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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: CODY BELLINGER 1B/OF LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Just one day after the San Francisco Giants promoted top shortstop prospect Christian Arroyo, the Los Angeles Dodgers responded with their own move by calling up massive 1B/OF prospect Cody Bellinger.  You won't find many other hitters who got off to a hotter start than Bellinger has this season, as he arrives with the Dodgers with a .343 average with 5 home runs and 7 steals in just 77 at-bats. Yes please to that juice to say the least and the 21-year-old former 2013 fourth-round pick has the clear ability to be the next big five-category player.  Or make it four categories in that Bellinger's 28.6 K/9 rate this season at Triple-A is the stuff of a slugging first baseman and will make hitting for average his biggest challenge.  Even going back to Double-A last season, Bellinger hit just .263 given his contact issues.  If it sounds bit like Bellinger is a newer version of teammate Joc Pederson, we can certainly see that.  Pederson was a big power/speed guy in the minors before arriving in the majors leagues with contact issues but once with the Dodgers, he infuriatingly stopped running.  We don't Bellinger will stop running and so he offers much more upside than Pederson does.  Pick up Bellinger where available as he can be an immediate impact player.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: AUSTIN HEDGES C SAN DIEGO PADRES

When it comes to the catcher position in fantasy baseball, the bar is set very low here given the annual dearth of even somewhat useful options for your team.  This always causes the few top guys like Buster Posey and this year Gary Sanchez to see grossly inflated draft prices (both guys already have earned the anger of their owners) and makes the rest of us constantly pan for guys to sign off the wire.  My personal strategy has always been to smile and not have a care in the world when the Poseys and Sanchez' of the world are drafted and instead pick an upside or undervalued catcher later in the draft.  Prospects and guys coming off somewhat disappointing years qualify here and one such player who belongs in the former category is the San Diego Padres' Austin Hedges.  The former 2011 second-round pick certainly had the prospect tag applied to him given how high he was drafted and that was further enhanced when he went out and hit .326 with 21 home runs at Triple-A in 2016.  Of course Hedges got those numbers in the offensive bonanza that is the PCL and so there was some regression expected overall but he still carries intrigue when 2017 drafts came around.

While Hedges went as a decent sleeper pick this spring, his start to 2017 was beyond rough as he piled on strikeout after strikeout.  That caused some rash and impatient owners to cut Hedges loose and thus miss out on the recent power binge he has supplied.  Hedges is now up to six home runs on the season in just 66 at-bats which actually makes him one of the better power-hitting catchers of the season.  The overall package though is shaky as Hedges has just a .189 average due to the fact he has put up a ghastly 28.8 K/9 rate and tiny 4.5 BB/9.  Hedges really needs to cut into those K's in order to save his average and gain some more fantasy baseball relevancy.  Right now he is a newer Mike Zunino or J.P. Arencibia and that doesn't get you very excited in fantasy baseball.  The upside remains though and Hedges' best days are ahead of him.  In two catcher formats Hedges has more value but in single leagues he can be played as well due to how poor the outlook is again on the position.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX/YANKS POSTPONED TUESDAY DUE TO RAIN

The Tuesday night series opener between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees has been postponed due to rain.  The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader in July as both sides realized the rain plaguing the East Coast was not going to let up for them to play.  Consider the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves game in jeopardy as well.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: CHRISTIAN ARROYO SS SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

In desperate need of any sort of excitement surrounding the team after the loss of ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner for 6-8 weeks after a dirt bike accident, plus the fact the team is not winning; the San Francisco Giants called up top shortstop prospect Christian Arroyo on Monday.  Whether Arroyo is ready or not and if this is a panic move by the Giants is up for debate but there is no denying the fact the former 2013 first-round pick is going to be a very good player.  In terms of fantasy baseball though, Arroyo may not be a big help just yet.  Consider that at Double-A a year ago, Arroyo hit just .274 with all of 3 home runs and 1 steal in 517 at-bats.  That is your epitome of an empty average but at just 21, Arroyo has not filled in yet physically.  While I think he will eventually add some power, Arroyo is really more defense than offense at this point.  So in NL-only leagues you can be more aggressive on the kid but in mixers Arroyo is just a speculative add.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Jason Heyward:  1/4 with his 3rd HR while hitting .294.  Listen you treat Jason Heyward like you do Ryan Zimmerman.  You know the good times are going to end soon and maybe with a thud but you first see how long they go.

