So, how’s everyone holding up without baseball every day?  I don’t know what to do with myself!  Yesterday I wandered into a Starbucks and told the coffeerista about Marcus Stroman for 2018.  Then I sobbed into a cheddar scone until someone asked me to leave.  We’ve gone over the final 2017 fantasy baseball rankings for hitters and the top 20 starters.  This is different than Final Fantasy rankings where you rank Final Fantasy 1 thru Final Fantasy 15.  That’s hardcore nerd shizz!  This is simply fantasy baseball, we’re softcore nerds like Emmanuelle is to porn.  So, there’s no more of these godforsaken recap posts left.  You’re welcome.  I, my over-the-internet friend, will be talking next about 2018 rookies.  Anyway, here’s the top 40 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

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Greetings and welcome to the last Two-Start Starters post of the year. With it being the last week of the season, make sure you take this list with the biggest grain of salt you can find. Just stay away from the bath salts. That will lead to entirely different issues in the coming weeks.

For the last week, obviously, our problem is that these rotations are written in pencil. As more and more teams clinch the playoffs and become locked into their spots, they will rest starters. Some teams, looking ahead to a potential one-game playoff (which is the dumbest thing baseball has ever decided to do, but that is a rant for another time), may even tweak their rotation to get a certain starter lined up for that crucial game. So, disclaimer over. Take this list as a starting point, but know that it could be very fluid throughout the week.

The first thing you may notice is that Chris Sale is scheduled to make two starts, but I did not include him in the rankings. That is because that second start is not a certainty by any means, and I would argue it is very unlikely. If the Red Sox have already clinched the division, there is little chance he starts or, if he does, that he pitches deep into the game. If the Red Sox might be destined for a Wild Card Playoff game, then they will likely want to keep Sale fresh to be able to start that game. Sale is obviously still worth starting for his one start, but don’t bank on getting two starts from him this week.

There are others who are probably in similar situations. I removed Dallas Keuchel, Jon Lester, Luis Severino, and Jake Arrieta because I would avoid them strictly for two start purposes. Obviously, those are still pitchers worth starting; they just are not reliable options if you absolutely need two starts. While I left them on the list, I would also avoid Yu Darvish, Alex Wood, and Carlos Martinez.

As for the Streamonator picks for this week, there are actually seven starters with positive money values who are owned in less than 75% of RCLs:

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If you’re at all familiar with management theory, then you’re probably aware generally of the “Peter Principle”. The concept is simple, managers rise to the level of their incompetence. Here’s where you think about your current manager, and snicker. Are you done? Okay, so it’s concept that many of us can relate to, some of us first hand. But what does this have to do with the subject of today’s profile Marlins starter Dillon Peters? Ahhh, his name is Peters? It works right? But perhaps there’s more there. Or maybe I’m overthinking. Yeah, totally overthinking it. Then again, is it possible that Peters has risen to his own level of potential incompetence here in the Bigs? His numbers over the last two years in the minors have been phenomenal, rarely letting up multiple earned runs in a game. In fact over the last two years, across 37 starts between high A and AA, Peters has amassed a 21-9 record with a 2.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, .224 BAA,  7.5 K/9, and 1.74 Bb/9. While allowing just 5 balls to leave the park in 191.2 innings. So to say he’s on a great run the last few years is an understatement. Will that continue here in the majors or is he due for a heavy regression? Through Peters first few starts he’s been solid but lucky. I actually intended to profile his start last Tuesday at Philadelphia, but pivoted to Sunday’s turn for the rescheduled home game vs the Brew Crew. I figured in case things went awry in Milwaukee recency bias would win out. Here’s what I saw.

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Welcome to the home stretch, boys, gals, and in-betweens. Like we discussed last week, the two-start starters list has been dwindling due to expanded rosters, young arms having their innings limited, and many teams opting for six-man rotations as a result. This week, with many teams also having an off day, there are fewer than 30 options for two-start starters. (By the way, fogimon, will you be watching Corey Kluber’s second start tomorrow? #KissyEmoji)

There are still some options for two-start streamers, however. Checking in with Streamonator, here are the two-start starters for this week with a positive dollar value who are owned in less than 75% of RCLs:

  • German Marquez COL, $16.80, 20%
  • Jharel Cotton OAK, $5.60, 18%
  • Blake Snell TB, $4.70, 31%
  • Tyler Mahle CIN, $1.70, 1%
  • Dan Straily MIA, $0.70, 53%

Despite the light list, we still have five starters with positive dollar values. Of the names on this list, I like Marquez and Straily the most. Snell I would gamble on if I needed to, but I would stay away from Cotton and my cousin Tyler Mahle (not really my cousin).

