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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You know how they say think about baseball to make sex last longer?  Okay, so I was thinking, to make the baseball season last longer do we think about baseball?  Maybe we think about sex.  This is a riddle for the Sphinx!  I saw Chris Sale struck out his 300th batter of the season, and I got a pit in my stomach.  I mean, I know the season’s quickly approaching its French end title, “Fin,” but it still bums me out like a mid-20’s Evan Gattis.  Yesterday, Chris Sale went 8 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 13 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.75.  He became the first Red Sox player to record 300 Ks in a season since Pedro Martinez in 1999.  And Pedro had his good luck charm, little person, Nelson de la Rosa!  Well, I guess Sale does have Pedroia.  You look at Sale’s peripherals and you kinda wanna drool — 12.9 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 2.62 xFIP, and averaging 94 MPH on his fastball.  His K-rate is the third best for a starter since 1900.  Okay, so maybe Kluber doesn’t win the Cy Young.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Victor Robles was called up by the Nats.  He’s number two in Prospector Ralph’s top 100 prospects, and everyone loves him, even Brad Garrett!  Robles will likely be the first guy I go over this offseason when I go over some high-profile rookies for 2018.  He is real, and he’s beautiful.  So, here’s the text question I posed to Prospector Ralph yesterday, “Who gets more at-bats from now until the end of the season for the Nationals, Alejandro De Aza or Robles?”  At that point, Ralph stopped talking to me, but it’s even worse.  Prior to my text, I saw “…” showing that he was typing, then that disappeared and nothing.  Just silence.  Eventually, I got a text back that Robles could play half the time.  I don’t know.  My guess is Nats are promoting him as a sort of butt pat that he did well this year.  Maybe he replaces Werth, Kendrick or Taylor here and there and plays a few times a week.  Werth’s shoulder has been barking and he’s woof, in general.  I didn’t care about picking up Robles in a 12-team mixed league, but grabbed him in a 15-teamer to drop Francisco Mejia, who was last week’s “YOU GOTTA GRAB HIM!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The Phillies seem determined to burn some serious pitching rubber. It’s September and they’re still rolling Aaron Nola ($8,400) out like these games actually mean something. I know players have their own self-pride, but this is like a hotel bible – it’s nice, but no one really cares. While the Phillies are busy playing Russian Roulette with Nola and a potential injury though, you should be Russian to get him in your lineup tonight. If you ignore Nola’s 20 earned runs across his last five starts and focus on the Nats ranking dead last in hits, third last in RBI’s and that whopping  .204 AVG over the last week, suddenly, this match up looks kinda okie-dokie. Here’s the rest of my Thursday picks:

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If there is one thing the Cincinnati Reds can do is they can mash RHP. They currently rank top 5 against RHP in wOBA and OPS and almost in the top 10 in nearly all offensive categories. A match-up tonight against Chris Flexen leads to a great stacking possibility. Flexen has been up and down in his brief rookie campaign, but he has been awful on the road. He has an ERA of 8.18 away from home and a trip to Great American Ball Park should balloon that number even further. Joey Votto (410,000), Scooter Gennett ($8,000), Scott Schebler ($7,200), Eugenio Suarez ($8,000) and Adam Duvall ($7,800) should all be able to light up the scoreboard tonight. The over under in this game is sitting at 10 runs, so a slugfest is expected.

New to FantasyDraft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care! 

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It’s player’s weekend, ya’ll! These next few days are about letting loose and having fun and not taking this serious game so seriously. Hey, I’m really good at that! There are nicknames on the back of the jerseys and wacky cleats and bats and socks! How fun! Sign me up! The cynical side of me wants to say huge cash grab suuure, but the fact that all the proceeds go to the player’s chosen charity is kind of cool I will admit. And really who wouldn’t want a Big Smooth jersey. It’s just fun, don’t overthink it! Speaking of fun, how about owning Rhys Hoskins? The rookie hit his ninth home run last night in the first inning to become the fastest player ever to get to nine homers in his first 16 big league games! Extrapolate that! Calculating…calculating…that’s a 90 homer season! And that’s math, people! Math don’t lie. He’s now homered in six straight games hitting .385 with 16 RBI in that stretch. ALL HE DOES IS HIT HOME RUNS. Will he hit a home run in every game going forward? Probably! I don’t know! Remarkably, Rhys’ still available in about 40% of leagues but that number should be even higher by the time I finish this dot, dot, dot…sandwich! Gotcha! After jacking 67 homers in two minor leagues seasons the power is coming as no surprise, but his .283/.406/.755 slash is certainly a big plus. Grey told you to BUY and if he’s still out there in your league you need to run, not walk, to pick him up because late season call ups like this can win your fantasy league. Sadly, Hoskins isn’t rocking a nickname on the back of his jersey this weekend, but if it were up to me it’d be “All Rhys.” See what I did there? If I said it should be “Better Than Judge” would that have been clearer? Because no one is more dominant than All Rhys right now, not even that other guy.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Player A:

