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2018 Week 17 Hot Topics: Pain Don’t Hurt Edition

The Fantasy Baseball home stretch can be stressful; no question there. If you’re looking for an impact add from the waiver wire, keep in mind players who may not be “exciting” but consistently put up numbers. Those guys are an essential component of Fantasy Baseball success.

2018 Week 17 Hot Topics
Photo Credit: Charles Edward Miller

Welcome to SCFE’s 2018 Week 17 Hot Topics. The All-Star break is behind us, and the sprint for the Fantasy Baseball playoffs is underway. The chaos of the trading deadline is also here. While deadline deals can wreak havoc with Fantasy Baseball rosters (and can cause AL/NL-only league owners to ask themselves why they even bother), there are also opportunities to be had.

When things get chaotic, it’s always nice to have some consistency in your life. That’s why I decided to feature players who’ve been historically consistent producers in this week’s column. They may not be the sexiest choice on draft day; but you know what you’re getting. There’s something to be said for that.

Since we’re on the topic of consistency, I also decided to go with a movie that consistently entertains. No matter how many times I watch Road House, I’m always glad I did. Road House never gets old. It’s a Citizen Kane/Independence Day Hall-of-Famer.

Released in 1989, Road House stars the late Patrick Swayze as Dalton, the best bouncer in the business. He’s hired to clean up the nastiest, most violent bar in the business. When he first shows up at the Double Deuce, there’s chicken wire in front of the stage to protect the band from flying beer bottles. You know the place is rough. Don’t eat the big white mint.

What follows is classic action movie dialogue and good old-fashioned bar brawlin’. Road House is eminently quotable; it’s just a shame that most of the best quotes involve profanity. Which means I can’t use them here. Road House is also the basis for some of my favorite obscure Family Guy moments. “House. Road House. That too.”

The last weeks of the Fantasy Baseball regular season can be tense. It can seem like every roster decision is make-or-break. It’s important to maintain a sense of perspective and stay relaxed. Just keep up with current information and be confident in your decisions. You’ll be alright. And above all; be nice. Until it’s time to not be nice. Take it from Dalton.

It’s time to take it outside with the 2018 Week 17 Hot Topics.

2018 Week 17 Hot Topics

Hot Topic No. 1: “I thought you’d be bigger.”

Matt Carpenter, 1B/2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals

This quote is a running gag from Road House, and best describes the run Matt Carpenter has been on lately. With his power outburst over the last few months, you’d think he’d be towering over everybody.

Once upon a time, Matt Carpenter was considered a solid OBP guy who could leadoff but with no speed. Now he’s headed for a career-high season in HRs at age 32. Welcome to MLB’s chicks dig the long ball era.

I’m also guessing that Fantasy Baseball owners who left Matt Carpenter for dead back in May are feeling like Fantasy Football owners in 1988 who didn’t take a draft flyer on Ickey Woods. If you’ve never of heard of Elbert “Ickey” Woods, look him up. You need to see the Ickey Shuffle at least once before you die. Gratuitous Fantasy Football reference everybody!

But I digress. By mid-May of this season, Matt Carpenter had put up a .140 AVG in his first 140 plate appearances. Ouch. Some undoubtedly wondered whether Matt Carpenter had begun to decline.

Since his first full MLB season in 2012, Matt Carpenter sports a career .277 AVG and .378 OBP. In 2015, he added some uppercut to his swing and has been good for at least 21 HRs a season ever since. In 2017, Matt Carpenter finished with a .241 AVG/91 R/23 HR/69 RBI/2 SB stat line.

There were some concerns about the AVG heading into this season, but Matt Carpenter still finished 2017 with a .384 OBP despite the career-low AVG. In fact, his 2017 OBP was better than his OBP in 2016. So why was his AVG 30 points lower in 2017? The AVG coincided with a career-low .274 BABIP (.320 overall). That’s right; Matt Carpenter was unlucky in 2017. A lingering shoulder injury didn’t help either.

