Kevin Kiermaier might be my first sleeper of the 2017 fantasy baseball season.  The funny thing (completely and irrefutably not funny) is with fantasy football starting, fantasy basketball getting underway (don’t worry, I won’t clickbait you to death) and fantasy teams just falling out of contention, players that do well in September are often forgotten by next March even though they’re performing in the month closest to the next preseason. (Guys and five girl readers, if anyone says I don’t know the calendar, you tell them that is just inaccurate.  Grey knows the calendar very well.  Happy July 4th!)  Kiermaier has that potent mix that I crave so much.  No, not Russian dressing and relish, though that is delicious.  Your secret is safe with me, sauce!  Instead, I’m talking about a power and speed combo.  For 2017, it seems entirely possible that he gets to 25+ HRs and 30+ steals.  He’s only played in 91 games this year for 12 HRs, 18 SBs, and has a repeatable HR/FB%.  In fact (Grey’s got more!), with his walk rate trending up and speed, his average might be more like .275 in 2017 vs. .250 this year.  It’s not all yums ‘n roses with his Slash line.  He could be more Dexter Fowler (14-ish HRs, 17-20 SBs) than Correa.  That’s fine, because he’ll be drafted way closer, if not after Fowler.  As for why to grab him now?  He’s got five homers and six steals in the last ten days.  DUR!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“What about Asdrubal?  Asdrubal, Cron, Buxton, Peraza, Morales and Puig?  Puig, Morales, Asdrubal, Buxton and Morales?  Have I already mentioned Morales?  What about Puig?  What about Cron?  WHAT ABOUT CRON?!  Hardwiring is smoking!  I think I’m overheating!  Don’t throw water on me, I’ll short circuit!” It’s too late.  As the water hits the Fantasy Master Lothario’s mainframe, a sickening mix of smoke and sizzle expels from his metal joints.  He staggers to a pole and places his metal hand down.  With one last flicker, he looks up with his metallic, blue eyes and asks hopefully, “Is Puig facing a lefty?”  And shuts down.  The metal pole he placed his hand on wasn’t just any pole, it hung Old Glory.  As if the ghost of George Washington himself was a fan, the American flag lowers onto the Lothario’s shoulders, draping him like a metal Kid Rock.  If only people would’ve just picked up C.J. Cron!  My one major quibble with Cron — Or is it queef?  I always confuse those two. — is Cron going to have The Sciosciapath try to outsmart the universe and start benching one of the hottest hitters?  Not even the Sciosciapath can answer that, for he does not know what his brain tells him to do.  Plus, he’s crazy.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Psyche!  Before we get into the Buy/Sell, just wanted to say a huge fantasy football announcement is coming in the next few days.  Let’s just say it sounds like Stream-o-Nator, but it’s got a football vibe to it.  And it’s less lonely.  Oh, Stream-o-Nator so lonely!  I wonder if the Stream-o-Nator and Hitter-Tron ever tried to date.  Anyway II, the Buy/Sell:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So the inevitable return of Wade Davis came, and just like we expected in typical awful luck scenario, he came into the game for the save.  Which any Kelvin owner was dreading, clutching their fists, and shaking it widely. “Curses” they screamed.  I have to admit, I didn’t think that the first day off the disabled list he’s be thrown right into the fray.  He experienced two set-backs and wasn’t really his normal dominant self in the minor rehab appearances that I noticed.  I get that a guy who has the previous experience and job should get the job, but the Royals were cruising along with Herrera in the big boy chair.  In fact, he was darn near flawless minus one hiccup, garnering 7 straight saves and 9 appearances in 15 with a clean no-hit inning.  I mean, I am no manager, hell I am an admitted couch potato… But I do know closers and that my friends is getting it done.  The Royals are still in the thick of the playoff hunt and I think the worst thing to do for them is to change the end game.  Davis is going to be dominant in the closer role or set-up role, and he has the goods to be great at either.  Now, it may take one more ineffective appearance from him to show it, but I think Herrera is still very much in the foray for save chances in KC.