Thank Cobb this injury wasn’t worse. After failing to stick the landing on his improvised triple lutz down the first base line, Bryce Harper owners ran to their bobble head and starting lineup figure shrines to pray to the old baseball Gods and the new (Praise Be to Frank Thomas.) Luckily, there was no knee meat damaged in the play which is good, but it is still looking like a mid-September return from a bone bruise in his knee. But Harper is just crazy and young enough to beat that time frame. Funnily enough, the first few suggestions when you start to type “bone bruise” into Google are “bone bruise knee,” “bone bruise heal time” and “bone bruise knee heal time.” Fantasy managers are so quick to become amateur physicians when their players go down. How you handle a Harper replacement could be key to you making & surviving your playoffs. Stash or Trash: Stash. Fill In: Say it with me now: “Goosfraba.” No one man can replace Harper. Now that that’s out of the way let’s see what we’re working with. You know who you should grab before it’s too late? Eddie Rosario (37%.) Since July 1st Rosario has a .333 average with 20 runs, 6 HR, 22 RBI and 3 SB — 5 of those HR have come in his last 8 games. Is this realistic? Not entirely. However, Rosario is only 25 and was a 20/20/.280 threat in his minor league days. Ride the hot hand here.

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Bryce Harper is clearly no Jon Snow. Perhaps I should say that Harper is no Jaehaerys Targaryen. If you have no desire to read about my Game of Thrones theories, I suggest you skip down to the line that reads “I’m done with my Game of Thrones theories” and ignore what comes before it. By now most have come to the conclusion that Jon Snow is a Targaryen. I’m not going to go into the details, but the short of it is that Jon is the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. Lyanna, Ned Stark’s sister, died giving birth to Jon. Ned claimed him as his own to save him from being killed by Robert Baratheon.

Ok, so maybe I am going to go dive into the details. Bran is one of the few living people that know Jon’s true identity. He learned this in one of his visions where he traveled back in time to the Tower of Joy, when he followed his father up the tower in which he found Lyanna who had just given birth to Jon. Before she died she begged him to raise Jon as his own. Obviously Ned obliged.

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Because I am always late to the writing party, I figured why not just add another Bryce Harper column, but with a Michael Taylor happy ending.  So what’s-his-face got hurt and now Mike Taylor returns from the DL to save the day.  Gone one day and BH is now what’s-his-face.  It sucks, but injuries happen.  That is why waivers and free agent pools exist.  So before Taylor inured his oblique in early July, he was on a torrid pace that was making him an asset for fantasy.  Now what capabilities will he have with that injured oblique?  Since this is the SAGNOF report, we only care about one thing.  Increasing his SB total from 10.  The thing in his favor is that the Nationals lineup is going to change slightly.  Because of the absence of “some guy”.  Small ball and base-to-base stuff still wins and it may have to happen without a middle of the lineup thumper (besides Zimmerman).  I can’t believe I just called him a thumper, well… suspend disbelief for a minute and just assume I didn’t mean it.  Taylor may take a few days to get into the swing of things but Bryce isn’t walking through the door anytime soon, so at-bats and top of the order stuff are coming. Happy SAGNOF’n!

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Job Posting: Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast Announcer
Must possess the ability to properly introduce Grey. Possibility to expand role into Grey’s everyday life, introducing him at the gas station, Whole Foods, Laundromat, etc … Pay commensurate with experience.

On this week’s Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast, Grey Albright and I start the show by discussing Bryce Harper’s freak injury, along with how much we trust Zack Greinke and James Paxton going into next season (ranked 5th and 8th overall for starting pitchers on Razzball’s Player Rater, respectively). We then bring on Ralph Lifshitz to talk Andrew Benintendi, the RCL’s, Jon Lester, Justin Verlander, and Patrick Corbin. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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On Saturday night, Bryce Harper lunged for first base, slipped and his leg went the wrong direction.  Like two white guys meeting, one goes for the handshake and one goes for the hug and it just goes awkwardly wrong in every way.  Atticus Finch had much more success stepping on his white base.  Owning Harper on multiple teams, I looked at the latest news Saturday night, and I saw:

Devastated.  Crushed.  C’mon, thesaurus, give me another one.  Thankfully, it was revealed as the best possible outcome for him, a bone bruise.  Still, not a great outcome for us with him on our fantasy teams, since he will be out for the better part of the rest of the season.  Don’t worry, I have Jose Pirela!  *sticks head in oven, puts on The Bell Jar book on tape*  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Joey Votto went 2-for-3, 2 runs, 3 RBIs with his 30th homer as he hits .314 with a .438 OBP.  Not only is Votto hitting for a high average, but he’s also hitting for power, and, you kinda get the impression, if he wanted, he could hit for a higher average with no power, or a lower average with more power, or no average, no power and pitch.  Personal Anecdote Alert!  Fast forward a blurb if you’re not interested.  When I was in my teens, I went to baseball summer camp.  The guy who ran it was a Yankees’ scout, so he’d have players come in to teach us fundamentals.  One guest was Mike Pagliarulo.  I know, I know, this is like the opening monologue before someone sings Springsteen’s Glory Days at karaoke.  Any hoo!  Pags was the best hitter I ever saw within three feet of me.  One kid there was a minor league pitcher, and Pags was so dramatically better than him, it was obvious the kid would never go anywhere.  If Pags wanted to hit a home run to right against this kid, he did.  Up the middle?  No problem.  Home run to left?  Sure, why not?  So, my point (!), against this minor league pitcher, Pags did what I imagine Votto does against major leaguers.  Votto is my Pags of the majors.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Player A:

