(NOTE: THIS POST WAS RELEASED EARLY YESTERDAY ON OUR PATREON. IT’S $5/MONTH.)
You walk into the banquet hall where your cousin, Jared Walsh, is having his bar mitzvah, and the first thing that hits you is the macho-aggressive tones of Kenny Loggins. Kenny shouts at you a question, “Are you gonna wait for a sign, your miracle?” Down by your side, you snap your fingers, and quietly answer, “Stand up and fight.” As if he’s talking directly to you, Kenny’s pulsating voice hits you with another command, “Make no mistake where you are,” and under your breath you quietly respond, “This is it.” Kenny, “Your back’s to the corner.” You slide your back against a wall and louder now, “This is it.” Kenny’s fighting you to be better, “Don’t be a fool anymore.” You, fighting back tears, “This is it.” Then your aunt comes over and asks you if you’re still dating that goy, sees tears streaming down your face and uncomfortably waits for you to compose yourself. Kenny’s back, “The waiting is over,” you run to the stage, but Kenny sings, “No, don’t you run.” Finally, you get to the stage where the deejay has his back to you. All you see is his Orioles’ jersey and his last name Stewart. When he turns to you, you see DJ Stewart, the epitome of cool, and not just because he’s in front of a wind machine. He leans down and says with the wisdom of a great sage, “I’m just a hot schmotato, you’re the real star.” He’s right, of course. That’s all you need for the final ten days. Jared Walsh looks like a Quad-A player, but he’s hitting in front of Mike Trout, and it doesn’t get any better. I’m grabbing Walsh, DJ Stewart and everyone from this bar mitzvah — even you, Aunt Marilyn! Also, everyone is expendable (except Aunt Marilyn, bless her heart). Play only hot hands. You need to play footloose and fancy free with your teams in this final stretch. “Did someone say Footloose?” That’s DJ Stewart readying up the next Kenny Loggins. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:
Down the stretch we come. Two weeks remaining of the MLB season and hopefully, this article finds you in the playoffs. I’ve tried to recommend relatively low-owned options all year long and that’s not changing at this point. This week the juggernaut offense of the Miami Marlins gets eight games over the next six days. I jest a little by calling them juggernauts, but over the last 14 days, the Marlins have posted a team wOBA of .334 – good for 11th in the league. Their opponents in this stretch are the Red Sox (3) and the Nationals (5). While they do face Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, none of the other starting pitchers is anything to be scared of. Shoot, even Scherzer and Corbin have combined for a 4.07 ERA this year. After the starters, the Marlins bats will face bullpens that have posted 5.00+ ERAs on the year. So, who can help us this week from the Marlins? Since Jon Berti hit the IL, Corey Dickerson (25.8% ESPN, 35% CBS) has been leading off against right-handed pitchers. Jesus Aguilar (20.1% ESPN, 45% CBS) has quietly had a really nice rebound season. He’s reduced his strikeout rate for the 4th consecutive year and can help you in every category other than stolen bases. Miguel Rojas (10.3% ESPN, 18% CBS) returned from an IL stint and has batted close to .400 and has chipped in a pair of steals over the last two weeks. If you’re desperate at catcher, Jorge Alfaro (7.1% ESPN, 31%) has posted a decent batting average and has chipped in a pair of stolen bases. Finally, Garrett Cooper (10.2% ESPN, 22% CBS) provides multi-positional eligibility and has mashed three homers over the last two weeks. If there’s a specific category you feel that your team is lacking, pick your favorite Marlin. Let’s take a look at some other options to help you out down the stretch.
