September 1st, playoff races begin to solidify, wins are objectively worth more than they are in April (it’s true, just ask every stupid MVP winner who won it on the basis of a strong September instead of the better player). The Dodgers are chasing the ghost of the 1998 New York Yankees. The waiver trade deadline passed and Justin Verlander got traded to the loaded Astros, Brandon Phillips got traded to the Angels (the same quality of player, obviously). Albert Pujols is continuing his quest to be the single worst player ever to have 100 RBI, and also, Albert Pujols is extremely bad (-1.8 WAR) and is signed through 2021. At what point do the Angels just say enough is enough and waive him? If the Angels miss the playoffs by 1 game (or 2, considering that he’s likely to finish with at least a -2 WAR), do they then blame a “lack of execution” or would they blame the decision to play Albert Pujols for 150 games – again, he has a -1.8 WAR, a career worst strikeout rate (15.2%), a career worst swing & miss rate (8.8%), a career worst swing rate (47.7%), a career low walk rate (5.9%) and .237 BABIP. Further, one can’t really say that the BABIP seems low and is likely to rebound because one has to keep in mind that he’s Albert Pujols with foot, leg and knee problems and has run a low BABIP for 5 years now – the .237 is low but not that low for current Albert Pujols. All of this has been a long way of saying that Albert Pujols should not be on the field for the Angels the rest of the year, and perhaps not on the field again, period. I can even make that long-winded rant DFS relevant, as the Angels have one of the best matchups (as will be discussed later), but despite this, do not play Albert Pujols, at least until his salary drops to something like $2,200, because there isn’t a planet where a -1.8 WAR, 74 wRC+, 1B is worth $3,100 .

On to the picks once Albert Pujols drops to $2,000

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Maybe because I am not Prospector Ralph aka Endorphin Ralph aka The Prospector aka Prospect Jesus aka Peter, Paul and ‘I Know Prospects’ Mary Well aka The Pro-Spectulator aka I Am Still Not Beating Grey In Our League And Grey Beat Me To Waivers For Rhysus aka No, You’re Minor, I’m Major, But I Know Minors Just Not Like That aka Ralph Lifshitz, but this year’s September call-ups are kinda sad.  Do I like Jack Flaherty?  Sure, Flaherty is must SCTV!  But he’s kinda more to do with matchups.  Tyler Glasnow?  Well, more on him in this afternoon’s Buy column.  Willie Calhoun?  Great, but where does he play?  Harrison Bader and Franklin Barreto?  Haven’t we gone down that road already?  I would absolutely grab any September call-up if he was helping me in a redraft league, but the choice between Willie Calhoun platooning and, say, Howie Kendrick playing?  Kendrick all day, and twice on Muesday, that magical day between Monday and Tuesday.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Another week, another trawl through the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater, as Dr. Easy and I look for some sneaky-value position players who may be doing better than you think they are, as well as players you may be hanging onto out of nostalgia or inertia or some other word that ends in “-ia”. Paranoia? Melancholia? Pedroia? Suburbia? Fuschia? MIA? Victoria? Amnesia: “Oh ya, I forgot I had that guy!” (That last one actually happens to me all the time.) Here goes!

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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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Michael Conforto left yesterday’s game on a swing and miss that dislocated his shoulder and a posterior capsule tear.  Dude fell like he was punched in the face by the Ghost of Muhammad Ali.  Anyone know if the Ghost of Muhammad Ali was at the game?  Float like a butterfly in a sheet…  Ever hear about the three drunk ghosts?  They were three sheets to the wind.  Take it, Highlights!  It’s yours!  This doesn’t sound good for Conforto.  Reports are saying he’s likely done for the year.  Taking over for Conforto will likely be Brandon Nimmo.  Laura Holt just gave you her Brandon Nimmo fantasy, as if she had some sort of premonition about Conforto.  Oh my god, she’s a witch!  Hand her a refrigerator and she if she floats!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I really wish Rhys Hoskins pronounced his name “Riz” so that I could use a “Nobody Beats The Rhys” headline, but it is apparently pronounced “Reese.” Who do I talk to about making that change? Does anyone have the phone number for his parents or, better yet, his grandparents? This is important stuff here.

