Houston Astros outfielder slash heir to the throne of the Southlands, destroyer of baseballs, Yordan Alvarez went for the hat trick Friday night going 4-for-4 (s/o Wendys!) with three home runs (34, 35, 36) including this 464 footer! That’s the longest shot of Yordy’s career and the three bombs in a single game is a career-high, a feat he’s accomplished once before back in 2019. In total, Alvarez’s homers traveled almost 12,000 feet, which is about 920-something Aaron Judges, who is probably quietly looking in back of him to make sure Alvarez isn’t too close for comfort. He’s not. Still, after suffering back and hand injuries (he sat out Wednesday) and possibly backhand injuries, and going over a month without a dinger, Yordan now has hit five in the past week hitting .571 in that stretch with 10 runs scored. I want to pour one out for Adrian Martinez real quick, who surrendered all three bombs to Yordan, and despite the lefty ready in the bullpen for the A’s, Oakland opted to let Adrian pitch to Alvarez to give him the trifecta. If this doesn’t prove Oakland is throwing I don’t know what does. The 25-year old’s incredible year is being somewhat overshadowed by the aforementioned Judge’s significantly more incredible year, but Yordan is second only to Judge in OBP (.408) and SLG (.624). Basically, the two stats that really matter, other than wins, where Yordan’s Astros have an eight game lead over Judge’s Yankees with 95 wins. Appropriately, Houston clinched their sixth postseason appearance in a row with the win Friday night and you’d be hard-pressed to say Yordan Alvarez is not a big reason why they are where they are. And regardless of whether you think anyone with 36 bombs and a 1.032 OPS could have a “quiet” MVP year, Yordy Alvarez should be right there with Aaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani in the top five on draft day next year. Yordan fades back. Swish! And that’s the game!

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

Justin Verlander – 5.0 IP, 0 hits, BB, 9 K, 17th win, ERA at 1.78. The calf is clearly still bothering him or this may have been a no-hitter. JV should take a note from his wife Kate Upton and post his own teenage dirt bag video of him dominating the league whilst barely trying. I’ll be honest that blurb was a sorry excuse for me to watch that Kate video again.

Jeremy Pena – 1-for-4, HR (18). I wrote my first lede of the year about Pena and although I have moved on with my rookie obsession to Spencer Strider and now I’m in a happily obsessive relationship with Michael Harris, Pena’s has been great and we will always have that April.

Marcus Stroman – 7.0 IP, 3 hits, ER, 2 BB, 5 K. The win was just his fourth in 22 starts. Oof. MaStro has had a couple of real clunkers over the course of the year that have made me reluctant to trust him in any capacity but if you call upon him for a home start against what might be the worst offense in the league he can still deliver an adequate outing. Fine.

Manuel Rodriguez – 1.0 IP, K, SV (2). Hughes was used earlier in the game and Wick was available but has lost the Manager’s good graces. That tells you everything you need to know about this bullpen. You should avoid.

Zach McKinstry – 2-for-4, HR (4), triple, as he led off. BUY. Does anyone else make bets with themselves in their head whether it with be a “ch” Zach or a “ck” Zack before opening their player page? No? Just me then!

Taijuan Walker – 7.1 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, 5 K, 12th win. Taijuan made in Queens! Tbh (<— to be hunky) the line doesn’t do justice to how good Tai was in this one, the Cruz homer in the 8th was really his only blemish. He might be getting a lot more buzz in this rotation if he wasn’t on a staff with two of the best starting pitchers in well, ever.

Daniel Vogelbach – 1-for-2, HR (17). Sweet, sweet revenge! Take that Pittsburgh! Take those Pirates down a peg! Honestly, he should be throwing to thank the team for trading him to a postseason bound club.

Oneil Cruz – 1-for-4, HR (16), 2 RBI. 429 footer. The Cruz Missile has been locked in since hiring Adam Sandler as his hitting coach. I know he’s a Pirate and as a rule, you shouldn’t draft Pirates but how do you watch these bombs he hits and not get excited? He’s slashing .88/.311/.644 in September with 5 dongs and 13 RBI. That’ll play on any team, even the Pirates!

Triston McKenzie – 7.0 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, 8 K. His ERA actually went up after this start to 3.08. That’s still pretty good!

Bailey Ober – 5.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, BB, 5 K. Returned from a groin injury (TMI!) and all those groin rubs in PT must have done him good because he 1-hit the Guardians (dumbest team name ever) through five. Had he not been on a pitch count perhaps we could have seen some real greatness. He gets the Royals next week and I might consider the prospect of maybe thinking about mulling over the possibility of contemplating whether or not I should review the option of potentially picking him up. I still don’t know for sure though!

