Welcome to the SCFE Week 17 Hot Topics column. We’re less than a week out from the MLB trade deadline, and the rumor mill is reaching ludicrous speed. For Fantasy Baseball owners, the playoff push has begun. Like Woody Harrelson said in Zombieland, it’s time to nut up or shut up.
For this week’s column, I’m apparently wading into an internet debate. Since I do not engage in social media, I get my internet buzz second-hand. Last Sunday, when my friend who wouldn’t know a Cyberman from a Dalek told me that social media essentially imploded when it was announced the new Doctor Who would be a woman, I almost felt vindicated.
If you’ve been reading this column, you’ve probably figured out I’m all about the sci-fi and I’m a Whovian. If you’ve never heard of a Whovian, that’s the term for Doctor Who fans. I have my own opinion about the casting of the latest Doctor, which I will get to shortly. What made me feel vindicated, however, was that Doctor Who was a topic of worldwide discussion.
Growing up in the Revenge of the Nerds generation, I remember a time when you could not speak openly about sci-fi. If you did, you ran the risk of public humiliation. Fantasy Baseball was the same way. You could make an argument that the internet brought both Fantasy Baseball (and Fantasy sports in general) and sci-fi into the mainstream.
If you don’t care about Doctor Who, you can skip ahead to the Fantasy Baseball stuff. Just scroll down. If it’s not your thing, I understand. If you’re curious, at all, however, here’s the story (Whovians, bear with me).
Doctor Who is a British tv series that originally premiered in 1963. The main character of the show is the Doctor; an alien (who looks just like a human) from a species known as the Time Lords. The Doctor has a ship, called the TARDIS, which allows him to travel anywhere in time and space.
And here’s the thing about Time Lords; they never age. But even though Time Lords never get any older, they can be injured or killed. When a Time Lord is critically injured, they regenerate. Essentially, their body heals itself while taking on a different form and different persona. From a tv perspective, this lets different actors play the same role and it makes sense for the story.
In the 54 years of Doctor Who, there have been 12 actors (putting aside canon issues) who have been the Doctor. Up until now, all of the Doctors have been male. But here’s the thing; it has always been part of the Doctor Who canon that Time Lords can change genders when they regenerate. In fact, the male-to-female regeneration has already happened multiple times in the past few seasons. It just wasn’t the Doctor.
When it was announced that the 13th Doctor (BBC did this right after Wimbledon ended) would be played by a woman, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. There are some, however, who were less than thrilled. The ruining of the childhood card was played.
As someone who can recite the actors who played the Doctor in order from memory, I say who cares? This is not Greedo shooting first. No one is going back and retroactively changing the story. A female Doctor has always been a possibility. Think about it; if you have a problem with a female Doctor Who, you’re basically saying the concept of a time-traveling, immortal alien who changes bodies doesn’t bother you, but you’re drawing the line if it’s a woman?
I say let’s wait until the next season of Doctor Who before passing judgment. If Jodie Whittaker can’t play the part convincingly, or if the dialogue is lousy, or if all the stories stay derivative; then go ahead and complain. Unless that happens, however, let’s all relax our sphincters (thank you, Bill Paxton).
No matter how you feel about a female Doctor Who, if you’ve never seen it and decide to check it out after this, then my job is done. If you’re already a Whovian, remember how people complained about Matt Smith at the beginning. However it turns out, the fact that sci fi and Fantasy Baseball are now legitimate topics of discourse means we’ve already won. Here are the Week 17 Hot Topics.
Week 17 Hot Topics
Hot Topic No. 1: “There’s something that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go and poke it with a stick.”
Domingo Santana, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
All of the quotes for this week are from Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor. It just worked out this way; David Tennant as the 10th Doctor is my personal favorite. This quote applies to the fact that Domingo Santana is not universally owned. I just don’t get it.
The Brewers acquired Domingo Santana from the Astros in 2015 and gave him his first real shot in 2016. Despite missing 79 games with various injuries in 2016, Domingo Santana posted a respectable .256 AVG/34 R/11 HR/32 RBI/2 SB stat line in 77 games.
Heading into this season, Domingo Santana was a fairly popular draft sleeper. And why was this? Because Domingo Santana has the power/speed combo skills that Fantasy Baseball owners can’t pass up like Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor can never just walk past a fez.
If you took a draft flyer on Domingo Santana, you’re probably feeling pretty good about that. As of July 25, Domingo Santana has posted a .291 AVG/57 R/16 HR/54 RBI/9 SB stat line in his first 96 games of 2017. Pretty good numbers, right?
But here’s the thing; Domingo Santana is currently unowned in 34% of ESPN Leagues and 25% of Yahoo leagues. Something does not compute. Is it the fact that Fantasy Baseball owners just don’t trust the Brewers as a team? Or is it something else?
One possible explanation is that while Domingo Santana’s power is for real, so are his contact issues. He posted a whiff-happy 33% K rate in 2016, which may scare some people off. So far in 2017, he’s improved to 27%. Still not great. Despite the Ks, however, he has good patience (12% BB rate in 2016).
