While he hasn’t ever been the end all, be all fantasy shortstop, Elvis Andrus is putting it together this year.  He has gone from a Ron Popiel special at SS to a must own, and by own I mean a trade for candidate.  Because I am not sure people really realize how well he is comparatively to some of the leagues elite shortstops with bigger names and bigger draft day price tags.  Across the five counting stats that matter for most leagues, and RCL’s are no different. this is where he ranks among qualified two-and-a-halvers. He sits 5th in batting average (.305), 5th in Homers (7), 5th in runs (34), 3rd in RBI (32) and since this is the SAGNOF post, 2nd in steals with 14.  It is interesting to compare yesterday and this year.  He has more steals at this point in the season than Segura did, and in case you were wondering all counting stats across the board are in King Creole’s favor, but at a 80 pick reduction in price from draft day.  Value plays are what makes the fantasy champ.  If Andrus, through one third of the season, can steal 14, score 34, and knock in 32 for a Rangers team that has yet to really hit their stride offensively…  Why is he not a trade target for someone who may know (that is now you) to someone who thinks that Andrus is like watching paint dry and boring?  His name to me in trade talks would be the most exciting, unless you were really paying attention to things.   Hell, look at what Zack Cozart is doing, and that is not even a joke. So enjoy this week’s tidbits and fantasy snares that may help you on the waivers or taking advantage of some situations this week. Cheers!

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The stolen base market is put into two categories: Billy Hamilton and basically everyone else.  Capitalizing on the “everyone else” is the problem.  The dreaded ebb and flow theory of SAGNOF is a beer served at room temperature.  Yeah, at its core, it is still a beer, and yes some beer is served at room temperature.  I know there will be some beer snobs that chime in and say “blah, blah this about micro brews and room temperature”.  My response is nothing, you are on ignore.  Come hang with me and you will see dudes that know how, like to, and will drink.  Ask Prospector Ralph, he knows we can bang.  Anyways, grabbing a SAGNOF guy on the waivers is a tumultuous beast.  Trying to say that he will steal or he will get on base to actually attempt to steal the base…  It’s a crap shoot outside of stolen base wizard Billy H.  Even when looking at the usually candidates from the preseason and their potential for stolen bases, they are down.  The stolen base as a whole is almost as dead as being in Buffalo Bill’s well.  We all drafted Trea Turner for his 50-plus SB potential.  To date, he has 11, and is on pace for 44.  Charlie Blackmon has gone from 43, to 17 last year, to 4 this year.  He has basically turned into a RBI machine and it shows by him being the MLB leader in the category.  And don’t get me started on Jean Segura or Jonathan Villar… go trade for Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton or anyone else in the top-5 and quell all your stolen base woes.  Trying to make up on the category but nickle and dime’n is the worst ideas since screen doors on a submarine. In case you think I am pushing pork pies and you don’t wanna listen, here is a fancy chart for catchers to abuse for streaming, and some more SAGNOF tidbits.  Cheers!

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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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I was originally excited to focus on Baby Thor Mike Clevinger in my first post taking over the Two-Start Starters for M@, but the rainout on Thursday threw everything out of whack. So, I had to pivot and focus on what’s going on in Seattle. Enter Ariel Miranda and Sam Gaviglio.

Of the two starters for the Mariners right now, Miranda is the one to target. To be honest, neither one is likely to be a long-term fix for your rotation. Gaviglio is a 27-year old who has an ERA of 4.01 over seven seasons in the minor leagues, while Miranda is a 28-year old Cuban who had moderate success in the Cuban National Series and the minors. Both are scheduled to start two games next week for the Mariners.

At first glance, it would appear that Gaviglio is the tasty treat that a starter-needy fantasy owner should target. After all, he has the shiny 1.29 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Unfortunately, not only is that a very small sample size, but there are some pretty serious red flags. For starters, while he only gave up one run against the Nationals, he only struck out one batter in six innings. That shiny ERA is also aided by the fact that he actually gave up five runs, but just the one was earned. Against the White Sox in his previous start, he went five innings and only struck out two batters. In his two starts this season, he has thrown 11 innings and struck out just three batters.

