It feels like just the other day the baseball regular season started.  You wrote “I heart baseball” in permanent marker on your arm, then you met a girl who wrote “I heart guys who heart baseball” on her arm, then, during sex in July, you screamed out, “Give it to me, Giancarlo!” and now you don’t have baseball or a girlfriend.  C’mon, calendar, make like a soldier and turn to March.  The only cure for the post-baseball season blues — recapping the preseason top twenty lists and being hand-fed Doritos.  First up, Cool Ranch and our preseason Top 20 Catchers for 2017.  It’s important to look back before we look ahead to 2018.  To paraphrase the one and only B-Real, “How do you know where you’re at, if you don’t know where you’ve been? Understand where I’m coming from?”  (If you missed it, I interviewed B-Real last year on our podcast, though that might not have been as good as our Jose Canseco interview.)  It wouldn’t be fair for me to preseason rank the players, then rank them again in the postseason based on my opinion, so these postseason top 20 lists are ranked according to our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  It’s cold hard math, y’all!  Please, for the love that all is holy, don’t ask me if this is for next year.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 catchers for 2017 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

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I am a winner who’s probably gonna win again.  Giancarlo, forgive me!  Giancarlo, forgive me!  So many swings I don’t understand.  Sometimes I need to stream Tommy Milone.  Mitch don’t kill my vibe!  Mitch don’t kill my vibe!  I can feel your energy while Judge hits homers two planets away.  I got my drink, I got my music.  I would share it, but today I’m yelling.  Mitch don’t kill my vibe!  Mitch don’t kill my vibe! (repeat 2x)  Yesterday, Mitch Haniger (2-for-4, 3 RBIs) hit his 15th and 16th homers, and now has 4 homers in the last nine games.  He even has a steal, and his run game got the whole world talkin’.  King Kunta.  Oops, wrong Kendrick Lamar song.  If you need help this final week, grab this *itch.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s actually really unfair that poor Stephen Strasburg still has the “Stressbird” moniker in these here Razzball parts, but old habits and nicknames die hard. [Sidebar: Plus I went to a music festival last week and wanted to use a title that keeps me in nostalgic, douchey concert-goer mode. (Side-sidebar: I saw Rodriguez, a musician I’ve loved for 30 years and never thought I’d get to see; I was one of that generation of kids in South Africa described in Searching for Sugarman, if anyone’s seen that. Think it’s on Netflix.)]. Strasburg has been lights-out for weeks, earning 1 run so far in September and 2 runs in August, after a whopping 4 in July. He’s facing the 25th-ranked, 3-game-losing streak Mets; the only Met who’s had real success against him is Yoenis Cespedes, who is out with an injury to one of his many legs, to boot (sorry). Of course Strasburg does cost a small fortune on FanDuel today: $11,300. If that’s too rich for your blood, I’ll explore some more reasonable pitching options below. Read on, MacDuffs!

