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Cup Of Coffee: Post All-Star Break Edition

Welcome to Cup Of Coffee, a weekly roundup of fantasy baseball news and notes. Fairly thorough, often funny, and occasionally thoughtful, we’ll discuss injuries, promotions, demotions, trades, and whatever other fantasy-related tidbits catch our eye. Today we’ll talk a bit about the All-Star Break as well as make some bold/silly predictions.

More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers

If We’re Being Honest, There Are No Good All-Star Games

These kinds of festivities are kinda like an all-you-can-eat buffet: they seem like so much fun from afar, but a bit of a bummer upon closer inspection. The Home Run Derby definitely had some very memorable moments, to be sure. Adley Rutschman switching sides, Julio Rodriguez going off for FORTY-ONE in his opening round, Randy Arozarena being an undoubted man of the people were just a couple of the highlights. Vlad Guerrero Jr. joined his father, Vlad Sr., as Derby winners (the only father-son duo to do it!) by defeating Arozarena in the final round.

While that event provided some fun, why is it now a speed competition? The whole point of this thing is to enjoy the majesty of these drives and there is little to no time provided to catch our collective breath, let alone talk about them. It should def go back to some sort of outs system and do away with this rapid-fire approach.

Though most of the All-Star Game was a bit of a snoozer, it did end in exciting fashion with the NL edging the American League 3-2, on the strength of an eighth-inning Elias Diaz home run.  Diaz also took home MVP honors; Surely the highlight of the Rockies’ season.

That being said, we can’t get over the league-specific jerseys and how much they detract from the entertainment value of the ASG. Maybe it’s just nostalgia talking, but seeing all those different jerseys lined up next to each other really did make the game feel completely different and an outlier to the rest of the long season. And if the league plans to keep things status quo, can we at least make the jerseys look cool and not milquetoast?

The Fun Section

Let’s do some division preview capsules for the second half! Why? Because we can! We will revisit this after the end of the season and eat our appropriate amount of crow, scout’s honor!

NL  Central:

After supplementing their rosters with starting pitching at the deadline, the Brewers and Reds enter into a heated battle for first place during September. Elly, Votto, and company put up a good fight but the resurgent Christian Yelich and some expert maneuvering by Craig Counsell allow the Crew to sneak by the Reds. The Cardinals continue to disappoint and sell off pieces, including Flaherty, Montgomery, and Hicks. Pittsburgh does the right thing and holds McCutchen to be the steadying veteran to mentor these new-look Bucs, who are energized by the return of O’Neil Cruz. The Cubs get a couple of solid pieces from the Dodgers as Cody Bellinger takes his second act to LA.

NL East:

Speaking of reunions, the Mets are sellers and send Verlander back to Houston for another playoff run in Space City. The Braves continue to be the Braves and utterly dominate opponents’ pitching staffs. Washington shoulders on amid their rebuild but CJ Abrams finishes the season looking much more like the prospect we all thought he was just two years ago. Philadelphia and Miami engage in a fight for a wild card berth, with Philadelphia taking the second wild card. Miami eventually fades down the stretch but not before giving the Phils everything they could handle. Kim Ng is a heavy favorite for Executive of the Year after the Marlins’ surprising season.

NL West:

Once again, the Dodgers manage to make their way to a division title despite a plethora of pitching injuries. Jack Flaherty plays a key role, pitching for his hometown team in LA. Corbin Carroll’s shoulder continues to affect his performance and the Dbacks stagger just enough for the Giants to catch them and take the final wild card spot. San Diego plays the same disappointing baseball and 2023 will be known as the year that three teams (STL, SD, NYM if that wasn’t clear) had generational collapses. The Rockies front office finally upgrades to Windows 2000 as Nolan Jones has a breakout season despite their best efforts to derail that.

AL East:

Aaron Judge’s toe still isn’t right by the trade deadline and the Yankees decide to shut him down for the remainder of the year. This decision pushes them to sell and they sell anything they can to set themselves up for 2024, including Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, DJ LeMahieu, and Jake Meyers. The Orioles trade for Lucas Giolito and surge past the Rays into the division title. Toronto rides a second-half surge from Guerrero Jr. into the second wild card. The Red Sox have a strong second half as Casas and Bello take their games to the next level but it’s not good enough to overtake the Jays for a spot in the postseason. Tampa Bay looks far less invincible than in the first half but positions themselves well for the postseason and takes the first wild-card berth.

AL Central:

Jeeeeze, this division is bad AND boring. At least the NL counterpart has St. Louis to make fun of and the Reds to root for. This thing though is… bland, at best. Cleveland wins this almost by default as they become the worst team since the 2006 Cardinals to make the playoffs. Chicago, despite claims to the contrary, sells at least one of its core four; We think it’ll be Andrew Vaughn, to Seattle. Kansas City trades Salvy to a contender. Maybe San Diego is a dark horse here; in a last-ditch effort to make a run, AJ Preller pushes to settle his awful catcher situation. Kansas City keeps playing the youngsters and Maikel Garcia gives their fans something to be excited about.

AL West:

Texas continues to reap the rewards of its player development system and savvy free-agent siginings. Los Angeles trades Ohtani on the day before the deadline in a jaw-dropping deal with their cross-town rivals, the Dodgers. Houston finishes firmly in second and a playoff spot. Seattle makes some minor moves to try and keep pace with the Astros but in the end, it’s just not enough. Watch out for the M’s in 2024 though. Oakland fans have been through a lot this season and don’t deserve what is happening with the franchise. Let’s hope that new Vegas team creates it’s own identity. The Athletics deserve to be re-born in the Bay as an expansion team.

For daily injury updates look no further than Fantrax and our own Dave Funnell!

Thanks as always for stopping by, we’ll be back next week! If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas, or just want to drop a virtual high-five, send a note to [email protected] and give us a follow on Twitter @LDeePee

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