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Sunday, April 21, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY WATCH: AARON JUDGE (OBLIQUE) OUT AT LEAST A MONTH

Is there anyone left healthy enough to play this game?  The injury blotter went into overdrive on Sunday morning as a slew of prime fantasy baseball hitters hit the IL with various injuries or differing degrees.  The most important of those was Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge who suffered a significant oblique injury on Saturday according to an update Sunday morning from manager Aaron Boone and he figures to miss AT LEAST a month and likely more given the fickle nature of the ailment.  Given how massive a power hitter Judge is, his loss is a monstrous one and also given how many Yankees are on the IL (up to 14 at last count), streaming pitchers versus their listless lineup is not the worst idea in the world.

On a related front, the Tampa Bay Rays placed emerging outfielder Austin Meadows on the IL Sunday with a right thumb sprain.  The timing is unfortunate since Meadows has been one of the best hitters in baseball the first month of the season in showcasing a five-tool game but his absence figures to depend on what the results are after he visits a hand specialist. 

Finally, Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Mike Moustakas suffered a fracture to the top of his ring finger but won't need an IL stint as of yet.  The team will try to see how Moustakas can operate with the fracture before making any IL call but all in all, it looks to be a minor situation for the slugger. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Happy Easter!

Whit Merrifield:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .292.  I am a Merrifield owner in the Experts League and love the homers but I want steals bro.

Aaron Judge:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .288.  Judge injured his oblique during the game and will head to the IL according to Aaron Boone.  Which means the Yankees now pretty much have an entire All-Star team of players on the list.  Given that Judge has proven to be a slow healer in the past, this could be a 3 weeks-plus deal.

D.J. LeMahieu:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .309.  LeMahieu was the epitome of an empty average this season but finally gets on the board with his first homer.  When you break it all down, LeMahieu is a perfect bench option for Sunday's or light schedule days.

Clint Frazier:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .351.  The ballyhood bat speed everyone talked about is revealing itself and Frazier has fully taken advantage of the playing time bestowed on him this season.  Ride this out. 

Masahiro Tanaka:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA Of 2.76.  Another ace start for Tanaka who is as good an SP 2 as you can get, slightly torn UCL and all.

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .235.  Garbage time homer from Goldy but it all counts just the same. 

Miles Mikolas:  8 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.97.  Mikolas has turned things around and his 1.21 WHIP has shown he has gotten some rough luck on the batted ball so far.  That being said, Mikolas' lack of K's removes a great deal of margin for error in his starts. 

David Peralta:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .352.  Peralta has really come into his own the last season-plus and he should be able to further solidify his 25-home run chops. 

Eduardo Escobar:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .234.  Ehhh.  Escobar is really for the NL-only crowd. 

Zack Greinke:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.60.  Greinke has pitched well since his initial clunker to begin the season but he is more smoke and mirrors than ever before. 

Yu Darvish:  5 IP 5 H 3 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.96.  You know the minute you cut Darvish loose he will throw an 8 inning gem with 12 K's.  But if you hold him he will give up six runs next time out. 

Cole Tucker:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .333.  Nice debut for Tucker who was a 2014 first round pick who was hitting .333 with 3 homers and 5 steals prior to his promotion.  There is a ton of stolen base potential here as Tucker piled up 47 and 40 total the last two seasons.  Pick him up. 

Jameson Taillon:  5 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.12.  Taillon is a very solid pitcher but you always get the notion of expecting more out of him. 

Eddie Rosario:  3/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) in Game 1 while hitting .300.  Well that narrative changed fast.  One of my favorite players in all of fantasy baseball, Rosario is a stud. 

Willians Astudillo:  2/4 with his second HR in Game 1 while hitting .300.  Hey owning both Mitch Garver and Astudillo and rotate them in and out sounds like a nice fantasy baseball plan. 

Dwight Smith Jr.:  2/4 with his 4th HR in Game 1 while hitting .288.  I mean we all think Smith Jr. will fade back into oblivion but he doesn't seem to be cooperating. 

Renato Nunez:  2/5 with his third HR in Game 1 while hitting .304.  Yet another example of how some fantasy baseball gems can be found in the muck on a bad team.

Justin Smoak:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .274.  Just about three more months until Smoak dons a new uniform. 

