Well, I did it. I removed Jose Ramirez from my top 100 hitters rankings. He played another 5 games and only managed 2 hits. 2 runs? Sure. 4 RBI? Sure. 1 SB? Sure. But when he is hurting you this bad he is permanently in the limbo that is ranking #101. I am fully prepared to rocket him up the rankings if he turns it around — but right now? He is the wonderful 101.

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Last week here’s what I said about Austin Riley: “A lot of people were calling for Austin Riley to make his rankings debut after hitting 5 HRs in his first 9 games, but I’m a little wary of rookies. Especially rookies who have a 15:2 K/BB ratio in their last 33 ABs. Pitchers are already starting to figure him out.”

Well, another 3 games played since last week’s rankings and he’s crushed another 2 HRs — however — with another 3 Ks. In his 15 games played so far he’s only not struck out in 2 games. Riley was a top 30 prospect heading into this season and so far the power potential (three 19+ HR seasons in the minors) is showing up, but so is the strikeout potential (8 consecutive minor league seasons with a 20+% K/rate.)  Look, he’s 22. He can crush, but he can also miss. I’ve put him at 99 for now — one spot above Jose Ramirez — and I’ll be watching his progress.

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#100. One hundred. Benjamin Franklin. C-note. One hunnit (RIP Nipsey Hussle.) That’s where you’ll find Jose Ramirez this week. Last week he was sitting at a no-so-nice #69 and he had another awful week: 6 games, 20 ABs, 4 hits, 0 runs, 0 HRs, 0 RBI, 0 SB. Sorry Ramirez fans — his season line: 193 ABs, 17 runs, 4 HRs, 15 RBI, 12 SBs, .197 is not a top-100 player anymore. However, this might be a perfect buy low opportunity since Ramirez is an avid Razzballer and doesn’t want to find himself missing from the most controversial column on the site.

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Happy Mother’s Day to us all! Whether we are momful or momless, hopefully we have a good Snell and Odor in our FanDuel DFS kitchen today. And hopefully we have awesome food in our after brunch bellies, as well.

If you are momful, and scrambling for a quick way to make a routine brunch extra special for mom, try adding sweet cream and fresh fruit to your french toast or pancakes, rather than relying on syrup and butter.

For the sweet cream, the key is to whisk the heavy cream in an ice cold metal bowl, so put that large metal bowl in the freezer straight away.

Take your coffee grinder and grind two tablespoons of sugar with a healthy pinch of cinnamon and a little nutmeg. Do not overdo the nutmeg and don’t worry too much about residual coffee grounds in your sweet cream, or sugar in your future coffee grounds. This process pulverizes the sugar and incorporates the spices, creating a more flavorful powdered sugar to sweeten the whipped cream.

Take your metal bowl and whisk the pint of heavy cream, adding the pulverized sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract as you start to see the cream stiffen. Continue whisking only until peaks in the cream can be formed and hold the shape. Put this all over brunch; on fruit, pancakes, french toast, in coffee, on faces. It’s all good.

And that’s all there is to it. You’ve made something very simple that adds a certain appeal to the meal you don’t ordinarily get. Special for mom, how nice.

Now that brunch is extra special let’s see if we can’t make this main slate extra special, too, shall we?

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This is about the guys you forgot existed or hopefully most guys in your league are not looking for. The goal is to snipe these guys on the waiver wire or late in your draft. In dynasty formats, it is crucial to find the value guys late after all the big-name prospects are taken. Your dynasty farm system can help you in many ways with trades and mid-season call-ups. Hopefully this helps you find some gems where people are not looking. Keep in mind ALL these players are looking at call-ups this year…

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Not a lot of us saw this major league breakout coming from Jesus Aguilar. We were all expecting an awkward OF & 1B battle in Milwaukee between Eric Thames and Ryan Braun. Then here comes Jesus walking on the waters of Lake Michigan from Cleveland to Milwaukee to become an All-Star with the Brew Crew (he should be — stay tuned.) Maybe we all should’ve seen this coming — in 655 minor league at-bats in 2016 Aguilar hit 40 HR and 114 RBI. The average was only .261, but in the Indians minor league system he has some high average seasons (2011: .288; 2013: .291; 2014: .304.) Aguilar has already dropped his strikeout rate from 30% to 24.6% and if that number continues to go down while his contact rate continues to climb — Jesus’s ascension could continue.