Emmanuel Clase – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, SV (36), ERA at 1.29 ERA. It took him just 10 pitches to notch his league-leading 36th save. Clase closed!

Oscar Gonzalez – 2-for-4. BUY. I don’t want to be a grouch but Oscar is a 1-2 category player. That doesn’t mean he can’t be useful, but he’s hit 4 homers and batting .382 over the past two weeks and it’s inflating his value a bit. Half of his homers have come in the past 10 days, just know that!

Michael Wacha – 7.0 IP, 7 hits, ER, 4 K, ERA at 2.61 ERA. Wacha wacha has been no joke, the Sox are 15-1 when he starts! Boston’s GM may be a big idiot who’s ruining everything but he did nail this Michael Wacha acquisition. Almost makes up for giving James Paxton $10 million guaranteed to do nothing. I could have done nothing!

Jonathan Heasley – 6.2 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K. He lowers his ERA to almost sub-5 (5.09) with the stellar outing. He was enroute to his 4th win of the year too before the bullpen blew it for him. #JustRoyalsThings

Matt Strahm – 1.0 IP, BB K, SV (4). So Whitlock pitched yesterday and Schreiber only pitches once a week or something so Strahm got the call and if you can predict who will get the next save I’ll give you James Paxton’s $10 million. I know Cora didn’t exactly have the best bullpen options all year, but constantly shuffling everyone around and preventing anyone from having a defined role probably hasn’t helped.

Scott Barlow – 0.2 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, 2 K. This was actually Dylan Coleman’s mess that Barlow gets the blown save for. Just his fourth blown save of the year, but to be fair, he hasn’t had a whole lot of save chances either. Yesterday was his first since September 4th! #JustRoyalsThings

Matt Chapman – 3-for-4, 2 HR (26), 3 RBI. George Springer also hit a 3-run HR (21). That’s a good, chap, man! These were Matt’s first home runs since August 20th! Hard to notice when everyone else on the Jays is absolutely toasty! I’m looking at you Bo Bichette!

Adley Rutschman – 1-for-4, HR (11), 2 RBI. Adley seems like a player that will forever be overvalued in fantasy because he’s such a better real-life player than a fantasy one. He’s not a bad fantasy one either though!

Gunnar Henderson – 2-for-4, HR (2). Not sure what the O’s are proving platooning Gunnar, who’s slashing .333/.379/.574 through 15 games, he’s basically their best player already not named Adley.

Josiah Gray – 5.0 IP, 5 hits, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K versus Jesus Luzardo – 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 2 ER, BB, 6 K. In a match up of two pitchers I’m likely to own everywhere next year Jesus looked considerably more divine (obv). Not that they both don’t have great bible names! Luzardo and his 3.64 ERA and 1.09 WHIP could be quite a steal at the ADP next year as your 1-B or No. 2. Josiah on the other hand, is doing his darnedest to make sure I won’t go near him next year (14 ER in 13.1 IP September) but I’ve already been set on drafting him next year since June.

Kyle Finnegan – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, SV (9). With only two losses and 7 ER between his last save this one! Getting better!

Tanner Scott – 0.2 IP, 1 hit, 2 ER, 2 BB, K. if you’re holding Tanner for saves, you really shouldn’t be. Dylan Floro seems to be the guy, but that is by no means an endorsement.

Joey Meneses – 1-for-4, 2 runs HR (9) slashing .323/.352/.561. He was a BUY! I’m Mr. Meneses! Look at me!

Lewin Diaz – 1-for-4, HR (3), 2 RBI. If you’ve seen Inside Lewin Diaz, you’d know Diaz was a folk singer before he was an X-Wing pilot slash Moon Knight slash baseball player.

Martin Perez – 5.1 IP, 9 hits, 3 ER, BB, 3 K, 12th win. The Regression Fairies are coming hard for Martin and his 2.84 ERA, but he’s battled back. They think Ariel should be blonde and hobbits should be white and they will destroy your ratios!

Jose Leclerc – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, K, SV (6). BUY. The craziest thing about Leclerc stealing the closer role from Jonathan Hernandez is he hasn’t even been that good. I like Leclerc from years ago but based on the Rangers approach to the closer role he should have lost the job two weeks ago.

