“Naquin the Chef looks determined without being ruthless.  Something heroic in his manner.  There’s a courage about him.  Comes across so calm.  Acts like he has a dream.  Full of passion.  Well, you know why.  Knock homers out of the box all the time.  Pitches know his repertoire, big fly.  Yeah, straight up, Naquin mess your whole team up.  It’s for real though, ball connect with stick, ditto.  We could trade places, ball lifted run around the bases.  Word up, peace, infatuated redfaces.”  I almost didn’t write the title of the Naquin the Chef song, Infatuated Redfaces, but then I was like, “There’s a team named Redskins and a mascot named Chief Wahoo, I think I’m all right.”  Yesterday, Tyler Naquin kept it going with the insane run he’s been on — 3-for-4, 6 RBIs with two homers (11, 12).  He now has six homers in the last ten games.  That’s six homers in July to go with his six homers in June.  As I said back in spring training when I saw Naquin play, he had a nice stroke against righties, but looked kinda gnarly vs. lefties.  Looks like a 17/17 player that needs to platoon.  Right now, his power’s way above that, but will likely come down to earth at some point.  Of course, I’d still own him now.  Word up, peace, infatuated redfaces.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s time for the Dodgers’ mailbag with your host, Grey Albright and I’m here with Dave Roberts.  First question up, Billy from Toluca Lake asks, “Why didn’t we sign Johnny Cueto?”  Dave Roberts runs full-speed towards 2nd and slides head-first…safe!  Well, that doesn’t exactly answer the question, but he is still quick.  Okay, next question, “Was there ever a chance of re-signing Greinke?”  Dave Roberts brushes dirt from his uniform and motions for the ump to call him safe, and he likely would’ve been safe if we were in a game and not just taking questions from Dodger fans.  Okay, next, “What exactly is Brandon Beachy doing as a Dodger?”  Dave Roberts takes off for third, what a speed demon, though we’re not sure what that has to do with the Dodgers losing pitchers one per hour.  Early yesterday, the Dodgers announced Hyun-Jin Ryu hit the DL with elbow tendinitis.  There’s no clear timetable for his return, but I’d guess sometime in the future.  Him returning in the past seems to be a long shot, at best.  Ryu didn’t look good after he returned from injury and I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t return until next season.  If you have no DL room, you should look on Redfin.  Might be time to get in a bigger place.  For now, I’d drop Ryu.  Next up for the Dodgers was Clayton Kershaw would be shut down indefinitely.  Ouch.  I hate to see the top guys in the game get shut down.  It hurts the game that we all love.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I don’t own him, and am pumped about the teams that do have him, losing him.  Schadenfreude!  If he’s shut down now, I’d say the earliest he could possibly return is mid-August.  Filling in will be Julio Urias and his special brand of 5 IP, 3 ERA, blink-and-you-miss-it starts, which makes me wonder if he’s seen himself pitch.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Howdy Razzballero, and welcome to the second half of the MLB (and fantasy) season. Hopefully, you were all able to recharge the batteries a bit over the All Star break and prepare yourselves for the fantasy baseball stretch run. I enjoyed a random viewing of the movie Minority Report last week during the down time and, when looking at the reboot-happy nature of Hollywood these days with projects like the new Ghostbusters movie, it got me thinking about a fantasy themed reboot of the 2002 Stephen Spielberg film. It can be called Majority Report starring Grey in the Tom Cruise protagonist role where he can be credited as Ice Tumors or Crime Oust (because a Tom Cruise anagram as an alias to protect his alias somehow makes sense to me) and I could have a cameo role as one of the lesser precogs who is occasionally (but not usually) able to predict the future of the fantasy landscape. I haven’t figured out the plot yet, though it would probably involve Grey stalking Giancarlo for one reason or another. Ok, so it’s more of just an extremely lazy re-imagining than anything else, but last week would’ve been one of those rare scenes that my character was able to predict the transaction future of the fantasy baseball landscape. As of yesterday, the five most added players in ESPN leagues over the past seven days (Koji Uehara, Randal Grichuk, Brandon McCarthy, Hector Santiago, and Yangervis Solarte) as well as two out of the next four most added players (Anthony DeSclafani and Max Kepler) are ones that I discussed in my second half difference maker articles last week (the hitters can be found here while the pitchers can be found here). In short, if these players are still available in your league, add them!

