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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Matt Grace picked up his 2nd save in as many games on Saturday for the Nationals, and Ben Zobrist’s wife started to work on a song titled, “Saving Grace,” and requested Ben’s trade to Washington.  Then, first thing on Sunday, the Nats traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and Saving Grace became a B-side for “Halleberrylujah, A Catwoman Licks Herself (Rated PG).”  When asked if the trade makes his team better, the Nats’ GM said, “That’s right,” and, “I’m Mike Rizzo.”  Picture this:  Dusty and Rizzo looking at a book called, “Baseball Strategy.”  Rizzo looks at Dusty, and Dusty says, “I got the baseball part,” and Rizzo nods his head.  Finally, Rizzo chimes in, “I don’t know the 2nd word and I don’t think it’s worth investigating.”  Dusty agrees, and that’s the Nationals.  So, who will close between Madson and Doolittle?  Your guess = my guess.  I’d want to say Madson, but it could be either, both or neither as they trade for David Robertson or someone else.  By the time the calendar turns to August, the Nationals might have five closers from teams not in the pennant chase.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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.

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Welcome, prematurely balding men and five women who are married to prematurely balding men and decided if you can’t beat them, join them!  Make yourself comfortable, this is gonna be a long post.  Here, enjoy some coffee.  Oops, you just drank rat poison.  Don’t worry, it can’t be worse than owning Matt Harvey in the 1st half.  Oh, you owned him and that’s why you drank the poison!  Now, I’m following!   Hey, I’m supposed to be leading!  Before we get into the top 100 for the 2nd half of 2017 fantasy baseball, let’s just be glad our 18-year-old selves can’t see us now, we’d get beat up!  But our twelve-year-old selves would think we’re the coolest!  So, as with all of the other 2017 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt.  If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade that outfielder for that 2nd baseman.  Also, things change in fantasy baseball.  Daily.  I could put Bryce Harper number two on the top 100 list for the second half of 2017 and he could pull a–Well, we won’t even mention an injury with Bryce.  Why soil a good thing, ya know?  This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued.  It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache.  This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today.  So while Mike Trout did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because, well, Mike Trout.  The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2017.  I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what players will do.  It’s like that camera from The Twilight Zone.  Welcome to the future!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2017:

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, say hello to the greatest player on Earth in week 13. Allow me to introduce a player who can juggle three positions at once, boasting eligibility at outfield, second base and third base. Hailing from Baní, the capital town of Peravia Province, Dominican Republic, he was recently voted the starting 3B for the American League All-Star game. The star of today’s show, and wrangler of 42 points, is none other than Jose Ramirez. While he might not be able to tame lions, ride a motorcycle in that small circular cage or swallow a flaming sword, Ramirez can certainly play the game of baseball. Truth be told, he might be able to do all of those things I just mentioned, but I couldn’t reach him to confirm. It seems my Razzball press credentials only got me a free hot dog. At least it was kosher. Love me some Hebrew Nationals!

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Shades of Freddie Freeman… Pedro Strop might want to hire security for his home in San Cristobal, Dominican Republic because bitter Nationals fans are going to be hurling lots of huevos from Trea Turner‘s broken wrist. Nationals fans are an interesting lot to begin with. Many of the people who attend Nationals home games are transplanted fans of other teams who are only in DC temporarily for business or pleasure. I went to a Nationals game once where a woman was reading and knitting the entire time. I don’t think she witnessed a single out. Back on track! Trea! Of course his amazing stats are only told to you AFTER he is set to miss about two months. In June he had 22 stolen bases. 22. By himself. And yes, I did list Trea as a bust in the 2017 Razzball Writers Predictions. But here’s what I wrote to Jay as justification: “Turner has skills—no doubt. But he has less than 1,000 at bats since he entered professional baseball in 2014. He is going to be this year’s Carlos Correa—drafted in Round 1 or 2 and not earning back that cost.” Steals will be there. Runs too. Everything else? Ehhhhhh. Stash or Trash: Stash. Please. Fill In: So there is no replacing 22 stolen bases in a month. But you know that, right? Hell, over the last 30 days there are only 4 players with over 10 stolen bases. So I’m going to recommend one of them: Cameron Maybin (61.9%.) This is more of a shallow league add, but he’s one of the few players that can even give you part of Trea’s stats. Maybin is always a risk to find himself in an issue of Ambulance Chasers, but right now his 24 SB and 49 runs aren’t bad.

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Legit, this is longest July 4th weekend of all time.  In 1776 on July 4th, Ben Franklin grabbed six ladies, and was like, “This will be better than Flag Day.  We will call this Flagellation Day.  Now twerk with a firework!”  That lasted for three days until Ben yelled out an Astros’ hitter last name and called for a volunteer fire department to put out his redness.  Any hoo!  Ian Desmond hit the DL with “I wanna rest for a few extra days before the break.”  It’s an epidemic that is going around the majors right now.  This especially sucks for those that had him in their weekly lineups because you’re getting ziplock.  But, for the rest of us, we got Raimel Tapia (3-for-4, 2 runs and his 2nd homer).  Fun fact!  He has a brother who drinks too much and can’t control his lasciviousness.  His name is Felasleepon Tapia.  Raimel gets a huge boost in value with Desmond’s DL stint.  He’s a grab for every league, especially if you need SAGNOF.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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First Mike Trout and now our beloved Trea Turner (and a bunch in between, but we’ll focus on baseball’s young heartthrobs for the time being). The baseball Gods are clearly punishing us all for the use of juiced baseballs this season. Major League Baseball has denied any kind of change in the balls despite some mounting evidence, but I bet it is something that gets looked at and adjusted in the offseason. Which leads me to wonder whether this will be something we will be talking about come March…

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The theme of the Top 100 hitters this week is triumphant returns. Carlos Gomez is back from his latest trip to the disabled list and is mashing. Ab-so-lute-ly mash-ing. Keon Broxton, left for dead just a few weeks ago, is the hottest power-speed combo hunk in all the land. Even Cameron Maybin has returned to our ranks, though his return has been more gradual over the last few weeks since we lost our beloved Mike Trout.

I have not been overly kind to the newcomers since taking over this series. Perhaps that is my way of initiating them and making sure they belong among us Top 100ers. This week, though, my heart is filled with warmth. Perhaps it is because I am looking ahead to a mini 4th of July vacation, or maybe I am just getting soft in my old age :::pause here and smirk as you slowly look around the room:::.

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Every year, there are surprises in fantasy baseball. Some players come out of nowhere and breakout or, in the case of Aaron Judge, absolutely dominate. Other players regress after a breakout season the year before. There are even the players who have long track records of mediocrity who, all of sudden, appear to have figured something out en route to becoming legitimate contributors both in fantasy and in, you know, real baseball. I like to call these players Justin Smoak-Logan Morrison-Yonder Alonso. The more popular terms among Razzballers for these players are Schmohawks and Hot Schmotatos.

Please, blog, may I have some more?