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I typically come in here flinging jokes and happiness around like a monkey with his poo, but this week I’m distraught. This list is decimated. As most of you know by now, I don’t rank injured players, and with that angle there are plenty of shlubs at the back end of the list that are barely rosterable even in deep mixers. At this point, I can’t even just say that about the back end. The grossness keeps rising. This week alone we’ve lost (take a biiiiig breath): Chris Sale, Trevor Bauer, James Paxton, Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda (to the pen), Tyler Skaggs, Jeremy Hellickson, Dereck Rodriguez, Marcus Stroman, Mike Montgomery, and Carlos Martinez (to the pen like Maeda). To make matters worse, we are approaching September when virtually no one is placed on the DL – they just get skipped. That reminds me of what Big Pun’s catchphrase would be if he were a pitcher; instead of “I ain’t a player I just crush a lot” he would tell folks “I ain’t on the DL I just get skipped a lot”. Catchy tune. So anyway, it’s pretty hard to trust anyone on this list beyond the top 15, and I just can’t remember a year when pitching was this bad. But we will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We’re going to live on. We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!!

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The first two recommendations this week may seem slightly dull, but bear with me. Cory Spangenberg (1% FAAB) and Kolten Wong (1% FAAB) are producing two of the most exciting plate discipline numbers over the past 14 days. Spangenberg is known for chasing at pitches, striking out, and never fulfilling his power/speed upside. Wong is relatively the same player except for his plate discipline, which was always slightly above average. That small edge Wong had in patience is now becoming extreme with the 1.27 BB:K ratio he’s posting over the past fortnight.

Spangenberg is still striking out a quarter of the time, but it now comes with a chase% that is decreasing significantly. He is showing patience that may not be permanent. However, at this time in the fantasy season, we are trying to predict hot streaks before they happen. Spangenberg is walking about 20% of the time which shows a clear distinction from his past samples. He must be changing his approach to stay alive within the MLB, and this could be one of the last chances he has for everyday playing time. Saving FAAB on players before they take off is a key when the budget begins to dwindle in the latter months of the season. These two players are on hot streaks that will only enhance fantasy rosters with a few more counting stats.

(Post Article EDIT: Monitor the Kolten Wong injury situation that cropped up Sunday, 8/19)

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Fantasy baseball can be cruel! One minute, Chris Sale is sitting there as a great first-round choice; the next, the fantasy baseball gods — along with the Red Sox long-term taking-it-easy schedule due to their stranglehold on the AL East — land Sale on the DL.  In his stead there is a savior, however, and his name is not who you might expect.  Mike Clevinger is number 1 on Streamonator, above such luminaries as Verlander, Greinke and Kershaw, for a very good reason.  He’s facing the lowly Baltimore Orioles at home; they hit him to only a .132 batting average with a .408 OPS.  Keep your faith in those long, flowing locks and roll to a win.  Now let’s look at a few more early-, middle- and late-round picks for your Draft…drafts!

New to Draft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care!

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Piece by piece, pick by pick, signing by signing the Tampa Bay Rays have quietly built the best farm system in baseball. Stocked at all levels with players of all types. This balanced blend of pitching and hitting, power and speed, big stuff guys and pitchability types. There’s no shortage of prospects to discuss on the Rays farm. While much of the recent discussion and helium has followed wunderkind Wander Franco and his assault on the Appy League. He’s not the hottest player in the Tampa system at the moment. That honor belongs to recently promoted second baseman Vidal Brujan. The 20 year old switch-hitter is a contact machine, showing an uncanny ability to get his bat on balls in all quadrants of the zone. With a mature approach at the plate, it’s apparent right away that Brujan has a plan. His ability to recognize and make in swing adjustments is rare. When I caught the spark-plug (coded short person language) in the New York-Penn League last year with Hudson Valley, he stuck out like a green hat with an orange bill. Rarely do you see a player this athletic in short season ball, that seemingly has the foundations figured out. But there was Brujan. He’s never going to be an impactful power hitter, but his swing does have loft, and he has the ability to drive balls to the gaps. Quick hands generate his plus bat speed, but it’s his laid back approach, and ability to make split second reads on spin that really set him apart. That’s before we even talk about his speed and base-running ability. He’s quick, getting clocked at 4.26 on the turn by Jason Woodell just weeks ago. He uses that speed too, wrecking havoc this season between the Midwest League and Florida State League, stealing 49 bases on 67 attempts. I envision a top of the order table setter with 25+ steals, a high batting average and 12-15 homers, but 30+ doubles. If I was in a dynasty that used points scoring, I’d make it a priority to add Brujan. Through 12 games in High-A he’s slashing .409/.519/.614 with a homer and 6 steals. Go add Brujan da 5’9 (that’s his listed height) before he goes BOOM!