Chad Kuhl:  9 ER in 1.2 IP with an ERA of 6.63.  This is one of those rare cases when you can legitimately say when watching Kuhl from your coach, "I can do better than that."

Corey Dickerson:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .324.  Just to show you the level of disrespect for Dickerson in the fantasy baseball community, he was on waivers in the Experts League until I picked him up for Monday.  Yes timing is everything but I also literally have been saying to pick up Dickerson since March 1st at like 3:23 PM ET.

Jonathan Schoop:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .279.  Over slight to his right, J.J, Hardy gazes at Schoop and says to himself "yeah this certainly looks familiar,"

Adam Jones:  3/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .300.  After the game Jones called up Evan Longoria and said "Dude we still got this but why does everyone not like us anymore?"  I wish I knew Adam.  

Chris Archer:  6.2 IP 6 H 5 ER 5 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.94.  This fallows Jacob DeGrom dropping six walks on my WHIP in his last outing.  (Turn dryer on and try to get in without making it stop). 

Brad Brach:  scoreless ninth for fourth save with 0.00 ERA.  Brach owners keep sending Zach Britton telegrams saying "hey man take your time coming back and make sure you are 100 percent ready to go."

Scott Schebler:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .191.  I will sign off on NL-only usage but the Chris Davis average is a no-no in mixers for now.

Eric Thames:  2/3 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .373.  Even Chris Shelton can't believe someone can be this hot in April.

Hernan Perez:  2/4 with his second HR and first SB while hitting .209.  Perez was not a buy I chased one bit as I saw his 2016 as a fluke.  The Brewers did too since they are not actively playing him everyday.

Amir Garrett:  9 ER in 3.1 ERA with an ERA of 5.09.  That traffic jam you see that rivals rush hour in Los Angeles is Amir Garrett heading toward the waiver about 5,000 times this morning.  I mean come on people he was never considered a top prospect and his K/9 was middling in the minors.  This is no shock.

Matt Davidson:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .368.  Davidson has always had power but MASSIVE strikeout problems had previously held him back.  He is still whiffing at a high rate but do what you must here until the bottom falls out on the average.  

Miguel Gonzalez:  8 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Check out the career ERA's on Gonzalez on a yearly basis and you will be surprised how solid they are.  Guy can pitch and be an excellent SP 5 every season.  

Ryan Zimmerman:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .379.  This really pisses me off because Zimmerman has been garbage for so long now and all of a sudden he is doing this out of the blue for someone else.  And so I hate him all the more.

Charlie Blackmon:  1/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .266.  Blackmon is all slugger now.

Wil Myers:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .345.  No running yet from Myers but we will take the power and health.  

Austin Hedges:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .183. Hedges is a bit too all-or-nothing right not but the power is really picking up.  

David Peralta:  3/4 with his third HR and third SB while hitting .329.  Man I have picked up and dropped Peralta so many times I have lost count.  Looks like I got to add him yet again.  

Zach Greinke:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.93.  Here's the thing.  The velocity has rebounded a bit and so now we are getting this.  Not a novel concept.  

Bud Norris:  scoreless ninth for second save with ERA of 3.38.  Norris walked one and gave up hit but go through it.  If you have stones and needs saves, Norris is the guy.

Matt Cain:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.42.  I guess Matt Cain and Ryan Zimmerman hung out over the winter and figured out a way to push the walkers away for one more season.  However they are doing it.  




Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY BREAKING NEWS: JOC PEDERSON (GROIN) LANDS ON 10-DAY DL

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed outfielder Joc Pederson on the 10-day DL Monday with a right groin strain.  Once again Pederson is struggling to hit consistently as he goes onto the DL with a shoddy .220 average and just 1 home run.  18 strikeouts in 50 at-bats is a problem and Pederson still can't figure out how to steal some bases after being a big force there in the minors.  While I was initially a fan of his, Pederson is now almost worthless in fantasy baseball today.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING INJURY NEWS: SHELBY MILLER LIKELY NEEDS TOMMY JOHN

When a pitcher goes for a second opinion after an MRI was conducted on his elbow, that means nothing but the worst.  In the case of Shelby Miller of the Arizona Diamondbacks, it means Tommy John elbow surgery.  Miller felt the classic Tommy John forearm pain in his last outing and thus went for the testing on his elbow where it likely revealed some UCL damage.  Miller will now go for the second opinion to likely confirm he needs the surgery.  If he does go under the knife, Miller from Atlanta to Arizona will go down as one of the truly worst trades in MLB history.  Cut Miller loose in all leagues.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: JULIO URIAS TO START THURSDAY, CHANCE HE COULD STAY

The Los Angeles Dodgers will promote top pitching prospect Julio Urias with the intention of starting him Thursday.  With Rich Hill constantly dealing with a blister problem that could necessitate a move to the bullpen, the opportunity is now there for Urias to permanently stick with the team for the remainder of the season.  Just 20 years of age, Urias was already dominating at Triple-A as he pitched to a 1.93 ERA and posted a very good 9.64 K/9 rate.  The only issue that still remains here is lack of control, which was an issue during his brief 77 inning stint with the Dodgers last year (3.62 BB/9).  This kid is beyond talented though and it seems almost a given he will graduate into a fantasy baseball ace before too long.  If you drafted Urias knowing he wasn't going to make the Dodgers out of camp, kudos to you.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: COLE HAMELS SP TEXAS RANGERS

It wouldn't be April in fantasy baseball is Cole Hamels of the Texas Rangers wasn't struggling.  Whether it was during his terrific tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies or his more recent stint with the Rangers, Hamels and April just have never jived with one another.  Consider that for his career, Hamels' 3.74 ERA is by far the highest of any month and from that point onward, the lefty always gets stronger.  Also for his career, Hamels' first-half ERA is 3.51 and after the break it goes down to a dominant 3.05.  So again here we are in late April of 2017 and Hamels is causing stress to his owners as he sits with a........2.77 ERA?  And 1.04 WHIP?  Ummmm come again?  Is this the same Hamels we have always known?  Doesn't he know what month it is?  Apparently not as Hamels has pitched quite well for the Rangers so far this season but his owners still are unhappy.  How are they unhappy?  Well let's get into it.

Part of the allure of owning Hamels in yearly fantasy baseball leagues is the fact that he is a 4-time 200-K ace who achieved the feat last season with the Rangers with 200.  Strikeouts are part of the package with Hamels and it is what has made him a fantasy baseball ace for years.  Of course a full season in the AL and in a launching pad park in Texas last season caused Hamels' WHIP to spike to a shaky 1.31 and without some BABIP luck, his ERA of 3.32 was closer to 4.00 when adjusted.  Now while the ratios are splendid so far, Hamels is not striking guys out as he has just 14 in 26 innings.  The velocity?  Down by enough to worry.  Unfortunately what we COULD be seeing now is all the massive amount of innings Hamels has had on his arm over the years are beginning to take a toll on his stuff.  In 2015 Hamels' K/9 was 9.11 and last year it dropped to 8.87 which is not a shock in moving to the AL and not facing pitchers.  However so far this year Hamels is at a pathetic 4.85 in that category and if not for a ridiculously lucky .203 BABIP., his adjusted FIP ERA would be 4.82 and his XFIP ERA would be even worse at 5.01.  Disturbing numbers all the way around.  So while we always have correctly said to buy low on Hamels in April, that may not be the case this time around.  Even last year when Hamels posted a 2.52 ERA in April, he struck out 23 batters in 25 innings.  He is not missing bats this time around and when combined with the league and offensive ballpark, Hamels is starting to concern me some.

