We’re almost there! There are only 10 more days in the season and hopefully, you’re counting your monies as you excel towards the finish line. Three teams, Washington, Cleveland and Houston all clinched their division already and have nothing to play for. And as we get this deep into September, teams really start throwing out questionable lineups, and Dee Gordon starts trying to pad his stats by trying to steal at every opportunity. One key this late in the season is to make sure to follow all the lineup announcements pretty closely, as teams work in their minor leaguers (who are almost always punt-priced) into the lineup. Yesterday we had Mallex Smith, Austin Hays and Teoscar Hernandez all batting leadoff, all punt-priced, and all in decent enough matchups to be playable. I can’t tell you who specifically will be out there today as a punt-priced hitter at the top of the order, but I can tell you that it’s highly likely there will be a few options to choose from. I will even go so far as to guarantee at least one team will throw out numerous punts (but I’ll get to that later, at the end of the article). Now I’m sure you’re asking – but if there are a bunch of options, how do I choose between all the different uninspiring AAA-level punt-priced hitters at the top of the order? Well it’s a good thing you asked! I’d focus on looking at the rest of the lineup (although it should seem obvious, if AAA-caliber punt OF #1 is batting leadoff for an otherwise great lineup and AAA-caliber punt OF #2 is batting leadoff for an otherwise uninspiring lineup, the former is far more likely to be driven in, if he does luckbox his way on-base, and also is far more likely to get that extra at-bat because the rest of the lineup cycles around), while also focusing on who is facing the inferior pitcher and/or the inferior bullpen (for much the same reasons). I’d also give a lot of weight to each spot in the lineup, so I’d much rather use leadoff-batting AAA-caliber punt OF than fourth-batting AAA-caliber punt OF. Two final notes – first – some managers (*coughDustyBakercough*) love to ask their weak-hitting #2 batter to sac bunt, so I’d also be a little weary of using a punt OF if he’s batting 2nd for a one of these managers who are a little more “old school”. Second – NL teams still (stupidly) have the pitcher hit (seriously, just end this abomination) and they double switch guys out all the time, so your favorite NL punt might be out of the game in the 5th because the Manager must insert himself into the game by using some next level strategery, which you know, proves he’s there.

On to the picks once punting season begins…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

DFS could be systematic, hydromatic, ultramatic… why it could be Rhys Lightnin’ today! I’d probably draft Rhys Hoskins above a whole bunch of guys next season. Throw Jose Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, Eric Hosmer, Logan Morrison, Ryan Zimmerman and Wil Myers on that list. Greasy Rhysy gives me the warm fuzzies with all of this home run business, oh and speaking of business, comparing him to a shart is kinda doable. We thought we knew what we had when Hoskins was called up in August, but when we pushed a little further, the explosion occurred. It’s a party in everyone’s pants, and since Hoskins ($4,100) is the lede on this fine Wednesday, he’s most certainly one of my top OF picks today.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

While it’s all well and good that Noah Syndergaard got to be on Game of Thrones, I cannot fathom why the powers that be did not consider using someone who actually looks like he belongs in Westeros (albeit beyond the wall) – the ginger-god himself, Justin Turner. Seriously, how could they not get Justin Turner to play a freefolk. He legitimately looks just like Tormund Giantsbane – you’re telling me you couldn’t have him be Tormund’s brother (or long lost son), Turner Giantsbane? That’s a massive opportunity entirely blown by the writers and casting. Anyway, turning to DFS for a second, Justin Turner-Giantsbane is having quite a season so far. A career .284/.351/.419 hitter before the 2015 season, Turner had seemingly taken a big step forward over the past two seasons by posting numbers a step above his career to that point – .294/.370/.491 in 2015 (142 wRC+), and .275/.339/.493 (124 wRC+) in 2016. But just like how Tormund went from small character to a well-liked secondary character to a full-blown fan favorite, Justin Turner has gone from decent major league (everything up through 2014) to respectable major league hitter (2015-2016) to full blown MVP candidate this year by batting .348/.441/.561 (currently good for the 3rd best wRC+ at 166 – fourth if you want to include Mike Trout, which is mandatory because he’s Mike $%^&*[email protected] Trout). And of note is how he’s done it – so far in 2017, he’s destroying lefties on a level that even Edgar Renteria and Alex Rodriguez would be impressed by – so far this season, he’s batting .398/.489/.759 (222 wRC+) against lefties. Sure enough, he’s facing a lefty today, and not a good one either – Clayton Richard. Now, I will be the first to admit that his L/R splits in a single season are the product of small sample size. But while the lefty-mashing will likely regress, the righty-hitting will likely also likely regress (in the opposite direction) as he reverts towards his career norms of having no real split. And yes, it’s probable that the 2015-2016 Justin Turner is the “true” Justin Turner, but the 2015-2016 Justin Turner is still pretty damn good. And he’s in a great matchup, facing Clayton Richard today. So ride the ginger wave, and roster Justin Giantsbane. If he continues the 2017 Justin Turner, complete with lefty-mashing that can only be rivaled by Arya’s list, you’ve got an absolute monster today. And if he’s just the 2015-2016 Justin Turner? Well, you’ve still got one heck of a good play today.

On to the picks once Turner Giantsbane is a character in Game of Thrones

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

This week, Dr. Easy and I (he’s the Rudy, with the stats and the puns; I’m the Grey, with the high-pitched giggle and the puns) continue our Adventures with the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR), looking for players who are rated higher than you may think they are — or lower than you think they would be — in an attempt to help you with waiver wire pick-ups, trade targets and DFS plays. We’ll look at a couple of position players but focus mostly on non-closing, non-handcuff relief pitchers, to try to get an idea of where their value lies for a roto team.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Who’s got one thumb and hit over 60 home runs in their career? Sorry, Carlos Correa ain’t what I’m looking for. Yeah, so what if I spent my Tuesday night researching weird thumb stuff? We already know Correa wasn’t the first person to pull off a thumb injury like this. But hey, turns out, he’s not even the first person named Carlos to do it! Yep, former Chicago White Sox-ian Carlos May blew off his own thumb in 1969 while serving in the U.S military. His story is one hundred and ten times cooler than Correa’s, and it’s kinda scary that he went on to have a more productive career with one appendage, than 40% of all Major League players.

A week after the All Star break is the best time to ignore actual stats and ride on a whim of “yeah, he should probably play better in the second half, my Dad thinks so”. It’s like a relapse of Opening Day optimism, only by now you probably know that your team sucks. Enough of the history/heartfelt reflection, though, here’s my take for Wednesday’s slate:

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Please, blog, may I have some more?