Join the 2018-19 Razzball Fantasy Premier League for a chance at prizes! Don’t know about Fantasy Soccer? That’s okay, Smokey is here to walk with you throughout this journey of exploration and an absurd amount of accent marks on player names. So probably hide all your snacks. It’ll be a long journey…

Maybe they thought they were safe by bringing Kelvin Herrera as a Linus blanket until Doolittle returned.  Maybe they were comfy with the veterans that they had lined up just in case.  Well that “just in case” just happened.  Herrera is now on the DL and Madson assumes the role of all roles. (Until Sean Doolittle comes back from a stressed out foot.)  The Nats had such promise in preseason and even after the acquisition of Kelvin, to be a good bullpen.  Former closers, like most men, are there to do their job and file their income tax returns on time like big boys.  Well, they disappointed me and definitely the owners of Doolittle.  Since July 3rd, or basically the last time Doolittle pitched, they have four saves.  Four, fore, for!  Only ahead of teams like the Padres, Blue Jays and Angels.  By the way, if you are scoring at home the Angels haven’t had a save in 27 games.  That is actually more mind-blowing than a team with decent starting pitching to only get four whole damn saves.  Makes save-chasing on Madson or the like seem glum.  So save your FAAB bucks for another day because Sean should be back within the fortnight, no idea if he mastered his emote dances yet though.  Not that it really matters, but a save earned is a save kept.  I know that works with pennies, wasn’t sure if that helped with counting stats at all.  The season is coming down the stretch, do you have what it takes oh glutens of the SAGNOF?  If you feel weary or just on cruise control because of Fantasy Football, than relax take a gander on some useful bullpen stuff, followed by the rankings…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Welcome, prematurely balding men and five women who are married to prematurely balding men and decided if you can’t beat them, join them!  Make yourself comfortable, this is gonna be a long post.  Here, enjoy some coffee.  Oops, you just drank rat poison.  I should’ve used different mugs.  Don’t worry, it can’t be worse than owning Byron Buxton in the 1st half.  Oh, you owned him and that’s why you drank the poison!  Now, I’m following!   Hey, I’m supposed to be leading!  Before we get into the top 100 for the 2nd half of 2018 fantasy baseball, let’s just be glad our 18-year-old selves can’t see us now, we’d get beat up!  But our twelve-year-old selves would think we’re the coolest!  So, as with all of the other 2018 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt.  If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade that outfielder for that 2nd baseman.  Also, things change in fantasy baseball.  Daily.  I could put Jose Ramirez number four on the top 100 list for the second half of 2018 and he could pull a–Well, we won’t even mention an injury with Jo-Ram.  Why soil a good thing, ya know?  This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued.  It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache.  This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today.  So while Bryce Harper did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because, well, we have to believe in miracles — my 12-year-old self would want that, and to sleep with Cher.  The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2018.  I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what players will do.  It’s like that camera from The Twilight Zone.  Welcome to the future!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2018:

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For those of you looking for the “Aretha Friends and Family” talk channel, I am not going to say you are in the wrong place, but before you go, what the heck does TCB mean in the damn song?  Because there is no way it means “takin care of business”.  But anyways, thanks for coming and you can now leave as this geek-dom is full on extra for the ROS closer rankings. The ROS rankings are important…  Just like every other ROS stuff, because anything said purely as an acronym is full on important.  Just ask the government. So the rest of season closer rankings are more dictated on who is losing their jobs rather than who will continue TCB.  This rankings will not include corns, overpriced salads or freezes, just straight cold hard facts about who I think will be traded, demoted or basically just suck the rest of the year. Short, sweet, and to the point.  So if you were looking for some long didactic look at how closers will be the plight of your fantasy season because of X, Y and Z, you aren’t getting it.  Rankings 1-30ish.  Period, send it to the print shop.  Cheers!

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What a difference a week makes. A week ago there wasn’t a ton of movement, but this week I felt like an overhaul was in store. We’ll get to the risers and fallers in a little bit, but first there is a bit of scuttlebutt to address. No, not Scuzzlebutt the basket-weaving monster who lives in the mountains of South Park and has Patrick Duffy for a leg and a stick of celery for an arm. SCUTTLEbutt. The largest of which has to be the surprise demotion of Rockies Opening Day starter Jon Gray to Triple-A Albuquerque. Gray had a particularly heinous 5.77 ERA, so bad that Mariska Hargitay had begun poking around Coors Field to keep an eye on things. His FIP, however, is a sterling 3.07 (11th best among qualified starters), and his K-BB% is 21.8% (12th best). You can’t even point to Coors Field as causing his troubles, with a 5.89 road ERA. This looks like incredibly bad luck, but with this demotion clearly the team is focused on something mechanical. It’ll be pretty hard to hang on to him in standard mixers, although he may not be down for too long if they fix what needs a-fixin’ right quick. I’d try to hold him in a bench spot if you can in 15+ team leagues. Elsewhere, there aren’t too many notable promotions, but there are a few new names on the back end to peep.

