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Not a lot of us saw this major league breakout coming from Jesus Aguilar. We were all expecting an awkward OF & 1B battle in Milwaukee between Eric Thames and Ryan Braun. Then here comes Jesus walking on the waters of Lake Michigan from Cleveland to Milwaukee to become an All-Star with the Brew Crew (he should be — stay tuned.) Maybe we all should’ve seen this coming — in 655 minor league at-bats in 2016 Aguilar hit 40 HR and 114 RBI. The average was only .261, but in the Indians minor league system he has some high average seasons (2011: .288; 2013: .291; 2014: .304.) Aguilar has already dropped his strikeout rate from 30% to 24.6% and if that number continues to go down while his contact rate continues to climb — Jesus’s ascension could continue.

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Surprise!! Kershaw is back! Again. Hopefully for the last time. We all love Kershaw whether we own him or not (come on, the guy builds houses in third world counties in his off time). Therefore for the good of baseball, Kershaw should be allowed to have a personal masseuse on the field at all times to loosen him up between pitches. Anything that back needs, get that masseuse in there and rub it out. No more DL stints! Someone get me Manfred’s number. Of course, for every give there is a take, and we lost Carlos Carrasco to a nasty comebacker off the elbow. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be gone too long, but he’s off the list this week. Outside of that we had a relatively quiet week for starting pitchers. We lost the likes of Aaron Sanchez and Jose Urena to the DL, but those guys aren’t leaving anyone’s season hanging in the balance. Michael Wacha does appear to be gone for a significant amount of time with an oblique strain though, and that is a more significant loss. Despite the fact that he seemed obscenely overrated by the Razzball community, I didn’t want to see him go. Especially considering he’s being replaced by John Gant. Yay. We’re also in that dead zone before the midseason call ups, so we don’t have too many debuts to discuss this week on the list. Most starters pretty much pitched like you’d expect them to this week as well, so there wasn’t a ton of serious moving and shaking. That makes this sound like a bit of a dance, which I guess it kind of is. I prefer the Mashed Potato, myself. Since there isn’t a ton of movement, I want to touch on some of the guys I haven’t talked about this year in addition to a few newcomers to the list.

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As the fantasy world clamors for Sam Dyson and Pedro Strop to scoop some extra saves, we will be different. Sure, these two may be in line for the occasional save opportunity, Strop until Brandon Morrow returns from his back injury and Dyson until Mark Melancon proves more durability, but both situations are temporary. There are some names available that could bring long-term help to your fantasy roster. This week I am headed to the waiver wire to see if Joe Jimenez (FAAB Bid: 5%) or Jordan Hicks (FAAB Bid: 5%) are still around. Both of these relievers have found themselves sneaking into save chances. Jimenez and Hicks provide upside that Dyson and Strop do not. They can potentially provide saves for the rest of the season with a strikeout ability unmatched by most relievers on the wire.

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“No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.”

At no point do you HAVE to make a trade. Trade negotiations can last days, weeks, maybe even longer, but even with the time that you’ve invested in getting something done, do not make a trade simply to get it done or because you’ve invested too much time into it. If the deal does not help your team or doesn’t feel right, there is nothing during a trade discussion that says you must come to a deal. Don’t put yourself in the situation where you have instant trade regret because you clicked accept after spending too much time on a deal or out of some sense of duty to the other team.

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It’s no accident that this blog has taken on a burnt orange hue when recommending starting pitchers.  The Houston Astros are lassoing the competition with a MLB-league-leading ERA.  And the main buckaroo is the intimidating, hard-throwing man who’s proving you can go home againGerrit Cole.  This ace is having an incredible season with a 2.59 ERA, .894 WHIP and 12.3 K/9, and today faces off against the lowly Kansas City Royals.  Grab Cole with your top pick and ride that Texas pony to a win.  Now let’s look at a few more early-, middle- and late-round picks for your Draft…drafts!

New to Draft? 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 you do. It’s how we know you care!

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There’s times where you just need to trust your gut. About 14 months ago I added a UCLA righthander with impressive stats in one “open universe” league I’m in. His name was Griffin Canning, and while there were some mechanical knocks, injury history, and a lack of premium stuff. I saw something in early March of 2017.  He mowed down the Michigan lineup going 8 strong, allowing 6 baserunners on 3 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 12. He showed a curveball with depth, a fastball in the low 90’s that he commanded well, a slider, and an off-speed pitch. Despite a very good 2017 season in the PAC-12, Canning dropped down boards due to his size, injury history, and the aforementioned mechanical issues. He dropped all the way to the Angels in the second round, and in what is becoming an increasingly reality based narrative, Billy Eppler stole another one. Coming off consecutive seasons at UCLA where he exceeded 100 innings, the Angels were prudent to delay his professional debut until 2018. The righty was assigned to High-A Upland out of camp, and such begins Canning’s second act. His first two professional starts produced 8.1 scoreless frames, with 14 punchouts, and 7 baserunners. He saw promotion immediately to AA Mobile and while his next few starts were struggles, Canning clicked in his next six allowing a single earned run over 32.1 frames. A few starts later Canning was promoted to AAA Salt Lake where he made his debut this Thursday, going four, allowing five baserunners on 2 hits, and 3 walks. Over his time in the Southern League he made 10 starts, going 1-0 with a 1.97 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.7 K/9, and 3.7 Bb/9.

