Please see our player page for Joaquin Benoit 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.

“I’ll always remember 2018 as the year baseball’s free agents didn’t sign until February,” which is exactly what someone says after listing 3,500 things they’ll remember about 2018 before when baseball free agents signed.  J.D. Martinez finally signed in Boston for $110 million, after being previously offered $150 million, $105 million, $141 million, $15 million (this one was just to see if he was paying attention) and $300 million.  J.D. Martinez didn’t negotiate a contract, he was picking suitcases on Deal of No Deal.  “Howie, I’m going to take the #4 suitcase and give back the $150 million suitcase.”  *three days later*  “Well, that sucked.”  Yeah, I’m not sure what J.D. was doing.  His name is definitely not Just Deal, because he dragged his heels for three weeks and seemed to lose a lot of money, and bargaining ability.  Any hoo!  In the top 20 for 2018 fantasy baseball, here’s what I said, “Here’s what I would’ve said, had Martinez signed somewhere, “Sure, going to Chase Field for half a season in a walk year is like having some half-baked rhymes and getting to work with Dr. Dre.  You can throw out there a line like, “You think I’m being a cock with my rhyme, but I think chickens keep the thyme,” and that shizz goes triple-platinum even though no one but seventeen hipsters in Brooklyn buy albums anymore.  What do call a millennial that says ‘Bedford-Thighvethant?’  A lispster.  Take it, Highlights, it’s yours.  Being in Chase for half a season in his walk year was like being a nobody-nothing who is working an assistant job cleaning out potted plants that Weinstein just irrigated, then finding out you have a high count of midichlorians in your blood and you’re mothereffin’ Frank Skywalker, Luke’s other kid.  And you’re not Frank Skywalker like Frank Stallone, but you have some real qualities to add to the mythology.  That’s J.D.’s last year.  However (Grey’s turning the ship around?), J.D.’s able to hit wherever he’s played.  His home/away splits in his career are better at home, but everyone’s are.  It’s just easier to hit at home because you’re sleeping in your house, you don’t need to travel, you don’t have to tell the hotel’s front desk to please tell Archie Bradley’s room to be quiet.  Road scholars are rare, and are a little weird anyway.  Only thing stopping Just Dong, and what has also stopped him in the past is his health.  Other than subtracting 75 ABs from the bottom line, there’s not much we can do with that, i.e., I love J.D. but there’s injury risk.'”  And that’s me quoting hypothetical me!  As I said in the above blurb, Just Dong is who he is, and Fenway’s gonna be a lovely place for him to just, uh, dong.  With the signing of Just Dong, Hanley’s going to play 1st base, which means it will take one throw into the first base line for Hanley to lose his arm, and I lowered him in my top 20 1st basemen for 2018 fantasy baseball.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this spring training for 2018 fantasy baseball:

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It’s the last post before the all-star break and nothing seems more fitting than a Neal Diamond reference.  If you don’t like or appreciate Neal, then we have problems and I challenge you to a duel or whatever the young kids are doing now a days to show dominance.  (Because I know it’s not anything like what transpired in West Side Story.)  Moving on swiftly to the pressing closer news as I get lost in my ole timey spirit…  So the Cardinals have moved away from the Oh and more to the Rosenthal.  Trevor Rosenthal has sorta looked like he did three years ago, which seems like forever ago but really isn’t.  The bad thing is that he and the rest of the save chasers that are in the Cardinals bullpen are pitching blah-squared.  The best pitcher over the last 20 games is Matt Bowman… again.  I said that same statement about a month into the season when Oh originally looked about as shaky as an 11-year-old with his first attempt at using a blow torch.  Over the past 30 games the saves have gone Oh for 3, Rosenthal 1, Bowman 1 and Tyler Lyons with 1 (was a multiple innings save).  Over the past 30 games for a usual dominant bullpen fixture, in terms of fantasy, to post 5 saves (I am not counting Lyons effort) is more condemning than the way they are pitching.  If you are a Seung-Hwan Oh owner, you kinda have to hold the ship until it becomes more of an official thing.  If Rosey is on your wire (55% owned in ESPN leagues) then nab him up.  If you want to roster a RP with appeal, then Bowman is your guy (1.8% owned).  As I can see it, Oh is still the guy but with some daylight for others.  Just be leery that the past 30 days of track record for savedom have not been all that rosey for the Cards.  Don’t frown, we got more goodies and sunshine after the bump.  Cheers!

