Moncada vs Benintendi/Brinson/Rosario

For this week’s segment of Around the Bases I’m adding a big of prospect flair to it. The call up of Yoan Moncada this week, as well as Carson Kelly yesterday, spurred me to take this route today. I thought about including Kelly in today’s post, but with him at the catcher position I didn’t think that was quite flashy enough to pair with the other guys.

Yoan Moncada vs Andrew Benintendi/Lewis Brinson/Amed Rosario

We all know Moncada is the #1 prospect in all of baseball, but how do we think he’ll pan out over his career? His minor league numbers show he should be real good. His brief glimpse of the big leagues last year might show otherwise. Moncada only played in 8 games last year with Boston at the end of the season, but it was said he looked a bit overmatched at the time. The extra 3 ½ months in the minors this year hopefully changed that for him. Being in the Midwest, and a White Sox fan, I got to see Moncada’s at-bats Wednesday night in his debut. He seems to have a great eye at the plate, which will go a long way at the big-league level. His eye for the strike zone is also emphasized in the 49 BB in 80 games at triple-A this year. During his minor league career he’s sporting a .285 average with 35 HR and 136 RBI across 267 games. As he progresses I expect to see his power numbers at the major-league level increase. I think Moncada will be a .290+ average hitter, 25 HR’s and 90+ RBI guy each season. The White Sox could have their second baseman set for a long time.

Yes, I mentioned going the prospect route here, but I wanted to throw Benintendi in because he isn’t all that far removed from the prospect list. He doesn’t have quite a year of service recorded yet, but he’s also given us a glimpse at the type of player he probably is going to be. Through 124 games at the major-league level Benintendi is hitting .276 with 14 HR and 66 RBI. Based on those numbers and his numbers in the minors I don’t think it’s ridiculous to expect the same kind of line from him as to that of Moncada. Benintendi’s HR numbers will likely be lower, but the RBI total and average should be right around the same mark, though a lot of Benintendi’s RBI numbers will depend on where he gets slotted in the Boston lineup in the future. Call on the field: Both Moncada and Benintendi profile very similar and I actually like Benintendi a bit more because we’ve already seen him at the top level. I’m going to take Moncada here though, strictly based on position eligibility.

Lewis Brinson has a whopping 14 games under his belt, which is actually more experience than Moncada. He hasn’t had the best of luck so far, hitting a lack luster .097 through his first 14 games. The Brewers might have panicked a bit and promoted him a little early, but he has spent more than 5 years in the minors and put together good numbers will down there. The demotion roughly two weeks after his debut shows that maybe they thought the same thing. Through 533 games at the minor league level Brinson has a slash line of .288/.355/.502 with power numbers of 86 HR and 317 RBI, so we know he can hit. If the Brewers fall out of the race quickly I’d expect to see Brinson again, but I don’t see that happening. We may see Brinson again in September, but I think we’ll see more of what he can do come April of 2018. Call on the field: I think Brinson is going to be a good power source for the Brewers, but I think his average will dive because of that. Give me Moncada over Brinson.

The Mets are awful, yet we still haven’t seen the debut of their highly touted prospect, Amed Rosario. In parts of five seasons in the Mets farm system he’s dazzled, just as the players mentioned above have. Based off his minor league numbers I’d guess Rosario to be more a table setter rather than a big bat in the Mets lineup. He’ll likely be a top of the order bat, which will allow him to pile on the plate appearances. Through 445 games at various minor league levels Rosario’s slash line is .290/.336/.405 coupled with the power numbers of 17 HR’s and 200 RBI. That would translate to 6 HR’s and 70+ RBI over the course of 162 games. There’s nothing wrong with those numbers coming from a middle infielder. Roasrio has hit nearly half of his career HR’s in the minors this year (7) in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, so perhaps those numbers are skewed a bit, but Rosario should be a fine player. Call on the field: Once again, I’ll take Moncada. Rosario would be a nice fit behind Moncada, but he doesn’t profile as the complete hitter Moncada is.

Here is how I’d rank these four today, but the top two could flip-flop fairly easily:

  1. Andrew Benintendi
  2. Yoan Moncada
  3. Amed Rosario
  4. Lewis Brinson

Yes, I know I mentioned I’d take Moncada over Benintendi, but I had to place Benintendi at the top based on what we’ve seen at the top level from him to this point.