Corey Kluber:  7 IP 5 H 4 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 5.88.  Expectations need to be lowered here as batters are not having trouble catching up to Kluber's stuff now as the home runs are really flying out. 

Max Scherzer:  5.1 IP 11 H 6 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.45.  Yeah so who thought Jose Urena would beat Scherzer?  When even Scherzer is getting shelled, MLB has to realize they have a problem. 

Charlie Morton:  6 IP 5 H 5 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.38.  Some crazy stat lines for pitchers last night, starting with this one and Scherzer, and finishing with a certain Houston ace. 

Christian Yelich:  2/3 with 2 home runs (13 for season) while hitting .361.  (Throws hands up in the air.) 

Hyun-Jin Ryu:  5.2 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.10.  This guy is actually a pretty damn pitcher if he can ever put three straight outings together without getting hurt.  Add where available. 

Mitch Garver:  3/6 with 2 home runs (5 for season) in Game 2 while hitting .424/  Man Garver is doing a mighty fine Mike Piazza impersonation right now.  Again, pair him with Astudillo and look out. 

Eddie Rosario:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .300.  Yeah it was a nice day to be a Rosario owner. 

Nelson Cruz:  4/5 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .326.  Baltimore still knows how to yield home runs better than most other locales. 

Jonathan Schoop:  3/5 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .274.  Own all of the Minnesota hitters I guess. 

Renato Nunez:  3/5 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .304.  There were a ton of home runs in the minors for Nunez and Baltimore is the perfect place for him to get a long leash to show what he can do.  So far it is impressive. 

Touki Toussaint:  7 ER in 1.1 IP with an ERA of 8.59.  I suspect more than a few fell into this trap.  Ouch. 

George Springer:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .278.  Par for the course. 

Joey Gallo:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .262.  If Gallo can just hold the .260 average, that send his stock even higher.  Come on bro do it 

Gerrit Cole:  8 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 5.22.  Baseball really has a problem when even their most dominant aces are getting destroyed like this.  Ridiculous. 

Luis Castillo:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.47.  Castillo is reminding me of Gerrit Cole last season. 




Friday, April 19, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: JACOB DeGROM HEADED TO NY FOR MRI ON SORE ELBOW

Oh my.  In a news item that can't get any bigger given the potential ramifications, New York Mets ace Jacob DeGrom is headed to New York to get an MRI on his elbow after he came down with soreness as reported to the team earlier in the day Friday.  Manager Mickey Callaway used the term "barking" to describe the discomfort DeGrom is feeling but either way this is a huge potential problem both for the player and his fantasy baseball owners.  Perhaps there was an indication something was wrong here when DeGrom uncharacteristically got shelled in his last two outings as home runs began to fly out at a high rate.  For a team that always seems to be dealing with physical problems every season, DeGrom missing time is as big as it gets.  Stay tuned.  


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Christian Walker:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .300.  The power is completely legit but a 30.0 K/9 rate will send the average plummeting real soon.  Think Khris Davis-lite here. 

Freddie Freeman:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting. 324.  Some light power so far from Freeman but you can't argue with his customary excellent average. 

Luke Weaver:  5 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.92.  No surprise here from this peanut stand with what Weaver is doing as he was a top power pitching prospect before hitting hard into the sophomore slump jinx a year ago.  Kudos if you bought real low this spring.

Mike Soroka:  5 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.80.  While a top pitching prospect like Weaver, Soroka's problem in never-ending ill health.  The talent is obvious here as Soroka can miss bats and also has good control.  Add everywhere. 

Patrick Corbin:  7.2 IP 2 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.36.  The Corbin signing is working out nicely so far for Washington.  We are now into a second season of ace-level dominance so 2018 is looking so much more legit. 

Eloy Jimenez:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting. 261.  Jimenez is finding his MLB footing but still hitting for his customary impressive power.  Just wait until he finds that comfort zone.  It will be impressive. 

Randal Grichuk:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .239.  I said in the beginning of the season Grichuk can make a run at 30 homers given the expected playing time but that average will be ugly and strip some of the power value away. 

Justin Smoak:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .259.  The Blue Jays have more all-or-nothing sluggers than anyone in baseball. 

