Ezequiel Tovar continued his breakout rookie campaign Friday night at Coors going 2-for-4 scoring three runs and hitting his 14th home run adding three RBI. The two-run shot started a big night for the Rox, who put up five runs on the hapless White Sox in the first inning alone. We call that the ET Phone Home! The bomb was Zeke’s third in the past week and he’s batting .400 in that span with eight runs scored and a steal. All this while playing elite defense in baseball’s most hitter friendly ballpark, well, that’s a bona fide stud in the making folks. This is a 22 year old kid we’re talking about here! Naysayers will say, nay, he strikes out way too much and barely walks, but I say, hey, if he can fix his plate discipline issues and get his WAR up to respectable levels he could be a serious threat in 2024. Add that ballpark and fuhgeddaboudit. And sure being the best defensive shortstop doesn’t win you fantasy games, but Tovar seems to be getting hot at just the right time to help managers in their postseason bids, especially after the loss of a specific shortstop who will no longer be named (it rhymes with Xander Banco).  He’s got five multi-hit games in his past 10 to go with the three bombs, he was a BUY and he’s worth the add if you’re reeling at middle infielder. Mazel means good fortune in Hebrew, Kanye, and we’re all gonna need a little bit of that if we’re going to take home fantasy glory in 2023. So Mazel Tovar, why don’t you! L’Shana Tovar even! It’s a good new year for Ezequiel and this kid’s got all the tools to be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

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

Elias Diaz – 3-for-5, HR (12), SB (1). The slam & legs in Colorado is served with O2 from the mountain tops, and the lightheadedness you feel could be from the air or the second hand marijuana smoke, depends where you are. As for Diaz, we’re talking about the 2023 All Star Game MVP here, or did you forget already? That’s okay, I did too.

Ryan McMahon – 1-for-3, 3 runs, HR (21). Coors gonna Coors! Especially in August! The Rockies home run celebration should be an oxygen tank when they get into the dugout. Or a bong rip? That would be fun, wouldn’t it!

Elvis Andrus – 3-for-4, HR (4). Hitting .381 in the past week with a homer and a steal. He’s got opposing pitcher All Shook Up! Me? I’m still reeling from that Tom Hanks accent and the Baz Luhrman editing. If I was Austin Butler pretending to be Elvis for months I wouldn’t want to go back to being lame-o Austin Butler either.

Peter Lambert – 7.0 IP, 4 hits, ER, BB, 5 K, 3rd win. The Andrus home run was the only damage against him and methinks he was showing off for his big bro Jimmy who’s on the White Sox. He’s almost managed to get his ERA under five with his longest out of the year and now that’s back to back quality starts for Pete. That doesn’t mean you should add him, but this little Lambert’s been going to market lately.

Michael Kopech – 4.0 IP, 6 hits, 9 ER, 4 BB, K, 3 HR. The walks are really bad the home runs allowed are also very bad, it was at Coors sure but even if it wasn’t he’s gone from streamer to misdemeanor. If he plays his cards right, he might be able to walk more batters than he strikes out. I wouldn’t start him with your team.

Bobby Witt Jr. – 2-for-4, 2 runs, HR (24), 2 RBI. A Rapist’s Witt! He’s the most valuable shortstop in fantasy baseball, and that’s saying something at a position I thought was super deep going in to the season. And as valuable as he’s been all year he’s doing some of his best work this month, batting .423 with 3 homers and 7 RBI in the past week alone. Also, 15 homers in KC is not to shabby for a park that’s not all that hitter friendly. He’s just six homers away from a 30-30 and don’t ask me how early I’m drafting him next year, you don’t want to know, man! Okay, he’s a top five fantasy player for me.

Cole Ragans – 6.0 IP, 8 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 4th win. All of runs were allowed in the fourth, including five of the hits he allowed. The line looks worse than it is though, only one of those hits went for extra bases, outside of that Cole was pretty dominant. Hi 33/8 K/BB rate in August is more than enough for me to give him a flier in Oakland next week.

