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If there was any man worthy of a ten-gallon hat, a gun on his hip, and spurs on his boots, it would be the long arm of the law (Mowing Down Opposing Batters Division) known as Justin Verlander.  Now in his 13th season, he’s as vintage as ever, with a 2.72 ERA and .94 WHIP.  He has held today’s opponent, the Arizona Diamondbacks, to a collective .214 batting average and .647 OPS.  He’s even stepped up his game as Halloween candy has started showing up in the grocery aisles.  He’s the boogeyman who haunts opponents nightmares; make him your dream come true today.  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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Despite the minor league season coming to an end for the most part, there’s still quite a bit taking place.  Playoff games, instructional ball, Arizona Fall League, and callups to discuss. There’s so much baseball taking place year round, and you don’t necessarily realize it. For example, the Dominican Winter League otherwise known as LIDOM just held their draft. You can read more about that here. So despite a lack of games there is plenty to write, talk, and discuss. Maybe I’m just telling myself that to reassure myself that the next however many words won’t be in vain. Below we’ll talk about Myles Straw, and Justus Sheffield’s callups, while briefly touching on a handful of games that took place last night. Mainly the PCL championship. Congratulations Redbirds on back-to-back titles. As for everything else you’ll have to look below.

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Brace for impact folks, this week could get ugly. For many of you, it’s your championship week. There are some nice options to be had, but between plain old rotation shuffling and some extreme weather conditions thanks to Hurricane Florence, you’ll need to keep a constant eye on your probable pitchers. I’ll be as responsive as possible in the comments to aid you in your championship quest as best as I can!

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The Bible is one book, yet duality reigns throughout. There is Old vs New Testament. Vengeful vs loving God. Wrath against sin vs grace towards sinners. Duality is also present in major league baseball, as players can have two different seasons within one. Jakob Junis (44.5% owned – increase of 21.8%) is yet another example. For the first four months of the season, Junis had a decent 8.22 K/9 and 2.72 BB/9, but was serving up gopher balls like how God sent manna down from the heavens. 2.02 HR/9 and 18.3% HR/FB helped contribute to a 4.52 xFIP. Since August 6th, though, the BB/9 is down to 0.98, HR/9 is 0.59, and HR/FB is 8.1%. The xFIP is a not-so-surprising 3.23. The walks, fly balls, and home runs are all down. EZ PZ. From a pitch selection perspective, he’s been throwing the fastball more (55.5% vs 51.9%) and off-speed less (curveball down 1.1% and change up down 2.1%). Here’s my issue. In 260.1 big league innings, Junis has a 2.25 BB/9, 1.52 HR/9, and 14.6% HR/FB. He’s young at 25 years old, so there’s the possbility that things have clicked. I’m fading that notion, though. He wasn’t as bad as the first four months indicated, and he’s not as good as the last two months have shown. I think the pendulum swings back the other way to settle somewhere in the middle. TRASH

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Mets outfielder/grandfather Jay Bruce hit his second home run in the past three days last night, a 3-run shot that put the game out of reach and he finished the night 2-for-5, with his eighth home run and four runs batted in. When Jay has-a-day at Fenway that calls for the throwback “Bruuuuuuuuce!” Despite battling injuries all year long, the veteran is now batting .270 with four home runs and 12 RBI in September and he’s getting hot at just the right time for his team and fantasy owners. The Mets have won seven games in a row, you guys! That’s right, that same Mets team that won just five games in June are 7-3 over their last 10 games! Why do you care? Well, Bruce’s mighty power bat could be a big reason why! There was also a rat in the dugout and on the field at ‘Family Friendly’ Fenway Friday night, and I’m inclined to say the New York Mess probably brought the plague with them, but at least no one has hand foot and mouth disease…yet. Barring him catching the black plague, Bruce might catch fire in the next couple days because that’s what Jay Bruce does, so I’m telling you now that all the signs are there for the beginning of an absolute tear and maybe you should grab him before that happens. It’s easy to forget he hit 37 home runs between New York and Cleveland last year. I’m not saying he gets to 30 home runs, or even 20, but the Mets are hot, Jay sits in the heart of this line up and one of a few players capable of a 5+ homer week. He was a BUY and he’s available in over 75% of leagues and the team is Queens in a fantasy gold mine right now. I can’t believe I’m saying that, what a wild season!

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

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Because German Marquez is so money, and you’ll want to get him in your FantasyDraft team today if you can. Let’s fire things up and see who else we’ve got on the slate, and where, and how much they cost (in fake fantasy dollar terms). On your marquez, get set, go!

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 jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

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We don’t welcome many guests onto the Prospect Podcast, but for John Eshleman of 2080 we make the rare exception. If you don’t know John, he’s a professional scouting analyst for 2080 Baseball. That entails writing scouting reports, capturing video, and sharing jewels of scouting info on all levels of the minors. Today’s show was an excellent conversation about a dozen or so players, in addition to a lot of picking John’s brain about scouting. It’s one of my favorite shows to date. Enjoy! As always make sure you stop by Rotowear.com, and support our sponsor by picking up some of the freshest T-shirts out there.

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Jeff McNeil sounds Irish, but, to me, he’s Polish’d.  He’s old, for sure — or fer sure, if you’re a millennial — and seems to have received a bad rep because he’s older.  As a Cougar Hunter, I can attest that, like wine and women who attend bingo competitions at churches, prospects aren’t done at the age of 26.  Sure, we’d prefer players hitting 20 homers at the age of 19 like Sexy Dr. Pepper or doing the breakdancing worm on top of their N’s like Acuña, but all prospects are not the same.  You have to subtract at least two years from McNeil’s age just because he’s on the Mets and they spent that time trying to figure out how to sell tickets to a Jose Reyes/David Wright reunion on the left side of the diamond.  The Reyes/Wright reunion is like if ABC reunited a sitcom and everyone loved the super sweet dad, who they thought was dead, let’s call him David Goodman, but reunited him with a piece of garbage, let’s call him Jose Roseanne.  The Wright part is fine, there’s fond memories, but the Reyes’ part they can leave in the dumpster.  So, McNeil took longer to tap his power, so what?  He can still have four to six years of productivity, because he looks ready to go now.  I’m pumped for him in 2019, but this is about this year, and I’d absolutely grab him.  Dude’s got so much Polish about to call him Jeff McNeilski.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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Teams with playoff aspirations are setting their bullpen roles for October. Guys like Johnny Venters have gained a ton of value in holds leagues. Who can you trust for high leverage roles? Let’s jump in and see.

  • With the veteran arms Oakland brought in struggling, Lou Trivino has reemerged as a daily threat to get a hold. The A’s gained faith in him through the first half. He’s back in the circle of trust with nice Ks and ratios. It helps that he pitches for a competitive team.
  • A rogue save went to Ryan Pressly when Roberto Osuna and Hector Rondon were unavailable. That illustrates the faith A.J. Hinch has in him. Pressly has as many holds (7) as anyone the last 30.
  • As a 28-year-old journeyman reliever, there were not many expectations for Richard Rodriguez coming into the season. He didn’t make the big league roster. Ray Searage saw something and turned Rodriguez into his latest reclamation project. To quote Searage on Rodriguez even demeanor, “Maybe because he’s been punched in the face so many times that he says, ‘What the hell, what do I have to lose?’” He certainly hasn’t lost the strike zone with a double-digit K/9 this season, 18 K/9 the last 14 days. When in doubt, bet on a Searage project.
  • Brad Ziegler has thrown his name into the HAGNOF circle. With the Diamondbacks having ninth-inning issues, he could be a SAGNOF candidate soon, too.
  • Apparently, the Braves also acquired a time machine in addition to Johnny Venters. He’s slotted right back into his old role in the Atlanta pen and chalking up holds at a stellar rate. You won’t get many Ks from him these days, but the ratios don’t hurt.
  • Your weekly update on the Cleveland closer see-saw is that Allen got a couple saves this week. I still think he’s more likely to see a hold than save, but it’s a coin flip.

Below you’ll find notable SVH performers…

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It’s pretty well documented that pitching prospects are my Achilles heal. The funny thing is, I like pitching, it’s the most interesting position in all of sports in my opinion. Why? Because, there’s so much that goes into pitching development. Which is why the likelihood of development stalling, or going off the rails, is so high. Pitching is both physical and mental, and almost to an extreme. Not only does your body need to be in sync, constantly moving your momentum thru the pitch, bending and shaping your arm, torso, and lower half in ways it’s not meant to bend. You also need to think about what you’re throwing and then trying to fit that pitch into a space of about 6 square inches. The margin for error is so much smaller. Think about it, if a pitcher is successful 70% of the time, he’s not good. On the flip-side a hitter with the same success rate is a superstar. So, when we evaluate pitching we need to keep in mind that these kids are not only mastering the spin on their off-speed stuff, but also figuring out when to use it. All this to say that the learning curve is much greater with pitching prospects. This is why, when they flash poise and advanced understanding of pitching it’s something to take notice of. Below is a list of arms that broke-out in Low-A, Short-Season, and Rookie Ball.

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