The Oakland A’s have been the team to beat in the first half of 2014. They own the best record the majors, their offense, which is comprised of a ragtag bunch of misfits from the other side of the tracks, ranks second among all teams in RBIs and total bases. They lead the league in ERA and WHIP, and they just upgraded their rotation with the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, all without the help of fat Jonah Hill. You don’t need Andy Serkis’ acting school to show you you’d be a real monkey to doubt these guys. They’ve been just as good from a fantasy perspective. Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Sonny Gray have carried over their success from 2013, and Jesse Chavez, Sean Doolittle and the two-headed catcher platoon of John Jaso and Derek Norris have all been first half surprises. So which A’s can you hitch a ride on for some second half fantasy glory? Jed Lowrie (2-for-4, RBI) can get real hot, real quick, and is currently on a seven game hitting streak, with multi-hit performances in six of those games. You might want to scoop him up before he explodes, or gets injured again. Similarly, Stephen Vogt (2-for-3, HR (4)) has been excellent since receiving everyday at bats and is slashing .435/.480/.652 over the past two weeks. He’s got an 11 game hitting streak (six multi-hit games in that span) and two homers in his past three days, and that catcher eligibility makes him extra valuable. P. Diddy says Vogt or die, so you should grab Stephen while he’s still just under 30% owned. We may be through a little over half of the fantasy season so far, but there’s still plenty of time to ride the Oaktown bandwagon to some fantasy glory, at least until they get to San Antonio. #keeptheAsinOakland!
Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night (*All-Star Edition*):
Felix Hernandez – 8.0 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Felix has pitched over seven innings in 11 starts this year and had gone at least eight innings eight times. His 154/25 K/BB rate, and 0.90 WHIP are awesome sauce. That’s why he’s the King. Stream-O-Nator loved this start and with good reason. SON also loves ASCII character code and the Transformers movies, and one of those I just can’t get behind. Those movies are terrible. You crazy robot!
Jeff Samardzija – 8.0 IP, 5 hits, 3 ER, 5 K. The new prince of Oakland did his best to keep up with King Felix and looked almost as good, pitching his first complete game of the year. As Billy Bob Thornton would say on Fargo, “Aces!”
Hiroki Kuroda – 7.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 ER, 3 K. Another first half in the books and it’s time for me to dole out my first half awards that so many of you have been pining for. This was probably Hiroki’s best start of the season. He wins the award for healthiest Yankee starting pitcher, which is actually not as easy a win as it sounds. Before pilates, Vidal Nuno drinks a Kale shake every morning with soy protein boost.
Miguel Gonzalez – 8.0 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 5 K. His second straight 8.0 inning performance. I wouldn’t recommend him every time out, but definitely worth streaming in the right match ups.
Dellin Betances – 2.0 IP, 3 K. Betances wins the award for the only non-closer relief pitcher who should be owned in every fantasy league. Seriously, this doode has been seriously serious. He’s striking out over 1.5 batters an inning and leads all Yankee starters not named Tanaka in punch outs as well. Also, he is fun to watch.
Andrew McCutchen – 2-for-3, HR (15). Cutch wins the award for player who I most wish I owned, but probably would hardly notice if I did. He has been sneaky good, ninja stylez. He’s been especially sneaky, sneaky lately with 3 HR, 2 steals, 8 runs and 8 RBI in the past week. He could be poised for an even bigger second half.
Jordan Schafer – 0-for-1, 2 BB, 3 SB (14). You gotta love a guy that can go 0-for-1 and steal three bases. If you type that into a internet search engine computer web site you will see a picture of a SAGNOF striking out.
Arismendy Alcantara – 1-for-4, SB (1). You sir, are a mouthful! Grey told you to BUY him and he’s done it all in his first three games up. It seems like the Cubs now have more young potential future star shortstops than a Derek Jeter baseball camp.
Chris Coghlan – 2-for-3, run, RBI, SB (4). How is he under 10% owned? Grey said to BUY and over the past two weeks Coghlan has hit .370 with 2 homers, 7 RBI, 3 SB, and 14 runs scored. That’s a hot schmotato with sour cream, chive and buttah, yo. Like buttah!
Justin Ruggiano – 2-for-5, 2 RBI. Grey told you to BUY him, too! Uh-oh. This is the third Cub I’ve mentioned in a row now but since the world isn’t yet encased in ice or fire, I assume it’s safe to pick him up.
Jake Arrieta – 7.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. Whoa, another Cubbie, now I’m really pushing it, but Jake Arrieta deserves mention. He wins the I lost Jose Fernandez and Masahiro Tanaka to injury, but at least I picked up Jake Arrieta award. That’s my way of discretely telling you all I lost both those pitchers and you should pity me. Only Clayton Kershaw has been better than Arrieta over the past month, and Kersh has been on another planet. A planet where their only form of communication is strikeouts.
Hector Rondon – 1.0 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, BS (4), W. Another Cub! Do you see what happens! I took it one player too far.
Bryce Harper – 1-for-4, HR (2). *steps back from ledge, unties noose, puts down razor blade* Harps wins an award too, even if he’s only played 3 weeks. He wins the award for the player most likely to save the second half of your fantasy season. He’s also the player who most likely caused you to tank the first half of your fantasy season.
Jordan Zimmermann – 3.1 IP, 6 hits, 4 ER. Left the game with a bicep cramp but the MRI was encouraging. The injury will cause Zimm to miss his second consecutive all-star game with an injury, but the real honor is just making the team, not playing the game.
Denard Span – 2-for-4, SB (15). The Spanimal has a nine game hitting streak with two stolen bases in the past three games. If you haven’t by now, you’re not going to pick him up at this point anyway, but I thought you should know.
Jimmy Rollins – 2-for-4, 2 HR (11), 3 RBI. He celebrated his big game with a warm glass of tonic water and a nap. He might go feed the birds on a bench later (cause he’s old).
David Wright – 4-for-4, 2-run HR (8). Yaaaawn.
Lucas Duda – 1-for-4, 2-run HR (14). Duda’s played well enough to be the starting first baseman for any losing fantasy team. Honestly though, 20 homers and 80+ RBIs from your corner is real nice.
Aroldis Chapman – 1.0 IP, 3 K, SV (20). The Chapman with the Kimbrel!
Billy Hamilton – 3-for-5, run, RBI. Billy obviously won an award, but somebody stole it. LOL!
Corey Kluber – 6.0 IP, 8 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K and his ninth win. Did you guys hear Lebron is returning to Cleveland? It’s true! He wrote a letter and everything. If you haven’t heard, I’m happy to be the first media outlet you’ve looked at since coming out of your coma this morning. Welcome back!
Zack Wheeler – 6.2 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, and his fifth win. He’s gone 6+ IP in his past three starts giving up just one run in each start. The 14/9 K/BB ratio isn’t anything to write home about though, unless you’re Lebron James and you’re pouring your heart out to your home town and the world. NBA Basketball, people! So many emotions!
Geovany Soto – Was arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. He was found with a strain of weed code named “Colby Lewis.” Not sure where it’s from, but I hear it hits you hard. That was Grey’s joke! Here’s mine: and all this time I’ve been hanging out with Evan Gattis smoking crack and eating garbage like a sucker, when clearly chillin’ with Soto is where the party’s at. Grey’s is better, but feel free to post your own entry in the comments! Geovany wins the highly contested award of player who most wants to be traded to Colorado.
Mike Trout – 1-for-4, HR (22). Naturally, Trout nabs the most prized award for the second straight year: The player I most want to own, but never have and probably never will, but that’s okay I’m cool with it now. Sigh.
Garrett Richards – 7.0 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. G-Rich wins the award for the young Angels pitcher you should have drafted. On the fo’ realsies, he’s 11-2 with a 2.55 ERA and 127 Ks. Keep on doing what you’re doing, G.