Now of course Hamels could turn things around and get stronger as the season goes on and the weather heats up.  Still he is an old 33 given all the innings and so Hamels may be tipping over the edge past ace status.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: KENTA MAEDA SP LOS ANGELES DODGERS

I think Kenta Maeda just gave up another home run.  And another.  And another.  Yes it has been a beyond tough start to the 2017 fantasy baseball season for prospective high-end Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda, whose sophomore MLB campaign now consists of a current 8.05 ERA and 1.53 WHIP through his first four starts.  Widely considered to be a solid SP 2 for fantasy baseball in coming off a terrific rookie campaign (3.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 179 K in 175.2 IP), Maeda has been a colossal flop thus far.  So as we always do in his space, let's dig in a bit more and find out what is really going on here.

Before we proceed further, keep in mind the small sample size aspect of things. Yes the numbers are ugly but 4 starts is a microcosm of an entire season.  So with that out of the way, let's compare some advanced numbers from 2016 to this season for Maeda:

K/9:  9.17 (2016) 9.00 (2017)
BB/9:  2.56 (2016) 2.37 (2017)
BABIP:  .283 (2016) .315 (2017)
HR/9:  1.02 (2016) 3.32 (2017)

Comparing these numbers, we highlighted the HR/9 due to the massive disparity between the two and it is this area more than anything that has completely derailed Maeda early on.  There could be some tipping of pitches going on here as jumps like this are almost impossible to accept being an eventual full-season deal.  As you also know, home runs can destroy any given start in that one or two pitches could inflate the ERA despite the pitcher having good stuff overall.  How often have we seen 4-hit/10-K gems results in 4 or 5 earned runs due to home runs given up?  Yes 24 hits in 19 innings is very high but Maeda's already top-notch control is IMPROVED this year and his K/9 is right where it was last season which is a nice place to be at.  Also consider that Maeda's BABIP has moved into the unlucky territory, with adjusted ERA's of 6.48 (FIP and still very ugly) and 4.34 (XFIP).  Overall it just goes to show you that the advanced numbers all indicate a turnaround is on its way and it could be soon.  All Maeda has to do is knock down that home run total and he could just like that turn back to the SP 2 we all anticipated he would be.  With that said, a buy low is a good idea here as Maeda is simply going through a rut and is still very young (29) which means he has not lost anything stuff-wise.  I myself am going to try and steal away Maeda and it is moves like this that ultimately help you win your league.


FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY UPDATE: DL LOOKING LIKELY FOR TRAVIS D'ARNAUD. YOENIS PLANS TO PLAY TUE.

The physical hits keep on coming for the New York Mets as it now looks likely the team will place catcher Travis D'Arnaud on the 10-day DL Tuesday when the team comes off their day off on Monday.  D'Arnaud has not seen any improvement from the hand that was injured at the end of last week and his long history of injuries is well-documented to say the least.  The real shame is that D'Arnaud has hit well since the spring and was looking like he was back to unlocking the potential he has carried around since coming to the majors.

Meanwhile things are more positive for New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as the player himself said he will play on Tuesday.  While it is nice to hear Cespedes say that, we will believe it when we see it as Cespedes still was not able to do anything this past weekend due to his strained hamstring.  If Cespedes were to not be able to play Tuesday, he almost certainly would be placed on the DL as well.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Anthony Rizzo:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .296.  Rizzo is clicking on all cylinders now after having a quiet power start to the season.  Just goes to show you that certain guys in their prime that are proven will eventually get where they need to get to.

