Camp is starting up and it’s weird out there folks.  Split squad positionless scrimmages, Covid tests, opt outs….baseball is back!?!  This whole thing feels like the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freakout from Saved By the Bell…”I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…..scared”.

First round of Covid testing is coming back and there’s plenty of interesting names that have tested positive: Jesus Luzardo, Eduardo Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Hector Neris, DJ Lemahieu, Tommy Pham, Scott Kingery, Mitch Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, Salvador Perez, and Kole Calhoun are notable confirmed positives.

Of these, most fall into the “asymptomatic” category and should return to the team soon (hopefully).  Hector Neris was already around Phillies camp this week, and Joey Gallo already has one negative test under his belt.  He should be good to go soon.

The most serious case looks to be Freddie Freemen.  The Braves are being candid about exactly what Freeman is going through, but they’re not expecting him back to camp any time soon.

There’s several other guys who are missing from camp still with no given reason why.  Some teams are releasing positive tests, some teams aren’t stating what’s keeping players away but letting us read between the lines.  This list includes: Aaron Nola (who was seen around Phillies camp earlier this week similar to Neris), Yonny Chirinos, Juan Soto, Kenley Jansen, Gavin Lux, AJ Pollock, Tony Gonsolin, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James.  The Astros, as well as some other teams, have had issues with their testing in terms of getting results quickly, so that may be holding up the ‘Stros players, but these are all guys to keep an eye on.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I have gone over the preseason, in-season, and shortly in 5-6 months, the postseason love for all things Tim Anderson.  No, the another SB dude from the other, other side of Chicago.  Which in my mind is a triangle, or from the angle that I am drinking at, it’s a complete hypotenuse.  Yoan Moncada over the last 11 days has proven that the Go-Go Sox are in full affect, or flavor.  Whatever the millennials wanna call it.  Is rad still a thing?  Never the who, he has 4 steals over the last 11 games and the propensity, which we thought was potential in the preseason for a lot of the southsiders, is totally a legit thing.  The license to steal (like an opposite version of Bond, or a Fredo Bandido of steals) has the Sox players that hit towards the top of the lineup, when on base, gives them full autonomy to take it.  And by it, I mean the steal of a bag.  Not only do I love it, I would condone a trade for Yoan at some expense that is a sort of overspend.  His hit rate screams breakout, and I mean who doesn’t like a screamer.  Lets everyone know who is laying down the law.  Gives us all a little extra wink-wink.  Extra is right!  He has hit near the top of the order for days and it should continue.  The one thing that bad teams are good at is ulterior fantasy goodies, and steals is definitely one of those stats. So do yourself a favor, go propose to the Yoan owner and say would you have and hold me forever, and ever, and trade me him for a slightly over pay.  Your stats won’t hate you in the morning.  Let’s see what else is hopping on the good foot and stealing the good things in the saves and steals department.  But with charts for her pleasure…or yours.

Picking on catchers in daily roster moves is fun.  Here are the SV leaders for steals against this season. Not ever stat is a good stat, especially when you have catchers and the frequency of steals against.  It isn’t always their fault, but it is not, not their fault.  Ya dig?

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Braves rookie phenom/shortstop/TV dinner mogul Dansby Swanson was 2-for-2 last night with his fourth home run and two RBI. Daaaaaaamn, B! YES! Keep doing this. If you held onto Swanson this long (especially in a redraft leagues) you deserve what is happening to you right now. What is happening is Dansby is hitting .360 with 4 runs, 2 homers and 6 RBI in the past week! When your draft day sleeper is finally making you look smart, but most people have already forgot. Sure, he’s still hitting just .201, but these are the kind of things you ignore when you have blind faith and are looking to ride the rookie train to some fantasy fame. I attribute some of this to the cleansing therapy we’ve been taking together. It’s pretty simple, bad vibes–bad, good vibes–good. Harness the good energy, block out the bad. Pretty easy, right? Also, let’s just meditate in this sweat lodge for 12 hours and have a “vision” about how not to strike out as much. After hitting just .156 in April, Dansby is hitting .286 in May. He’s also doubled his OBP, SLG% and has drawn twice as many walks as he did last month. Dan’s be good like that! He’s available in little over half of fantasy leagues right now and if Swanson happens to be out there on waivers in your league, this might be your last chance to grab him before the hype returns. Trust me, this kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