Marquez shines through this week because of his matchups: at San Francisco and at San Diego. Two teams who have struggled mightily at the plate, and he gets them in their pitcher-friendly ballparks. He is not without risk, but you could not ask for two better matchups.

I’m not sure how Straily is still only owned in 53% of RCLs, but sign me up for that, too. His matchups aren’t as good (vs. Mets and at Diamondbacks) because of that trip to Arizona, but I am still willing to roll with him over the others on the list.

Snell is meh, but he doesn’t scare me as much as Cotton or Mahle. Despite their positive value, if I am in need of starts in H2h playoffs, I am not going near either of those two. Their potential for disaster outweighs any value they provide, at least in my eyes. Stay away and save yourself.

And now, to the charts!

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Yesterday, Matt Olson went 1-for-2, 2 RBIs with his 18th homer, hitting .273, all in only 49 games, and seven homers in his last ten games.  Dizzamn, who is he the American League’s Rhysus?  I’d call him Olsonus, but that sounds stupid.  We’re ridin’ the Ols-mobile?  That’s better (not)!  Like me after Taco Bell, he is Olplosive (much worse!).  I hear the train a comin’ rollin’ round the bend!  I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when!  Well I’m stuck with Matt Olson and time keeps dragging on!  While a train keeps a rollin’ like Olson to San Antone!  Well when I was just a baby my mama told me Olson, Olson, OLSON!  Always be a good boy don’t ever play with guns (flexes, showing gun show).  Well I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die, not OLSON!  When I hear that whistle blowin’ I hang my head and I cry because I don’t have OLSON!  Whew, that was exhausting.  So, obviously, if you need power, you should grab Olsonus, and ride the Ols-mobile.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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To anyone from Southeastern Massachusetts my title means something to you. If you’re anything like me it signifies the first time in your life you were severely disappointed. I can still remember packing into my parent’s station wagon with another family my parents were friendly with. We were headed to the “World Famous King Richard’s Faire“. Six year old Ralph couldn’t believe I was headed to THE fair of THE King Richard. I mean he was the best king ever, and here I am headed to his fair! Me, lowly 6 year old Ralph with a golden bowl cut! Welp, much like everything else in life since, it was a massive disappointment. What was supposed to be a day of jousts, knights, kings and princesses, quickly turned into reality. That reality was drunk bikers with swords, mutton, and the inescapable smell of feces and urine. The strangest part is it smelt just as much like urine as it did poop. It was as if the two smells were competing for dominance, each pushing itself to it’s limits but neither overtaking the other. Needless to say I never went back. I could have, but I did better things with my time like drinking or masturbating. What does this have to do with Garrett Richards and his most recent start? Well let’s just say I was excited, only to be disappointed. That’s my big market tease, trust me you’re bound to be disappointed…

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The Cleveland Indians may never lose again! Friday night the Tribe won their 16th straight game, the longest streak in baseball this season, and the longest winning streak since the Oakland A’s won 20 in a row back in 2002 (and that team had Jermaine Dye and Chris Pratt!) Kind of gives you that good old fashioned hometown community pow-wow feeling. Relax Isaiah Thomas, you’re a Clevelander now. Regardless! Mike Clevinger has been a big part of the winning streak and he continues to pitch well winning his third straight start Friday night going six innings, giving up just three hits and three walks while striking out seven for his ninth win of the year. In his past three starts, Mike has gone 18 innings, allowing just 10 hits and no runs, with a 22/7 K/BB ratio lowering his ERA from 3.97 to 3.30 in that stretch. Clevinger Assemble! Mike is available in little over half of fantasy leagues, and he’s getting hot at just the right time for playoff stetch. He gets a nice home start versus the Detroit Tigers next week and after limiting them to three hits last week I will definitely be starting him there, especially if they’re going for some kind of silly 21 game win streak record by that point! Or did I just jinx by writing all this? Whatever! Pick up all the Indians! And put all your fantasy faith on Believeland right now, folks, you need to ride this magical streak while you can because the Indians keep winning! Let’s give them the chop!