 

All info courtesey of baseball-reference.com & ESPN.com

 

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Midseason Top 10

This post was supposed to be published last week following the All-Star game, but that didn’t happen. Speaking of the ASG, who thought it was going to be as low scoring as it was? With the game meaning “nothing” again I figured it’d be something along the lines of 10-9 or something. I think it just shows, even with all the home runs this year, pitching is still dominant in baseball today.

Alright, now onto our rankings. Shane and I each came up with our top 10 position players as well as our top 10 pitchers as of the break. We will publish our final top 10 once the season concludes. Now remember, this is based on fantasy baseball.

My Rankings

  1. Paul Goldschmidt (1B)
  2. Aaron Judge (OF)
  3. Bryce Harper (OF)
  4. Charlie Blackmon (OF)
  5. Joey Votto (1B)
  6. Nolan Arenado (3B)
  7. Mookie Betts (OF)
  8. George Springer (OF)
  9. Daniel Murphy (2B/1B)
  10. Jose Ramirez (2B/3B/OF)

As you can see by this list, the OF is stacked. More than likely each team has a top tier OF on their roster in your league. If you’re lucky enough to have multiple top tier guys, bravo to you! I can say I’m lucky enough to be the owner of three of these top 10 guys in our dynasty league (Goldy/Betts/Ramirez), but a lot of that is buying in early.

  1. Chris Sale
  2. Max Scherzer
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Corey Kluber
  5. Alex Wood
  6. Stephen Strasburg
  7. Zach Greinke
  8. Robbie Ray
  9. Carlos Martinez
  10. Craig Kimbrel

To be fair, I had this list made up before they announced the starters for the ASG. It’s hard to argue that Sale and Scherzer haven’t been the best so far this year. Of course you could argue Kershaw has been better, but that’s the same argument each year it seems. Hopefully we get to see Sale in the postseason this year to show us how he handles pressure. A lot of these guys are the same guys you see at the top every year. Alex Wood and Robbie Ray are a couple young guys trying to mix it up with “ace” potential. Carlos Martinez has had a real good year very quietly, which is why I slotted him in here over guys like Ervin Santana and the surprise Jason Vargas. C-Mart is good and has been consistent over the last 3 seasons, including this year.

Shane’s Rankings

  1. Paul Goldschmidt (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks)
  2. Joey Votto (1B, Cincinnati Reds)
  3. Aaron Judge (OF, New York Yankees)
  4. Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals)
  5. Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies)
  6. George Springer (OF, Houston Astros)
  7. Mookie Betts (OF, Boston Red Sox)
  8. Daniel Murphy (2B/1B, Washington Nationals)
  9. Anthony Rizzo (1B/2B (ugh), Chicago Cubs)
  10. Jose Ramirez (3B/2B/OF, Cleveland Indians)

By my count, eight of the names below aren’t all that surprising. If Mike Trout were healthy, he’d easily be among these 10 hitters, but his thumb injury and subsequent time missed opened the door for my favorite type of player: a guy with both IF and OF eligibility. Eligibility certainly comes into play and a couple of my picks here might go slightly off consensus for ten best fantasy hitters of the first half. For me, though, they are extra valuable because of that added flexibility.

  1. Max Scherzer (SP, Washington Nationals)
  2. Clayton Kershaw (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)
  3. Chris Sale (SP, Boston Red Sox)
  4. Corey Kluber (SP, Cleveland Indians)
  5. Alex Wood (SP, Los Angeles Dodgers)
  6. Robbie Ray (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks)
  7. Zack Greinke (SP, Arizona Diamondbacks)
  8. Ervin Santana (SP, Minnesota Twins)
  9. Craig Kimbrel (RP, Boston Red Sox)
  10. Stephen Strasburg (SP, Washington Nationals)

The names of the top four pitchers below are the same names that occupied the top of my pitcher rankings in the preseason. The only thing that has changed is the order, ever so slightly (I still think Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball, but Scherzer had a better first half). After that, though, we have a few major surprises, two who have shown flashes of greatness but had something holding them back and one guy who has always been a reliably solid arm becoming a fantasy ace this year. Throw in a reliever and a couple guys who typically hang around the top 10 and you have a mighty fine class of fantasy pitchers for the first half of 2017.

 

Add Tommy Pham/Drop Cameron Maybin

As you recall I mentioned a couple weeks ago we’d publish our top 10 at the all-star break. That didn’t happen due to the lack of wifi up in the northern woods of Wisconsin. I’ll publish those separately after hitting on the most added/most dropped over the last week.

