Please see our player page for Austin Riley to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

For next year’s All-Star Game:  The best of the AL and NL will face off against just ex-Mets players. Maybe they can get Steven Matz (4 1/3 IP, 8 ER, ERA at 8.20) to pitch the Home Run Derby too. He’s useless otherwise. Oh, don’t worry, Matz is a great 2nd half pitcher, so wait until you see him around September 1st. Wrong city transpo line and total mixed metaphor, but the Nats T’d off on Matz like they were his daddy and Asdrubal Cabrera (4-for-4, 3 runs, 5 RBIs and his 2nd and 3rd homer) was in charge of doling out the punishment. Then Juan Soto (3-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer) was the uncle who came in to tell Asdrubal that the Mets had enough, only to wait until no one was looking and lay a noogie on them himself. Then, as Sexy Dr. Pepper left the room, he tagged in Treat Urner (3-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and his 2nd homer) who laid all 155 pounds of himself into them. If the Mets ever let Pete Alonso go, he might be the first to hit five homers in a game. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

For as batshizz crazy 2020 is, I will say that it is exciting. Maybe exciting isn’t the right word. Maybe batshizz crazy is the right thing to say, and leave it at that. Every day we have another rookie callup and I’m here for it, even if it might lead to roofies and waking up to wonder why a member of al Qaeda is making a lampshade out of your back skin. “Que quiero mi torso…lampshade?” Al Qaeda, “We don’t speak Spanish.” So, yesterday the Padres called up Luis Patino. My mom is always telling people about her kitchen cabinets’ faux patina, so this must be good. Check it out: Here he is in Prospect Itch’s top 25 prospects for 2020 fantasy baseball. Also, Prospect Hobbs wrote about 1200 words in his Luis Patino fantasy. I’m jazzed like hands and psyched like a shrink! Here’s a small snippet from PH’s post, “Even with just two refined pitches (and another two in the making), Patino has completely baffled right-handed hitters, as they produced a meager .163/.259/.220 slash against him in 2019. Clearly, Patino could step into a big league bullpen tomorrow and be elite. Like, ya know, the opposite of whatever Grey is.” Oh, man, cmon! So, is this the end of Joey Lucchesi of the Doing Crimes To Your Fantasy Team Crime Family? Not sure, but even if Patino is a long man in the bullpen, he’s worth a flyer in leagues 12-team mixed and deeper, depending on needs. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So, how’s everyone doing after four days of games? Still early, right? Actually, it’s not early. It’s never early this year. Early took the first train out of the station with your wife and dog. Say goodbye to your life, Early walked off with it. Four days this year is approximately three weeks into a regular season. Four days into the season this year is a cherry and whipped topping into this sundae, and one scoop in there might be chocolate chip mint, which you have to skip because it tastes like sugary toothpaste. One guy whose entire Sunday was chocolate chip mint is Justin Verlander. Sounds like he’s out for the season with a forearm strain, which is usually a precursor for much worse news. Won’t speculate what this means for his career, but if this is the last time he plays, it truly bums me out, even if I never wanted to own him. He was glorious to watch, in and out of the bathroom mirror with Kate. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)

During the summer of 2019, Yoenis Cespedes was so taken with the song Old Town Road that he wanted to film his own video remix with a wild boar and Sam Elliott. Not knowing where to begin, Yoenis called Sammy Sosa to advise on costumes because of Sammy’s flair for western wear and Yoenis found the music video director in an aisle at Sam’s Club and thought he had a Sam-only clause. Sammy Sosa was blunt with Yoenis, “You’re not a vaquero, are you? Then get off that tartan bandana and put on a fringe jacket!” Yoenis feared he looked like Dolly Parton in Rhinestone Cowboy and Sam Elliott was on the phone with his agent about this gig, when it all went wrong. Cespedes fractured his ankle, going from 100 legs to 103-ish, and his 2019 was over. Cut to 18 months later (it only feels like 18 years), and Yoenis is back, and healthy. During the break, I gave you a Yoenis Cespedes sleeper, and I’m doing what they call, in rodeo parlance, filling a barrel with two clowns. Every time Yoenis has been healthy, he has been worth owning. Will he stay healthy? Who cares! In 60 games, Yoenis has as much a chance at being the NL MVP as Pete Alonso. Yes, it hurt me to say that. Obviously, it didn’t hurt as much as trying to pull off an Old Town Road remix at Ranchero de Yoenis. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Marcus Stroman went from calf tightness to a tear. That’s what the cow said! Huh? Sorry, I’m a little freakin’ delirious because I own Stroman in not one, not two–I can’t even count how many leagues I own him in because I don’t have enough fingers and toes, and this is a PG show and we can’t count with anything else, you absolute pervs! Hey, serious question, has anything ever good happened to the Mets? Not to get all metaphysical rolling magnets around my shakras, but The Curse of The Bambino became The Curse of 1986. I won’t hear different. Bill Buckner allie-kazoo’d some voodoo on Mookie Wilson and the Mets have never been the same. Alas, I would drop Stroman in every league, aside from maybe NL-Only, but even there it’s pretty meh. He’s week-to-week, so maybe he returns by the end of August. What are you holding that for? The S’s and G’s train left the station a long time ago. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Scott White, Sr. Writer for CBS Sports, talks with B_Don and Donkey Teeth about the shortened 2020 season. The guys ask Scott about his expectations for his Braves for both hitting and pitching. We ask Scott about his thoughts on Mike Trout as he comes in at 5 among his rankings.

