Atlanta Braves top prospect/hot shot rookie/middle infielder/the “New” Georgia Peach Ozzie Albies hit his second career major league home run in just his ninth career major league start going 2-for-4 with the 3-run bomb. Albies has basically been doing what we expected/wished/hoped/prayed Dansby Swanson would do all season: hit baseballs. Well, luckily for us there’s plenty of young middle infielders in the sea. By the way, were you impressed by my Shelley reference in headline? You didn’t think I’d miss a chance to mention one of my favorite non-Shakespearian sonnets, Ozymandias, did you? Speaking of English romantic poets (killer segue, I know!), the 20 year-old Albies was slashing .285/.330/.440  at Triple A Gwinett, and the kiddo’s got some game-changing speed with 21 steals in 91 games. If those numbers aren’t romantic or poetic enough for you I don’t what it is you’re looking for. Funny enough, I said the same thing to my real life human girlfriend. He hit just nine home runs in the minors but its pretty clear the power is on the way, with two dingers already in just nine major league starts. Friday night was Ozzie’s first multi-hit game in the bigs, and with the homer and 3 RBI he seems to be adjusting well to his new surroundings and getting plenty comfortable at the plate. Grey told you to BUY this week, and he gushed about him here. In keeper/dynasty formats you should own him already, but I think he’s worth a flier everywhere else based on his potential to help with speed/average. The .214/.313/.464 in just nine games is too small to take away from, but the two homers and 6 RBI are certainly an exciting sign for the young infielder and fantasy owners alike. This kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

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

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I’m starting to think there’s a conspiracy on my FanDuel Saturdays: this is the 3rd? 4th? week in a row where the pitching options are either expensive or dismal or both. But we do have an @ARI game, huzzah: the Cubs are taking on the Diamondbacks. [Sidebar: this sounds like a nature movie in which a baby bear tries gamely, vainly, to defend his wounded mother from the evil snake, while everyone in the audience cries. (Sub-sidebar: I have a friend who tells me I always take things to the dark place.)] The Brewers have a good match-up at home versus Scott Feldman, too. Thus, we DFS warriors will make do as we can on the pitching front (Hyun-Jin Ryu, $8,200: I’m looking at you) and otherwise stack like the stacking great bastards we are.

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Ever since the Tampa Bay Rays selected Tim Beckham (41.6% owned – increase of 31.8%) with the number one overall selection in the 2008 MLB Draft, it’s been a headache for the city and the organization. Young girls flocked from all over to see him. The increase in the number of tourists strained the infrastructure. The paparazzi were everywhere! Even when the organization denied that David Beckham was not bending balls around posts, it was deemed as #Fake News. Pictures of Tim Beckham were tweeted and sent to news organizations all over the world to provide visual evidence that it was indeed not David. Regardless, conspiracy theorists alleged that the pictures were doctored and/or David was wearing an elaborate mask. Finally, in June of this year, the Rays finally took the necessary steps to alleviate themselves of the problem by trading two prospects to the Miami Marlins for Adeiny Hechavarria and, finally, trading Tim to the Baltimore Orioles for a pitcher. Like a lion freed from the cages at the circus, Tim has been wreaking havoc. In eight games with the Baltimore Orioles, he’s batting .500/.515/.938 with three home runs, three doubles, and a triple. Now, there’s a lot of ugly to his game, as he strikes out 30% of the time and has a swinging strike rate of 16%. With that said, he’s moving to a better park for hitting and he’s been batting sixth in a potentially potent lineup. I’ve seen mention that JJ Hardy will supplant him when he returns. In best Nancy Kerrigan voice, Whhhhhhyyyyy????? Anyways, Beckham obviously isn’t going to continue hitting at the torrid pace that he’s on. There’s just too much swing and miss to his game. But there’s a ton of upside. TREASURE