Jameson Taillion – 6.0 IP, 6 hits, 2 ER, 3 K. Actually lowers his ERA to 5.56 ERA after getting bombed in Toronto last week. Speaking of getting bombed in Toronto, how do we feel about Drake’s pigtails?

Carlos Hernandez – 1.0 IP, 1 hit, BB, 2 K, SV (2). C-Her looks like the favorite for saves in Kansas City, which is sort of like being the best Transformers movie. Hernandez hasn’t been all that great but neither is the gig. Pick him up if you hate yourself.

Akil Baddoo – 2-for-7, HR (8). Hitting .333 with 2 homers and a steal in the past week! Still batting just .224 for the year but all the Tigers are playing some of their best baseball of the year right now and this guy’s name is just fun to type.

Tarik Skubal – 6.0 IP, 3 hits, ER, BB, 7 K, 3rd win, ERA at 3.76 ERA. Outside of a tough assignment at Fenway, Skubal’s been mostly lights out in August 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 16/4 K/BB. Grey said back in July Skubal’s likely the most talented pitcher that will be available on waivers for the rest of the year and that really resonated with me for some reason.  I don’t love his next start but he should probably be owned everywhere at this point.

Jason Foley – 1.0 IP, 2 hits, ER, K. BUY. He’s the new closer in Detroit and he’s been more shaky than not lately, but he does have two saves in the past week and hasn’t blown one yet. That’s likely good enough to get the next chance, too.

Gavin Williams – 5.0 IP, 6 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4th loss. Another guy who’s been better than his ranking suggests and doesn’t have the wins to show for it. 2.45 ERA, with a 37/7 K/BB in August, opponents batting just .203 off Gavin. I could see him being on a lot of my teams next year!

Brett Kennedy – 5.0 IP, 3 hits, BB, 2 K. This was a bullpen game that turned into a career day for Kennedy but really says more about the Blue Jays offense that they couldn’t get anything going.

Alexis Diaz – 1.0 IP, K, 5th win. Serious question, has Diaz been the most valuable Red in 2023? The answer is yes!

Jose Berrios  – 5.2 IP, 1 hit, 4 BB, 8 K. Now we’re talking, he was actually no-hitting the Reds through five in this one but Matt McClain broke the stalemate and it all went downhill from there. Still, the 8 Ks and 1 hit are promising signs, and I will ignore the four walks and tell Berrios he can be my favorite cereal again if he keeps this up.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand – 1-for-4, Walk Off HR (4). CES walks it off and finally gets his first magic moment with this Reds team. He was more than due! I say that because I’ve been stashing him for three months waiting for a moment like this, Kelly Clarkson. That’s now three homers in the past nine days and that’s all it takes to get him really going. That’s what I’m telling myself at least!

Brayan Bello – 6.0 IP, 6 hits, ER, BB, 4 K, 9th win, ERA at 3.70 ERA. The call him Mellow Bello–and as much as I love him IRL as pretty much the only pitching prospect the Sawx have developed in the past 10 years, the fantasy upside isn’t there for me this year. He’s risky, ya’ll! And I’d probably avoid him in Houston next week.

Masataka Yoshida – 2-for-4, HR (13). The Yoshi dong is the best kind of dong cause they’re so rare. Alex Verdugo, Rafael Devers, and Justin Turner all added three hits a piece as the Sawx bombed the Bronx for eight runs with 12 hits. The Yankees are bad, yes, very, but the Sawx seem to have all the tools the make a run at a wild card, they just can’t. So, maybe this rivalry that no one cares about anymore has awoken something. Always fun to kick your rival while they’re down.

Aaron Judge – 1-for-4, HR (23), 2 RBI. I remember when his home runs used to mean something. Hard to forget it was only last year!

Kyle Schwarber – 2-for-4, 2 HR (31, 32), 3 RBI. August is the new June? I don’t know if I’m more excited to see if he can reach 45 home runs or a .200 batting average.

CJ Abrams – 1-for-5, HR (12). Ignore the fact that he’s batting .105 in the past week and focus on the five stolen bases. That’s why you drafted this guy…last year. Better late than never, I guess! Nats are soaring!