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When I was younger, I played for a Little League team, the Teaneck Yankees, our manager, who went simply by the name John Doe, would spend most of his days stealing the other teams’ signs, but when he gave us advice, through a translator hired by our sponsor, Halliburton, he’d say, “The most important function of the baseball hitter is to get the base.  The second most important function of the baseball hitter is to get the WMDs.”  I searched Fangraphs for a stat abbreviated WMDs but wasn’t able to find one.  Walk-Off Moonshot Dingers?  Windup Mechanics Delivery?  Weapons of Mass Ducksnorts?  Whatever the case, I want to focus on Coach Doe’s first function, get the base.  Since the All-Star break, there’s been few hitters who are getting the base like Ender Inciarte.  In that time, he’s hitting .360 with 35 runs.  That’s the 5th best average and 8th best runs. This is a guy who last year hit .303 in 524 ABs, so it’s not a fluke, or hirame if a sushi chef is reading.  Will he give much power?  Will a llama do a NY Times crossword?  No, he won’t.  But for average and runs, you can do much worse.  Now, is it a coincidence that Coach Doe was a ringer for Saddam Hussein and you can’t spell Ender Inciarte without CIA?  I don’t know.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In my preseason Randal Grichuk sleeper post (hey, they’re not all Delino DeShields sleepers, which is to say God awful vs. just merely bad), I said, “How much Grichuk can Grichuk chuck if Grichuk strikes out 30% of the time?  Now, I’m no gypsy; I’m just a boy, standing in front of a girl that was born in a manger in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Let’s look at some comp hitters, shall we?  Not to answer, but to keep reading.  Last year, Grichuk struck out 31% of the time after striking out 23% of the time in Triple-A.  His minor league strike out rate makes me think he’ll be closer to a 27-28% strikeout guy.  Brandon Moss is also around a 27-28% strikeout guy, which Grichuk should be.  Grichuk won’t walk as much as Moss, but, okay, they’re close enough for me.  Grichuk is a young Moss.  I shall call him Pete Moss.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Maybe old fools die hard with a vengeance while Samuel Jackson screams at them, but Grichuk was just some bad luck with his BABIP away from being exactly what I thought he’d be.  His strikeout rate is 27.8% (vs. Moss’ 30%), and he’s only 25 years old.  I’m still jazzed on Grichuk like Coltrane with a needle in my vein.  Of course, none of this matters if he didn’t hit a bunch of homers this week, and was available in about 75% of leagues.  Plant Pete Moss on your team and watch the growth!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I wish that he wasn’t… and I wish I could parse my words a little better for a good pun’s sake, but the fact is in the stats.  Sam Dyson is allowing more baserunners, more baserunners to get on via the walk, and a higher slugging percentage in the second half of the year.  Add in the fact that batting average against and K-rate are down since 30 days ago, its never a good sign for someone to be all cozy and buy long-term property in the town of closerville.  Listen, he already wasn’t elite in the K-rate department, but to be hovering in the mid 5’s for the past 20 appearances is just bad.  From what I am noticing, his velocity has leveled out, but he isn’t using his arsenal as much or as frequent, relying mostly on his sinker and moving away from his ancillary fastball and slider.  Not all awful things in the immediate world in the result-driven world of fantasy, but troubling nonetheless.  When a reliever doesn’t trust or use his stuff in a way that was once successful, it shows a lack of confidence in it.  The guests knocking at the door have been a phenomenal swoon for almost all fantasy leagues with the likes of Diekman, Barnette (who has been sneaky great), Bush and Kela.  The saves that have been divided up show that Bush and Diekman look like the guys to watch most for in a change.  So with about a month of useful fantasy to go, now is not the time for a 20-save guy to spin his wheels… grab the cuff in advance and cover yourself like it was your Linus blanket or a just in case of emergency fantasy glass thingy.

