Please see our player page for Yasiel Puig 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.

Is this the end for our hero? Jesus Aguilar has made Ryan Braun (1B/OF, back strain) obsolete at first. Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Eric Thames/Domingo Santana/Keon Broxton have made Braun expendable in the outfield. He’s not helping his own case with a .235 average and a multitude of injuries. Stash or Trash: This is a tough trash because Braun has been one of the best fantasy contributors of the last decade, but I think we’re seeing the final step in his decline. He’s hurt, he’s under-performing and the Brewers have too many players at positions Braun can play. Replacement:

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With Aaron Nola, I should likely talk about Zydeco, but he reminds me of Paul Simon’s quote about Graceland.  Vampire Weekend was criticized for copying his signature style, which is absurd since he copied it from African artists, and Simon copped to that.  He said, “In a way, we were on the same pursuit, but I don’t think you’re lifting from me, and anyway, you’re welcome to it, because everybody’s lifting all the time. That’s the way music grows and is shaped.”  Without every great pitcher to come before, would there be Aaron Nola?  I know what I know, and I lost Nola this year.  Like I lost Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber previous years.  I long for them when the diamond’s on the sole of their shoes.  Every year, I have guys I’m targeting as my ace whose preseason prices aren’t out of control yet.  Well, Nola went from fringe Grey-ownership this year as possibly my ace to not going to be able to own him until he falters one year down the road.  That sucks, and not sucks as in good, but sucks as in bad.  Yesterday, Nola went 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 1 walk, 10 Ks, to lower his ERA to Marla Gibbs’ address 2.27.  When he’s on other people’s teams next year and I say I would never draft him because his price is too high, remember, I see losing love is like a window in your heart.   Everybody sees you’re blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow.  In Nola, in Nola.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Many of you might not realize this, but I try to stay consistent in advice.  When you write 3,000 words/day, sometimes things get blurred.  I like so-and-so and don’t like that so-and-so, then the first so-and-so gets cold and I no longer like that so-and-so or the 2nd so-and-so gets hot and I like him, so I no longer like so-and-so, but do like that so-and-so.  Or sometimes I’m just so-so on a particular so-and-so, but that so-so is fluid and a so-and-so can become a little more than just so-so or a little less than just so-so.  BTW, those who just Googled for “so-so fantasy advice,” welcome!  You’re at the right place.  So, my so-so feelings on Nathan Eovaldi have moved up, and he is rattling off irrefutable evidence that he should be owned.  Yesterday, Eovaldi took a perfect game into the 7th, ending up with 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, zero walks, 9 Ks, ERA at 3.35, and, outside of one start in Yankee Stadium, he hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any start.  He’s thrown three starts with one hit or less!  Johnny Lasagna may have been exposed as a noodle arm, but the Italians still have Rachel Ray’s E-O-V-A.  Eovaldi is now at 8.2 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 3.36 xFIP; those numbers suggest he should be owned in every league, and I’m in agreement.  The origin story film, Velo, may have received mixed reviews, but is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, and I loved Jordan Hicks’ cameo.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Not a lot of us saw this major league breakout coming from Jesus Aguilar. We were all expecting an awkward OF & 1B battle in Milwaukee between Eric Thames and Ryan Braun. Then here comes Jesus walking on the waters of Lake Michigan from Cleveland to Milwaukee to become an All-Star with the Brew Crew (he should be — stay tuned.) Maybe we all should’ve seen this coming — in 655 minor league at-bats in 2016 Aguilar hit 40 HR and 114 RBI. The average was only .261, but in the Indians minor league system he has some high average seasons (2011: .288; 2013: .291; 2014: .304.) Aguilar has already dropped his strikeout rate from 30% to 24.6% and if that number continues to go down while his contact rate continues to climb — Jesus’s ascension could continue.

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Cleveland Indians rookie Shane Bieber was dominant Friday night in just his third career start, pitching seven innings, allowing just four base runners and striking out nine for his second win. Talk about a reason to Love Yourself. The Biebs now holds a 2.45 ERA and 1.36 WHIP through his first three starts (18.1 IP) and his 22/3 K/BB is Despacito–at least I think it’s despacito, not 100% sure I know what that means. I’m saying it’s flames. Shane Bieber is striking out lots of batters. Oh Baby, Baby. Baby sign me up. Wow, you sure do know a lot of Justin Bieber songs. What do you mean? I make it my business to know all about the Beibebers. For example, in the minors this year Shane was 6-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and a 72/6 K/BB. If those numbers make you scream like a teenage girl and and write Shane’s name is cursive flirty letters on your notebook you’re not alone, Beiber’s got the stuff to be a bonafide heart throb. He will likely see the usual rookie pitchers highs and lows, but he’s looking like the favorite to run away with the fifth rotation spot in Cleveland. He’ll get a rougher assignment than Detroit next time out taking on the Cardinals in St. Louis but I’d grab Shane for the upside alone and hope he can make a Belieber out of all of us.

