James Shields has given up a home run in 11 of 13 games this year. Outside of the first 2 games when he gave up 2 each, he’s given up at least 5 hits a game (he’s gone more than 6 once this year and that was 6.1). He’s walked someone in every single start. This is a more flavorful way of saying what you already know – Shields is terrible and won’t have his option year picked up in 2019 (that’s right, we’re going to have another year of James Shields to pick on). The other plus about this game is it’s in Texas and it’s going to be hot. Also, Shields’ splits this year are hilarious. When a left hander is in the box, he strikes them out 15.7% of the time and walks them 12% of the time (with a normal .313 BABIP), gets a ground ball 35.7% of the time and allows a home run on 23.6% of his fly balls. All of which is leads to an unfathomable 9.17 FIP and a 6.86 xFIP. Yes, loyal readers, James Shields has a FIP over 9 vs lefties. The worst FIP I can find vs lefties is Jose Lima’s 6.14, including an 8.29 in 2006 and Lima’s 8.29 was in only 7 innings. James Shields is having a legendarily bad season vs lefties (he’s actually relatively decent vs righties with 21.2% strikeouts and 8.2% walks for a 4.14 FIP and 4.73 xFIP). So given all of this information, here’s what I would do: play Texas Rangers lefties as much as physically possible, with Mazara and Gallo being the top ones, but all of them are good plays. As for the righties, they aren’t nearly as good as the lefties, first, because each Rangers righty you play is one less Rangers lefty to play if you’re going to have four Rangers, and second, a lot of the Rangers righties are expensive. That said, in a vacuum, the righties are still good plays as it’s hot, James Shields is on the mound and when he’s out of the game, the White Sox gas can of a bullpen will come in and suck. Beltre leads the righties since he hits righties pretty well over his career (113 wRC+) and has hit them well this year (.382 wOBA). Basically, play all the Rangers you can.

On to the picks once James Shields allows another home run to a lefty…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Because I am always late to the writing party, I figured why not just add another Bryce Harper column, but with a Michael Taylor happy ending.  So what’s-his-face got hurt and now Mike Taylor returns from the DL to save the day.  Gone one day and BH is now what’s-his-face.  It sucks, but injuries happen.  That is why waivers and free agent pools exist.  So before Taylor inured his oblique in early July, he was on a torrid pace that was making him an asset for fantasy.  Now what capabilities will he have with that injured oblique?  Since this is the SAGNOF report, we only care about one thing.  Increasing his SB total from 10.  The thing in his favor is that the Nationals lineup is going to change slightly.  Because of the absence of “some guy”.  Small ball and base-to-base stuff still wins and it may have to happen without a middle of the lineup thumper (besides Zimmerman).  I can’t believe I just called him a thumper, well… suspend disbelief for a minute and just assume I didn’t mean it.  Taylor may take a few days to get into the swing of things but Bryce isn’t walking through the door anytime soon, so at-bats and top of the order stuff are coming. Happy SAGNOF’n!