This still doesn’t explain the lack of complete ownership. Take a look at his 2017 numbers again, and then look at your rosters. If you’re in a league where Domingo Santana is unowned, can you really say every OF on your roster has been more productive? If your answer is yes, then you’re probably having one hell of a season. I tip my cap to you.
If you could use any OF help, however, you should be racing to your waiver wire to see if Domingo Santana is still available. Go ahead, I’ll wait. A power/speed guy in a lineup that scores runs in bunches. Could come in handy down the stretch. Just saying.
Hot Topic No. 2: “Big, flashy-lighty things have got me written all over them. Not actually, but give me time . . . and a crayon.”
Yoan Moncada, 3B, Chicago White Sox
This quote describes the feelings of prospect hounds and White Sox fans alike when Yoan Moncada was called up by the White Sox. There are lots of people expecting Yoan Moncada to make an impact.
So what’s all the fuss about? Yoan Moncada was regarded by many as the top prospect in baseball this year. Of course, Jurickson Profar was the top prospect in baseball for two years running. So there’s that.
Signed in 2015 by the Red Sox for $63 million (including a record $31.5 million bonus), Yoan Moncada was a shining star of the prospect universe from the get-go. Although everyone talks about his power potential, he had 49 SBs in 2015 and 45 SBs in 2016 while in the minors.
In December of 2016, Yoan Moncada was the centerpiece of the Chris Sale trade. Even as a Cubs fan, I have to give credit where’s it due. White Sox VP/GM Rick Hahn has built that farm system up from a dumpster fire in less than a year. Some of the trades have been jaw-dropping. Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, and Blake Rutherford. Yikes. That’s some scary talent.
But we’re talking about Yoan Moncada here. In 2017, he put up a .282 AVG/.377 OBP/57 R/12 HR/36 RBI/17 SB stat line in 80 games at Triple-A. As you can imagine, White Sox fans and prospect watchers were anticipating his arrival like an upcoming season of Game of Thrones.
After the White Sox began clearing their roster like high schoolers fleeing a party when the cops show up, Yoan Moncada got the call on July 19. He’s currently owned in 48% of ESPN leagues and 62% of Yahoo Leagues. If he’s available in your league, should you grab him? If you’ve got an open roster spot, absolutely you should.
Yoan Moncada is the very definition of an impact prospect. Of course, that doesn’t mean he will make an impact this year. He’s only 22 years-old, and he can come down with a case of the whiffs. In Triple-A this season, Yoan Moncada had 102 Ks in 309 ABs. He also had 12 Ks in 19 ABs during a 2016 cup of coffee with Boston.
That’s thing the about prospects, however. Despite prodigious talent, they may struggle initially adjusting to the majors. But for a player with impact potential like Yoan Moncada, it’s a risk worth taking.
Hot Topic No. 3: “You threw the manual in a supernova? Why? Because I disagreed with it!”
Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros
Matt Smith summing up his solution to frustration with inanimate objects is how I felt getting the ESPN jingle of death on my phone to happily inform me that Carlos Correa was headed to the DL.
Carlos Correa was placed on DL on July 18 with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He had successful surgery on July 19. Guess he’s got good insurance. The estimated recovery timeline is 6-to-8 weeks. Mike Trout had the same surgery this year and was back in 6 weeks.
But here’s what caused me to want to chuck my phone into a supernova. Carlos Correa first injured his thumb on July 4 BY SLIDING HEAD-FIRST into home. He did have three HRs in his next six games, including a two-HR game on July 9. Everything seemed ok.
It all came to a crashing halt on July 17, however. Carlos Correa was removed from the game after jamming the thumb during an AB. Apparently, the thumb was bothering him the whole time, even when he started the All-Star Game.
Can we just knock it off with the head-first slides already? The same day Carlos Correa had his surgery, Kris Bryant strained his pinkie finger sliding head-first into third base. If you own both Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant, you were probably in a very dark place. How dark? Watching Logan might have made you less depressed.
Head-first slides are like most movie remakes. Not a lot can go right, but a whole bunch can go wrong. With these kinds of injuries, MLB teams need to seriously consider outlawing head-first slides at an organizational level. With the investment teams put into players and the emphasis on keeping players healthy, here’s an injury risk that can be avoided.
Of course, if you’re a Carlos Correa owner this does nothing for you. Let’s face it; a .320 AVG/.400 OBP/64 R/20 HR/67 RBI/0 SB stat line in 84 games is irreplaceable. He should be kept in all formats, however. A September return is possible, and you want Carlos Correa on your roster for the Fantasy Baseball playoffs.
For now, Carlos Correa owners will just have to hit the waiver wire. Hopefully, he’ll be back for the playoffs and you can find someone who won’t kill you until then. I suggest taking a look at Orlando Arcia, the SS for the Brewers. He’s not replacing Carlos Correa (no one is), but there’s some upside there. He’s also only owned in 27% of ESPN leagues and Yahoo leagues. You could do a lot worse.
There are your Fantasy Baseball Week 17 Hot Topics. If you’re a Whovian, it’s been a big week. If you’re a Fantasy Baseball owner, each week gets bigger from here on out. That’s right; it’s bigger on the inside (I had to work that one in). Until next time, bow ties are cool.
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