Top 5 Most Added

Paul DeJong (3B/2B/SS) – 17.3% – 40.2% owned

Tommy Pham (OF) – 16.7% – 44.0% owned

Jose Reyes (3B/SS) – 8.3% – 18.3% owned

Gerardo Parra (OF) – 7.8% – 13.3% owned

Josh Bell (1B) – 7.4% – 22.6% owned

Tommy Pham is the closest on this list to “must own.” He should definitely be owned in more than the 44% of leagues he owned in. Granted, there are a lot of OF options out there, but he’s worthy of a roster spot in probably 60% of leagues or so. Anybody with power and average is someone to roster. He can definitely replace any of the OF’s that will be listed below on the dropped list.

Top 5 Most Dropped

Cameron Maybin (OF) – 12.9% – 35.8% owned

Mitch Haniger (OF) – 11.6% – 35.9% owned

Lonnie Chisenhall (OF)** – 10.2% – 16.3% owned

Stephen Picsotty (OF)** – 6.0% – 32.1% owned

Eugenio Suarez (3B) – 6.0% – 54.0% owned

With Trout back Maybin goes back to the waiver wire fairly easily here. The players marked with ** are listed on the DL, each of those guys aren’t worth stashing. Haniger is a guy that hasn’t been near what he was before his injury in April. Suarez is only hitting .177 over his last 30 days. Given the position eligibility Suarez is probably the guy off this list I’d think about hanging on to a little bit longer.

 

All info courtesy of ESPN.com

Yadier Molina still elite?

This post is way later than I expected. Here it is nonetheless though! Enjoy!

Yadier Molina vs Brian McCann/Yasmani Grandal/Matt Wieters

Yadi has been one of the best backstops in the history of the game. He was recently named to his 8th all-star game, not sure it was deserving this year however. Molina has always been a very steady option at his position in fantasy baseball, but he hasn’t been flashy. He’s only reached double-digit HR’s three times in his career, but it was three straight seasons from 2011-2013. He’s only eclipsed 60 RBI five times, most recently tallying 61 RBI in 2015. One of the things that helps Yadi compared to other backstops is his batting average. You’re not going to find many catchers with a lifetime average north of .280, Yadi is a career .284 hitter. Yadi had a batting average spike of .307 last season after 2 seasons below his career average; this year he’s batting .269. Molina has seen a bit of a “power surge” as he’s already sitting at 9 HR, his career high is 22. The aura surrounding Molina may be dying down as he’s definitely on the backside of a hall of fame career, but how far has he slipped among catchers? Would you take any of the three pitted against him today over Molina going forward?

I’ve been a Brian McCann fan since his days in Atlanta. McCann himself boasts a hefty 7 all-star game selections, but none since his selection in 2013, his last year in the National League. Everyone thought his move to New York was going to bring to light the 40 HR potential, but he only managed a high of 26 HR’s in his 3-year stay in the Bronx. McCann has found himself in somewhat of a platoon this year in Houston, sharing the duties behind the plate with Evan Gattis, having played in 56 of the teams 86 games. Even with the platoon McCann is still putting up decent numbers. He’s at 10 HR and 43 RBI, which would put him on pace for 25 HR and 107 RBI if he was playing a full season behind the dish (140 games). Those numbers would be right with his career numbers, even a bit higher on the RBI total. Being in that potent lineup in Houston certainly helps boost those RBI numbers, but you can’t hold that against him! McCann is currently .255/.335/.438, which are some of his best numbers in his last 5 seasons. Call on the field: Give me McCann even in the small platoon he’s in. Him and Molina are close, but being in that Houston lineup gives McCann a leg up here.

Yasmani Grandal is a guy that feels like he’s been around forever, but he’s only got a little over 4 years of service time. Grandal can kind of get lost having spent his career entirely on the west coast. If I asked how many of you knew Grandal debuted with the Padres and spent parts of 3 seasons there how many would raise your hands? I’m thinking very few. His first year “on the map” was his last year in a Padres uniform. Grandal has reached double-digit HR’s each of the past 4 seasons, including this season already, with a career high of 27 last year. It’s not a secret Grandal has some pop in his bat, as seen by his career ISO of .209 while in LA. Unfortunately for Grandal he’s only a career .243 hitter, which is just fine for the catcher position. Call on the field: It’s another close one here, but I might have to take Grandal over Molina by a hair. Again, the lineup Grandal is in pushes him ever so slightly ahead.