Nathaniel Lowe – 1-for-4, HR (25). If you would have told me yesterday Nathaniel Lowe had 24 home runs I would have said, “Who?”

Matt Manning – 7.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER, 5 K. Memba when we all thought last year that this was the year to own all the Tigers starters? Me neither!

Lucas Giolito – 4.2 IP, 4 hits, ER, 3 BB, 5 K. Worst. Ace. Ever. OK, sure he got zero run support and he was mostly dominant through his 4.2 IP, but 96 pitches in 5 innings against the Tigers does not an Ace make.

Elvis Andrus – 3-for-5, run, SB (11). BUY! Andrus’ Elvis impression makes Austin Butler jealous. He’s hitting .321 with the ChiSox with 6 bombs, 4 steals and 21 RBI. I don’t think I’ve seen a stretch from Andrus this good, in well, ever. In ever!

Javier Baez – 3-for-3, run, SB, (9). He’s batting .358 in September. Too bad you drafted him in April!

Max Fried – 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, ERA at 2.52. I like my Braves pitchers like I like my bacon, extra crispy and max fried!

Ranger Suarez – 6.0 IP, 2 hits, ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Ranger Danger deserved better after an impressive showing in Atlanta against the Braves. Too bad his bullpen had other plans for the night.

Seranthony Dominguez – 0.2 IP, 3 hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, K. Corgi Woof. The knighted Dominguez is clearly still distraught over the Queen’s passing. Even if he gets the next save chance, I don’t see how you can hold this guy after he did this to your ratios with two weeks left.

William Contreras – 3-for-4, HR (18), 2 RBI. A gorgeous 439-footer. Mmm. Ronald Acuna Jr. also hit his 12th. Extra mmm. If Will hits 20 him and his brother Willson will be the first pair of brothers to hit 20 bombs since Yuli and Lourdes Gurriel did it in 2019.  Thanks to Vin for the research there!

Ozzie Albies – 1-for-4, 2 RBI. His first game back from a broken foot. He hasn’t played since early June. Clearly, a Rusty Griswold!

Kyle Schwarber – 1-for-4, HR (39). Jean Segura also homered (10). The 39 bombs is a career high for Schwarbombs. Only 18 behind Judge. Welp. Can he get to 40!?

Blake Snell – 7.0 IP, 4 hits, ER, 7 K, 7th win. Snell struggled versus the Dodgers last week but who doesn’t struggle versus the Dodgers? He continues his second half surge and let’s not forget he broke Bryce Harper’s thumb! Overall a successful 2022!

Brandon Drury – 2-for-5, 2 HR (27), 3 RBI.  Was activated from the IL Thursday. How are we possibly going to value this guy next year? Also, what is it with all these players mashing in their return from injury and why won’t the ChiSox place Luis Robert on the IL so he can experience this same phenomenon? I’ll even take the 7 day IL at this point!

Ha-Seong Kim – 3-for-5, 3 runs, HR (9), SB (10). Exactly what you expected from the ‘Dres starting shortstop, right? In Arizona, the slam & legs is served New Mexican style, with lettuce and American cheese and crispy onion strings and all sorts of other things that you’d never eat in Mexico.

Christian Walker – 2-for-4, 2 HR (34), 3 RBI. Remember back in May when we tried so hard to get you to pick him up and you did and now he has 35 ding dongs!? Great teamwork us!

Dustin May – 5.0 IP, 0 hits, BB, 4 K, 3.46 ERA, 1.00 WHIP. I said last week that when I die I want to be reincarnated as a Dodger’s starting pitcher, even if it means never getting a chance at a no-hitter or complete game. As for May, I could easily see him being the second or third starter I draft next year–if he even lasts that long.

Robbie Ray – 5.0 IP, 8 hits, 5 ER, BB, 5 K. Sigh. I hate so much the things that you choose to be. He gets the Oakland A’ss next week and I feel like that’s a trap start–BEWARE!

Luis Rengifo – 3-for-5, 3 runs, 2 HR (13), 4 RBI. Rengifo’s been hotter than a She-Hulk over the past two weeks batting .321 with 2 bombs and 7 runs scored. Is it bad I think Tatiana Maslany is more attractive in hulk form?

Julio Rodriguez – 1-for-4, 2 runs, HR (27). Ty France also hit his 19th. Juul-Rod vaping! I reached hard on Julio in the fourth round and somehow didn’t end up looking like a total dummy! Thanks for that, Julio! I’ll probably never get to own you again. It’s been real!

