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Fantasy Baseball Confidential: All-Star Break Intermission Report

Each week yours truly will be sharing various tidbits and revelations that I deem worthy of the attention of fantasy baseball managers of all formats and backgrounds. The All-Star break brings with it a chance for a new beginning. Sometimes things are what they appear. A break in the season is the ideal time to look back at our decisions as fantasy managers. The intermission also provides chances for us to step away from the game for a couple of days. There are likely two schools of thought when it comes to fantasy analysis. One majority tells us that we need to grind ourselves into a carbon-like material similar to the remains from the Infinity War Snap if we want to keep an edge over our competitors.

The other sect of folks has learned over history that time away from whatever it is that you give your most time and energy to, will only strengthen your perspective of appreciation when it comes time to return to your routine. My typical week as a fantasy analyst/manager consists of writing this epic article, recording three separate episodes of the Pallazzo Podcast, writing additionally for the Pallazzo Patreon, engaging daily with the most dedicated Discord community in the game, my fantasy football duties, the other 3 podcasts I do each week and all duties related to completing my masters in clinical mental health counseling. I didn’t even mention the time I spend researching for my own fantasy squads. Wow… writing it out like that makes it seem like so much more work than it is. Anyways… let’s see what’s happening on the down-low. Let’s find out what’s strictly hush-hush, on the QT and for all eyes only at the 2022 All-Star break!

First Half Member Berries

Member when…

  • An ode to the modern Marlin Marvel who is kicking dirt on the concept that starting pitchers have to leave the game when they face a lineup for the third time. Sandy Alcantara is my hero! As a 41-year-old man, I have a hero to look up to. I don’t usually have that type of childlike admiration in my gut anymore. It’s not because I am too good or too mature. I assure you I am quite immature. I love life and despite the many shortcomings this planet has I am thrilled to be able to share it with you all. I do not flinch easily nor cower before greatness. Yet, watching Sandy Alcantara drop that heavy hammer sinker on hitter after hitter to no avail has been an absolute pleasure! I won’t bore you again with the story of one of my greatest fantasy baseball title-clinching moments that happened in 2019 featuring the Marlin Marvel. Just know that his rise to Cy Young status will always be a special memory for me as I advance in my fantasy analysis years. My 2020 dark horse Cy Young pick has finally delivered. With his tear-down of the game’s status quo, he had me at strike one. If you think for a second that Alcantara will slip in the second half, let me ease your troubled mind. Not happening.

  • Member when the offense was so bad in April and May because MLB had 10 different balls being used all across the league? Chris Bassitt told it like it was one night in April during the post-game. Bassitt also had some struggles of his own pitching in the first half. I want all the shares now.

  • Connor Joe hasn’t wowed us consistently with his output this year. Yet, similar to Dale in Step Brothers, he has managed to maintain his place in the order for the team that plays at COORS. After hitting 6th April 8th and 9th, Joe stayed in the leadoff position for every game after that outside of 7 instances where he hit lower. In his last game before the intermission, he hit 8th. He’s managed a .367 OBP thanks to his 12% BB rate which puts him top-25 overall in MLB for OBP.
  • The injuries of 2022 played a major role in shaping where we are. Some of the biggest fantasy stalwarts in the game had at least one injury derail them. Some had two! Harper, Betts, Albies, Buehler, Scherzer, Woodruff, Sal Perez, Tatis, deGrom, Hendriks, O’Neill, Peralta, Wander, Mondesi, Eloy, Pressly, Lowe, Bryant, Polanco, Jazz, Aroldis, India, Lynn, Reynolds, and Grandal. That’s just the top 100 ADP! Losing the players we want to see do the most unique things on the diamond does take some of the fun away from the game. Let’s hope for a healthier second half!