Eddie Rosario:  2/4 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .262.  As if there were ever any reason to worry here. 

Michael Pineda:  6 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 5.30.  This is the risk you run when investing in Pineda who can be dominant for 3 of 4 starts but that fourth one will be beyond ugly and destroy your ratios. 

Jorge Soler:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .236.  Soler is becoming pretty boring right?

Domingo German:  6 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.37.  Hey keep riding this out.  The K's are very impressive. 

Tommy Pham:  4/5 with his third HR and sixth SB while hitting .286.  Pham doesn't get as much pop as he should given the obvious five-tool ability but I admit I should have been more in on him than I was last March. 

J.T. Realmuto:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting. 277.  Given the nature of catcher over the years,  would not be surprised in the least if Realmuto failed to generate the numbers his high spring draft cost required. 

Ryan McMahon:  3/4 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .286.  McMahon came off the DL in grand fashion with the two bombs and given the glowing minor league numbers, he should be immediately added. 

Kyle Freeland:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.23.  Freeland is going to need to keep striking out guys out since his generous BABIP luck last season is not likely going to be repeated. 

Cody Bellinger:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting. 432.  Pretty much every fly ball Bellinger puts into orbit is going out. 

Christian Yelich:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .351.  This was literally a battle between Yelich and Bellinger for the early lead in the NL MVP race. 

Max Muncy:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .270. Muncy was not someone I was willing to chase this spring as pitchers began to figure out him during the second half of 2018.  I think he can hit 20-25 homers with a mediocre average which is decent enough but really doesn't stand out much in today's baseball. 

Julio Urias:  6 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.66.  Urias will take this monstrous outing into the bullpen now that Hyun-Jin Ryu is back but give it only a start or two before the latter gets injured again.

Zach Davies:  5 IP 3 H 0 ER 3 BB 2 K with an ERA of 1.19.  The 1.28 WHIP and middling K rate shows some nastiness is on its way real soon.  Stay far away. 

Omar Narvaez:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .297.  I wrote in this past spring's draft guide that Narvaez was a real catching sleeper and getting a new home in Seattle has certainly helped unleash the potential.  I am a believer in the talent here so don't automatically think this is a short-term hot stretch.

Kole Calhoun:  2/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .191.  I can't believe Mike Trout wanted to come back to a team that uses this guy as their leadoff hitter. 

Ryon Healy:  2/4 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .232.  Power is not in question here but like with a million other guys on this list, the average is iffy.  You can do better. 


Thursday, April 18, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: JOSE RAMIREZ 2B/3B CLEVELAND INDIANS

This one hits close to home.  From the very beginning, yours truly has been an avowed fan of Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez.  Going all the way back to his debut and through his MVP-type blockbuster 2018 performance, myself and Ramirez have taken a journey together through thick and thin and in good times and bad.  Well the relationship is quite frayed right now as Ramirez is in the midst of a hellacious slump that has his numbers in the gutter going into Thursday's slate:

.145
1 HR
3 RBI
8 R
5 SB
14/.7 K/9
5.3 BB/9
.155 BABIP

Wow what can I say?  Outside of steals, Ramirez has been a colossal bust to this point no questions asked.  As we always do here however, the advanced metrics need to be looked at and here is where some telling things reveal themselves.  The first is that Ramirez is pressing badly as his 5.3 BB/9 is way down from the 15.2 he posted a year ago.  Always possessing good patience throughout his development, Ramirez is swinging at everything right now which is not his game.  On the flip side, Ramirez is getting no luck on the batted ball as his .155 BABIP is comically unlucky.  Obviously, that number will correct itself and the average will rise.  Don't forget Ramirez has been a big time batting average asset for years and even last season his .270 mark was hurt by an unlucky .252 BABIP.  Finally, Ramirez is getting a bit homer happy with his swing in that his fly ball rate has spiked the last two seasons and is resulting in more outfield outs.  That will no doubt hurt the average a bit and maybe prevent another .300 mark but nothing earth shattering either. 

All in all, Ramirez is your classic slow starter who actually came out of the gates quiet last season as well.  The guy is one of the premier power/speed dynamos in the game and if you can buy low here, by all means do so. The payoff will be immense and the advanced numbers show a rebound is on its way. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Michael Conforto:  2/4 with his 5th HR and second SB while hitting .324.  Curious to see whether the steals are now becoming a new weapon for Conforto like we have seen of late with Trevor Story or if he simply caught two catchers completely napping.