  • .301 / .353 / .455
  • 11 home runs
  • 16 stolen bases
  • 55 runs scored
  • 49 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .352, two home runs, 14 runs scored, 10 RBI, three stolen bases
  • PR15: 10.69 (4th in MLB)

Player B:

  • .273 / .353 / .471
  • 13 home runs
  • 12 stolen bases
  • 58 runs scored
  • 38 RBI
  • 2nd Half: .343, five home runs, 18 runs scored, 11 RBI, four stolen bases
  • PR15: 9.21 (7th in MLB)

Pretty scary how similar those numbers are, right? A is Andrelton Simmons and B is Alex Bregman. The only big difference when you dive a little deeper is that Simmons has been consistently producing for pretty much the entire season, while Bregman has been a bit more streaky and pretty much disappeared in June.

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The injury bug bit HARD this week. Every player on this list is a player whose absence will have huge fantasy implications. The playoffs are right around the corner and the smartest owners will be able to manage their injuries and still come out on top. Use my advice to help take you there. With another six outfielders on the disabled list I’m going to make my outfield recommendations at the bottom of this article.

As always, leave a comment below if you have any league-specific injury questions…

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Now that we are a few weeks into the second half, we are able to take a look at players and their rest of season rankings a little differently. For starters, we can see how players are starting the second half. Even though it is only a few days off (or not off, for those who participate in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game) and is not even technically the real halfway point of the season, the All-Star break seems to hit the reset button for some players.

Some players get off to a hot start in the second half and ride the wave for a hot August and September, while others seem to lose their momentum and start off ice cold. You could write a book on the different explanations and theories about why it happens or whether or not the Home Run Derby messes up your swing or the All-Star Game schedule itself is exhausting, but we all know as fantasy owners that we have to really pay attention to our squads coming out of the break.

Players who had unreal, otherworldly breakout first halves like Aaron Judge have come back to earth a little bit, while players we had come to rely on in previous years who had disappointing first halves like Christian Yelich have gotten hot. If those disappointing players don’t get off to a good start to the second half, though, we have to make the tough decision about whether or not it is time to move on.

And that is the other way we have to look at these rankings, with time in mind. Depending on your league and format, you probably have roughly two months left in your season and about a month and a half or less until the playoffs in leagues that have them. Carlos Gonzalez is the 600th ranked player in Razzball’s year-to-date player rater, but he is still owned in 93% of RCLs and 67% of ESPN leagues as apparently, Razznation is still waiting for CarGo to turn back into the hitter he has shown he is over the year.

And while Gonzalez has been somewhat better in the second half and has sown signs of life, at some point time is going to run out. I gave up on him weeks ago and have not looked back. In the leagues where I had him I am in first or second place and am clawing to either stay there or overtake the top team, and I just don’t have any more time to wait on him. Granted, I gave up on him when it looked like he wasn’t going to have regular playing time anymore, and that is no longer the case since the Rockies can’t stay healthy, but I don’t regret the decision. Even after showing he can still hit a little in the second half, he still only has a 0.02 PR15. That isn’t enough to make me regret the decision or convince me he is going to get hot.

For Gonzalez this season, his Hard%, FB%, and HR/FB% are all down, while his AVG, OBP, and SLG are all well below his career averages. Most troubling to me is the SLG, which is currently sitting at .341. It would not be surprising to find out that he has been playing through injuries all season because 1. He is pretty much always injured and 2. These numbers are awful. You know I love creating these graphs, so check out this one:

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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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