Who else got victimized by Nelson Cruz last week? In his last 75 ABs here’s his line: 19/14/26/0/.333. That’s more than some guys had in the entire first-half. Oh wait — that’s almost more than the 16 Cruz put up the first half. The Twins are going to be battling for the AL Central with the Indians until the bitter end and clutch Cruz should keep them afloat the rest of the way.

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Who would’ve thought little D.J. LeMahieu would be the best free agent signing of the past decade? Yeah, I said it! Mainly because I have an awful memory and suffer from extreme recency bias! He’s definitely the best signing of this preseason though. He’s 3 HRs away from setting a new career-high, already has a new career-high in RBI and is again leading his league in batting average as he did with the Rockies in 2016. His disappointing, injury-plagued 2018 caused his stock to dip a bit, but Brian Cashman is looking like a genius again for this signing. And oh yea, not that it matters to us, but he’s playing Gold Glove defense again at both 2B and 3B. Does defense matter to you? Do you use any defensive stats in any of your leagues?

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It’s been a few weeks since I ranked the top 100 fantasy hitters and a lot has changed! Stranger Things season 3 has dropped, Josh Bell broke the record for most extra-base hits in the first half of an NL season, my wife had our first child, and Giancarlo Stanton got injured and hit the DL! Only one of those is the real reason I haven’t written an article in a while and yea, maybe I took Stanton getting hurt too personally.

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There are those who would call for Yordan Alvarez to be a top-50 player already. With 27 combined HRs this season and 78! 78! 78! RBI in 60 games between AAA and the big leagues — I get that. I’m just a little hesitant due to his playing time. When George Springer comes back and the rest of the Astros get healthy will he stay up? I hope so because he is crushing the ball right now — but he has minor league options left and is still only a 22-year-old kid. Age is just a number though as this kid’s potential has MVP written all over it in one of the best lineups in baseball.

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Super Duper!

Mitch Haniger, OF, Oh God: *Vomits uncontrollably* *Still* Replacement: Who does this white bread Garrett Cooper (7.2%) kid think he is anyway? Well dating back to May 15th he has 28 hits, 19 runs, 5 HRs, 16 RBI in 86 ABs. He’s firmly entrenched as the Marlins #2 hitter right now and is really making the most of it. He’s not some spring chicken either — he’s a 28-year-old career minor leaguer who has always had a solid hit tool hitting .305 AVG/.371 OBP across 1,640 minor league ABs. He has 15-20 HR power, absolutely no speed (think: negative stolen bases somehow,) but he’s a great fill-in option who isn’t going to kill your ratios.

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Well, I did it. I removed Jose Ramirez from my top 100 hitters rankings. He played another 5 games and only managed 2 hits. 2 runs? Sure. 4 RBI? Sure. 1 SB? Sure. But when he is hurting you this bad he is permanently in the limbo that is ranking #101. I am fully prepared to rocket him up the rankings if he turns it around — but right now? He is the wonderful 101.

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After the worst start of his year (4+ IP, 7 ER) Matt Strahm was placed on the DL with a rib strain. This seems to be a minor injury and might just be an easy, smart way to manage his innings. The most innings he’s thrown in a single season was 102 way back in 2016. Last year he threw 61.1 innings and he’s already sitting at 60.1 this year. Ruh-roh. The Padres are only 2.5 games back in the NL Wild Card so managing the innings of Strahm, Cal Quantrill, Chris Paddack, and Dinelson Lamet is going to be key for their playoff hopes. Replacement: The award for most unlikely, unexpected and unbelievable late-career resurgence has to go to Anibal Sanchez (6.6%.) The 35-year-old, 14 year veteran inexplicably and probably accidentally had one of the best seasons of his career last year with a 2.83 ERA and 1.083 WHIP (lowest of his career!) In his first 5 starts of the season Sanchez returned to the rotten pumpkin we knew him as: 27 IP, 18 ER (6.00 ERA.) However, things have improved in his 6 most recent starts. He’s allowed only 7 ERs in 21.2 IP (2.91 ERA.)

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Last week here’s what I said about Austin Riley: “A lot of people were calling for Austin Riley to make his rankings debut after hitting 5 HRs in his first 9 games, but I’m a little wary of rookies. Especially rookies who have a 15:2 K/BB ratio in their last 33 ABs. Pitchers are already starting to figure him out.”

Well, another 3 games played since last week’s rankings and he’s crushed another 2 HRs — however — with another 3 Ks. In his 15 games played so far he’s only not struck out in 2 games. Riley was a top 30 prospect heading into this season and so far the power potential (three 19+ HR seasons in the minors) is showing up, but so is the strikeout potential (8 consecutive minor league seasons with a 20+% K/rate.)  Look, he’s 22. He can crush, but he can also miss. I’ve put him at 99 for now — one spot above Jose Ramirez — and I’ll be watching his progress.

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#100. One hundred. Benjamin Franklin. C-note. One hunnit (RIP Nipsey Hussle.) That’s where you’ll find Jose Ramirez this week. Last week he was sitting at a no-so-nice #69 and he had another awful week: 6 games, 20 ABs, 4 hits, 0 runs, 0 HRs, 0 RBI, 0 SB. Sorry Ramirez fans — his season line: 193 ABs, 17 runs, 4 HRs, 15 RBI, 12 SBs, .197 is not a top-100 player anymore. However, this might be a perfect buy low opportunity since Ramirez is an avid Razzballer and doesn’t want to find himself missing from the most controversial column on the site.

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