Top 100 for 2nd Half of 2018 Fantasy Baseball

Welcome, prematurely balding men and five women who are married to prematurely balding men and decided if you can’t beat them, join them!  Make yourself comfortable, this is gonna be a long post.  Here, enjoy some coffee.  Oops, you just drank rat poison.  I should’ve used different mugs.  Don’t worry, it can’t be worse than owning Byron Buxton in the 1st half.  Oh, you owned him and that’s why you drank the poison!  Now, I’m following!   Hey, I’m supposed to be leading!  Before we get into the top 100 for the 2nd half of 2018 fantasy baseball, let’s just be glad our 18-year-old selves can’t see us now, we’d get beat up!  But our twelve-year-old selves would think we’re the coolest!  So, as with all of the other 2018 fantasy baseball rankings, take this list with a grain of salt.  If you need a 2nd baseman, but an outfielder is above him that doesn’t mean you can’t trade that outfielder for that 2nd baseman.  Also, things change in fantasy baseball.  Daily.  I could put Jose Ramirez number four on the top 100 list for the second half of 2018 and he could pull a–Well, we won’t even mention an injury with Jo-Ram.  Why soil a good thing, ya know?  This list is a road map for where I think guys are valued.  It’s not the Holy Grail in the Church of Grey, that would be my mustache.  This list is NOT (caps for emphasis, not aesthetics) where I see guys ending up if you were to take their first half and combine it with the 2nd half. This is simply a list of the top hundred fantasy baseball players if you were to pick them up today.  So while Bryce Harper did not have the greatest first half, he will appear on this list because, well, we have to believe in miracles — my 12-year-old self would want that, and to sleep with Cher.  The projections are not their combined 1st half and 2nd half numbers; these are their projections for the 2nd half of 2018.  I also liberally used our rest of the season Fantasy Baseball Player Rater.  That’s right, we have a Player Rater that tells you what players will do.  It’s like that camera from The Twilight Zone.  Welcome to the future!  Anyway, here’s the top 100 for fantasy baseball for the 2nd half of 2018:

MLB trade rumors: Manny Machado trade ‘very close’ to done deal

Where will the most sought-after slugger on trade market actually go?

The Orioles are ‘very close’ to dealing All-Star shortstop Manny Machado, sources told Roch Kubatko of MASN and MASN.com and Jon Heyman of Fancred.

As far as which team is on the other end of this deal, it is unknown, but the Phillies, Dodgers and Brewers are believed to be the favorites right now. Heyman says that Orioles sources told him that the Yankees are not the team because they “didn’t have the need of some others.”

When it comes to the Phillies, they were able to become a favorite because they need a shortstop and are willing to step up their offer by putting right-handed pitching prospect Adonis Medina in a package, according to MLB.com. Medina is Philadelphia’s No. 2 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and No. 73 on the Top 100 list. Previously, Baltimore had requested to have the Phils’ No. 1 prospect Sixto Sanchez.be included in the deal. The Brewers also made the list because they need a shortstop, particularly as a major bat upgrade to their lineup. Dodgers lost star shortstop Corey Seager for the season due to Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees news disputes a comment that Machado’s nephew gave on MLB Network in which he said he would like to see Machado play for the Yankees if his uncle had to play for any club other than Baltimore. In addition, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman posted a photo on Instagram that included Machado with the Yankees’ four All-Stars. The Yankees, along with the Indians, primarily want Machado for third base.

Even though a deal is close for him, the 26-year-old Machado will be representing the Orioles at tonight’s All-Star Game. Before the event,

Machado is in the midst of his best season in the big leagues, slashing .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI.

Phillies Considering Attempt To Acquire J.A. Happ

The Phillies are at least internally weighing pursuit of Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The southpaw has emerged as one of the best rental starters available on this summer’s trade market.

Of course, there are also a few other names we’ve seen connected to the Phillies of late, and it’s not clear that Happ is a particular priority for the rising organization. While there’s “definite interest,” per Salisbury’s source, two particular players from another division rival remain bigger targets.

Multiple other contenders have been tied to Happ of late, as well, and it stands to reason that the Jays will let the market develop unless they’re bowled over by an offer. Happ’s recent malaise has certainly dinged his stock, though, and it seems that all involved have reason to see how his next few outings go before a deal is struck.

