I am always a day late and a buck short on the posts because I am relegated to be the Saturday morning cartoon of the Razzball variety.  No worries, I mean, who doesn’t love 80’s cartoons and can’t list 10 shows that would drastically alter children’s universes today?  One word… Snorks.  So with everyone else doing the second-half rankings, I felt it was my duty to give the closer rankings based solely on the second games remaining.  The elite will still be the elite, the mediocre are still mediocre, and the middling teams will still be middling. I don’t care what algorithm Jimmy Bill came up with to have expected win totals and blah blah.  Expected win totals are an indicator of save expectations. because the percent of saves converted in wins by teams has been pretty stagnant at 52%, give or take a few sheckles each way.  So looking at the games remaining, some teams have less games to play then others, and some have more so the expected totals for some teams will be different then what you would expect them to be.  So as a wise person once said to me in throws of fantasy passion, lets have at it.  Cheers!

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Earlier this week, we looked at some lightly owned hitters in ESPN leagues who could be potential difference makers in fantasy baseball over the second half of the season. Today, it’s time to focus on some pitchers who can give your fake teams a boost down the stretch. Even if your team’s ratios look more unsightly than a Meg Ryan facelift, there’s still plenty of time remaining to fix those issues. So put down those Francisco Liriano and James Shields voodoo dolls people, and let’s go to work.

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Craig Biggio.  It’s a sloppy, imperfect comparison, but that’s who Alex Bregman looks like.  I watched three minutes of video of him.  So, that’s like saying there’s smoke emitting from every New York City manhole because underneath are old Filipino women making hot pretzels, who then transport them to the above ground vendors, because you found an old Filipino woman underneath one manhole cover making pretzels.  Luke, small is your sample size, said Yoda.  Now, if you buy into the Biggio comparison, which you should because Filipino women are making pretzels below New York City manholes, Biggio had three homers, six steals and hit .211 in his first 50 games.  Ya know, Hall of Famer, Craig Biggio.  Biggio was older then than (stutterer!) Bregman is now, if you were looking for an excuse.  Rookies sure are fun, right?  They mostly cause ulcers.  They.  Mostly.  Cause.  Ulcers.  TMCU, for short.  So, Bregman is crazy talented, he could be up soon, I would own him, but, for this year, I’d keep my expectations in Slovakia, or even Czech.  For further reading, Prospector Ralph has him number one on the top 100 fantasy baseball prospects.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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The day before our Independence Day, the Nationals exploded for six home runs, a fireworks display that would make the Grucci family jealous.   The Grucci fireworks family has a fascinating history.  Giuseppe Grucci in 1923 said to his momma, “I don’t want to be a two-bit gangster, cutting peoples’ fingers off for debt payment, I want to blow up thousands of fingers all across this great nation.”  Then his mother smacked him and told him to finish his lasagna.  Yesterday, Bryce Harper (2-for-4) hit his 17th homer, Wilson Ramos (3-for-4, 3 runs, 2 RBIs) hit his 13th, Anthony Rendon (2-for-3, 2 runs) hit his 8th, but at the heart of the fireworks celebration was Danny Espinosa (4-for-5, 6 RBIs) with his 17th and 18th home run, and his 4th and 5th homers in the last four games.  For those of you who think he’s a weekend hot bat, he hit .309 with nine homers in June.  He’s only 29 years old and he is a guy that has seasons of 20+ homers and 20 steals.  So, yes, you should own him.  Fun fact!  Did you know what they call a fireworks display on July 3rd?  A premature ejacu-elation.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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This marks my 100th post here at the Razzball baseball blog and I must say how thankful I am that I have a home at a blog where I can provide below average fantasy baseball analysis while referencing Jules Verne, Scientology, Jon Snuh and ayahuasca all in the same post. It’s been a wild couple a years and I outlasted many a writer I didn’t think I’d outlast. Remember when the Guru disappeared in a van? Remember Razzball TV on the Radio? And what ever happened to Kenyon!? That guy was hilarious. I remember when Grey first found me. I was trying to get my Harry Potter erotica/fan fiction off the ground and writing signs for homeless people to make a quick buck. “Why Lie I Need A Beer,” ever see that one? Yep, that’s a Dan Pants original. Grey said he could use my talents to express undying love for shortstops named Xander and tell people they shouldn’t own two catchers. The rest is history, folks. Special thanks to Grey, Rudy, and Jay. Not Tehol though–[expletive deleted] that guy. But enough about me, you’re here for the sub-par fantasy advice. The New York Mets (lol, Joakim Noah!) called up rookie Brandon Nimmo last Sunday and after going 0-for-4 in his debut, he’s hit safely in his past five games. He’s led off for NY the past two games and responded in a big way last night going 2-for-3 with a 3-run home run (a 440 foot shot). Curtis Granderson remains hobbled and with Michael Conforto “working things out” in the minors Brandon has been given an opportunity to shine at the top of the order. He slashed .328/.409/.508 with five homers and five steals in 63 games AAA this year. If you are looking for an outfielder in NL-Only and deeper mixed leagues you might consider finding Nimmo on your waiver wire.

