Tim Anderson is a guy that I would glance at earlier in the season and then move on with my life and with our beloved Top 100. He is a nice young player and all, but he wasn’t spongeworthy. Now, though, we’re in the last couple weeks of the season, and homeboy is lighting it up. And more than just hitting, TA is running wild. He has six stolen bases in his last seven games after not running much at all this year, so he is providing SAGNOF value, as well.

Anderson has been so hot that he is your PR15 king this week, with a 17.18 rating. That stretch of games only includes two home runs, which should give you an idea of just how hot he has been at the plate in order to be able to record a 17+ PR15 with only two long dongs. Our boy is hitting everything in sight and swiping bags now.

If you are battling down the stretch in roto leagues, Anderson can help you while providing some SAGNOF. If you are battling it out in weekly H2H league playoffs, though, he doesn’t have the same kind of appeal. IF (read: big IF) he stays hot, he will help across the board except for power and possibly RBI, while helping with AVG, R, and potentially SB. Compared to the standard stiff on the waiver wires, he looks like a stud. But in terms of cross-category production and overall value, he does have a pretty low ceiling. Grab him for the hot streak, but don’t drop anyone of value for him if you can help it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings and welcome back to everyone except salty commenter Fogimon. Just kidding. Love you, Fogimon. If you didn’t read Saturday’s post, I moved up north from South Florida just in time to avoid Hurricane Irma, avoiding the chaos of evacuating or staying and hunkering down for the storm. Can’t have much better luck than that, I guess.

Hopefully, you survived without me for a week as we head into the home stretch and fantasy playoffs. If you didn’t, then you are probably not reading this, I guess. So, welcome, survivors. Let’s all bring these leagues home.

We only have so much time left, so we have to continue to focus on the players who are contributing now. If that means dropping Miguel Cabrera (in non-keeper and non-dynasty formats) in order to pick up Matt Olson or a Nick Williams, so be it. Now is not the time for name value consideration. I usually preach patience in this space, but we only have a few weeks left here to close this out. Go, go, gadget Jose Reyes!

Expanded rosters make these last few weeks even more difficult, especially if you have players on teams like the Dodgers or Nationals who can afford to rest players like Daniel Murphy and Corey Seager. You want to make sure you have some additional positional flexibility where possible, which makes waiver wire additions such as Eduardo Escobar and Matt Olson that much more valuable. Not only are they producing right now, but they play a couple positions and give you some added flexibility.

I touch on Olson a bit in a blurb below, but Escobar is a guy who taking a look at because of his eligibility at both shortstop and third base. He won’t have too much value once Miguel Sano returns, but it sounds like Sano is progressing pretty slowly. With only a few weeks left in the season, we probably still have at least another week of Escobar playing time, if not more. There is no guarantee that he continues to play every day once Sano comes back, but it is equally possible that, if he keeps hitting, the Twins find a place for him in a lineup that could certainly use the help. For a guy with a 9.92 PR15 who is owned in less than 20% of ESPN leagues, I would definitely be willing to take a chance.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings and welcome back to the Mike Maher end of summer backyard bash, where we talk about our beloved top 100 hitters. I will be taking a one-week hiatus after this post as I pack up my apartment and drive 1,200 miles north from Fort Lauderdale, FL up to Pennsylvania. That’s right, the true King of the North is returning home to his roots. No more tank tops in January for me for a little while. After my one-week absence, though, I will be back to tell you how good Rhys Hoskins is. You may have heard of him by now. We focused on him last week, so we don’t have to go over him again, even though he has pretty much homered in every game since we talked about him. And for once, that isn’t even an exaggeration. Check out his game log:

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The image of eating salt always reminds me of one of my favorite Futurama quotes.  The “Death by snu snu” scenes are easily my all-time favorites though.  Enough about Futurama though and let’s talk about my boy, Charlie Morton.  Morton has been by streaming delight in the RCLs since he returned in early July.  In that time span he has never given up more than 4 earned runs and has never struck out fewer than 5.  Those numbers scream safety, which also means, boring.  I wouldn’t go in thinking Morton is winning you a GPP today, but he’s a perfect cash game play at a nice price ($17,400).  He’ll be squaring off against the California Angels of LA and/or Anaheim who are third to last in team OPS.  Granted, Mike Trout is back now, but I’m still comfortable with picking on the Angels.  So, pass the salt (Or, as he’s going by this week, “Ground Chuck”) in cash games and let’s take a look at who we’ll be pairing up with Morton and who to look at in those GPPs below:

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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…

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Shitter’s full! This would appear true if Eddie Rosario is the lede. Rosario Dawson would have been a much better choice, however, she isn’t leading all batters this week in points, cousin Eddie is. No, not the lovable idiot from National Lampoon’s Vacation. That’s cousin Eddie Johnson. Eddie Rosario has three home runs, seven runs batted in, seven runs scored, two doubles and a stolen base as of Saturday morning. With 35 points he had two more than Joey Votto. Rosario is not owned in many leagues. However, he is outperforming the following players that are largely owned: Kyle Schwarber, Carlos Gonzalez, Gregory Polanco, Matt Kemp and Jackie Bradley Jr.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One of the best pieces of DFS advice I can give is that it’s always helpful to look at the slate on a macro-level first before turning to micro-level decisions. The reason why this is often helpful is that some slates have obvious cash plays who have such juicy matchups, or are so grossly underpriced, that it’s hard to justify pivoting off of them in your GPP lineups.  This, in turn, makes playing GPPs quite tough as you’re likely looking at lineups that are chalky and not very unique. Other times, there are very few obvious cash plays, as everyone who would be considered for cash has some sort of a wart. In such a case, the slate is better geared for playing GPPs, as no one is likely to be high owned, and there’s an incredible amount of variance. The idea of a “GPP-only slate” becomes even more apparent when it’s the pitchers who are the ones where there is simply no obvious play. This is one of those slates. The high-end pitchers include one facing a top-5 offense (deGrom), one who is not pitching at the level he was at even earlier in the season (Bumgarner), one on a team that doesn’t let their pitchers go deep and facing a low-strikeout team (Darvish), and one who is a touch overpriced for what he brings to the table (Paxton). The best mid-range option is the single most upside-capped pitcher around (Nova), and while he makes great sense as a cash SP2 on two-pitcher sites, on a one pitcher site, it’s always tough to roll with him no matter how safe he is. Now, all of these pitchers have the upside potential to do very well (or just well in Nova’s case). I’m even going to tell you which of them I prefer today. But they all have warts, so it makes cash on FanDuel today icky, for lack of a better word. Offensively, it’s also fairly icky beyond Coors Field, although there are a few no-brainers in the outfield, leaving the “ickiness” to the infield. If you feel comfortable with one of the pitchers, then by all means, plug him in and fire up as much cash as you want. But if you don’t, then find a core of hitters you like, build that hitter core, and then play mix-and-match with a bunch of pitchers and the final few hitters.

On to the picks once this slate gets less icky…

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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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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?