The concept is simple: phrase hypothetical scenarios where events that didn’t happen actually did, or events that did happen actually didn’t (I’m already confused). Detailing how these changes – or lack thereof – would have impacted the coming 2018 fantasy baseball season creates some interesting “what ifs”.

What if Giancarlo Stanton didn’t adjust his mechanics?

For anybody with an idea of what Giancarlo Stanton looked like in the box from years prior, his shift from June to July of 2017 was noticeable – very noticeable. While I often find more satisfaction in subtle changes – 2017 Chris Taylor comes to mind – if a change pushes said player into the MVP discussion, I put my particulars aside.

I’ve always found Stanton’s motions in the box exceptionally rhythmic. Flat bat, considerable bat speed, two-handed follow through with a uniquely refined path to contact that creates head-scratching home runs like this one.

Stanton closed off his stance considerably, becoming an aesthetic comp to Adrian Beltre, plus 20 pounds and six inches (of height – get your mind out of the gutter!).  “TewksbaryHitting.com” has a nice breakdown of this evolution, despite having nothing to do with Barry Manilow or whatever a “tewk” is. Their freeze frame gif captures the gradual rotation of Stanton’s upper body prior to the pitch, making his numbers more visible to the pitcher.

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It’s been a month since I last posted about a set of four industry mock drafts the honorable Justin Mason wrangled experts together for. While more complete mocks likely exist on the seas of the internet, these hold a special place in my heart, as they contained myself, good friends of the Razzball universe, and Prospectus Jesus himself. I’ll save you from the self-reflective intros that have lined my last few columns – but really, you should read them – and hastily prime our readers who prefer a longer digestion cycle with info, for 2018.

Partial results of these mocks can be found here, and instead of sifting through the first few rounds, I’m only looking at players with ADPs among the four mock drafts that exceed 100 overall. These players range in potential and my confidence in attaining that potential, but I think each should occupy a small place in your mind for the coming season.

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For those looking for pictures of ballplayers taking off their ballcap and recapping themselves, you’re in the wrong place!  Something I’ve noticed from recapping each position is not every hitting position was deep.  Outfielders?  Crazy deep.  1st basemen?  Deep, dawg.  2nd basemen?  Not bad.  Shortstops?  Awful.  3rd basemen?  I’ve seen better.  Travis Shaw was the 8th best 1st baseman, here he’s 4th.  Yeah, not that deep.  Scooter was the 9th best 2nd baseman, here he’s 8th.  Okay, 3rd basemen suck.  This recap ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked players in the preseason. Now, let’s get this, young money. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Here’s what I said last year, “We’re gonna find out if the top 20 shortstops are as Ken Bonerific as the top 20 2nd basemen.  Hint:  they are.  Damn, I gotta work on building suspense.  That hint pretty much gives the whole kit away and tacks the kaboodle onto its back as it’s walking out the door.  Goodbye, kit and kaboodle, I just gave you away for nothing.”  And that’s me quoting me!  This year?  Not so much.  Without further Machado, to recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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We already went over the top 20 catchers and the top 20 1st basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball.  Today, we dip our big toe into the top 20 2nd basemen pool.  Weird year for the 2nd basemen.  They had a huge bounce back last year, but this year a bunch of guys got old or just disappointed:  Kinsler, Carpenter, Kipnis and Zobrist.  And that’s only naming the Jews and Gentiles.  (I’m putting Carpenter in both camps.)  To recap this crap (rhyme points!), this final ranking for last year is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 2nd basemen for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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Tim Anderson is a guy that I would glance at earlier in the season and then move on with my life and with our beloved Top 100. He is a nice young player and all, but he wasn’t spongeworthy. Now, though, we’re in the last couple weeks of the season, and homeboy is lighting it up. And more than just hitting, TA is running wild. He has six stolen bases in his last seven games after not running much at all this year, so he is providing SAGNOF value, as well.

Anderson has been so hot that he is your PR15 king this week, with a 17.18 rating. That stretch of games only includes two home runs, which should give you an idea of just how hot he has been at the plate in order to be able to record a 17+ PR15 with only two long dongs. Our boy is hitting everything in sight and swiping bags now.

If you are battling down the stretch in roto leagues, Anderson can help you while providing some SAGNOF. If you are battling it out in weekly H2H league playoffs, though, he doesn’t have the same kind of appeal. IF (read: big IF) he stays hot, he will help across the board except for power and possibly RBI, while helping with AVG, R, and potentially SB. Compared to the standard stiff on the waiver wires, he looks like a stud. But in terms of cross-category production and overall value, he does have a pretty low ceiling. Grab him for the hot streak, but don’t drop anyone of value for him if you can help it.

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Yesterday, Matt Olson went 1-for-2, 2 RBIs with his 18th homer, hitting .273, all in only 49 games, and seven homers in his last ten games.  Dizzamn, who is he the American League’s Rhysus?  I’d call him Olsonus, but that sounds stupid.  We’re ridin’ the Ols-mobile?  That’s better (not)!  Like me after Taco Bell, he is Olplosive (much worse!).  I hear the train a comin’ rollin’ round the bend!  I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when!  Well I’m stuck with Matt Olson and time keeps dragging on!  While a train keeps a rollin’ like Olson to San Antone!  Well when I was just a baby my mama told me Olson, Olson, OLSON!  Always be a good boy don’t ever play with guns (flexes, showing gun show).  Well I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, not OLSON!  When I hear that whistle blowin’ I hang my head and I cry because I don’t have OLSON!  Whew, that was exhausting.  So, obviously, if you need power, you should grab Olsonus, and ride the Ols-mobile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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.

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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:

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Michael Wacha ($6,900) has had it incredibly rough as of late, getting shelled in three consecutive outings, so it’s a bit of a frightening proposal to consider starting him on Thursday. However, as all savvy daily fantasy players know, a recent cold streak is a great opportunity to buy low on a player. Wacha still has a solid 3.76 FIP on the year and is rocking an 8.65 K/9. He can easily turn himself around against the Giants, who are the weakest lineup in baseball against righties this season, as they’ve got a .297 wOBA. Wacha also gets his start in the incredibly pitcher-friendly environment at AT&T Park. For such a nice price, Wacha can do you wonders in GPP formats.

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