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In the real world, the realm of 20 homers and 20 stolen bases has now become a cheap rack of cheaters at your local pharmacy.  The state of the power and thievery in the game, as a combined entity, is a pooh-fest currently filled with zero residents.  The possibilities of getting maybe three could happen by the end of the month and those names are first round darlings: Paul Goldschmidt (22/15), Jose Alutve (15/21), and Mookie Betts (17/17) are the closest to reaching the ranks of the common folk from 10 years ago.  I have gone over the numbers in previous years posts and the number of 20/20 players is on a perpetual downward slope.  So while nothing is guaranteed for the standard “he is a 20/20 player” from year-to-year, the reward when he does it is, well… rewarding.  If the standard for the dual threat is just being one of a few who does both, then they deservedly so belong in the first round.  Like the three names that I just mentioned.  All had ADP preseason in the top-10 and very comfortably.  I know it’s August and I am here waxing poetic about ADP… Well, it is the first of the month and the other ADP is all about paying people, so I thought it was apropos.  So when looking next year at what you can get out of a player, dumb down the 20/20 expectations and limit it to a select and proud few.  sad state of affairs, next thing you know we will be giving fantasy participation trophies to everyone so nobodies feelings get hurt.  Cheers!

The 2017 Fantasy Premier League is approaching, check out Razzball Soccer here!

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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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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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The greatest rivalry in sports reasserted its standing this weekend.

New York versus Boston; corporate versus blue collar; Mookie Betts versus Aaron Judge; Aroldis Chapman versus…. himself?

Baseball rivalries are unique in the frequency at which the clubs meet. More than twenty times in a given season, you’ll see navy and red clash, and even though common intuition might assume this devalues each individual matchup, the tenacity of a decades-old rivalry like this abandons the adoption of that rule.

If you’re looking for a fantasy rivalry of the same caliber, it is with great pleasure I bring you a centuries-old matchup.

Grey versus Rudy…

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Hope all of you out in Razzballland (who doesn’t like the ol’ triple L) enjoyed the All-Star Break.  We all now know making the All-Star game an exhibition game again was a great idea. It’s just too bad they only scored three total runs. Still I’ll take the more fun baseball games and juiced baseballs; reminds me of the nineties.  This season thus far has been a throwback to those days, right?

I think what the MLB marketing department did was they looked at the last truly successful, cross cultural, baseball era and it was the steroid era, right? Admittedly people did care and pay attention when the Cubs won last year and when the Red Sox won their first but that’s World Series time, a couple weeks in October.  But baseball needs fans for 162 games and that means continuing to target casual fans.  For example, my wife. She knows about Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire but didn’t know who Mike Trout was until we went to an Angels game. She doesn’t know Bryce Harper; she does know ARod and Barry Bonds but she’s familiar with baseball enough to go because of those guys (and buy a hat and a t-shirt and a hot dog and frozen lemonade). Point being, if baseball wants that all-important demographic that really doesn’t care about baseball (but will go to games) they should stick to this…

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Since there were no games this week and players haven’t been able to get hot or cold or humid, this Buy/Sell is going to be slightly different.  This Buy/Sell includes some players that are owned in more than 50% of leagues.  Okay, that’s not different for the Sells, but it does change the Buys.   “Hello?  No, B-U-Y-S.  Thanks, you too!”  That was GLAAD calling me about potential insensitivity.  I have not triggered anyone in almost three days, unless you count that fisherman I saw with a pipe that I called “Hipster Popeye.”  As I mentioned in my top 100 for the 2nd half of 2017 fantasy baseball, my biggest Buy of the 2nd half is Manny Machado.  He’s about to come on in the 2nd half like he’s Mickey Maris in 1927 with Barry Bonds’s personal trainer.  For the 2nd half, I gave Machado the projections of 48/18/49/.288/3.  This year he’s been gun shy.  He’s swung at 4% less pitches inside the strike zone.  Either guessing wrong, or just being flat out beat by fastballs.  Ground balls have gone through the roof (especially if ants are reading) and fly balls have fallen, and I don’t mean a defective zipper.  Bad swings, and weak contact?  I’m gonna call them flailing balls, lightly chuckle to myself and sip my Tom Collins.  That’s all bad news, said Mr. Exposition.  The good news is, it’s a small sample size — that’s what she said snidely! — and it’s been mostly propped by a terrifically terrible — terribically? — May.  His May was so bad it will hold down his season-long stats.  In May, he had a 6% line drive rate and a 51% ground ball rate.  El oh what?  Was he a 78-year-old Jeter for a month?  By the way, 78-year-old Jeter is dating your 23-year-old niece, and you’re proud of her.  You absolutely should buy Machado, and on the pronto.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week 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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