This week’s most added player, Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton (52.6% owned; +34.6% over the past week), needs no introduction to those of you familiar with the prospecting circles. Well, I guess I should clarify and say prospect circles since we can leave the prospecting to his agent(s) and entourage. The bottom line is that Buxton has been widely considered to be one of the best (if not the best) young talents in baseball for the last several years. While rising up the minor league ranks, he’s shown the abilities to hit for average and power, field his position well, consistently throw runners out when they attempt to take an extra base, and run really, really fast. That’s basically just a long-winded way of saying that he’s a five tool player. Unfortunately for Buxton and his fantasy owners, these tools haven’t led to much on-field production during his time in MLB thus far. At least early on, that is. From his MLB debut on June 14th of last season through August 5th of this season, Buxton managed just a .199/.248/.319 triple slash line through his first 109 MLB games (356 PA) with 3 homers and 11 steals along the way. His 34.8% K% over that span showed that the 22-year-old wasn’t quite able to adjust to big league pitching just yet. Since being sent down to the minors last month and reemerging in the majors on September 1st, Buxton has looked like a different player. In 10 games (40 PA), he’s produced a .405/.436/.919 line with 12 runs, 5 homers, and 13 RBI over that span. He’s managed to cut his K-rate down to 27.5% as well. A large part of this newfound success (especially the power) can most likely be attributed to a leg kick that he reintroduced into his plate approach after abandoning it last season. However, despite the recent surge in production, Buxton has actually been as undisciplined at the plate as ever, in some regards. His 41.7% O-Swing% and 17.3% SwStr% over the last 10 games are up significantly from his previous 31.6% and 14.2% marks in his MLB career. He’s clearly being much more aggressive at the plate during this recent stint, which is great when the ball is consistently flying out of the park, but could spell trouble when his 45.5% HR/FB and .476 BABIP come back down to Earth. Buxton reminds me quite a bit of another young, toolsy outfielder with a similar build, skillset, and approach by the name of B.J. (though you might know him as Melvin) Upton – fantastic speed, solid pop, and a few too many Ks. I’m referring to the Rays version of Upton, of course, who topped 30 steals five times (including 40+ three times) and smashed 20+ homers on three different occasions while in Tampa. His shaky plate discipline generally kept his batting average just south of .250, but his power/speed combination was very impressive. The back of Buxton’s baseball card could look very similar to that of the Tampa version of Upton over the next few years. Dynasty leaguers – giddy up! Oh yeah, he should be a solid asset in redraft leagues over the next few weeks too as pitchers attempt to adjust to Buxton’s new approach.

Now that that run-on paragraph is finished, here are a couple of quick takes on players who have been among the most added/dropped in fantasy leagues over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta certainly has a lot of things going for him these days. He’s the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner. He’s the ace on a team that’s the favorite to win the World Series which would end the longest championship drought in professional sports and cement his place in MLB history. He’s in tremendous physical shape and he’s not afraid to show it off. He’s won 16 games already this season, and his 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP are once again among the best in the game. However, despite all of these great things that Arrieta has working in his favor, he’s actually been in somewhat of a slump recently. Over his last twelve starts, Arrieta is just 5-4 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. These are certainly not terrible results, but it almost feels like blind luck when he delivers the finishing blow to his opponents these days. So what’s going on here? Is Arrieta’s slide just the result of bad luck in a relatively small sample size or something more concerning?

Let’s take a look at Arrieta’s profile to determine if his recent production is just a blip in the radar or a sign of things to come. Here are a few thoughts and observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Can you believe it’s September already? With just under four weeks to go until the end of the MLB regular season, it’s time to push your chips all-in. Outside of the elite players, everyone is expendable in redraft leagues from this point on. If you want to make that final surge up the standings before it’s too late, production trumps reputation. Nursing a sore wrist? Thanks for the memories, Marcell Ozuna. Looking for more than a .220 average with mediocre counting stats out of your #5 outfielder? See you later, Josh Reddick. Need some ratio relief down the stretch? Adios, Marco Estrada. The problem is that trade deadlines have passed and the waiver wire is looking pretty thin at this point of the season. Who are you going to replace these players with? Fortunately, the recent roster expansion has allowed for a fresh influx of rookie talent at this key time in the fantasy season. The youngsters who were held down in the minors earlier this summer for some extra seasoning (or to delay their arbitration clocks) are being called up to get a taste of the big leagues. This week’s most added player, Boston Red Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada (39.6% owned; +33.3% over the past week), is a prime example of the upsidey September call-up. Moncada is about as toolsy as it gets – plus-plus speed (94 steals over the last year and a half in the minors), above average power (.254 ISO in Triple-A), and a patient approach at the plate (double digit walk rates at every level) – which has made him one of the top prospects in all of baseball. His plus throwing arm has allowed the Sox to move him over to third base from his natural position of second base as well. The one caveat is that he strikes out. A lot. He’s already whiffed six times in his first fourteen MLB at-bats and his 30.9% K% in 207 Double-A plate appearances this season is a concern. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if he hit three homers and stole half a dozen bases over the season’s final month. Moncada is definitely worth adding for his upside alone.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