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Just when the ship couldn’t sink any lower, the Giants lost their closer for the second time this year.  When it happens once, sure… twice?  I have my doubts. Mark Melancon hit the DL with more arm ailments and received a PRP injection in his arm.  No, a PRP injection isn’t something that you search for on your go-to-p0rn site of choice.  It is never a good thing, especially for a scuffling team like the Giants.  They have already had attempts at the closer with Derek law, Hunter Strickland/ and now re-tread candidate Sam Dyson is thrown into the fray.  I mean, I am no Nostradamus here, but it doesn’t look good.  It’s almost like that 2:00 AM special when you stare across the bar and try to decide if it’s better then going home alone and revisiting that PRP search on that website of choice.  We saw earlier this year that Dyson is not to be trusted, granted that saves are saves are saves, but at what cost?  An inflated ERA and 1-2 save chances a week… maybe.  Hunter Strickland got the first save, but only because Dyson was plucked from the bullpen in 4-of-the-last-5. For a team that struggles to score runs, can’t keep the ball in the yard from a starting pitcher standpoint, and a bullpen with tons of failed attempts at a closer, the benefit just isn’t there.  So if you must, the order as of right now is: Dyson, Strickland, then Kontos.  But for a team with only 16 saves to show on the season, the chase is more exciting than the ownership.  Enough about the city of Rice-A-Roni, and onto the week in Holds and such!

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I’ve been thinking recently about that age-old question: is it better to keep a bad pitcher in your deep-league lineup than no pitcher at all? Maybe I feel this way every season at this point, but right now it seems like there are more starters than ever who are providing negative value. No matter how you plan your draft, in the deepest leagues, you’re probably going to end up with at least a couple of pitchers that no one would sniff at in a “normal” league. If you can figure out which of these guys are going to be able to eat some innings in your lineup without killing your ratios (or if you just luck into an Ervin Santana or Jason Vargas), you’re a step ahead of the game. But in a really deep league, if you get a few duds, it could ruin your year.

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What I particularly like about relievers is versatility.  The situation in San Diego is the one in particular I want to discuss.  We were all lured into the Carter Capps preseason love, and I was on the wagon driving the horses as well, but his injury and the results that we expected aren’t coming as fast as we hoped.  He isn’t bowling over anyone in the minors, sporting a 6-plus ERA, and the obnoxious K-rate hasn’t materialized.  Now onto the major league roster which isn’t lighting any fires.  They are second from the bottom in bullpen ERA, have only 12 holds on the year, and now their closer has hit the skids.  He being Brandon Maurer.  Enter who I think should, could be the next man up while we wait (forever) for Capps.  Brad Hand offers that former starter turned good.  I may just call him the Vigilante of holds and possibly saves very soon.  He has the K-rate, the BAA and the moxy to do the job… it is just a matter of if SD is ready to pull the trigger on something because Maurer looks cooked.  Regardless of his situation moving forward or your league perimeters, Hand is worthy for a spot because of speculation and the K’s that he will produce.  This is the bullpen report for this week, so let’s see what’s happening in the setup game and the hold chase…

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If players are going to break out in a season, they don’t always break out the first week of a season.  I’m reminded of another Phillies player, Dominic Brown.  The year he broke out, it didn’t happen until June of that year.  Of course, in subsequent years, his swing got long like Don Johnson’s in The Harrad Experiment and rather than working his way back in the cages, Brown was preoccupied with avoiding his stalker, Tehol.  This brings us to another potential breakout, Aaron Altherr.  Or as Mystikal calls him, Altherr.  You don’t have to be scurred, he’s doing his thang.  Altherr hit two more homers yesterday (2-for-4, 4 RBIs, hitting .351), and is one of the hottest players in the majors this week.  Of course, this won’t continue, but to what degree will this tail off?  By the way, I want to be a judge at a twerking competition called a Tail Off.  In the minors, he’s shown speed (20-ish) and power (teen-ish).  With his Ks and BABIP, his average will come down a long way (maybe .250), but I see no reason why he can’t be a 17/20/.250 hitter on the year, and definitely a must own.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The biggest question I get regarding the Hold stat is: “How long should I hold onto a stud holds reliever if he isn’t getting the precious stat?”  Well, the stat is fluctuation between the sublime and the superfluous.  It is usually as explainable as binary calculus.  Take, for example, the story of the San Francisco Giants bullpen.  They have all the right pieces there to be a successful bullpen.  A stud closer and an excellent mix of RH and LH set-up men.  Now look closer at the stats.  Hunter Strickland is by all intents and purposes the 8th inning guy.  He has 12 appearances, 11 of which have come in the 8th inning or later in ball games.  He checks every other box for stats, low ERA, K/9 right about where you want it, but the inevitable stat faux pas is he has zero holds.  On a team that only has 9 holds collectively, what is going wrong?  He isn’t doing anything wrong, he isn’t vexed by a succubus or anything bad.  hell I bet he helps old ladies cross the street and then steals their groceries.   The simple answer is that the hold stat is an ever flowing team driven ideal.  Doesn’t mean I hate it, one bit.  i love the secondary save.  It just comes out of the blue sometimes and people who sometime deserve to be the beneficiary aren’t that’s all.  Hunter will finish the year with his share, but right now in holds leagues he is almost unownable.  So look elsewhere for good match-ups, good form in pitching, and the ever important stat with relievers is when did they pitch last.  That is the best determinant in acquiring a waiver wire darling.  If he pitched yesterday, odds are he won’t today.  Be smart as picking reliever for holds is a dumb game, don’t over-think it.  Here are some other deets, in the game of set-up…