The 35-year-old Happ got his start with the Phillies but spent only one full season at the MLB level with the organization. He has been quite productive in recent campaigns, but has allowed a few more home runs (1.40 per nine) thus far in 2018 than he ever has before in the big leagues.

Ultimately, there’s value in Happ’s 109 innings of 4.29 ERA pitching this year. Looking forward, too, teams will be intrigued by the fact that he’s sporting 10.0 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9. Those numbers are backed by a career-high 10.1% swinging-strike rate and average fastball velocity that has trended up a bit over the course of the season.

With $13MM in salary this year, Happ isn’t particularly cheap, though there are no future entanglements since he is a rental player. That’s ultimately a reasonable sum for a pitcher who carries his recent track record. Some suitors may ask the Jays to keep some of the contractual obligation, though it seems reasonable to guess that the Phils would prefer to take on the remaining salary rather than upping the prospect return. Toronto’s preferences are not really clear at this stage.

The Phillies’ rotation has had some strong overall performances and is not exactly begging for an upgrade — particularly if Zach Eflin is able to return quickly from the DL with no ill effects, as seems to be the expectation. But depth is always key down the stretch and every game will count in a tight division race. Adding a multi-inning lefty to a possible postseason roster would surely also hold appeal.

Bryce Harper wins thrilling Home Run Derby in home park

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Harper won the crown in his home park

Bryce Harper won the 2018 Home Run Derby on his home field in the final round. Here is how the Nationals outfielder did it.

Final round

No. 2 Bryce Harper vs. No. 5 Kyle Schwarber

Kyle Schwarber set a great pace with 18 in his final round, including one in bonus time. Schwarber ends his night with 55 home runs in three rounds, the second-highest total in derby history. That looked like too much for Harper, but he rallied with nine home runs in the final minute to tie Schwarber, then blasted a walk-off in extra time to win the trophy. Harper ended with 45 total home runs on the night.

Winner: Harper, 19-18

Also, look at his super swole dad …

The total number of home runs hit on Tuesday was 221, surpassing 2016 (203 homers) for a new Home Run Derby record.

Second round

No. 2 Bryce Harper vs. No. 3 Max Muncy

Max Muncy ran out of gas in the second round, and ended with 12, tied for the low round of the night. That was an easy number for Harper to beat, doing so with 1:11 remaining. Harper hit home runs on five swings in a row at one point.

Winner: Harper, 13-12

No. 5 Kyle Schwarber vs. No. 8 Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins tied for the best total in the first round with 17, then promptly opened the second round with an even better showing. He blasted 19 home runs in his four minutes, and also earned the bonus 30 seconds with two long shots. He tacked on one more for the first 20 round of the night.

Kyle Schwarber had a huge number to beat, and he did. Like Hoskins, Schwarber earned the 30-second bonus, but ended up not needing it. He homered on his final swing as time ran out for a buzzer beating walk-off for the Cubs outfielder. Schwarber is on to the finals.

It was just the fifth and sixth rounds of 20 or more home runs in 52 total rounds since this new timed, bracketed format was introduced in 2015.

Winner: Schwarber, 21-20

First round

No. 2 Bryce Harper vs. No. 7 Freddie Freeman

Freddie Freeman set the number with 12 home runs, but that was tied for the fewest so far in the first round. Bryce Harper in his home park had the crowd behind him, and they showered him with praise befitting a Nationals treasure. Harper earned the bonus time but didn’t need it, walking off Freeman with 26 seconds left, including a series of majestic shots.

Winner: Harper, 13-12

Did you see Harper’s shoes?

T-Mobile Home Run DerbyPhoto by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

No. 3 Max Muncy vs. No. 6 Javier Baez

Javier Baez swings at everything, which we saw in the first round. But he also put a charge into quite a few balls, too. Baez secured the bonus 30 seconds with two long homers in the first minute of his round, then ended up with 16, including two in his extra time.

Max Muncy started this season in the minors, and since getting called up by the Dodgers in April leads the team with 22 home runs, matching his total in the majors and minors for 2015 and 2016 combined. He delivered the first walk-off of the night, hitting his 17th home run to beat Baez with 32 seconds still on the clock.

Winner: Muncy, 17-16

Oh say can you see?

MLB: All Star Game-Home Run DerbyGeoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 Alex Bregman vs. No. 5 Kyle Schwarber

Schwarber was the first left-handed batter of the competition, and was also the first hitter to earn the 30 second bonus by hitting two shots of at least 440 feet. Schwarber had 14 home runs in his four minutes, then added two more in his extra 30 seconds, giving Bregman a big number of 16 to shoot at.