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

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Slight format change going forward with this column — I’m going to be leaving short term DL candidates near where they were ranked previously. It was become too hard to remember who and when players were coming back. (Yes, I do write the injury column — but I don’t write the healthy column.) This is what happened with Starling Marte — I don’t own any shares of Marte so I didn’t notice his return from DL so he was an unfortunate oversight the past few weeks in these rankings. If someone is looking like they’ll be out for a longer period of time — they might drop a bit more in the rankings or be removed entirely (as is the case with Jorge Soler and his broken foot.) Due to these new additions we’ve got a Top 110 hitters this week with guys like Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, Wil Myers, Yoenis Cespedes, Ronald Acuna and others making their surprise reemergence. Next week 10 of these hitters will probably work themselves off this list. Also, as a side effect to these new additions a lot of players will look like they’ve fallen really far in the rankings — again, this should normalize by next week. 

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*life flashing before eyes right before death* Wow, that’s a lot times I picked up and dropped Chase Anderson.   Is it weird I can understand where Mike Tyson was coming from when he said he wanted to eat Lennox Lewis’ children?  Some of these players — Sonny Gray, Jon Gray, Chase Anderson — come to mind that make me want to eat someone’s children.  Not really (yes, really).  Why couldn’t Chase Anderson do this when he was on my team?!  *lines tacks up on desk, slams head down*  I’m okay!  *blood dripping from forehead like Abdullah the Butcher*  I can’t see!  *screaming at intern*  Getmeahandiwipesoicansee–Okay, I can see again.  I’m still seeing blood though.  Yesterday, Chase Anderson went 7 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 walks, 6 Ks, ERA at 4.13.  The peripherals are still not there for Anderson — 6.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 5.17 xFIP — so I won’t be going back in on him.  That doesn’t mean it won’t make me think about salt and peppering some kids if he pitches well again.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I can’t deny Brandon Crawford a spot on this list any longer. After a putrid April that saw the month end with his average under .200 — Crawford has turned it on more than any other player in the league. From May 1 to June 28 — a span of 34 games, 127 ABs — Crawford is hitting .425. Say whaaaatt?! Sure, 20 runs, 5 HRs, 25 RBI and 2 SBs as well — but .425 in over 30 games? That easily ranks #1 among qualified hitters over that span. The difference between Crawford and the player with the 3rd ranked average over that period (Jean Segura) is the same difference between Segura and Buster Posey — the hitter with the 20th ranked average. Included in this streak are 18 multi-hit games. Crawford is getting punches in bunches and needs to be owned in more than 65% of leagues.

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Opening a gift, “Aw, geez, Kershaw, you didn’t have to give me your arm.”  That’s Ross Stripling at the office Christmas party.  “Don’t mention it.  Hey, Tommy Lasorda, could you get off my lap, my back is starting to hurt.  Also, you’re not wearing pants.”   I forget if I ever told you — the royal you since you’re wearing that Burger King crown — but a friend of mine told me Lasorda still goes to the Dodgers’ clubhouse to use the showers and likes to walk around naked.  How’s dem visuals!  By the by, I’ve reached the age where I forget if a friend of mine told me that, I heard it on the radio or if a commenter told me.  Welcome to your 40’s, you don’t look a day older than 27.  No, really, I don’t.  Anyhoo!  Last night Stripling did what he’s done all year — 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 1.52.  The slightly bizzonkers thing is his peripherals say he’s nearly this good — 11.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 2.63 xFIP.  Don’t love he throws only 92 MPH, but he’s dominating with the curve.  He credits pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt, with his newfound success, saying he told him to throw the curve as hard as he can.  I see no velocity difference in his curve, according to the stats, but stats-schmats, Honeycutt-Schmoneycutt, whatever works.  At this point, hard to ignore the results(schmults).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball yesterday:

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Falling:

  • Didi Gregorius, SS, NYY: As a Yankee fan, nothing made me happier than to strap a rocket to Didi’s back and have him climb through these rankings. However, we all should’ve seen this decline coming. Since seeing his batting average peak at .368 with 10 HRs on April 27th — no one has seen a steeper fall-off than Didi. In the 25 game since that date he is hitting .135 with only 1 HR in 104 ABs and just destroying your team’s offensive numbers. I still think there will some course correction in his numbers in the coming weeks. His average and HR total has risen every year over the past three years so he might just be in a prolonged slump right now.
  • Buster Posey, 1B/C, SF: Posey isn’t necessarily having a bad season — he’s still hitting close to .300 — but 3 HR and 19 RBI is definitely not what you want from someone with an ADP of 54.1. A closer look shows that Posey is still hitting the ball with authority — he has a 39% hard hit rate. However, he’s hitting a high percentage of his balls into the ground (47.9%.) If he can start getting under the ball a bit more and turning some of those hard hit grounders into line drives and fly balls — he could reach 15 HRs again. However, as of right now it’s looking like he might see a declining HR total for the 4th season in a row.

 

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