Scott Schebler:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .175.  Schebler has hit for power but the average makes him a non-use player for now.

John Lackey:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 4.88.  Aging guys like Lackey who have a huge workload the previous year often don't bounce back well the following season and that looks like what is going on with Lackey who is not fooling anyone.

Matt Kemp:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .333.  Hamstring no longer an issue and so Kemp is back to being a very good low-end OF 2 and who also will continue to get great pitches to hit behind Freddie Freeman.

Cesar Hernandez:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .338.  Big things are happening here for Hernandez who was very good in 2016 and now is looking like a stud.  He is checking all of the boxes right now and I saw enough last season to believe this is all legit.

Odubel Herrera:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .273.  Herrera is trying to make the jump in power that would truly elevate him to OF 1 status and he is clearly knocking on the door already.  On of my favorite players in a short MLB time span, Herrera is still on the upswing.

Zach Elfin:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.25.  Elfin has been very good as the numbers show but he is a soft-tosser all the way who should not be used in inning-capped leagues.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .333.  If there were ever any guy you want to sell high on, this is it.  The next injury is about 10.5 games away.

Ivan Nova:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Somewhere A.J. Burnett saw this and nodded understanding how one can turn into a terrific pitcher LEAVING the Yankees.

Jose Altuve:  3/5 with his second HR while hitting .324.  I swear I wouldn't have knocked anyone who took Altuve over Mike Trout in drafts this season.

Carlos Correa:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .197.  More and more it is beginning to look like Correa's career-year came as a rookie.  Yes it is a bit of a ridiculous statement to make since he is so young but the numbers have not been there going on season two now since his smashing debut.

Steven Souza Jr.:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .347.  Will it be .247 next month in the average department?  Souza's overall fantasy baseball stock depends on where that number goes.  So far though Souza is right there as one of the very best value plays in the game.

Ken Giles:  scoreless ninth for 5th save with an ERA of 5.00.  Giles has a 1.11 WHIP and been very locked in when saves on the line.  His struggles in non-save chances are pronounced but as long as he converts the saves given to him, his job is secure.  The Astros have a lot invested here so they will give Giles every chance to succeed.

Michael Fulmer:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.88.  Minnesota is an easy lineup to get through but Fulmer is replicating his 2016 so far,  Yes I was a big spring critic but will reserve my full judgment in June.

Mookie Betts:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .313.  As long as Betts continues to run as often as he did in 2016, he will bring back every bit the number 2 overall draft price you paid.

Hanley Ramirez:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .210.  Ramirez' shoulder looks like mince meat right now as he still can't play first base which is telling how much pain he is in.  I said that his big 2016 was the impetus to run away from Ramirez in 2017 as he was not going to stay so healthy in back-to-back years and his average has been sliding for awhile.  Bingo.

Mitch Moreland:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .315.  Whether it is in Texas or Boston, Moreland is quite dependable as a 20-25 home run guy with a mediocre average.

Andrew Benintendi:  5/5 with an average of .347.  Wow this kid has one of the prettiest swings I have ever seen.  Seriously Benintendi is so textbook it is scary.  While the average is a bit empty right now with one home run, this is a special case where literally the sky is the limit.

Kevin Gausman:  5 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 7.50.  Right now Gausman should not even be on a fantasy baseball roster.  No surprise here by what has taken place.

Francisco Lindor:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .315.  The Cleveland Indians have two of the best pure hitters in the game in Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Jose Ramirez.  The AL goes through them.

Danny Salazar:  5 IP 7 H 4 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.37.  There are just too many starts like this from Salazar who is a WHIP killer (1.50) and has elevated ERA which takes luster away from K's.

Gerardo Parra:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .333.  Yeah so the Rockies really don't need David Dahl.

Kyle Freeland:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.32.  Just look at the crazy WHIP to know that Freeland is your ultimate smoke-and-mirrors fluke.

