Please see our player page for Tony Kemp to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

Happy week between sort-of-opening-day and actual Opening Day!  Last week we talked about starting pitchers to target in the deepest of leagues, and this week let’s switch the focus to hitting.  As always, we’re looking at players who may be off the radar in standard mixed leagues, but could be of use to those of us living in the world of AL-only, NL-only and other ultra deep fantasy baseball.  For now, we’ll concentrate on a handful of guys in the American League, looking for players who are likely to open the season getting at least some major league at bats, rather than minor leaguers who may make an impact later in the year.  I’m going to go right to the perceived bottom of the barrel:  all of the players on this list went for a mere dollar in the Tout Wars AL-only and/or the LABR AL-only auctions.

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Donkey Teeth has returned from his vision quest to find his inner ass (his spirit animal) to bring B_Don deep insights regarding human nature, the universe, mustaches and fantasy baseball. Listen in as the guys discuss the great pitching duel between The Rosses (Tyson & Stripling) as well as their respective fantasy outlooks for the future. In the pickups segment some promising names are thrown around, including but not limited to Kolby Allard, Corbin Burnes and Max Kepler. Come find us on Twitter @ditkasausagepod & @donkeyteeth87 or hit us up in the comments!

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I wanna geek out for a second.  You with me?  Orf course you are, because I say “Orf course” and you’re still reading!  Entering yesterday’s game Anthony Rendon (3-for-5, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and his 14th and 15th homer, hitting .285) was 19th overall for 3rd basemen on the Player Rater, in a virtual tie with Miguel Andujar and Ryon Healy and right behind Derek Dietrich.  Hey, over-the-internet friend, that’s awful.  Third basemen are not exactly stacked like hamburgers at IHOB either.  There’s seven top tier ones ($17+).  For context, there’s ten elite shortstops.  There’s 16 shortstops at $11+, and only eleven 3rd basemen.  I don’t think you heard me, Derek Dietrich has been more valuable than Rendon so far this year, or sofa if you’re reading in a furniture store.  Rendon already spent the 1st half taking the craps out, so, yo, I think he can roll up to 7 at the position by season’s end.  The route he’s taken has definitely been the hard way.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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When you’re hot for two straight weeks, you’re talking in sexy whispers on my earlobes.   If Avisail Garcia and Mike Trout are filming a body-switch movie, I never want it to end.  For years I’ve remarked — I’m a remarker, yo! — that Avisail looks like Mini Miggy, now he’s actually hitting like him.  “Miggy, that is the first time in two years we’ve made love without you screaming your back hurts,”  Mrs. Miggy rolls over.  Avisail Garcia smiles wickedly at the camera.  Yesterday, he homered two more times (3-for-6, 3 runs, 6th and 7th homers), and now has six homers in the last week, and he hit .330 last year.  Sure, we can pee in the electrical blanket by talking about his BABIP last year, but there is no excuse for Garcia being on waivers.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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We’re going to get right to it this week, kids, and I apologize if today’s post doesn’t have as many exciting, last-minute updates as usual. Since I’m sure you’re wondering why it won’t have said exciting updates, I will tell you: it is because I will be attending the live taping of the Survivor finale, and will be going off the grid completely starting mid-day Wednesday. Yes, I’ll be in the same room with TV’s Jeff Probst, one of the few celebrities (along with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Doris Kearns Goodwin, FYI) that I am interested in being in close proximity to, but don’t you worry:  I’ve actually been in the same room as Mr. Probst before and I barely even did anything embarrassing, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep from humiliating myself. That’s actually more than I can say about the time I had a brief conversation with Ms. Kearns Goodwin, where I was as tongue-tied as I’ve ever been in my life. I have yet to cross paths with Mr. deGrasse Tyson, which is probably just as well for all concerned.

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To find my preseason article, I Googled “Kevin Gausman sleeper” and Google asked, “Did you mean 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018?”  Google can be such a little snitch sometimes.  Yo, Google, mind your own business!  “Did you mean ‘How do I start my own business?’ or ‘How do I start my own business that actually makes money?'”  I hate you, Google!  In the preseason, I said, “In the 2nd half, Gausman was a top 20 starter-ish.  Top 20-ish?  Top-ish?  You get the drift.  In the 2nd half, he had the 16th best K/9 with a 2.8 BB/9.  He had the 21st best ERA with the 23rd best xFIP.  He had the 24th best fastball with the 3rd best splitter.  Or spliiter, if Desiigner is reading.  He averaged the 12th fastest, uh, fastball while throwing it the 12th most in the majors.  Some of these factoids are neither here nor there, but I’m filling in your charcoal sketch.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Yesterday, he went 6 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 10 baserunners (1 BB), 10 Ks, ERA at 3.48, and xFIP down to 3.65, which is the 29th best in the majors, between Hendricks and Newcomb.  And I ranked him 31st for starters in the preseason!  What does this mean?  Nothing really, but cool.  He has carried over that newfound command from the 2nd half and still striking out guys around mid-8 K/9.  Do I love owning an Orioles starter?  Do I look daffy?  But Gausman has been solid.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This week is going to get ridiculous for Juan Soto (FAAB: 30-40%) bids. However, he often gets overlooked for his lack of experience in the minors. Do not follow this path of thinking because Soto is monstrous. Early scouting reports would always contain glowing reviews of the bat and approach. People were shocked by his ability to barrel the ball, and this was back in 2015 when Statcast was in its infancy. That was also back when Soto was 16-years-old, some scouts even saying the bat was the most polished in a class that included Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Soto consistently dealt with injury over the past couple years, but every single time he hit the field was special. The power has been there, average, walks, everything except speed which was never part of his game to start. All it takes is a few viewings of his swing, and a live barrel or two, for anyone to become an immediate fan of this youngsters bat.

