Here we are halfway through the season – still a small sample size of games in the grand scheme of things, but I’m finally willing to admit that some of this year’s most surprising breakout hitters may continue to help fantasy teams as the season progresses. Just looking at the All Star starting lineups, each team has several pretty huge surprises (unless you correctly predicted back in April that Ryan Zimmerman, Zack Cozart, Justin Smoak, and Corey Dickerson would all be starting). In the outfield, I certainly didn’t see Marcell Ozuna and Aaron Judge getting the starting nod.

With all of these guys, I feel like the tendency from a fantasy perspective would be to sell high while you can, and avoid trading for them at all costs when their value is sky-high (and if you own any of them and you can, say, get a king’s ransom for Aaron Judge in a re-draft league, go for it). But if you find yourself on the other side, getting offered a guy like Ozuna by an owner who you suspect might be desperate to sell him when his value is as high as possible, making a deal to add a perceived over-performer may not be the craziest thing in the world.

Last year, I traded for Daniel Murphy right around this time of year, even though I knew I was getting a player who was most likely at the peak of a career year. But I knew that even if his batting average came down substantially (amazingly, it didn’t) and the power evaporated somewhat (it did, to about the extent I expected), he would still be a huge asset to my team in terms of helping me in a couple categories that would, and did, lead me to gain a few points in the standings. It never feels good to buy high on a player, but I don’t like to discount it as an option if I feel it might ultimately help my team over the long haul – especially in very deep leagues where you know the waiver wire pickings are always going to fall into the slim-to-none category. And speaking of slim pickings on the waiver wire, let’s get to some names who might be relevant in AL and NL-only leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Michael Taylor and Keon Broxton are pizza delivery men.  And–Yes, two of them delivering one pizza.  Okay, and you answer the door naked.”  Jim Bowden squints, considering it.  “Can I be riding a Segway?”  “Sure, sure.”  “And you’re saying it’s not erotic?”  “Not traditionally.”  That was a pitch for a Showtime After Dark movie called The Bowden Fluffers.  Before they’re through, they will also pitch it to Skinemax, Spike and NatGeo TV.  Sadly, no one will bite on the Fluffers, pardon the phrasing.  They will say they want to work with Michael Taylor and Keon Broxton again in the future, and rightfully so.  Brucely, I was shocked they were both under 50% owned in ESPN leagues.  I’d usually go on to say something snide here about ESPN leagues, but I get the feeling that we’re thisclose to every fantasy site closing its doors and opening its own video chatroom.  Who would’ve guessed twenty years in the future all journalism professors would be Max Headroom?  Any hoo!  I’m off-off topic.  Taylor has 11 HRs and nine SBs and hitting around .275, and Broxton has 13 HRs and 14 SBs and hitting around .250.  If these numbers don’t immediately grab you like an angry sock puppet that needs its coffee, then you don’t know fantasy value.  On our Player Rater, Broxton is the 24th best outfielder and Taylor the 46th best, i.e., they should be owned in 100% of leagues.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yankees called up their 3B prospect, Miguel Andujar (3-for-4, 4 RBIs, and a steal), to fill-in for DL’d Matt Holliday.  That reminds me of Joaquin Andujar, and now I’m sad.  Gone too soon.  RIP, Joaquin.  “I always thought you’d kill someone before life killed you.”  That’s my eulogy to him.  Any hoo!  I watched some game film on Andujar (while chewing on an unlit cigar, because that’s how scouts do it, right?), and he reminds me of so many Dominican players that take the Roberto Clemente/Vlad Guerrero approach.  Old adage goes:  You can’t walk your way off the island.  We should have a glossary term for these type of hitters.  Please suggest in the comments.  Any hoo, Part 2:  Still Hoo’ing, Andujar is raw, swings at a lot and makes contact, sometimes to his detriment.  He could DH or see time at 3B, but will need to hit to stick.  Could be a deep league power bat if he hits and Headley is benched indefinitely or Holliday stays out a while.  