Mike Moustakas:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .286.  No letup to the monster start for Moustakas.  I do feel some regret for not taking him more seriously given the insanely cheap draft price.

Joey Gallo:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .213.  Say it all together now "it was his only hit of the day."

Robinson Chiranos:  1/2 with his 4th HR while hitting .389.  Chirianos has one or two of these big power stretches each season which makes him tempting to pick up.  He has been at this for awhile now and is overall a very limited fantasy baseball bat.  Of course at catcher you ride these out until they expire.

Yu Darvish:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.03.  Now another year further away from Tommy John, Darvish is looking completely back to his fantasy baseball ace status.

Devon Travis:  2/4 with first HR while hitting .136.  Man it is always something with this guy.  Either he hits and is not healthy or he is healthy and doesn't hit.  Patience running out.

Marcus Stroman:  9 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.10.  So remember when I told you all to stay patient with Stroman and buy fully on a big 2017 breakout?  Yup.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: ROUGNED ODOR 2B TEXAS RANGERS

When looking up and down the Texas Rangers batting lineup, all you seemingly see are struggled from top-to-bottom.  Whether it is Carlos Gomez, Mike Napoli, or Rougned Odor, the Rangers have had lifeless bats from the start of the year.  In our latest "Crisis Point," we dig in a bit more on Odor who is trying his fantasy baseball owners' patience so far with his underwhelming performance that has him going into Saturday's game with the following numbers:

.194
3 HR
6 R
8 RBI
0 SB

Clearly those numbers fall way short of where the power-hitting second baseman should be and already the e-mails and tweets are flowing in asking what is going on.  Well first off some deep breaths are needed here as we are only THREE weeks into the season and Odor is still just 23-years-old.  Odor has been in the majors since he was 19 and he had little-to-no seasoning a the minor league level to smooth out some flaws in his approach.  Those flaws manifest themselves in an utter lack of patience as Odor's BB/9 rates have not even reached 5.0 in each of his first four years in the majors.  Not getting on base via walks is always an issue when it comes to batting average and that is why Odor so far is just a .261 hitter in his career.  While the batting average is a negative, the terrific from Odor's bat is what really has put him at the forefront of the second baseman hierarchy.  In 2016 Odor exploded there as he smacked 33 home runs and drove in 88 at the age of ONLY 22.  The .271 average as not great but not horrible either.  A .297 BABIP last season also showed that his .271 average was legit and so were the rest of his numbers.  That is truly remarkable power for such a young player who is not a corner infielder or outfielder and that put Odor as a very high-priced item in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  Alas the poor start has began some rumbling about whether Odor was a fluke in 2016 which in my humble opinion is ridiculous.

Digging into the early numbers, a few things stands out.  For one thing, Odor is getting ZERO luck on the batted ball as his .196 BABIP would attest.  That is a completely unsustainable number as the mean BABIP is .300.  The hits will soon start falling in and the home runs will go out.  It is guaranteed.  Also don't overlook the fact Odor has speed as he stole 14 bags last season and his help there overcomes any average hit.  Speaking of the average, while Odor's 4.2 BB/9 is horrible, his 18.3 K/9 is an improvement from the 21.4 he had in 2016.  If Odor keeps the K's down as he has so far, again the average will shoot upwards.

When breaking it all down, Rougned Odor is a terrific buy low candidate who you all should be trying to get a hold of now.  The numbers will eventually get where they should and can even go over expectations given the age and upside he still has.  This one is easy.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER WRAPUP: SATURDAY

CLOSER WATCH: Bud Norris just might work as Angels closer. always had K stuff.

CLOSER WATCH: Matt Bush with the W with scoreless 9th in non-save and 2.70 ERA. full steam ahead here with Bush

CLOSER WATCH: Seung-Hwan Oh scoreless 9th for 4th save. Oh looks past his early issues and so heat turned down

CLOSER WATCH: 2nd blown save by Jim Johnson w/ 2 ER in .2 IP with 3.52 ERA. Arodys has 2.00 ERA (just saying)

CLOSER WATCH: Alex Colome scoreless 9th for 4th save with 0.00 ERA. Colome has more than proved top level status.