It looked like the bad luck continued into 2018 with the aforementioned .140 in May. Or maybe Matt Carpenter was getting old. Reports of his demise, however, turned out to be greatly exaggerated. Since the ghastly start to the season, Matt Carpenter has the highest OPS in MLB since May 25. He’s also hit .346 since then and his .380 OBP is right in line with his career numbers.

On July 20 against the Cubs, Matt Carpenter had himself a game. He finished the contest with a 5-5/4 R/3 HR/7 RBI performance. He also became only the second player in the modern era to have 3 HRs and 2 doubles in the same game. Did I mention he was pulled from the game in the sixth inning to rest up for a doubleheader the next day? Wow. Through July 21, Matt Carpenter had an HR in 6 straight games with 8 total HRs in that stretch. Overall this season, he’s posted a .279 AVG/.387 OBP/66 R/25 HR/53 RBI stat line as of July 23.

Not only is Matt Carpenter hotter than Quentin Tarantino after Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, but he also provides roster flexibility. With 1B, 2B, and 3B eligibility, he basically has the infield covered. Remarkably, Matt Carpenter is still unowned in 12% of Yahoo leagues and 7% of ESPN leagues. You should sprint to your waiver wire to see if he’s still out there. Maybe you’ll get a pleasant surprise.

If you can’t find any solid veterans on your league’s waiver wire, maybe some exciting youngsters are out there. If you’re looking for information on MLB’s future stars, head over to SCFE’s Rookie Report provided by Dennis Sosic.

Hot Topic No. 2: “Opinions vary.”

Adam Jones, OF, Baltimore Orioles

Embed from Getty Images

If you’ve seen Road House, you know this quote is preceded by one of those great lines that can’t be used on a family-friendly website. This quote also sums up the perceived Fantasy Baseball value of Adam Jones. Over the years, some have called him overrated; while others swear he’s perpetually underrated.

No matter which side of the debate you’re on, you know what you’re getting with Adam Jones. He is who we thought he was. If you think about it, doesn’t that sound like a Dalton quote? Discuss.

Like a Law & Order-based tv series, it seems like Adam Jones has been around forever. Anyone else notice that there’s always a Law & Order series on some channel at literally any given time? Seriously; I think it might actually be a law.

For the last decade, Adam Jones has been good for around 80 Rs, 20-30 HRs, 80 RBI, and a .270-.280 AVG pretty much every season. He’s also been incredibly durable. When trying to construct a championship-caliber roster, you can never go wrong with a player who’s consistently healthy and produces in multiple categories. You could say Adam Jones was just like Law & Order. Not always spectacular; but dependable and solid.

Adam Jones detractors always point to his career .317 OBP caused by his refusal to take a BB. He’s never walked more than 39 times in a season. He also hasn’t had double-digit SBs since 2013. I say so what? For the past 10 years, you never had to worry when you drafted Adam Jones. You could just put him in your lineup and not think about it again. You can’t say that about too many players. Recognize.

So far this season, Adam Jones has posted a .277 AVG/39 R/10 RBI/37 RBI/1 SB stat line in 95 games through July 23. It’s not spectacular; but it’s not awful either. Those numbers are down slightly from his career norms, but Fantasy Baseball owners in leagues with 5 OF rosters know there’s a lot worse out there.

Maybe time is catching up with Adam Jones. He’s certainly got the mileage, and he turns 33 in August. However, he could catch fire and have a big second half. Just look at Matt Carpenter. People thought he was done too. Either way, Adam Jones has been a Fantasy Baseball stalwart for an entire decade. Give respect where it’s due.

Those are SCFE’s Fantasy Baseball 2018 Week 17 Hot Topics. Hopefully everybody’s feeling refreshed after the All-Star Break. The Fantasy Baseball home stretch can be stressful; no question there. If you’re looking for an impact add from the waiver wire, keep in mind players who may not be “exciting” but consistently put up numbers. Those guys are an essential component of Fantasy Baseball success.

Until next time, always never forget to check your references.

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