Anyway, let’s move on to a few players who are more likely to still be sitting on the waiver wire, shall we? Here are a few other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I am always a day late and a buck short on the posts because I am relegated to be the Saturday morning cartoon of the Razzball variety.  No worries, I mean, who doesn’t love 80’s cartoons and can’t list 10 shows that would drastically alter children’s universes today?  One word… Snorks.  So with everyone else doing the second-half rankings, I felt it was my duty to give the closer rankings based solely on the second games remaining.  The elite will still be the elite, the mediocre are still mediocre, and the middling teams will still be middling. I don’t care what algorithm Jimmy Bill came up with to have expected win totals and blah blah.  Expected win totals are an indicator of save expectations. because the percent of saves converted in wins by teams has been pretty stagnant at 52%, give or take a few sheckles each way.  So looking at the games remaining, some teams have less games to play then others, and some have more so the expected totals for some teams will be different then what you would expect them to be.  So as a wise person once said to me in throws of fantasy passion, lets have at it.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’m doing fine without games every day.  Thanks for checking in on me.  *nervous giggle, looks into the mirror, laughs hysterically*  I’m just fine!  The other day at 7 PM EST, I took a magic marker and every few minutes I wrote on my computer, giving my fantasy team a run, RBI and the occasional home run.  Sadly, even with my fantasy fantasy team accruing stats, Chris Archer gave up four earned in six innings.  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.  The other day on our podcast I asked JB if he knew the one and only white reggae artist, Snow, because he has a doppelganger on the Pirates, Ja-Snow, but JB didn’t know Snow because JB was born in the 2000s.  But I was also asked by him who is my biggest buy of the 2nd half.  For that I said, “Um, well, I have to say, actually, actually, actually, my biggest buy is, uh, um, hmm.”  Spit it out, Grey!  You know how your own voice sounds weird?  I wonder if that holds up for the Movie Trailer Guy.  Finally, I said David Price, who I will get to shortly.  Yes, that was the worst intro ever to Michael Brantley.  I was trying to squeeze Brantley into my top 100 for the 2nd half, then I was like, “Grey, you’re handsome, smart and other words for those two traits.  You’ll find a way to squeeze in Brantley if you really think he belongs.  Also, what are we having for lunch?”  Salmon poke, but no dice on Brantley.  At the end of the day, that day specifically, I decided Brantley’s shoulder injury worries me too much for inclusion, but I’d still stash him on my DL or buy him crazysupercheap, which is also the price for the CrazySexyCool album on CD.  “These things will never go out of style!”  That’s me spending thousands of dollars on CDs.  For the 2nd half, Brantley’s projections look like Yunel’s 5 HRs, 4 SBs, .295, but maybe his last cortisone shot will take and he’ll be his old self for six weeks to two months.  For the price you can get him right now, it’s worth it to find out.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Earlier this week, we looked at some lightly owned hitters in ESPN leagues who could be potential difference makers in fantasy baseball over the second half of the season. Today, it’s time to focus on some pitchers who can give your fake teams a boost down the stretch. Even if your team’s ratios look more unsightly than a Meg Ryan facelift, there’s still plenty of time remaining to fix those issues. So put down those Francisco Liriano and James Shields voodoo dolls people, and let’s go to work.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The changing parabola that is the saves game is taking over the first “S” in this weeks post.  Steaks are boring, throw rocks at them.  The “saver stitch” has changed in several different destinations, and the funny thing is, I just wrote about closing situations two-and-half-days ago.  Strange days indeed, my friends.  The closer in the Desert, the Beantown, and now, the City of Angels, is possibly up for grabs.  Check the bottom for the first two, as I would like to concentrate on Huston Street.  He pulled up lame on Sunday and with the All-Star break here, we will anxiously await his massive 5.7 K/9 rate.  The rumor mill was already circling for Street to be a trade candidate in a few weeks, now the possible injury puts a dent in the already dented can.  The adds for the Angels are a yuck Joe Smith, who if possible, has been equally as bad as Street.  My speculative pick if Street is more injured than it appears is Deolis Guerra for a bit, before seeing what Cam Bedrosian has.  