Welcome back to MLB DFS, Money Monday edition.  It’s Memorial Day and hopefully, you’re tossing some back by the grill and remembering those who have passed before us.  It’s me, Cousin Timmy, here to start your week off right!  We have a split slate today but I’ll be covering the six-game main slate on FanDuel […]

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Happy Friday, Razzball readers! It’s high school graduation weekend at many schools across the country, kicking off graduation season for all of the future Leaders of America ™ . My oldest daughter is graduating Sunday (congratulations, I love you, and I’m incredibly proud of you!) but another graduation I’m pondering is that of Milwaukee Brewer […]

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The Major League Baseball season is down to its final week and a host of teams are still battling for spots in the postseason. And just like MLB, there are numerous fantasy leagues that will go down to the last pitch this season.

With that in mind, fantasy owners should do everything they can to secure a title. In re-draft leagues, that means discarding anyone and everyone who is not producing and picking up the hot hand. With that in mind, this week we will concentrate on some players who have been hot the last two weeks and likely available in your league.

So let’s look at the Top 25 fantasy shortstop rankings before we focus on players you should possibly target this last week of the season.

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The fantasy baseball season is winding down, and if you are like me, you are constantly looking at your phone and the live scoring. Did Jose Altuve collect that much-needed RBI? Did Ozzie Albies swipe a bag that you have to have in order to overtake your opponent in steals. These next few days and weeks are going to be nerve wracking.

Making things even worse is if you have a player go on the IL or your second baseman is currently mired in a slump. The top players aren’t just sitting there on the waiver wire to be added, so adding the right free agent could be the difference between winning the title and being the best of the losers.

Before we talk about who some of those key free agents may be, let’s look at the rankings, taking into account that they mostly reflect what they have done for the entire season. But I’ll also touch on the players outside the rankings that should be watched or added in the next few days.

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When it comes to the Top 25 rankings, I often penalize players who are on the disabled list because those players can’t help your fantasy team. But there is always an exception to the rule. The exception is Wander Franco.

Franco left Friday night’s game against Detroit with right hamstring tightness and was placed on the 10-day IL Saturday. According to manager Kevin Cash, Franco can be out two to three weeks, though he hopes it could be a quicker recovery. The injury couldn’t come at a worst time for fantasy owners as the playoffs have started or about to start, depending on the number of teams that make the playoffs in your league.

Despite the injury, I moved Franco into the top 10 in my rankings as he now sits at No. 9. He would be higher, but my rankings also take into account what players have done the entire season, and Franco has not been with the Rays the entire season. If he had been, he would be in the Tier 1 group.

Before suffering his injury, the 20-year-old Franco ripped a pitch up the middle at 107.5 mph to reach base and extend his on-base streak to 39 games. Franco is now four games shy of tying the record for for the longest on-base streak by a player 20-years-old or younger. In 62 games this season, Franco is slashing .285-.347-463 with 49 runs scored, seven homers, 36 RBI and 2 steals. In his last 25 games, his slash line is .347-.407-.571 with 27 runs scored, three home runs and 16 RBI.

Those stats are why Franco has climbed the rankings despite him now being injured. It’s plainly obvious he is one of the best hitting shortstops in baseball and by next year he will likely reside in Tier 1 all season. Now let’s see who else has climbed in the rankings or taken a tumble.

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Trying to figure out  Brandon Lowe is like a day trader trying to figure out when to buy or sell a stock. At the beginning of the season, everyone should have been selling Lowe stock. But based on past performance, they were still buying.

Once they were convinced he was a failed commodity, Lowe stock was being sold and he could be a cheap buy, but he likely cost you a lot while you held on to him. However, if you are the type of investor who plays the long game and doesn’t get caught up in the day-to-day highs and lows or if you were able to get Lowe when his price had bottomed out, then congratulations! Because right now, Lowe is carrying your team.

Throughout the season Lowe has produced home runs and RBI. Through June, he had 16 homers and 38 RBI. But he also had slash lines of .182-.301-.364 in April, .196-.312-.380 in May and .241-.337-.542 in June. Lowe also racked up 97 strikeouts in 263 at-bats – a strikeout percentage of 37 percent! But over the last two months, Lowe has been a beast at the plate. In July he slashed .288-.416-.616 with six homers, six doubles and 14 RBI in 22 games. Last month he hit nine double, nine homers and drove in 26 runs in 27 games while slashing .262-.328-.598.