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I’m on a mission to finish these minor league previews if it kills me. The off-season ran short, I got caught up with family and work, and here I am in mid-May scrambling to get caught up. Poor planning, my apologies to all of you. That said, y’all didn’t think I’d let you head into the weekend without a minor league update to step to did you? Oh hell naw! In no way, shape, or form would I ever leave you, my readers, my people, my children. Especially on a glorious Thursday! This week no one man ruled the roost more than the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto. (Okay, Vlad, but how much can I write?) The 19 year old rightfielder with the sweet lefthanded swing, Soto saw promotion to AA Harrisburg last week. His Eastern League debut was the center of the prospect world, if only for that night, as it just so happened to come against the visiting Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Soto did not disappoint, going 2-for-4, with a homer, a double, and 4 RBI. That was his AA debut, and we now have a week worth of games to dig into. While the .286/.400/.476 is pretty impressive, his walk rate of 16%, coupled with a downright OCD K rate of 16% is equally as impressive. To summarize, Soto is 19 in AA, hits for contact, hits for power, and has both elite walk and k rates for a player so young. Lance and I discussed Soto on Saturday’s new Prospect Podcast, and I ranked him at #2, when I teased an updated Top 25 on Twitter this past weekend. At this point it’s tough for me not to view him as the second best bat in the minors. Here’s why, Soto has never lacked production, he’s really only lacked health, with a couple of unfortunate injuries cutting his 2017 short. Otherwise, we might have seen him ranked inside the Top 10 entering the season. So far Soto has jumped three levels, walked more than he’s struck out, and has homered 13 times through 37 games in low-A, high-A, and AA. That’s Smut!

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What a difference a year makes. Had I wrote this post in 2016 we’d be discussing one of the deepest positional player pools going. But just 12 months later, and there’s no Moncadas, Albies, or Calhouns to be found. Players that would have graced the back end of my top 10 last year, are now ranked at the top of the heap. That’s not to say there aren’t some impact bats in the mix at the keystone. But it’s a mix of transformative players losing rookie status, and the talent not being as close to the majors as it had been in previous years. There’s another element to all this too. Much like with third base, some of the top 2nd baseman are still playing shortstop. It wouldn’t shock anybody if Bo Bichette, Brendan Rodgers, Franklin Barreto, or even Gleyber Torres ended up at 2nd. So there’s a lot to debate in this ranking. Everyone is bound to have some variance and disagreement. But what’s wrong with some disagreement amongst the consensus? Call me crazy, but it’s a lot more fun when there’s debate and a wide range of opinion. I mean you’ve seen my twitter, right? Without further delay, it’s the Top 10 2nd Base Prospects for 2018.

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My years of sitting in French cafes, smoking really long cigarettes and wearing a beret, while sneering at children and puppies, has taken its toll.  I’m no longer the innocent fantasy baseballer who picks up just any potential rookie call-up.  I have more discerning tastes now.  When I was a mere jejune tot, I’d sip a combination of ale and grenadine my bartendress called a Monaco and talk about Super 2’s and so-and-so was going to be the next Ryan Braun-like call-up.  I’m no longer a tot; now, I’m a full potato, and I drink gin with extra juniper berries.  Crunching on juniper berries, coughing from a tumor, watching cyclists in spandex shorts, carrying baguettes.  The days bleed together.  I take out my daily planner and pencil, lick the pencil, turn the calendar day to make a note to, “Buy more Virginia Slim 120s,” when I read a note to myself, “It’s almost June, start picking up rookie call-ups, you dipshit!”  Ah, yes, Daily Planner Grey has a point.  Today, I decided to highlight Trea Turner.  At this point, he feels like the number one call-up.  A.J. Reed, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Orlando Arcia might make bigger impacts, but the Nats consider themselves a playoff team and they’re in a heated division battle right now.  I doubt they let Dusty simply ignore Turner because Espinosa is older.  Older really isn’t a reason to play someone.  An exec has to relay that to Dusty at some point.  Turner looks like he could be a Francisco Lindor-type from last year — 7-10 HRs, 15-18 steals, solid average.  Basically, a top ten shortstop from the time he’s called up.  I would stash him now–*coughs*  Sorry, I accidentally bought Virginia Slim 140s.  The extra 20 is killing me.  Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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