Want to take on Razzball contributors and readers in a Fantasy Football League for prizes? Join here!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re about two weeks from September call-ups, or as we call it in my house, “One more month and Cougs gets back the Fantasy Master Lothario,” or as they call it in Prospector Ralph’s house, “Let’s make another baby,” or as they call it in any Cubs fan’s house, “Start drinking heavily now so the heartbreak of October is a blurry haze.”  By the way, whatever team faces the Cubs in the World Series should pay Steve Bartman to throw out a first pitch of one of the games.  Bartman, “I won’t do it.”  “We’ll give you $50,000.”  “Do you want me to throw out the first pitch while riding on the back of a goat?”  So, that brings us to who will be the top September call-up, or at least for hype, Yoan Moncada.  About a week ago, Moncada injured his ankle, but he’s likely to be fine in a week.  In about 12 days, every fantasy baseball site will be telling you to grab Moncada, so it depends on how quick you need to react in your league on when you grab him, but I would in most leagues.  “Why, Unkie Grey, what does Moncada do?  Can he help me talk to girls?”  Yes!  If those girls live in Boston, have red hair and are named Francine.  Would you be interested if I told you Moncada went 13/44 in only 97 games with a .300 average?  How about if I told you he’s going to play in one of the best offensive parks with one of the best hitting teams?  What if I said he’d move your car on street cleaning day?  He will do all of that (minus the moving of the car, but it’s good if you get out of the house once in a while).  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

In 1972, a young Polish man by the name of Stanley “Stash” Petrosky burst on the scene with the Pirates organization and stole 87 bases while pinch-running for the Single-A Long John Silvers.  No matter how many times corrected, he continually held the bat backwards and never got past Single-A, but his speed was a delight to watch.  Since then, Poles have been considered some of the sneakiest fast players in the game.  Some social scientists have contended that this is due to the Polish ancestors standing in line for bread.  Never wanting to be standing in line ever again, they instead run and steal.  Some historians say the Poles have skis on their end of their names because thousands of years ago they would tie flat boards to their ankles rather than walking and they built up a taste for speed.  Others say this is ethnic profiling and it should be stopped.  Either way, one guy who can’t be stopped is Travis Jankowski.  Janky, as he’s not known anywhere, has 25 steals in 184 ABs.  Since 2000, Jankowski has the most steals in the fewest plate appearances besides Tony Campana (there’s a throwback name).  The King of SAGNOF, Rajai Davis, Jarrod Dyson, Emilio Bonifacio, Dee Gordon and Jordan Schafer are a few of the guys that have been close in the last 16 years, but what Jankowski is doing is historic SAGNOF.  Or as it’s known in some cultures SAGNOFski.  Oh, and Jankowski is also hitting north of .450 in the last week.  Grab him!  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One look at this week’s most added player list in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues causes me to reminisce about my younger days in the early-mid 2000s. I can vaguely remember the bar-hopping, insane amounts of alcohol consumption, and late nights that frequently occurred during that time period. One thing that I can clearly recall from those days is closing time at those various establishments when the ugly lights would come on and that Semisonic song would be blaring over the speakers, signaling that it was time to pack up and go. Stumbling out the door and finding a local diner to satiate my pork roll, egg, and cheese fix meant that it was a good night. When no diner was to be found, man was that an annoying song! Why’d you have to ruin a perfectly good evening, Semisonic? It’s all your fault. Drunken logic! But I digress. The point is that this week could easily be dubbed closing time in fantasy baseball, as there were serious changes in the late inning pecking order of several teams. Injuries to Wade Davis and Huston Street created opportunities for Kelvin Herrera (39.2% owned; +10.8% over the past week) and Cam Bedrosian (22.8%; +17.2%) in the 9th inning in Kansas City and LA respectively. The trade of Jeremy Jeffress to Texas opened the door for Tyler Thornburg (31.0%; +16.8%) to close games in Milwaukee. But the biggest gainers of the week were the new stoppers in Seattle and Houston, Edwin Diaz (57.9% owned; +44.7%) and Ken Giles (57.0% owned; +37.9%). Diaz claimed the role for the Mariners after incumbent Steve Cishek hit the disabled list, and Giles took over for the Astros for a struggling Will Harris, and fantasy owners quickly pounced on the explosive duo. Over the last 30 days, Diaz and Giles have combined for 43 strikeouts against just 5 walks and have allowed just one earned run over that span. Their swinging strike rates are 24.1% and 25.4% respectively, and they’ve each averaged over 97.5 mph on their fastballs. There might not be more than five or six closers that I’d want more than these guys right now, so grab them if the other owners in your league have been asleep at the wheel.

Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The price that was paid, and the results that led him up to the trade had everyone believing that Andrew Miller would trump the incumbent Cody Allen in Cleveland.  Through two-pitched games, he has seen one save opportunity in the 6-7th inning, and the other was in a losing effort.  Now, I am not reading the tea leaves here, but after just two appearances and five games overall, I think Cody is not a droppable player in any format, saves holds or NSVH.  I mentioned it out loud to myself after the trade was completed, and also to Prospector Ralph.  With 55 games to play and save chances in 52 percent of games won… so that would leave 14 or so chances for the Indians and Miller to retain value.  And don’t get it twisted, he still has a ton of value with a ridiculous K-rate over 16, and the Indians are still a first place squad.  Just everyone that seems to matter has struggled with the Twins. It’s crazy that they are 20-plus games under .500.  So for the Allen owners, hold firm, like Gi-Joe style grip type stuff.  Miller owners, you have most likely owned him all year, so your peripherals aren’t going to be flawed because of him.  As far as saves go, I think it could go 70/30 the rest of the way and be a situational thing on occasion.  Let’s look at the plethora of changes that are basically pillaging the relief ranks around baseball…

Please, blog, may I have some more?