I don’t know about you, and let me preface this by saying most if not all of my league mates at least know I contribute fantasy baseball (OPS) content, but I keep getting the old “But, he’s a Catcher/Shortstop so he’s worth more” and from a position scarcity perspective, that’s obviously true. However, I am A) going for the win-now so all I want is to take the lead in certain (all) categories and B) position scarcity-schmarcity: give me the best available.

So it’s time for your 5×5 (HR,SB,R,RBI,OPS) rankings for both position scarcity and position schmarcity.

FYI, I use the FVAR (fantasy value above replacement) approach to fantasy valuation vs. SGP (standard gains points) approach since I don’t have all of your leagues’ current and historical information. Feel free to look this up or ask below.

For reference, here are the positional replacement 5×5 values and associated players (the 5 z-scores for each category are summed up; the sum is adjusted in each position by this positional replacement value i.e. each Catcher gets .73 added to their z-sum while each First Baseman only gets .01 added to their z-sum i.e. all catchers values are inflated more because of the lower replacement-value):

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As I discussed recently with a good friend, I just missed my musical times growing up. I started getting into the rock of the early 90’s. Y’all can call it grunge, I’m cool with that. Don’t really care what you want to label it as but I enjoyed my Alice ‘n’ Chains and Soundgarden in my Middle School years. And just as high school began, the good music started to die. I got stuck with the fallout of all the Mouseketeers becoming music stars and invading my audio living space. Gone was ‘Burden In My Hand’ and in was ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’. It was a jolt, to say the least. I finished out my High School years going backwards musically, exploring all the bands that influenced the bands I loved growing up so I could avoid the complete and under dreck that was on the radio every day. Of course, that does not make one immune to it. Hell, even people who admit to hating Journey can probably sing a few bars. When Thong Song hit my ears, I thought it was a joke. I mean, it quotes Ricky Martin’s ‘La Vida Loca’. Who does that if they’re trying to be taken seriously? Sisqo I guess. And no, Sisqo, I won’t look up how to make the weird mark above the ‘o’. You’re just not worth it. But more to the point, ‘If Loving Kolten Is Wong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right’ has been used so I decided to bring upon you the pain of my late teen years to make a title. Sorry about that (ok not really), but I thought you’d like the song (ok, not really again). Of course, I bring to you this conversation about Kolten Wong because he hit 2 homers Thursday night to go along with a steal and now has 9 HRs and 17 steals on the year over 251 AB. Stretch that out to 500 AB and you have an 18 HR, 34 steal season at 2B. To put that in perspective, Daniel Murphy is on pace for 13 HRs and 17 steals in 656 at bats this year and is the 7th best 2B on the year, according to Yahoo. Like I told Nick on the podcast over the All-Star Break, I think Wong turns some teams around down the stretch run. Given that it’s his rookie year, I’m willing to look past the up and down that his been this year with Kolten and realize his .247 average is masking something that could be great in 2015 and beyond. That Wong, wa-Wong, Wong, Wong! In other news for 2014 Fantasy Baseball…

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The big fellah is back!  And um, I don’t mean me…

In one of my most anticipated starts in the past few months, James Paxton returned from the DL, immediately unleashed back into the Mariners rotation.  No Taijuan Walker waffling for you!  Paxton looked dreamier than my Andrew Heaney [what turned out to be] nightmare in his first two starts way back in April, flashing high-90s heat with an unhittable breaking ball.

The big Canadian had some bumps on Saturday (spoiler alert!), including a comebacker off the leg and said he wouldn’t be very Canadian if he left.  Super Canadian!  Dudley Do Right!  Sporting a huge maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, I think his blood type is syrup.  Bring me those Taijuan Walker waffles!