CLOSER WATCH: K-Rod 1 ER in 9th for 6th S with ERA of 5.87. He has been as ghastly as anticipated. heat growing


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Anthony Rizzo:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .299.  30 home runs and 100 RBI are about as safe a "put down in ink" projection as you can get on any player in fantasy baseball here.

Wilson Contreras:  3/4 with his second HR while hitting .275.  Catcher is downright pathetic this season and that is saying a lot.  Conteras is like the oasis in the desert that is this hideous offensive group.

Jason Heyward:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .300.  Maybe those tweaks to Heyward's spring did unlock something.

Joey Votto:  3/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .239.  No Votto is not swinging for the fences at the expense of his average.  That will never happen with this hitting machine.

Eugenio Suarez:  3/5 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .367.  Suarez is better then he is being given credit for as no one talks about him.  This is a guy who can go 20/15 but the wild card is the average.  If Suarez were to get to .280 he would be a top 12 guy.

Jake Arrieta:  6 IP 8 H 4 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.65.  Arrieta is not flat out dominating like he did in 2015 and the first half of 2016 but he is generating a high amount of strikeouts again after the second half dip last season.  I personally think Arrieta is going to get worse as the season goes on given the usage on his arm and so come July I would be selling.

Francisco Rodriguez:  1 ER in 1 IP with ERA of 5.87 for sixth save.  Rodriguez has been as bad as I thought he would be and this one was obvious given the lack of velocity and age.  The heat is rising on this situation so grab Justin Wilson quick.

Nick Castellanos:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .254.  Yeah Castellanos is still boring and is still squarely in the AL-only territory in terms of being an every day starter.

Justin Upton:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .273.  Upton is now like Evan Longoria in terms of going from a guy everyone wanted who would be picked in the first two rounds to now a boring veteran who you yawn when you draft him.

Robinson Cano:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .257.  When you blink Cano will be hitting .300 with a boatload of HR and RBI.

Ryon Healy;  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .266.  Healy is holding down the fort for Adrian Beltre owners out there and doing a fine job.  In fact Kyle Seager owners are jealous.

Starlin Castro:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .364.  Castro is silly hot right now and he tends to do this in April-May.  His value has become quite good over the years after losing speed and that makes what he is doing now so much more potent.

Chris Carter:  1/1 with his first HR while hitting .179.  He has zero fantasy baseball value given his lack of playing time but nice to see a good guy like Carter get rewarded when the Yankee fan community wanted him cut.

Aaron Judge:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .281.  And to think we all were drooling over Greg (.111 average) Bird this spring.  Wow is Judge killing it.....literally.

Andrew McCutchen:  1/2 with his third HR while hitting .262.  Considering how bad McCutchen has been in April's past, this is like MVP work by his low standards in that month.

Jacob DeGrom:  5.2 IP 8 H 3 ER 6 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.55.  Call this the Carlos Martinez special with the K's and walks.  The rain was falling and DeGrom was battling a sore neck so he fought his mechanics.  The strikeouts have been insane here though so no overall worries.

Gio Gonzalez:  6.1 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.35.  If Gonzalez only faced the Mets, he would gave a 0.00 ERA all season.  Be that as it may, he has been very good so far for a guy who is always inconsistent with his numbers.

Evan Gattis:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .294.  It took longer than expected for the first home run but Gattis has hit well but only has played in about 2/3 of the team's games.  While you would like to see Gattis play more, he is doing the job when in there.

Brandon Phillips:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .333.  Phillips is still shocking running and everything else looks smooth for a guy who refused to get old.

Jerad Eickhoff:  5 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.55 I told you all to stay patient here as Eickhoff has very good stuff that is highlighted by a four-pitch arsenal.  While he won't blow anyone away with high K rates, Eickhoff is set to be a top SP 4.

