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Hello, again. Time to wrap this baby on up with the NL East. I don’t know what else to write here that I haven’t in the other two pieces. Check out the NL West Edition and the NL Central Edition if you haven’t already.

Just made myself another old fashioned, the wife is reading, and the kiddo is asleep. Let’s do it to it.

Atlanta Braves

Probably not gonna surprise anyone with this pick: Austin Riley. Riley was having himself a very nice spring, but so was Johan Camargo, his competition at third. Now the DH solves all that – let the slugging prospect, well, slug. Camargo is the better glove, so there you go.

Riley showed glimpses of serious power last season, bashing 18 homers in only 80 games. My lazy and mathematically-challenged brain would double that to 36 HR in 160 games just to give a very rough idea of what we’re looking at. Of course, that’s not sound fantasy advice nor very accurate given those were his first 80 games ever in the majors. We gotta look deeper. Deep dives are king! I’m no expert delver, but let’s give this a shot anyway. He slashed .226/.279/.471 with Atlanta, but hit for a much better average all through the minors. I know that’s not very telling, but I like to at least see if someone has shown ability to hit for average somewhere, sometime. The power last season was nuts – 127 games total and 33 homers. Looking at just his AAA numbers, in 2018 he hit 12 HR in 324 PAs, but launched 15 HR in just 194 PAs last year. Then came up to the bigs and hit 18 more. That’s quite the progression in just a year’s time. His isolated power was .182 in AAA in 2018, which is pretty solid (.200 is the baseline for “great” according to FanGraphs, though it fluctuates a little relative to league averages in a given year). Anyway, his ISO spiked to .333 in 2019, which is off-the-charts good. Yes, we’re judging these numbers off fewer PAs than FanGraphs recommends, but whatever. You can see the power is there. Riley did his best Aristides Aquino when getting the call last season, slashing .324/.368/.732 with nine homers and 25 RBI in his first 18 games. Buuut in his final 62 games, he had almost the exact same production (nine HR, 24 RBI) and a yucky, yucky slash (.192/.249/.379).

The 2019 AAA Riley struck out 20.1% of the time (his best anywhere) and walked 10.3% of the time; but alas, 2019 MLB Riley struck out 36.4% of the time and walked only 5.4% of the time. He still managed a .245 ISO in the majors, which is very damn good, but the rest of his offensive metrics definitely took a nose dive as the year went on. The batted ball metrics are great: 13.7% barrel rate, 44.6% hard-hit rate, and a 20.6-degree launch angle. Riley had 7.7% barrels per plate appearance, which would be top 50 in the league if he qualified. Better than Ketel Marte, Rafael Devers, Gleyber Torres, Max Muncy, and like a ton others, of course. Those are just some big fantasy studs that stood out.

I think you all get the picture. Riley has the chops to be a fantasy force as is, but he’s got improvements he needs to make. If a pitch is in the zone, dude swings like every time (okay, 80.5%) but also chased almost 38% of the time. If he can keep barreling balls and show some more patience, then whoa nelly. They’ve got Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Marcell Ozuna, and now this guy?!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You ever draft, like, twelve teams and have eleven teams that are all very similar and one team that is nothing like the other teams? This, here, is that other team. In theory, this team could be my one good team and the other eleven could be garbage, but I sure hope that’s not the case. I started this draft like every other league this offseason — by taking Pete Alonso in the 2nd round. At that point, this team veered into a different direction to never return. For those not in the know, it’s a weekly, 15-team, 5×5, two-catcher league that lasts for 50 rounds and there’s no waivers. NFBC has decided to cut off new slow draft leagues like this one, so I don’t think we’re doing another one this year. Sorry, I wanted to do one more league too. I will now put on The Knack and change the words in my head to My Corona. Anyway, here’s my NFBC draft recap:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

This is gonna be a weird one. Just when you think the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball are stacked chef’s kiss finding a vacation home on House Hunters International, they take a left turn and become ugly like the Property Brothers. Well, mostly the one who always wears plaid. Any hoo! This post goes on for about 1.8 million words, so let’s dive in. Here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers.  All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included.  Let’s do this!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2020 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Was thinking how much I like Harrison Bader and how he feels tailor-made for a 2020 sleeper post, then I had a deep thought. No, not my deep thought about oat milk, but if you wanna hear that one, it goes like this. The dairy industry invented oat milk because when you order, “Coffee with oat milk,” you invariably get a coffee without milk, and it makes you appreciate dairy much more. I’m onto you, industrial dairy complex! But my deep thought about fantasy baseball sleepers was:  If every hitter is great, doesn’t it make more sense to only look at pitchers who are sleepers?  Anyone can tell you so-and-so hitter is a sleeper, because they will likely hit 30+ homers, but every hitter hits 30+ homers, so bleh! More discussion for the offseason, I guess. Yesterday, Harrison Bader went 2-for-4 with two homers (9, 10) as he hits .213. He’ll be 26 years old in 2020, and way past the point when he should have an everyday job, and we care because he has 20/15/.250 potential. Reminds me a bit of all the Bradley Zimmer/Clint Frazier sleeper posts over the years, and now I want nothing to do with him. Obviously, with three homers in last four games, he’s hot, but, as the eight-hole hitter, I’m once again wondering about pitcher sleepers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