Matt Wieters has always seemed to me as a guy who was much more hype than success. As far as his MLB career is concerned he’s been fine. Through 8 ½ seasons in the majors he’s put together a season average of 21 HR, 80 RBI and a .255 average. That’s absolutely nothing to scoff at, but the hype that surrounded him preceding his career might make those numbers look a little less. His first year in the majors Wieters hit .288 in 96 games. Aside from hitting .308 in 26 games in 2014 he hasn’t come close to that number since. Wieters is likely going to give you 15+ HR each year, but that’s nothing if he’s only going to net you .230-.240 at the dish. Wieters still ranks as an arguable top 10 catcher in standard fantasy formats, but working a platoon of two guys might be a better option for you. Call on the field: I’ll take the aging Yadi over Wieters. Nothing about Wieters interests me.

Here are my rankings of these 4 catcher options:

  1. Brian McCann
  2. Yasmani Grandal
  3. Yadier Molina
  4. Matt Wieters

The top 3 guys here are pretty dead even. You could throw all three names in a hat and pick one out each day to use and be about the same. I’d go even as far to say matchups would determine who I valued more on any given day!

Also, due to the All-Star game next week we will take a week off! There will be a scheduled post going out Wednesday with each of our top 10 hitters and pitchers at the halfway mark. Keep an eye out for that!

 

All info courtesy of ESPN.com, cbssports.com & baseball-reference.com

Thames/Gallo/Betts all top options???

Alright, the Fair or Foul for this week is here! The holiday this week kind of put us behind a bit, but wait no more! There wasn’t much disagreement between Shane and I on the topics this week, but hey…you get what you get!

Tomorrow we’ll post out Around the Bases with Yadier Molina. How does he stack up against other fantasy catchers?

Johnny Cueto will finish outside the top 30 SP’s…

K- As we sit here today, Ariel Miranda is the 30th ranked SP in standard leagues. If I’m going by name alone there, yes I think Cueto is better than Miranda, but there are also other guys hovering around that 30th mark that I’m not sure Cueto is better than. Guys like Samardzija, Arrieta and Manaea are all ahead of him, but sitting outside the top 30. Heck, even Drew Pomeranz is in that category and is more appealing to me at this point than Cueto is. I touched on Cueto a bit in Monday’s post, so I’m not going to go on and on about him here today. I picked him to bench this week for multiple reasons. His stats this year seem to show a declining arm. Cueto is currently sitting with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Numbers like that don’t strike me as an upper-tier pitcher anymore. When I think of a top 30 pitcher I relate that to the top 2 guys from each roster. Yes, some teams #3 guys are going to be far better than other teams #2’s, but you get what I mean here. With ERA and WHIP numbers where they are, Cueto doesn’t fit as a #2 for me. Call on the field: Fair. Cueto seems to be showing regression on the backside of a nice career. Sure, he’ll put together some dazzling starts between now and October, but not enough to warrant him a spot inside the top 30.

S- Johnny Cueto is in the midst of easily his worst season since his sophomore campaign with the Reds. He’s currently sitting just inside the top 40 among SPs in standard leagues, and that is certainly not what anyone signed up for when they drafted him as the 11th SP off the board. Looking at his performance this year it’s hard to gauge how much of Cueto’s relative struggles have been luck and how much might continue to plague him in the second half of the season. The optimist might look at his BABIP that is 20 points higher than his career number, while the pessimist can say that it’s not too far removed from last year’s number. If you follow that thread, maybe this is just the pitcher Cueto is but instead of overcoming it he’s seeing the luck run out. Back to optimism, his HR/FB percentage is a ghastly 16.8%. Cueto has never been an elite HR/FB guy, but each of the last two seasons he was in the single digits. Flipping it back to the negative, though, many of the advanced stats are not in his favor. All of the ERA predictors – FIP, xFIP, SIERA – are unfavorable for Cueto and might be an indication that he’s simply off this season. The strikeouts have been buoying Cueto’s campaign and keeping him in the top 40, but  even those have abandoned him recently. You have to go back to June 3rd for the last time he struck out more than five batters in a game. If he can’t turn it around and start preventing some of those fly balls from leaving the park, top 40 might become a thing of the past. It also doesn’t help that the Giants are one of the worst teams in baseball, preventing him from getting wins in his better starts. I think he’ll get better and have a few more vintage Cueto starts in the second half, but seeing all the stats in one place it’s hard not to have some concern. I set out with the intention of saying he’ll finish within the top 30, but looking at it now I think that might be a little too optimistic. Call on the field: Fair, Johnny Cueto will finish outside the top 30 SPs (but he’ll find a way to make it close). 