Jim Johnson:  second blown save with 2 ER in .2 IP with ERA of 3.52.  Given his age and some nasty recent seasons, Johnson is a prime candidate to lose his closing gig at any moment.  Arodys Vizcaino has a 2.00 ERA in front of him which needs mentioning as well.

Jackie Bradley Jr.:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .333.  Back from the DL, Bradley is hitting for power again like he did in his 2016 breakout.  As long as he keeps the K's in check, Bradley should firmly cement his OF 2 status this season.

Trey Mancini:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .286.  Almost everywhere you look in Mancini's minor league career, he is hitting at or above .300.  The guy can flat out hit but the power has been better then expected.  He should already be picked up.

Jonathan Schoop:  2/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .291.  I see some Bret Boone here.  Agreed?

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .222.  So May is almost here and that is when Encarnacion turns into the best home run hitter in fantasy baseball for 31 days.

Michael Brantley:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .310.  It is like Brantley has not missed a single beat as he is back to his .300 ways.  Better yet, he is hitting home runs and stealing bases.  If this keeps up, he goes right back to top-end OF 2 status.

Jose Ramirez:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .313.  Got to say I doubted the power from Ramirez last season (not the average) and so he is starting to move himself up towards the top guys at the position which as you know is a hallowed level.

Carlos Carrasco:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.65.  Of course Carrasco is doing this a year after I owned him.  Then he has a horrible spring training for the ages and then turns into the ace I always envisioned once the games began to count.  Pass the booze.

Aledmys Diaz:  1/1 with his 4th HR while hitting .250.  Diaz was a in a big slump which is why he was on the bench initially for this one.  Those who forgot to remove him from their lineups got a nice end game return.

Lance Lynn:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.70.  Bam!  One of my biggest pitching sleepers of the spring was this guy and after working off the rust, Lynn is right back to the guy who was in the Cy Young running prior to his Tommy John surgery.  What is crazy is that Lynn was virtually ignored in drafts which is ridiculous and a major miss by the majority of the fantasy baseball community.

Seung-Hwan Oh:  scoreless ninth for his fourth save with ERA of 6.23.  Oh looks to be past the early rut that caused concern to his fantasy baseball owners.

Jake Lamb:  1/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .290.  Lamb has big power no doubt and now 2017 is all about whether he can make gains with the average.  On that front things not looking good as Lamb's K/9 rate is UP to 30.4 and a .381 BABIP is not sustainable.  In other words, sell high on Lamb now.

Yasmani Tomas:  2/3 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .295.  Why didn't Tomas get any love in drafts?  I loved him and tried my best to get him in Experts but missed out.  This is a 30 home run bat who went in the late rounds.  With remaining upside also.

Kenta Maeda:  5 IP 9 H 6 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 8.05.  4 home runs given up and Maeda is a HUGE mess.  I have said many times before that many Japanese pitchers struggle their second year in the league for some strange reason.  Nothing Maeda is doing is working right now and he has to be sat down for the time being.  Still Maeda's 9.00 K/9 and 2.37 BB/9 are right in line with what he did as a rookie and only the home runs are the changed factor.  Once Maeda gets that under control, he should be good to go.

Charlie Blackmon:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .254.  Same theme since start of season:  love the power but not the slipping average and lack of steals.

Trevor Story:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .148.  Story is now Joey Gallo.

Antonio Senzatela:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.08.  Guess we need to dig in more on this one.  Status Report on the way.

Bud Norris:  scoreless ninth for first save with ERA of 3.72.  With the Los Angeles Angels now down THREE of their closer relievers, they are down to Norris who go the job done Saturday night.  In situations like this though, a manager will go with who can simply get the save and Norris did that.  That means he is the guy to own for now.  While Norris was a failed starter, he has a big fastball that could work in short spans like the ninth inning.