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Slight format change going forward with this column — I’m going to be leaving short term DL candidates near where they were ranked previously. It was become too hard to remember who and when players were coming back. (Yes, I do write the injury column — but I don’t write the healthy column.) This is what happened with Starling Marte — I don’t own any shares of Marte so I didn’t notice his return from DL so he was an unfortunate oversight the past few weeks in these rankings. If someone is looking like they’ll be out for a longer period of time — they might drop a bit more in the rankings or be removed entirely (as is the case with Jorge Soler and his broken foot.) Due to these new additions we’ve got a Top 110 hitters this week with guys like Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, Wil Myers, Yoenis Cespedes, Ronald Acuna and others making their surprise reemergence. Next week 10 of these hitters will probably work themselves off this list. Also, as a side effect to these new additions a lot of players will look like they’ve fallen really far in the rankings — again, this should normalize by next week. 

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I can’t deny Brandon Crawford a spot on this list any longer. After a putrid April that saw the month end with his average under .200 — Crawford has turned it on more than any other player in the league. From May 1 to June 28 — a span of 34 games, 127 ABs — Crawford is hitting .425. Say whaaaatt?! Sure, 20 runs, 5 HRs, 25 RBI and 2 SBs as well — but .425 in over 30 games? That easily ranks #1 among qualified hitters over that span. The difference between Crawford and the player with the 3rd ranked average over that period (Jean Segura) is the same difference between Segura and Buster Posey — the hitter with the 20th ranked average. Included in this streak are 18 multi-hit games. Crawford is getting punches in bunches and needs to be owned in more than 65% of leagues.

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Falling:

  • Didi Gregorius, SS, NYY: As a Yankee fan, nothing made me happier than to strap a rocket to Didi’s back and have him climb through these rankings. However, we all should’ve seen this decline coming. Since seeing his batting average peak at .368 with 10 HRs on April 27th — no one has seen a steeper fall-off than Didi. In the 25 game since that date he is hitting .135 with only 1 HR in 104 ABs and just destroying your team’s offensive numbers. I still think there will some course correction in his numbers in the coming weeks. His average and HR total has risen every year over the past three years so he might just be in a prolonged slump right now.
  • Buster Posey, 1B/C, SF: Posey isn’t necessarily having a bad season — he’s still hitting close to .300 — but 3 HR and 19 RBI is definitely not what you want from someone with an ADP of 54.1. A closer look shows that Posey is still hitting the ball with authority — he has a 39% hard hit rate. However, he’s hitting a high percentage of his balls into the ground (47.9%.) If he can start getting under the ball a bit more and turning some of those hard hit grounders into line drives and fly balls — he could reach 15 HRs again. However, as of right now it’s looking like he might see a declining HR total for the 4th season in a row.

 

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Juan Soto & Austin Meadows: Two of the league’s highest touted minor leaguers, Juan Soto and Austin Meadows, were called up within days of each other this past week. Soto obviously was the biggest shocker as he is only 19 years old and had only played eight games in Double-A. Austin Meadows, however, was a bit more of a realistic call up as he is 23 and has been on the call-up radar for over a year now. Prospect lovers are going to freak out that I don’t have them ranked (yet!) in this column. Well the problem is they’re just a bit unknown. There are already reports that Meadows is going to go go back down as soon as Starling Marte is healthy again, despite Meadows crushing the ball in his first 29 ABs (6 runs, 13 hits, 3 HR, 2 SB, .448 AVG.) And Soto also has minor league options left on his contract so with Bryce Harper, Matt Adams and Michael Taylor still on the big league roster and Adam Eaton so slowly, but surely coming back soon — Soto might not be a Nat for long. Where would they rank if they were both given starting jobs for the rest of the season? Well despite the Soto surprise and hype — I like Meadows more. He was looking like a bat that might develop into a 20/20 hitter. His star has definitely dimmed since he was ranked as the #6 prospect before the 2017 season — but the potential is still there. Soto would only be ranked lower because of his age. It’s rare for a 19 year old with barely over 500 plate appearances to make the majors and positively contribute to their team. That’s why the minors exist in general. “Enough jibber and jabber — where Kerry, where?!” Due to their uncertainties I’d start them in the 70 to 80 range with a lot of upward mobility.

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