Joey Gallo will hit 40+ HR, drive in 85+ runs & finish outside the top 12 3B (even in leagues that don’t deduct for K’s)…

K- Joey Gallo is some kind of player. He brings so much power to the lineup, but that’s literally all he brings. He currently sits at 21/41/.191 in counting numbers. 21 HR’s before the All-Star break always looks great, but it generally looks much better if you have more than 47 hits as a total for the season up to this point. This question is one of the harder ones we’ve had so far as it takes a few angles on this to really tell if it’s going to happen. 3B seems to be a fairly deep position this year with some of the lesser names having good seasons (Travis Shaw/Josh Harrison/Ryon Healy/Jedd Gyorko). Gallo currently sits ranked 21st, but only 15 points out of the top 12. I don’t doubt Gallo will reach the 40+ HR mark, but his RBI numbers might not approach the 85 mark. The Rangers aren’t doing Gallo any favors by having him hit 9th; that’s generally not going to be a high RBI spot, but at the same time you’re generally not going to have a 40-homer guy hitting last in your lineup. If Gallo can start showing something other than hitting the ball into the stands I think this is a real possibility, but unfortunately I don’t think that’s a real thing. In roughly a full season of AB’s in his major league career he’s a .185 hitter. He’s never hit above .270 anywhere in his pro career and his ridiculous 38.8% strikeout rate isn’t doing him any favors either. Call on the field: Fair, for the most part. Joey Gallo will finish outside the top 12 at 3B, due in large part because of the lack of RBI and his batting average. He won’t reach 85 RBI and he won’t reach the Mendoza line at any point this year.

S- Joey Gallo is basically a slightly better Ryan Schimpf, right? The Rangers slugger is one of the foremost Three True Outcomes guy currently in the league, and so far in 2017 it’s been enough to keep him getting fairly regular at bats. He’s currently sitting with 21 HR (only 47 hits overall!) and 41 RBI, which puts him on a 41/79 pace. He’s also on a 214 strikeout pace; that “achievement” would be fourth best all time for a single season. Now, obviously if you’re in a standard league that deducts for strikeouts this question should be about whether or not he’ll finish outside the top 25 3B, but without a penalty for Ks can he overcome the miserable batting average? Short answer: No. Gallo has light tower power but he doesn’t do anything else and if he’s not hitting home runs he essentially has no value to fantasy players or the Texas Rangers. With Adrian Beltre doing Beltre things since coming off the DL and a healthy Mike Napoli – not to mention Robinson Chirinos occasionally starting even with Jonathan Lucroy in the lineup – if Gallo stays cold he will likely find himself shipped off to Round Rock. Call on the field: Fair, partially at least. Let’s go point by point on the question. Will Gallo hit 40+ homers? No, I think he loses enough ABs and potentially ends up in AAA. Will he drive in 85+ runs? No again. Will he finish outside the top 12 3B (even in leagues that don’t penalize for Ks)? Without a doubt in my mind.

Eric Thames will not be a top 15 1B from today forward…

K- Even with Thames’ recent struggles over the last month he’s still a top 10 guy right now. To me, that shows a lot of what’s at the position. Other than the top 4 or 5 guys, the 1B position isn’t all that deep this year. You’ve got guys like Justin Smoak, Logan Morrison, and Travis Shaw all up near the top and I’m not sure they have any business being there. Using that logic you could argue Thames doesn’t belong there either. Thames has cooled down considerably after his torrid start to the year, but even with 8 HR’s over the last 30 days he’s still on pace to hit well over 40. His currently average of around .250 is probably more of what you can expect from him rather than up near the .300 mark. After having hit a mere .163 in the month of June I think it’s safe to say the lull of the season for him has come and gone. We’re still early in July, but he’s already equaled his May HR total and half way through his June total. In order for Thames to be a top 15 guy I think he has to rely on the play of others more than his own at this point. If he maintains as an “average” player I think he covers the bases here. Call on the field: Foul. Thames will keep right with a more reasonable pace rest of season compiling something of 20/40/.250 for counting numbers to be a top 15 1B option.