But that’s not it, here is the bigger issue with Gaviglio. His ERA might be 1.29, but his FIP currently sits at 4.22. At 2.93, his FIP-to-ERA ratio is the highest of any of the 40+ two-start starters in week 9. Between his lack of strikeouts, his lackluster career in the minors, and his inflated FIP-to-ERA ratio, you better believe he is going to regress to the mean sooner rather than later. Ignore that ERA and stay away from Sammy G.

As for Miranda, I like him more and hate him less. While he doesn’t have the same sub-2.00 ERA as Gaviglio, he does have an 8.75 K/9, a less hideous .40 FIP-to-ERA, and a 5.77 K/9-to-BB/9 ratio. While he has had a couple of disastrous starts this season, he also has six starts in which he has given up two runs or fewer. You could do worse than Miranda as a two-starter starter. In fact, you could have Gaviglio. Both should be available in more than 75% of leagues. Despite the fact that the Mariners visit the Rockies next week, there are worse options for two-start starters…

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Okay, this is weird, but Sonny Gray and I are complete opposites.  Sonny Gray is in Bay Area, and it’s Grey Albright in Los Angeles.  Weather you like it or not, that’s weird!  Pun noted too!  Grey Albright plays fantasy baseball; Sonny Gray plays reality baseball!  It’s freaking me out!  Grey Albright’s face is mustachioed; Sonny Gray’s is not.  Sonny Gray is athletic; I am not.  He works for a newspaper called Ballrazz, which is super-terse and serious.  It’s uncanny!  Yesterday, Gray (him) went 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.34.  Okay, time to take a new look.  I did like him at one point in his career, before everything went sideways.  His velocity and two-seam fastball are back.  Right now, his two-seam is his best pitch, however, his curve is not back to where it was in 2015.  Watching some video on him showed a guy that can get swings and misses, but had a bit of a favorable strike zone yesterday.  I’d be careful in shallower leagues, but he looks closer to his breakout from two years ago than he has in a while.  Now, if he’s married to a younger woman, I’m gonna plotz over all of our opposites.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

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Braves rookie phenom/shortstop/TV dinner mogul Dansby Swanson was 2-for-2 last night with his fourth home run and two RBI. Daaaaaaamn, B! YES! Keep doing this. If you held onto Swanson this long (especially in a redraft leagues) you deserve what is happening to you right now. What is happening is Dansby is hitting .360 with 4 runs, 2 homers and 6 RBI in the past week! When your draft day sleeper is finally making you look smart, but most people have already forgot. Sure, he’s still hitting just .201, but these are the kind of things you ignore when you have blind faith and are looking to ride the rookie train to some fantasy fame. I attribute some of this to the cleansing therapy we’ve been taking together. It’s pretty simple, bad vibes–bad, good vibes–good. Harness the good energy, block out the bad. Pretty easy, right? Also, let’s just meditate in this sweat lodge for 12 hours and have a “vision” about how not to strike out as much. After hitting just .156 in April, Dansby is hitting .286 in May. He’s also doubled his OBP, SLG% and has drawn twice as many walks as he did last month. Dan’s be good like that! He’s available in little over half of fantasy leagues right now and if Swanson happens to be out there on waivers in your league, this might be your last chance to grab him before the hype returns. Trust me, this kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Well, here we are gentlemen and five girl readers. Hmm, if I’m one of the five girl readers and I’m writing this [Jay’s Note: You forgot my mother.], does that mean I should only be addressing 4 girl readers? Or should I just stick with 5, since I’m certainly vain enough that I’ll be reading my own work once it’s published? Hold on, is “published” the wrong word since we’re talking about the internet, and does my use of it make me sound out of touch? Wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, here we are: week 7! Most MLB teams have played around 40 games now, so we’re about a quarter of the way through the season. Have any owners just flat-out quit in your leagues? In one of my keeper leagues (which of course are a different animal than re-drafts when it comes to punting a season), there were several blockbuster trades over the past weekend… those “in the hunt” have definitely distinguished themselves from those who are “playing for the future”. Meanwhile, I have a few re-draft leagues where some owners are barely setting valid lineups. Does this happen in your league? And if so, do you care?