2015 was a golden year for rookies. Carlos Correa, Kris Bryant, Noah Syndergaard, Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell, Lance McCullers, Roberto Osuna, and many other youngsters made a huge impact for their respective teams during their first run through the big leagues. This season’s rookie crop hasn’t been quite as impressive as that historically productive group, but it’s been a pretty strong one as well. Corey Seager (technically in his rookie season), Trevor Story, Trea Turner, David Dahl, Jon Gray, and Michael Fulmer are some of the players who have been outstanding in their first full MLB seasons. Perhaps the brightest prospect of them all, however, especially on the pitching side, is 20-year-old Dodgers phenom Julio Urias. He’s considered by many to be the best pitching prospect in baseball over the past several years, and it’s not difficult to see why. With plus velocity (his fourseam fastball can reach 96 mph at times) and a varied arsenal (fastball/slider/curve/change) that can generate swings and misses with regularity, it doesn’t seem to be a matter of if Urias will be successful, but when. Considering he was still a teenager for the bulk of his rookie season, it’s reasonable to question whether or not Urias is ready to contribute down the stretch for fantasy owners this season. What can be expected from him over the next month or so?

Let’s take a look at his profile to determine how the rookie has been performing during his first run in MLB. Here are a few thoughts and observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Over the past week, the most added player in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues was… Gary Sanchez. Seriously? Is it that difficult to part with Matt Wieters at this point? Sanchez should be universally owned (and practically is by now) and I’ve discussed him ad nauseam in this space over the past few weeks, so we’ll move on to the next name on the most added list. Let’s see… Ivan Nova (30.2% owned; +20.5% over the past week)? Step on up! The new Pittsburgh Pirate acquisition has left the unfriendly pitching environment of Yankee Stadium behind and seems to be enjoying a career renaissance under the tutelage of renowned pitcher whisperer Ray Searage. The main differences in Nova under Searage’s watchful eyes are that he’s throwing more strikes and keeping the ball in the park more effectively. In 97.1 innings with the Yankees this season, Nova allowed 19 home runs (1.76 HR/9) and had a first-pitch strike percentage of 58.4%, leading to a 2.31 BB/9. In five starts (31.1 innings pitched) with the Pirates, he’s allowed just 3 home runs (0.86 HR/9) and improved his F-Strike% by 11% (to 69.4%) in the process, walking just one hitter (0.29 BB/9) along the way. Consequently, Nova’s 4.90 ERA and 1.36 WHIP as a Yankee have improved to 2.87 and 0.99 as a Pirate. Nova appears to be well on his way to joining the ranks of pitchers such as Edinson Volquez, A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ whose careers were revitalized after suppling the teat of their new pitching daddy. If you need starting pitching help down the stretch, Nova is definitely worth a look.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Prior to the 2016 season, Brad Miller had been viewed as something of a tweener – an average defensive shortstop at best whose offensive potential never quite translated into consistent production at the MLB level. The Seattle Mariners finally grew tired of Miller’s inconsistency and lack of improvement and traded him away in a six player deal to the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason. For the first few months of the season, Miller looked like the same player that he was during the majority of his stint in Seattle, producing a .241/.288/.459 batting line with 35 runs, 14 homers, 32 RBI, and 4 steals in the first half (312 plate appearances). Since the All-Star Break, Miller has looked like a completely different player, producing a .305/.385/.656 line with 24 runs, 11 homers, 30 RBI, and 2 steals in just 148 plate appearances. So what in the world is going on here? Has Miller finally reached his offensive potential or has it merely been a strong month and a half for him?

