Thursday, June 21, 2018


Jeimer Candelario:  2/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .252.  While Candelario has more or less cemented his starting standing in just AL-only leagues, he has had a good breakout campaign to earn plaudits from the fantasy baseball community.

Scooter Gennett:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .336.  What is funny here is that Gennett is putting up the holy grail combination of batting title average and big power but at second base when no one gave him a chance to replicate his power from a year ago. 

Eugenio Suarez:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .295.  Yes, the Cincinnati Reds are in full rebuild but they need to hold onto this third base gem.

Michael Fulmer:  5.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.17.  The K's will flow like this once out of every 7 or 8 starts from Fulmer so take what you can get there.

Tyler Mahle:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 4 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.89.  It will only be so long for Mahle to hold off his 1.38 WHIP and the expected damage that will come to his ERA. 

Kyle Schwarber:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .243.  Schwarber is that classic kind of all-or-nothing slugger that when you see he homered in a given game, you 9 times out of 10 guess correctly it was his only hit of the game.

Ross Stripling:  6 IP 8 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.99.  Even without his best stuff in this one, Stripling still struck out more batters than innings pitched.  And that ERA my goodness. 

Jon Lester:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 3 BB 1 K with an ERA of 2.10.  I admit I have been completely wrong about Lester but I will also say that let's see how things look at the end of the season as the mileage on his arm will not be able to sustain a heavy workload into the fall like he always did previously.  Also, the K's are leaking in another sign of age. 

Kurt Suzuki:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .281.  I have owned Suzuki in one of my two competitive leagues all season and won't stop now. 

Kendrys Morales:  2/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .232. When you can't hit in Toronto, the fantasy baseball curtains are closing. 

J.A. Happ:  8.1 IP 6 H 4 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.56.  Happ hung around a bit too long as the Braves got to him a bit in the ninth which is so annoying if you are his owner but the 1.01 WHIP and tidy ERA are not getting enough credit considering the division. 

Yadier Molina:  2/3 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .273.  Admit it.  Your are a guy who avoids Molina in recent years in thinking each time THIS is the year he falls off the statistical cliff. 

Odubel Herrera:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .299.  I guess I should just write a general blub that talks about Herrera homering and just update the tallies each day in the WRAPUP.  Nothing is getting past Herrera at this juncture and a separate piece is on its way. 

Jake Arrieta:  6 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Getting closer to where I said Arrieta would have an ERA over 3.75 by the end of the season. 

Jed Lowrie:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .285.  The average has come down like I said it would in mid-May but Lowrie is holding steady with the power which keeps him a daily league guy for the time being. 

Matt Olson:  2/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .237.  Standard Kyle Schwarber operating procedure. 

Mark Canha:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .250.  Given the good power and ugly average, Canha is made for this Oakland A's team. 

Christian Villanueva:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .228.  Well it took until July 20th but this is the version of Villanueva I said you would see eventually once opposing starters began to figure him out. 

Joey Luchessi:  1.2 IP 3 H 4 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.86.  It is always very tough for a rookie pitcher to jump back into it off the DL and so give Luchessi a mulligan with this. 

Jose Ramirez:  1/2 with his 22nd HR while hitting .291.  I mean this is getting simply ridiculous right now. 

Corey Kluber:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.10.  This guy is so consistently good it is scary. 

Giancarlo Stanton:  2/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .255.  K/9 still at 31.6 but power showing much more like the norms Stanton has previously set.

Gary Sanchez:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .197.  Yeah nobody saw this turning into J.P. Arencibia or Mike Zunino.

Mark Trumbo:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .262.  I picked him up two weeks ago.  So should you have.

Jose Altuve:  3/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .347.  So much for the power of 2016-17 not being there. 

George Springer:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .279.  While it is a yearly bummer Springer doesn't run in the majors like he did in the minors, he still reached OF 1 status relatively quick.

