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2018 Week 25 Hot Topics: Mind-Bottling Edition

During the Fantasy Baseball playoffs you don’t need to find great players, you just need to find players that are great right now.

2018 Week 25 Hot Topics
Photo Credit: Ian D'Andrea

Welcome to SCFE’s 2018 Week 25 Hot Topics. It’s Fantasy Baseball Championship time. All the preseason draft preparation, the draft stratagems and randomness, and making in-season moves for the last six months; it’s all come down to this. Legends are made, and the Yoohoo flows the like nectar of the gods. If you don’t get the Yoohoo reference, then you need to learn your Fantasy Baseball history.

Since it’s time to go for the Fantasy Baseball gold, I figured what better way to close out the Fantasy Baseball season than with the sports comedy standout Blades of Glory. Part of the Will Ferrell pantheon of sports comedies, Blades of Glory shows there’s more than one way to get to a championship.

Released in 2007, Blades of Glory stars Will Ferrell as Chazz Michael Michaels and Jon Heder as Jimmy MacElroy. Chazz and Jimmy are bitter skating rivals, and they tie for the gold medal at the World Winter Sport Games (they couldn’t say “Olympics” without paying a bunch of money or getting sued). They wind up fighting on the medal stand, which leads to the Games’ mascot getting set on fire. Chazz and Jimmy are then banned for life from competitive figure skating.

Fast forward several years later, and Jimmy is working in a skate shop and Chazz is part of a Disney knock-off children’s show. Jimmy has a devoted stalker, however, who doesn’t want to give up. As he puts it: “Look, I almost gave up on you. I started working with that Ukrainian skater, you know, the one who looks like Elvis? And I moved to the Ukraine, and it was cold and everyone had guns and smelled like soup.” Because nobody can obsess like a stalker, Hector the Stalker finds a loophole after studying the rules of skating.

Although Jimmy was banned for life, he was only banned from his particular division; men’s single skating. That means Jimmy can still skate in pairs. Of course, there’s only a few months left before the next World Winter Sport Games (can’t call the “Olympics” for legal purposes). As a result, Jimmy is forced to team up with Chazz to become the first male-male pairs team in skating history.

Various hijinks and quotable exchanges ensue. Blades of Glory may not be a cinematic achievement, but it will make you laugh out loud. It’s a Citizen Kane/Independence Day medalist. In order to have a shot at winning the gold, Chazz and Jimmy have to perform a mythical figure skating move called the Iron Lotus. Why has it never been attempted before? Because the last time their coach tried it, there was a decapitation involved. The problem was the physics were off. That makes sense.

There’s actually a Fantasy Baseball analogy here. If you want that championship, you have to take some risks. Just watch your head. Here are the Fantasy Baseball 2018 Week 25 Hot Topics. No matter what else happens, never embarrass Marky Mark or let down the Funky Bunch. Remember that, and you’ll be fine.

2018 Week 25 Hot Topics

Hot Topic No. 1: “They laughed at Louis Armstrong when he said he was gonna go to the moon. Now he’s up there, laughing at them.”

German Marquez, SP, Colorado Rockies

I’ll leave it to you to add up how many things are hilariously wrong with that sentence. Did I mention that Chazz Michael Michaels is somewhat dimwitted? He’s source for the title of this week’s column: “Yeah, mind-bottling. You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?” Can’t argue with that. If you thought a Rockies SP might carry you in the Fantasy Baseball playoffs, you probably would’ve been laughed at. If you snagged German Marquez from the waiver wire in the last month, however, you might be the one laughing up on the moon with Louis Armstrong.

German Marquez was originally signed by the Tampa Bay Rays as an international free agent in 2011. On January 28, 2016, he was traded to the Rockies along with Jake McGee for Corey Dickerson and Kevin Padlo. Pitching in the minors in 2016, German Marquez posted an 11-6/3.13 ERA/1.16 WHIP/155 K stat line in 166.2 IP between AA and AAA. He was promoted on September 6, 2016 for an MLB cup of coffee. As a 22-year old last season, German Marquez spent the majority of the season in the big leagues and finished with an 11-7/4.39 ERA/1.38 WHIP/147 K line in 162.0 IP. Not too shabby for a rookie SP with half his games in Coors Field. He also finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Heading into this season, German Marquez was subject to the usual hesitancy regarding Colorado Rockies SPs. Like a DC movie, there’s always skepticism no matter how good it sounds. Jon Gray owners are nodding and reaching for a drink right now. Overall this season, German Marquez has a 12-10/3.96 ERA/1.23 WHIP/199 K stat line in 177.1 IP through September 16. Not bad at all. In the last month, however, German Marquez is sporting a 2.16 ERA/0.89 WHIP/53 K line in 41.2 IP. That includes consecutive 13 K/11 K/11 K starts. Like Crump’s Brother; he’s been dominant. Bonus points if you get that reference.

