I’m hoping that most of you reading this at the very least have the day off, if not, my condolences to your summer.  For those of you still standing, reading, celebrating or partying, I’m here to give you some quick advice on tonight’s late games in DFS.  We are on a limited slate of only five games, so it’s going to be all or nothing tonight.  R.A. Dickey, $13,600 is at home vs the Rangers and I have a feeling the knuck-knuck will be dancing in the deep South’s overwhelming humidity.  He was lights out on Wednesday when I streamed him in Philly, posting a solid 8 innings, with 9 Ks and only giving up 1 ER.  He’s facing a Texas team that hasn’t seen him since May of last year and he dealt, 8 innings with 6 Ks and 0 ER.  Long story short, don’t be a dick and get you some R.A. tonight with a side of the double RR.  That’s right!  I’m all in on Robbie Ray, $21,000 who is facing the Dodgers in Los Angeles tonight and his road splits are insane!  Full disclosure?  I didn’t feature Ray today because I already did earlier this season and I didn’t want to repeat.  Yes, I’m endorsing him even against the mighty Dodgers.  I shouldn’t have to back up my picks with statistics, but I know you need to see the numbers to verify my claims.  Chase Field; 5-4, 4.50 ERA, with 82 Ks over 64 innings.  Like a young Willie Nelson our Ray Gun is ready to rock it “On The Road Again” where he’s 6-1, with a miniscule 1.49 ERA to go along with 88 K’s over 66.1 innings.  I know Willie warned our moms against letting their babies growing up to be cowboys, but this is one young buck who likes to go rogue and put up numbers on the road.  Now that our pitching is locked and loaded, let’s take a look at our offensive options.

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Yesterday, Domingo Santana had a double slam (23, 24) and legs (12).  Maybe it’s confirmation bias, but it feels like Domingo is just so much better on Sunday, right?  Carl Jung and Sting would say I’m onto something with this synchronicity.  As someone who doesn’t own Domingo anywhere, but wishes he did own him, I can understand when Jung and Sting speak of the duality of a man.  I get the sense Domingo Santana will be underrated in 2018 too.  Of course, I think this is crazy for a 25-year-old guy capable of a 30/15 season in a great home park.  As Sting specifically sang, there’s a little black man named Sunday.  He’s not the same old thing on Saturday.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

First, happy Labo(u)r (the “u” is for us Canadians) Day weekend! Second, let me join the chorus of bewilderment around me: how in the actual F (and I don’t mean Jef with 1 F) is it September? Mind you, I’m happy it is. The heat can go to hell. Seriously, I used to live in southern Africa and was never as hot as I am here, living in the eastern bit of North America. Bah humbug. Close the door: you’re letting the cold out. Get off my lawn. Etc. But back to baseball! We’re staring down the home stretch now, and whether you’re happy (Dodgers fans!) or you’re not (Jays fans. … sigh), there’s a little flurry of excitement at this time of year, what with the shiny (or not so shiny) new September call-ups, and the fact that FanDuel may not notice, so these players’ prices may be low, and you may (this is a lot of “may”s, I know. It’s a may-September romance) be able to slip some bargains into your lineups today while saving cash for big Coors bats and good pitching. (Finally! Good pitching options on a Saturday! Kluber! Scherzer! Archer! Lester! I hardly knew her!)

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Yesterday, Ender Inciarte went 8-for-10 with two runs, 5 RBIs and two steals (18, 19), hitting .310.  That’s a doubleheader that would’ve made Ernie Banks blush.  And Ernie only blushed one time that we know of, the time Ernie confused Fergie Jenkins with Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas late one night at Harry Caray’s.  “Yo, Ernie, what you talkin’ about with my humps, my lovely little lumps?  And I don’t know what I’m going to do with the junk in my trunk, why do you keep asking?  You holding a garage sale?”  I don’t know why I enjoy the sweet stylings of Ender Inciarte so much.  I kinda hate guys like Adam Eaton, and we should call Ender, “Cheap Eats with Some Indian Guy Named Khan,” because he is nothing more than a cheap Eaton.  Maybe it’s because Ender always comes at a discounted rate to go with his “Yes, You Khan Cheap Eats” shizz.  Though, he is a fantasy beast for supporting actual beasts.  In other words, Ender is not making or breaking your team, but when you have guys that hit 40 HRs and .250, guys like Ender make all the difference as supplements.  “Did someone say supplements?”  What the hell are you doing here, Bonds?  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

