“Left my home in Georgia
Headed for the Frisco Bay” ~ “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay “Otis Redding”
Hunter, who writes the Fantasy Stock Watch column here, is a great friend of mine. We’ve been friends for almost 15 years now, and we both know the other is always up for new fantasy baseball leagues. If one of us joins a league, we generally recruit the other one soon after. I know Hunter is a sucker for trades, sometimes to the detriment of his overall roster. He knows I always undervalue prospects and I never actually read the rules of any given league.
It’s the latter one that matters for the sake of this column. I am the king of not actually reading the rules. My basic thoughts on fantasy are that I’m willing to abide by any rule, however absurd, that doesn’t force me to draft prospects or play in a points league. So in a 20 team league where he recruited me to take over an abandoned team, I’ve been on a long, long losing streak. I started the season 4-1 and quickly fell to 5-9 before finally winning again Sunday. That left me in 13th place in the league, but because I never actually read the rules, I assumed 8 teams made the playoffs because it was 8 teams last year. However, Hunter pointed out that because we shifted to Fantrax and created divisions, 12 teams make the playoffs this year. So I’m just one spot out of the playoffs, and my injury-wrecked season suddenly has hope.
Ergo, I’ve been scrambling to not give up on this season just yet. Which brings us to the song. And like the song, this week’s column is headed to the Bay Area.
If you don’t know Dickerson (and the Giants) is as hot as the weather, you had best start paying attention. The Giants are sitting him against lefties, but he’s still on the strong side of a platoon and absolutely terrorizing right-handed pitching to a .352/.410/.670 line. No matter how shallow the league, that kind of production can’t be overlooked. But chances are, you’ve heard about Dickerson.
That being said, chances are that in the furor over Dickerson, people are overlooking that Mike Yastrzemski is tearing the cover off the ball in July. While also being shielded from lefties sometimes, Mike Yaz is hitting .298/.306/.596 this month – .400 and slugging .867 over the last week. He’s on a 30 home run pace if given a season’s worth of at-bats, and he hit a walk-off homer on Sunday. He is very quietly cementing himself as a piece of a red-hot team’s red-hot lineup.
He’s got 4 great starts in a row – 5 out of the last 6, and he went 8 shutout innings in his last turn. Over his last 28 days, he has an ERA of 2.00 and has issued only 4 walks. The k’s aren’t great, but they don’t matter as much when the opposition is mustering a .542 OPS against you, which is what opponents have against Beede the last 28 days. He has 1 walk against 16 strikeouts in the month of July, and he’s given up exactly 3 extra-base hits this month.
Maybe he’s found something. Maybe he’s just white-hot on a white-hot team. Either way, if you suddenly realize you are just one spot out of the playoffs, he’s a guy you try to add to help you get there. Not that I did that or anything (I totally did that with all of these guys, except Canha who I already owned).
He might already be 30, but he’s healthy and being given a chance in Oakland, and he has run with it to the tune of 16 home runs and a .943 OPS. He has eligibility at all 3 outfield spots and first base, and is actually getting hotter, with 5 home runs and an OPS over 1.000 this month.
Called up by the white-hot Giants, pitched 5 good innings in his debut, led all minor-league left-handed pitchers in k’s last year, had 123 k’s in 95 minor league innings this year and a 3.13 ERA to boot. And only 36 walks to go with all those k’s.
I don’t know what is in the water in the Bay area, but it’s creating some super interesting baseball players lately – and I like it.
It’s not sustainable, and he’s not from the Bay Area, but if you like to ride the hot hand, Agrazal is on a roll. He also struck out a career-high 5 on Sunday against only 2 walks, so he now has more strikeouts than walks. He now has 4 consecutive Quality Starts, so grab him and give him a go. If he fails, there’s always the next hot hand to try.
If you are curious as to how I added 5 players, I’ll tell you.
- I shuffled Alex Young and his sub 90 fastball off in a trade for future cap space.
- I cut Jesus Aguilar and Todd Frazier. Aguilar was hot right before the break, so I took a chance, but he went cold again over the break. And Todd Frazier was a redundancy for me because I already have Matt Chapman entrenched at third.
- I shuffled Harold Ramirez and his OPS of barely .700 back to the minors. I think he needs more seasoning.
- I also shuffled Jacob Webb and Spencer Turnbull to the IL. Webb has discouraging peripherals and Turnbull an innings limit and a series of injuries now.
If pressed to give advice, I would say Young’s velocity and mediocre minor league numbers, Ramirez’ lack of power, Turnbull’s health, and Aguilar (who I’ve said cut on before, but I was injury-riddled and desperate) worry me for the rest of this year.
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