Kyle Farmer – 1-for-5, HR (12), 2 RBI, his fourth homer in September. He was a BUY and Farmer is raking!

Carlos Santana – 2-for-3, 2 HR (17), 3 RBI slashing  .199/.320/.379. He also hit two homers last Friday! Because I do this just once a week I get to notice Friday trends other bloggers might not notice. How fun for me!

Mike Trout – 1-for-5, HR (36). He went two full games without a homer!? Pfft! Are we sure he’s not hurt again?

Albert Pujols – 1-for-3, HR (19), 2 RBI. 698! 13 of those homers since the All Star Break! Sweet sassy molassy! An absolute legend. He was so, so close to 699, too, a warning track fly that missed it by a couple feet. Are we more excited for Uncle Alby to hit 700 or Judge to pass 61? For me it’s Albert not just for the nostalgia, but 700 is a milestone and Judge’s feat, although obviously amazing, will come with asterisks and hot takes and lots of talk radio hosts yelling. No one outside Cubs fans and ex-wives doesn’t have a soft spot for Alby. I am going to miss all those Bernie Mac references though.

Tyler O’Neill – 0-for-1, run, 2 SB (14). I know he’s been good in the second half and I know guys with his power/speed combo are tough to find, but he would need to drop REAL low for me to ever consider drafting him again. As Nick from Razzball radio would say, “I have been burned.”

Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 6 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. They say the control takes a bit to return after TJ. Well, we’re waiting!

Aristides Aquino – 2-for-4, RBI. BUY. Hitting .327 with 5 tanks and 11 RBI (ELEVEN) in the past two weeks but somehow he’s still available everywhere. Is it his 40% strikeout rate from 2021 that’s giving you pause? Yeah, I get it.

Ryan Helsley – 1.0 IP, 3 K, SV (18). The Immaculate Inning! Are you supposed to capitalize that, cause I always do for some reason? You can watch it here, because zero contact is exciting, right kids? But fr, Helsley is an absolute cheat code, not only are his 1.21 ERA, 0.72 WHIP elite, and his 87 Ks in 59.1 innings insane, but he more or less makes every batter he faces look stupid. And that’s what its all about, folks.

Clay Holmes – 0.2 IP, 2 hits, ER, 2 BB,  K., 4th L. He’s no Ryan Helsley. Although he was at one point. What happened, bruh? New glasses?

Willy Adames – 2-for-4, HR (29), 4 RBI. Shortstops like him aren’t Adames a dozen! The .237 is not great but hit 30 home runs and 100 RBIs and the 142 strikeouts are much easier to swallow.

Frankie Montas – 3.1 IP, 4 hits, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. Down bad. Down awful. Despite being spoon-fed a five run lead Frankie still managed to disappoint everyone he could. He’s got a 6.35 ERA in NYC City and the Bombers must be kicking themselves for trading Jordan Montgomery, who’s currently rocking a 2.05 ERA and sub-1 WHIP with his new club. I’d expect this from Chaim Bloom but not the Yankees.

Josh Donaldson – 1-for-4, HR (14). Game-tying home run in the ninth. Well, if Judge isn’t gonna hit them someone’s gotta. Speaking of Judge, rant incoming….

Aaron Judge – 2-for-4, 2 runs. No bombs today but he did up his slash a bit to .311/.415/.687. I’m sick of the MVP discussion because there really should be no discussion. If I have to hear someone say, “But what’s Judge’s ERA?” again I am just going to snap. As I mentioned in Yordy’s lede, Judge leads in all the stats that matter OPS (1.102), SLG (.687), OBP (.415). He also has an almost 30 run lead in runs scored (119) and should end the year with the RBI lead as well (119). You want next-level stats, nerd? Judge’s total WAR (position player WAR + pitching WAR) is almost a point and a half higher than the next closest guy, Shohei Ohtani, 9.8 vs 8.2. That includes Ohtani’s pitching stats and no one else is close. Are you bored yet? I haven’t even mentioned the home runs, where Judge’s 57 bombs is so far and away ahead of the competition it’s Ruthian. Add the fact that he has a shot at the triple crown, and will likely be the first player to surpass 60 home runs without PEDs and the choice is obvious. I hate gushing on Yankees but Aaron Judge is far and away the best player in baseball in 2022 and this MVP race discussion should have been over in July. Now let’s watch him set another record this offseason when some team gives him a half a billion dollar contract.

Thanks for reading! Questions? Problems? Complaints to management? Advice, small gifts or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below.