Scott Kingery:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .480.  Remember it was only a year ago at this time we all were fighting to get our hands on this kid.

Cesar Hernandez:  1/2 with his second HR while hitting .237.  Stable and underrated just like always.

Jake Arrieta:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.25.  I have been a huge critic of Arrieta's in the past in rightfully predicting he would go bust when his fastball began to erode but now he has finally adjusted his approach after some initial stubbornness with impressive results.  I can get on board with this version of Arrieta if he sticks with it but the lack of K's drop him to SP 4 territory.

Marcell Ozuna:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .290.  Six home runs in six games now for Ozuna who is beginning to really cement himself as a supreme slugger.

Matt Carpenter:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .203.  We all know Carpenter began selling out for home runs a few seasons ago but he is taking this approach to the extreme.

Hunter Dozier:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .298.  That's one home run since I told you to pick up Dozier.

Tim Anderson:  1/2 with his 4th HR while hitting .424.  Listen the tools were all there for Anderson to turn into a monster five-tool stud in fantasy baseball if he learned some plate discipline but it seems like having a baby simply did the trick.

Scott Barlow:  scoreless 9th for first save and ERA of 2.25.  Wily Peralta pitched the 8th and 9th in the closer spot while Ian Kennedy is dominating in setup.  Such a mess.

A.J. Pollock:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .243.  Pollock used to be a .300 hitter but perhaps rampant injuries and swinging for the fences conspired to take that away.

Sonny Gray:  6 IP 2 H 3 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.79.  The poster guy for pitching in the NL being easier than operating in the AL.  Or the posted child for someone who can't hack it in a big city.

Walker Buehler:  6.1 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 5.40.  It is likely there was almost zero buy low window here given the immense upside and a return to dominance was certainly expected.  Back on track to stardom.

J.D. Martinez:  2/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .352.  About the only Red Sox player who has not absolutely stunk up the joint early on.

Brett Gardner:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .203.  The grand slam was the 100th homer of Gardner's career.  Aaron Judge almost is even with him with about 10 fewer seasons.

J.A. Happ:  6.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 7.23.  Velocity readings don't matter here as Happ throws his fastball so up in the zone it appears faster than it really is.  Instead, the four-seamer is getting crushed right now but perhaps this is an indication things are heading in the right direction.

Jose Ramirez:  0/4 while hitting .145.  I mean this guy has got to be kidding me. 

Carlos Carrasco:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 12 K with an ERA of 7.41.  Much better.  Once Carrasco put up a few quick zeroes with a haul of K's, you knew he would dominate which is his M.O.

Erik Swanson:  6 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.38.  This one needs to be watched closely as Swanson can really miss bats and has decent control as well.  Add to the radar. 

Steven Duggar:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .247.  Duggar is on a hot streak right now.  That's all. 

Juan Soto:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .254.  The power may not be as potent as you think when you digest the advanced metrics which showed Soto was quite into the outlier realm given his previous norms.  Be that as it may, Soto is still a supreme natural hitter who will at the very least earn top OF 2 status. 

Howie Kendrick:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .500.  The guy could always hit. 

Javier Baez:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .324.  Yeah it used to be we worried about Baez' batting average.  Now not so much.

Cole Hamels:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.77.  It pretty much looks like we have the Philadelphia Phillies version of Hamels again. 

Brandon Lowe:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .300.  Truth be told, I thought Lowe could cool off by now.  Not happening. 

Adam Jones:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .319.  Surely someone should have signed Jones well before he inked his deal with Arizona.  Same goes in fantasy baseball drafts.

Kevin Gausman:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.75.  I picked up Gausman prior to this outing as he is a two-start pitcher next week with solid matchups but also because he has thrown pretty damn well since arriving in Atlanta. 

Jose LeClerc:  1 ER in 1 IP for his 5th save and an ERA of 6.14.  Boy has this been ugly so far.  I was a big fan of LeClerc's coming into the season but he is starting to look like yet another one-year closing wonder.  Shawn Kelley is the recommended handcuff.