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Sign says, ‘Don’t stay away, fools,’ cause Cody Bellinger rules!  No?  Okay, go to sleep.  “Go to sleep” is my new favorite thing I say that my Cougar can’t stand.  She’s like, “Why are you excited?”  Rather than saying, “I’m excited because Cody Bellinger was called up,” I say, “Go to sleep.”  Is that bad?  I feel like her reaction is like the step before divorce.  “Baby, we’re good, go to sleep.”  “It’s 4 o’clock on a Tuesday.”  “Yeah, go to sleep.”  And then we’re divorced.  You know who isn’t divorced?  Cody Bellinger!  Okay, I’m talking crazy, but I’m excited, you get it.   In 18 games of Triple-A, he was hitting .343 with five homers and seven steals.  I will now cackle maniacally.  Who is this guy, Justice Eric Ruth Thames but with speed?  I can’t even.  *puts handkerchief to forehead, and faints*  Oh, thank you for catching me in my dream state, Giancarlo.  This is funny (not funny), Bellinger had three homers last year in Triple-A.  Guess how many games?  Oh, three.  Three games!  I wanna project him over five months for 17 HRs, 20 SBs, and .280, but feel like that is too conservative, that’s how crazy I am for him.  Yes, you should absolutely grab him.  Where will he play when Pederson returns from the DL?  Not sure, but worth grabbing him now to see how the Dodgers handle it.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Man is baseball great and unexpected. We’ve got Bronson Arroyo throwing Quality Starts and getting wins versus the defending champs.. IN 2017!! Eric Thames loaded on Kimchi and Korean BBQ hits every pitch out of the ball park. One of the best pitchers in the game, Madison Bumgarner, is out for a while cuz he fell off his dirt bike. You never really know what to expect in this game. Only thing we know is that we have games every night and a chance to play the greatest game of all…Fantasy Baseball. We have a solid slate for Tuesday night, but one pitcher that really stands out to me is Micahael Wacha ($13,600) of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has been pitching well this year, 2-1 record with a 2.41 ERA. He has been striking people out at a pretty good rate as he has 17 Ks in his 18 innings of work this season, and he has a great matchup vs. the depleted Toronto Blue Jays. They currently rank 25th or worse in Runs Scored, HRs and Avg. Already down Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki due to DL stints, they are now traveling to a National League park and wont have the luxury of the DH. To add insult to injury, the Blue Jays ranked 5th in the MLB in Strikeouts, so a big strikeout potential is in the cards for Wacha.

Clayton Kershaw is also taking the mound tonight, I don’t need to tell you to pick him. He is an automatic start in DFS as long as you are willing to pay the price. He is priced at $27,600, squaring of against the San Fransisco Giants. A slugfest is expected in Coors in a matchup between Joe Ross and German Marquez. As always there will be a high own percentage in this game but it might be smart to fade Kershaw and get some bats from this game. Some solid pitching options are available on the slate tonight. Lets take a look at the picks.

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Yesterday (but really every time he pitches), Chris Sale went 8 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA down to 0.91, and yet another no decision.  Elias Sports Bureau said, “Chris Sale had his 4th start in last five seasons on Thursday with 8 IP, 10+ Ks, 0 ER without getting win; no one else has more than one.  Also, there’s 16 different vending machines in our company to choose from, but only one has M&M’s and Drake’s Apple Fruit Pie for 50 Cent that elicits Snickers with the wrappers.”  God, what a bunch of nerds!  Not like us fantasy baseball cool kids!  I wanna tent the Elias Sports Bureau office, fart in there and leave.  Seriously, that’s what I want.  I need a wish genie, up in here!  Up in here!  So, Chris Sale is flippin’ awesome once again, and nothing can stop him except a rock vs. his scissors.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?