German Marquez is currently owned in 71% of Yahoo leagues and 77% of ESPN leagues. Check your waiver wire. He may still be out there in your league. Can he keep this up? He averages 95 MPH with his fastball and he has legit stuff. Whether he’s good long term is irrelevant right now. As I said last time, during the Fantasy Baseball playoffs you don’t need to find great players, you just need to find players that are great right now. Need some Ks? You aren’t going to find much better than German Marquez right now.

Hot Topic No. 2: “And this is my brother’s new girlfriend and she is not a whore! I’m in a lot of pain I think I’m gonna barf.”

Ramon Laureano, OF, Oakland Athletics

Embed from Getty Images

This has nothing to do with Fantasy Baseball or this topic; it just makes me laugh out loud whenever I read it. I think we all know by now I have a weird sense of humor. If I got you to think a little and laugh some more this season, then my job is done. Choosing roster additions during the Fantasy Baseball playoffs is like ordering fast food. You just want a good product; you’re not concerned about where it comes from. As long as a player is putting up counting stats at a crucial time, do you really care if he has any kind of track record? Of course you don’t.

Ramon Laureano was drafted by the Houston Astros in 16th round of the 2014 draft. In 2016, he posted a .319 AVG/.428 OBP/89 R/15 HR/73 RBI/43 SB stat line in 116 games between A and AA. With emerging power and speed to burn, prospect hounds began to take note. Like the second half of an American Greed episode, however, things turned ugly for Ramon Laureano in 2017. He finished the season with a .227 AVG/65 R/11 HR/55 RBI/24 SB line in 123 games at AAA. Ouch. On November 20, 2017, Ramon Laureano was traded to the Athletics for Brandon Bailey. Double ouch. This year, Ramon Laureano rebounded like the third season of Lost. In 64 games at AAA, he put up a .297 AVG/.380 OBP/44 R/14 HR/35 RBI/11 SB stat line.

He got the call on August 3, 2018, and has received regular playing time for a playoff-bound A’s squad that nobody saw coming. This is what makes baseball (and Fantasy Baseball by extension) awesome. There’s always teams and players that show up out of nowhere. Since his promotion, Ramon Laureano has posted a .279 AVG/.357 OBP/19 R/5 HR/14 RBI/5 SB stat line in his first 36 MLB games. Not bad for a 24-year old rookie inserted into a pennant race. These kinds of numbers can make the difference in the Fantasy Baseball playoffs, especially in deep leagues.

Ramon Laureano is currently owned in 19% of ESPN leagues and 15% of Yahoo leagues. From a Fantasy Baseball perspective, whether or not Ramon Laureano has long-term potential is irrelevant at this point. Right now, he’s got playing time and he offers AVG, Rs, SBs with some power thrown in. If you’re looking for OF help over the next few weeks, this could be one of those moves that brings home the title.

If you need advice setting up your lineups for the championship run, head over to SCFE’s Hitting Planner provided by Aaron Hinckley.   Those are the Fantasy Baseball 2018 Week 25 Hot Topics. No matter how your season turned out, I hope you enjoyed the ride. Life is hard enough; Fantasy Baseball is supposed to be fun. Even if it takes work and effort. The best things always do. And unlike many things in life, hope truly does spring eternal in Fantasy Baseball.

As a Cubs fan I used to dread the cliché “there’s always next year.” But as the 2016 Cubs proved, sometimes next year becomes this year. Or to put it another way – Never Give Up, Never Surrender. On a personal note, thanks to all the constant readers and all the new readers this year. Writing these columns allows me to actually enjoy writing, and I hope I’ve been able to impart some useful Fantasy Baseball information, some food for thought, and some humor along the way. Thanks for being part of the adventure. Until next time, always never forget to check your references.

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