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I’m going to break this down to you nice and simple like Minnie Pearl would’ve liked it.  Guys that bust and you don’t want next year, you should be rooting for in the 2nd half.  That’s guys that bust, not guys with a bust.  Please, Billy Butler, stop pretending to lactate by dripping milk on your shirt.  The reason you want them to succeed in August and September, because A) They’re prolly on teams that have checked out and are checking on our fantasy football content (Football RCLs sign up today; smooth transition), so no harm, no foul.  B) You want people to get excited about them next March because of their 2nd half, while you ignore them, because you know they’re not good.  Then the cycle starts again.  They draft players that were good in the 2nd half, those players are not good in the 1st half next year, and they check out again.  Rinse, repeat.  C) There’s no C.  Yesterday, Josh Donaldson (2-for-4, 4 RBIs) hit his 14th and 15th homers, and has four homers this month.  Here’s to him helping all of those tenth place teams move up to ninth and exciting everyone again next year!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The fastest answer to the title is that no, you can not just fix what Trea Turner was giving you and the lack thereof for the next few weeks.  Dude was a man among spatulas.  Twenty two steals in the month of June alone was more then four teams in the entire majors.  For fantasy, he was the only person over 20 in the last 30 games, only person in double digits in the last 15, and now he will get you zero for the next, presumably, six weeks…  So where do you turn?  The answer is: I wish I knew, because the waiver wire is not going to give you that type of production.  Trade?  Sure, if you have the assets, or you can just plain ignore the stat.  Interestingly enough is that if he is gone from the league, it kind of evens the playing field for steals across the board.  Billy hasn’t been Billy in some time, Dee is probably the most prestigious thief left right now is universally owned, and the waiver wire is littered with 2-3 steal guys every 10-game types.  I am not saying that losing Trea Turner is a good thing… it is an excellent thing for everyone that doesn’t own him.  If you are the sad owner of him, replacing Turner is not the biggest need.  In reality, you just need to maintain the fort ion the steals department.  That’s where me and this column come in.  SAGNOF to your wildest content.  The waivers are now your oyster at the SS, OF, or wherever you had TT employed.  Moves a plenty should be made and don’t be afraid to play match-ups versus catchers or pitchers or both.  Luckily for you, I have supplied one after the bump.  Happy post-Independence day.  Cheers!

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Scooter Gennett had the game of his life yesterday.  Well, isn’t he Vespecial?  You say to me, “Unkie Grey, can I sit on your lap metaphorically and you tell me why Scooter hit so many homers?”  Sure, Nephew, it’s simple.  A story of my Scooter in two tweets:

I am the first person in the history of fantasy baseball to bench two hitters for games with at least three home runs in the same season.  *opens oven, sticks head in oven, opens The Bell Jar to read*  Ugh, could someone check on the pilot light?  You might be asking yourself why I had Scooter on my bench, while you coyly bat your eyelashes.  I’ll explain, you coquettish bastard!  He was hitless the entire previous week!  WHAT THE EFF?!  Any hoo!  Scooter had a big game, and will now be invited to all the same parties as Mark Whiten, but Scooter is not much more than a hot schmotato.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Okay, this is weird, but Sonny Gray and I are complete opposites.  Sonny Gray is in Bay Area, and it’s Grey Albright in Los Angeles.  Weather you like it or not, that’s weird!  Pun noted too!  Grey Albright plays fantasy baseball; Sonny Gray plays reality baseball!  It’s freaking me out!  Grey Albright’s face is mustachioed; Sonny Gray’s is not.  Sonny Gray is athletic; I am not.  He works for a newspaper called Ballrazz, which is super-terse and serious.  It’s uncanny!  Yesterday, Gray (him) went 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.34.  Okay, time to take a new look.  I did like him at one point in his career, before everything went sideways.  His velocity and two-seam fastball are back.  Right now, his two-seam is his best pitch, however, his curve is not back to where it was in 2015.  Watching some video on him showed a guy that can get swings and misses, but had a bit of a favorable strike zone yesterday.  I’d be careful in shallower leagues, but he looks closer to his breakout from two years ago than he has in a while.  Now, if he’s married to a younger woman, I’m gonna plotz over all of our opposites.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

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The first Frankencatcher Report came at a pretty ironic time for me. Right before sitting down to work on this report, I checked my lineups and saw that Welington Castillo was placed on the disabled list with tendinitis in his shoulder. Castillo missed Monday’s game with neck spasms, and the assumption was that he would be day-to-day and likely be fine by Wednesday or Thursday, but screw me I guess. So, I had to pick up a catcher before getting started on this. I’ll go over who I picked in some detail below.

Continuing with a trend of the past few years, catcher is not exactly a prominently contributing position in fantasy baseball this season (hence the need for such a handsome Frankencatcher Report). If you don’t get lucky with one of the elite catchers, of which there are very few these days, you are likely going to have to stream the position at some point in the season.

