Coming into last night the Baltimore Orioles were the fourth lowest scoring team in the league with 321 runs scored. They are still the fourth lowest scoring team today, but they did manage to score a season high 13 runs against Mike Clevinger and the Clevinger Indians. I mean Cleveland Indians. To be fair to Clevinger he was only responsible for seven of those runs over one and two thirds innings. Not exactly what his owners were hoping to see in his return from the IL. Am I the only one that thinks he looks like 2017 deGrom? And which one of them played Mitch in Dazed and Confused? But enough about that. After raking in Triple A and being called up to Baltimore back on June 3, Sisco has done very little. On Friday night he exploded with a homer, a double, a single, three runs and five RBIs! For my points readers, he had 18 points before this game in which he totaled 15 more nearly doubling his season total. While it was a great performance, Trey Mancini is the only Baltimore bat I’d consider owning. I say no thanks to Villar, in case you were wondering, but I do have a points league perspective. So I guess if you need saves he’s cool. You cool, man?

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Jorge Alfaro joins the one and only Fantasy Sausage Pod this week. Not literally, for some reason he wouldn’t answer our calls. B_Don and Donkey Teeth are instead forced to talk about Jorge behind his back. Your hosts tell you everything you want to know, and more, about the up and coming Phillies catcher, who slots in at #12 and #7 respectively in their 2019 fantasy catcher rankings. You can find their entire catcher rankings below.

The Sausage Bros also dig in on a few other young dudes who handle balls for a living on this episode: Gary Sanchez, Willians Astudillo, and Danny Jansen. Find out what’s to like, or not like, about each of these youthful pitch receivers. Plus, Donkey Teeth shares a couple really deep catcher names to keep an eye on for the 2019 fantasy season. There’s nothing quite like greasy January baseball sausage!

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That’s the question that’s been on my brain as I worked on these rankings the past few weeks. I’m not over the past 10 years, not for next year, not for the next 10 years — right now — is Mike Trout still the #1 hitter this year? Even with a lengthy DL stint, Trout is still one of the top players in the league and is close to surpassing all of his numbers from last year’s (also) injury shrunken season (88 runs/31 HRs/2 SBs in 116 games so far this year vs. 92/33/22 in 114 games last year.) But while he missed 19 games in August this year, three players have kept chugging right along and putting up phenomenal numbers. Let’s take a look at these three challengers for the crown.

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The 10 HR/8 SB/.302 AVG player we saw from AJ Pollock over the first month or so of the season is a top-20 player if that pace continues for a full season. However we know how this story goes, since May 4th (yes I know there was an injury in there because OF COURSE there was) Pollock has 184 ABs with only 6 HRs and 2 SBs with a .261 AVG. However, I keep him on these rankings because peak Pollock is a 20/40 threat. The only problem is peak Pollock is a pretty preposterous proposition. Whatever is hurting him this time seems to be limiting him on the base paths which is limiting you in your standings. 

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I’m going to do something a little different this week. I wanted to do a fun little experiment to show how tricky it can be to rank 100 hitters every week. It can be tough to decide which statistic is more valuable in standard 5×5 leagues while also taking into account: age, injury history, lineup, previous performance, home stadium, position eligibility, splits, etc.

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Matt Carpenter (up 36 spots): In his first 186 ABs: 23 runs, 7 HR, 21 RBI, .215 AVG. In his next 183 ABs: 47 runs, 19 HRs, 36 RBI, .339 AVG. End paragraph. 

There’s a few guys every week who I’m keeping a close eye on who are on the cusp of making the Top 100 Hitters list. This week the guys on the bubble are: Mallex Smith, Kole Calhoun and Ian Kinsler. Smith is looking like everything  we want Billy Hamilton to be. Like Hamilton, Smith had an eye-popping stolen base season in the minors (92  in 2014!) But Mallex is actually getting on base at a great rate (.357) this year, something Hamilton has sworn against. Mallex has all the speed of Hamilton and with opportunity could put together an amazing full season next year. I’m sure you already realized this, but Kole Calhoun was just the worst until the end of May. .162 batting average. That’s worse than some pitchers! Maybe — I don’t know. I’m pro-NL-DH. Haters gonna hate! Well Kole world got demoted and found the ghost of Babe Ruth while hitting for the Salt Lake Bees. (Beads?!) Since his return to The Los Angeles Trouts he’s hitting .302 with 27 runs, 13 HRs, 30 RBI and has even stolen 2 bases just for fun. If this pace keeps up, he’ll be rocketing up this list. Finally, Ian Kinsler has a pretty nice 20 game hot streak. He’s got 15 runs, 2 HRs, 10 RBI, 2 SBs, and a .347 AVG in that span. Now, put those numbers batting 6th behind Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and friends. His value just got a nice shot in the arm.

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When I left Jose Martinez off my Top 100 Hitter rankings earlier in the season people were calling for Grey to take my head. Well maybe this is why I was hesitant: Martinez hasn’t homered since June 30th. Oh wait, let me make that even more shocking — he hasn’t scored a run since June 30th. He also only has 1 XBH since June 30th. I like JMart, really I do. But we all need to pump our brakes on him. If he keeps up this “pace” — he’ll find himself just like Eric Hosmer off my Top 100 list and onto Chris Jericho’s list.

Cody Bellinger was enjoying a fine season until the end of June too. He had 49 runs, 16 HRs, 40 RBI and even 5 stolen bases with a .832 OPS. Like Martinez, Bellinger’s power has disappeared in this past month. He only has 1 HR and 4 RBI in 90 ABs.

You have to wonder if Max Muncy absorbed Bellinger’s power in some Space Jam Monstar style scheme. Bellinger and Martinez owners have to hope that Mike Trout beats the Monstars in Space Slam and gets Bellinger’s powers back. Or would it be Bryce Harper? Mike Trout apparently doesn’t use his personal marketing department enough.

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I started writing this week’s top 100 hitters article the same way I do every week: on the balcony of my penthouse apartment inside One57 skyscraper on West 57th street overlooking Central Park. Sipping a tall glass of Chateau Lafite 1787 while my trained Tibetan Mastiff, Chanel rests her head on my lap. This is the type of lifestyle being a Razzball writer has afforded me.

In reality, I’m sitting on my second-hand couch in north Jersey catching up on this week’s episodes of Big Brother with my wife while drinking flat Mr. Pib as my cat walks across my lapto9oi[p9vgdvc12er2`q.

Perception and reality can change over time. Our perception of a certain player during our draft will become a completely different reality over the course of the season. Since there have only been one full day of games since my last rankings this week I’m going to post last week’s rankings and compare them with where I had them ranked at the beginning of week 1 to see where my perception and the player’s reality were at odds.

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