With the All-Star Break stealing the next half a week from us, there are obviously no two-start pitchers. So, in place of Two Startapalooza this week, we’re going to take a look back at the first half that was. We’ll take a look at our own fantasy All-Star teams of Studs and Duds and prognosticate whether their production (or lack thereof) will continue in the second half. For the Duds I’m aiming for guys who have sucked without too much of an injury excuse. For the Studs, I’m considering their preseason ADP relative to the production they’ve given you. When I do reference said ADP, it’ll be the Fantrax preseason ADP I’m talking about. There are a ton of guys to get to here, so without further tomfoolery or balderdash, let’s rock.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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I’ve always enjoyed good knock offs. Are those Mikes or Nikes? Why does the horse logo on your Polo shirt only have three legs? Some of my favorite were Dolce & Banana, Johnnie Worker Red Labial, Adidos, and Skerpie. In the baseball world, knock offs are prevalent as well. Sometimes intentional, as younger players try to pattern their games after another, but more often than not, players just end up profiling very similarly. Yulieski Gurriel (57.9% owned – increase of 12.7%) has always reminded me of Martin Prado – high batting average, high contact, limited power, and low strikeout hitter from the right side of the plate. For his career, Prado has a .290 batting average, 11.2% strikeout rate, 6.7% walk rate, and .129 ISO. Gurriel has a career .296 batting average, 10.6% strikeout rate, 3.9% walk rate, and .162 ISO. Yes, Yuli has slightly more power, but that’s not saying much. So, why is Yuli one of the highest-added players in ESPN leagues over the past week? Since July 1st, he has a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .367/.444/.667 with 2 home runs. The ISO is .300 and strikeout rate is at 13.9%. Yuli has value, as he will hit for a high average. Just like Mikes can allow you to walk around, but try playing in a tournament with those bad boys and…..TRASH

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Billy Hamilton of the Cincinnati Reds is in fact Billy R. Hamilton. I’m going to assume the R stands for Ray, as my internet sleuthing skills could not uncover this greatest of mysteries. Billy Ray Valentine is one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite movies: Trading Places. The similarities between the two Billy Rays are obvious. There was a time when both could not walk. Getting to third base? Couldn’t even get to first. Both are quick….witted for Valentine and twitched for Hamilton. Finally, luck has played a big part for both. Valentine got picked for the “experiment” while Hamilton is so fast that people just see a blur when looking at his batting stats. Since the beginning of July, though, Hamilton is batting .409, has stolen 6 bases, and has a 11.5% strikeout rate in 26 plate appearances. Will we get another Billy Ray happy ending?

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I am bringing back an oldie-but-goodie for this week. Pitcher Thoughts was initially a Razzball column idea that I periodically spun-off into a subset of my podcast (I do another one with Ralph too!). My intention was to give readers more information about a pitcher’s performance (or lack thereof) past the simple baselining of FIP versus ERA and the standard jargon. I’m a sucker for pitch mix and predicting what might change and why. This also allowed me to gain an understanding of a specific pitcher far deeper than I would otherwise considered. A mutually beneficial column is always good. It’s a no-brainer that another iteration was necessary. Our pair for today is Mariners southpaw, Marco Gonzales, and Brewers righty, Chase Anderson.

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It is a glorious day. Kyle Tucker (FAAB Bid: 30-40%) is here. The Houston Astros finally promoted their 21-year-old stud who is making AAA look like slight work. Tucker slashed .306/.371/.520 at a level for which he was still young. The best part about the profile is the gaudy fantasy numbers. This outfielder boasted 14 HR to go along with 14 SB, and this combination shines throughout his minor league statistics. Fantasy upside is through the roof with this free agent rookie. If available in your league, Tucker becomes a player requiring a significant percentage of your remaining FAAB. His ranking falls within the Top 10 on every notable prospect list, and there is no doubting the talent. Tucker can produce power and speed for the rest of the season at a higher rate than anyone on the wire, and also a lot of players currently on rosters.

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For the longest time, I thought Jonathan Schoop (59.3% owned – decrease of 8%) was pronounced like Salt N’ Pepa’s Shoop. It worked well when the home run numbers went from 15 in 2015…to 25 in 2016…and 32 in 2017. Jubilee from 1993. But then my world came crashing down when I discovered that it’s actually pronounced like Scope the mouthwash. If you ever come to LA, go eat at King Taco and use the red sauce. Then pour yourself a cup of Scope. Swish it around. Gargle it. Welcome to my world. Then 2018 Schoop appeared with the .198/.242/.344 slash. The only reasons I care about Schoop are because he had an ADP of 60.6 and he’s on my NFBC team, where I can’t drop his ass! Since I’m here, I might as well take a deeper dive. The walk and strikeout rates are normal. The ISO of .146 is well below his career average of .183. The BABIP is only .221, so regression should be in the works. Unfortunately, the line drive rate is way down, ground ball rate is up, and hard hit percentage is at a career-low 24.1%. He’s always had awful plate disciple, so those numbers remain terrible. The number that stands out to me, though, is the 4% barrel rate. Since 2015, Schoop had rates of 8.7, 6.7, and 7. I hate Schoop because he’s been terrible and his name is pronounced Scope, but I do think he gets hot at some point. That’s who he is as a player. He’s going to get his timing back, which will result in more barrels. He’s going to get more BABIP luck. He’s going to hit home runs. Most of the projection systems have him down for 13 home runs the rest of the season. I hate that I had to write those past sentences, but I endured swishing Scope in my mouth after an evening of King Taco. TREASURE