Stone Garrett – 3-for-4, 2 runs. BUY. Fret not about C.J.’s batting average because boy oh boy do I have the player for you, Stone Garrett is batting .500 in the past week with 2 bombs, 10 RBI and a seven game hitting streak. And that name!? Dude could’ve been a wrestler–or a corn star. But no he’s here for you and your fantasy team. Yes, Everybody Must Get Stone!

Michael Lorenzen – 3.1 IP, 8 hits, 6 ER, BB, K, 8th loss in his first start since no-hitting this same Nationals team. Wasn’t much better than Joan Adon (4.0 IP, 6 hits, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Perhaps the 120+ pitches he threw last week had something to do with it? Possibly his worst start since the spring, definitely his worst with the Phillies. If I had an intern I would have them research pitchers’ stats on the game after their no-hitter and I’d be surprised if they weren’t mostly terrible.

Kyle Finnegan – 1.0 IP 1 hit, ER, K, SV (20). Finnegan’s Wake as the one of the best closers in fantasy baseball is now, with a 1.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and five saves in the past two weeks. Not to be confused with Finnegan’s Woke where he tells you which terminology you’re using is outdated and offensive. Carry me to the postseason, Kyle!

Spencer Strider – 7.0 IP, 1 hit, BB, 10 K, 14th win. Is he the perfect fantasy player? Right down to the magnificent mustache? I know you’re not supposed to draft starters early but Spence certainly provides his ROI. He might not hit 300 strikeouts but he should get pretty darn close.

Michael Harris II – 4-for-5, run, RBI, SB (17). Dude batted .190 in April, and was literally worse in May batting .167. Having grabbed him with my third pick, I thought I’d made a huge mistake and my season was over. But thanks to a huge June and August he’s back up to slashing .291/.340/.459 like we didn’t even have that brush with those suicidal thoughts in the spring. I love ya, MH2, but I don’t think I’m strong enough to deal with another slump like that.

Eddie Rosario – 2-for-4, RBI. He was a BUY and if the Yankees had a .250/30 homer hitter he’d be owned everywhere. The difference is this guy’s on one of the best offensive team’s ever. Wait that makes no sense. He should probably be owned.

Bryce Miller – 6.1 IP, 2 hits, BB, 2 K, 8th win. Just two runs allowed in his past three starts against some of the leagues best. Yeah for sure, Gunnar’s dope and all but Bryce has got my vote for ROY. To do this in this division, against these teams. If I was in a coloring book I’d ask you to get your impressed crayon and color me impressed. Also, quit winning, Mariners, don’t you want see postseason Shohei, too? How is it you keep winning like this?

Julio Rodriguez – 4-for-5, HR (21), 2 SB (32). Oh, right, yeah this guy. If he had started the season like this no one would be shocked, it’s that he waited until August to really get hot. How hot? Stereotypical Barbie hot? How about hitting .467 with four homers, 21 RBI and 6 steals in the past two weeks. Juul-rod absolutely ripping vapes! That’s a 30-40 guy, guys and five girl readers (hi mom!). He could win your fantasy league!

Andres Munoz – 1.0 IP, 2 hits, SV (7). Munoz has to stay sharp to fend off Matt Brash who’s gunning for his closer job. Still both relievers are great and both should probably be owned. They’re so good the M’s could trade their best reliever, Paul Sewald, and then go on a massive run winning 12 of their past 16. Los Bomberos bullpen is as deadly as ever.

J.P. France – 6.0 IP, 7 hits, 2 ER, BB, 7 K. He was a BUY and a Streamonator call and he did both justice, but my question is there’s really no reason Juan Pierre France should be available in any leagues at this point. He snapped a six game winning streak Friday night, and he’s got 12 quality starts, that’s as many as Ohtani and Scherzer. I guess that wasn’t really a question.

Yainer Diaz – 2-for-4. He’s the number four catcher on the player rater over the last month! He also plays first if catchers aren’t your jam!

