50 days left in the season! (Give or take, depending on when this goes up).  If you’re in an yearly league with no chance of winning….well it’s time for Football! Semi-seriously though, keep trying, setting your line-ups, and don’t just give up…that’s what I want to say, but I can’t lie to you and why would I? You need a consistent narrator, and that’s me to a T (At least that’s what my creative writing teachers always said…unless you’re chuck Palahniuk, in which case don’t believe anything the narrator says and know there’s going to be multiple disgusting parts that will haunt your dreams).

So if you’re not winning, you’re not winning.  I’m not going to fault you for checking your team less and less, or leaving guys on the DL in your lineup, or benching starters; I would like to request, on behalf of the teams still competing, you check in and set a lineup once a week, but no one is forcing you. A good way to avoid this is to join a keeper league, because even if you’re team stinks, there’s always trades and screwing over your friends/internet friends/strangers and now that we live in a time where haters seem to be everywhere, why not?  Me, though? I got nothin’ but love for ya.

The Football Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open to join! Compete against your favorite writers and other readers for free, with a chance for multiple prizes!

Top OPS past 14 days (min 30 ABs as of this writing):

Joey Votto, mentioned in this column a few weeks ago as a trade target (he was slumping, yo!) leads with a 1.476 OPS, followed by Goldy, Stanton, Eduardo Nunez, Josh Donaldson, Corey Seager, Mike Trout, Ketel Marte, Alex Bregman and Jose Pirela make up the top ten. The big names are good, and a common refrain here is you know they’re good, I know they’re good, let’s move on. So I figure that would leave us with Nunez, Bregman, Marte and Pirela, but Nunez is owned in 89% of Yahoo! and 90% of ESPN leagues (some of that has to be abandoned teams because he was drafted in most leagues, or that he’s on Boston, or that he qualifies at a bunch of positions, or that he has a line of 10/4/18/4/1.042 over the last month…it’s probably the last one).

Bregman is a known prospect who was unexciting most of the first half and most abandoned him but he’s been crushing it lately with a two week line of 8/3/13/3/1.154 while qualifying at SS and 3B. His ownership is up 84% in ESPN and 87% in Yahoo! so most are already back in on him.  What gets me excited about him is his 12.8% walk rate and 4.3% K rate over those two weeks to go with a low .278 BABIP; if he keeps doing so well there goes his underrated status heading into next year.

The Diamondbacks 23-year-old shortstop Ketel Marte has a similar 12.5% K and 6.3% BB rate as Bregman but unlike Bregman is owned in only 2% of Yahoo! and 3% of ESPN leagues. His line is 5/2/4/0/1.183 and he’d have more stats but he was gone for four days due to the death of his mother in a car accident in the Dominican Republic (rest in peace). Marte has hit safely in the four games since coming back. I can’t imagine it’s easy so for his sake hopefully baseball is a welcome distraction from that. His D-Backs are home against the Cubs then play Houston in a four game home and home series the next week.

It’s not Pirela’s first time swinging a hot OPS bat (he was top ten back around Father’s Day) but his profile isn’t great so grab him since he’s hot and drop him when he’s not. He’s hitting third in San Diego’s crappy lineup; just looking at their lineup one wonders why Myers isn’t their number three hitter with Hunter Renfroe hitting cleanup, but dang Pirela and Corey Spangenberg are just so much better (FYI that’s some sarcasm, kids!).  We do have to talk about his teammate Dusty Coleman (if you name your kid Dusty he’s going to be cool, right?  That’s why ol’ Dusty Baker rocks the toothpick, Dusty Springfield rocks the mic, Dusty Rhodes bodyslams, and this kid I knew growing up named Dusty had all the girls swooning); Coleman is a 30-year-old ex-Royals shortstop hitting eighth in the Padres lineup but he’s got the 13th best OPS over the past two weeks at 1.117; my favorite stats are the 0% BB and 43.3% K rate. You shouldn’t need me to tell you he’s not worth the add with those rates.

If you’re needing a fill-in for the recently injured Willson Contreras (and let’s hope for my sake it’s a short stint) look toward the Phillies’ Cameron Rupp.  Sporting a fine 4/3/7/0/1.091 OPS he’s only owned in 8% of Yahoo! and 3% of ESPN leagues. He’s definitely an OPS guy and he’s hit 10 homers in 246 plate appearances this year (he hit 16 homers in 419 PAs last year) so I’m rolling with him.  He’s going to start every day until regular starter Andrew Knapp returns from the DL.

Weekly Josh Bell & Ryon Healy update (and Bonus Matt Chapman!): While writing this I watched Bell get the only hit against Verlander’s eight inning masterpiece.  Both guys have been unspectacular the past couple weeks (and for Healy it’s been a bit longer than that). Bell is hitting fourth in Pittsburgh’s lineup and his Pirates travel to Toronto and Milwaukee the next week, both good matchups for him. Healy’s typically hitting fifth behind Khris Davis and the A’s have Baltimore and then Kansas City at home before traveling to Houston. His teammate Matt Chapman has continuing hitting well with an 8/2/10/0/.830 OPS and a 14% BB and 21% K rate over the past two weeks; he’s going to be a future OPS monster, but if you read last time you already knew that!

Lastly: One of the reasons I moved to Southern California was to get away from the Midwestern humidity and what do you know, it followed me here. It’s really hard to complain (but I’m doing it anyway) when the weather is so nice most of the time but I can’t stand it. Worse yet, at least in the Midwest high humidity leads to some awesome storms; here it just gets a little cloudy and the payoff never comes. I do miss a day inside with the windows open just listening to it downpour. Another by-product is that small talk now includes the weather, which I can’t stand. I was happy to get away from stating the obvious to strangers but now it’s back. For my fellow Southern Californians hopefully it’s just for a short time, amirite?  Well that’s all for me folks so get out and enjoy the weekend Razzballers and Razzballettes!