I’ve pushed Paxton hard in the ranks the past month, so I decided to break down his return pitch-by-pitch to see how much I think he can contribute in the final two months:

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Signs you should’ve had someone else name your group: mispelling a common word is NOT a band name. Seriously, try it. Tom Petty Andd The Heartbreakers…yeah, did ya need the extra ‘d’? Rhetorical. No you didn’t. Hrm, maybe it’s just a sign you’re a bad group and should give up music entirely? Well, history has made it so. In many ways, streamers are just like one hit wonders, even when you look back and wonder how they even had a hit at all. By the end of the year, the Reds should get guys like Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips back, making Cincy’s lineup a bit more imposing down the stretch. But we’re not there now, we’re here where guys like Ramon Santiago is batting second in the lineup and they’re starting two catchers. You shouldn’t even do that in a fantasy league that doesn’t require two Cs. Every fantasy player knows this but the Reds literally have no choice right now. All this to say, maybe some day you’ll look back with nostalgia on that one time you started Tom Koehler against the Reds and came out with some major DraftKings change for doing so. Prior to yesterday’s game, the Reds owned the worst team wOBA of the major leagues over the last 14 days while striking out 25.7% of the time. Though Koehler’s numbers on the season aren’t that inspiring, he does average 6 more DK points at home then he does on the road. Considering he’s only $6,400, he’ll leave you all the room you need to roster a big arm or big bats. And when he’s done, I’ll probably never start him again and forget how awesome he was for that one day. But for the time being, Koehler, I Wanna Sex You Up.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 20 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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Greetings! Tis I, the one and only Tehol Beddict, AKA Beddict Shmurda, here to put you on game and put lames to shame, but first let me show you how to do my dance. It’s been a rough week for your old pal, Tehol, as I’ve been house hunting, searching Seattle in it’s entirety for the perfect Beddict Mansion. I located what I believed to be my dream house, only to have my offer rejected for another in the wee hours of the night, sending me into the type of violent rage that would even make Mel Gibson cringe. The fury soon morphed into sorrow, as I curled up a$$ naked on the floor, cradling my beloved chicken, Beatrice, bawling my eyes out while screaming insults at the Elder Gods for all to witness. I tell you this, not so you’ll empathize with me, but so you’ll know that if some of my predictions end up being a tad off, it’s because the Elders are clearly continuing their massive and almost unbearable onslaught of punishment against me. This may sound as if I’m already making excuses, but if you knew the Elder Gods at the depths at which I do, you’d know never to curse them, let alone curse them within earshot of other mortals.

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So it’s not really the 2nd half mark in the fantasy baseball season, but it’s the All-Star Break so what else are we going to talk about? Hell’s Kitchen? Is it even believable that these people would one day be in charge of a kitchen? There’s Real World castmates who seem like they have their shizz together better than these schmohawks. I like the one guy who burps a lot. He seems ready to run a kitchen! MasterChef, though, that show is the Sistine Chapel of reality shows. Okay, as with all of the other 2014 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt. If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade the outfielder for the 2nd baseman. Also, things change in fantasy baseball. Daily. I could put Miggy number three on the top 100 list for the second half of 2014 and he could get in a fight with a bartender (not Tom Wilhelmsen) tomorrow, then he wouldn’t be number one. See how that works. This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued. It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache. This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half of their season. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today. So while Carlos Santana did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because I still believe. The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2014. I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater. That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what guys will do. Welcome to the future! Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2014:

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My name is Tehol Beddict, I’m a sexaholic (Hi Tehol)
I have a disease and they don’t know what to call it
Better empty out your leaguesafe funds ’cause I’m coming up quick to strip your cash
Joined your fantasy league just to come and whip your ass

Greetings! Welcome to another, hopefully exciting edition of Disgrace/Delight. I’m your host, Tehol B., and I’ll be trying my mightiest to fulfill your fantasies (baseball that is) in mentioning the players I feel have either disgraced themselves, their families, and their organizations or those of whom deserve feet and rings kissed, as well as animal sacrifices done so in their name. I don’t have time to dilly dally, for I have to shoot a commercial Thursday morning and Brother Beddict needs his beauty sleep. For optimum enjoyment (yours and mine), I should probably begin these memorable pieces of literature earlier then the day before they need to be submitted. That way, Beddict can truly be 100 percent balls deep, and that’s really what we all want, right?!  I didn’t choose this lifestyle, the lifestyle chose me. Let this quest beginith.

