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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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…

The Razzball Commenter Leagues for Fantasy Football are now open! Take on your favorite writers and other readers of the site for a chance at prizes!

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The Mets continue to move towards the future, promoting their top first base prospect, Dominic Smith.  They are cautiously optimistic.  Adverbly restrained because the last time they were unbridled in their enthusiasm, it was about this great deal Bernie Madoff was telling them about.  Okay, let’s think back to a less cynical time.  When the birds chirped, and they made you smile.  When your dad carried you on his shoulders, and you were on top of the world.  When you peed the bed, no one tried to commit you to rehab.  People pinched your cheeks without you having to pay some stranger on Craigslist $75.  A time of joy.  Wonder.  No Splenda.  So, what can we expect from Dominic Smith?  Did someone say ‘no Splenda?’  Well, it wasn’t my words (it was)!  Smith looks like a 17-20 homer guy with a solid average and even better OBP.  Might be a better real life player than a fantasy one.  I’d take a flyer everywhere to see what he does if you need average first, which was the original America First slogan.  Average First!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s safe to say that Danny Salazar ($9,300) is back on his game, after striking out 12 batters in seven innings his last time out against the Yankees. Salazar’s numbers have been bonkers since returning from the DL, striking out 28 batters in 20 innings with a 1.35 ERA. The strikeouts should keep coming on Thursday against the Rays, who have the third-highest K-rate against righties at 25.0%. Other fantasy players may be scared off by Tampa’s strong-hitting lineup, but Salazar’s upside makes him a great contrarian play. He looks straight up untouchable, and I’ll be starting him in just about every lineup.

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Player A:

  • .301 / .353 / .455
  • 11 home runs
  • 16 stolen bases
  • 55 runs scored
  • 49 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .352, two home runs, 14 runs scored, 10 RBI, three stolen bases
  • PR15: 10.69 (4th in MLB)

Player B:

  • .273 / .353 / .471
  • 13 home runs
  • 12 stolen bases
  • 58 runs scored
  • 38 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .343, five home runs, 18 runs scored, 11 RBI, four stolen bases
  • PR15: 9.21 (7th in MLB)

Pretty scary how similar those numbers are, right? A is Andrelton Simmons and B is Alex Bregman. The only big difference when you dive a little deeper is that Simmons has been consistently producing for pretty much the entire season, while Bregman has been a bit more streaky and pretty much disappeared in June.

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Let’s just go on what logic tells us.  Not Logic, the rapper, but logic the thing you’ve been chipping away at with your weed smoking.  In 2015, Billy Beane traded Drew Pomeranz to the Padres for Yonder Alonso.  At the time, we have to assume Beane wanted a slugging first baseman.  A guy that could hit 25+ homers.  Okay, so they dealt with terrible Alonso for two years, and, then, when they get what you think they had to be hoping for, they trade him for a prospect (Boog Powell) that many believe is a bench player.  Now, even if Powell pans out, you had in Alonso what you wanted already.  I’m beginning to think Beane just does trades to do trades.  If you were to hear in fifteen years that Beane was trying to make the A’s worse to get out of Oakland, would anyone be surprised?  Moneyball 2 is going to be starring Jamie Kennedy and straight-to-DVD.  Any hoo!  Alonso loses some value going to the M’s because he’ll likely platoon with Danny Valencia (hit his 13th homer on Sunday), though, I guess it could be argued this is a positive move for Alonso, because he’s hit .188 vs. lefties this year.  As for Powell, the A’s might promote and platoon him because what do they have to lose?  Or rather, what do they have to win?  If they’re lucky, Boog will bring some of his trademark ribs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The injury bug bit HARD this week. Every player on this list is a player whose absence will have huge fantasy implications. The playoffs are right around the corner and the smartest owners will be able to manage their injuries and still come out on top. Use my advice to help take you there. With another six outfielders on the disabled list I’m going to make my outfield recommendations at the bottom of this article.

As always, leave a comment below if you have any league-specific injury questions…

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Now that we are a few weeks into the second half, we are able to take a look at players and their rest of season rankings a little differently. For starters, we can see how players are starting the second half. Even though it is only a few days off (or not off, for those who participate in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game) and is not even technically the real halfway point of the season, the All-Star break seems to hit the reset button for some players.

Some players get off to a hot start in the second half and ride the wave for a hot August and September, while others seem to lose their momentum and start off ice cold. You could write a book on the different explanations and theories about why it happens or whether or not the Home Run Derby messes up your swing or the All-Star Game schedule itself is exhausting, but we all know as fantasy owners that we have to really pay attention to our squads coming out of the break.

Players who had unreal, otherworldly breakout first halves like Aaron Judge have come back to earth a little bit, while players we had come to rely on in previous years who had disappointing first halves like Christian Yelich have gotten hot. If those disappointing players don’t get off to a good start to the second half, though, we have to make the tough decision about whether or not it is time to move on.

And that is the other way we have to look at these rankings, with time in mind. Depending on your league and format, you probably have roughly two months left in your season and about a month and a half or less until the playoffs in leagues that have them. Carlos Gonzalez is the 600th ranked player in Razzball’s year-to-date player rater, but he is still owned in 93% of RCLs and 67% of ESPN leagues as apparently, Razznation is still waiting for CarGo to turn back into the hitter he has shown he is over the year.

And while Gonzalez has been somewhat better in the second half and has sown signs of life, at some point time is going to run out. I gave up on him weeks ago and have not looked back. In the leagues where I had him I am in first or second place and am clawing to either stay there or overtake the top team, and I just don’t have any more time to wait on him. Granted, I gave up on him when it looked like he wasn’t going to have regular playing time anymore, and that is no longer the case since the Rockies can’t stay healthy, but I don’t regret the decision. Even after showing he can still hit a little in the second half, he still only has a 0.02 PR15. That isn’t enough to make me regret the decision or convince me he is going to get hot.

For Gonzalez this season, his Hard%, FB%, and HR/FB% are all down, while his AVG, OBP, and SLG are all well below his career averages. Most troubling to me is the SLG, which is currently sitting at .341. It would not be surprising to find out that he has been playing through injuries all season because 1. He is pretty much always injured and 2. These numbers are awful. You know I love creating these graphs, so check out this one:

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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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Yesterday, Rafael Devers was called up by the Red Sox.  Meh, if he’s anything like Danvers, Mass., I’m good.  Somewhere, Prospector Ralph just Hulk-smashed his computer.  Say something bad about Rafael Devers and Prospector Ralph goes full Clubber Lang at the Rocky statue.  “You want a real man to play third base with your wife?”  Devers’ minor league numbers (20 HRs, near-.310 across two levels this year in 85 games) look like yet another Benintendi, but with more power.  The Sons of Sam Horn will go legit Sophie’s Choice if you try to get them to choose between Benintendi and Devers.  “I’d prefer to eat at a Wahlburgers every day for the rest of my life than choose between those two.  Oh, and Yankees suck!”  After owning Benintendi for the past four months, I think I might prefer Devers next year, if he’s all that he’s cracked up to be.  Not to get too crazy, but can anyone say a lefty Miggy?  If you can’t say it, you might need to see a speech therapist.  Devers is absolutely a grab in all leagues to see how looks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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