  • .301 / .353 / .455
  • 11 home runs
  • 16 stolen bases
  • 55 runs scored
  • 49 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .352, two home runs, 14 runs scored, 10 RBI, three stolen bases
  • PR15: 10.69 (4th in MLB)

Player B:

  • .273 / .353 / .471
  • 13 home runs
  • 12 stolen bases
  • 58 runs scored
  • 38 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .343, five home runs, 18 runs scored, 11 RBI, four stolen bases
  • PR15: 9.21 (7th in MLB)

Pretty scary how similar those numbers are, right? A is Andrelton Simmons and B is Alex Bregman. The only big difference when you dive a little deeper is that Simmons has been consistently producing for pretty much the entire season, while Bregman has been a bit more streaky and pretty much disappeared in June.

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Due to their continuing dominance throughout the season, I’m endorsing the two big Dominican arms on the slate for tonight, Ervin Santana, $18,200 vs the Brewers and Carlos Martinez, $16,300 at the Royals.  Fun fact, Ervin Santana’s real name is Johan Ramon Santana.  Yeah, his birth name was Johan Santana.  Do you remember another SP named Johan Santana?  In case you forgot, he was a two time Cy Young winner and he also pitched for the Twins?  Yeah I remember that, I guess it’s ironic or even poetic justice that a guy who changed his name in order to not be confused with one of the most dominant lefty’s ended up on the same team as his predecessor.  Ervin is facing the Brewers tonight, who rank second in Ks versus RHP.  Yes, please, and thank you!  CMart has a tough task against the Royals tonight, but I have feeling he’s going to take advantage of a team that just wrapped up a double header yesterday.  Now that the pitching is locked and loaded, let’s take a look at our offensive targets for tonight.

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Now that we are a few weeks into the second half, we are able to take a look at players and their rest of season rankings a little differently. For starters, we can see how players are starting the second half. Even though it is only a few days off (or not off, for those who participate in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game) and is not even technically the real halfway point of the season, the All-Star break seems to hit the reset button for some players.

Some players get off to a hot start in the second half and ride the wave for a hot August and September, while others seem to lose their momentum and start off ice cold. You could write a book on the different explanations and theories about why it happens or whether or not the Home Run Derby messes up your swing or the All-Star Game schedule itself is exhausting, but we all know as fantasy owners that we have to really pay attention to our squads coming out of the break.

Players who had unreal, otherworldly breakout first halves like Aaron Judge have come back to earth a little bit, while players we had come to rely on in previous years who had disappointing first halves like Christian Yelich have gotten hot. If those disappointing players don’t get off to a good start to the second half, though, we have to make the tough decision about whether or not it is time to move on.

And that is the other way we have to look at these rankings, with time in mind. Depending on your league and format, you probably have roughly two months left in your season and about a month and a half or less until the playoffs in leagues that have them. Carlos Gonzalez is the 600th ranked player in Razzball’s year-to-date player rater, but he is still owned in 93% of RCLs and 67% of ESPN leagues as apparently, Razznation is still waiting for CarGo to turn back into the hitter he has shown he is over the year.

And while Gonzalez has been somewhat better in the second half and has sown signs of life, at some point time is going to run out. I gave up on him weeks ago and have not looked back. In the leagues where I had him I am in first or second place and am clawing to either stay there or overtake the top team, and I just don’t have any more time to wait on him. Granted, I gave up on him when it looked like he wasn’t going to have regular playing time anymore, and that is no longer the case since the Rockies can’t stay healthy, but I don’t regret the decision. Even after showing he can still hit a little in the second half, he still only has a 0.02 PR15. That isn’t enough to make me regret the decision or convince me he is going to get hot.

For Gonzalez this season, his Hard%, FB%, and HR/FB% are all down, while his AVG, OBP, and SLG are all well below his career averages. Most troubling to me is the SLG, which is currently sitting at .341. It would not be surprising to find out that he has been playing through injuries all season because 1. He is pretty much always injured and 2. These numbers are awful. You know I love creating these graphs, so check out this one:

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While looking at the top OPS guys over the past two weeks top A’s prospect Matt Chapman stood out; his 1.190 OPS ranks 12th, his ISO is #1 at .571 and he’s doing this with a .227 BABIP. Chapman hit 23 homers at A+ ball in 2015 and 36 homers between AA and AAA in 2016; this season he hit 16 homers in AAA before his call-up. Based on his minors numbers he could even steal about five bases a season.

But there are reasons he’s only owned in 2% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues even after hitting home runs in three straight games this past week. Chapman is hitting .205 with a 36% strikeout rate on the season; his minor league strikeout numbers were between 22.8%-30.9% which isn’t good. He looks to be following in Joey Gallo’s footsteps (and Gallo is another guy who needs to be owned in OPS leagues. Less so in AVG leagues especially with all the power hitters this season available with better averages).  Chapman has been hitting 8th in the A’s lineup lately so those Runs and RBI opportunities aren’t going to be plentiful but figure once they move Yonder Alonso (which the A’s should to do and may have already done by the time this goes up) Chapman rises in the lineup.

Another plus: Chapman is a great defender so should continue to play every day. His A’s are home against the Twins and then a four game split with the crosstown Giants. Obviously with that low ownership number you don’t have to run and grab him, but definitely keep an eye on him because if he hits two homers in the next two games we’re going to see one of those 27% jumps in ownership in a day…

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