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Joining Paul Hollywood at The Great Britton’s Brach Off is Orioles’ manager, Buck Showalter.  Showalter said, “Craig Gentry (2-for-5, 3 RBIs) hit a home run with his leadoff Battenberg cake even if it is missing the mark on OBP, but I love its moistness, and I apologize for using the word moist.”  Trey Mancini (3-for-5, 4 RBIs, and his 3rd and 4th homers) was crowned this week’s Star Baker, beating out Mark Trumbo (2-for-5, 1 run), who was in the cleanup spot, saying, “Why do these people have to use so many pots and pans?”  The Great Britton’s Brach Off didn’t end without losing one baketestant.  Zach Britton over-whisked his meringue and left with a forearm strain.  The Brits are calling it, Zaxit.  So, Britton will be out for at least ten days with Brad Brach filling in, behind Brach will be Darren O’Day, who sounds too IRA to me, then behind him will be Mychal Givens, who is Mike Tyson and Robin Givens’ child.  Buck Showalter said he hopes Britton will be ready in ten days, but forearm strains don’t work that way, so you should grab Brach, at least.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Every year, after finishing my Top 100 post, I have a player or two I immediately regret not ranking higher. This year those prospects were Zack Collins, and Kyle Tucker. The funny thing is, Tucker wasn’t ranked that low at 32. Granted my prospecting brother from another mother Halp ranked him 21st, and based on last night it looks like Halp’s right. What happened last night? Welp, Tucker: Man and My Dreams, went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, and 7 RBIs. He’s now hitting .343 in the Carolina League, can you imagine what he would have done with a full season in Lancaster? BTW Lancaster is one of the most homer and hitter friendly environments in minors, and was the class A advanced affiliate of the Astros up until this season. As for Tucker, he’s a 5×5 player’s dream, with hit tool, speed, developing power, and massive upside. Seems only appropriate that I would open this week’s Minor League Update with a native son of Tampa, while I’m on vacation here. How meta.

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One-time Mariner Tom Paciorek was the face of the organization for the better part of the last 40 years.  Ken Griffey Jr. once said of Paciorek, “For many years, Seattle fans came up to me and asked if I was a very tan Paciorek, because Paciorek left such an indelible mark.”  Edgar Martinez once said of Tom Paciorek, “You can’t think of the Mariners without thinking of Tom Paciorek.  He’s so gutsy, you’d think he got those guts from a local abattoir that provides Wilson with its top-notch tennis racquets.”  Randy Johnson has said, “I got the idea for my mullet from Tom Paciorek’s back hair.”  All of this flattery heaped on Paciorek, and he said, “You guys need to check out Mitch Haniger!  Now amscray before I dazzle you with a bon mot.”  Wow.  The modesty on that Paciorek.  In Triple-A last year, Haniger had 20 HRs, 8 SBs and a .341 average.  His BABIP was a bit high, but he likely won’t drain your batting average below, say, .250.  He already has 3 HRs and one steal, and is 26 years old, so his time is now.  Plus, the Mariners are playing him, and batting him in a good place in the order.  There’s little reason why you shouldn’t at least give him a shot on all fantasy teams.  After all, he has the Tom Paciorek Seal of Approval (ToPa SeaApp, trademark pending).  Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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