If your approach in RCL leagues is anything like mine, then you’re carrying maybe 2-3 starters, and filling in the cracks with well researched streamers. Part of my process, as I’m sure it is with many of you, is to check the streamonator for the highest value available probables. Then I dive deeper into the matchup stats, and follow that up with a glance at the starters recent track record. One of the more common suggestions over the past few weeks has been Mets starter Rafael Montero. Best described as a AAAA starter, he’s long been the shuttle guy, and spot starter, whenever an elbow pops in the Mets rotation. With injuries a plenty in Flushing, there’s been abundant opportunity for Montero to stick for the better part of the next month, and beyond. Let’s take a deep dive into Montero’s Sunday start vs. the Oakland Athletics, and see if he might be an arm to keep in mind, as we stream our way to the promised land.

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Since I haven’t touted my wares in a minute, I wrote a Jake Lamb sleeper post last December.  Going back to read that now, and, I don’t often laugh at my own stuff, but the opening paragraph is funny.  Not unintentionally either, like I called Aaron Judge a preseason bust (I actually liked Judge a lot in the preseason, and own him; something I also don’t tout often — the hype’s strong enough, isn’t it?).   Then, into the 2nd paragraph, I drop more gems, but they’re useful vs. haha.  One gem that particularly stands out to me as I reread it, Jake Lamb hates the summer.  He might also dislike girls that wear Abercrombie & Fitch.  Before yesterday’s 2-for-5, 6 RBIs, two-homer game, Lamb had a .150 average in July with no homers.  Last year, as I point out in that post, he was just as bad — 9 HRs, .197 in the 2nd half.  Last year, there was a wrist problem — That’s what she said!  What? — so maybe his splits aren’t as obvious as a banana gymnast.  Here’s hoping he makes last year an outlier and not the beginning of male pattern badness.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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Matt Grace picked up his 2nd save in as many games on Saturday for the Nationals, and Ben Zobrist’s wife started to work on a song titled, “Saving Grace,” and requested Ben’s trade to Washington.  Then, first thing on Sunday, the Nats traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and Saving Grace became a B-side for “Halleberrylujah, A Catwoman Licks Herself (Rated PG).”  When asked if the trade makes his team better, the Nats’ GM said, “That’s right,” and, “I’m Mike Rizzo.”  Picture this:  Dusty and Rizzo looking at a book called, “Baseball Strategy.”  Rizzo looks at Dusty, and Dusty says, “I got the baseball part,” and Rizzo nods his head.  Finally, Rizzo chimes in, “I don’t know the 2nd word and I don’t think it’s worth investigating.”  Dusty agrees, and that’s the Nationals.  So, who will close between Madson and Doolittle?  Your guess = my guess.  I’d want to say Madson, but it could be either, both or neither as they trade for David Robertson or someone else.  By the time the calendar turns to August, the Nationals might have five closers from teams not in the pennant chase.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I really wanted to start this post with a quote, something like “it’s always darkest before the dawn”, or something like that. I figured that was a great way to offer hope and encouragement regarding the “second half” of the season. Let’s face it, with this whole “seamingly” out of nowhere spike in offense the last two seasons, there’s one inevitable conclusion. Pitching sucks!!! I mean we’ve been holding onto any shred of decency available. Look at Jason Vargas! Why am I ranking Jason Vargas? Does he have some sort of magnificent secret about these new Hi-C joints MLB is calling balls? Why the hell is he so much better than Justin Verlander? I have too many questions! I’m supposed to have answers! Here’s the truth, as if I’ve been lying to you before. There’s maybe 20 matchup proof starters in all of baseball, and then the rest of them you have to be careful with to varying degrees. Now, that’s not necessarily true for points formats, or deeper leagues with quality starts. Or even those with a greater emphasis on counting stats over ratios. But in our RCL formats, or any 5×5 roto with innings or starts limits, you must choose wisely. Around every corner lurks a roofie to your ratios. Just because Jordan Montgomery has been good more often than not, that doesn’t mean I’m up to a level of confidence that I’d start him in Colorado. Nah mean?  Nod along.  If you’re having trouble knowing which starts to avoid, check out Rudy’s Stream-O-Nator. It’s the perfect objective voice on those tough decisions you won’t get in your own head, or from your friends. That is, if you have friends with voices in your head and all. Anyway, be careful out there, and good luck in the second half.