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With the season winding down (especially for those in H2H leagues) streaming the right matchups are more important than ever. Fortunately, we have more data now than at any point in the season to help us choose wisely. Be Indiana Jones. Choose the right chalice.

Tier 1 is a trio of aces you don’t need me to tell you to start, but Tier 2 has some interesting names in Zack Wheeler and Stephen Strasburg. Wheeler has been incredible since the start of June, with a 2.82 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. The Giants are susceptible to righties, which is enough to get me to start him everywhere. Tier 3 has some great options as well, like a matchup-based Tanaka, a surging Rodon (which sounds like a euphemism but I swear it’s not), and a, um, foodstuff exporting Holland? Listen, it’s late in the season. Give me a break. Tier 4 is honestly pretty gross, with the likes of Chase Anderson, Shane Bieber, and Mike Fiers that are guys that you really can’t rely on to not destroy your week. Tier 5 makes you cringe, like usual, although Brett Anderson is at least coming off a strong start. There is a decent enough chance he strikes out zero batters though, which you might say limits his upside.

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Iced Tea, lemonade, a 7/11 Slush, a cold beer, or a margarita. Everyone has their favorite go-to summer drink. I’m a huge iced tea guy myself. Nothing better than checking your fantasy team on the front porch after work with a nice cold iced tea. Except this time of the year, I’ve found myself a new go-to drink. I’ve long been a huge fan of Gatorade, but this August I’ve been sippin’ on straight Baderade nonstop. Literally have not been able to get enough of this stuff, so I’m a little shocked to see it so readily available out there still (16.8% ownership on ESPN, 14% on Yahoo). So until then, I will continue raving about how great Baderade is and why my friends should try it out too.

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Despite what their owner, fan base, and majority of their players believe, the Washington Nationals remain in the playoff chase, just a half game out of the wild card. Bryce Harper’s dad has never doubted them for a second! So what’s changed? Has Juan Soto taken his game to Coke Zero levels? Is Bryce Harper single-handedly carrying the team on his mega swole back? It’s actually been Ryan Zimmerman who has really caught fire of late and has given them that extra spark that not even a players over involved father can provide. “Mr. Harper I’m going to ask you again to stay out of the showers. You can’t be in here. This is the last time I’m going to tell you this.”  Zimm went 1-for-4 with his 10th home run on Friday night as the Nats cruised past Miami. Since returning from a lengthy stay on the disabled list, Zimmerman is slashing .341/.417/.732 with four homers and 15 RBI. Those are Soto/Harper-esque numbers, folks! Despite his early season struggles, Zimm is a bat that demands to be owned across all fantasy formats due to the line up he hits in and his history of mashing dingers. Lucky for you, much of the fantasy baseball world has dog days disorder where they’ve moved on from baseball to trendy end-of-summer activities like “going outside” and preparing for fantasy football (check out this shameless plug and click the link for gridiron gold). This is our time to strike, my over-the-internet friends. When everyone else has given up. Ryan Zimmerman was a BUY and is under 50% owned, but not for much longer. Ignore what Bryce’s dad says about his team mates, I’d grab Zimm everywhere he’s still available.

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

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One thing I always like to reference when digging for starting pitchers on a given slate is total team strikeouts.  If a team is striking out a ton, that only increases upside in a given match-up. It’s for this reason I tend to avoid using pitchers in DFS who are facing the Kansas City Royals.  The Royals do in fact stink, but as a team, they don’t strike out as often as say, the Padres do. So, pick your crappy team carefully. Tonight, on this juicy 11 game slate, I’ll be using quite a bit of Zack Godley ($16,800).  Godley was a big target of mine coming into this year and he’s disappointed, there’s no getting around that.  However, he gets a match-up in San Diego that een he should be able to handle. He’s still rocking a 9+ K rate, but his 4 walk rate has killed him.  Fortunately, the Padres are also near the bottom in total team walks (24th of 30). Couple that with their league worst .660 OPS vs. RHP and I think you’ve got yourself a winner.

New to FantasyDraft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before you do.  It’s how we know you care!

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Adjustments! This episode is dedicated, partly at least, to the brave minor league players that adjusted their game in 2018. Players like Cavan Biggio, Taylor Ward, and Bryse Wilson come to mind, but there’s others as well. We start the show off with some news around the minors, talk promotions, and as well as some recent performances. Of course, we update you on Brendan McKay’s last week, before diving into a quick discussion on a recent article from former big leaguer Nate Freiman. Next up is our featured topic of player adjustments. We end with our weekly Five By Five, as we each highlight five players of note from the minor leagues over the last few weeks. It’s a jam packed episode, per usual. As always stop by Rotowear.com and support our sponsor, by using our promo-code SAGNOF to get 20% off all you purchases through the site. It’s another week of the Razzball Prospect Podcast.

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