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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We have a bit of a light lineup this week due to some off days on Monday and Thursday, so Week 19 will be more of a challenge to find value among the Two-Start Starters. It sounds like Max Scherzer is going to be healthy enough to go and make his two starts, but that only helps out Scherzer owners and not the rest of us who are looking for some available value.

Even Streamonator is down on Week 19, as there weren’t any available starters owned in less than 75% of RCLs with a positive dollar value. There is one possible exception to that statement*, but we’re not going to let statistically-based advice from Streamonator stop us from rolling the dice this week, right?

There are, however, a few starters in our Replicas that I would roll with this week who might be available in your leagues. It will likely be harder to grab at least two of these starters in an RCL where waivers and ownership are a bit more savage, but all three are owned in less than 75% of ESPN leagues.

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True story, I was minding my own business in my backyard recently — mowing the lawn, wiping my brow with the bottom of my shredded Hulk-a-Mania t-shirt, sipping a real super cheap beer.  Just being at one with the sun that Al Gore hasn’t yet taken from us, and bronzing my calfs because they look better bronze, when I got to thinking.  Not super deep thinking like if I were a sushi chef, I’d make a maki roll with hamburger and Doritos and call it an “Eye roll.”  Just surface level thinking, and it hit me.  How rare is it that a guy is top five for fantasy value on our Player Rater and he doesn’t have one insanely huge game all year to warrant a lede.  That was the case with Paul Goldschmidt, before yesterday.  Then, as they say, Au Shizz went shizzy all up in Rizzy’s hizzy — 3-for-4, 4 runs, 6 RBIs and his 23rd, 24th and 25th homers, and now hitting .320 on the year.  This should finally put him on top of the Player Rater for the first time all year, after sniffing the Judge’s robe for the first three months of the season, in the number two slot.  And there were people who didn’t want to draft him in the top three spots in the preseason.  Haha, oops.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Crabs gon’ eat, whether you like it or not. The best advice I can give is move out of the way when they come through your town. If they request buckets of your finest chum, drop it on your porch and back away slowly. From east to west, from north to south, and every where in between, Crabs inhabit this fine land. They might be your UPS driver, insurance agent, or state senator. They’re your husbands, friends, and neighbors. They are a secret society of highly intelligent fantasy baseball masters, and Samurai’s of the comment section, prepared for battle at the drop of a hat. I am of course discussing the inhabitants of Razzball’s own 30 team dynasty league The Razz30. It’s been a month of elite level play, with several teams still in the hunt for the 4 playoff spots in the AL and NL. Our trade deadline came and went on Monday, and there was action galore up until the last bell. As we close in on the end of our first year of independence, I’m glad to report that the state of the league has never been stronger. To all my smooth gooch rocking, white monster drinking, thirsty villains, get out the spreadsheet. Claws Up!!!

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Now the baseball Gods have gone too far. Carlos Correa was my AL MVP pick for this year, my biggest keeper in my main league and one of my few reasons for joy so far this fantasy season. 6-8 weeks is his time table and since it is a torn ligament and not a broken bone he probably won’t have that super-human Freddie Freeman healing time frame. August 29th is the earliest we might see Correa take the field again in real life, but he’ll be playing SS and hitting HRs every night in my dreams. Stash or Trash: Stash. Unless you’re in a 2-team league. In which case, what the hell is wrong with you? Fill In: I grabbed Jose Reyes (18.3%) because I’ve lost control of my life. Since the beginning of July, Reyes has a .405 AVG with 3 HR but only 1 SB. If he’s figured something out he might find eventually himself hitting higher than 7th in the Mets lineup. More likely though, I’ll be cycling short stops in an out until August 29th. 

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Another week, another Clayton Kershaw start pushed to Monday. At least this week they moved the start before I wrote and submitted this article. If they move it again Saturday morning, then I will be convinced that Dave Roberts is just doing this to troll me every week. As of now, he is your top two-start starter for Week 12. He might even deserve his own tier.

For Week 12, there aren’t a ton of attractive options after our first two tiers. In previous weeks, we have had middle-of-the-road arms with some good peripherals or some recent success that were available in the majority of leagues. This week, though, I’m not crazy about any of the starters on this list that are going to be available in most leagues. Just look at the numbers in the chart below.