Pablo Lopez – 6.0 IP, 6 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 9th win. Hey-o, check out my August says Pab-Lo: 0.36 ERA, 4 wins, and a 27/3 K/BB. Sweet sassy molassy! He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start since mid-July. The Twins are getting a bad-rep (bad rap?) since most of the wild card contender have a better record than them but they might have one of the best postseason rotations in the league. Not a team I’d want to face in the first round.

Andrew Heaney – 3.2 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, BB, 3 K. If the Dodgers can’t fix him there’s only one place left for him to go–that’s right, St. Louis, baby! I also would have accepted Tampa.

Carlos Santana – 1-for-4, HR (17), 3 RBI. Willy Adames and William Contreras each had three hits a piece scored 9 runs on 14 hits. Smooth Santana is batting just .120 in the past week but with three home runs. Five of his 12 hits with Milwaukee have gone yard so the Brewers aren’t complaining.

Brandon Woodruff – 5.1 IP, 3 hits, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. Woodruff’s been mostly underwhelming since returning from the IL earlier this month allowing five homers in three starts but is Milwaukee another team that’s not getting their due despite leading their divisions? Is it because we all want the Reds and Cubs in the playoffs so bad?

Nathaniel Lowe – 1-for-4, HR (15) slashing .276/.365/.449. Last week I called Nathaniel boring and the pangs of guilt I felt for saying such slanderous things I cannot describe. In reality, he’s a top 10 first baseman this year and he’s got five homers in the past month. And that was my attempt to gush about Nathaniel Lowe, it was harder than it looked.

Mitch Garver – 1-for-3, 2 runs, HR (9). Dude was a BUY and I know you need catchers. Mitch is hitting .400 over the past week with 2 dongs and 9 RBI. You don’t pitch to Mitch!

Kyle Gibson – 5.0 IP, 9 hits, 4 ER, 6 K, 12th win. Gibson continues to kill my WHIP while padding my wins. That’s not me complaining, I need those wins!

Gunnar Henderson – 3-for-5, HR (20), 3 RBI. Gunnar looks like the ROY favorite now that Josh Jung went down, and as a Gunnar owner and someone who held him through his slog of a April/May I can tell you outside a few weeks there it doesn’t really feel like I have the rookie of the year on my team. How about zazzing it up a bit, Gunderson? I know the OBP and defense are elite but that doesn’t really help my fantasy team. More games like this!

Adley Rutschman – 3-for-4, run. O’s scored 9 runs on 16 hits. This team looked like a World Series favorite at the deadline but honestly I think they’re a year away. Maybe if Gray-Rod shows me something special in the next couple weeks I’ll change my tune. I love this group of players but I’m sorry I just don’t see it!

Sandy Alcantara – 6.0 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, BB, 6 K, 6th win. He gave up homers to Mookie Betts, James Outman and Max Muncy but still managed the win in this one. Luckily the Fish chipped in five homers themselves. Yes, eight homers in this game. I thought I was watching banana ball for a second there, but no one was dancing.

Tony Gonsolin – 3.1 IP, 8 hits, 10 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 5 HR. Good grief. This start killed me. I am dead now. Stick the fork in me. Gonsolin admitted AFTER the game he’s been hiding an elbow injury and will likely head to the IL, but only after absolutely sinking one of my fantasy teams first. Thanks Tony.

Jorge Soler – 2-for-4, 3 runs, 2 HR (31, 32). Six bombs in his past eight games! Soler power is it’s strongest in August, when the el sol is hot, hot, hot! Also, when it’s a contract year.

Jake Burger – 1-for-4, HR (27), 3 RBI. Jazz Chisholm was 2-for-4, HR (12), 3 RBI. Jake Burger is gonna be a 35 homer hitter, folks. He’s also batting .460 in the past week, en be dee. Will be interesting to see where he’s drafted next year, but it won’t be on my team!

Mookie Betts – 1-for-2, HR (32). I wouldn’t worry too much about this hurricane business, Los Angeles. You’ve got Mookie Betts!

Brandon Pfaadt – 7.0 IP, 1 hit, 3 BB, 5 K. Pfaadt is right! Pfaadt is the sound you make raspberrying your lips together when your bullpen blows your lead immediately giving up four in eighth. Brandon had a no-hitter going into the eighth before a Juan Soto double got him pulled and he’s still searching for that first win. Maybe next year, Pfaadt!