If you’re a risk-it-for-the-biscuit kinda guy (or gal), you’d do well to back J.A. Happ ($7,700) tonight. He holds a .196 AVG vs. the current Red Sox lineup, and has struck out 31 of Boston’s hitters to go with it. I normally liken Happ to a sparkling bottle of Merlot – too much is a bad thing, but just enough can be quite healthy. Therefore, go ahead and get plastered on Happ tonight. He’s allowed an earned run in 18 of his 19 games this season, but hey, the Red Sox have struck out 58 times at Rogers Centre this season – their highest ballpark total away from Fenway. On a night where there’s few “elite” pitchers to pick from, Happ is your man. Here’s who else I like on this fine Wednesday.

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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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James Shields has given up a home run in 11 of 13 games this year. Outside of the first 2 games when he gave up 2 each, he’s given up at least 5 hits a game (he’s gone more than 6 once this year and that was 6.1). He’s walked someone in every single start. This is a more flavorful way of saying what you already know – Shields is terrible and won’t have his option year picked up in 2019 (that’s right, we’re going to have another year of James Shields to pick on). The other plus about this game is it’s in Texas and it’s going to be hot. Also, Shields’ splits this year are hilarious. When a left hander is in the box, he strikes them out 15.7% of the time and walks them 12% of the time (with a normal .313 BABIP), gets a ground ball 35.7% of the time and allows a home run on 23.6% of his fly balls. All of which is leads to an unfathomable 9.17 FIP and a 6.86 xFIP. Yes, loyal readers, James Shields has a FIP over 9 vs lefties. The worst FIP I can find vs lefties is Jose Lima’s 6.14, including an 8.29 in 2006 and Lima’s 8.29 was in only 7 innings. James Shields is having a legendarily bad season vs lefties (he’s actually relatively decent vs righties with 21.2% strikeouts and 8.2% walks for a 4.14 FIP and 4.73 xFIP). So given all of this information, here’s what I would do: play Texas Rangers lefties as much as physically possible, with Mazara and Gallo being the top ones, but all of them are good plays. As for the righties, they aren’t nearly as good as the lefties, first, because each Rangers righty you play is one less Rangers lefty to play if you’re going to have four Rangers, and second, a lot of the Rangers righties are expensive. That said, in a vacuum, the righties are still good plays as it’s hot, James Shields is on the mound and when he’s out of the game, the White Sox gas can of a bullpen will come in and suck. Beltre leads the righties since he hits righties pretty well over his career (113 wRC+) and has hit them well this year (.382 wOBA). Basically, play all the Rangers you can.

On to the picks once James Shields allows another home run to a lefty…

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Yesterday, Phillip Ervin went 3-for-4, 3 runs, 4 RBIs and his 2nd home run and 2nd in as many games.  This blew my mind:  there was no mention of Phillip Ervin on this site since 2014, when then-prospector Scott Evans said, “We’ll have a much better feel for (Ervin) after he’s had a chance to settle in at a full-season assignment, but on the surface, Ervin looks like a potential 20/20 outfielder who’ll also help in AVG and OBP.   I hope Grey reads this in three years…IN HELL!”  Damn, some animosity there.   Now, the real puzzler maker, as they say in the Haus of Rubik, Prospector Ralph hasn’t spoken about Ervin once.  So, I took it up with Endorphin Ralph on text, and he said, “He’s a 25-year-old, slugging fourth outfielder that’s Quad-A.  RUSNEY IS BETTER!!!”  So, Ervin’s a former 1st rounder, who might not be anything, due to weak contact he makes too often.  In Triple-A, he did have 7 HRs and 23 SBs with a .256 average.  He might just be a schmotato, that cools off and vanishes, but a speed/power combo plays in fantasy if he plays, which he is.  Better than Rusney Castillo?  WE SHALL SEE.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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