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After a sluggish first two months of the season, Troy Tulowitzki has caught fire in June, with a .464 average, three home runs and 12 RBI in the first seven games of the month? Tulo has some potential pitfalls ahead (health history, and the very real possibility that he could be traded away from the most lucrative offensive home park in the league), so with that in mind ... O/U 137.5 games played, .299 batting average, 24.5 home runs, 89.5 RBI?
Brandon – I'll take the OVER on home runs - he had 21 HRs at the All-Star break last season, so we know that he can heat up in a hurry. His 162-game HR average over the previous six seasons is 34, which is to say that he can hit a 15-day DL stint and I think he'd still be able to reach 25 HRs. Also, his road HR tally over the past several years has been solid, so I don't think a trade is a dealbreaker for this O/U HR total.
Scott – UNDER on the entire lot. Too much of an injury history. And even if Tulo somehow stays healthy, that probably means he's on a different roster in August.
Andy – I'll take the UNDER, across the board. Wonderful player, wonderful park (for now). But there's a deep history of injuries here. I'd basically never take the over on any counting stat with Tulo. If he tops any of these marks, it's likely to be batting average.
Like Tulo, Toronto's Jose Bautista opened the '15 season at a slower than usual pace. But thanks to a 12-game hitting streak, and four home runs in the first week of June, Joey Bats is now pushing a 30-HR, 100-RBI pace, a feat he's accomplished three times in the past five seasons. Can Bautista go 30-100 for a fourth time - O/U 29.5 home runs, 99.5 RBI??
Brandon – OVER. Hitting No. 3 for one of the top offenses in the league, reaching 100 RBI shouldn't be a problem for Bautista if he can stay healthy. As for the HRs, he may not even have to stay that healthy to reach 30. He hit 35 last season, and he averaged 27.5 home runs the two seasons prior to that despite playing an average of just 105 games those seasons.
Scott – Here we're going OVER. The Jays are the runaway leaders in runs scored, no one close. The park is a float. The lineup is so deep. If I were Mike Babcock, I'd want the Blue Jays job.
Andy – OVER, absolutely. I expect the Jays to remain in the fight all year. The park is friendly, the lineup is terrific, and Bautista's power ceiling is well-documented. If he remains healthy, he hits these numbers.
Ian Desmond is the only player to go 20/20 in each of the past three seasons, but he's sitting on a pace of just 14 home runs and three steals in '15. The summer months have been good to Desmond since '10, as he's hit .288 from June through the end of the season in that span. Can Desmond pick up the pace once again - O/U final tally of 17.5 home runs and 11.5 steals?
Dalton – UNDER. Desmond has just one steal on the year while attempting three, and the rest of his peripherals are a bit worrisome. I expect Desmond to be better moving forward but not to be close to the type of player he was last year.
Andy – I'll take the OVER on power, UNDER on speed. One steal in three attempts doesn't make me bullish on his rest-of-season pilfering.
Scott – I'll give Desmond the benefit of the doubt on the homers, but so much of the speed game is wanting to run. He's attempted three steals. You can't consider that part of his profile now.
Phillies rookie corner Maikel Franco has brought some immediate pop to the Phillies lineup with six home runs in his first 24 games - With just over 100 games left in '15, can Franco breach the 20-HR plateau in his rookie campaign - O/U rest-of-season HRs 15.5?
Scott – I have to shade UNDER, given the modest power profile the kid showed in the minors. But it's nice to see something positive happen in Philadelphia this year.
Andy – OVER. He might hit 15 homers from now through the end of June, at the rate he's going. (OK, no, he will not. But he's been plenty impressive.) This isn't really such a big ask for Franco, a guy who clearly possesses legit 25-homer power.
Dalton – UNDER. I like Franco and own him in a couple of my more important leagues but asking for this seems a bit much. He'll be worth using as a CI in deeper leagues though.
Arizona's A.J. Pollock has been one of the biggest breakout stars of early '15, ranking as the 11th-most valuable player in fantasy to this point. Can the five-tool talent keep up a similar pace the rest of the way - O/U final fantasy ranking 39.5?
Brandon – UNDER. I was bullish on Pollock in the preseason, ranking him right around No. 80 overall, which was much higher than the industry consensus. Love the hitting environment, like the pop/speed combo skills and, really, what he's doing right now is basically the same production he's been delivering since late '13. Expect some regression the rest of the way, but not that much.
Andy – UNDER. He does his home hitting in a friendly park, and there's really no doubting his power/speed potential at this stage. I can't say I'm as enthusiastic as Dalton, but top-40 is probably in the bag.
