Happy Bryce Harper Replacement Week! :::sobs into the couch cushion I have been carrying around since watching the video of Harper tumbling over that base:::

The cruel baseball gods took Harper away from us just after we got Trout back. As of this writing, there is no timetable for his return from what they are calling a “significant bone bruise.” I’m no doctor (sorry to peel back the curtain), but how the heck did that non-contact injury get a bone bruise diagnosis? I thought for sure he tore every CL in his body. I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that he tore his UCL from reaching for his knee so fast. But a bone bruise? Interesting. Let’s just hope he wasn’t evaluated by the Mets’ training staff because “bone bruise” is going to very quickly become “Oh crap, his knee actually isn’t there anymore. We can’t find it anywhere.”

Now, there is no replacing Harper’s production on your fantasy team, especially in the middle of August. That much is obvious. If you’re lucky, you took Grey’s advice about selling a superstar to heart and cashed in at the deadline. I have Harper in a keeper league where I currently sit in first place, so I have to decide if I want to deal him now to make a playoff push, pray he comes back this season and helps me, or just accept the fact that he is done for the fantasy season but still keep him for next year. I am probably going with option B/C, if we’re being honest with each other here.

I’m removing him from our beloved 100 while we wait to see how he looks this week. Hopefully, the baseball gods decide to heal him from his mystery bruise quickly and we can have him back. But it seems more likely we are going to be without him for most, if not all, of the fantasy season. Now, enough crying about Harper (at least publicly). Anyway, to the notes…

The Razzball Commenter Leagues for Fantasy Football are now open! Take on your favorite writers and other readers of the site for a chance at prizes!

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It’s just like old times, as we here at Razzball are profiling a Brewers starter this week. I can’t put my finger on what that means, but I digress. The familiarity doesn’t just end there my friends, oh no, we just happen to be covering the MLB debut for one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, Brandon Woodruff. On the heels of a somewhat out of nowhere breakout in 2016, Woodruff exploded onto the dynasty league radar, and squarely into the ranks on several top prospect lists. After leading the minors in strikeouts last year, the righty credited an increased pace, thanks to the direction of AA pitching coach Chris Hook. After a solid showing in the challenging confines of Colorado Springs earlier this season, Woodruff was called up in mid-June to make a spot start. Unfortunately he was injured warming up, was scratched from his debut, and did a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Recalled Friday to face the contending Rays in Tampa, Woodruff might be an interesting stream down the stretch in re-drafts of all sizes. Let’s see how the highly touted rookie looks vs a seasoned AL East lineup. Not a bad litmus test.

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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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Baseball’s parity is better than any other sport.  You can go into the season like, say, the Rockies.  No chance at all of the playoffs with no closer, no pitching, an injured offseason acquisition and be a favorite for the playoffs in July, without that offseason acquisition doing anything, not getting anything from your returning superstar shortstop and defying gravity with a pitching staff keeping a team above water even at one mile high.  Then, on July 31st, parity goes out the window and all teams doing well get much better and teams struggling sell off everything.  Speaking of “I’m rich bitch,” the Dodgers traded for Yu Darvish.  The deadline was mostly, “Well, there goes a middle reliever,” and, “Another middle reliever?  Snooze,” then, at the last moment, the Dodgers swooped in and grabbed Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, two more middle relievers.  Just like LA to want two Tonys, like  Oscars aren’t enough.  Oh well, nothing big this year.  When, thirty-five minutes after the trading deadline, the Dodgers announced, “Psyche, fake-out, we got Darvish too.”  Los Angeles is about the best landing spot a fantasy owner could hope for Darvish.  He has a 9.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9 and 3.81 xFIP, but was pitching in the 5th best offensive park.  Hello, NL West, Dodger Stadium and facing the Giants and Padres.  Now you see LA brewin?  Yu sexy, get me some Trojans.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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The fans that arrived early yesterday at Nationals Park were puzzled to find what appeared to be a show on HGTV.  The newest Property Brother, Michael Blazek, the Brewers pitcher, opened a box from Ikea, and sat at home plate for six hours during the pregame, assembling something.  At one point, he screamed to the heavens about being screwed, but Bryce Harper (3-for-5, 3 runs, 4 RBIs and his 26th and 27th homers) realized Blazek wasn’t saying he was screwed, he needed a screw the box was missing.  Ryan Zimmerman (2-for-5, 3 RBIs and his 21st and 22nd homers) had a fix, they could use Dusty’s toothpicks to hold together Blazek’s contraption.  Then Anthony Rendon (2-for-4, 2 runs and his 21st homer) had a brilliant idea.  The twine holding together the Nats’ bullpen could be used to hold together Dusty’s toothpicks.  Brian Goodwin (3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 10th homer) and Wilmer Difo (2-for-4, 2 runs and his 3rd homer) were the first ones to the plate to see what Blazek had constructed.  It was a bit shoddy in places, but it was holding up.  Pulling back, we reveal that Blazek had built a baseball tee to place all his pitches on.  All of these guys are either owned or are Wilmer Difo, with the exception of Brian Goodwin.  He has three homers since the All-Star break, and has been cemented in the leadoff spot (for reasons only Dusty can explain).  Won’t help you on average, but has a solid base of speed and power that could help in deeper leagues while he’s leading off, and especially when hitting off a tee.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Last week, we added Tommy Pham and his pal (unconfirmed) Marwin Gonzalez to the realm of the 100. This week, we’re feeling so good that we’re moving them on up the rankings. Pham has the second best PR15 (ESPN leagues) right now (13.01), behind only the respected Coors Field masher Nolan Arenado. Marwin, while he has a respectable 5.26 PR15 that is good for 34th overall, is moving up because he suddenly has an inside track to playing time.

