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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Lately, Eric Hosmer has been living up to his nickname, Mini Joey Votto.  Hmm, that’s a bit long for a nickname.  How about Mini Joey?  Oh, I know, Embryonic Kangaroo!  That rolls off the tongue!   *Grey puts on a terrible Aussie accent* “Embryonic Kangaroo is a fair dinkum chockers!  What a ripper!  I need a sickie, a slab and a barbie on the back of the ute!  Or just watch that Toni Collete movie where she’s in the wheelchair singing ABBA.  That gets me knickers on the soddy poop schmear!”  Yesterday, the Embryonic Kangaroo went 5-for-6, 5 runs, 6 RBIs and a slam (16) and legs (5), hitting .319.  He has four homers post-ASB in 50 ABs, and seems to finally have the chockers on dinkum.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Mike Clevinger ($17,600) looks like he should be performing a rock concert with his long grunge band looking hair and his arm full of tattoos but he will be taking the mound in instead. He seems to be a great bargain tonight as he is currently on a nice roll, allowing just 2 ERs in his last three starts and racking 20 Strikeouts during that span. He should continue that trend as he heads to San Francisco to battle one of the worst teams in baseball.  The San Francisco Giants are one of the worst hitting teams against RHP, they currently support a .240AVG and .674 OPS against righties . Both of those numbers rank toward the bottom of the league. To add injury to insult, they rank 28th in the league in runs scored and are dead LAST in HRs hit. Clevinger has been hurt by his walks allowed which doesn’t let him get deep into games at time but the Giants are one of the most impatient teams and rarely walk.

To go with Clevinger, I’d pair him with JA Happ ($15,000). He’s squaring off against a struggling Boston Red Sox team. Over the last week, the Red Sox are hitting .212 as a team and have really had a hard time plating runs. Happ is a very serviceable option that tends to always pitch deeper into games and can be matched with Clayton Kershaw to provide some bats if you’d prefer. Now that we have talked about some pitching options, lets take a look at some bats…

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Hehe, I’m such a jerk.  I finally dedicate a lede to Jason Vargas and it’s to point out how bad he was last night — 2 2/3 IP, 6 ER, ERA up to 3.06.  Well, look at it this way.  If he wasn’t good for so long, him being bad wouldn’t matter.  For unstints, my friend texted me yesterday, “R. Kelly’s being accused of holding girls against their will in his cult.”  I texted back, “That’s one cult where you really don’t want to drink the Kool-Aid.”  It was the least surprising news yesterday.  2nd least surprising is the Vargas regression.  What happens with regression, stays in Vargas.  He’s not done regressing either, if his peripherals hold.  He has a 6.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 4.87 xFIP, i.e.,  A lost Vargas is not just a Wynn, but one of those sure-cuts, sure-cuts.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

2017 has been a weird season for baseball. Not only are baseballs leaving ballparks like super balls, but players like Justin Smoak and Logan Morrison are winning fantasy leagues for people. Before the season started, I never thought I would be writing those names on this website. Now, I write them every week (Okay, usually I just have to copy/paste).

While doing some research over the All-Star break, I found more than a dozen players who had already hit more home runs in the first half of 2017 than they ever had in any other full season. That wasn’t even really what I was looking for. I just kept finding more and more of them. One of those players, as you may have guessed because of the title of this article and the number of professional baseball players named Marwin, is Marwin Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is a player I have been keeping an eye on all year and is someone commenters have been asking about a lot lately. Until recently, he still wasn’t playing every day and was moving all over the field. When he did play, though, he was mashing. Son wrote about him in his Bear or Bull series last week, and I recommend going and giving that a read. I’ll wait here while you do.

Like Son goes over in his piece, the biggest difference for Gonzalez this season has been his approach at the plate. His BB% is way up, his K% is way down, and his O-Swing% is down. That all indicates an improved approach at the plate. For proof, here’s a chart!

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Called upon in the ninth inning to protect a one run lead Aroldis Chapman blew his third save of the season Friday night surrendering two hits and two walks and allowing two earned runs. After giving up an infield single to Mookie Betts to start the inning, Didi Gregorius mishandled a Dustin Pedroia single that could have been a double play ball to put two men on and the Yankees unraveled from there. The blown save was not entirely Chapman’s fault here as the Yankees defense botched two straight double play balls, and then a double steal really flustered Chapman leading  him to walk the next two batters including the game winning run. The loss highlights a Yankee bullpen that has been god awful lately with set up man Dellin Betances rocking an 8.68 ERA and 2.14 WHIP over the past month and Chapman sporting a 8.10 ERA in July with a .412 BAA. Talk about a bullpen in La La Land! Speaking of Award snubs and perfect segues, the fans have spoken, the emails have continued rolling in (seriously guys, get a life!) and the suspicious packages have arrived on my doorstep.  Back by popular demand I return to bring you the fourth annual 2017 mid-season fantasy all-star awards. *And the crowd goes wild!* I don’t want to pile on Chapman here with a Razzie award but he did walk in the winning run so I’m going to give an award to Andrew Benintendi for easiest game winning RBI ever. To be honest, I just really wanted to give Beni Baseball an award.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Aaron Judge baffles me. Is he a beefy version of early 2000s Richie Sexson, or he is something more legit? No offense to early 2000s Richie, of course. His (we’re back to Judge, now) numbers in the minors (albeit a relatively small sample size of) suggest more of the former, but his 2017 insists on the latter. Strikeouts aside, he seems to have combined a complete and nearly flawless approach at the plate with a compact swing and elite power. In March, we weren’t even sure if he was going to be the everyday right fielder for the Yankees. Now, he is a lock to win Rookie of the Year, the clear favorite to win MVP, and could very well win the Triple Crown.

He has 30 home runs to only 13 doubles (big boy has three triples, too), which means nothing except that when he connects he CONNECTS. Lifting power, my friends. The fly ball revolution is upon us, and only 50 years after Ted Williams told us all about it. And with Judge’s superhuman power, a willingness and ability to drive (and lift) the ball to the opposite field, a right field porch in Yankee Stadium that is a few feet behind first base (roughly), and juiced baseballs that are leaving parks like they’re golf balls, what is a popup behind second base for most batters is a home run to the upper deck in right field for Judge. That was a very long sentence. Let’s pause to catch our breath here.

Please, blog, may I have some more?