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

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As I have gone over in the preseason, streaming against a starting pitcher is sometimes a good approach.  The problem is that sometimes the blame isn’t completely on the pitcher.  This isn’t Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny isn’t playing all nine positions versus the Gas House Gorillas.  So obviously I am referring to the catcher in this scenario.  Streaming against a pitcher is all well and good, the bad is that they only pitch once every five days and while it’s fun to rosterbate the high hell out of it, why not take advantage of a starting catcher who usually gets five starts a week?  Seems like genius and a better way to try and capitalize on a three game set versus a weak catcher oriented team at gunning down baserunners. So the handy chart below gives us an early glimpse of who we should be taking advantage of with our waiver additions in the steals category.  Stay after the chart, because I drop some tidbits of grandeur.

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Every year, after finishing my Top 100 post, I have a player or two I immediately regret not ranking higher. This year those prospects were Zack Collins, and Kyle Tucker. The funny thing is, Tucker wasn’t ranked that low at 32. Granted my prospecting brother from another mother Halp ranked him 21st, and based on last night it looks like Halp’s right. What happened last night? Welp, Tucker: Man and My Dreams, went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 doubles, and 7 RBIs. He’s now hitting .343 in the Carolina League, can you imagine what he would have done with a full season in Lancaster? BTW Lancaster is one of the most homer and hitter friendly environments in minors, and was the class A advanced affiliate of the Astros up until this season. As for Tucker, he’s a 5×5 player’s dream, with hit tool, speed, developing power, and massive upside. Seems only appropriate that I would open this week’s Minor League Update with a native son of Tampa, while I’m on vacation here. How meta.

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Don’t you just love when baseball fate takes over? Or maybe it’s just the expanded rosters in September. Either way, we’re getting a glimpse of the New Kids On The Block. Jose De Leon is the one we’ve been waiting on – at least as far as pitchers are concerned. He’s got “The Right Stuff.” I mean, come on Jose…..”Baby I believe in you.” If you’ve had a chance to watch him in action this season in Triple A, you know he’s been “Hangin’ Tough.” Okay….that’s enough of the song titles. I mean…I wouldn’t want to waste what’s left of your “Summertime.” I’m done. I promise. Anyway, Jose has a very soft landing spot for his major league debut. He’ll face the Padres in a home tilt where the Dodgers are heavy favorites and for good reason. San Diego owns a 25% strikeout rate, which is second worst in baseball and they’re the proud owners of an 87 wRC+ which qualifies for third worst in the league. If that’s not bad enough, their OBP is a paltry .300 and they’re slugging .395. So what I’m trying to say is……this is a very favorable start. De Leon has produced a 33% strikeout rate in 86 innings (111 Ks) at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, while registering a 2.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 2.71 FIP. More good news! His price tag today is a very reasonable $7,700 – that’s an insane value. Sounds good right? I thought so. Thank me later internet friends.

Here’s a look at the rest of my picks for Sunday’s slate:

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday, September 5th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Let me start out by briefly introducing myself because this is my first post here at Razzball. Literally everyone that has ever played fantasy sports thinks they are the best to ever do it. All of these people are wrong. I am the best, period. Now that I got that off my chest, let’s head into my picks for today…

