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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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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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.

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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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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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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Who’s got one thumb and hit over 60 home runs in their career? Sorry, Carlos Correa ain’t what I’m looking for. Yeah, so what if I spent my Tuesday night researching weird thumb stuff? We already know Correa wasn’t the first person to pull off a thumb injury like this. But hey, turns out, he’s not even the first person named Carlos to do it! Yep, former Chicago White Sox-ian Carlos May blew off his own thumb in 1969 while serving in the U.S military. His story is one hundred and ten times cooler than Correa’s, and it’s kinda scary that he went on to have a more productive career with one appendage, than 40% of all Major League players.

A week after the All Star break is the best time to ignore actual stats and ride on a whim of “yeah, he should probably play better in the second half, my Dad thinks so”. It’s like a relapse of Opening Day optimism, only by now you probably know that your team sucks. Enough of the history/heartfelt reflection, though, here’s my take for Wednesday’s slate:

New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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I tried to get Grey going to start the podcast again, but he didn’t take the bait this time. He was too excited over his brand new podcast microphone. I wasn’t sure if I noticed a difference during the show, but listening back, I think he might be clearer. You guys can be the judge of that. We then get right into the blockbuster Jose Quintana trade, and how much this changes his fantasy value, if at all. We discuss Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle heading to Washington, Madison Bumgarner’s return, and Johnny Cueto’s blisters. At the midway point of the show, we bring on Razzball’s own Mike Maher to talk about a few interesting hitters on his Top 100 Hitters post this week, including Marwin Gonzalez, Kyle Seager, Tommy Pham, Chris Taylor, and Keon Broxton. Finally, Grey and I gush over the insanely high quality of RotoWear.com’s t-shirts, and thank Kenny for hooking the Razzball community up with 15% off by entering promo code “SAGNOF.” It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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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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Called upon in the ninth inning to protect a one run lead Aroldis Chapman blew his third save of the season Friday night surrendering two hits and two walks and allowing two earned runs. After giving up an infield single to Mookie Betts to start the inning, Didi Gregorius mishandled a Dustin Pedroia single that could have been a double play ball to put two men on and the Yankees unraveled from there. The blown save was not entirely Chapman’s fault here as the Yankees defense botched two straight double play balls, and then a double steal really flustered Chapman leading  him to walk the next two batters including the game winning run. The loss highlights a Yankee bullpen that has been god awful lately with set up man Dellin Betances rocking an 8.68 ERA and 2.14 WHIP over the past month and Chapman sporting a 8.10 ERA in July with a .412 BAA. Talk about a bullpen in La La Land! Speaking of Award snubs and perfect segues, the fans have spoken, the emails have continued rolling in (seriously guys, get a life!) and the suspicious packages have arrived on my doorstep.  Back by popular demand I return to bring you the fourth annual 2017 mid-season fantasy all-star awards. *And the crowd goes wild!* I don’t want to pile on Chapman here with a Razzie award but he did walk in the winning run so I’m going to give an award to Andrew Benintendi for easiest game winning RBI ever. To be honest, I just really wanted to give Beni Baseball an award.

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

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