It’s just like old times, as we here at Razzball are profiling a Brewers starter this week. I can’t put my finger on what that means, but I digress. The familiarity doesn’t just end there my friends, oh no, we just happen to be covering the MLB debut for one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, Brandon Woodruff. On the heels of a somewhat out of nowhere breakout in 2016, Woodruff exploded onto the dynasty league radar, and squarely into the ranks on several top prospect lists. After leading the minors in strikeouts last year, the righty credited an increased pace, thanks to the direction of AA pitching coach Chris Hook. After a solid showing in the challenging confines of Colorado Springs earlier this season, Woodruff was called up in mid-June to make a spot start. Unfortunately he was injured warming up, was scratched from his debut, and did a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Recalled Friday to face the contending Rays in Tampa, Woodruff might be an interesting stream down the stretch in re-drafts of all sizes. Let’s see how the highly touted rookie looks vs a seasoned AL East lineup. Not a bad litmus test.

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Maybe Carlos Rodon is a bit more high, ahhh, ummm, profile than the usual pitching, ahhh, ummm, profile candidate I cover. After all, at points over the last few years this is a guy who’s been universally owned. Things have definitely been a different story in 2017, as he missed all of April and May, and most of June recovering from a biceps injury. Following two strong starts upon his return, we’ve seen “Bad Carlos” over the last three turns. The former third overall pick has been steady, but inconsistent throughout his first two seasons in the big leagues. Apt to spells of poor control and command, that typically led to some ugly pitching lines. Is that what’s happening here? Simply a case of “Bad Carlos”? Good or bad, something has obviously been amiss the past few starts, let’s take a look under the hood and see what’s going on. Are these problems fixable or is there a lingering injury? On Sunday Rodon faced the red hot Indians and my guess is you already know what happened. Here’s what I saw.

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Adrian Beltre was promoted to the Dodgers the same year I moved to Los Angeles.  I distinctly remember listening to AM sports radio a lot that summer, and, man, did people in LA hate Beltre.  With justification too, he struggled for six seasons.  When he finally broke out in 2004 (48 HRs, .334), no one believed it.  If you would’ve told people in LA, Beltre would be a surefire Hall of Famer, they would’ve thought you were related to him.  This would be the same as now saying Nick Castellanos will be a Hall of Famer in 14 years.  Yesterday, Beltre went 1-for-5, 2 runs and secured his place in history with his 3,000th hit.  Good on, Beltre, may all your cheap beers and head remain untapped.  As for fantasy, well, doesn’t mean anything, but it’s a hat tip, while a hat pat is forbidden.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Between trade deadline deals and prospect call-ups, I am so super jacked right now, I could jackhammer a road with my excitement!  Is it weird that I’m picturing a mural of Giancarlo on the ground while I jackhammer said road with my excitement?  “Hey, move that traffic cone!  Giancarlo’s birthmark is further down and to the right!”  That’s me directing city workers as they put my Giancarlo mural on my block.  So, with Dexter Fowler hitting the DL with a forearm strain, the Card called up Harrison Bader.  I’m kicking myself for going Willie Calhoun over Harrison Bader two weeks ago in NL-Only FAAB.  Real bad call by me.  Now, I got Willie Calhoun, who sounds like someone in Alcatraz, and I’m kicking rocks.  Why do we care?  Bader has 19 HRs, 9 SBs and a .297 average in Triple-A, and Prospector Ralph put him 36th overall on his top 100 fantasy baseball prospect list.  I attempted to add him everywhere, even in ESPN leagues where he’s not in their system yet.  Oops, guess they didn’t see him coming.  Apparently, they don’t put the ESP in ESPN.  Bader’s overall profile looks to be a 20-ish homers, 12ish steals, .275-ish average.  His -ish looks Fowler-ish, and I’m chicken-lickin’.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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If your approach in RCL leagues is anything like mine, then you’re carrying maybe 2-3 starters, and filling in the cracks with well researched streamers. Part of my process, as I’m sure it is with many of you, is to check the streamonator for the highest value available probables. Then I dive deeper into the matchup stats, and follow that up with a glance at the starters recent track record. One of the more common suggestions over the past few weeks has been Mets starter Rafael Montero. Best described as a AAAA starter, he’s long been the shuttle guy, and spot starter, whenever an elbow pops in the Mets rotation. With injuries a plenty in Flushing, there’s been abundant opportunity for Montero to stick for the better part of the next month, and beyond. Let’s take a deep dive into Montero’s Sunday start vs. the Oakland Athletics, and see if he might be an arm to keep in mind, as we stream our way to the promised land.