“Keep on go on wondering why, I got out of bed at all,” which are the lyrics for Thank You by Dido, which was the chorus for Stan by Eminem, and I want to thank you, Kwang-Hyun Kim (7 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks, ERA at 0.63) as he was activated from the IL after having kidney problems, and to misquote Eminem, “I Stan Kim.” Actually, here’s Eminem singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem.” Eminem is a big Golden Girls fan, obvi. Any hoo! What a year by Kim, whoa. He has 24 consecutive scoreless innings, and has allowed only one home run all year. Granted, he’s only thrown 28 2/3 IP all year, has allowed only two earned runs all year, and that’s less than a month of a regular season. But, wow, what a year! We’ll leave it at that. Will Eminem, or us for that matter, be singing The Golden Girls theme song, “Stan Kim for pitching a gem” in 2021? That seems less likely. His peripherals are not particularly inspiring, but for this year *genuflects* Stan Kim, Stan Kim, Stan Kim. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
His full name is Randy Arozarena, and he was kidnapped and raised by Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter as their own. On today’s podcast coming later today, I was surprised to hear Podcaster Ralph say he thought Randy Arozarena was for real. I honestly thought he was a hot schmotato, and the best part of him was his last name sounds like a Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lyric. Psychic spies from Tampa try to steal your fantasy team’s elation, and little girls from Sweden dream of me quoting me quotation, and if you want these kind of dreams of Arozarenication. Also, he has a readymade nickname, the Rice Bowl, because his name split up is Arroz Arena. Damn it, I love him now too! In Triple-A, Arozarena went 12/9/.358 in 64 games in 2019, and he has 25+ steal speed, and roughly 15-homer power. That’ll play the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the Rice Bowl. Yesterday, Arozarena (1-for-2) hit his third homer in two games, and is hitting .471. Even if he doesn’t keep up that, and Cash tries to platoon the Rice Bowl, he’s well worth picking up. Don’t worry, I haven’t said Randy Arozarena 2021 sleeper, so no jinx yet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Lucas Giolito was the first White Sox pitcher to get a no hitter and rack up ten-plus Ks, going 9 IP, 0 ER, 1 walk, 13 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.09. And you didn’t think he was an ace that you should draft as your 1st starter! *screams at the heavens* REDEMPTION! Crap, I think I just hurt my back. Okay, the Pirates’ lineup was hilariously bad. They didn’t have one hitter with an OBP over .300. No need to bring in a defensive replacement for the White Sox outfield. Go ahead and put your glove away, DeWayne Wise. “Aw shucks.” That’s DeWayne. I turned the game on for the 9th, and I more just wanted to see a social distancing no-hitter celebration. Something akin to Don Larsen jumping into Yogi’s arms, and Yogi sidestepping him to put on a mask and Don skidding on his butt. But that wasn’t the case. We had our first good thing of 2020. Dot dot dot. Until Eloy Jimenez looked like he got hurt in the celebration. “You thought you’d get something nice?” That’s the year 2020 as it evilly cackles. You suck, 2020! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
After blowing the game in epic fashion Thursday night and then blowing another game same-day, hours later even epicly-er the Philadelphia Phillies have finally said enough is enough. Their relievers are rocking a icy 8.07 ERA, with an even more inflated 10.93 ERA in the ninth inning. Wow. That’s like Red Sox-relievers-bad. So who did they reach out to? Who else but the awful reliever experts, the Boston Red Sox, and Philly acquired Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree Friday night in hopes of bring some stability to the late inning relief. In return they send RHPs Connor Seabold and Nick Pivetta to Boston. Pivetta, a sabremetrics darling, will likely slot into the starting rotation immediately despite his ugly 15.88 ERA, 1.94 WHIP. He’s given up 10 runs in just three games this year so he should fit right in with this pitching staff. Still, dude strikes out everyone. A 10.32 K/9 in 2018 shows flashes of what could be a valuable starter some day. I have streamed him many times in the past and he’s burned me even more times, and I look forward to this happening again real soon. Connor Seabold (2.24 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 58/11 K/BB in the minors), could also likely find his way into the rotation at some point this year, given the lack of competition at the big league level. Back to Phillies, Workman should immediately take over as closer and could see a boost as he’s better than his 4.07 ERA and 1.80 suggest and has converted all four of his save chances this year. The Phillies are a considerably better team so the save opportunities should be more frequent. Workman is likely already rostered in most fantasy leagues, even though he probably shouldn’t be. However, his successor in Boston, Matt Barnes, is still unowned in most leagues, and that is likely to change quick. If you’re as desperate for saves as I am for positive feedback Barnes and his 5.59 ERA are the obvious choice for save chances for Boston going forward. He notched his first save of the year Friday night allowing just one hit. Pick him up if you really need the saves or you just hate yourself.