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The closer cavalcade of debauchery is well in season.  Rewind four months ago and look at your team…  If you drafted Jeurys Familia, Alex Colome and Bobby Osuna, you probably came out of the draft smiling like a freshly picked peach.  Now you look at your team today for the first time in a month, because you most likely let the ship sail on the season because of injury, attrition or trades to your bullpen.  The last two names have been done ad nauseum by me and other bullpen savants around the web…  So now we look at Jeurys Familia.  Or a tale of losing a job do to injury, returning, and basically sucking all the trust out of even owning him.  From the beginning of the season until June 7th when he went on the DL, he posted good numbers by Donkeycorn standards; 14 saves with K/9 rate above 10 and ERA of 2.48 and a BAA of .245.  All within the strain of imagination as a set it and forget it closer.  Now we sit here on June 29th, and in six appearances since, he still sits at the same save total of 14, K/9 of 6.35, ERA of 9.53 and BAA of .357.  Now, I am no math whiz, hell I am barely even knowledgeable about what actually is cheese whiz, but those numbers are awful and garbage.  Add in the fact that the Mets as a team are in the toilet, have fired their GM, and have a worse record than the punting from day one Marlins….  Trade-value wise, he has zero in fantasy and almost in real life, because teams aren’t going to trade for a guy who can’t get outs. As an impending free agent, he should and will be traded, maybe to a team that has an opening in middle relief, but I don’t see him gaining closer status for the near future with the Mets or another team.  So if you are a Familia owner and holding out hope for some sort of revert to the former here, I am unfortunately going to tell you that he gets less than 5 saves the rest of the year it looks like. More closer news and views, read on or don’t.  I will continue to sit by the pool regardless!

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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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Slight format change going forward with this column — I’m going to be leaving short term DL candidates near where they were ranked previously. It was become too hard to remember who and when players were coming back. (Yes, I do write the injury column — but I don’t write the healthy column.) This is what happened with Starling Marte — I don’t own any shares of Marte so I didn’t notice his return from DL so he was an unfortunate oversight the past few weeks in these rankings. If someone is looking like they’ll be out for a longer period of time — they might drop a bit more in the rankings or be removed entirely (as is the case with Jorge Soler and his broken foot.) Due to these new additions we’ve got a Top 110 hitters this week with guys like Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, Wil Myers, Yoenis Cespedes, Ronald Acuna and others making their surprise reemergence. Next week 10 of these hitters will probably work themselves off this list. Also, as a side effect to these new additions a lot of players will look like they’ve fallen really far in the rankings — again, this should normalize by next week. 

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Whew! It turns out taking a week off from ranking these guys makes for a lot of work the next time out. As you might imagine, there is a bit more moving and shaking than normal this week. Surprise surprise, we’ve also had a slew of injuries that continue to take it’s toll on the top 50. We’ve lost Stephen Strasburg, Walker Buehler, and Garrett Richards most notably, with Clayton Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard looking lost for extended periods. The aces that are left continue to dominate though, and Trevor Bauer has worked his way into the top 10. We did get Madison Bumgarner back, but he hasn’t looked very sharp and I’m wondering if he belongs in the top 20 at this point. Carlos Martinez has been killing his owners since his return from the DL himself, yet his upside makes it hard to drop him too hard just yet. On the brighter side of things, Tyler Skaggs, with whom we planted flags several weeks ago, continues to climb the list in glorious fashion. Also, I still have no idea how Ross Stripling is suddenly an ace, but he keeps shoving and I keep ranking him higher. I’d consider selling depending on what you’re getting in return, but I’m probably just enjoying the ride if I have Stripling. Let’s go in depth on a half dozen other Risers, Fallers, and Newcomers of interest this week.

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Tis that season!  Whether you are a football fan or not, and not that football fan…  Though the crew over on that football site do an amazing fantasy job.  So for the few of you that aren’t totally dizzy by my words of soccer, then let’s roll baseball into soccer and let the fantasy good times roll.  So for the next month the world, not ‘Mericas, will be casting its gaze on the beautiful game.  So while half the population is watching futbol, you can expand your bullpen horizons and deepen your reliever core.  The trade winds for relievers are already blowing and with just over a month to go before the trade deadline, grabbing the relievers that are secondary or even tertiary now (ones that won’t kill your rates) are all the rage with millennials AND baby boomers.  Situations to monitor and use to your advantage?  The Padres, Royals, and Tigers.  We all own the closer likes of Brad Hand, Kelvin Herrera, and Shane Greene.  But what are the ownership rights to Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates, Kevin McCarthy, and Joe Jimenez?  Way slimmer.  And combined like Voltron, their ownership for all four of those secondary relievers is less than one closer.  So basically free.  The key to mid-season closer acquisitions is being first.  Save that beloved FAAB kitty and be early rather than later.  So if you are looking at your roster, it was rhetorical… I know you are, get rid of that sixth SP or that bench bat that does nothing and play the reliever wait game.  Save now to help later.  Cheers!

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I can’t deny Brandon Crawford a spot on this list any longer. After a putrid April that saw the month end with his average under .200 — Crawford has turned it on more than any other player in the league. From May 1 to June 28 — a span of 34 games, 127 ABs — Crawford is hitting .425. Say whaaaatt?! Sure, 20 runs, 5 HRs, 25 RBI and 2 SBs as well — but .425 in over 30 games? That easily ranks #1 among qualified hitters over that span. The difference between Crawford and the player with the 3rd ranked average over that period (Jean Segura) is the same difference between Segura and Buster Posey — the hitter with the 20th ranked average. Included in this streak are 18 multi-hit games. Crawford is getting punches in bunches and needs to be owned in more than 65% of leagues.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   
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