger, you know, the usual.

I’m going to be breaking down players and numbers for OPS leagues, which are the best of leagues. For those not in the know, that’s On Base % (so walks count!) + Slugging Percentage. Chicks dig the long ball, as Greg Maddux(?!?!) said back in the 90’s, and OPS leagues love those guys. However, as we enter deflated numbers for power hitters, we need to look at guys who help at OPS, which isn’t as easy to find as “batting average” hitters.

The biggest part of OPS to know is that batting average DOESN’T MATTER. Remember that, right it down, take a picture, I don’t give an ef, as it’s the most important part when comparing rankings from Experts. In recent history sluggers like Adam Dunn (the OPS League Gold Standard for many years), Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss, Cris Carter, Mark Trumbo; all can/did barely hit over .240 but they hit bombs and had a nice OPS.

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The season is winding down, and honestly, there isn’t much that can be said to help improve your playoff chances at this point. Largely, the last few days of the season come down to grabbing the appropriate streamer options. This post will go up on Saturday, so this may not look wise, but guys like Wei-Yen Chen are typically smart plays. Anyone going up against a lineup that is being “rested,” such as the Yankees following their clenching of the Wild Card, is a smart gamble.

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Thomas Pham is a 27-year old rookie who has made the most of his first month in the big leagues. Big Magoo wrote about him on Tuesday, saying “Enjoy the fling while it lasts, but be wary of a long-term commitment.” And I completely agree! I don’t think that Pham will be a viable option in shallow mixed leagues next year.

thomas-pham-mlb-st.-louis-cardinals-milwaukee-brewers-590x900

Can he do it? Yes, he pham! Remember those great Jorge Cantu chants? Jorge can’t hit a home run! Yes, he Cantu!

My initial reaction was: could this be a Charlie Blackmon scenario? Blackmon’s first full season came at the age of 27, when he batted .288/.335/.440 with 19 bombs. But, Blackmon had already had plenty of major league action to that point, and his skillset was generally superior to Pham’s. So, I slapped myself and recognized that Pham is a perfect playoff schmotato and nothing more. Given that information, Pham has absolutely crushed over the past two weeks, posting a 1.350 OPS with 4 homers and 12 RBI. At this point in the year, you need to grab onto these hot streaks. And, Pham’s hot streak is molten right now.

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In the spirit of the playoffs, I’m going to run through one widely available player at each position who might be able to help you in your OPS stretch run. Let’s get started.

Catcher: Grey gave you J.P. Arencibia and Francisco Cervelli as buys yesterday. But, if those guys are taken and you are hurting at catcher, take a look at Florida’s J.T. Realmuto. Over the past two weeks, Realmuto has gone 13-for-34 with 3 home runs and a 1.084 OPS.  He’s been one of the hottest hitting catchers going of late and he is owned in about 15% of ESPN leagues. I also considered Detroit’s James McCann for this one. Over the past week, McCann trails only Buster Posey, Kyle Schwarber, and Salvadaor Perez in OPS, posting a .853. But, playing time is a bit more of a concern with McCann, so Realmuto is the pick.

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The King has returned to Middle Earth, to rule over the hobbits and elves and the other woodland friends. His name is Bryce Harper, and he will dole out fiery OPS vengeance upon any foolish enough to oppose him. Yes, friends, Harper, our long-time OPS champion, has enacted his fury this past week, going 10-for-23 with 5 homers and 6 RBI. His OPS for this period was a gorgeous 1.753. If Harper doesn’t win the NL MVP award, something is very wrong with the BBWAA. Harper has the 2nd highest OPS all-time for a 22-year old, behind only Teddy Ballgame. Almost more impressively, if the season ended today, Harper’s OPS would be the highest since Barry Bonds’ in 2004 (Bonds had an absolutely inhuman 1.422 OPS).

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Kyle Seager has been on a bit of a tear. Seager’s OPS over the past week is a very handy 1.372. He is going to close out 2015 with stats almost identical to his previous couple of seasons, 20+ homers, 70+ RBI, and a .260/.330/.430. Not bad, but not all that special, either. Seager is one of those guys that you draft for safety but recognize immediately that it wasn’t a “sexy” pick. In my 10-team AL-only league, I had my eye on Kyle but he was plucked right before me in round 5, so I grabbed Manny Machado. If we’re talking “sex” and “baseball”, we’re talking Machado … or Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham. Now that we’ve established that Kyle Seager isn’t as beautiful as Manny Machado, how does Kyle’s younger brother Corey Seager compare?

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Tehol was enjoying Shark Week while Miguel Sano was bashing mammoth home runs a while back. Appropriately, he gave the Dominican-born Sano the fantastic nickname, “Great White.” I’ve got to say, I have been inspired by this since, and I’m determined to make it stick. I will dedicate my life to getting this nickname uttered by a nationally televised broadcast team. Okay, nicknames aside now, let’s talk about Mr. Sano. Aaron Gleeman, a Rotoworld Senior Editor and Minnesotan, has been posting an onslaught of wonderful OPS statporn related to Sano. Here’s a sampling…

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