All year we’ve been ranking the top prospects closest to the majors. With September call-ups quickly approaching, this post is a little different. Instead of limiting the list to players with their rookie eligibility intact, this will include any players currently in the minor leagues regardless of their at bats or innings pitched totals. There’s a catch, though. It’s only going to list players who are currently healthy and on their team’s 40-man roster. If you see a big name omitted, it’s probably because they aren’t currently on the 40-man. That can still be manipulated of course, but if a player is already on the roster, it increases the chances they’ll get a look next month. I also decided to weed through it for players that I thought could actually have some relevance in fantasy. With guys like Domingo Santana, Trea Turner, and even Aaron Altherr already up, this isn’t exactly the sexiest group. But there are some nice players in here, and if they can find playing time, they could also help your fantasy team down the stretch. When looking at who to pick up, I’d recommend focusing on teams that are out of the playoff hunt and who may be more inclined to give their younger players a look. Zeroing in on injuries (or potential ones) is also a good move. I bolded a few of the names that I think are interesting gambles…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Michael Brantley went 4-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs with his 7th homer. One big day for a 2nd rounder is more than Ian Desmond owners can say. Yes, everything’s better when compared to Ian Desmond. “Maw, this spinach is still half-frozen and spinach juice is dripping into my Salisbury steak.” “In some countries, all children have is a 2nd round draft pick of Ian Desmond.” “You’re right, maw, you’re right. I’m an ingrate!” That’s a 34-year-old you after coming up from your mom’s basement for dinner. One of my biggest regrets of this season was not labeling Brantley a Noid and telling you to avoid. I didn’t rank him in the preseason crazy high so you would draft him, but I didn’t outright say, “Look elsewhere, prematurely balding man.” Meh, I guess my regrets could be worse. I mean, look at Lindsay Lohan’s last ten years. If you own Brantley, I think at this point you have to hold tight and either go down with the ship or hope some of his cream rises — mixed metaphor points! If you don’t own Brantley like me, well, whew. I’m empathetic though. Kinda. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Before I put internet pen to internet paper about my leads, I want you to know something: I do research. I know, I know, it may SEEM like this stuff is off the cuff because it’s so off the chain (kids say that still, right?) but I swear to you, I spend a good amount of time looking into season long stats as well as current trends before I start snuggling up to my starting pitchers, especially when I’m looking to go cheap. As you know by now if you’ve played a bit on DK, strikeouts for pitchers are the black gold of fantasy baseball DFS so scouting out the right scenario to rack them up is key. So first I go and look at team K% for the season to see how teams are fairing and see – sarcastic drum roll please – the Astros sitting on top at 25.1%. Then I change the view to last 7 days and guess what? The Astros are still waiving their bats in the air like they just don’t care as they’re at 26.2%. Why check both? Well, it puts you on going after teams that are perhaps slumping or it could make you recognize a particular team that normally Ks seems locked in as a group and may not be one to pick on at the moment. But for now, I’m following this whiff wagon and taking the Erasmo Ramirez discount of $5,600 so I can have all of the Coors. No not the beer, silly! I’d rather be a teetotaler than do that. I’m talking about those Atlanta and Colorado bats, of course. And of course, now that I have, I don’t have to mention them again. Damn, I covered a lot in this opener, I should just quit now! But instead, we’ll keep this Friday post rolling. Here’s some of my other hot takes for this Friday DK slate…