S- What a season Eric Thames has had. His April lived up to the nickname he rightfully earned in South Korea – God – but he’s fallen off to a pretty substantial degree. There are things within his game, though, that keep me optimistic that he can continue producing at a fairly high level for the rest of the season. I believe a lot of his early mashing was just MLB pitchers not being accustomed to him upon his return from Korea, and Thames took advantage of that thanks to fresh legs, excitement, and legitimate plate skills. Once the league figured out the book on him, however, it’s appeared to be a dramatic fall off a cliff. Realistically this is probably what we should have been expecting all along, but those of us that took a chance on him in our drafts were spoiled by his incredible first month of the season. I don’t think there’s much in Thames line that will change the rest of the season. The .250 average seems about right, as does the 40 homer pace he’s on. If he can continue displaying top notch plate discipline – his .377 OBP is top 20 in all of baseball & his 15.8% BB rate is fourth best – he’ll be worth keeping in your lineup even through his colder stretches. He’s had a couple durability concerns throughout the first three months of the season which could be a problem if they continue to crop up, but if he can stay on the field I think Thames is going to contribute enough to be within the top 15 1B from today forward. Call on the field: Foul, Thames does enough well that he’ll overcome the downward-trending batting average and be among the top 15 1B.

Mookie Betts will finish with 30+ HR/30+ SB & be a top 5 overall hitter…

K- I became a huge Mookie fan when I scooped him up during the 2014 season after another owner in our league dropped him. Now, this was big news at the time because his previous owner paid a hefty price for him. If I recall it was something like $30+ in a FAAB league. We all know what Mookie has done since then, great pickup on my part! Alright, alright, I’ll try to not be team-biased with this one. Betts is currently a top 5 overall hitter and his average is some 20 points less than his previous career low, albeit a short career thus far. Betts is right on pace for a 30/30 season, sitting at 15 HR and 15 SB through 82 games. If you listen to all the “experts” they’ll tell you Betts has had somewhat of a down year offensively. If that’s the case and he plays better in the second half he’ll easily hit that 30/30 mark. His month-by-month splits are a bit odd this year. The months he’s hit better for average in have seen a decline in power numbers, but in May when he hit .256 he put together 7 HR and 21 RBI. I don’t expect to see that trend continue, it will likely level out the rest of the season. Career wise, as the year goes on Betts has improved as he’s a career .320 hitter in the second half of the season. Yes, I get it, this is only his 4th full season in the big’s, but that’s more than enough of a sample size to get an idea of how he’ll perform. Call on the field: Fair. Betts will only get better at the plate as the year progesses and he’ll reach the 30/30 club for the first time in his career. Remember, he only fell 4 stolen bases shy of these numbers last year!

S- Boy, those concerns about Betts’ slow start sure were all for naught. His .280 batting average is lower than we hoped for, but that’s mostly because of a poor May (.256 for the month) that he’s left in the rearview mirror. Coincidentally, Betts’ May was his best power month so far this season, so there’s a bit of an interesting dichotomy in his first half numbers. Ultimately I think the average will get better – his BABIP is over 30 points lower than his career mark – and he’ll stay on roughly the same HR pace thanks to an ISO and HR/FB that are in line with last season. I believe in Betts’ speed and baserunning as well. Last season he finished with 31 HR and 26 steals and he’s more or less in line with that pace this year (currently on pace for 29 of each). With a little luck and aggressiveness in the second half, I see no reason Betts can’t get to the 30/30 mark. The real question is whether that will that be good enough to finish a top 5 overall hitter. He’s been on an incredible hot steak and has gotten just into the top 5 in standard leagues, and I see no reason to doubt that he’ll be able to maintain that ranking for the rest of the season. Call on the field: Fair, Mookie Betts will hit 30 HR, steal 30 bases, and finish among the top 5 hitters in fantasy leagues.

Who is the biggest snub from each ASG roster?

K- For the first time in a while the fans seems to have done a nice job with the voting. More importantly, the All-Star game is back to being just a display of the game’s best, rather than having some stupid impact on the World Series, bravo Rob Manfred! Now, the fans weren’t perfect as I could make a few arguments on the NL side of things on who should be the starters, but hey, we’re not perfect. I get that Gary Sanchez has had a nice season, but he’s missed a chunk of time, but Alex Avila is the only other guy that would make much sense as the back-up catcher, but I’m not sure I could argue him being there over Sanchez. The guy I want to go with here is in the Final Vote, so I’m going to leave him out…for now. Revisit me after the Final Vote winners are released and I’ll let you know how I feel about it. I think Khris Davis got hosed. He’s got 23 HR and 57 RBI heading into the break. Sure he K’s a lot and doesn’t hit for much average, but there’s nothing wrong with a power guy hitting .250! His numbers sure seem to be flashier than Michael Brantley’s 5 HR, 31 RBI and .301 average. Brantley isn’t even a top 30 option in LF in fantasy baseball! Back to the Final Vote thing, if Elvis Andrus doesn’t win that he’s easily the biggest snub in the AL this year.