Let’s take a look at Miller’s profile to determine if his recent surge is just a blip in the radar or a sign of things to come. Here are a few thoughts and observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Tuesday, Razzballero! If you’re still checking in on the baseball side of things, it probably means that you’re still in contention in at least one of your fantasy leagues, so kudos to you for that. If you were able to win the race to the waiver wire and acquire this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (58.4% owned; +46.8% over the past week), you’re probably sitting pretty right now. Not too much has changed since I highlighted him in this very column last week, except that he’s gained catcher eligibility in more formats and he’s even more white hot now than he was just a short week ago. Since last Tuesday, Sanchez has 12 hits in 25 plate appearances including 6 homers and 9 RBI over that span. His weekly triple slash line is merely a ho-hum .545/.600/1.455 while his .909 ISO looks like something you’d find on an OPS leaderboard. He’s even tossed in a steal for good measure. His .385 batting average is currently being boosted by a .405 BABIP and his 50% HR/FB is likely to be cut in half (if not more) over the long-term, but Sanchez looks like a legit .280-.285 hitter with 25-30 homer power. Think Buster Posey with a slightly lower average but more power. If you managed to grab him, enjoy the ride (and hold on for dear life dynasty leaguers!).

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For the fantasy owners who drafted Chris Archer back in March, the answer to the question posed in the title is likely quite simple: no, he can’t be trusted. And, well, it’s difficult to argue against the fact that he has been disappointing this season. His earned run average has jumped nearly a full run from last year (3.23 to 4.18), and his 7-16 win-loss record looks like it came directly off of the back of Steve Trachsel’s baseball card. The only thing that seemingly hasn’t changed is his propensity to strike hitters out at an elite rate (his 10.66 K/9 is the 7th highest rate among qualified starting pitchers). Other than the strikeouts, everything else appears to have regressed. So what’s going on with Archer? Can he turn things around or was 2015 just a career year?

Let’s take a look at Archer’s profile to determine what can be expected from him moving forward. Here are a few thoughts and observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Over the past few seasons, the blueprint for the New York Yankees franchise has been a predictable one: assemble an aging, overpriced roster, finish a few games over .500, rinse, repeat. Reload rather than rebuild. However, those days appear to be coming to an end. 41-year-old Alex Rodriguez and 39-year-old Carlos Beltran are gone. 36-year-old Mark Teixeira has been reduced to a part-time role. High priced relievers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller have been traded away for a boatload of prospects to restock the farm system. The youth movement is officially underway. One of the newest youngsters on the Yankee roster is this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, 24-year-old outfielder Aaron Judge (34.8% owned; +31.1% over the past week). Judge’s 6-foot-7, 275 pound frame and impressive raw power have drawn comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. Stanton already had 154 homers on his MLB resumé by the end of his age-24 season while Judge is just getting started. I think that more reasonable comps would be along the lines of players such as Richie Sexson and Mark Trumbo – big, powerful righties who have racked up some impressive home run totals throughout their careers. Another trait that Judge shares with those sluggers is his propensity to strike out, as he’s whiffed in 24% of his plate appearances this season after doing so in 26% of his PAs last year. The homers could come in bunches at times, but there could be some cold streaks as well. A .250ish average with plus power is a reasonable projection for Judge moving forward. He’s worth an add in all leagues for his power upside alone.

Here are a couple of other recent Yankee call-ups who have drawn the attention of fantasy owners over the past week:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When thinking about the Colorado Rockies organization, great pitching is probably the last thing that comes to mind. The main reason for this is that there just hasn’t been much of it throughout their brief history, due in large part to the launching pad that is known as Coors Field. Mike Hampton was a former runner up in the Cy Young voting and frontline starter prior to producing a disastrous 5.75 ERA during his two seasons in Colorado. Denny Neagle was a two time All-Star and former 20 game winner who struggled mightily in a Rockies uniform. It’s pretty telling when Jorge de la Rosa, Aaron Cook, and Jeff Francis are some of the most successful pitchers in franchise history. The bottom line is fairly obvious – pitchers generally don’t fare well in Colorado. However, current ace Jon Gray is doing his best to buck the trend of underwhelming production from Rockies hurlers. Will he prove to be the exception to the rule or will he just be another in a long line of Rockies pitchers to avoid?

Let’s take a look at Gray’s profile to determine if his current success is sustainable moving forward. Here are a few thoughts and observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?