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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Thankfully, I no longer do 4th of July like I used to, because when you have a holiday weekend that lasts five days, you will get alcohol poisoning if you go too hard, and the 4th is especially dangerous because:  day drinking.  At least with New Year’s Eve, it’s at night.  The Fourth is lying on a discarded sofa on the side of a highway at 3 PM and being like, “The hum of 75 MPH cars is so peaceful, I go to sleep now,” and waking up with a flashlight you mistake for a fleshlight and now you’re a registered sex offender.  Hopefully, none of that happened to any of you, well, maybe the fleshlight part, and you all had a safe holiday.  Any hoo!  Yesterday, Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 and his 15th and 16th homers as he hits .288.  He found the Fountain of Youth sometime in May and has been a Zombino eating brain custard ever since.  I’m still half expecting — cting? — McCutchen will resort to blah in the 2nd half, but it looks like I wrote off McCutchen before his sell-by date.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Yankees called up their 3B prospect, Miguel Andujar (3-for-4, 4 RBIs, and a steal), to fill-in for DL’d Matt Holliday.  That reminds me of Joaquin Andujar, and now I’m sad.  Gone too soon.  RIP, Joaquin.  “I always thought you’d kill someone before life killed you.”  That’s my eulogy to him.  Any hoo!  I watched some game film on Andujar (while chewing on an unlit cigar, because that’s how scouts do it, right?), and he reminds me of so many Dominican players that take the Roberto Clemente/Vlad Guerrero approach.  Old adage goes:  You can’t walk your way off the island.  We should have a glossary term for these type of hitters.  Please suggest in the comments.  Any hoo, Part 2:  Still Hoo’ing, Andujar is raw, swings at a lot and makes contact, sometimes to his detriment.  He could DH or see time at 3B, but will need to hit to stick.  Could be a deep league power bat if he hits and Headley is benched indefinitely or Holliday stays out a while.  Maybe Andujar will be so lucky that Girardi gets one more wish filled this year and looks at Andujar, saying, “Now, you be the Judge.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The theme of the Top 100 hitters this week is triumphant returns. Carlos Gomez is back from his latest trip to the disabled list and is mashing. Ab-so-lute-ly mash-ing. Keon Broxton, left for dead just a few weeks ago, is the hottest power-speed combo hunk in all the land. Even Cameron Maybin has returned to our ranks, though his return has been more gradual over the last few weeks since we lost our beloved Mike Trout.

I have not been overly kind to the newcomers since taking over this series. Perhaps that is my way of initiating them and making sure they belong among us Top 100ers. This week, though, my heart is filled with warmth. Perhaps it is because I am looking ahead to a mini 4th of July vacation, or maybe I am just getting soft in my old age :::pause here and smirk as you slowly look around the room:::.

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Every year, there are surprises in fantasy baseball. Some players come out of nowhere and breakout or, in the case of Aaron Judge, absolutely dominate. Other players regress after a breakout season the year before. There are even the players who have long track records of mediocrity who, all of sudden, appear to have figured something out en route to becoming legitimate contributors both in fantasy and in, you know, real baseball. I like to call these players Justin Smoak-Logan Morrison-Yonder Alonso. The more popular terms among Razzballers for these players are Schmohawks and Hot Schmotatos.

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Clap your hands everybody, and everybody clap your hands. We’re Lambda Lambda Lambda and Omega Mu. We come here on stage tonight to do our show for you. We got a rockin’ rhythm and a hi-tech sound that’ll make you move your body down to the ground. We got Jake Lamb on the violin, and Mark and Aaron will be joining in. We got Mike Moustakas on the mean guitar and a rap by little ol’ me Nomar. We got Schebler beating on his gong, the boys and the Mu’s are clapping along. And just when you thought, ya seen it all, along comes a Lambda four foot tall. So Altuve come on out here on the floor, so we can move our bodies, like never before. Break!

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After homering in his fourth straight game, Matt Davidson (2-for-4, 2 runs) is halfway to Dale Long’s record of home runs in eight straight games.  A record I didn’t think would ever be matched, aside from it being matched twice previously by Ken Griffey Jr. and Don Mattingly.  Dale Long was mostly remembered for that record and getting to first base with his bat.  Good year for no-names whose last name ends in son:  Davidson, Morrison, Alonson.  The book on Davidson previously was a AAAA player, which is different than Mickey Mantle and David Wells.  That’s two AA players.  Sadly (for him), Davidson is playing so over his head that giraffes be like, “Yo, come down from there.”  In Triple-A, he was a 30% strikeout guy and is striking out at a 38% rate now, so he will hit .200 for the season and be an only-occasional home run guy.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I use a number of different tools, sites, and metrics every week to adjust my rankings and to determine exactly who I should focus on each week. I usually try to focus on players owned in less than 60% leagues, players who are rising or falling and who you should probably buy low or sell high on, or players who are new to the Top 100 or on the cusp of joining the ranks. It has only been a few weeks since I took over these rankings for the legendary M@, so I am still working on creating the most efficient system (I spend wayyyyyy too much time agonizing over these rankings every Sunday).

I start by going over my notes and spreadsheets from the previous week, then take a peek at Razzball’s Player Rater and look at the current rankings and the Rest of Season Projections. Once I jot down some notes from those, I take a look at ESPN’s PR15 Player Ratings for the last 15 days. Lastly, I check FanGraphs with a focus on the best wOBA for the last 14 days and the last 30 days. Usually, once I am finished with that process, I have an idea of who I am going to write about and a starting point for adjusting the rankings.

Please, blog, may I have some more?