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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And how did you spend your All-Star Break? Rocking and crying in a corner, like I did? Thankfully, baseball is back and my twitching has even just about subsided. Today, for our first over-the-halfway-hump Saturday on FanDuel, there’s a ton of good pitching (discussed below), but my focus turns to one game in particular: the sweet intra-state match-up as Madison Bumgarner (at a not-so-sweet $11,000) squares up against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.

This is, of course, Mad Bum’s return from the DL after leaving his dirt bike shoulder-first (ouch). I know, normally I too would be leery of starting a returning pitcher immediately, but this is Mad Bum. This start’s in Petco; it’s not quite the pitcher’s mecca it used to be, but still pitcher friendly. The Padres can’t hit lefties, to the tune of a .214 average. And in his last rehab start, Bumgarner struck out 8. So I’m paying up for him and finding ways to fill up my lineup around him as cheaply (and probably badly!) as possible. Mostly by picking on Derek Holland, to be honest: Mariners hitters offer a definite stack possibility today.

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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Since it seems like the rest of the Razzball “professors” (notice the quotes) are putting out their second half rankings I feel overwhelmed by the pressure of doing the same. Even if there are only twelve points league readers I still owe it to them to put a little elbow grease into this and generate a solid set of rankings and rest of season projections. Speaking of the people’s elbow, it looks like The Rock is moving forward with plans to run in 2020. Ok, well maybe these aren’t exactly his plans, but there is a committee that is standing behind him. Will Dwayne Johnson become the most electrifying president in American history? Is he going to “rock the vote”. Ha! I can’t wait for the debates.

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After one month spent as a visiting blogger for Monday picks, I have returned to the spot where I really broke through in the world of Daily Fantasy Blogging, FanDuel Friday. So we’re back to a one-pitcher site and positions mattering. And on today’s slate, we actually have a perfect example of how positions matter, because Third Base is loaded today. You’re going to have to make a tough choice at third, and that choice  may well be the difference between winning and losing (because if your third baseman stinks, you’re in trouble because with so many good choices in good matchups, odds are the public will get good production at the position). It’s actually to the point where the Braves decision to move Freeman leftward on the defensive spectrum makes everything more complicated – if Freeman was a 1B, he’d be the lockiest chalk-lock of all-time today, and you’d have one less quality 3B to consider. Instead, we have an absolute logjam at 3B, and very little in the way of cash-viable 1Bs. I remember the good ol’ days of one month ago, when Donaldson and Beltre were hurt, Turner and Lamb were overpriced, Machado and Seager were still priced as if they weren’t in massive slumps, and Nolan was priced as if he was playing in Coors even when he wasn’t – you were pretty much looking at either spending up for Bryant, spending down with Gyorko or Castellanos, or splitting the difference with Longoria. Those were the good ol’ days!

On to the picks once Freeman is 1B again…

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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Aaron Judge baffles me. Is he a beefy version of early 2000s Richie Sexson, or he is something more legit? No offense to early 2000s Richie, of course. His (we’re back to Judge, now) numbers in the minors (albeit a relatively small sample size of) suggest more of the former, but his 2017 insists on the latter. Strikeouts aside, he seems to have combined a complete and nearly flawless approach at the plate with a compact swing and elite power. In March, we weren’t even sure if he was going to be the everyday right fielder for the Yankees. Now, he is a lock to win Rookie of the Year, the clear favorite to win MVP, and could very well win the Triple Crown.

He has 30 home runs to only 13 doubles (big boy has three triples, too), which means nothing except that when he connects he CONNECTS. Lifting power, my friends. The fly ball revolution is upon us, and only 50 years after Ted Williams told us all about it. And with Judge’s superhuman power, a willingness and ability to drive (and lift) the ball to the opposite field, a right field porch in Yankee Stadium that is a few feet behind first base (roughly), and juiced baseballs that are leaving parks like they’re golf balls, what is a popup behind second base for most batters is a home run to the upper deck in right field for Judge. That was a very long sentence. Let’s pause to catch our breath here.

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Welcome, prematurely balding men and five women who are married to prematurely balding men and decided if you can’t beat them, join them!  Make yourself comfortable, this is gonna be a long post.  Here, enjoy some coffee.  Oops, you just drank rat poison.  Don’t worry, it can’t be worse than owning Matt Harvey in the 1st half.  Oh, you owned him and that’s why you drank the poison!  Now, I’m following!   Hey, I’m supposed to be leading!  Before we get into the top 100 for the 2nd half of 2017 fantasy baseball, let’s just be glad our 18-year-old selves can’t see us now, we’d get beat up!  But our twelve-year-old selves would think we’re the coolest!  So, as with all of the other 2017 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 that outfielder for that 2nd baseman.  Also, things change in fantasy baseball.  Daily.  I could put Bryce Harper number two on the top 100 list for the second half of 2017 and he could pull a–Well, we won’t even mention an injury with Bryce.  Why soil a good thing, ya know?  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. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today.  So while Mike Trout did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because, well, Mike Trout.  The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2017.  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 players will do.  It’s like that camera from The Twilight Zone.  Welcome to the future!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2017:

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If you got the title props for being a Dr. Henry McCoy fan and I salute you (even though he’s my least favorite X-Man, but that’s a topic for another day and another site). On that note, here’s hoping everybody had a good Fourth of July. I know I enjoyed the extra long weekend and I’m all for making the Fourth a minimum three-day weekend, and if possible, four. The only day we should never allow the Fourth to be celebrated on is a Wednesday. I think we can all come together as a country and get that done, I mean, who doesn’t think America deserves four days to celebrate it’s greatness, right? Anyhoo, last week’s lede, Josh Reddick, is number one in OPS for the past two weeks as of this writing (just wanted to remind myself that results sometimes do happen quickly and a hat tip to my friend and leaguemate for suggesting him – I thought he did so because he was on his team but nooooo…so I added him and have been reaping the benefits…thanks!).

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First Mike Trout and now our beloved Trea Turner (and a bunch in between, but we’ll focus on baseball’s young heartthrobs for the time being). The baseball Gods are clearly punishing us all for the use of juiced baseballs this season. Major League Baseball has denied any kind of change in the balls despite some mounting evidence, but I bet it is something that gets looked at and adjusted in the offseason. Which leads me to wonder whether this will be something we will be talking about come March…

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If you’ve hung with me on previous Saturdays, you’ll know that in real life (where I’m Victoria in a hat rather than Victoria on a hat), I live in Canada. And so on this first day of July, I’d like to take the opportunity to say happy birthday to my adopted homeland! Because today is Canada Day, which is like your Independence Day, only with more beavers and people saying “sorry”.

The magic number of the day is 150. That’s how old Canada’s turning today. It’s how many “Canada Day Sale!” emails have arrived in my inbox in the last 10 minutes. It’s how many degrees below 0 it is here, every single day of the year. It’s how many Altuves you need to stand on so you can pat a moose on the antlers. It’s the thread count of my plaid sheets. And it’s how many strikeouts Chris Sale is going to record against the Toronto Blue Jays on our nation’s birthday. (Some of these things may not be true.) Historically, the Jays who have faced him have hit a collective .184. Josh Donaldson has the best shot, having gone 5-for-18 with two home runs against Sale in the past, but offset that against his .150 (magic number!) average in the last week, and I think this match-up is pretty safe. So for my FanDuel slate today, I’m happily paying $11,600 for El Condor, even in Canadian dollars, and I’ll live with sticking the rest of my lineup together with maple syrup and poutine gravy. No, really — you’ll see what I mean.

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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?