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Whatever your cultivation of choice may be, go with it.  Oscar Gamble was, and is still a pimp in social culture, as is California sensemilia.  So whatever your subset of life is, that’s cool with me.  My obsession is a little of column A, a lot of column B, and I incorporate column C.  Column C being my love and passion for the deliverance of the most finite bullpen jargon on the web.  Go look, there isn’t anything better than me.  I checked, if I added a pretty colorful chart with catchy funny names, then I would literally have to kick my own ass.  So here we sit, and look at what the Rangers are doing.  They have been doing, in the last 30 days what the Cubs did over the first 30.  They are, in no large part, being buoyed by a stout bullpen.  Their starters are all hitting the DL and fast.  The trio of Matt Bush, Jake Diekman, and Sam Dyson are about as tight as a bullpen can get, and the best group I have seen since the Isley Brothers concert Prospector Ralph and I went to see.  I have talked about Dyson and Diekman on separate occasions this year.  So no, it’s the one without voting privileges turn.  Bush has basically been a la machina since promotion on May 12th.  He has appeared in 13 games for the Rangers to date, and his usage has only recently spiked having pitched in 13 of the last 22 overall for the Rangers.  His 10-plus K-rate over that time is coupled with an ERA under a buck and his xFIP is basically what David Phelps is giving you.  Who, in most hold leagues right now, is pretty much a must own and isn’t a guy you yawn at in mixed company leagues either.  Bush is a feel good story that I think can continue as long as the Rangers can duct tape their starting rotation together long enough to maintain their AL West dominance.  He should be rostered in most leagues going forward for his usage potential as the remaining Rangers starters, minus Cole Hamels, average less than 6 innings per start.  So head for the mountains and roster some Bush.  Stick with me for some other diatribes of greatness…

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The change in Texas has reverbed into the Holds ranks as well.  Tolley was the guy, now Frank Perdue’s arch-nemesis Sam Dyson is all comfy in the save bird seat.  The best part of this whole deal is that Jake Diekman is reaping all the benefits from a fantasy hold perspective.  This is a coup for the people who listened to me early and figured him to be the lefty-version of the lock-down pen arm in Arlington.  All Jake has done on the year is garner 13 holds with 11 plus K/9 and a HR/9 just a smidge over one.  We in the fantasy community rely on such precise words as smidge, scoonch, pinch… and I’m throwing prolly in there because some people like it and it doesn’t get more accurate than that.   So the main question is, can Diekman be the man and continue to be the man?  Absolutely.  He is thriving in a role that he started when he was with Philly.  The Rangers, also if anyone is paying attention, aren’t a half bad team and are fairly solid with or without Tolleson closing at the end.  So let’s take a look at what else has happened in the fortnight of games since the last bullpen lowdown, or ho-down.  Depending on how strong your hold pimp hand is.

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Well we weren’t talking about deep fried empanadas.  We were talking about the retro-chich lads from that Navy town of San Diego…  Yes, those Padres of the last place origin.  The ones with 16 whole wins in their favor on the year.  Sneaky Hold situations make my world go round.  Which, in turn, makes me spurn to you on the recycled tip of the serving platter from a fantasy analyst.  Over the last 14 games, the Padres have endured some good fortune in the reliever ranks, namely Brandon Maurer.  Maurer has netted himself 7 Holds over that time, or in fantasy bullpen coverage terms here at the Razz-nation, a hold the fort(night). Maurer is the 8th inning guy and if you are in a holds league, then he is probably taken.  Him of the 14-plus K-rate over the last 10 games and because they strung a few victories in a row, boom! Stats.  But we all know how many holds he has in the last umpteen days… because we can all read stat lines and understand that one plus the previous amount equals today’s total.  Math catch-up lesson over.  The Father’s depth in the pen doesn’t just end with Brandon.  Take a look deeper and we will come across not the candelstick maker, nor the baker, but the Butcher.  As in Ryan Butcher.  While Maurer seems to get all the decent looks in the 8th for the beloved hold, Butcher seems to latch onto him like a paramecium in heat looking for a Padres win.  Averaging over a K per inning, and duly entrenched as the bridge to the bridge to Fernando Rodney (which probably really isn’t much of a bridge of at all, but just a rope with board entwined with hope aspiration and tears), so with this brief biopic on the San Diegans bullpen fellas, lets look at what else is bouncing around in the world of set-up, set-up to get beat down.  I get nothing but a hold.

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The season is here baby! Boy what an awesome opening day… The Cardinals are in dead last in the NL Central! So beautiful…

Hard to believe we’re going into year 4 of the Pitcher Profiles. So much profiling! And it’s the 3rd year of the weekly re-ranks. I’m doing so much SP heavy-lifting that I might have a UCL injury!

Speaking of injuries, a lot has changed since I put out my initial ranks exactly a month ago, but it feels like this Spring was a little more injury-free than last year. In fact, the biggest elbow injury wasn’t even a pitcher! Take that, pitching detractors! It’s mostly been some surprise risers (my K:BB obsession gave me a Juan NicasiO-face looking at his stats!) and some guys losing their opening day rotation spot (wahhhh Paxton, whyyyyy?!). As always, green for ascenders and red for The Descenderists, who as a band should be marked in red. I haven’t heard anything about them for years!

We’ll be getting into the Profiling next week (everyone watched those first 3 games, seems silly to profile any of those Opening Day guys), so get ready for some GIFfing magic! Here’s my updated top 100 SP for the first week of the fantasy baseball season:

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Seems like Andre Ethier followed Natalie Portman’s advice in Garden State a little too closely when she told Braff that The Shins will change your life.  Dodgers announced that Ethier would miss 10 to 14 weeks with a fractured tibia.  What is that, two days after I drafted Ethier in Tout Wars?  Two and a half?  One and one three-quarters of a tibia later?  All you can do is laugh.  A high-pitched, crazed laugh like when you lose your job, then step in an empty elevator shaft.  One of those real crazy laughs that you expect to hear from someone pushing a shopping cart filled with Ho-Ho boxes that have been removed of Ho-Hos and replaced with dog turds.  One of those kind of laughs.  Filling in for Ethier will be some combo of Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford, Kike Hernandez and Trayce Thompson, a group that could be summarized with:  Bleh, Meh, Jewish, Girl.  I removed Ethier from my top 100 outfielders and top 500.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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