Someone ask Grey if I get any bonus points for running it back on players in back-to-back weeks AND rolling with a double player reference headline. I was going to go with a Gregory Polanco reference but decided Matt Adams was both more ridiculous and had the added bonus of allowing me to use former teammates (kind of). More bonus points? Let me know what Grey says.

As for Carlos Correa, well, you guys know already, right? I’m dropping him from the Top 100 because he is going to miss most of the rest of the season. He could potentially return and help you for fantasy playoffs or the last couple weeks, but we won’t know for sure for a few more weeks. This IS good news for Marwin Gonzalez, who I focused on last week, as there is suddenly another opening in the lineup for him. Obviously, hold Correa for now, but I’m dropping him from the ranks of the beloved and pouring out some Coors Light for him.

I never thought there would be a week where I would be adding Matt Adams and removing Carlos Correa. 2017 is bumming me out, but I promise to make it one full article without mentioning Super Balls (this doesn’t count!). Screw it, let’s add Steven Souza, too. He’s got 20 home runs to go with a .272 average, .239 ISO, an increased Hard%, and what looks to be an increased approach at the plate. He has been on the fringe, but I managed to make room for him this week. I give up, 2017. You hear me? I give up! You win!

Anyway, here are some other notes on the additions and subtractions for this week…

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In his first game since being called up on Tuesday, Astros rookie Colin Moran had himself a 2017 debut going 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run and driving in two runs Friday night versus the Orioles. You can see how upset his teammates were with his performance here. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the Astros desperately need another young, extremely talented infielder, and Colin Moran could be that missing piece. Called up to to play while Carlos Correa misses the next month and a half with an injured thumb, Collin could see time at 3rd base, especially if he keeps having games like this one. Did you miss out on the Astros sweepstakes this year? Did you ignore the prophetic Sports Illustrated article that all but guaranteed a World Series victory for the Houston Astros in the year 2017? Are even the Yulieski Guerriel’s and Marwin Gonzalez’s owned already? Well my over-the-internet friends, this could be your last chance to get in on this action and add Moran. In 79 games (338 ABs) at AAA Fresno this season, Moran slashed .308/.373/.543 with 18 dingers and 63 RBI. With 18 homers and 15 doubles, he was having his best offensive season to date. Although part of that could be the hitter friendly PCL as the 55/31 K/BB rate isn’t really impressing. Still, the 24 year old left-handed rookie could see some serious playing time if he starts hot, and in a stacked line up like the Houston’s a player like Moran can really make some noise. He also has a really cool red beard. If you you missed out on Yoan Moncada and want a rookie with upside it’d be moronic not to take a chance and add Colin Moran in deeper mixed and AL-Only leagues. In shallower league its best to see how his playing time will shake out, but I’ll be watching him closer than the Game of Thrones premiere. Which judging by the ratings, you all watched. (Arya is BAE). So check out Moran, he’s Colin to you!

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Like a kindergartner who just discovered boogers, I was digging into exit velocity and launch angle, because, ya know, these are important things now.  Is it me or does it feel like sabermetricians think they’ve reinvented the wheel every six months only to abandon all the new stuff in six months for something else?  “This is Marvin!  Marvin Berry, your cousin!  Yo, put down your ERA+ and VORP, I need you to hear about exit velocity!”  So, Nick Castellanos is regularly talked about when exit velocity and launch angles are brought up.  His average exit velocity is 90 MPH.  The top is Aaron Judge at 95 MPH, and Castellanos looks to be about 40th on the list (it wasn’t numbered, and I’m too lazy to count).  The top 40 is filled with hitters who are excelling at ghosting faster than others, but is also littered with disappointing names:  Machado, Gallo, Sandoval and Miggy, to name a few, and there is at least half you don’t want.  I could make a case that Adam Lind is as enticing as Castellanos using just exit velocity, which I guess is my point.  It’s a fun new metric (not that new, not that fun), but, in my estimation, it’s like a piece of evidence found at a crime.  It’s got the victim and suspect’s DNA on it, but if it doesn’t fit you can choose to ignore it.  Granted, that doesn’t rhyme quite as well.  Castellanos is 2nd in the majors for Hard Contact%.  Right in front of Miggy.  Again, you can read into that anything you want.  I still believe the Castellanos breakout is coming one of these years (he’s still only 25), but if you watch him hit, he has a line drive stroke, not a home run one.  The launch angle data is even less compelling for Castellanos because he drives balls the opposite way.  You can mollywhop, but if you’re going the other way, it’s not going to do as much damage unless you are Giancarlo or Judge, i.e, a giant living amongst Lilliputians.  The Greek God of Exit Velocity pulls line drives and hits fly balls the other way.  It might be the leg kick, it might be his natural swing tendencies, but it’s obvious if you look at his spray charts.  With all that said (here’s where Grey throws everything out), there’s no one hotter right now and it’s silly he’s only owned in 40% of leagues.  Okay, enough of Grey’s impersonation of Fangraphs… Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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