When I think of the word “Archer,” I first think of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Why? Because she is an artist with a bow and an arrow in her hands. She uses her archery skills to fight off enemies and ultimately win “the games.” Next, I think of one of the very few talented players on the Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer. Though Archer had a rough start to the year, he is still averaging 18 DK fantasy points per contest and has a very favorable matchup against the San Diego Padres this afternoon. A date with Archer on his home turf is never fun. He is significantly better in Tampa Bay than he is on the road. Not to mention, the Padres can’t do anything offensively unless they are facing a left-handed pitcher. Plus, believe it or not, the Rays are hot. They have somehow managed to score 35 runs in that past two games, so Archer should get the run support he needs to register a win and an extra 4 DK points. So, go ahead and take Archer at $10,600, grab your popcorn, and enjoy two bottom-of-the-league teams face-off against each other.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday August 22nd to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. Wanna know what the best part is about signing up with us? The free subscription for the rest of the season to our DFSBot, that’s what! For details on the how to, please visit our Razzball Subscriptions page.

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A few weeks ago, I was but a wee lad writing my first article for Razzball, and you were reading that article because you were either desperate for catcher advice in your fantasy league or because you just plain hate yourself. I recommended picking up J.T. Realmuto for a lengthy dice roll or Jarrod Saltalamacchia for some short term power, and we all laughed a little on the outside and cried a little on the inside.

Then Realmuto hit .500 over the course of the next week. .500, as in half of his at bats were hits. .500, as in the batting average of some of the top high school baseball prospects (except Realmuto, he hit .595 and had 119 RBI in 42 games. Found those stats by accident while searching for a picture of the Realmuto family crest.). .500, as in—OK, enough. It was only a week.

Realmuto cooled off a bit the next week, but he was still more than solid, especially for a catcher: 8-23, 0.348 BA, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 R, SB, .739 OPS. Not too shabby, even if there isn’t a ton of power there. I would like to take this time to point out that my predictions (read: ANALYSIS) for Realmuto, Salty, and Wilson Ramos were all pretty much spot on. Ok, now that we got that out of the way, we can move on.

The free agent catcher wasteland is as bleak as it has ever been. I checked the top 3 free agents by position yesterday in my CBS league, and the top 3 catchers available were: Saltalamacchia, Chris Herrmann, and David Ross. I think most of us would agree that the logical reactions to those three are “old news,” “who?,” and “really?,” respectively. It’s bad, guys. Let’s start with the catchers to stay away from, first.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

At this point, we’re almost a month through the 2016 MLB season.  We are getting close to the point where patience is wearing thin on players who have started slow.  I’m looking at you Justin Upton!  Upton is far from the only player who has struggled through the first month of the season and I’m sure everyone has at least one player on their roster who is letting them down.  That said, I’d still give it a couple more weeks before I made a big trade to shake things up.  Let’s take a look back at every article that went up this week on Razzball and a brief look at the week ahead:

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It’s 2016, and that means that most of us will have to make some moves throughout the year to address the catcher position. Long gone are the glory days of 2004 when the top 10 catchers could all be counted on for double digit home runs and an average above .280. In 2004, an already aging Mike Piazza rated as the 10th best catcher with 20 home runs and a .266 average (See: Doping in Baseball). This year, in this sad world that we live in, Travis d’Arnaud was the second catcher taken in many leagues because it was thought that he had the POTENTIAL for 20+ long balls and a .240 average.

So, the chances are that unless you drafted Buster Posey early or were able to keep Posey in a keeper league, you’ll be at least flirting with the waiver wire catchers at some point this year. Perhaps you drafted d’Arnaud and now have his .196 AVG and zero home runs on your DL. Maybe you’re in my league and you traded for Kyle Schwarber on draft day and are now ready to kill yourself. It’s even possible that you drooled over his 2014 stats (25 HR, .273 AVG) and  drafted Devin Mesoraco, but now his .152 AVG and frequent days off have you ready to move on.

The bad news is that catchers in fantasy baseball have become crapshoots, and many owners choose to chase categories instead of trying to find balance. The good news is that you’ll get to pick a new catcher and feel hopeful every few weeks!

Please, blog, may I have some more?