So, I’m going to do something a little different today. I’m just gonna throw out the reason why right off the bat: I’m selfish and lazy. That’s what mid-August baseball talk is all about!

As part of my rebuilding efforts in the REL – well, I should say, my main anchor in my rebuilding efforts – I got Alex Reyes to hopefully be my staff stopper. I mean, have you SEEN the Brewers rotation?! Yikes. With some control issues and a pretty bad ERA in AAA, I wasn’t too surprised to see a fantastic arm like Reyes get the call-up anyway as a bullpener. This had been speculated upon all season – the Cards did this with their major prospects in Adam Wainwright and Carlos Martinez – so we’re not getting a big shock. And with Reyes called up at the same time as Luke Weaver, it appears they might piggyback each other for the foreseeable future. But Reyes clearly, CLEARLY looks like a dominant starter that’s about ready. After seeing his debut inning last Thursday night where he hit 101 twice, I’ve been eagerly awaiting an encore. Here’s how Reyes looked in his 2nd-4th career MLB innings Saturday afternoon at Wrigley:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Mookie Betts went 4-for-6, 4 runs, 8 RBIs with three homers (24, 25, 26).  In the long, storied history of the Red Sox, Mookie Betts is only the 2nd Sawx player to have two three-homer games in a season; the other is Ted Williams.  Mookie Ballgame.  The Splendid Splurger.  The Greatest Mookie Who Ever Lived With Apologies To Mookie Wilson and Mookie Blaylock.  The You Can’t Make This Up Because Your Imagination Can’t Come Up With Anything This Beautiful.  The Hamilton Musical In Baseball Form.  The Unfrozen Ted Williams.  I don’t think it’s hyperbole — which is not the chamber Michael Jackson used to sleep in — to think Mookie Betts will be a top three hitter in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  He’s now cemented himself in the three hole in one of the best offensive parks, surrounded by a team that is always potent on offense.  Betts or Trout?  There’s a legit case for Betts, The Splendid Splurger!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the roundup, just wanted to announce our RCL fantasy football leagues are signing up.  So, go over there and rush the QB!  I’m pretty sure that doesn’t stand for Q-Bert.  Anyway II, here’s the roundup:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Gerrit Cole‘s start yesterday — 9 IP, 1 ER, 3 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 2.78 — wasn’t the most impressive start.  *walks around, shaking people out of their slumber*  Hey, what’s going on, guys and five girl readers?  Was it the opening sentence?  Okay, so Gerrit Cole didn’t look as good as, say, Dylan Bundy over five innings.  Cole looked solid, salt-of-the-earth, lumberjack-shirt-for-a-tablecloth-middle-class-sturdy-as-oak-workman-like for nine innings.  By the way, you know what they call a hyena with lines instead of spots?  Hyphena.  Take it, Highlights, it’s yours.  Do we have to have starters that are all lordy-me-I’m-fainting-with-a-handkerchief-to-my-forehead filled with upside?  Well, I’d like it, and Cole prolly has it somewhere in there.  *knocks on Cole’s chest*  Is a near-9 K/9 in there still?  Hello?  Okay, I think it is, but it’s just not answering now.  Maybe it’s taking a nap from Cole’s less-than-stellar K-rate.  That’s been the story of his season, actually.  Great results for real baseball, but a little lacking on the flash (7.5 K/9).  He’s still throwing hard (95 MPH), maybe he fell asleep while Contact was on late-night TV and woke up deciding to throw to contact.  Not sure, but if I had to bet, I’d bet every day on a 25-year-old who throws 95 returning to his previous flashy Ks while maintaining his excellent ERA results.  But there’s nothing wrong with a lumberjack shirt for a tablecloth.  It’s Murica!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Zach Eflin tossed a complete game 3-hit shutout Friday night versus the Pirates, requiring just 100 pitches to go all the way and pick up the win. It was the rookie’s first career shut out. That’s what I’m Eflin talking about! I know what you’re thinking, I loved him in those High School Musicals, I wish he was my Neighbors. Wrong Zach. Both are real good though. After a rocky debut to his rookie season in Toronto (2.2 IP, 9 hits, 8 ER, 3 BB), Zach Eflin has been on the attack ever since, allowing just 11 runs in the seven starts since his debut (2.07 ERA in 47.2 IP). More impressive is that he has pitched at least six innings in six of those seven starts, including two complete games. Dude is a horse. And at just 22 years young I guess that would make him a dot dot dot Filly. Zing! Wait, or is it a mare? Foal? Joke still works or nah? On second thought I’m thinking it might be a colt. Hmm. Regardless, Zach is clearly a stallion. So how is it he’s available in over 80% of fantasy leagues? Are you Eflin kidding me? Sure, the 26/8 K/BB ratio is nothing to call the presses about, but his 1.05 WHIP is mighty impressive. Some of the advanced stats may suggest he’s due for a bit of a correction, but why not ride the Zach train while its Eflin hot. He’s coming off his best career start and gets the Marlins next week, so pick him up, what are you Eflin waiting for?