Dalton – UNDER. I'm all in when it comes to Pollock. I really think he's the real deal and worth a top-three round pick in a draft held today.
Scott - How dare you not invite me to the Pollock Party. UNDER, amigos. He's been comically underrated by too many people for two months. Chip Hale's lineup card will get a little funky now and then, but Pollock will be in there most of the time. The breakout really happened last year, but it was obscured by injury.
On pace for 45 steals and 94 Runs, Bucs young outfielder Gregory Polanco is becoming one of fantasy's top speed weapons. Over/Under final SB total of 37.5 and Run total 87.5?
Brandon – I'll say OVER on both, barely. I think he'll have an easier time swiping 38 bags, as there should be no question about his thieving ability - he averaged just a hair shy of 50 steals per 162 games in his minor league career. And batting in front of guys like Andrew McCutchen (who has really taken flight since an awful April), Starling Marte and Neil Walker, I like Polanco's chances of scoring another 55 runs in his next 100 games - he scored at a clip of 91 runs per 162 games as a rookie last season (50 in 89 games), so this has been right at the pace he started in on when he arrived in Pittsburgh.
Andy – OVER on steals, UNDER on runs. We're not really talking about an on-base machine here (19 BB, .318 OBP), but I believe in his base-stealing talents, for sure.
Dalton – UNDER for both. Polanco should come close, but I'm just going to bet against his .107 ISO and 92 wRC+, although he's admittedly a very good base runner. His current .320 BABIP is nearly 30 points above his career mark of .292.
AL rookie arms Eduardo Rodriguez (Boston) and Lance McCullers (Houston) have been sensational in their short time in the majors, both ranking as top 40 fantasy values over the past two weeks. Fellow AL rookie Carlos Rodon (Chicago) and almost-rookie Taijuan Walker (Seattle) have also turned it on as of late. With Houston giving another talented pitching prospect (Vince Velasquez) his MLB debut this week, let's rank these five gifted hurlers, all available in at least 35 percent of Yahoo leagues, based on expected ROS value?
Brandon – 1) Rodon 2) McCullers 3) Rodriguez 4) Walker 5) Velasquez
Dalton – 1) McCullers 2) Rodon 3) Walker 4) Velasquez 5) Rodriguez
Scott – 1) Rodriguez, 2) Rodon, 3) McCullers, 4) Walker, 5) Velasquez
With Quality Starts in five consecutive outings, Jesse Hahn is one of fantasy's top pitching pickups at the moment. He owns a career 3.28 ERA, but is at 3.51 for this season. Can he pitch to his career mark the rest of the way - O/U 3.28 ROS ERA? Also, choose your favorite Oakland Jesse - Hahn or Chavez?
Brandon – OVER. This should be a close one, but he's logged just 140 MLB innings, so I'll bet on inexperience biting him enough that he doesn't quite hit below this ERA mark. As for the Jesse debate, give me Chavez. His ERA has lived in the 3s in Oakland, and his K/9 has resided in the 8s - I feel like I have a better handle on what I will get from Chavez, and I'm satisfied with those returns.
Dalton – OVER. I would confidently bet on the first part here (ERA) since this could go over for even the best pitchers in baseball. But I will take Hahn over Chavez ROS.
Scott – UNDER. Jesse is a friend. Jesse is a good friend of mine, especially when he's throwing that curve. Mixed leaguers should generally be courting upside, which makes Hahn over Chavez a slam dunk. Dare to be great.
Masahiro Tanaka has been fantastic in his return from the DL, logging two Quality Start victories? With just under four months left in the season, can Tanaka hold up over that span and deliver ace-level returns - O/U rest-of-season IP and K 119.5?
Scott – I know Tanaka will be great when on the field but I don't trust the durabilty. Look for an ERA under three, but go UNDER on all the counting stats.
Andy – UNDER. We all know the injury risk here. Use Tanaka in daily games, leave him alone in seasonal.
Dalton – UNDER. I'm impressed by his performance while pitching through his injury, but I still have little confidence it won't eventually end his season.
Which demoted closer would you be most willing to gamble on for ROS saves - Fernando Rodney or Addison Reed?
Brandon – RODNEY. But, this is really a toss up for me. I'm guessing fans of both clubs hope that neither of these guys are coming in to put the lid on a lead anytime soon.
Scott – A weak vote to Reed, because the Snakes don't really consider Brad Ziegler an ideal closer. Seattle has a perfect replacement ready to go in Carson Smith. That said, I fully expect Smith and Ziegler to be the handshake men from here on out.
Dalton – Rodney. His track record is longer, and Reed's ERA was bad even last year (4.25).