Thursday night marked the beginning of 2017-2018 concussion football season. If your fantasy baseball league lacked waiver activity prior to kickoff, I can only imagine the subsequent days will be as lively as this fan falling asleep in the fourth inning of a Yankees-Red Sox game back in 2015. Those who stick around care; they flaunt their championship around friends, family, pets, significant others, potential significant others – just kidding, please don’t do that – while their league mates consult countless websites wondering whether this stupid kicker, or this other stupid kicker is the better play. Don’t be that friend asking about a kicker, put your time into something more valuable.

Remember in high school when teachers preached earlier time investment for projects leading to better results? This column is the child of benevolence you sat next to who saw the test, and filled your study-less void five minutes prior to the start of the exam. It’s tough to become that kid unless you are a baseball nut like myself, so in the spirit of all that is Razzball, I’ve taken it upon myself to spur some early interest in 2018.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings and welcome back to everyone except salty commenter Fogimon. Just kidding. Love you, Fogimon. If you didn’t read Saturday’s post, I moved up north from South Florida just in time to avoid Hurricane Irma, avoiding the chaos of evacuating or staying and hunkering down for the storm. Can’t have much better luck than that, I guess.

Hopefully, you survived without me for a week as we head into the home stretch and fantasy playoffs. If you didn’t, then you are probably not reading this, I guess. So, welcome, survivors. Let’s all bring these leagues home.

We only have so much time left, so we have to continue to focus on the players who are contributing now. If that means dropping Miguel Cabrera (in non-keeper and non-dynasty formats) in order to pick up Matt Olson or a Nick Williams, so be it. Now is not the time for name value consideration. I usually preach patience in this space, but we only have a few weeks left here to close this out. Go, go, gadget Jose Reyes!

Expanded rosters make these last few weeks even more difficult, especially if you have players on teams like the Dodgers or Nationals who can afford to rest players like Daniel Murphy and Corey Seager. You want to make sure you have some additional positional flexibility where possible, which makes waiver wire additions such as Eduardo Escobar and Matt Olson that much more valuable. Not only are they producing right now, but they play a couple positions and give you some added flexibility.

I touch on Olson a bit in a blurb below, but Escobar is a guy who taking a look at because of his eligibility at both shortstop and third base. He won’t have too much value once Miguel Sano returns, but it sounds like Sano is progressing pretty slowly. With only a few weeks left in the season, we probably still have at least another week of Escobar playing time, if not more. There is no guarantee that he continues to play every day once Sano comes back, but it is equally possible that, if he keeps hitting, the Twins find a place for him in a lineup that could certainly use the help. For a guy with a 9.92 PR15 who is owned in less than 20% of ESPN leagues, I would definitely be willing to take a chance.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Lance McCullers (back) is back in action on Wednesday, making his first start since July as he comes off the disabled list. Starting a pitcher in their first outing back is always risky, but if McCullers is back on his game, he will be incredibly effective at a price of $7,600. It seems like he should be able to throw a full start, as he went five innings and 60 pitches in his last rehab outing. For a pitcher with a 10.05 K/9 and 2.94 FIP, a price this low feels insane. McCullers is a no-brainer in GPP formats.

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Doh!  A deer, a female deer and also what the Dodgers say.  Ray, a drop of golden filth.  Me, a name I call myself who owns J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray.  Fa, a long long way to run if a Bostonian is saying far.  SO another name for strikeouts.  LA is where the game took place.  Ti I dribble down my face, when J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray play.  Yesterday, Ray went 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 14 Ks, ERA down to 2.80.  Robbie Ray is an ace.  No matter how you slice that pecan pie, he’s an ace.  No matter how you put that pancake batter on the skittle.  No matter how you put whipped cream in my mouth.  My God, I’m so hungry.  Cougs has got me doing this Whole30 diet and I’m legit about to eat my hand.  At Endorphin Ralph’s top 100 starters for this week, Ray’s ranked 6th.  Can’t argue that, and last night he dunked all over the LA K’ers.  Then, J.D. Martinez got my goosepimples all a-titter.  He went 4-for-5, 6 RBIs with his 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 34th homer.  Someone has to Just Dong, so who better than Just Dong?  Who?!  Sorry, I’m writing this wearing an owl costume.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Greetings and welcome back to the Mike Maher end of summer backyard bash, where we talk about our beloved top 100 hitters. I will be taking a one-week hiatus after this post as I pack up my apartment and drive 1,200 miles north from Fort Lauderdale, FL up to Pennsylvania. That’s right, the true King of the North is returning home to his roots. No more tank tops in January for me for a little while. After my one-week absence, though, I will be back to tell you how good Rhys Hoskins is. You may have heard of him by now. We focused on him last week, so we don’t have to go over him again, even though he has pretty much homered in every game since we talked about him. And for once, that isn’t even an exaggeration. Check out his game log:

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I really wish Rhys Hoskins pronounced his name “Riz” so that I could use a “Nobody Beats The Rhys” headline, but it is apparently pronounced “Reese.” Who do I talk to about making that change? Does anyone have the phone number for his parents or, better yet, his grandparents? This is important stuff here.