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The highest rated two-start starter on the Streamonator who is owned in less than 70% of RCLs is, gulp, John Lackey. The ‘nator likes him at a $13.90 value for his starts against the Chicago White Sox at home and the Milwaukee Brewers on the road (does anyone one else close one eye and grimace every time they write Milwaukee and wait to see if spell check flags it or not?). Here is the full list of players Streamonator gave a positive value who are owned in less than 70% of RCLs:

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Yesterday, J.D. Martinez was traded to the Diamondbacks for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King, a package that has been described by me as a .280, 40-homer hitter for Okay, Who Cares and So What.  My visions of Yasmany Tomas returning and helping my NL-Only team went from “Hello, what’s your name, Pamela Sue?” to “No, my name is Pamela and I’m suing you for sexual harassment.”  The ol’ 180 in the pants.  Well, I’ll save the rest of my moans and/or groans for my shrink, since this is great news for Just Dong.  That should be a 90 degree turn in the pants for Just Dong owners.  Has he ever hit in Chase Field?  Doesn’t matter, he’s about to love it.  Outside of Coors and Miller, there’s no place I’d rather my player move for hitting and between-inning dips in a hot tub.  (The Coors and Miller hot tubs are gnarly, by the way.  “Did you say swell?”  “No, I said swill.”) For FAAB, I’d go aggressively after Just Dong like he was the last guy to move to the NL, even if he might not be.  He’s a 35-homer guy in Comerica.  In Chase, he could be the equivalent to a 45-homer guy over the final ten weeks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Mike Clevinger ($17,600) looks like he should be performing a rock concert with his long grunge band looking hair and his arm full of tattoos but he will be taking the mound in instead. He seems to be a great bargain tonight as he is currently on a nice roll, allowing just 2 ERs in his last three starts and racking 20 Strikeouts during that span. He should continue that trend as he heads to San Francisco to battle one of the worst teams in baseball.  The San Francisco Giants are one of the worst hitting teams against RHP, they currently support a .240AVG and .674 OPS against righties . Both of those numbers rank toward the bottom of the league. To add injury to insult, they rank 28th in the league in runs scored and are dead LAST in HRs hit. Clevinger has been hurt by his walks allowed which doesn’t let him get deep into games at time but the Giants are one of the most impatient teams and rarely walk.

To go with Clevinger, I’d pair him with JA Happ ($15,000). He’s squaring off against a struggling Boston Red Sox team. Over the last week, the Red Sox are hitting .212 as a team and have really had a hard time plating runs. Happ is a very serviceable option that tends to always pitch deeper into games and can be matched with Clayton Kershaw to provide some bats if you’d prefer. Now that we have talked about some pitching options, lets take a look at some bats…

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Way back in April the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Commonwealth of Independent States, sent the notorious “Player To Be Named Later” to the Baltimore Orioles for Parker Bridwell. At the time Bridwell was an unheard of 25 year old righthander with less than 20 innings above AA. The move flew under the radar to most of the baseball world with the exception of the Bridwell family, and an eccentric dyslexic real estate agent named Shelly with a passion for anything bird related. See no one at the time, could have foreseen this unheralded pro in his 7th season in the minors helping a major league ball club. Fast forward 3 months, and here we sit about to breakdown Bridwell’s 6th major league start of 2017 against the contending Tampa Bay Rays. What a world!

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Seems like even the injury bug is down in Miami enjoying the All-Star game so we’ve got a light load of injuries this week. However, I fully expect him to come back twice as strong once everyone starts exerting themselves again after enjoying Mama’s home cooking and catching up on Orange is the New Black on the couch for the week.

As always, if you’ve got league specific injury questions please leave them below in the comments and I’ll get back to you! 

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