Now that we are a few weeks into the second half, we are able to take a look at players and their rest of season rankings a little differently. For starters, we can see how players are starting the second half. Even though it is only a few days off (or not off, for those who participate in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game) and is not even technically the real halfway point of the season, the All-Star break seems to hit the reset button for some players.

Some players get off to a hot start in the second half and ride the wave for a hot August and September, while others seem to lose their momentum and start off ice cold. You could write a book on the different explanations and theories about why it happens or whether or not the Home Run Derby messes up your swing or the All-Star Game schedule itself is exhausting, but we all know as fantasy owners that we have to really pay attention to our squads coming out of the break.

Players who had unreal, otherworldly breakout first halves like Aaron Judge have come back to earth a little bit, while players we had come to rely on in previous years who had disappointing first halves like Christian Yelich have gotten hot. If those disappointing players don’t get off to a good start to the second half, though, we have to make the tough decision about whether or not it is time to move on.

And that is the other way we have to look at these rankings, with time in mind. Depending on your league and format, you probably have roughly two months left in your season and about a month and a half or less until the playoffs in leagues that have them. Carlos Gonzalez is the 600th ranked player in Razzball’s year-to-date player rater, but he is still owned in 93% of RCLs and 67% of ESPN leagues as apparently, Razznation is still waiting for CarGo to turn back into the hitter he has shown he is over the year.

And while Gonzalez has been somewhat better in the second half and has sown signs of life, at some point time is going to run out. I gave up on him weeks ago and have not looked back. In the leagues where I had him I am in first or second place and am clawing to either stay there or overtake the top team, and I just don’t have any more time to wait on him. Granted, I gave up on him when it looked like he wasn’t going to have regular playing time anymore, and that is no longer the case since the Rockies can’t stay healthy, but I don’t regret the decision. Even after showing he can still hit a little in the second half, he still only has a 0.02 PR15. That isn’t enough to make me regret the decision or convince me he is going to get hot.

For Gonzalez this season, his Hard%, FB%, and HR/FB% are all down, while his AVG, OBP, and SLG are all well below his career averages. Most troubling to me is the SLG, which is currently sitting at .341. It would not be surprising to find out that he has been playing through injuries all season because 1. He is pretty much always injured and 2. These numbers are awful. You know I love creating these graphs, so check out this one:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I was craving sashimi last night, so I sauntered to my local sushi joint. When I walked through the door, I heard the familiar, “Irrashaimase maido,” from the chefs behind the counter. As I nodded my head down reverently, I realized there was a new member of the crew. I like to live dangerously, so I sat down at the bar in front of him. I usually ask the chef, “What’s good today?” but last night it was just, “Prepare what you think is best.” Like I said, I like to live dangerously. If I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation, I would’ve knocked my chair backwards and banged my head on the floor from the show I was presented. It was all so un-Benihana-esque. The skill. The grace. As he wiped the sweat from his forehead after slicing and dicing the manta rays placed before him, I asked him one simple question. “Who are you?” He looked me in the eye and responded, “I am Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees.” Tanaka was perfect for five innings Friday night. He ended up allowing two hits, one earned run, did not walk a batter, and struck out 14 in eight innings. 77-of-109 pitches were thrown for strikes. That’s how you earn a big tip! Now, keep in mind that Tampa Bay strikes out the fourth-most frequently against RHP and the huge night knocked down his ERA to 5.09 for the year. He did give up four, three, and five earned runs in his prior three starts and got pummeled in his two previous starts against TB. As Friday night showed, though, Tanaka does have the ability to absolutely dominate. When I eat raw fish, I know there’s always the risk that I could be eating some three-eyed monster from Fukushima. That’s how I feel about starting Tanaka. As I said before, I like to live dangerously.