Baby Bedrock was a tout of mine a few months back and stumbled.  Guess what?  He is back, but no one cares because the Angels are bad and not anything or anyone watches except the cast of Angels in the Outfield.  So those looking for a speculative add for the boring non-three days of fantasy, check the stacks of Angels and be ahead of the curve, instead of having trouble with it.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After swinging a deal for Aaron Hill on Wednesday, the Red Sox have beefed up their bullpen trading for Brad Ziegler. Ziegler was rocking a 2.82 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 18 saves with Arizona but he will likely be relegated to set up duty in Bean town. This is not to say his value is completely shot…yet. With Craig Kimbrel crying about his sore knee, Boston may be in need of an interim closer. Koji Uehara is the obvious first choice but his 4.96 ERA and 8 homers allowed in 32.2 IP make it seem like the choice ain’t so obvious. Still Koji’s 46/9 K/BB ratio makes me happy, and he notched the save Friday night (after surrendering a home run), so he’s the best bet for saves if Kimbrel misses any time. As for your new closer in the land of the rising sun? Tyler Clippard is the most likely candidate if you need saves or a buzz cut. He’s got a 3.06 ERA with 39 strikeouts over 32.1 IP, and saved 19 games for the Mets and A’s last year, but his career 57% save conversion rate certainly doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence. Daniel Hudson is the ideal saves candidate in Zona but has struggled mightily over the past month (12.96 ERA, 2.40 WHIP in 8.1 innings). Regardless, if you need a save and a haircut, I’d grab Clippard and Hudson in that order. And if you’re a Boston Red Sox team that desperately needs starting pitching, I’d recommend trading for a infielder and a relief pitcher.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The change in Texas has reverbed into the Holds ranks as well.  Tolley was the guy, now Frank Perdue’s arch-nemesis Sam Dyson is all comfy in the save bird seat.  The best part of this whole deal is that Jake Diekman is reaping all the benefits from a fantasy hold perspective.  This is a coup for the people who listened to me early and figured him to be the lefty-version of the lock-down pen arm in Arlington.  All Jake has done on the year is garner 13 holds with 11 plus K/9 and a HR/9 just a smidge over one.  We in the fantasy community rely on such precise words as smidge, scoonch, pinch… and I’m throwing prolly in there because some people like it and it doesn’t get more accurate than that.   So the main question is, can Diekman be the man and continue to be the man?  Absolutely.  He is thriving in a role that he started when he was with Philly.  The Rangers, also if anyone is paying attention, aren’t a half bad team and are fairly solid with or without Tolleson closing at the end.  So let’s take a look at what else has happened in the fortnight of games since the last bullpen lowdown, or ho-down.  Depending on how strong your hold pimp hand is.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Well we weren’t talking about deep fried empanadas.  We were talking about the retro-chich lads from that Navy town of San Diego…  Yes, those Padres of the last place origin.  The ones with 16 whole wins in their favor on the year.  Sneaky Hold situations make my world go round.  Which, in turn, makes me spurn to you on the recycled tip of the serving platter from a fantasy analyst.  Over the last 14 games, the Padres have endured some good fortune in the reliever ranks, namely Brandon Maurer.  Maurer has netted himself 7 Holds over that time, or in fantasy bullpen coverage terms here at the Razz-nation, a hold the fort(night). Maurer is the 8th inning guy and if you are in a holds league, then he is probably taken.  Him of the 14-plus K-rate over the last 10 games and because they strung a few victories in a row, boom! Stats.  But we all know how many holds he has in the last umpteen days… because we can all read stat lines and understand that one plus the previous amount equals today’s total.  Math catch-up lesson over.  The Father’s depth in the pen doesn’t just end with Brandon.  Take a look deeper and we will come across not the candelstick maker, nor the baker, but the Butcher.  As in Ryan Butcher.  While Maurer seems to get all the decent looks in the 8th for the beloved hold, Butcher seems to latch onto him like a paramecium in heat looking for a Padres win.  Averaging over a K per inning, and duly entrenched as the bridge to the bridge to Fernando Rodney (which probably really isn’t much of a bridge of at all, but just a rope with board entwined with hope aspiration and tears), so with this brief biopic on the San Diegans bullpen fellas, lets look at what else is bouncing around in the world of set-up, set-up to get beat down.  I get nothing but a hold.

Please, blog, may I have some more?