Alex Bregman had a furious late run, including five home runs in the final minute to pull within one of Schwarber, but Bregman’s final drive that would have forced a one-minute tiebreaker instead ended up …

Winner: Schwarber, 16-15

No. 1 Jesus Aguilar vs. No. 8 Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins was the first batter, the No. 8 seed from the Phillies. He started slow but got into a groove after calling a timeout. He put up a solid 17 in his round, something reached only six times in 14 rounds in the last two years.

That’s a big number for top seed Jesus Aguilar to beat, and he didn’t. Aguilar did fine, hitting 12 home runs. But he was also taking his time, trying for a tortoise vs. hare situation against Hoskins. Only this time the hare won.

Winner: Hoskins, 17-12

Using your head

Bryce Harper is the host here, and the No. 2 seed among the eight contestants. But in the headgear category he is the top bandana:

Finding the best angle

The All-Star festivities are fun, and the players have a good time. And they want to capture the moments in the best way possible. George Springer will stop at nothing to make sure the photo is juuuuust right:

Always honest

Diamondbacks All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke is never one to hold back his opinions.

Preview

The 2018 Home Run Derby is here, with eight players competing in three rounds at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Each round features head-to-head competition in timed rounds. Each player gets four minutes to hit as many home runs as possible, with a 30-second bonus if the player hits two home runs at least 440 feet long. Bryce Harper of the host Washington Nationals is the only contestant with any Home Run Derby experience, having competed in 2013.

Here is the field, with their home run totals at the All-Star break:

  1. Jesus Aguilar (Brewers): 24 HR
  2. Bryce Harper (Nationals): 23 HR
  3. Max Muncy (Dodgers): 22 HR
  4. Alex Bregman (Astros): 20 HR
  5. Kyle Schwarber (Cubs): 18 HR
  6. Javier Baez (Cubs): 19 HR
  7. Freddie Freeman (Braves): 16 HR
  8. Rhys Hoskins (Phillies): 14 HR

The seeding was done based on home runs hit through Tuesday, July 10.

ESPN will televise the Home Run Derby, with a Statcast-enhanced broadcast on ESPNews and Spanish-language telecast on both ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes. Online streaming is available through Watch ESPN and MLB.com.

How is Bryce Harper’s dad, Ron, not a a strength coach?

The dude is jacked, and perhaps he’s in the wrong profession.

I don’t know how much knowledge of the human body Bryce Harper’s dad, Ron, has. What I do know is that this is a man who fits the bill of one job: College football strength coach.

I mean, for God sakes, look at the man’s arms.

While he was helping his son win the Home Run Derby in front of a home crowd, I was taken aback by the comprehensive lack of neck that the man has that has. I am truly convinced that he could be your football team’s strength coach.

You don’t know what your team’s strength coach actually looks like. Who’s to say it isn’t Ron? And more importantly: Who the hell are you to tell him he isn’t literally whatever it is he says he is.

Strength coaches are dudes who smash trophies with sledgehammers as a motivational tool, and light stuff on fire pregame. They are a different breed. An extremely jacked different breed. They make strong beard statements.

What it’s all about! #TheHarpers

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

And they do absurd shit like lifting monster truck tires at an advanced age.

Ron’s actually an iron worker for his day job, but if there’s a team that needs some motivation in the weight room I’m sure he could deliver it.

Bryce Harper’s headband is the true star of the Home Run Derby

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hometown pride never looked so good.

Bryce Harper hit 13 home runs to advance to the second round of the Home Run Derby, beating Javier Baez in front of a home town crowd that was going absolutely wild for every dinger by their star. But were they getting loud for Harper’s homers, or for his headband?

Harper, supported by his fellow Nationals All-Stars Sean Doolittle and Max Scherzer, stepped to the plate to mash baseballs sporting a District of Columbia flag headband that was as dorky as it was magnificent. If something was going to constrain his gorgeous hair, I’m glad it was this absurd accessory.

Very Bryce, and very appropriate for the occasion. We’re not the only ones who were fans either.

Some were even advocating for their own Derby contestants to get similar headgear.

Not everyone loved the look but thankfully they were in the minority. Otherwise we’d be worried.

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