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy Razzballero, and welcome to the second half of the MLB (and fantasy) season. Hopefully, you were all able to recharge the batteries a bit over the All Star break and prepare yourselves for the fantasy baseball stretch run. I enjoyed a random viewing of the movie Minority Report last week during the down time and, when looking at the reboot-happy nature of Hollywood these days with projects like the new Ghostbusters movie, it got me thinking about a fantasy themed reboot of the 2002 Stephen Spielberg film. It can be called Majority Report starring Grey in the Tom Cruise protagonist role where he can be credited as Ice Tumors or Crime Oust (because a Tom Cruise anagram as an alias to protect his alias somehow makes sense to me) and I could have a cameo role as one of the lesser precogs who is occasionally (but not usually) able to predict the future of the fantasy landscape. I haven’t figured out the plot yet, though it would probably involve Grey stalking Giancarlo for one reason or another. Ok, so it’s more of just an extremely lazy re-imagining than anything else, but last week would’ve been one of those rare scenes that my character was able to predict the transaction future of the fantasy baseball landscape. As of yesterday, the five most added players in ESPN leagues over the past seven days (Koji Uehara, Randal Grichuk, Brandon McCarthy, Hector Santiago, and Yangervis Solarte) as well as two out of the next four most added players (Anthony DeSclafani and Max Kepler) are ones that I discussed in my second half difference maker articles last week (the hitters can be found here while the pitchers can be found here). In short, if these players are still available in your league, add them!

Anyway, let’s move on to a few players who are more likely to still be sitting on the waiver wire, shall we? Here are a few other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The other day the Astros signed the coveted Cuban refugee, Yulieski Gourriel.  One time!  Yulieski is as apple pie as a Canadian tenor group making a political statement during the All-Star Game.  He’s 32 years old.  If he went by YuGo, that would make him the newest car in Cuba.  “Bueno Model T, amigo!  Now, tell me about this Ford Taurus I hear so much about.”  You know who a 32-year-old Cuban immediately reminds me of?  Hector Olivera and Alex Guerrero.  Sloppy comparison maybe.  Hey, that gives me an idea.  Whenever doing a sloppy comparison between players who just happen to be Cuban, we should call them Sloppy Jose’s.  We need a similar term for when making a sloppy comparison between Japanese players; please suggest in the comments.  As for Gourriel, yeah, I don’t see much here.  I watched video of him, and he looks like a 15 HR, 6 SB, .260 hitter, which is Hector Olivera.  I’m sorry, but those Sloppy Joses make sense sometimes.  This Gourriel signing obviously delays Bregman’s arrival, so boo, you mothereffer, boo.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*nervous finger tap*  How many days without baseball?  So, I can close my fantasy baseball team browser window without missing anything?  Okay.  *throws computer out window*  What?  Was there another way to close my fantasy team page?  I hadn’t in so long I forgot.  What do you mean I can go outside without worrying about missing anything in baseball?  But there’s real people out there!  I’m staying right here, thank you very much!  So, we’re headed to the break, but Craig Kimbrel just has a tear, no break. He hit the DL with a medial meniscus tear in his knee.  Oddly enough, a remedial mend-iscus Band-Aid is not used to fix this.  I think you messed up modern medicine, but I’ll reserve judgment.  This will sideline Kimbrel for about four weeks.  In his place will be Koji Uehara.  Koji is famous for his food truck and 41-year-old junk pitches.  The newly-acquired Brad Ziegler, who should put a Z like Zorro on the mound after every strikeout, will back up Uehara, because Ziegler’s kinda bleh (1.40+ WHIP, 6-ish K/9) and Koji’s been in Boston a while.  Since Boston’s colors are red, they should call him Scarlett Uehara.  As for over in Arizona, I agree with Dan Pants in Saturday’s roundup.  The non-Yankee Clippard is the one to own.