Why the turnaround at the plate, at least when it comes to his slash line? The answer is pretty easy – his strikeout rate. In 180 at-bats in July and August, Lowe struck out only 48 times, a strikeout percentage of 27 percent. That is a 10 percent improvement compared to the first three months of the season. Yes, today’s game doesn’t penalize players for striking out. The easiest way to beat shifts and score runs is to just hit balls over the fence.

But putting the ball into play still matters, and Lowe is showing what happens when you put the ball in play.  In the games Lowe has played this season, Tampa Bay is 79-48, and in those 79 wins, Lowe’s slash line is .248-.366-.520 with a strikeout percentage of 30 percent and BABIP of .283. But in the games the Rays lost, his slash line is .190-.256-.430 with a strikeout percentage of 38 percent and a BABIP of .218. The Rays – and your fantasy team – are at their best when Lowe puts the ball in play.

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When you think of the top shortstops in baseball, you automatically think of Fernando Tatis Jr. first, then probably Bo Bichette, Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, and Corey Seager – when he is healthy. Perhaps we need to add two names to that list.

Perhaps it is time everyone considers Jorge Polanco and Dansby Swanson as two of baseball’s top-hitting shortstops.

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In many fantasy baseball leagues, the season is winding down. The difference between making the playoffs and sitting on the sideline is going to be between which players are hot and which players are not.

As I have been doing the past month with the second baseman and shortstop rankings, I am going to highlight the players you may have a chance of adding from the waiver wire. We all know Marcus Semien and Ozzie Albies are awesome. Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, and Jose Altuve are all having great seasons as well. But we all that, and all five of those players aren’t sitting around on the waiver wire.

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Last week featured the second basemen who are good additions to make right now in your drive toward the fantasy postseason. This week it is the shortstops’ turn. There are a number of players available on the waiver wire who will make great additions down the stretch on your fantasy team.

You can never have too much depth at the position. Owners of Francisco Lindor know all too well about injuries. Javier Baez is now in that same situation with back spasms. Or you can have two outstanding shortstops who are now falling “short” of expectations.

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With the playoffs looming in fantasy baseball, owners are looking for those players who may be able to give them that little edge they need to secure a playoff spot or hold off an opponent. So let’s change things up a bit this week and talk about those who are not listed at the top of the rankings. We all know who the top second baseman are and they aren’t available to you unless you make a trade for them.

However, there are a handful of second basemen who are eligible on the waiver wire. A few of these players could be the key to you making the playoffs or watching the postseason from the outside. So, who are these magical players some of you should be adding to your roster?

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The trade deadline is history, and what a trade deadline it was as one All-Star after another All-Star changed teams.

Two of the big names on the move were shortstops – Javier Baez and Trea Turner. Baez is now a member of the New York Mets while Turner moved west and is now with the Dodgers. How do the two trades affect fantasy owners?

Statistically, I think the move will benefit both players. Baez was already playing well over the last month. But now that he is in a race for a division title, look for him to continue his hot streak and become even more productive. This is a player who has shown in the past that he can rise to the occasion.

As for Turner, he is now in a lineup that will be loaded with players who get on base or can drive him in. When he returns from the COVID list, he will likely slot into the top of the lineup and score a ton of runs while also using his speed to steal bases to get into scoring position. But the bottom of the Los Angeles lineup gets on so much that Turner won’t suffer a drop in RBI.

Positionally, both players are going to add to their versatility, especially for next season. That will help dynasty owners. With Francisco Lindor on the shelf for possibly another month, Baez will slot in a shortstop before moving to second when Lindor gets back.

But if that return is near the end of August and closes in on the start of fantasy league playoffs, Baez may not get a lot of starts at second to help fantasy owners who could use him at second base. Turner, however, will be starting at second base as soon as he returns as Corey Seager has returned from the IL. So within a week or two, Turner will have that second position to be able to play.

Have the trades of Baez and Turner changed where they are ranked among the shortstops? Let’s find out.

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