  • The Cardinals called up a few guys this year like Nolan Gorman, Brendon Donovan, and Matthew Liberatore; mixing in fun youngsters with a busload of old-timers who know their way around the diamond carrying out the Albert Pujols Reality Tour. For me though, Juan Yepez is my precious. He’s currently on the IL with a grade 2 right forearm strain. Before this unfortunate incident, he tallied 11 dongs and 10 doubles. His .298 OBP has been a bummer, but this 24-year-old can hit. Remember on Mother’s Day in San Francisco? He ripped a tater for his mama!

  • For a moment in the early part of 2022, it looked like the Angels were going to be a force this year! Anaheim seemed like the place the elites like to greet when Taylor Ward showed up on the scene with the tenacity of DMX stepping onto the stage with his trademark growl. Everybody in Anaheim was ready to lose their mind up in there! With Mike Trout and the god among men Shohei Ohtani holding down the second and third spots in the order, Taylor Ward’s excellent plate discipline seemed like a kindred spirit aligned with the gods to lock down the leadoff spot. From April 16 to May 19, Ward authored a 239 wRC+ buoyed by 9 dongs, an 18% BB rate, a .507 wOBA and a .346 ISO! He was on fire! BOOM-SHOCKA-LACKA! The power chilled out and the Ks went up, but at the break, he still owns a 149 wRC+! That’s really, really good (league average is 100).

  • Oh Daniel Bard, that Sweet Child O’Mine. He took the Rockies closing gig right off the bat after being mostly ignored in fantasy drafts (picked him up in week 1 FAAB in my Main Event for $21). We already have to root for the dude after being the comeback player of the year in 2020. Now after just turning 37 years old, he is looking for his first 30-save season. He’s tied for 4th in all of MLB with 20 saves. His 57% GB rate is among the highest of the current saves leaders. Unfortunately, Bard had 14 saves at the break last year but finished with 20 total. He sported a 5.79 BB/9 in the second part of 2021. This season it’s at 4.59 BB/9. His current 3.53 FIP is somewhat higher than his 2.02 ERA. It pains me to say it, but we may have seen the best he has to offer this year. This year looks very similar to 2021.

  • Who among you members when Yu Darvish was tattooed for 9 earned runs in April at Oracle Park? So brutal! I thought my Main Event team was toast that day. I’m kidding, but it really harshed my mellow brah. Darvish had 3 other outings in the first half where he gave up exactly 5 earned. So take away 4 starts this year and he’s elite! That’s how that works, right?
  • I know you all member May 9, 2022, when the Pirates beat the Dodgers for the first time since June 6, 2018! Way to go Buccos!
  • Where were you when Spencer Strider struck out the first 9 batters he faced? Member that?! Strider has been one of the most fascinating, yet surprising stories of 2022. He deserves all the accolades he gets. I’m still annoyed I dropped him in late April.

  • A lot of fantasy managers look very wise for drafting Ronald Acuna Jr. in the late first or very beginning of round two in 15-teamers. His speed has been there all the way. He showed the realm he was all that and a bag of chips when he swiped two bags in his return on April 28. Member! Unfortunately, the power has wained as he only has 8 dongs. 20 steals sure minimizes the blowback though. So glad he is back with his infectious passion juice!

  • Member when the Twins showed off their future this year with the arrival of Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis. Miranda has stuck around and is showing a promising bat that I want to get my hands on in all my dynasty leagues. Sadly, Royce Lewis played well for about 11 days in Minnesota, including a grand salami for his first career yambo! When Carlos Correa came back from a finger injury in May, Lewis went right back down to prove he could play outfield. He comes back up a short time later at the end of May in his first MLB game in CF he hurts his knee on a difficult catch. Initially, it’s called a bone bruise. About 12 days later, we find out it’s an ACL tear. Lewis now has two major knee injuries in his career. As he starts on his 23rd year on this planet, the questions will be all about his knees, not his ability. Get healthy soon Royce!