Here’s what else I saw from Friday night’s action:

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Yesterday, Rafael Devers was called up by the Red Sox.  Meh, if he’s anything like Danvers, Mass., I’m good.  Somewhere, Prospector Ralph just Hulk-smashed his computer.  Say something bad about Rafael Devers and Prospector Ralph goes full Clubber Lang at the Rocky statue.  “You want a real man to play third base with your wife?”  Devers’ minor league numbers (20 HRs, near-.310 across two levels this year in 85 games) look like yet another Benintendi, but with more power.  The Sons of Sam Horn will go legit Sophie’s Choice if you try to get them to choose between Benintendi and Devers.  “I’d prefer to eat at a Wahlburgers every day for the rest of my life than choose between those two.  Oh, and Yankees suck!”  After owning Benintendi for the past four months, I think I might prefer Devers next year, if he’s all that he’s cracked up to be.  Not to get too crazy, but can anyone say a lefty Miggy?  If you can’t say it, you might need to see a speech therapist.  Devers is absolutely a grab in all leagues to see how looks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Since it seems like the rest of the Razzball “professors” (notice the quotes) are putting out their second half rankings I feel overwhelmed by the pressure of doing the same. Even if there are only twelve points league readers I still owe it to them to put a little elbow grease into this and generate a solid set of rankings and rest of season projections. Speaking of the people’s elbow, it looks like The Rock is moving forward with plans to run in 2020. Ok, well maybe these aren’t exactly his plans, but there is a committee that is standing behind him. Will Dwayne Johnson become the most electrifying president in American history? Is he going to “rock the vote”. Ha! I can’t wait for the debates.

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Since it was an afternoon game, Ted and I settled in to watch Max Scherzer vs. the Marlins.  First inning and the slider was working.  2nd, 3rd, 4th innings and the Marlins had no chance.  5th inning and Ted demanded I take him out and play catch with him.

115 degrees in the shade and we’re back in for the 6th inning, and Scherzer hasn’t missed a beat while missing the bats.  Everyone knows everything there is to know about Scherzer.  He is at least the 3rd best starter in baseball, and likely second best, though who’s first?  Sale?  Then Kershaw and Scherzer?  I don’t know, Kershaw’s looked pretty human at times this year.  Sale, Scherzer then Kershaw?  Sounds about right, but need to search for other things to talk about with him.  Hmm…Well, there’s always his android eyes.

Now back for the 7th inning and it’s more no-hitter, and, Jesus Christopher Ramirez, the Nats announcers are a bore.  Let’s go mute for the 8th inning, and Dietrich gets, uh, diet rich of sliders.  Now, Ellis and goodbye no-hitter.  Of course, that was the point Dusty should’ve lifted Scherzer since even the announcers said Scherzer says he doesn’t want to ever throw past 120 pitches.  You guessed it, he went past 120 pitches, and lost the lead, but, once again, a dazzler — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits), 11 Ks, ERA at 2.09.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Happy Father’s Day to all but five of our readers.  I am not a father, but I have a dog I ignore most of the time, then play catch with after my wife tells me to, so, technically, I am a father too.  For Father’s Day, I went to see the Tupac movie, and to misquote him, “Back for a check, all respect to those who broke their neck to keep this movie in check, cause oh they made some mistakes with this movie majorly, damn, why does Jada keep paging me?”  I should’ve taken Cougs to see Wonder Woman, but I was afraid it would empower her.  One last note on Pop’s Day, MLB has pink bats for Mother’s Day, so they should have penis-shaped bats for Father’s Day.  Yesterday, Jimmy Nelson looked like he should be getting dogged by Jada Pinkett for keeping it too real — 9 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.39.   His peripherals are right there to match — 9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 3.52 xFIP with the velocity to back it up, and, if you throw out April, his ERA would be near 2.50 with an xFIP to match.  The major change — excuse me, not change — the curve is his major key.  Hat tip to Lance and his Jimmy Nelson fantasy.  The crux of that is you should own Nelson and stop cruxifying him, and the crux of this is I don’t know how to spell crucify.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Andrelton Simmons (48.9% owned – increase of 12.2%) is the No. 12 shortstop in Razzball’s Player Rater. Addison Russell (63.5% owned – decrease of 9.2%) is the No. 31 shortstop. It’s as if the names should be swapped. Russell should be 48.9% owned and Simmons should be 63.5% owned. I have the sudden urge to listen to some jams from Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records…

