Can you name the top five in the AL for batting average?  I’m talking those qualified.  The person who said Erik Kratz for being 1-for-1 on the year is unqualified to answer.  By the way, if you’ve taken too many quaaludes to answer, does that mean you’re unquaaludified?   I pose this question to you while sprawled on a tiger-skin carpet like Burt Reynolds in a centerfold for Cosmopolitan.  “Loni, feed me grapes, would you doll face?”  Totally making current references right now.  The top 5:  Altuve, Avisail Garcia, Hosmer, Reddick and Jose Ramirez.  Yo, batting average leaders nowadays are weird.  There’s only ten guys in the league over .300, and two of them are Joe Mauer and Lorenzo Cain.  Yesterday, Avisail went 5-for-5, 2 runs, 7 RBIs and his 17th homer, as he hits .333.  Let me be the first to tell you, he has not really broken out like your teenaged face.  He’s hitting 52% ground balls, a .397 BABIP (!), not even top 70 for Hard Contact percentage, a high HR/FB% for him and still only has 17 homers.  There’s very little to point to that he’s breaking out, and not just getting crazy lucky.  Now watch him win the batting title and go full Terry Pendleton.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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July 9th at 4pm marks the exact time I’m certain Prospector Ralph’s mind will explode with excitement. That feeling of pure elation can only be achieved in one scenario. Watching the game’s budding talents in the 2017 Futures Game – streaming on MLB.com – after spending countless hours researching and following prospects of this caliber (From the Razzball family and its incredible base of readers, we sincerely thank you for your work Ralph!). Well, maybe there are a few other scenarios. According to BuzzFeed there are 42 others where this pure form of joy and satisfaction arises. They include unraveling knittingcrunching leaves, and breaking the yolk. Aside from the fact that I’m certain breaking the yolk is a sexual innuendo for something completely different, we live in a truly sad world if these things make people as happy as Ralph on Futures Game Sunday.

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I wish I knew more about Street Fighter so I could come up with better Ryu puns or references. My knowledge of SF (do people abbreviate it like that?) ends at knowing it was fighting video game I had growing up that wasn’t as good as Mortal Kombat (hot take alert). And for the record, yes, I know Hyun-Jin Ryu pronounces his name differently. Give me a break, and go with it.

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Derek Fisher was called up by the Astros to replace the concussed Reddick.  First off, Derek needs to stop singing that jingle, “Trust the Astros Fisher, man.”  Tres annoying.  Saying tres instead of very is tres annoying, too. Fisher was hoping Reddick was some combination of reddish and haddock.  “Get that seaweed out of my face!”  That’s Nori Aoki.  Everyone in MLB is happy for Fisher except this guy.  If you thought Strickland-Harper was something… Sorry, for Derek Fisher, that was a layup.  As for fantasy, Fisher has power and speed, has had strikeout issues, but no worse than Bellinger.  He could be a difference maker if he plays 75%+ of the time.  One of the best guys in the minors this year.  Better on power than speed, inefficient as a runner.  Yes, PCL, but MLB is kinda PCL-like nowadays.  Might outproduce Brinson, though Fisher needs to stick in a job for that.  Yesterday, he went 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his first home run, and I think Fisher is for reel, and not just on the casting couch.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Sometimes, baseball can be that game we all fell in love with *covers mouth so you can’t hear number* years ago.  Whether it’s Paul O’Neil hitting a triple with an error to score a home run for a child in the hospital or that minor leaguer who crashed through a fence to make a catch or Bryce Harper tossing a foul ball to an actual clown to silence his questions or Reggie Jackson thinking about someone other than himself for a moment after Thurman Munson’s plane crashed or Lou Gehrig’s speech or Kirk Gibson’s fist pump or Saturday.  It would’ve been Yordano Ventura’s 26th birthday.  Obviously Edinson Volquez was very close to him when they were both on Royals.  According to Volquez, they shared everything, even constantly having to tell people, “No, I’m not Johnny Cueto.”  Edinson posted a pic of Ventura on his Instagram page Saturday morning, then went out and pitched the game of his life that afternoon, a no hitter — 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 walks, 10 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.79.  For one day, Edinson was able to say, “No, I’m not Johnny Cueto.  I’m better.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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If you had to write a fill-in-the-blank to summarize fantasy baseball in 2016, it would look something like this: “________ hit 30 HRs in 2016, a career high. He will hit half that amount in 2017.”

2017’s fill-in-the-blank is going to look  like this: “_________ was placed on the 10-day disabled list.”

Last week I was astonished to only have nine players hit the disabled list. This week, the injury bug came back with a vengeance — there are a whopping 20 players who have been added to this dubious club. Some of them are really earning those DL frequent flier miles.

This week there are six outfielders and nine starting pitchers mentioned in this article. Rather than try to find six healthy outfielders and nine healthy starting pitchers to add I am going to list a few shallow, standard and deep league targets you can add as fill ins. I’ll add this list at the bottom of the article.

