Well, yesterday was quite the day, wasn’t it? Baseball’s two biggest superstars – Mike Trout and Bryce Harper -- were front-and-center in the news and neither was for a good reason. For fantasy owners, only one really matters, yet I’m sure the hot topic of conversation will be the other. Why? Because it’s more exciting, isn’t it? It fires people up – new school versus old school, millennials versus Generation X versus baby boomers – regardless of how overplayed this debate/discussion of unwritten rules and players policing themselves has become.

For those who were maybe in a coma yesterday, allow me to elaborate…

The real news is that Trout, who left Sunday’s game with a thumb injury, had an MRI yesterday and it was revealed he tore the UCL that connects the thumb to the forearm. Huge bummer. A guy who has never spent a single day on the disabled list will not be out for, according to the Angels, six to eight weeks. Fantasy Alarm’s in-house medical specialist, Dr. Selene Parekh uploaded a video yesterday where he actually has a significantly longer timetable that hits the four-to-six month range.

Obviously, Dr. Parekh hasn’t examined Trout, but his experience with the injury gives him a general understanding of the recovery timetable following surgery. Maybe because Trout is actually super-human, the Angels expect him to recover quicker, but regardless of which timetable actually holds true, fantasy owners are in a world of hurt right now. You cannot replace the irreplaceable. Trout’s replacement value is higher than any five players on your waiver wire combined. This is one injury where you just need to bite down on a stick and yell as loud as you can. It hurts. We know it hurts. And that hurt won’t go away.

The only real advice to give here, is to not make a stupid panic trade. If you’re a Trout owner and in the top half of your standings, you’ve probably received a number of crappy trade offers by now. Again, your league mates smell the blood in the water and they’re going to take advantage in any way they can. Just remember, if the Angels timetable is correct, you should have Trout back in early August.

You’re weighing each and every trade offer against two months of Trout plus whatever waiver wire scrub you can find. If you’re in a re-draft league, it might make sense to deal him, especially if you factor in the nature of the injury and what we’ve seen with other hitters who are coming back from a thumb injury. He may be back in August but is he really “back” in August? Just take your time and think through the offers. There is no rush to deal him right now. Give yourself a few days to weigh different options and see what transpires. You should find something that makes you happy.

If, by the way, you’re in a keeper league, I’ll lean towards keeping him. It depends on contracts. If you’re in a forever-keeper league, you hold him. He’ll be just fine in the end and there’s nothing like starting off 2018 with the best player in baseball on your team. If there are contracts involved, I’m still keeping him if I can hold him for two years or more. If it’s one year, chances are I’m still holding him, but would be more inclined to listen to some offers. After all, it’s one season and if someone is going to throw you the world for one season of service, it’s probably worth considering.

As far as the other big story goes, yes, it’s all about players policing themselves, pitchers hitting batters, batters charging the mound and a whole world of stupidity. During yesterday’s Nationals/Giants game, Hunter Strickland threw a close-to 100 mph fastball and hit Harper in the hip. The Nationals’ outfielder then charged the mound, threw his batting helmet in Strickland’s general direction and then a few punches before both benches cleared and a melee ensued. Both players were ejected and there are likely to be a couple of suspensions doled out.

As I see it, Strickland was in the wrong here if he was intentionally throwing at Harper for a pair of homers he hit off the reliever back in 2015. Dead wrong. He can complain that Harper tried to show him up by standing at the plate while watching one of the balls leave the yard, but the shot was close enough to the foul line that Harper’s inaction could have been due to the expectation of taking another cut at the plate. Regardless of what you believe from that, we’re talking about three years ago. Are you serious, Strickland? Three years? If he didn’t look like a big enough jackass after making racial slurs directed at Salvador Perez during the 2014 World Series, he certainly cemented his reputation as one here.

But save for a few games potentially missed, the fantasy impact is nil. It does nothing for our game. For the game of baseball, however, it perpetuates this ongoing debate of whether players should swallow their pride and accept the unwritten rules of players policing themselves or that there’s too much machismo in this game and pitchers need to grow up and accept that bat-flips and standing at the plate to admire a home run are perfectly fine. There are a million arguments back and forth and very few people have a cut-and-dry take on it.