  • Member that time when Alec Bohm had 3 errors in a game? Then he told Philly to stick it where the sun don’t shine? That was a rough day for Bohm. He managed to get past that difficult day though, showing tremendous resolve which may have been related to Joe Girardi getting canned a little later.

  • Do you member how horrid the Red Sox bullpen was in the first half? As a team they are 19-39 in save chances at the break! That’s awful. Like Cats (2019) the movie awful. Chaim Bloom has a lot of explaining to do in New England.
  • Yordan Alvarez had a double-dong performance 4 times in the first half. When Alvarez swings his mighty wooden stick and crushes the baseball, I think of Pedro Cerrano’s finest hour when he tells Jobu to get bent and does the heavy lifting himself. Yordan definitely doesn’t need Jobu.

  • Member when the Tigers blew this game against the Twins in late April? I thought it was just a fluke. Turns out this was EXACTLY who they are!

Ain’t No Future In Your Frontin’

As the Beastie Boys stated in So What’cha Want, “you think that you can front when revelation comes?” These are post All-Star break thought bubbles.

  • The new CBA allows the trade deadline date to fall anywhere from July 28 -August 3. This year the MLB trade deadline is August 2 @6PM EDT. I’m not going to pour over every possible trade scenario like I’m trying to find Pepe Silvia. Instead, here are a bunch of players who can benefit from being traded or by having someone else on their team sent packing by the deadline: Felix Bautista, Josh Staumont, Jo Adell, Skye Bolt, Tyler Mahle, Leody Taveras, Tucker Davidson, Anthony Santander, Cavan Biggio, Alex Lange, Joe Mantiply, Josh Bell, J.D. Davis, Keston Hiura, Trevor Rogers, Dylan Carlson, Patrick Wisdom, Kevin Newman, Dany Jimenez, Mike Minor, Carson Kelly, Miguel Vargas, Trent Grisham, Sam Hilliard, Mackenzie Gore, and Anthony Volpe.
  • How can I already be exhausted by the Juan Soto trade rumors? The media cycle can crush the joy in this business if you let it. I plan to avoid the swamps of sadness in reference to Soto being dealt. I just don’t think Washington is ready to send away a generational talent. However, I don’t want to be Buzz Killington here either. The top three likely trade destinations for Soto are the Blue Jays, the White Sox, or the Cardinals. All three could afford to pay him.

  • I have been waiting patiently on Yonny Chirinos. I wrote about him a couple of weeks ago stating that his future was unknown. Now we know that he is rehabbing in Rookie-Ball. It’s a treacherous row to hoe, but he could help you out in late August or the beginning of September. He’s a ratio master.
  • With Chris Sale having that unfortunate finger nightmare courtesy of rival Yankee Aaron Hicks, James Paxton now becomes more of a need than a luxury. He’s still slowly coming along. If makes it back this year and is useful by September 1, that’s sadly a win.

  • Dustin May has begun his rehab in Rookie-Ball as well. Bringing his arm back to the Dodger rotation will be similar to the fanfare surrounding a big-time trade deadline acquisition. If you can stash him now you should do so immediately.
  •  Two players that tied for the 4th most dongs in the second half in 2021 were Jorge Polanco and Teoscar Hernandez. They each cranked 21. Since July 1 of this year, Polanco has 6 yambos. He has 14 total. The Twins face division dumpster fires Detroit and Kansas City for 3 series each. I want Polanco on all my teams for the rest of this year. Barring injury, he’s a solid bet to provide you with the statistical thrill ride of the summer!

  • As for Teoscar, he has 4 homers since July 1 to go with 18 hits and 2 SB. His hot second half of 2021 seems very repeatable with this 55% HHR bringing home a 12% barrel rate since the start of July. The Blue Jays best baseball is yet to come this season. I think that context matters as well.
  • Remember what Brandon Lowe did last year? For the second half of 2021, he rocked a 162 wRC+ thanks to his 18 taters, .291/.368/.591 triple slash and keeping the K rate at about 21%. He went 6-8 in his first two games back prior to the break. Lowe is going to Remember the Titans and the entire AL East!

