In the offseason, you did your due diligence and formulated opinions on players. After that exhaustive process, you selected the worthy few and enshrined them in your “fantasy display case.” These are the players that you knelt down and prayed to for fantasy glory. After an arduous five month journey, many of those gods have forsaken you. What you must do now is beckon the Faceless Men-a guild of assassins that are servants of the Many-Faced God. If you don’t know these references, then… If you really don’t know, Google Game of Thrones…Many-Fa…Who am i kidding? Either you know them or you don’t. The point is that it’s all about accumulating stats at this point. Don’t get caught up in the name or the fame. The waiver wire, which is the Many-Faced God for you now, will provide plenty of anonymous assassins to help you.
In this weekly column, I highlight some lower-owned players that performed well over the past week. My job is to guide you through the maze and keep you away from the whammies. If you are not familiar with whammies, go YouTube old episodes of Press Your Luck.
- Chase Utley (2B – LAD) – 10 hits, three home runs, and seven RBI. The Dodgers offense is really clicking and Utley has been batting leadoff against RHP. Enrique Hernandez has been manning 2B against LHP, but that’s ok because Utley is batting .183 against them. At 37 years old, a day off from time to time is probably a good thing. He’s walking 7.8% of the time and striking out 19%. The most encouraging stat is that he’s upped his HR/FB to 9.9%, after languishing in the 6-7% range the past few years. Utley ain’t sexy, but he’s always been a professional hitter and is batting leadoff, so if you need middle infield help, don’t be an ageist.
- Russell Martin (C – TOR) – Nine hits, five runs, four home runs, and seven RBI. Am I really talking about a catcher? Well, you fine Razzballers…y’all know we about that SAGNOF and it applies to the catcher position as well. In two-catcher leagues, you may need to look a couple of them in the eye, but for the most part just stream the position. Martin was straight dog poo the first part of the season. As the season has progressed, though, he’s increased his OPS every single month. That number is now sitting at a lofty 1.009 for August thanks to seven home runs. Bryce Harper hasn’t hit seven in the last two months! Ok, that was a low blow for Harper owners, but I’m an internet gangster so I DGAF. What makes Martin more appealing is that he’s been batting cleanup for a potent Blue Jays lineup. You know what’s even sexier? You can straight dump his ass without remorse if he doesn’t perform. Now I know what it feels like to be an empowered woman in these times. You go girl!
- Leonys Martin (OF – SEA) – Seven hits, seven runs, one home run, two RBI, and three stolen bases. Our Favorite Martin has 14 home runs and 15 steals on the season. He has a chance to go 20/20. Do you know how many players went 20/20 last year? Four. Holla!! Not all is good, though. He’s only scored 52 runs and driven in 38, primarily due to the fact that he bats seventh in the lineup. He does strikeout a lot (25.8%) and only walks 8.5%. The biggest change I see with Martin this year is that he’s hitting fewer ground balls and more flyballs. I’m talking career-best marks in both. As a result, his HR/FB is at 13.2%. He had never had a rate above 8.4% prior. Martin actually hits LHP pitching well (.279) and struggles against RHP (.227). He also bats better on the road (.267 vs .217).
- Robbie Ray (SP – ARI) – Seven innings, one hit, one earned run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts in a win over the Padres. Granted, it was against the Padres, but they are actually 8th in OPS against LHP so…. There’s a ton to like about Ray. His K/9 is 11.19 and the xFIP is a full run lower than his ERA. With that said, he’s walking over three batters per nine and the BABIP is .351. He’s allowed four or more earned runs in nine of 25 starts. He allowed four home runs in a single game and 18 total for the year. For you daily folk, he’s much better on the road (3.56 ERA). At home, 5.13 ERA. He’s tough on lefties but righties are batting .272 and have hit 16 home runs off him. If you need the strikeouts, by all means, but I’d rather do this…
- Ian Kennedy (SP – KC) – Eight innings, four hits, zero earned runs or walks, and six strikeouts in a win over the Twins. In his last five starts, Kennedy has not given up more than one earned run in any start and only two home runs. The home run number is important because that has been Kennedy’s Achilles heel all season long. He’s allowed a total of 28. When he limits the gopher ball, he’s very effective. He strikes out almost a batter per inning and has a BB/9 under three. Kauffman Stadium is pitcher-friendly and the defense behind him is excellent. Home ERA is 3.05 compared to 3.96 on the road. He’s tough on both lefties (.215) and righties (.233). I have much more faith in Kennedy than I do Ray.
So, this is my last installment of No Whammies! for the season. If you enjoyed my work, please spam Grey and Jay every second of every day. Actually, just spam them anyways. Don’t fret, though. I’ll be over on the football side of Razzball so come on over and chill out with us. As always, thanks for reading and good luck the rest of the season. You can reach me @Stan_Son.