“Little Chris Archer sat under an arch–er watching a high pop fly. He stuck out his thumb until it went numb and said, “Onto the IL go I!” Early reports are that he won’t miss more than 1 or 2 starts with this thumb injury. Replacement: Spencer Turnbull (3.6%) is someone you should be keeping an eye on right now. He’s made 5 starts so far and hasn’t allowed more than 3 ERs in any of them. Included in that is a recent 11 inning scoreless streak. I don’t know about you, but I like to give the fringey starting pitchers on my roster audition days to see if they’ll stick around or find themselves back in the waiver heap. Turnbull’s most recent start was an audition day and I think he passed. Last night he threw 6 innings with 5 baserunners, only 1 ER and 5 K’s. I’d say he passed his audition and needs to be on your rotation especially since he’s facing the Royals next — a team he struck out 10 times and held to 2 ERs back in early April.

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Death, taxes, and A.J. Pollock headed to the Disabled List Injured List. Different name, same game for Pollock this season unfortunately. He will be getting an exploratory procedure on his right elbow to determine the severity of an infection. This is the same elbow he had surgeries on in 2010 and then again in 2016, where he missed nearly the entire year. So certainly not an ideal situation for him and the Dodgers to be dealing with.

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Grey Albright threw two innings on opening day. Sweat, and other mysterious bodily fluids, dripped from Grey’s brow; he was gassed. Albright didn’t wait for Rudy to call to the pen, Grey signaled himself for the lefty, Donkey Teeth, to enter the fold. Fantasy Master Lothario is still knocking some of the spring rust off, just like Chis Sale, so you’re stuck with Donkey Teeth telling you tales of Paul Goldschmidt’s monster 4-for-5 night with 3 homers & 5 RBIs in only the second game of his Cardinals career. Truth be told, Dan Pants will be back to take over this column next Friday, since Friday is slinging night for Grey, Cougs, and Donkey Teeth. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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That’s the question that’s been on my brain as I worked on these rankings the past few weeks. I’m not over the past 10 years, not for next year, not for the next 10 years — right now — is Mike Trout still the #1 hitter this year? Even with a lengthy DL stint, Trout is still one of the top players in the league and is close to surpassing all of his numbers from last year’s (also) injury shrunken season (88 runs/31 HRs/2 SBs in 116 games so far this year vs. 92/33/22 in 114 games last year.) But while he missed 19 games in August this year, three players have kept chugging right along and putting up phenomenal numbers. Let’s take a look at these three challengers for the crown.

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The 10 HR/8 SB/.302 AVG player we saw from AJ Pollock over the first month or so of the season is a top-20 player if that pace continues for a full season. However we know how this story goes, since May 4th (yes I know there was an injury in there because OF COURSE there was) Pollock has 184 ABs with only 6 HRs and 2 SBs with a .261 AVG. However, I keep him on these rankings because peak Pollock is a 20/40 threat. The only problem is peak Pollock is a pretty preposterous proposition. Whatever is hurting him this time seems to be limiting him on the base paths which is limiting you in your standings. 

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I’m going to do something a little different this week. I wanted to do a fun little experiment to show how tricky it can be to rank 100 hitters every week. It can be tough to decide which statistic is more valuable in standard 5×5 leagues while also taking into account: age, injury history, lineup, previous performance, home stadium, position eligibility, splits, etc.

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Matt Carpenter (up 36 spots): In his first 186 ABs: 23 runs, 7 HR, 21 RBI, .215 AVG. In his next 183 ABs: 47 runs, 19 HRs, 36 RBI, .339 AVG. End paragraph. 

There’s a few guys every week who I’m keeping a close eye on who are on the cusp of making the Top 100 Hitters list. This week the guys on the bubble are: Mallex Smith, Kole Calhoun and Ian Kinsler. Smith is looking like everything  we want Billy Hamilton to be. Like Hamilton, Smith had an eye-popping stolen base season in the minors (92  in 2014!) But Mallex is actually getting on base at a great rate (.357) this year, something Hamilton has sworn against. Mallex has all the speed of Hamilton and with opportunity could put together an amazing full season next year. I’m sure you already realized this, but Kole Calhoun was just the worst until the end of May. .162 batting average. That’s worse than some pitchers! Maybe — I don’t know. I’m pro-NL-DH. Haters gonna hate! Well Kole world got demoted and found the ghost of Babe Ruth while hitting for the Salt Lake Bees. (Beads?!) Since his return to The Los Angeles Trouts he’s hitting .302 with 27 runs, 13 HRs, 30 RBI and has even stolen 2 bases just for fun. If this pace keeps up, he’ll be rocketing up this list. Finally, Ian Kinsler has a pretty nice 20 game hot streak. He’s got 15 runs, 2 HRs, 10 RBI, 2 SBs, and a .347 AVG in that span. Now, put those numbers batting 6th behind Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and friends. His value just got a nice shot in the arm.

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It’s a solid slate on Draft.com tonight. There are plenty of mediocre lefties to pick on, as well as a variety of starting pitching options. The most intriguing of those is Kolby Allard, making his big league start. His debut could hardly come in a better spot than facing the Marlins at home. Let’s jump in and see what we can build around him.

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When I left Jose Martinez off my Top 100 Hitter rankings earlier in the season people were calling for Grey to take my head. Well maybe this is why I was hesitant: Martinez hasn’t homered since June 30th. Oh wait, let me make that even more shocking — he hasn’t scored a run since June 30th. He also only has 1 XBH since June 30th. I like JMart, really I do. But we all need to pump our brakes on him. If he keeps up this “pace” — he’ll find himself just like Eric Hosmer off my Top 100 list and onto Chris Jericho’s list.

Cody Bellinger was enjoying a fine season until the end of June too. He had 49 runs, 16 HRs, 40 RBI and even 5 stolen bases with a .832 OPS. Like Martinez, Bellinger’s power has disappeared in this past month. He only has 1 HR and 4 RBI in 90 ABs.

You have to wonder if Max Muncy absorbed Bellinger’s power in some Space Jam Monstar style scheme. Bellinger and Martinez owners have to hope that Mike Trout beats the Monstars in Space Slam and gets Bellinger’s powers back. Or would it be Bryce Harper? Mike Trout apparently doesn’t use his personal marketing department enough.

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