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

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There’s an old expression in Major League Baseball, “As the sun sets on one Weaver, another rises from its ashes.” I have to say it was rather prophetic to predict the spontaneous combustion of Jered Weaver’s career. Then again, it’s not like there weren’t clear signs that we had reached the end of the line with our most recent Weaver. I mean the man was throwing 67 MPH in his last few starts, or years, but whatever… That brings me to today’s subject, our new shiny Weaver, complete with new car scent! I’m of course alluding to Cardinals rookie phenom Luke Weaver. The 24 year old right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues last year to mixed results. He looked brilliant at times, and caught too much of the plate at others. The issues with Weaver are rarely related to his pitching however. He’s had an inability to stay healthy over the course of his career, never exceeding 120 innings pitched in a season. As for the player himself he has one of the more exciting upsides of any arm in the minors, mixing swinging strikes, with weak contact, and elite control. Since his most recent callup in late August, Weaver has posted back to back starts with 10 Ks and 1 walk, while limiting his opponents to a .224 batting average against. There’s nothing I love more than digging into the start of a player I’ve been touting for a year plus. It’s even better when that player’s twitter handle (@DreamWeava7) has a Boston accent! I’m in LOVE!! Previously Weaver has ranked 48th (pre-season), and 60th in my mid-season, which is lofty praise. As anyone who reads my prospect work will tell you, I discount pitching prospects pretty heavily for fantasy purposes.  Enough of the small talk, here’s what I witnessed in Weaver’s Sunday start.

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There’s a narrative making the rounds that today’s Pitching Profile subject Collin McHugh just started throwing a slider. This on it’s face isn’t completely true, his repertoire included a slider two years ago, but he scrapped it in 2016 in favor of a cutter. So the “throwing a slider now” people are insane, and this is open and shut case. Right, Ralphie?” Actually, their narrative is partially correct, because while he did formerly throw a slider he didn’t go back to the pitch he scrapped before last season. He’s throwing a different slider. A reworked version he picked up from clubhouse showboat Brad Peacock. Who picked the pitch up from some shoe salesman named Jordan Jankowski, who picked his up from a decoder ring at the bottom of a box of Count Chocula. Anyway, back in 2015 when McHugh experienced a break through with the Astros, he threw his “old” slider nearly 45% of the time. It’s funny that everyone forgot he threw a slider back then, considering it accounted for such a high chunk of his usage. In fact he threw his breaking pitches, (he also has a high spin-rate curveball), 67.1% of the time.  Leading his 27.2% fastball usage to rank as the second lowest in the majors behind only R.A. Dickey during the 2015 season. Before 2016 began McHugh’s usage of his ineffective slider was scrapped completely for a cutter, and an increased reliance on his hook. The results didn’t change, in fact in someways they got worse, but that’s not important, and here’s why. Fast forward to 2017, and McHugh missed a majority of the season’s first half with an elbow injury. The player that has emerged since is a completely different animal. Throwing his fastball more than 50% of time, and with a new and improved low 80’s slider, one with increased movement from his former offering. The question for today, “Is this a new and improved model or just a redesigned Grand Am?”  Let’s look under the hood and see.

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For the last few days, I’ve been in New York for my grandfather’s 90th birthday.  With each passing year, he gets more casually racist, and, let’s just say, he didn’t start at zero.  I told him Byron Buxton hit three homers on Sunday, and he said, “Byron?  What’s he, a Jew?”  I told him, no, I don’t think so, but, of course, he can’t hear so well, so he continued, “I didn’t think Jews played sports.  Well, I guess he’ll at least be good with the money he makes.”  Then he went on a twenty-minute rant about how he’d have more money if he was Jewish (he’s Italian).  If you read Who Is Grey Albright?, you’ll know that I was raised by my grandparents, so let’s hope the apple rolled far enough away from the tree.  Otherwise, I’m gonna be writing roundups in 40 years like this, “Byron Buxton Jr. – He has better contact rates than his father, and prolly can find a good interest rate, ya know, because Jew.”  Here’s my grandfather with the entertainment we got for the party.  For those of you that grew in the tri-state area in the 1980’s, you’ll be familiar with the entertainment:

Any hoo!  Byron Buxton went 4-for-5, 4 runs, 5 RBIs and three homers (11, 12, 13) and his 24th steal.  A triple slam and legs?  What a glutton for wonderful!  From the 1st half to the 2nd half, his average went from .216 to .309; his K-rate is down from 31% to 25%; his OPS went from .594 to .903; his ISO went from .090 to .245, and his OBP went from .288 to .350.  Beginning to think real adjustments have been made for 2018, because everything’s been better in the 2nd half.  His 2nd half has been bigger and better than the pictures I saw recently of Tiger Woods, if you catch my drift.  (Okay, so the apple doesn’t roll that far from the tree after all.)  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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