As always, if you’ve got a league specific question, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASA-quick.

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Does anyone remember when Vince Vaughn was funny? It was a time long ago in a land far, far away, your wife was still dating guys wearing Armani Exchange shirts, and George W. Bush was using words like strategrey. It was long before the abortion that was True Detective Season 2, or Couples Retreat, and sometime between Swingers, and The Breakup. In that wrinkle in time Vince Vaughn ruled the box office, and the douchy part of our soul where things like Ed Hardy t-shirts, mirror selfies, and Criss Angel performances still roam free. So where am I going with this awkwardly constructed analogy? I’ll hurry up and get to the point, today’s subject Vince Velasquez has much in common with his big screen brother in initials, way beyond his first name and banal use of the word “Bae-be”. He too started his career with a bang, and universal love during his brief stay in Houston, and then the early season dominance in 2016. And much like Mr. Vaughn, Velasquez took on the task of leading man in the drama that is the Philadelphia Phillies 2017, but unfortunately he just hasn’t been able to recapture the magic. Maybe Velasquez’s nightmare seems less like a heroin dream, and more like a string of poor performances. But the effect is still the same, you just don’t view their latest release with the same excitement you used to. So when I was tasked with covering Velasquez this week by our fearless leader Grey Albright, it felt like a choir singing to me. Perhaps it was the angelic voice of Mr. Albright, perhaps it was my paycheck. Either way, when Grey Albright comes to you and asks “Can you see what’s happin’ with this young brother”, you A. wonder when he became a member of 5% Nation, B. you profile Vince Velasquez. So to the God Grey Albright this is for you…

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Has there been any “sleeper” more hyped this season than Charlie Morton? It seems like we’re constantly being reminded of the spike in velocity, the swing and miss stuff, the combination of swinging strikes, and groundball rate. Knowing all this I was dying to profile Morton and see what all the noise is about. Speaking of Noise, my Pittsburgh scout, and favorite right testicle Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, has a basket full of hot takes on Morton, that mostly consist of different ways to say Charlie Morton sucks. Perhaps Noisey is right, perhaps all the lemmings in the fantasy industry are right. Much like the ATLiens that raised me to be an emotionally well adjusted gangster, I just stay in the middle and drop bombs, mostly in the toilet. I stay regular ladies and gents. Let’s take a closer look at this “new and improved” Charlie Morton, and see if it’s in fact a new recipe, or the same re-packed garbage.

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With the state of the pitching landscape, moments like last Thursday night, when Twins’ prospect Jose Berrios finally flourished in the major leagues force all fantasy owners turn a very watchful eye north to Minnesota, with a club that has situated itself atop the AL Central heading into Sunday’s action.

After two starts, Berrios has 15.1 innings of work under his belt with 15 strikeouts and two walks. Good for a sub 1.00 ERA and a FIP, that isn’t as good as Kenley Jansen’s -0.95, but will be buoyed by the advanced control always touted as a strength. How much of his current line is indicative of what we should actually expect is more of a puzzle after how dominant he was at home against the Rockies. Tampering expectations might come because his matchup was the second of a double header, and despite the Rockies hold on the NL West, their WRC+ in both home and road games is sub 90, suggesting they might be playing a bit over their heads.

Now that I’ve gotten the two most obvious points to calm us down from Ian Desmond’s comment that Berrios’ stuff looked like Jose Fernandez, I still can’t get over the fact that Berrios had 20 swinging strikes, seven on his curveball, 12 on his fourseamer, and a lone whiff to his sinker. This was basically double the amount of whiffs he had on his fastball and curveball independently, at any point in his major league career. Needless to say, this was a glimpse at the peak of the Berrios mountain. Watching this start, it was painfully obvious that the Rockies had no chance on his curveball, which he threw near 35% of the time and generated about 20% swinging strikes on.

Thursday was a game of firsts for Berrios, but as with any player that storms onto the scene, taking a step back to look at what is actually possible moving forward is extremely important.

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Yesterday, Jose Berrios went 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 11 Ks, bringing his two-game ERA to 0.59.  Hi ho the Berrios, snitches!  Here’s what I said previously on Jose Berrios (because this is instructive, and not out of laziness), “In Triple-A, Berrios threw 75 2/3 IP and had a 2.62 ERA with a 9.9 K/9 and a 1.7 BB/9.  That’s Sizzlean that you leave on top of your camel’s head as you gallop through the Sahara heat.  You don’t usually see that kind of sample size — that’s what she said! — in Triple-A.  You know why?  Most major league teams promote guys who are as good as Berrios.  Most teams also don’t tie a player’s paycheck to a string then drag said check right in front of the player’s feet, just out of their reach.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Here’s the kicker.  That was from two years ago!  I’ve loved this guy for a long time — that’s not what she said!  His first two games I’d describe as ‘a little difficult’ to pretty easy.  His next start at Baltimore will be the true test.  If you’re in a competitive league, you need to own him now before he goes out and throws a gem in Balty-more (they call it that, right?).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?