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Manny Machado‘s epitaph: He always found more success throwing a bat at a ball. Better than Salvador Perez’s: Together again! Machado wasn’t just struggling, he was like that friend of yours that not only is having a rotten time at a party, but also sucks the prettiest girls in the room into his sad funk of despair and before long, the girls are like, “I don’t want to go out and get drunk and party and potentially hook up with you. Your friend Manny Machado is too depressed.” The buzz kill friend. Yesterday, Machado went 5-for-6, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 8th homer, and fourth homer in his last seven games (skipping the suspension games). About time he listened to your advice, did a body shot off the tummy of the girl that wants to be a physical therapist and cheered up! I don’t own Machado anywhere this year, due to the knee issue coming into the season, but he just turned 22 years old (almost literally; his birthday was Sunday) and I’ll be all over Machado again next year. Of course, if you can acquire him in a trade this year, by all means, which sounds like it was said by Malcolm X’s less militant brother, Bobby X. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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So, we had our first July 31st trading deadline deal, and it paid off for all the A’s fans who paid Oaktown’s own, Bubb Rubb, to break into Billy Beane’s office and turn his iCal forward a month. “Any ideas what you want to do for the 4th of July, Billy?” “I celebrated last month with some friends.” Screen spirals out and slam cuts to Bubb Rubb, maniacally (bubb)rubbing his hands together. When the A’s are playing like it’s playoff baseball in September, don’t say your mustachioed over-the-internet friend didn’t warn you. So, the trade that went down was Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel for David Addison Leave Me Alone Maddie Russell, who I will get to after this lede. Samardzija and Hammel both gain value going to the A’s, which isn’t often the case with an NL pitcher going to The Land of Milk and Honey-Flavored DHs. Wrigley isn’t a great place to pitch — one day it’s overcast with winds blowing straight out, another day winds are just swirling overhead like a toilet bowl genie. As we’ve seen in the past, pitchers can do just about anything in a short period of time. Could Hammel and Samardzija completely poop the sheets? Fo’sho. Likely? Prolly not. O.co is like Petco and Metco, a big cavernous wasteland for hitters and they have more foul territory than Roseanne Barr’s privates. Samardzija brings strikeout stuff to hitters that aren’t as familiar with him and could be the 2nd half’s Kazmir. Yesterday, in his first A’s start, he had a line of 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 5 Ks. Dividends paying out quick there. Hammel keeps the ball down and O.co will love him. This trade only really hurts Tommy Milone, who was shipped to the minors. The A’s just made themselves a serious contender and having a friend in Bubb Rubb pays off once again. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Let’s look at some potential homerun decliners based on the following “Power Score” or expected homerun (xHR) formula and compare it to their actual homerun totals. Here is the formula:

Plate Appearances(PA)*Contact Rate(Ct%)*Outfield flyball rate(OFFB%)*Homerun per Outfield Flyball ratio(HR/OFFB).

Make sense? Sure it does: How many homeruns does a player hit per outfield flyball? How much of their contact results in an outfield flyball? How much overall contact does a batter make when swinging the bat in a plate appearance? This should provide us with an expected HR total.

The below lists are ranked by the largest actual HR-expected HR differentials. Their HR related performance (PA, Ct, OFFB, HR/OFFB) is listed along with their average homerun and flyball average distance and rank.

Two contingencies worth noting at this time: 1) Our samples size still isn’t huge and 2) We’re not taking into account platoon hitters, i.e. Scott Van Slyke as a right-hand hitter only raking against left-hand pitchers. So when I extrapolate the data, keep this in mind. In other words, if Scott Van Slyke consumed more playing time against right-hand pitchers, there’s a good chance his performance/power would drop off.

Here are the top potential HR decliners (I think you will see the value of this xHR comp immediately):

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