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Did the Pirates trade for Brian or James McCann?  Because every time Tony Watson pitches, I feel butt sore and shake my head questioning, “Watson McCann?”  And then I soothe the irritation with some aloe Rivero.  Before yesterday’s 2nd meltdown by Watson in two games (1 IP, 2 ER, and yet another blown save), C**nt Hurdle said Watson will remain the closer.  This is like when you have pimples in high school and you go to your dad, and he’s like, “Everyone’s got pimples at your age, I’m not paying for you to get rid of them, you’ll be fine.”  Then you go into your closet and chew on your 4-year-old baseball card gum until your mom comes into the closet and tells you she’ll take you to the doctor, using her bingo winnings she’s saved.  I don’t want a vote of confidence for Watson, I want mom to talk to C**nt!  I’d continue to hold Felipe Rivero (1 IP, 0 ER, ERA at 0.58), it’s only a matter of time.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Does anyone remember when Vince Vaughn was funny? It was a time long ago in a land far, far away, your wife was still dating guys wearing Armani Exchange shirts, and George W. Bush was using words like strategrey. It was long before the abortion that was True Detective Season 2, or Couples Retreat, and sometime between Swingers, and The Breakup. In that wrinkle in time Vince Vaughn ruled the box office, and the douchy part of our soul where things like Ed Hardy t-shirts, mirror selfies, and Criss Angel performances still roam free. So where am I going with this awkwardly constructed analogy? I’ll hurry up and get to the point, today’s subject Vince Velasquez has much in common with his big screen brother in initials, way beyond his first name and banal use of the word “Bae-be”. He too started his career with a bang, and universal love during his brief stay in Houston, and then the early season dominance in 2016. And much like Mr. Vaughn, Velasquez took on the task of leading man in the drama that is the Philadelphia Phillies 2017, but unfortunately he just hasn’t been able to recapture the magic. Maybe Velasquez’s nightmare seems less like a heroin dream, and more like a string of poor performances. But the effect is still the same, you just don’t view their latest release with the same excitement you used to. So when I was tasked with covering Velasquez this week by our fearless leader Grey Albright, it felt like a choir singing to me. Perhaps it was the angelic voice of Mr. Albright, perhaps it was my paycheck. Either way, when Grey Albright comes to you and asks “Can you see what’s happin’ with this young brother”, you A. wonder when he became a member of 5% Nation, B. you profile Vince Velasquez. So to the God Grey Albright this is for you…

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I was originally excited to focus on Baby Thor Mike Clevinger in my first post taking over the Two-Start Starters for M@, but the rainout on Thursday threw everything out of whack. So, I had to pivot and focus on what’s going on in Seattle. Enter Ariel Miranda and Sam Gaviglio.

Of the two starters for the Mariners right now, Miranda is the one to target. To be honest, neither one is likely to be a long-term fix for your rotation. Gaviglio is a 27-year old who has an ERA of 4.01 over seven seasons in the minor leagues, while Miranda is a 28-year old Cuban who had moderate success in the Cuban National Series and the minors. Both are scheduled to start two games next week for the Mariners.

At first glance, it would appear that Gaviglio is the tasty treat that a starter-needy fantasy owner should target. After all, he has the shiny 1.29 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Unfortunately, not only is that a very small sample size, but there are some pretty serious red flags. For starters, while he only gave up one run against the Nationals, he only struck out one batter in six innings. That shiny ERA is also aided by the fact that he actually gave up five runs, but just the one was earned. Against the White Sox in his previous start, he went five innings and only struck out two batters. In his two starts this season, he has thrown 11 innings and struck out just three batters.

But that’s not it, here is the bigger issue with Gaviglio. His ERA might be 1.29, but his FIP currently sits at 4.22. At 2.93, his FIP-to-ERA ratio is the highest of any of the 40+ two-start starters in week 9. Between his lack of strikeouts, his lackluster career in the minors, and his inflated FIP-to-ERA ratio, you better believe he is going to regress to the mean sooner rather than later. Ignore that ERA and stay away from Sammy G.

As for Miranda, I like him more and hate him less. While he doesn’t have the same sub-2.00 ERA as Gaviglio, he does have an 8.75 K/9, a less hideous .40 FIP-to-ERA, and a 5.77 K/9-to-BB/9 ratio. While he has had a couple of disastrous starts this season, he also has six starts in which he has given up two runs or fewer. You could do worse than Miranda as a two-starter starter. In fact, you could have Gaviglio. Both should be available in more than 75% of leagues. Despite the fact that the Mariners visit the Rockies next week, there are worse options for two-start starters…

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Has there been any “sleeper” more hyped this season than Charlie Morton? It seems like we’re constantly being reminded of the spike in velocity, the swing and miss stuff, the combination of swinging strikes, and groundball rate. Knowing all this I was dying to profile Morton and see what all the noise is about. Speaking of Noise, my Pittsburgh scout, and favorite right testicle Dr. Kenneth Noisewater, has a basket full of hot takes on Morton, that mostly consist of different ways to say Charlie Morton sucks. Perhaps Noisey is right, perhaps all the lemmings in the fantasy industry are right. Much like the ATLiens that raised me to be an emotionally well adjusted gangster, I just stay in the middle and drop bombs, mostly in the toilet. I stay regular ladies and gents. Let’s take a closer look at this “new and improved” Charlie Morton, and see if it’s in fact a new recipe, or the same re-packed garbage.

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