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 25 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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Yesterday, the Cubs scored seventeen runs, so enough jibber-jabbering, let’s get to it! Starting this whole she bangs, she bangs, Oliver’s got bangs in the 2nd inning, Addison Russell (2-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs) hit his 5th homer as he continues to hit ninth. Joe Maddoning says he’s hitting Addison ninth to take pressure off him. McNulty would call that bunk. (By the by, tell me this doesn’t look like McNulty.) Isn’t there pressure just being in the major leagues? Did Addison not see how the Cubs pushed aside Javier Baez and Arismendy from year to year? Bunk! Chris Coghlan (2-for-3, 3 runs, hitting .251) needs to hit fifth? David Ross (1-for-5, 1 run) in any lineup should be hitting ninth. There’s absolutely no reason Russell should be that low. Move him up! Then Kyle Schwarber went 4-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBIs in his first major leagues start, and became only the third Cub in their history to have four hits in his first major league start. The other two were two guys you never heard of, which makes this record depressing. Thanks, Elias Sports Bureau! Oh, and there’s no pressure on Schwarber as he hits sixth? Okay, I’ll let it go. I pray to the deity of your choice that Schwarber gets four hits in every game until Sunday, Miguel Montero stays injured and Epstein says, “Okay, Schwarber schways. He schways! Stays, sorry, it’s hard to say anything normal after Schwarber.” Then (Yes, it keeps going!) Chris Denorfia went 2-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs and his 1st homer, hitting .396. Put the microwave on defrost and stick in Ted Williams’s head! Never to be outdone (or overdue, as the case might be), Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 12th homer. Finally (I’m exhausted!), Kris Bryant (2-for-6, 4 RBIs and his 8th homer) as he grand salami’d in the ninth. You at a 2016 fantasy draft, “I need a Bryant.” *Smash* As a pie gets thrown in your face. Five over-the-internet dollars to be paid out in fake installments, if you get that reference. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After beginning his career almost no-hitting the Red Sox through six innings last Saturday, the legend of Chi Chi Gonzalez, whether I mean that ironically or not, continued Friday night with a complete game 3-hit shutout of the Kansas City Royals for his second win. He allowed just five base runners in all, striking out two. Oh, hello there. I am now intrigued. *Raises eyebrow, googles stats* Err. O…k. Despite my intriguement, in 43.1 innings at AAA, Chi Chi posted a 4.15 ERA with a 26/19 K/BB rate. Hmm. Well, that’s not very good at all. Still, I am not one to stare a gift horse in the butt. That’s how you get kicked in the teeth. Gonzalez has now pitched 14.2 scoreless innings to start his MLB career, allowing just five hits. Let’s focus on that. So maybe he’s almost walked twice as many batters as he’s struck out. Fair enough. I’m not saying he’s here to save your team, but he gets the Oakland A’s next week and should certainly be worthy of a ping on your fantasy radar at this point.

Here’s what else happened Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Today is the first Saturday in June, and the first day that it really feels like summertime. At least in Southern California it does. Warm weather and baseball just go hand-in-hand. So if you’re not at a game today, fulfill your Saturday baseball with some Razzball picks on DraftKings. Starting Pitchers are your most important position. Are you going to spend your money on a young unproven rookie pitcher, or a pricey proven pitcher that “should” run up your score? It’s a hard decision sometimes, but when you have choices like today, you should feel good about your chances. My strategies usually consist a little of both. Play it safer in 50/50’s. For example, if you’re in a 100 person entry, you can pretty much count on pitchers like Kershaw and King Felix to be owned around two-thirds to three-quarters of the league. You aren’t going to want to gamble and pick Lorenzen and another low to mid-tier pitcher and stack heavy on hitting. You’ll usually get the most points out of you pitchers, so my strategy is to play it safe and stick with the heavy priced pitchers. However, if I’m playing a big ‘Guaranteed’ entry where there are thousands of entries and thousands of dollars to be won in a top five finish, I’m gambling a lot more, and not spending my money on Kershaw and King Felix. It’s all or nothing for me in those type of entries. I’m not saying I’d start Lorenzen and a low-tier pitcher, but I’m certainly not picking the two pitchers which I think will be owned the most. What has worked for you? Have you had a really big win on DraftKings? Share you success in the comments below and tweet at me using #RazzballReader. Enjoy the games!