Seth Lugo – 6.0 IP, 5 hits, 0 ER, 3 BB, 9 K. He’s rebounded nicely from getting trounced versus Los Angeles a couple weeks ago. The start was his 11th (ELEVEN) of the quality variety and he gets the Marlins next week. Yeah, I’d stream that! I might consider the prospect of maybe thinking about mulling over the possibility of contemplating whether or not I should review the option of potentially picking him up. I still don’t know for sure though!

Fernando Tatis Jr. – 1-for-4, HR (20). Fun the Jewels forever! How many rotations on that bat flip!? At least four! Omg whata stud!

Andrew Kittredge – 1.0 IP, SV (1). Got the save in his first outing since returning from Tommy John surgery and looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Rays closer Pete Fairbanks pitched the ninth in a tie game so the save opps are unlikely to be a regular thing for Kittredge but he should be in the late inning mix at least!

Nolan Schanuel – 1-for-4, 2 runs. He was a BUY and the rookie was called up just months after he was drafted to impress Ohtani, but also because CJ Cron has a back injury. AAA is so mid, I guess. He led off last night so he’s worth keeping an eye on and here’s that first career hit so you can tell the grandkids you saw it, with all that proud dad energy–cause it gives me the feels.

Carlos Estevez – 1.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 2 K. Got help from a triple play but it wasn’t enough to keep the Rays at bay. So to recap, Shohei hit a grand slam and the Angels had a triple play in the ninth and still lost by three. Do we really believe this is a playoff team? Where are you Trout? Rub some dirt in it and get out there quick!

Shohei Ohtani – 2-for-5, Grand Slam HR (43). The OHTANI SALAMI! Gawrsh he’s got a pretty swing doesn’t he? The tank puts him ahead of Matt Olson for the league lead. I feel like this stuff matters to Shohei, he ain’t losing anything to Matt Olson. It was his second career grand slam so of course the Angels lost. I’m now convinced Ohtani should also play a position in the field when he’s not pitching just to make sure he’s carrying the Angels as much as humanly possible.

Jeff McNeil – 2-for-5, HR (6), 4 RBI. BUY. I needed a second baseman to replace Ozzie Albies, not in my heart just in my lineup, and I ended up going with McNeil over guys like Polanco or Gelof because I thought he was safer. Sure, safe tends to also mean boring but he’s hitting .333 with 7 RBI in the past week and I won’t have no qualms (double negative) about dropping him when Albies gets back. “See ya loser!” That’s me when I got my Ozzie back.

Joey Lucchesi – 5.2 IP, 4 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. OGs know I got a soft spot for Joey, probably cause I love soft cheeses. I know, I’m un-brie-lievable!

Brandon Nimmo – 3-for-5, HR (18). Mets scored 7 runs with 13 hits. All these bad teams are playing great baseball right now, it’s fun to watch! Even if they’re basically out of it they’re not THAT out of it necessarily dot dot dot…oh, except the Yankees and A’s they’re definitely out of it.

Masyn Winn – 1-for-4. BUY. Adding Masyn is a Winn Win! Was so hoping he’d have a great game so I could use that headline. Oh well, here’s that first career hit so you can say you saw it to the grandkids– with even more proud dad energy. If my son (for the record, I am currently childless) ever makes it to the bigs I’ll be sure to be scrolling TikTok in the stands, laser focused on my phone when the big moment happens and the crowd goes bonkers around me. Buck the trends, know what I mean? Will make Junior try even harder for my approval. Anyway, the best part was Alonso immediately tossing it into the stands. Harmless mistake or has Pete always had a burning hatred for Masyn? What’s the history between these two!?  The jealousy is palpable. You be the judge, but polar bears have been known to eat Cardinals in the wild, I mean, probably!

Thanks for reading! Questions? Problems? Complaints to management? Advice, small gifts, or large bribes? Please leave it in the comments below. Join us next Saturday for another Friday recap as fantasy baseball continues next week, all week long!