Maybe Andujar will be so lucky that Girardi gets one more wish filled this year and looks at Andujar, saying, “Now, you be the Judge.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Black Friday!  Oops, sorry, I mean Happy African-American Friday!  As I type this, I’m being trampled at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  “There’s enough Scrub Daddys for everyone!”  The Diamondbacks got a head start on Black Friday sales on Wednesday when they traded Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis to the Mariners for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte.  What’s that old axiom, if you don’t know who the sucker is at the table, you’re the sucker.  Mariners, you’re the sucker.  If anyone forgot that the Diamondbacks fired Dave Stewart immediately following the end of the season, this was a reminder.  If Stewart were still there, the Diamondbacks would’ve traded Greinke for Todd Walker.  As Dave Stewart would say after reading that, “I’m not mad at ya.”  Don’t love the move to Chase Field for Walker, but the NL West makes that medicine go down a little easier, chim chiminy chim chiminy chim chim cher-ee!  Walker had a 8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 last year in 134 1/3 IP.  That goes up to 8.5 in the NL West and he’s pretending to yawn as he puts his arm around a low to mid-3 ERA.  The only thing that’s stopping you from nodding your head like a plus-size Pez is that Walker hasn’t done it yet.  He’s only 24 years old, not doing it yet isn’t a great excuse for never doing it.  For 2017, I’ll give him the projections of 12-11/3.44/1.18/153 in 160 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rough year to be a Prince.  Watch yourself William, Henry and the kid who played Fred in the atrocious Scooby-Doo movies.  Prince Fielder is done from baseball with 319 homers.  Of the tens of thousands of other baseball players that have played the game, the only other person retired with exactly 319 homers is Cecil Fielder.  They are also the only two members of the 300-300 club — 300 HR/LB.  This also leads me to believe we’re on an 18-year loop with 1998.  Wait until Hillary Clinton meets a young Jewish intern in the White House who is just back from Cuba with some cigars.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s time we address the elephant in the room.  Not you, Sandoval.  I mean that one-time absurdist comedian and Red Sox knuckleballer, Steven Wright, has a 2.01 ERA in almost 100 IP after yesterday’s line of 9 IP, 0 ER, 8 baserunners, 6 Ks.  The Red Sox are so happy with him they are currently combing the minor league rosters for other Boston comic namelgangers, except for any Dane Cooks because people are going to see his Shocker pitch from a mile away.  Denis Leary has some decent pitches he stole from other pitchers, and he keeps trying to smoke his teammates’ chew.  While Lenny Clarke is a Quad-A pitcher, who everyone says is a great teammate, a real pitcher’s pitcher.  None are Steven Wright though.  Christian Vazquez came up to the mound during yesterday’s game and told Steven Wright he could throw a knuckleball at any time, and Steven Wright said, “I decided to throw one during the Renaissance.”  I did some dirty math on my own fantasy team where I have a 4.03 ERA (yup, my pitching is a mess!).  If I had Steven Wright on my team, I’d have a 3.74 ERA — a quarter of a run better — and an extra three points.  So, as a Bostonian would say, fahk me for not picking him up in April.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It is more simple then just correlating the “every stolen base is essential” represents a swipe to the right.  It goes farther the that, for some guys. it is like fish in a barrel… for others. it is a game they just don’t play.  Anyone that has partaken in the chicanery that is Tinder, gets the other far deeper references here because there are endless similarities.   Over the past seven games of play, there have been 13 teams with one steal or less, on the contrary to that, there was only four teams that swiped more than five.  That does not add up to a ton of stats to go around, especially when players like Cody Asche, owned in 0.6% of ESPN leagues, and Marwin Gonzalez (3.0%) are toeing the line of stolen base leaders for the week.  Only being one behind the leader for the week, of a mass total of three.  The sexy factor of steals is like a 2 AM special at the bar: dark, desperate, and a crap shoot.  