Anyway, added Rhys to our beloved 100 because chicks dig the long ball. While you probably haven’t had to search hard to find home runs in 2017, neither has anyone else, so it’s always good to have some more. Hoskins has big boy power, which he displayed in the minors the last few years (where he was stuck for way too long thanks to the Phillies). After hitting 38 home runs in 135 games in hitter-friendly confines in Double-A in 2016, he backed that up with 29 home runs in 115 games in Triple-A this season.

But his game isn’t all power. As a somewhat older prospect, Hoskins actually has a pretty nice approach at the plate. In Triple-A in 2017, he posted a 13.5 BB% against a 15.8 K% while slashing .284 / .385 / .581. Through his first two weeks in the show, his average is down, but everything else looks about the same. And a .154 BABIP helps explain the .237 average he woke up with on Monday morning.

So, the real bonus with Hoskins is that the power numbers come with some above-average peripherals. He might not hit .280+ the rest of the way in the bigs, but would it surprise anyone if he did? If you are in OBP or OPS leagues, even better, since he has shown that he is not afraid to take a walk. Plus, that power…

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Happy Bryce Harper Replacement Week! :::sobs into the couch cushion I have been carrying around since watching the video of Harper tumbling over that base:::

The cruel baseball gods took Harper away from us just after we got Trout back. As of this writing, there is no timetable for his return from what they are calling a “significant bone bruise.” I’m no doctor (sorry to peel back the curtain), but how the heck did that non-contact injury get a bone bruise diagnosis? I thought for sure he tore every CL in his body. I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that he tore his UCL from reaching for his knee so fast. But a bone bruise? Interesting. Let’s just hope he wasn’t evaluated by the Mets’ training staff because “bone bruise” is going to very quickly become “Oh crap, his knee actually isn’t there anymore. We can’t find it anywhere.”

Now, there is no replacing Harper’s production on your fantasy team, especially in the middle of August. That much is obvious. If you’re lucky, you took Grey’s advice about selling a superstar to heart and cashed in at the deadline. I have Harper in a keeper league where I currently sit in first place, so I have to decide if I want to deal him now to make a playoff push, pray he comes back this season and helps me, or just accept the fact that he is done for the fantasy season but still keep him for next year. I am probably going with option B/C, if we’re being honest with each other here.

I’m removing him from our beloved 100 while we wait to see how he looks this week. Hopefully, the baseball gods decide to heal him from his mystery bruise quickly and we can have him back. But it seems more likely we are going to be without him for most, if not all, of the fantasy season. Now, enough crying about Harper (at least publicly). Anyway, to the notes…

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Player A:

  • .301 / .353 / .455
  • 11 home runs
  • 16 stolen bases
  • 55 runs scored
  • 49 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .352, two home runs, 14 runs scored, 10 RBI, three stolen bases
  • PR15: 10.69 (4th in MLB)

Player B:

  • .273 / .353 / .471
  • 13 home runs
  • 12 stolen bases
  • 58 runs scored
  • 38 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .343, five home runs, 18 runs scored, 11 RBI, four stolen bases
  • PR15: 9.21 (7th in MLB)

Pretty scary how similar those numbers are, right? A is Andrelton Simmons and B is Alex Bregman. The only big difference when you dive a little deeper is that Simmons has been consistently producing for pretty much the entire season, while Bregman has been a bit more streaky and pretty much disappeared in June.

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Due to their continuing dominance throughout the season, I’m endorsing the two big Dominican arms on the slate for tonight, Ervin Santana, $18,200 vs the Brewers and Carlos Martinez, $16,300 at the Royals.  Fun fact, Ervin Santana’s real name is Johan Ramon Santana.  Yeah, his birth name was Johan Santana.  Do you remember another SP named Johan Santana?  In case you forgot, he was a two time Cy Young winner and he also pitched for the Twins?  Yeah I remember that, I guess it’s ironic or even poetic justice that a guy who changed his name in order to not be confused with one of the most dominant lefty’s ended up on the same team as his predecessor.  Ervin is facing the Brewers tonight, who rank second in Ks versus RHP.  Yes, please, and thank you!  CMart has a tough task against the Royals tonight, but I have feeling he’s going to take advantage of a team that just wrapped up a double header yesterday.  Now that the pitching is locked and loaded, let’s take a look at our offensive targets for tonight.

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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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?