  • Somebody in MLB will run like the wind seemingly appearing to be a man possessed by the power of Michael Johnson in the second half. Last year that man was Starling Marte who pilfered 30 bags in the latter half of 2021. Some of you may say that Jon Beri already did that this year. Fair point. Yet, consider Marte had 17 with the Marlins before the second half. Totally correlation without causation here, but the three players in MLB with 17 steals right now are Trea Turner, Marcus Semien and Bobby Witt Jr. Who you taking out of those three for 30 swipes in the second half?

  • This season will be remembered for the players who were outed for not being vaccinated whenever their team had a trip to Toronto. As someone who is in love with a Canadian, I can tell you the Canadians didn’t mean anything by it. No hosers here. They just thought it was a good idea. Now we know all about the private medical information of Tanner Houck, Anthony Rizzo, and about a dozen Kansas City Royal players. Whit Merrifield found himself caught up in a pickle when he shared his honest take that if the Royals were better he would have gotten vaccinated. I’m with him! Whit has played his butt off for the last few years while the Royals have toiled in mediocrity while failing to develop their pitching despite a lot of high-value draft picks going to arms (where’d you go Asa Lacy?). The trade deadline will be impacted by these vaccination statuses. Make sure you try to keep on them as best you can. Such as reading this every week.
  • Kyle Wright came alive in the first half holding down a 2.95 ERA in 11o IP. His 3.35 FIP suggests what we are seeing from him isn’t a fluke. When he’s been good he’s had a GB rate over 50%. He’s holding down a 53% rate for 2022. He’s kept the walks under control for the most part. I think his second half should be fairly similar to his first half.
  • Julio Rodriguez stealing 21 bases in 26 attempts is one of the great bonuses of the 2022 fantasy baseball season. His talent was unquestionable, but it was a matter of timing meeting the opportunity. Now, you play him every day no matter what because he is not a drain on your squad in any meaningful measure. Focusing on the steals though, since June 6th he only has 4 SB. He is also 1-3 in attempts. If the steals continue to cool down, do you consider a trade in redraft (obviously he ain’t going anywhere in dynasty)? I think this is a fair question to contemplate for those of you in H2H leagues battling for playoff spots.

  • Jeff McNeil has looked like himself again in 2022 and I just wanted to give him credit for bouncing back. An All-Star season for him! He’s back to his career norms in everything offensively. I expect him to be a useful asset the rest of the way. His 2B/OF eligibility on Yahoo is helpful. It’s middle-of-the-road moves like adding McNeil that help secure your fantasy baseball championships.

  • Those of you rostering Sonny Gray have to be wondering what to do right now. Unless that pectoral injury he suffered earlier in the year is still a problem, I expect him to be the man in the second half as the Twins try to take down the AL Central. I’m not so sure he is free of that pec injury. I can’t prove that to you right now, but I’m no dummy. I know how players gut through injury and teams cover them up. It’s just how it is. Let’s hope he’s healthy. If we see more signs of trouble like diminished velocity for example, then it’s possibly time to say bye-bye.
  • I have to admit, Jesus Luzardo and Freddy Peralta making comebacks before September surprises me a bit. The Brewers are in a fight for their playoff lives already, so they need Peralta to return to his old ways. Luzardo will be right in line with Peralta I believe. Expect both of them back in early to mid-August at the latest. For posterity, I drafted both of these pitchers in my Main Event draft. Peralta was added my another team recently, but I got Luzardo back last Sunday.

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  1. Michael Govier says

    Hope you all enjoy!

  2. Rob Weddig says

    Trey Mancini is a guy I have my eye on if he gets traded. He’s lost more HR to his ballpark than any other player, so a new team with a more hitter-friendly LF fence could pay off big. There are trade rumors a plenty about him.

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