So I am not here to tell you to not shoot for the moon with guessing with stolen bases, I am just saying that it is a game of haves and have-nots.  So be heady my good friends, as you search the waiver wires for good situations, pay attention to the pitchers who allow the most steals.  Pay Attention to the last 14 days of OBP, and of course with lesser owned fellas, watch general playing time.  Here are some fish in the barrel types for this week…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Wil Myers went 2-for-4 and his 11th and 12th homers as he hits .294.  How many posts does Wil Myers have with his post-hype sleeper?  More than the postman at the postoffice marking his post-lunch post-time with some extra postage licking and complaints that they have their postbaccalaureate to sort postcards without postcodes wishing they were postcoital not dealing with postapocalyptic posturing about the postage for the postmortem envelope they pulled out of the garbage that now looks postmodern.   Nah’mean?!  That’s 14 posts, kid!  Damn, I should be on Def Poetry Jam.  I know you wish there were some sleepers you could unswallow, but Myers has been the one shining light in a sea of brown, cloaked Padres.  This could be the last year that he’s even a question mark and not owned from start to finish.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Did I just get something from nothing?  Because Justin Upton is nothing, and I got something yesterday — 2-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and a slam (4) and legs (2).  Therefore, hence, Argo the movie, vis-a-vis, I got something from nothing.  Take that all of you non-believers!  And you said he would never come around to be worth that top 25 pick.  I pfft on you.  A big fat pfft.  Come here, accept my pfft.  I got one good game from him out of 57!  Holy schnikeballs, I got only one good game from my 2nd rounder?  Please, neighbor’s cat, don’t confuse me for a ball of yarn as I curl up in a ball and sob.  Please, stop tapping me with your paw.  I am not a ball of yarn.  So, can Upton turn it around?  I believe he can.  At least moderately.  Last year, he hit two homers and .196 in June and .162 in July.  And you still drafted him this year, so apparently you don’t care about two-month slumps.  In 2014, he had a month of .226 with 3 HRs and a month of .169 with 3 HRs.  This year in April, he had a 38% strikeout percentage, 34% in May and 22% in June.  He’s already seeing the ball better.  If he finishes June with 6 homers and .259, then hit .343 in May, would you be shocked?  Well, you shouldn’t be, because those were months he did last year when he also had two sub-.200 months.  Upton gets awful for months; it’s what he does.  He also gets hot for months.  Unfortunately, the slump months came to start the season so it was more pronounced.  Pronounced specifically as:  Gäd, h? s?ks.  And, remember, it takes the Uptons a while to adjust to new leagues.  It took Melvin Upton three years and a first name change to adjust to the NL.  Hopefully, this is the start of something so Justin doesn’t have to resort to being Melvin Upton Jr. Jr.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Ree,” opens the front door, walks down the driveway, says hello to my Polish neighbor, Stash, walks to the DQ, gets a Blizzard, eats said Blizzard, walks home, opens the door, says “Dick,” hits the head, not like that, comes back feeling a Blizzard lighter, does some Netflix and chill, shuts it off, says, “You,” brushes teeth, gets into bed, moves arm over Cougs, hears about her splitting headache, rolls over and says, “Lus.”  That’s right, in honor of Mookie Betts, I just did the most ridiculous ridiculous call ever.  You earned that shizz, you madman!  I’d count the ways I love this man, but like a savant Blackjack dealer I can only count up to 21.  After his three-homer game yesterday, Betts (3-for-5, 5 RBIs, 10th, 11th, 12th homers) now has those twelve homers to go with eight steals, a .283 average and is on pace for 115 runs and 85 RBIs.  Don’t make me do another ridiculous ridiculous call, cause if you want me to, I will.  Oh, and with what he’s doing, it’s not even inconceivable that he keeps up this pace.  His BABIP (.290) is actually below his career average (he’s getting unlucky!), his fly ball percentage is down (he could be hitting more homers!) and he hasn’t been caught stealing once (so steal more!).  You are witnessing the emergence of a perennial first rounder.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?