Yesterday, the Mets debuted their 2017 1st round pick, David Peterson, and he went 5 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 9 baserunners, 3 Ks. Here’s bit of tid on him: Tall dude, stands about 6’6″. *standing on my chair, arm up in the air* About yay high. Fastball velocity sits *gets off chair, points at my framed picture of Angela Lansbury* low 90’s. Slider and curveball are *looks around to illustrate, points at colored-in Denny’s placement of a cowboy, realizes that won’t be enough, takes crayon and draws a cape on the cowboy* That’s a super okie. As in okie doke. C’mon, that was an easy one. So, lots of okie-doke usually equals okie-dookie, but he has solid command, so he might be a four to five real-world starter, which makes him good for Streamonator in shallower fantasy leagues. In a short season, there could be some value here. He should at least limit damage, as he did last night in Fenway. Also, Prospect Itch wrote about 500 words on David Peterson in his 2020 Mets fantasy baseball prospects writeup, and only one overt threat directed at me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Wasn’t that long ago that we were screaming about how terrible the shortstops are and how the sky is falling and how red wine is good for your health and you were like, “What if I put grenadine in my vodka?” Maybe it comes with age, but if you’re around long enough you know these things go in cycles. For a few years, middle infidels are terrible, then corner infidels are in that sinking boat. As of now, shortstops are stupid stacked, and the top 20 shortstops for 2020 fantasy baseball are an absolute joy for at least twenty of the twenty but, as always, this is going much deeper. So, here’s Steamer’s 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2020 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All my 2020 fantasy baseball rankings are under that thingie-ma-whosie, and I mention where all tiers start and stop, and all shortstop projections are mine. Let’s get to it! Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2020 fantasy baseball:
Pirates organization should be on an episode of Botched. Are they the worst organization or what? Hint: The answer is not ‘or what.’ Let’s do a brief recap of what a giant POS team this is. Pirates’ closer, Felipe Vazquez, decided to try to bite off Kyle Crick’s finger last week. A giant piece of garbage move? Well, gee, Wally, I don’t know, it seems like that’s not a nice thing to do. The Pirates are dead-last in the NL Central, as they’re wont to be, so suspend the giant festering wound that is Vazquez, right? Gosh, Ms. Molly, that seems obvious. Well, no, of course not. The Pirates are trying to avoid losing 95 games and only lose 94 games instead, so the Pirates made the chickenshizz move to stick with Vazquez. This is, after all, the club that didn’t want to trade Felipe Vazquez for prospects at the trade deadline. Finishing in last with 94 wins instead of 95 must mean a lot to them. Now, the jagoff that is Vazquez is arrested for being the worst type of human and looks like he’ll never pitch again. No wonder Felipe Vazquez changed his name last year, he’s a giant pedophile creep! You did good, Pirates! Maybe to go with your pitch-to-contact pitching coach, your clueless manager and your maybe-we-can-lose-only-94-games team, you can find another awesome trade like sending Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow for Chris Archer. Any hoo! I’d guess Keone Kela or Richard Rodriguez is the closer for the final week-plus, in that order. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:
Yesterday, Michael Conforto went 2-for-3, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and his 24th and 25th homer, and, like, his 43rd homer in the last month (9 homers since the break). Men, dudes, bros, youse, five lady readers, Goofusses and Gallants, Cousin Sweatpants, my peeps from another Easter basket! Conforto gets scorching hot for these month-long stretches that makes you think he could put it together for a whole year one of these days, um, years. He’s the third Met player in history with 100+ homers before the age of 27. The other two are Darryl Strawberry and David Wright. The three of them all stayed at a Howard Johnson in the offseason. HoJo puts on a team-building seminar on his back patio and provides snacks, and Lenny Dykstra works the valet. Conforto’s in-Confort-ible! *screams for 10 minutes* Okay. I’m back. If you look at Conforto’s peripherals he really is more this post-All-Star break hitter, and less the one that struggled for the previous six weeks prior to this. Hopefully, Conforto stays in-Conforto-ible for the rest of this year and into 2020. I can see it now! (Only another 18 months of bad 2020 puns.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball: