As we begin the second half of the season, it is important to remember the vitality of FAAB bidding during the stretch run. Free agency becomes crucial with only a couple months left in the fantasy season, trade deadlines approaching, and budgets dwindling. If you keep up with the FAAB Five every week, I should be saving you cash on names like Nick Pivetta, Max MuncyRoss Stripling, and others providing consistent value above other waiver names.

Another tricky part with late-season FAAB is navigating a lackluster list of players. At this point in your league, teams are most likely stashing the best prospects (or they’re hurt: R.I.P. Tatis Jr’s Thumb), and most players that will contribute significant value, like Jesus Aguilar, are already in the loving gaze of another owner’s eyes. I will continue to scour the depths of the waivers each week to provide the names I find most value possible, giving people ample amount of money to use throughout the Dog Days of Summer.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*visoring your eyes with your hand, squinting at the light as you emerge from your mother’s basement*  “Hey, mom, it’s the All-Star break and I thought I’d come up to say hello.”  Where the house once stood, it’s now a Whole Foods, and you’re standing in the cheese aisle.  Confused, you approach a man in Birkenstocks, “Excuse me, is this 450 Palm Terrace Road?”  “It is.”  “Wasn’t there a row of houses here?”  “Back in March, they bulldozed this area when the yuppies won a city ordinance that says there needs to be a Whole Foods within at least three-quarters of a mile of another Whole Foods.”  You reel back, overwhelmed with how your family is gone and how you’ve been living in a Whole Foods basement.  You turn to an employee, “I need to sit down, and can I get a free sample of any cheese?”  You smile, revealing Cheetos-dusted teeth, and thus begins your All-Star break.  Tomorrow, I’ll drop the top 100 for the 2nd half, then there will be a Buy/Sell again Friday morning.  One guy who will have extra time this All-Star break will be Mike Matheny.  Last week it was revealed, Mike McNulty set up a sting operation in the Cards’ bullpen to see if everyone was doing their best with Bud “Bubbles” Norris as his informant.  Then when the Cards fired Donnie Brasco Matheny, he might’ve took his informant with him, because Jordan Hicks (1 IP, 1 ER) got Sunday’s save and Norris came down with mysterious arm concerns.  I’d absolutely grab Hicks.  You know what’s the difference between Hicks and Norris?  One makes you say, “Ooh MPH…”  The other makes you say, “Oompha.”  Also, usually I ignore trade rumors, but at this time of the year, you should be extra vigilant about backing up closers because at any point in the next two weeks a closer could get traded and you don’t want to leave it up to getting to the waiver wire before everyone else.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Trevor Bauer continued to keep the drool moist on his owners’ chins — 8 IP, 0 ER, 7 baserunners, 12 Ks, ERA at 2.30.  The other day some ‘perts listed their biggest surprises of the 2nd half, and one (maybe more) talked about how surprised they were about Bauer.  Yeah, shocker.  *insanely long pause, staring straight ahead*  Really, really surprised.  *just a dead-eyed stare, slowly picks up Capri Sun, sips real slow on tiny straw, lets out long burp*  Yup, no one saw that coming.  Yesterday, it was too bad, Cody Allen had an epic Kazaam — 2/3 IP, 6 ER, moving his ERA up to 4.66.  I’m just going to sit down for a second.  Aw geez, it hurts to sit.  I’m going to lie on my stomach.  Make the pain go away.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was combing through pictures on the subreddit r/WaffleHouseHotcakesShapedLikePresidents, marveling at a hotcake shaped like Harry S. Truman — did you know the S stood for Syrup?  Then I clicked on the Reddit user who posted that pic, Ididyourmomssomanytimes, to see what other things besides Truman hotcakes they were interested in, and I saw they were also on r/fantasybaseball, only this was fantasy as in D&D and Cecil Cooper was a wizard and the father of the little black kid in Stranger Things.  Any hoo!  If I were on the real fantasy baseball subreddit, I’d find a lot of talk about Kyle Tucker, this you can be sure of, said like Gordon Ramsay.  Tucker is already stashed by Prospector Ralph in my RCL — that *ucker!  Why the hype?  Pardon me as I sprinkle chia seeds on your brain.  He’s hitting .315 in Triple-A with 12 HRs, 13 SBs and he’s only 21 years old.  Kinda unfair that the Astros have this waiting in the wings, but, since they do, you know they will not wait very long to come him up, since (two since’s one sentence, grammar!) they are playing to win it all.  So, what are you waiting for to grab Tucker?  Cecil Cooper’s put a spell on your arms?  Aw, shucks.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

To paraphrase DJ Khaled, “We got a Minor key alert!  Another one.”  To paraphrase the cops that arrested Principal Rooney, “This is because of the Minors.”  *Donald Trump looking at the Rangers’ rotation*  “Glad to see Cole/Minor’s jobs are secure.”  Over Mike Minor‘s last four starts, he has a 2.06 ERA, 18 Ks, 5 BBs and 15 hits in 26 innings, after his sparkling one last night when he threw 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, zero walks, 5 Ks, lowering his ERA to 4.64.  I know what you’re thinking, it was vs. the Padres.  Right, one of those starts was, the other ones were the Astros, Twins and Rockies.  So, it’s not all smoke and Minors.  Minor’s peripherals are nothing to write home about (unless his family lives in the Appalachian Trail, then they might like to hear from a Minor) — 7.4 K/9, 2 BB/9, 4.50 xFIP.  So, it’s been a good run (not Niko), but I can’t say I trust him in the big picture, unless it’s about Cole/Minor’s daughter, Loretta Lynn, played with spunk by Sissy Spacek (Spunky Spacek?  Sissy Spunkit?  Spunky Spunkit?).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Cleveland Indians rookie Shane Bieber was dominant Friday night in just his third career start, pitching seven innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out nine for his second win. Talk about a reason to Love Yourself. The Biebs now holds a 2.45 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through his first three starts (18.1 IP) and his 22/3 K/BB is Despacito–at least I think it’s despacito, not 100% sure I know what that means. I’m saying it’s flames. Shane Bieber is striking out lots of batters. Oh Baby, Baby. Baby sign me up. Wow, you sure do know a lot of Justin Bieber songs. What do you mean? I make it my business to know all about the Beibebers. For example, in the minors this year Shane was 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and a 72/6 K/BB. If those numbers make you scream like a teenage girl and and write Shane’s name is cursive flirty letters on your notebook you’re not alone, Beiber’s got the stuff to be a bonafide heart throb. He will likely see the usual rookie pitchers highs and lows, but he’s looking like the favorite to run away with the fifth rotation spot in Cleveland. He’ll get a rougher assignment than Detroit next time out taking on the Cardinals in St. Louis but I’d grab Shane for the upside alone and hope he can make a Belieber out of all of us.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Here’s what I’ve said previously about Aaron Hicks, “Open Up and Buy AH, because owning Aaron Hicks is Nothin’ But A Good Time!  Also, a good time is searching any girl’s name from Rock of Love with your parental controls turned off.  Okay, I have a few Bee Tee Dubs here.  Unless you have a child, you don’t set parental controls on your TV.  You can filter what you see without magically stumbling on porn.  The internet though?  You need parental controls on it, no matter if you’re home, at work, 12 years old, 64 years old, at school or on the john.  You can Google something as innocuous as “Persian cucumber” with no parental controls and all hell breaks loose in your search results.  “Oh em gee, I just wanted a recipe for a cucumber salad!  And, wow, I didn’t know Omar Sharif had so many nude scenes.”   Bee tee dubya II, we’re due for a terrible 80’s hair band renaissance.  Someone needs to do a cover of a Poison song.  Bee tee dubya III, there is no bee tee dubya III.  Bee tee dubya IV, I have this nugget in my brain that says, even though I was only 14 years old, I knew how awful Poison was at the time.  Like, when they did Your Mama Don’t Dance, a big part of me knew they were absolutely terrible, even then.  Any hoo!  Hey, any hoo’s initials are Aaron Hicks.  Coinkydink?  Thinks not.  He’s on a 162-game pace of 25 HRs, 15 SBs and a .260 average.  Of course, that doesn’t matter.  We just want a hot player at this point, and, on our 7-day Player Rater, he’s near top 25, and should be owned everywhere.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Yes, the royal we (which is me wearing a Burger King crown) have been here before, but every year it’s the same story with Hicks, until he gets hurt.  Hey, he’s more predictable than that hair band renaissance apparently!  For now, Hicks is healthy, and should be owned.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Happy Summer!  The solstice has arrived:  the days are longer, responsibilities fewer, and it’s finally warm everywhere (well, I’m in L.A. so I really have no idea if it’s warm everywhere right now).  No one wants to be spending extra time stuck inside at a computer over-managing his or her fantasy baseball team, but don’t be the guy who drops the ball completely.  There are still plenty of points to be gained and team upgrades to be made, so keep your head in the game.  For those of you whose game is of the deep league variety, we’ll get right to it this week, taking a look at some names who may be available and/or of interest to those of us in NL-only, AL-only, and other deep leagues.

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It’s a song as old as time…  When a team is just not good, see what the younger players have to offer.  The Royals are no different in this approach right now as they sit on a whole 22 wins and a crisp 23 games behind the division leading Astros.  They are going to be making a slew of changes, and that has already started with the promotion of Adalberto Mondesi and Rosell Herrera.  Small intricate parts, but that is what SAGNOF is capitalizing on opportunities for at-bats.  With the injury to Jorge Soler, the trade of John Jay and the maybe a few days off for Whit Merrifield, the one-to-two day commitment for guys that will get semi-regular at bats like Mondesi, who had 10 steals in the minors or Herrera who has had three 20 plus stolen base seasons in the minors. The Royals are just the first team to be looking toward the future, as they should be.  Because this season looks like a wash for real baseball, but for fake baseball there will still be pickings to choose from, especially from the SAGNOF perspective.  In the upcoming weeks, we will know who is a pretender and more teams will follow suit, (cough, cough ORIOLES).  But until then, look for guys replacing players on rebuilds, or even youngsters that are up to make a name for themselves in the stead of an injured player.  More SAGNOF goodies to follow my friends, stick around.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (3) | 2011 (1) | 2010 (16) | 2009 (11) | 2008 (24)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [72-90] AL Central
AAA: [83-61] Pacific Coast League – Omaha
AA: [58-81] Texas League – Northwest Arkansas
A+: [66-74] Carolina League – Wilmington
A: [68-72] Midwest League – Kane County (SAL Lexington beginning 2013)

Graduated Prospects
Will Smith (LHP); Kelvin Herrera (RHP); Everett Teaford (LHP)

The Run Down
The Royals traded away a decent chunk of their upper-levels talent in the James Shields deal with the Rays. Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Mike Montgomery are all gone, and what’s left is a very young system. It also happens to be a very good system. But with youth comes risk. There’s as much upside here as there is in any other organization — numbers 1-10 below are all capable of bringing significant value to fantasy owners — and there are some college arms that should move quickly. But for the most part, this farm system is unproven. Unless Yordano Ventura is converted to relief, I don’t see much fantasy value pushing through until 2014. Even so, this group will be a lot of fun to watch in the upcoming season.

Please, blog, may I have some more?