The guys then move on to discuss the recent CBS roto auction. Scott criticizes DT and B_Don’s approach in the auction grabbing 3 top hitters in Ronald Acuña Jr. ($49), Cody Bellinger ($44), and Chrsitian Yelich ($56). The podcast hosts then explain their thinking toward the full stars and scrubs approach.

We move on to Scott’s team and how he planned his team prior to the auction. We get his take on Francisco Lindor and his possibilities of being traded, and his expectations for Mike Soroka.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I only drafted Yasiel Puig in one league (that I remember) and it was a 12-team NL-Only league! *humps the air a’la Ace Ventura* I have exorcised the demons! That’s a new reference, right? What’s that, Inner Monologue, I only drafted Puig because the day I did it it was reported he was being signed by the Rockies? Yeah, so? Get out of my mentions, Inner Monologue! Okay, not to move from humping the air to getting sprung, but the Braves are making me hot under my Skidz. Thank God, they’re drawstring! Can we talk about the Braves’ outfield? Yes, please. Tildaddy, OZUNA and Puig. *gulps* If I were in 8th grade and asked to go to the chalkboard, I’d have to make up an excuse. “Sorry, Teach, my foot fell asleep, and I’m not just saying that because the Braves’ outfield is dirrrrrrrty with seven R’s.” I’d be happy with just Acuña in any outfield. That’s all you need. Throw in OZUNA and I’m starting to sweat, and then you see Puig and it’s time for, “Cougs, I want you right now but lit by the shine of the Braves’ depth chart.” So, I updated my top 40 outfielders for 2020 fantasy baseball, and Rudy updated all the hitter projections. Funnily enough, I predicted back in January that Puig would not sign until June, but little did little ol’ me know that he wouldn’t miss any actual games. I was so right, yet so not really right at all. Well done! (Not really!) Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Camp is starting up and it’s weird out there folks.  Split squad positionless scrimmages, Covid tests, opt outs….baseball is back!?!  This whole thing feels like the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freakout from Saved By the Bell…”I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…..scared”.

First round of Covid testing is coming back and there’s plenty of interesting names that have tested positive: Jesus Luzardo, Eduardo Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Hector Neris, DJ Lemahieu, Tommy Pham, Scott Kingery, Mitch Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, Salvador Perez, and Kole Calhoun are notable confirmed positives.

Of these, most fall into the “asymptomatic” category and should return to the team soon (hopefully).  Hector Neris was already around Phillies camp this week, and Joey Gallo already has one negative test under his belt.  He should be good to go soon.

The most serious case looks to be Freddie Freemen.  The Braves are being candid about exactly what Freeman is going through, but they’re not expecting him back to camp any time soon.

There’s several other guys who are missing from camp still with no given reason why.  Some teams are releasing positive tests, some teams aren’t stating what’s keeping players away but letting us read between the lines.  This list includes: Aaron Nola (who was seen around Phillies camp earlier this week similar to Neris), Yonny Chirinos, Juan Soto, Kenley Jansen, Gavin Lux, AJ Pollock, Tony Gonsolin, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James.  The Astros, as well as some other teams, have had issues with their testing in terms of getting results quickly, so that may be holding up the ‘Stros players, but these are all guys to keep an eye on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

On our Steamer Fantasy Baseball Rankings, which have been updated to a 60-game season, we have 1,310 players ranked. 645 of them gained value. Some, for unstints, gained $0.1 of value like Juan Soto. Another hundred had zero value change like Christian Yelich. Another 600+ lost value. I’ll go over those guys in another post. This post will feature the top 20 players who gained the most value from doing nothing but bingeing Netflix for the last three months. Who knew watching Joe Exotic would add more value than any Driveline drills? Apparently, all baseball players need to know is, “Who is dumpster diving at your nearest Costco?” Anyway, here’s the top 20 biggest positive value changes for fantasy baseball pre vs. post-shutdown:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?