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I like my Two Start Pitcher schedules the same way I like my coffee: robust, and diarrhea inducing. We have a strong slate this week of double dippers, complete with a vast array of crap in Tier 5 and a pleasantly surprising amount of goodness in Tiers 3-4. Tier 1 holds a trio of no-brainers, but Tier 2 is ripe with the scent of potential over-performance! Price, Gonzalez, Hamels, and Stripling all raise their stocks with non-intimidating opponents. Tyler Skaggs is worthy of discussion in Tier 3 as someone who could have been pushed to Tier 2, but despite Boston’s weakness against southpaws, I’m not stoked about that matchup. There are some really interesting names in Tier 4, not the least of which is Reynaldo Lopez. Despite his decent matchups and surface stats, he’s got a lot of red flags under the hood and that keeps him from Tier 3. Have a look at Tier 5 if you want to know who not to start. Let’s have a look at some more two-start options of interest this week.

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“There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.”

Understand that not every team in your league has a desire to trade. Many very successful fantasy owners prefer not to make trades and build their roster via the draft and waivers/FAAB/FA only.  There is nothing wrong with this approach and many players I respect adhere closer to this model.  Some of these people really won’t trade while others simply do not have or want to spend the time talking trades through.

If you are sending an offer to these owners in your leagues, I’d recommend that you use your best and final offer as you may not get a second chance to communicate with the team. Understand that without any form of trade communication, you will likely have to make it well worth it for them click accept.

In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.

We all want to play the game and see how much we can get out of a trade, but you have to realize that sometimes the easiest way is to start at a point much closer to your best and final rather than trying to work up to it.

At any point, if you get the offer you want, TAKE IT. Take some advice from the salespeople of the world and A.B.C., always be closing. On the other side, a bad trade offer can end your trade talks before they even begin, as well as, damage your ability to make trades in the future.

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Cleveland Indians rookie Shane Bieber was dominant Friday night in just his third career start, pitching seven innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out nine for his second win. Talk about a reason to Love Yourself. The Biebs now holds a 2.45 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through his first three starts (18.1 IP) and his 22/3 K/BB is Despacito–at least I think it’s despacito, not 100% sure I know what that means. I’m saying it’s flames. Shane Bieber is striking out lots of batters. Oh Baby, Baby. Baby sign me up. Wow, you sure do know a lot of Justin Bieber songs. What do you mean? I make it my business to know all about the Beibebers. For example, in the minors this year Shane was 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and a 72/6 K/BB. If those numbers make you scream like a teenage girl and and write Shane’s name is cursive flirty letters on your notebook you’re not alone, Beiber’s got the stuff to be a bonafide heart throb. He will likely see the usual rookie pitchers highs and lows, but he’s looking like the favorite to run away with the fifth rotation spot in Cleveland. He’ll get a rougher assignment than Detroit next time out taking on the Cardinals in St. Louis but I’d grab Shane for the upside alone and hope he can make a Belieber out of all of us.

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

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It would appear that the MLB Saturday schedule is being made by an 85 year old that must be in bed by 7pm ET.  What other excuse could there be for putting a whopping FOUR games in prime time on Saturday night? Instead, we have ten games on in the afternoon when everyone is out and about on a Saturday afternoon.  Makes sense. With the majority of games on the early slate (FantasyDraft is going with a 4 o’clock start and 7 game slate), I’ll focus mainly on that today. The early slate is where all the fun is and Sonny Gray ($13,700) should have some fun with the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays are bottom third in the league in team OPS (.705) and in the upper half of the league in team strikeouts.  The Yankees are also one of the biggest favorites on the day sitting at -164. Gray has been a little rough this season, but seems to have settled down in June with a 2.63 ERA and 22 Ks in 24 IP.  Most importantly, he’s only walked 5 in those 24 IP. Enjoy some Sonny delight this afternoon while out and about and probably not watching any of these games!

New to FantasyDraft? 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 you do.  It’s how we know you care!

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