For the NL, I’ve got to go with Alex Wood. He hasn’t lost, he has an ERA under 2 and a WHIP under 1! How do you keep a guy out of an ASG with those kinds of numbers!? Yeah, yeah, you have to get a representative from each team, I get it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it’s ridiculous Alex Wood didn’t get in. You MIGHT be able to argue him in over his rotation mate, Clayton Kershaw, but nobody would listen to you on that one.

As for the Final Vote, I think Elvis Andrus and Anthony Rendon are the deserving ones, but Mike Moustakas and Justin Turner will be your likely winners.

S- My answer for the National League is a no doubter: Dodgers SP Alex Wood. He’ll almost certainly make the roster once you factor in injuries and SPs who pitched the weekend before the All Star Break – I would be surprised if he doesn’t replace teammate Clayton Kershaw, who starts on Sunday – but Wood should have been a no doubter on the initial announcement. I don’t begrudge guys like Brad Hand and Pat Neshek making it because of the technicality that every team needs to have a representative – and it’s not like the Dodgers were underrepresented with Kershaw, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Kenley Jansen all making the team, plus Justin Turner among the Final Vote candidates – but Wood is having an undeniable season. Sure, he started the year in the bullpen, but since becoming a starter he has been Kershaw-esque in his brilliance and should be rewarded. I’m ignoring the Final Vote guys – though Justin Turner and Anthony Rendon without question belong – so a couple other guys who deserve mentioning are Nationals SP Gio Gonzalez, Brewers 3B Travis Shaw, Marlins C JT Realmuto (seriously, game played at Marlins home stadium and you go with Yadier Molina as the backup catcher?!), and Pirates RP Felipe Rivero.

The American League is a little bit tougher. The only player who made the cut who is truly undeserving in my estimation is Yankees RP Dellin Betances, though there are a handful of guys who in a perfect world would be named All Stars. My pick for the AL’s biggest snub is Aaron Hicks. Sure, he operated as the Yankees fourth OF for much of the season, but that only shows how great he’s been across his 200 ABs. While he is currently on the DL, that shouldn’t have stopped him from being named an All Star. Hicks has finally shown the potential that always existed and he’s been marvelous for a fun Yankees team. A few other guys who would have been worthy selections are Angels SS Andrelton Simmons, Astros RP Chris Devenski, Blue Jays RP Roberto Osuna, and Tigers C Alex Avila.

 

 

All info courtesy of espn.com, cbssports.com, & baseball-reference.com

Add Michael Taylor/Drop Aledmys Diaz

Good afternoon on this wonderful July 4th holiday to all of you! I’m going to keep it short and sweet as I’ve got places to get to, as I’m sure most of you do as well. On to the most added and dropped from the last week!

Top 5 Most Added

Josh Reddick (OF) – 29.4% – 53.8% owned

Michael Taylor (OF) – 27.8% – 43.8% owned

Clint Frazier (OF) – 25.9% – 27.5% owned

Scooter Gennett (2B, OF) – 23.7% – 51.4% owned

Orlando Arcia (SS) – 13.3% – 19.6% owned

Gennett repeats on the most added list, now owned in half the leagues. Probably about the right number owned, anything above 60% seems that it would be a hasty overreaction. Michael Taylor and Clint Frazier could be solid OF reserves, thought we haven’t really seen much out of Frazier so far as he’s only been up for a handful of games.

Top 5 Most Dropped

Aledmys Dias (SS) – 19% – 38.7% owned

Matt Holliday (OF) – 17.7% – 36.8% owned

Michael Conforto (OF) – 12.3% – 69.1% owned

Aaron Hicks (OF) – 11.6% – 45.3% owned

Matt Davidson (3B, UTIL) – 11.2% – 16.5% owned

Dias and Davidson are the only ones of this group not listed on the DL. Out of the two SS listed today, I’d rather have Arcia over Diaz, so make that move if you can. Arcia is still improving while Diaz may have shown his flash in the pan last season. The dropping of Conforto surprises me a bit, he’s definitely a guy I’d stash on my bench if I could afford to. Once again, he’s a young guy showing his increased ability, don’t throw him to the dogs, he’ll likely be claimed immediately off a waiver wire, DL-eligible or not.