Anyway, added Rhys to our beloved 100 because chicks dig the long ball. While you probably haven’t had to search hard to find home runs in 2017, neither has anyone else, so it’s always good to have some more. Hoskins has big boy power, which he displayed in the minors the last few years (where he was stuck for way too long thanks to the Phillies). After hitting 38 home runs in 135 games in hitter-friendly confines in Double-A in 2016, he backed that up with 29 home runs in 115 games in Triple-A this season.

But his game isn’t all power. As a somewhat older prospect, Hoskins actually has a pretty nice approach at the plate. In Triple-A in 2017, he posted a 13.5 BB% against a 15.8 K% while slashing .284 / .385 / .581. Through his first two weeks in the show, his average is down, but everything else looks about the same. And a .154 BABIP helps explain the .237 average he woke up with on Monday morning.

So, the real bonus with Hoskins is that the power numbers come with some above-average peripherals. He might not hit .280+ the rest of the way in the bigs, but would it surprise anyone if he did? If you are in OBP or OPS leagues, even better, since he has shown that he is not afraid to take a walk. Plus, that power…

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As oft-misheard lyric is, “Eddie, are you okay?  Are you okay, Eddie?”  For those millennials who are reading, misheard lyrics were lyrics you thought you were hearing in songs before you could just Google, “[song name] lyrics.”  For 25 years, people went around singing, “I can see clearly now Lorraine is gone,” and were just happy to be rid of Lorraine!  R.E.M.’s It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine) was just a chorus and four minutes of jumbled words, and that…sounded…fine!  So, is Eddie Rosario okay, or is he just okay Eddie?  Yesterday, Rosario went 2-for-5, 4 RBIs with his 17th homer as he hits over .400 in the last week.  Some notes about Eddie:  he’s gone hitless in only two games in August; has five steals to go with the 17 homers; is hitting .303; has a .209 ISO which is tied for 56th in baseball; and now hits at the top of the order.  He should be grabbed in all leagues, and, I’m moving close to him becoming my 2018’s Max Kepler.  *inhales deeply*  Ah, the sweet smell of embarrassment.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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If you hail from Central New Jersey, sorry. I didn’t mean to get your hopes up. Albert Pujols does not represent the 609. If you are a Ludacris fan, sorry. Pujols may or may not have garden hoes in different area codes, but I can neither confirm nor deny it. Rather, Pujols slugged his 609th career home run Friday night. It doesn’t matter that it came off Jeremy Hellickson, who’s allowed the 14th-most home runs this season, and is already the 439th-worst of all time. I was going to go on an epic rant about how all the stories are focused on the fact that he’s tied with Sammy Sosa for the most home runs by a foreign-born player. Who gives a flying F where he was born? Then I started thinking, I wonder which player born in Los Angeles has hit the most home runs. Yet again, I’ve managed to stymie myself. Anyways, who cares that Pujols has a triple slash of .229/.274/.374 with an ISO of .144. Let’s just celebrate the great career he’s had and send him off into the sunset after this season. My self checks to make sure this is his last year…

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Between Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi, Ozzie Albies, Amed Rosario, Rhys Hoskins and Yoan Moncada baseball is staying at a Renaissance Hotel.  “Is that a Cal Ripken mint rookie card under my pillow and a Beckett Baseball Card Guide in the side table?  What a great hotel!”  That’s me staying at a baseball-themed Renaissance Hotel.  Oh, and this is barely touching a majority of Ralph’s top 100 fantasy baseball prospects.  By the way, I Googled top 100 baseball rookies from the preseason, and Baseball America had Dansby Swanson, Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow, Jharel Cotton, Jose De Leon, Robert Gsellman and Albert Almora in the top 10.  (Judge was 12th, Bellinger 19th and Ben Grieve 5th.  Okay, not Grieve, but you get the drift.)  Rookies are a crapshoot, but baseball ate some beans and is shooting crap!  (That sounded better in my head.)  Yesterday, Rafael Devers hit his 5th and 6th homers, coming in only his 16th game, as he hits .339.  He’s only 20 years old!!!  Triple exclamation marks due to sticky keyboard because of Giancarlo, my apologies.  If I had the time or motivation, I’d go back to the comments from people who said within three days of Devers’ call-up that he’s overmatched.  Yo, I think you might want to hold back your hot takes for a minute.  For 2018, Devers or Benintendi?  Okay, I’m gonna hold back my own hot takes, but you’re seriously considering the guy who’s only been up for two-plus weeks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Please, blog, may I have some more?