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy Razzballero! I hope you all had a great Independence Day, and I’m not referring to the movie sequel that was released about a decade and a half too late. Doesn’t Hollywood have any original ideas anymore? Why are there so many mediocre sequels and remakes/reboots in the theaters at any given time? I briefly considered making a rare trip to the movies during the holiday weekend, but since the thought of dropping $20 a person on tickets, popcorn, and drinks while settling for the new Tarzan flick or another crappy sequel (Independence Day, The Purge) didn’t seem all that appealing to me, the decision was made to stay home and watch the old Dolph Lundgren flick I Come in Peace (also listed as Dark Angel in some places) instead. It’s a cheesy late 80s/early 90s sci-fi/action movie about an alien drug dealer who induces heroin overdoses in humans and then harvests their endorphins. And it features Ivan Drago kicking ass. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. Kind of like a cooler version of Independence Day. So I guess the moral of the story is to save your money and watch old Lundgren movies. But I digress. What were we talking about? Oh yeah, fantasy baseball! That brings us to this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, Washington Nationals pitching prospect Lucas Giolito (54.5% owned; +46% over the past week). Giolito has long been a coveted commodity in fantasy circles due to his mid-high 90s fastball and 80 grade hammer curveball. His buzz died down a bit following mediocre results in his first eight Double-A starts this season (18% K%, 13% BB%, 4.08 FIP, 3.82 ERA), but that was mostly due to early season mechanical adjustments that were made to his delivery. Over his last six Double-A starts, Giolito was much more effective (28% K%, 8% BB%, 2.39 FIP, 2.52 ERA). His control has been iffy at times, but he clearly has swing and miss stuff and the natural sinking action on his fastball tends to keep the ball in the park (13 HR allowed since his professional debut in 2012). A couple of popular current comps for Giolito are Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg, but he also reminds me of a couple of big righties with the hard fastball/hammer curve combo from their early Marlins days (Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett). Strasburg’s DL stint prompted his call up, and Joe Ross’ current one has allowed him to extend his stay in the majors. The upside here is obvious. If he’s still somehow available in your league, Giolito is a must add.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Did I just get something from nothing?  Because Justin Upton is nothing, and I got something yesterday — 2-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and a slam (4) and legs (2).  Therefore, hence, Argo the movie, vis-a-vis, I got something from nothing.  Take that all of you non-believers!  And you said he would never come around to be worth that top 25 pick.  I pfft on you.  A big fat pfft.  Come here, accept my pfft.  I got one good game from him out of 57!  Holy schnikeballs, I got only one good game from my 2nd rounder?  Please, neighbor’s cat, don’t confuse me for a ball of yarn as I curl up in a ball and sob.  Please, stop tapping me with your paw.  I am not a ball of yarn.  So, can Upton turn it around?  I believe he can.  At least moderately.  Last year, he hit two homers and .196 in June and .162 in July.  And you still drafted him this year, so apparently you don’t care about two-month slumps.  In 2014, he had a month of .226 with 3 HRs and a month of .169 with 3 HRs.  This year in April, he had a 38% strikeout percentage, 34% in May and 22% in June.  He’s already seeing the ball better.  If he finishes June with 6 homers and .259, then hit .343 in May, would you be shocked?  Well, you shouldn’t be, because those were months he did last year when he also had two sub-.200 months.  Upton gets awful for months; it’s what he does.  He also gets hot for months.  Unfortunately, the slump months came to start the season so it was more pronounced.  Pronounced specifically as:  Gäd, h? s?ks.  And, remember, it takes the Uptons a while to adjust to new leagues.  It took Melvin Upton three years and a first name change to adjust to the NL.  Hopefully, this is the start of something so Justin doesn’t have to resort to being Melvin Upton Jr. Jr.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?