For me, it’s simple. If a hitter wants to flip his bat or stand at home plate and admire a home run, he also needs to accept that pitchers can pump their fists and celebrate after a strike out, a well-made out, an inning-ending double play, whatever. He also needs to understand that the inside part of the plate is not off-limits and pitchers need to use it as a part of the game. Being hyper-sensitive to inside pitches is what causes the majority of these fights. The pitch comes in tight and the batter feels the need to get indignant, stare the pitcher down and, in most cases, start jawing. That’s how so much of this crap starts.

Now as far as the head-hunting goes, that needs to stop. If a pitcher is going to refer to the unwritten rules and hit a guy, he has to be smart about it, though even as I type ‘smart’ I question my use of the word here. Hit the guy in the ass. Hit him in the thigh. If you don’t think you’ve got the command to do that, make sure you’re only throwing a change-up then. But 100-mph fastballs at the head is insane. That needs to stop and pitchers who do that should simply be suspended for a set number of games – enough to make an impact. Throw at a guy’s head and you’re gone for 20 games. Simple as that. That’s enough to mess with a team’s rotation and force them into making roster adjustments they don’t want to make. Pitching coaches will eventually convince these knuckleheads that it’s just not worth it.

Whatever. I’m droning on here. It’ll probably come up on today’s show, so I’ll spare you that here and look to other news which is exponentially more important to the fantasy game.

Hot Streaks You Can Enjoy

Would you believe Melky Cabrera is currently the hottest hitter in baseball right now? Talk about waking up from a coma. Over his last seven games, he’s batting .407 with four home runs and 11 RBI. While I’ve never been a big fan of his and thought MLB should have tossed him for good after he created a fake web site to try and avoid a PEDs suspension, you can’t deny the current level of production and can no longer leave him sitting on your waiver wire. A quick glance at his peripherals will tell you that the worm is turning here and you need to jump on the train, at least while he’s hot. There’s nothing in his walk, strikeout or swing rates that indicate anything other than his .266 BABIP and near 50-percent ground ball rate are dragging him down. Should the BABIP luck dragons emerge and help some of those grounders find holes while he’s making the necessary adjustments to loft the ball a little more, he should continue to post strong totals while his overall numbers normalize.

How hot is the bat of Justin Smoak, and not just recently, but for the season? He’s always struggled to find his place in the lineup and that dates back to when he was considered just a platoon bat in Seattle, but with no Edwin Encarnacion in town, things have opened up massively for the switch-hitting Smoak. Over the last two seasons, he had to fight for playing time with Encarnacion and Jose Bautista clogging up first base and the DH spot, but now that he’s playing every day, he’s really come into his own. He’s cut down on the strikeouts significantly and his approach from both sides of the plate has been much-improved to the point where you don’t care if he’s facing a lefty or a righty. The full-time at-bats and calling Rogers Centre his home should be enough to keep him as a major asset moving forward, especially with the way the rest of the lineup is heating up.

Chalk up yet another impressive week for Adam Duvall. Over his last seven games, he’s batting .379 with five home runs and 13 RBI, giving him a total of 14 homers and 45 RBI on the year. Kick in three stolen bases and, oh baby! That’s some encore performance after last year’s 33-homer explosion. The big question coming into the season was whether or not he was going to be able to sustain the power. Everyone was ready to concede the batting average, but only if they could score another 30-homer season out of him. Well, not only is he on-pace for that, but his improved plate discipline has made him a much more valuable commodity. People seem to have an issue with the .279 average right now and claim it to be unsustainable, but the major reduction in strikeouts – 27-percent last year to just 22.3-percent this year, should help him maintain something between .260 and .270 rather than the .241 mark he ended with last season. After all that time wasted playing behind the likes of Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco in San Francisco, it’s good to see Duvall get this opportunity to show what he can do with regular at-bats. Give it up for the late-bloomers!