With Javier Baez lost for the year — *pours out a bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby oil for the sexy one we lost* — the Cubs called up shortstop, Nico Hoerner (3-for-5, 2 runs, 4 RBIs). And the internet exploded. Everywhere I looked for a good 45 minutes (long in internet minutes), I saw things about Nico Hoerner. “Reinforcements on the way!” one Chicago sportswriter announced exuberantly.  Another exclaimed, “Hoerner is here to save the season!” A third declared they were, “Hoernier than ever,” though they might’ve just typed a search term into their tweet. Then I looked at Hoerner’s Double-A numbers — 3 HRs, 8 SBs, .284 in 70 games — and I giggled a little. Hoerner is the Cubs’ top prospect, which is more of an indictment about the Cubs’ farm system. He doesn’t strike out, and possesses decent on-base skills, so maybe some short-term value. He should play short since karma knocked Addison Russell in the head and Baez is out, even if Ben Zobrist is playing after just recovering from a five-month divorce, which was initiated because his wife was jealous of how much Maddon loves him. You can cyclops Hoerner or try him, but him or, say, Starlin Castro? Semper Fidelis Castro. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

One day, late-summer, when your cousin, who you don’t like, started posting her kids going-back-to-school pictures on Facebook and a Russian troll farm began mining said pictures and getting your cousin’s kids to distribute propaganda, your so-called ace, James Paxton, decided to show up and be spoken for, after five months of grueling ‘what’s wrong with him/is there something wrong with him/is there something wrong with us for not accepting James Paxton for who he is’ questions. Yesterday’s Paxton line of 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 1 walk, 12 Ks, ERA at 4.16, was what we signed up for! (If we signed up for it, I didn’t, but that’s semantics.) If you drill down on Paxton — hey now! — his velocity is relatively samesies; his K/9 is fine; his walks are up (3.4 BB/9); his FIP is the highest it’s been in almost five years and he’s getting choked by the long ball like a zipper on a senior. This looks like poor luck and worse command. For 2020, a lot depends on how much the ball is flying out still, and I imagine a lot, but it’s hard to not think he should rebound, no matter what your cousin’s brats’ leaflets say.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Cardinals pulled Dakota Hudson 111 pitches, 6 2/3 IP, into his no-hitter, which is a smart move. He was gassed and they had thunderbolt and lightning, very, very frightening, Gallegos (Gallegos), Gallegos (Gallegos), Gallegos Figaro magnifico! The Cardinals don’t make dumb moves. They even make smart moves about which teams to hack. The Ghost of Dave Duncan makes something out of nothing with every Cards starter (don’t look at Wacha). It’s without can. Ya know, uncanny. David Duncan’s leftover notes jotted on a loose-leaf spiral notebook are better than Ray Searage. Don’t at me; it’s true. Put him in the Hall of Fame before he really is a ghost. You look at Hudson’s numbers — 7 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 5.10 FIP — and you shudder they’re so bad. Yet — again with stank — YET! he has a 3.63 ERA and he no-hit the Brewers last night for almost seven innings. Dave Duncan, man!  He’s the best ghoster. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

When making sense of this gigantic 11-game FanDuel Main Slate, let’s look to the heavens, as both the Angels and Astros offer great value potential today via stacks.

Our featured stacks are all road teams hitting in more friendly environments than they usually enjoy at home. Situations like this tend to provide an easier path to value because players are priced based on past performance. So, if past performance took place in, on average, less friendly hitting conditions, any time you get players moving into more favorable hitting conditions than average – whatever those conditions may be – you can expect better than average performance, and, therefore, better than average value. Ipso facto quota.

It is these little things that separate us from the herd of DFSers playing the hot hitter or pitcher, regardless of considerations such as park factors, weather, and ADI.

Read on for the juicy details, and best of luck today, you crazy DFSers.

New to FanDuel? 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!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Oh, Marcus Stroman.  You poor, poor soul. Can we take bets on how hard the Mets tried to include Mickey Callaway in the deal? It is so Mets to suddenly think of themselves as contenders. Blue Jays to Pirates, “Thank you for making the Mets believe again.”  We’ll see how much Stroman enjoys throwing ground ball pitches with that defense behind him. Amed Rosario plays balls two feet to his left into a diving try. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if this move leads to the Mets trading away Wheeler and Syndergaard, as they change their rotation vs. thinking Stroman is some catalyst. He has a 7.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and 3.52 FIP, so he’s not bad. A bit yawnstipating, but in the NL out of the AL East makes me a buyer of Stroman vs. ignoring him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As they say in Anaheim, “If you can’t get to see the Cherry Blossoms in Japan, you should get to see the Gin Blossoms in concert at the Hard Rock or Shohei Ohtani.”  One Anaheim-born woman, Gina, was so excited about Ohtani that she got a tattoo of the Japanese symbol for strength, that she later found out was a tattoo of Calvin pissing on a Grateful Dead logo. Gina did it in honor of Ohtani, so it’s still close to her heart, though mostly because it’s covering a third nipple.  Yesterday, Ohtani became the first Japanese born player to hit for the cycle, going 4-for-4, 2 runs, 3 RBIs with his 8th homer.  The closest previous Asian cycle was Kurt Suzuki.  When Ohtani becomes Hot-tani, there’s few players that can match him for sheer excitement, though Ian Kinsler wears sheer pantyhose under his uni, if that counts.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?