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Watching Luis Castillo is officially an ASMR trigger.  *insert onomatopoeia of satisfied exhale, picks up invisible fork and knife, mimes cutting up satisfied exhale, eats exhale*  Do you see how Castillo’s got me?  I’m eating satisfied exhales.  Can I write the 2018 fantasy baseball sleeper post right now for Luis Castillo?  TFW you see Castillo:  Insert Oprah’s o face around Gayle King.  CASTILLO MAKING ME CRAZY!  And not eating sugar for six days isn’t helping.  This Whole30 Diet got me like:  insert crazy-googly eyes.  I got Biggie Smalls eyes right now.  *smacks face*  Be coherent, Grey!  Sorry, about that.  Yesterday, Luis Castillo went 8 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.12.  His surface perfs:  9.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 3.40 xFIP, averages 98 MPH, and now I’m lightheaded again.  Okay, need to save something for his 2018 sleeper post.  As for this year, this was his last start, unless you count Strat-o-Matic starts I’m making with him all winter.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Doh!  A deer, a female deer and also what the Dodgers say.  Ray, a drop of golden filth.  Me, a name I call myself who owns J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray.  Fa, a long long way to run if a Bostonian is saying far.  SO another name for strikeouts.  LA is where the game took place.  Ti I dribble down my face, when J.D. Martinez and Robbie Ray play.  Yesterday, Ray went 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 14 Ks, ERA down to 2.80.  Robbie Ray is an ace.  No matter how you slice that pecan pie, he’s an ace.  No matter how you put that pancake batter on the skittle.  No matter how you put whipped cream in my mouth.  My God, I’m so hungry.  Cougs has got me doing this Whole30 diet and I’m legit about to eat my hand.  At Endorphin Ralph’s top 100 starters for this week, Ray’s ranked 6th.  Can’t argue that, and last night he dunked all over the LA K’ers.  Then, J.D. Martinez got my goosepimples all a-titter.  He went 4-for-5, 6 RBIs with his 31st, 32nd, 33rd and 34th homer.  Someone has to Just Dong, so who better than Just Dong?  Who?!  Sorry, I’m writing this wearing an owl costume.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Lucas Giolito went 6 IP, 4 ER, 6 baserunners, 4 Ks as he was called up to take Reynaldo’s rotation spot.  The shine, as they say at the complaint desk for a shoeshine man, has come off Giolito.  I was all ready to mock Keith Law.  I was going to look at what Law said in 2012 vs. now, but I overestimated Law.  This past winter he said Giolito could be a #1 starter.  I can’t imagine what he said in 2012.  Likely that he’s the best starter in the draft.  He wouldn’t have been alone with that.  Most loved Giolito at the time.  Also, as that last sentence sounds, he was the most loved Giolito, with Sammy “The Bull” Giolito a distant 2nd.  Lucas’s value has rebounded a bit this year vs. last year.  In Endorphin Ralph’s top 100 prospects in the 2nd half, Giolito was ranked 82nd.  As a fantasy baseball prospect list vs. a real baseball one, that’s a solid ranking — or is that a solid Ralphing?  For this year, I’d avoid outside of the best matchups.  Rookie pitchers bring more heartache than your high school sweetheart friending you on Facebook.  “Ugh, she’s happy?  Such BS!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Valar morghulis. Who could predict that throwing over 150 innings every year since Felix Hernandez turned 18 would be dangerous? Oh, everyone? In pitcher years I’m pretty sure King Felix is 63 years old. Stash or Trash: Trash. He’s predicted to miss 3 or 4 weeks and I’d hate for you to stash Felix and miss your playoffs. This is the 3rd year in a row that Felix’s ERA has risen and it is now at the point where he should yield his “Mariners Ace” crown to the Kingslayer James Paxton. Fill In: German Marquez (44.7%.) It’s time for everyone’s favorite game show: “What Are This Colorado Pitcher’s Splits?!” Home: 4.31; Away: 3.86. Actually not that bad! Marquez has allowed more than 3 runs in only 4 of his 18 starts this season including his last 5 starts being quality starts.

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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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Let’s just go on what logic tells us.  Not Logic, the rapper, but logic the thing you’ve been chipping away at with your weed smoking.  In 2015, Billy Beane traded Drew Pomeranz to the Padres for Yonder Alonso.  At the time, we have to assume Beane wanted a slugging first baseman.  A guy that could hit 25+ homers.  Okay, so they dealt with terrible Alonso for two years, and, then, when they get what you think they had to be hoping for, they trade him for a prospect (Boog Powell) that many believe is a bench player.  Now, even if Powell pans out, you had in Alonso what you wanted already.  I’m beginning to think Beane just does trades to do trades.  If you were to hear in fifteen years that Beane was trying to make the A’s worse to get out of Oakland, would anyone be surprised?  Moneyball 2 is going to be starring Jamie Kennedy and straight-to-DVD.  Any hoo!  Alonso loses some value going to the M’s because he’ll likely platoon with Danny Valencia (hit his 13th homer on Sunday), though, I guess it could be argued this is a positive move for Alonso, because he’s hit .188 vs. lefties this year.  As for Powell, the A’s might promote and platoon him because what do they have to lose?  Or rather, what do they have to win?  If they’re lucky, Boog will bring some of his trademark ribs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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