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Friday 15th Dec 2017

As we are indeed upon the All-Star Break in just a week, it is hard to believe just how quickly the season is dissipating, before our very eyes.

And, once again, a prime prospect has been brought forth, this time in the countenance of Miguel Sano. Sano, 22, is a Dominican product who was signed as a 17-year-old and has since produced brilliant numbers, consisting of a .278-105-339 line over 445 games (note Sano missed all of last year due to injury) with 233 of his 450 hits going for extra bases (.564 SLG). This year at Double-A Chattanooga, Sano was hitting .278-15-48 with a .918 OPS when called up, and though Sano played third in the Minors, for now he is a DH. Sano is big (6'4", 240 pounds), clearly powerful, and is a must grab everywhere, in every way.

Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham is hardly such a prodigy, but with the Cards ailing in the outfield, the 27-year-old has been summoned. Drafted in the 16th round in 2006, Pham has spent his ten-year career with St. Louis climbing through the farm system, posting a .256-63-306 line over 723 games (compare that to Sano) with some decent speed (119 swipes). St. Louis knows how to use their puzzle parts and get the most out of them, but unless you need to plug a gap in an NL format, pass on Pham.

OK, on to a cluster of pitchers, starting with the Tribe's Cody Anderson. A 14th round selection in 2011, Anderson posted a 21-25, 3.44 mark over 436.3 innings, with 332 strikeouts and a 1.263 WHIP in the Minors. But, like so many of his contemporaries, Anderson has flourished thus far in the Majors, going 1-1, 0.76 over 23.6 innings, but has just 10 whiffs in the bigs. Anderson is big (6'4", 235) but not that dominant, so ride the hot hand, but be ready to dump.

Actually, big guys seem to be a theme today, and yesterday I caught a chunk of Mike Montgomery's start against the Athletics, and he was impressive. A tall (6'4") lefty, and first-round pick in 2008 out of high school, Montgomery toiled eight years in the Minors, going 46-50, 4.24 over 824.3 innings. Montgomery whiffed 692 and posted a minor league WHIP of 1.345, but like his rookie pitching mates, Montgomery has killed it, going 20 scoreless innings before giving up a dinger to Sam Fuld on Sunday. Despite his size, he lives off ground balls, and like all these other rookie pitchers, take 'em and grin.

On Sunday, Montgomery matched up against Chris Bassitt, a 6'5" right-hander, who pretty much held the Mariners in check. He might have escaped the start with a win had he not hit Robinson Cano on the foot with a two strike count (with two outs) in the sixth that opened the door to a massive two-run outburst, enough to win the game. A 16th round selection of the Pale Hose in 2011, Bassitt moved to Oakland with Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien as part of the Jeff Samardzija swap, and filling in for the ill Sonny Gray, he has comported himself well. Bassitt whiffed 367 over 380.3 minor league frames, and I do indeed like his prospects because of said size, numbers, and his home park. Bassitt could make an interesting DFS play if he sticks, depending upon the opponent, by the way.

Finishing with some quick shots, three pitchers are just back from extended stays on the DL, starting with Patrick Corbin, of the D-backs. Corbin was ok in his Saturday return, allowing a couple of runs over five, but surrendering eight hits while earning a victory. Corbin makes for a decent play in an NL-only format, but I am sitting on him as part of my LABR DL for at least another week.

I would not trust Dan Straily, however, although I liked the former Athletic a lot while he pitched in Oakland. Straily has allowed 38 homers over 248 innings which is a lot, and he has not been effective at keeping runners off base (2.07 WHIP over 18.3 innings since 2014). I would want to see some extended success at something before gambling.

Jose Fernandez is a great talent, a la Matt Harvey. But I would expect Fernandez to have some ups-and-downs in his return, just like Harvey, and not really be a dependable rotation mate until September (call-up time) at the earliest. But, by next year, I would be happy to roster either of them.

Finally, Ervin Santana is back after his supension, but that is a lot different than being out due to injury. I would be happy to jump on him in every format. In fact, I activated Ervin in the three leagues in which I own him.

DFS Watch: OK, we are willing to adjust to the fun market of Daily Games. In fact, you know we play FantasyScore and participate in the FanDuel Tout Wars contest, so let's add to our daily MastersDaily coverage and simply pick a couple of series/games/starts this week that look good.

Pitchers to Watch: A.J. Burnett gets a couple of starts, first against the Padres, then later in the week against the tougher Cardinals. But Burnett has done very little to disappoint roto players this season. I also have to endorse Madison Bumgarner, scheduled to go against the Phils (who have trouble with southpaws) this coming Friday.

Series to Watch: It looks like there are some tasty opportunities for hitters this week too, starting with the Giants on Monday, facing the Mets and Jon Niese, making Buster Posey, Andrew Susac and Matt Duffy all good plays. Later in the week, the Twins against the so far awful Justin Verlander seems fun, and Texas could indeed bring Odrisamer Despaigne not just to earth, but into the earth's magma with the likes of Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder.

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