In ESPN leagues, there are only 11 catchers with an ownership percentage of more than 70. The next highest is Russell Martin, at just over 47%. And of those 11, one of them is Gary Sanchez, who has been on the disabled list for a couple weeks and only has 20 at-bats to his name on the season. Here are those 11:

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Astros corner infielder Yulieski Gurriel continues to mash going 3-for-4 with 2 runs, his second home run and two RBI. Opposing pitchers be like, why you all up in my Gurriel, Yuli? When you’re on fire and everyone knows you’re flame. The Gurriel is hot, where da burgers and dogs at? Dude is  hitting .436 (17-for-39) over the past two weeks with 7 runs, 2 homers and 6 RBI. Sure he hit just .260 with 3 homers and 15 RBI in 36 games last year with Houston, but he ALSO hit .500 with 15 homers in 50 games in Cuba in 2016 which are the better stats that I will cherry-pick for the purposes of this blurb. I’m just saying it’s not like this success is coming out of nowhere. He’s a good Gurriel and he knows it, and he’s batting 6th in a stacked Houston lineup. If we take a look at some of the advanced metrics (NERD!), the .371 BABIP may unsustainable, but fantasy is about riding streaks and Yuli Gurriel is a hot little potato right now. Grey told you to BUY and he’s available in about 75% of leagues. Pick him up you only Yuli once! Whoa, now that’s two Drake references in the same lede. That’s how you know it’s going to be a good day!

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

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Amir Garrett, or as he’s commonly referred to as, Muslim Mrs. Garrett, took Natalie, Jo, Blair, Tootie and that little white kid, who no one remembers, to school last night.  Muslim Mrs. Garrett was like, “Listen, child, I’m your boss while you’re in this park and I’m going to rule over you with sweet motherly affection, but an iron fist like you get from a male Gulag prisoner.”  Yesterday, he straight dazzled — 7 IP, 2 ER, 8 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 1.83.  MMG is so out of nowhere I feel like we need to start at the beginning.  He was born– Okay, flash forward Lost-style and they’re off the island and Garrett is a former basketball player, so his age isn’t as old as it seems for his development level.  I think because of that he could also sneak up on people.  His control gets wonky at times, and he doesn’t read as a strikeout pitcher, but there he was doing just that last night.  He could surprise some people, but A) Reds and their ballpark. B) Rookie.  C) There’s no C.  To take this back to 80’s sitcoms, there could be some Boners along the way through Growing Pains, but I’d grab him if you feel like Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, or can just handle the risk.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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One-time Mariner Tom Paciorek was the face of the organization for the better part of the last 40 years.  Ken Griffey Jr. once said of Paciorek, “For many years, Seattle fans came up to me and asked if I was a very tan Paciorek, because Paciorek left such an indelible mark.”  Edgar Martinez once said of Tom Paciorek, “You can’t think of the Mariners without thinking of Tom Paciorek.  He’s so gutsy, you’d think he got those guts from a local abattoir that provides Wilson with its top-notch tennis racquets.”  Randy Johnson has said, “I got the idea for my mullet from Tom Paciorek’s back hair.”  All of this flattery heaped on Paciorek, and he said, “You guys need to check out Mitch Haniger!  Now amscray before I dazzle you with a bon mot.”  Wow.  The modesty on that Paciorek.  In Triple-A last year, Haniger had 20 HRs, 8 SBs and a .341 average.  His BABIP was a bit high, but he likely won’t drain your batting average below, say, .250.  He already has 3 HRs and one steal, and is 26 years old, so his time is now.  Plus, the Mariners are playing him, and batting him in a good place in the order.  There’s little reason why you shouldn’t at least give him a shot on all fantasy teams.  After all, he has the Tom Paciorek Seal of Approval (ToPa SeaApp, trademark pending).  Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?