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I first went to a sauna almost 20 years ago. And boy….what a first experience it was, as I got high as a kite. All those years smoking the wacky tabacky probably had something to do it. Anyways, my favorite thing to do at the sauna is to go in the super hot steam room, get baked for a while, then jump into the ice cold pool. Nothing cleanses the mind, body, and soul better. While I enjoy the Korean spas, nothing beats the Russian saunas, or banyas. You want heat? The Russkies definitely bring it…and them some. Which brings me to Jose Peraza. While he is not a Russkie (Peraza is Venezuelan), he has been as hot as a Russian banya over the past week: .324/.361/.735 with 3 home runs, 8 runs, 8 RBI, and 1 stolen base. Do we need to jump into the ice cold pool to cleanse our minds of him? Or can we continue to experience the heat?

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Life was good for Derek. Retired from the Yankees in 2014 at the age of 40. On top of the world. The King of New York. Started up ThePlayersTribune.com. Opened restaurants. Partnered on multiple business deals. Even got married in 2016! Was able to join Bruce Sherman’s consortium in purchasing the Marlins. Life was indeed good. Then the Marlins lost seven of their first ten games. Jeter knew it’d be bad, but he didn’t know it’d be this bad. The competitive juices began bubbling in his body. Then the Marlins lost eight of the next ten games. Steam began venting through his ears. Jeter stormed into Sherman’s office. “Bruce! I can’t take this shit anymore. I gave you my Black Book for this? You’re a gazillionaire. Do something.” KAPOW! Bruce b-slapped Derek with the Black Book…knocking him out. Little did Derek know, but underneath Marlins Park, a group of scientists had been working feverishly after getting the order earlier in the year. “I’ve been watching Westworld. I’m a gazillionaire. Do something.” When Derek woke up, he felt woozy. “Mirror. I need a mirror.” Ahhhhhhhhh. After the doctors had explained what they had done, Derek got up. Legs felt spry. Arms felt strong. Let’s do this. It was tough sledding in the beginning. From April 22nd to the end of the month, a span of eight games, Derek “Dietrich” (36% owned – increase of 15.4%) hit .179 with one home run and a 42.9% strikeout rate. Once the month of May hit, though, Derek got his groove back. 8 home runs, 25 runs scored, 21 RBI, .348 batting average and a 23.4% strikeout rate. Now, the BABIP has been .426. That’s obviously going to come down, but….Derek is batting lead off against righties and fifth against lefties. While he strikes out more against lefties, he’s more than held his own against them and actually has a higher ISO (.211 vs .182). Playing for the Marlins stinks and regression will kick in, but the 2B/3B/OF eligibility is nice and there’s a chance it really could be Jeter. No? Show me evidence to the contrary. TREASURE

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Welcome to the final 2018 edition of Perception Vs. Reality. I want to thank you all for reading this article this season and I hope that you enjoyed it and found it helpful. As for me, I’m going to be putting all of my focus into the fantasy football draft season. Jay and Grey have promoted me to Co-Head of Content over on the football side of things. I’ll tell you what, we have the CONTENT. So, if you play fantasy football, click on over to the football side and check out what what have to offer so far.

We haven’t taken a look at pitchers yet this season. So let’s do just that. Let’s celebrate those handle the other side of our points/categories. We have quite that sample size as the Major Leagues scoot towards the finish of the month of June. As always, we will take a look at the player rater as a reference.

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As a Korean-American, I’ve been sad lately. The World Cup soccer team is getting spanked and my boy in name only, Son Heung-Min, has not had a great tournament. In addition, the POTUS is doing things that bring tears to my eyes and enjoys hobknobbing with the nutcase in North Korea. When I try and console myself by thinking about Koreans in MLB, my brain instantly loops into the nightmare of Chan Ho Park serving up two grand slams to Fernando Tatis….IN THE SAME FREAKING INNING!!!! Arrrggghhhhhh!!!! Thank goodness for Shin-Soo Choo. Over the last week, he has a triple slash of .321/.441/.643 with 2 home runs and 1 stolen base. For the season, he’s batting .280 with 14 home runs, 48 runs scored, 36 RBI, and 3 stolen bases. Can the 35-year-old outfielder for the Texas Rangers keep chugging along?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   
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