 

I hope everyone has a splendid 4th of July today. Get out and see some fireworks if you haven’t yet!

 

All info courtesy of ESPN.com

Roll with the younger Ross

This past week we had one pitcher throw a complete game and it was a complete game shutout. If you can guess the pitcher you win a prize! Ok, actually you win nothing because I don’t have anything to give away. The only “neat” thing I could part with is a Tom Wilhelmson signed baseball, which after I acquired he immediately went down the take a few years ago. The pitcher I’m speaking of is only owned in 4.3% of leagues, none other than Ricky Nolasco! Yes, I’m as shocked as you are!

Sleeper Streamer of the Week

Last week’s prediction – Seth Lugo goes 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K

Lugo’s actual line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K & a WIN

Look at that, I did it again! I might have even been a little closer on my prediction this week than I was last week! If I keep this up people might actually start asking me for fantasy advice on a personal level! Ha!

Alright, I’ll try and challenge myself a bit this week and take someone owned less than 20% in leagues. Once you get down in that area it’s a bit tougher because you mix in the SPaRP eligible players who aren’t getting many starts, just coming out of the ‘pen on a regular basis. This week I’ll go with Joe Ross, owned in 19.6% of leagues. To me, I think Ross needs to be owned in probably about 40-50% of leagues. He’s got good stuff, his numbers just aren’t where they need to be. His ERA north of 5 and a WHIP of nearly 1.5 will scare off many, but his strikeout numbers are there, with a K/9 rate of 9.45. Take out Ross’s stinker to start the month of June in Oakland and he had an ERA just a touch above 3, much more like the pitcher he should be. Ross is trending back in the right direction and a matchup Tuesday against the hapless Mets should help continue that trend. Everything about being in D.C. on the 4th feels right. Call on the field: Ross dazzles in front of an extremely patriotic crowd –  7 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

Sitting Mr. Popular

Last week’s prediction – Jake Arrieta goes 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K

Arrieta’s actual line: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER , 6 BB, 4 K & a LOSS

Finally, finally I picked a dud correctly! If you’ve been following you know when I pick someone to be terrible they’ve sparkled and shined. Arrieta didn’t disappoint me this week. He was actually worse than I thought he’d be! The way the game began I thought the matchup between Arrieta and Scherzer was going to turn into a matchup of the bullpens. Arrieta rebounded nicely with a solid outing in Cincinnati yesterday, but there’s still a lot to be desired there. If you can buy low on him I’d jump at the chance, but be careful not to overspend.

My benching this week might seem to go with the easy guy, but I’ve got to sit Cueto Thursday at Detroit. Cueto had a rough month of June, posting an ERA over 4 while only recording 28 K’s through 6 starts. He had 9 K’s alone in the first start of the month! Cueto somehow managed a W and only allowed 3 ER against the Pirates the last time out, but those numbers are deceiving. Allowing 11 base runners in 5 innings isn’t a great thing. Cueto is only in his age-31 season, but his last 4 healthy seasons he’s compiled over 212 innings in the regular season alone. That’s a lot of mileage on that arm and it appears it may be wearing down. If that’s the case, Cueto is going to need to learn to pitch a little more rather than just rely on his stuff. Until he shows signs of doing that he’s not a guy I trust to throw out there each and every start. Maybe he should start being called by Johnny Ortiz. Call on the field: Cueto will struggle against a deeper, stronger AL lineup – 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

Hero of the Week

If I was going with a 1-start pitcher it’d be tough to ignore Kluber again, but I’m rolling with a 2-start pitcher, racking up more points. I mentioned this guy at the start, but this week’s Hero is Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco faced off against the Dodgers and Mariners this past week and in doing so he didn’t allow a run! Nolasco turned back the clock a bit for us to his 2008 Florida Marlin days! Nolasco’s line for the week- 15.1 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 12 K, 2-0 record

Zero of the Week

Man, I almost want to give this “award” to a reliever named Glenn Sparkman from the Blue Jays, but with him just coming off the 60-day DL I’ll give him a pass on the 7 ER in 1 inning of work across 2 outings since returning. I’m leaning the way of Junior Guerra. Guerra had the Red and Marlins his past week and, while having more K’s than IP’s, was awful. Guerra posted an ERA of 13.50 and a WHIP of 2.75. Congrat Mr. Guerra, you were a zero this week! Guerra’s line for the week- 8 IP, 16 H, 12 ER, 6 BB, 9 K, 0-2 record

 

 

All info courtesy ESPN.com & baseball-reference.com