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Thankfully, I no longer do 4th of July like I used to, because when you have a holiday weekend that lasts five days, you will get alcohol poisoning if you go too hard, and the 4th is especially dangerous because:  day drinking.  At least with New Year’s Eve, it’s at night.  The Fourth is lying on a discarded sofa on the side of a highway at 3 PM and being like, “The hum of 75 MPH cars is so peaceful, I go to sleep now,” and waking up with a flashlight you mistake for a fleshlight and now you’re a registered sex offender.  Hopefully, none of that happened to any of you, well, maybe the fleshlight part, and you all had a safe holiday.  Any hoo!  Yesterday, Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 and his 15th and 16th homers as he hits .288.  He found the Fountain of Youth sometime in May and has been a Zombino eating brain custard ever since.  I’m still half expecting — cting? — McCutchen will resort to blah in the 2nd half, but it looks like I wrote off McCutchen before his sell-by date.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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How many of you remember the watershed 1993 film Dazed and Confused? In this coming of age saga, a young righty, with the flowing locks of Sampson himself, embarks on a journey that will change his life forever. It is in that film where we first meet Mike Clevinger. I could go on a lengthy diatribe about the film with the Indians righty supplanted as the protagonist, but I already did that a year and a half ago when I first introduced you to Mr. Clevinger. It’s like I’m watching my kids grow up right before my eyes. Either way Clevinger is long haired and goofy just like Mitch from Dazed and Confused. Not to toot my own horn, but to totally toot my own horn, I called this developing breakout a year ago. The Indians acquired the former 2011 4th rounder from the Angels back in 2014 for pen arm Vinny Pestano. Since then it’s been a classic Cleveland starter story, as the organization focused on bringing Clevinger along first as a pen arm, and now as a starter. With a 14.1% SwStr, and a 28.5% K%, there’s some signs that Clevinger, in a season of disappointing starters, could be a diamond in the rough. Let’s look under the hood, and then go pitch by pitch through his Sunday start vs. the division rival Detroit Tigers.

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Last night I was thinking about how Trea Turner was singlehandedly winning people fantasy leagues.  Today I’m thinking, can he singlehandedly play?  He was top six for fantasy value already this year on our Player Rater, and he might’ve been a 2nd half player!  He could’ve ended up in the top three overall for fantasy value.  Yeah, I said it!  Top three!  Now, a broken wrist.  Why can’t we have anything nice?  I’m addressing you, Fantasy Baseball Overlord!  I’m screaming at the heavens, standing in rain, hoo-ha’ing like I’m an out-of-work Al Pacino impersonator!  Why can we not have nice things?!  I want answers!  Alas, FBO’s out to lunch, or so says his answering machine.  This sounds like an injury where he could be out for six to eight weeks, but more will be known in the coming days.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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One of the things I love most about baseball, but particularly covering prospects, is when a guy I totally missed on pops up, and exceeds expectations. Sure, I could become obsessed with my own reputation, and shoot down any suggestion that I missed on a player. But what fun is that? So, when it comes to Nick Pivetta, I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t see this coming. Hell, I wrote up 15+ Phillies prospects, and name dropped another 7-8, and didn’t even mention Pivetta. Fangraphs covered 33 Phillies prospects, and Pivetta ranked in at 27! All this to say, that the “out of nowhere” label is somewhat appropriate when it comes to the Phil’s righthander. After an outstanding outing vs the Red Sox at home a few weeks ago, the strikeouts, and numbers in general seem to be trending in the right direction. So why not check him out, and see if we in fact have a breakout bubbling. Before we begin, big shouts to Oaktown Steve, who’s been hyping up Pivetta in the comments the past few weeks like a Sabermetrics Flavor Flav. Only he turned in his giant clock (read that fast), for an abacus, which I’ve heard can get a bit bulky when worn as a necklace. Anyway, let’s get into Pivetta’s last start vs the Cardinals at home, the second time he’s faced the Redbirds in four starts. He’s going today in Arizona, so maybe we’ll see if he’s worth rolling out… Actually no rookie pitcher with a heavy fly-ball approach should be started in Arizona, but that’s just common sense. On to the profile!

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The answer: this pitcher has a swinging strike rate of 12.1% on the year, which is just .1% less than the likely chalk play of the night, Stephen Strasburg.  Oh, oh I know, it’s Alex WoodThat is incorrect…the answer is ‘Who is Alex Wood?’  I’m sorry, but we cannot accept as your answer needs to be in the form of a question.  Suck it, Trebek!  That’s you and I playing Jeopardy together which is a WHOLE lot better than playing Lambs with me, I can assure you.  Lets get this over by saying that Alex Wood being good is by no means a secret but on a slate like tonight when there are some massive lines in favor of some stud home pitchers, Alex has got me thinking he’s gonna bring the sexy for a little bit cheaper than the other massive arms on the slate.  He’s by no means a bargain at 9.5 K, but him finishing the night with a better line than the three above him in price wouldn’t be much of a shock to my system.  Alex is my cash game swerve off of the likely Stras vs Chris Archer debate and I’m obviously willing to roll with him in a few GPPs.  But now that we’re done with that, let’s get down to this; here’s my returning champion worth negative $5,300 dollars taeks for this Friday FD slate…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?