Russell plays for the Cubs. Woohoo…He’s 23 years old. Yipee…He hit 21 home runs last season. Woo saaaa…Can you feel the excitement? I’m about to open up an incognito window on my computer. Hold up. Give me like 20 seconds….Sarcasm alert. Not about the incognito window thing, though. Now, I like Russell in dynasty. As mentioned above, he is young and could be a monster in a few years. But we trying to win rings like Kevin Durant now!!! Nothing has really changed with Russell in regards to batted ball profile and plate discipline. He pretty much is who he is right now. .240-ish hitter with 10-15 home runs. He also hits seventh, in front of the pitcher. As for Simmons, he’s always been a low strikeout/high contact batter. He has some pop and will probably end up with around 10- 12 home runs, but with a batting average closer to .275. The surprising thing with Simmons this season is the number of steals. So far, he’s pilfered 10 bags, after ending up with that total in 124 games last season. Stealing bases is one of the few stats that a player has more direct control over, so that’s a nice trend. In this week’s Razzball Baseball podcast, Grey touched on the value that power/speed guys have. Go listen to the pod and…LEAVE A REVIEW!!! Special things will happen. Anyways, back to Simmons. Actually, it’s more a rant against the Sociopath. Simmons is batting .180 against LHP and .305 against RHP this season. His career numbers are .268 vs RHP and .244 vs LHP. So, what does the Sociopath do? He bats Simmons 6th against righties and 2nd against lefties. To bring everything full circle, I guess it makes sense that Simmons is owned in 48.9% of leagues and Russell in 63.5%. What a world. TRASH for Russell. TREASURE for Simmons.

Here are a few others that stood out to me in this week’s add/drop list:

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Derek Fisher was called up by the Astros to replace the concussed Reddick.  First off, Derek needs to stop singing that jingle, “Trust the Astros Fisher, man.”  Tres annoying.  Saying tres instead of very is tres annoying, too. Fisher was hoping Reddick was some combination of reddish and haddock.  “Get that seaweed out of my face!”  That’s Nori Aoki.  Everyone in MLB is happy for Fisher except this guy.  If you thought Strickland-Harper was something… Sorry, for Derek Fisher, that was a layup.  As for fantasy, Fisher has power and speed, has had strikeout issues, but no worse than Bellinger.  He could be a difference maker if he plays 75%+ of the time.  One of the best guys in the minors this year.  Better on power than speed, inefficient as a runner.  Yes, PCL, but MLB is kinda PCL-like nowadays.  Might outproduce Brinson, though Fisher needs to stick in a job for that.  Yesterday, he went 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his first home run, and I think Fisher is for reel, and not just on the casting couch.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s Peacock week here at Razzball, and I for one, have been trying my damnedest to use some of the lessons taught to me by my mentor, the sometimes debonair, but mostly creepy, world-renowned pickup artist Mystery. You might remember this sexual predator from MTV at some point in the last 10 years. MTV, ruining everything since 1981! You might not recall this, particularly if you’ve never been under the spell of a man dressed as the lead singer of Jamiroquai, but Mystery has long preached the word of “Peacocking”. I can’t be sure, but I’m almost certain that this is the act of pretending you’re Brad Peacock to pickup women. I mean how could this not work have you seen “The P-Cock” in all his glory? Gorgeous just like a horse is, to say the least. The 29 year old Peacock has spent parts of 5 seasons in the majors, mostly as a shuttle arm, between AAA and the majors. In 2017 however, the righty has been a bit of a revelation for the Astros, first in the bullpen, and now in the rotation. Grey wrote him up on Friday, and he’s been one of the more interesting streams over the last few weeks. If only due to that heavenly 15 K/9 over his first three starts. So let’s dig into Peacock and see what he’s doing on the mound, when not going into liquor store rages.

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Stephen Strasburg, $24,800 is taking the mound tonight against the Braves and I for one purchased my ticket for the SS K machine back on Thursday.  The good news is, there’s still tickets available, the bad news is they’re a little pricey.  I hate to use the word underrated when it comes to Strasburg, but all you hear about is Kershaw, Mad Max, Keuchel and Greinke.  Where’s the Love for Strasburg?  His last four starts are ridiculous, 3-1 with 5 ER and 41 K’s over his last 27.2 innings.  Yes, you read that correctly, 41 K’s over his last 27.2 innings (Mic drop).  I’m matching Strasburg up with Jameson Taillon, $13,600 who’s got the Rockies fresh off the DL.  Now I typically don’t like starting guys coming off the DL due to pitch counts, but Taillon wasn’t gone due to any baseball related injury and he was hitting 97 on the radar gun in his last rehab start.  He was straight money before the sudden cancer diagnosis and I’m sure it’ll be an emotional night for the Pirates team upon his return.  I think Taillon will have a little extra juice in the tank tonight and at this price I can’t pass him up.  Now that we got our pitching locked in let’s see what offense is going to help us cash in.

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