Jose Reyes – 3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI. Reyes would probably win the award for player most likely to get injured as soon as he starts heating up, but there is no such award. That would just be bad karma.
Evan Longoria – 0-for-3, run. At this point I’d get more pleasure starting Eva Longoria at third base. Pleasure–get it? Wait. I don’t get it.
Danny Duffy – 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 6 K and his ninth loss. If you had the cajones to start Duffy versus Detroit you probably deserve an award, too, my friend.
Anibal Sanchez – 7.0 IP, 8 hits, 1 ER, 3 K. He’s now got a 3.04 ERA, and 70/25 K/BB rate. Grey told you to SELL, and although I don’t necessarily think he’ll be bad if you cite those stats above to a potential buyer you might be able to get something real good, so I’d definitely explore options.
Kolten Wong – 1-for-5, HR (5). Grey told you to BUY Wong because he’s in love with him, but I’m telling you to buy him for reasons that my personal emotions have not clouded, he has four homers and two stolen bases in six games: PICK HIM UP!
Matt Holliday – 3-for-4, 3 runs, HR (6). He’s got one more home run than Wong but is owned in 100% of leagues. I will say it again, it bears repeating: PICK UP WONG!
Jean Segura – 1-for-4. Mean Jean takes away the award for player I most regret drafting. Seriously, with some of the middle infielders that were available on free agency this year it pains me most not that I burned a high pick on him, but that I’ve been stuck with Segura at SS all year.
Scooter Gennett – 3-for-5, 2 run, 2 RBI, SB (5). Scooter does everything you could ask for from your fantasy second baseman, except play everyday.
Matt Adams – 1-for-5, HR (11). Can you give an award for player most likely to play well enough to win a fake award from me in the second half? I just did!
Tim Lincecum – 7.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. Timmah’s given up just one earned run in his past four starts, and has gone 6+ innings with six Ks in each. In that four game span he’s faced the Padres twice, a struggling Cardinals team, and the Diamondbacks. In other words, you have about a week to trade him before he burns you again.
Pablo Sandoval – 3-for-4, 2-run HR (11), 3 RBI. I feel like I’ve been using Panda to try to hide my Taco Bell addiction, but in truth, it’s all me. I had one of those burritos wrapped in a quesadilla, wrapped in a bag of Doritos and it was awful in the best way possible. I’m 90% sure Pablo ate one of those last night as well.
Jesse Hahn – 6.0 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, and his fifth win. “Great kid, don’t get cocky.”
Troy Tulowitzki – 1-for-4, 2-run HR (21). GIVE HIM ALL THE AWARDS!
Charlie Blackmon – 2-for-4, run. You’d think Chuck Nazty would deserve an award this year, but I just gave the rest of them to Tulo.
Jackie Bradley Jr. – 2-for-4, run. You gotta hand it to this crop of Boston’s youngsters, they may not be the hard hitting bunch, but boy do they have a great set of names. Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. sounds like a WWE triple threat match. Still, there’s only so much good will a great name can buy a player…
Xander Bogaerts – 0-for-4. I’m looking at you Xander. I own Bogaerts just about everywhere. I was wrong about him this year. He is killing me. And not only have I refused to drop him, but I JUST started benching him last week. I am a lost cause. I guess X-Man’s mutant power is being my fantasy kryptonite. Uh-oh, I mixed Marvel and DC again…bring it on, nerds!
Christian Vazquez – 3-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBI. Could this Christian be the Sawx savior? Probably not, but he certainly seems to gel a lot better with this young Boston team than Old Man Pierzynski, and the Sawx have now won four in a row with A.J. gone. You can’t put a fantasy price on chemistry. Oh wait, yes you can. It’s zero. Zero fantasy points for chemistry. Unless you’re in some weird league that counts hugs, in which case, I’m intrigued. Sign me up and draft me Big Papi first overall.
Questions? Problems? Complaints? Advice, small gifts or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below, or you can get at me on twitter @dandemanco. Enjoy your All-Star break!