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 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! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I loved when Junior Lake homered the other day and, as he rounded first base, he held his finger to his lips, shushing the Marlins dugout, as if he was some kind of maniacal librarian. The only disappointing thing from this whole encounter is no one wrote an article titled, “Junior Mince Words.” It’s that kinda of braggadocio, WWE-type attitude that makes Grey’s man muscles tingly. Baseball needs to shed its 1920s demeanor and get rowdy-bawdy. If rowdy-bawdy means acting a fool, what the eff, go for it! The game is losing fans and fans want crazy/stupid/cool. Even in the conservative Japan, baseball players flip their bats like they’re cutting up an imaginary origami crane. I say everyone needs to come up with their own home run trot and pitchers need to blow on their gun finger after a K. As for Junior Lake, I’m a big fan outside of the theatrics. He’s a 12-homer, 15-steal guy that should play most days until Soler returns. I’ve added him everywhere I could. After I added him, I shushed my hand on my mouse. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To paraphrase Collective Soul, “Diamondbacks, your cup runneth over with outfielders. Don’t scream about! Don’t think aloud! Trade an outfielder now, baby! Just spit him out! Don’t worry about! Don’t speak of doubt! Turn your organization’s head and spit Trumbo out!” From Collective Soul’s website (that was surprisingly not a Geocities site or Myspace), they’re still touring. Coming to a church bingo hall near you! So, the Mariners acquired Mark Trumbo and Vidal Nuno for Welington Castillo, Dominic Leone, Jack Reinheimer and Gabby Guerrero. During one of the games I took in at spring training this year, I screamed at Guerrero, “Hey, number ninety-two,” because I had no idea who he was and the media guide only went up to ninety-one. Then I jawed at Guerrero for about ten minutes, giving him a little taste of some major league heckling. Now that I realize who he was, it turns out we were both Gabby. This doesn’t do anything major to anyone’s value. Diamondbacks were one of the best team offenses in this little thing we call reality, so if anything, Trumbo takes the smallest of hits. Park-wise, Mark can be Trumbomb or Trumboner anywhere, so I’m not concerned. The ones that get the biggest value boost here are David Peralta (2-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs) and Castillo. Welington relocates his boeuf to the desert and becomes an everyday catcher with 15-homer power and a .270 average. Definitely grab him in NL-Only and two-catcher leagues. Peralta will have a chance to prove himself, but he’s more of a 14-homer, 8-steal guy, so nothing huge. This does stop the Diamondbacks from benching A.J. Pollock (2-for-4, 2 runs, 7th homer, and 2nd in as many games; grab him!), Ender Inciarte (0-for-5) and Yasmany Tomas (3-for-5, 2 runs, 1 RBI) when Jake Lamb returns. Or as Lamb would say, “Not baaaaah for either team.” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Effin Strasburg hit the DL on Saturday, which came a day after he pitched five outs of one-run baseball. Compared to his previous starts, Effin looked remarkably better. If he threw 27 outs, that would’ve roughly been a five-run game and way below his ERA. I had the cork to pop and cigars to hand out, but he left that game with what he deemed neck tightness. Funny, because I have tightness in my chest when he pitches. I think it’s related. “Hello, Aetna service representative, a fine day to you, ma’am. I was just calling to see if I can take out extra health insurance on the ol’ ticker when Effin Strasburg is pitching. I can? That’s great news. Chirinos!” That’s me talking to my insurance provider. So, Stephen Strasburg has neck tightness as he hit the DL. His velocity has looked good, his BABIP is ridiculously unlucky, but his control is a mess. That would indicate to me that he’s a buy low, because his neck might be the reason behind his control problems. That was why I traded Jose Bautista for him in one league. *opens patio door, climbs to top of railing, jumps, lands in pool on top of inflatable shark* Dah! Right now, I wouldn’t do the same trade. Strasburg, or any pitcher, is too risky to trade for if injured. I’m hoping us Strasburg owners get him back in two weeks and he’s fixed. A prayer triangle anyone? Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One rookie’s story comes to life… From the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Big Fish. The vets on the pitching staff have outcast him for not meeting their quality standards. Theatergoer leaving the theater, impressed, “Tim Bahton shades the whole fahkin movie in blues and grey. You can’t see fahkin sh*t.” Eduardo Sawxerhands is a gentle man with an uncommon fastball. “I’m fahkin tellin’ yah I couldn’t see anything. Fahk nuts, this Burton character.” Watch as Eduardo Sawxerhands throws the ball past unsuspecting hitters and ignites a fan base that talked about Jackie Bradley Jr. like he was Honus Wagner. So, obviously Eduardo Rodriguez‘s start was terrific — 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks. I thought it might be when I suggested you stream him. I also think he can continue to be terrific. I would be shocked if he was sent back down, and if sent back down, he’s not staying there long. The Red Sox can remove any of their other starters for him. What makes him extra special, he possesses solid control. Lumps come for rookies, but good control should ease them. I’d grab him in any league where you’re struggling for upside. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?