Alex Bregman:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .268.  Been expecting the numbers to explode for a while now but here we are.  Bregman does though seem to be the new Mark Teixeira slow starter who requires patience to own early on when we are all 100 percent into our leagues. 

Charlie Morton:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.74.  There really has been no letdown here since the insane April which adds to the lore of one of the more improbably post-30 revivals I have ever seen.

Rougned Odor:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .226.  You get the sense the kid's career is at a crossroads already. 

Mike Moustakas:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .263.  Moustakas better be careful not to let the average fall much further or else even the Royals won't want him back next winter. 

Jakob Junis:  3 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 4.43.  Had been saying from the beginning of the season that Junis was playing with BABIP house money and that at some point he wouild regress to his true ability.  Sometimes that regression takes longer than anticipated but we are there. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


After playing with health house money for the first two-plus months of the 2018 fantasy baseball season, the career-long injury issues of Chicago Cubs closer Brandon Morrow reared their ugly heads when he was placed on the 10-day DL Wednesday with the balky back that has kept him out the last few days.  Prior to the injury, Morrow was absolutely fantastic in his first full season closing games as he logged an ERA of 1.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 25 K in 22.2 IP.  As a result of Morrow going on the DL, top setup man Pedro Strop would be the figurative add as he has been dominant himself with a 1.76 ERA but Steve Cishek has been very good himself with a 2.01 ERA and has much more experience closing games. Of course, Joe Maddon has been known to use committee's in the past during his Tampa Bay days so who knows where he will go with this. 



$400 million?  $300 million?  No matter what the sum of the expected massive contract that pending Washington Nationals free agent Bryce Harper nets this winter, his 2018 numbers almost don't even matter given the still very young age and overall insane offensive ability here.  While Harper still has just one 30-home run season under his belt in 6 MLB campaigns, he remained locked in as a first-round pick in almost all fantasy baseball leagues this past spring given the brand and fresh memories of his still unfathomable 2015 campaign.  While there have been some issues we will get into, Harper generally has been terrific as he went into Tuesday's games with the following numbers:

19 HR
43 RBI
41 R
6 SB
23.6 K/9
17.0 BB/9

What obviously stands out here is the hideous batting average and it is almost hard to believe Harper would be capable of such a terrible number there.  But in another reminder of how random average can be, take a look at his .208 BABIP which is so incredibly unlucky that I can't remember that number ever going that low for someone this late in the season and who has good speed like Harper has.  As a result, I say you can give Harper almost a complete mulligan there and soon you should expect the hits to start falling in and the average taking a sharp turn upwards.  I mean Harper's average has fluctuated wildly the last three-plus seasons (twice going over .315 and twice going under .250 in that span) but the 17.0 BB.9 is as good as it gets and reinforces how that average can be tossed out into the fluke bin.

In terms of the rest of the numbers, Harper is on pace for over 40 home runs and his runs and RBI number are just fine.  Add in a few steals and Harper has hit the mark in four offensive categories.  So while we still don't know where Harper will end up in free agency, the bottom line is that he remains at the age of 25 as good as it gets in today's fantasy baseball and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon.


Joc Pederson:  1/3 with his 9th HR in Game 1 while hitting .277.  Pederson is really impressing me so far with his 13.8 K/9 which is way down from 27.3 and 21.1 the last two seasons prior.  If that can be maintained, there is no telling where this can go considering the type of power Pederson has.  Should be owned everywhere.

Kenta Maeda:  3.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 5 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.84.  Tough return for Maeda but the strikeouts continue to show up in massive numbers per inning and the advanced metrics still show ace-like skills.

Nelson Cruz:  1/3 with his 18th HR while hitting .250.  Cruz has been on a home run per every other game for awhile now as he marched toward another 40 in that category.  Since we already talked about the tough BABIP luck, it is pretty much standard Cruz.

Aaron Hicks:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .256.  Bam!  Third straight game with a homer from Hicks and right before the stretch I said to remain patient with the guy who has the tremendous natural ability.  Throw in the fact Brian Cashman can't stop gushing about him and there was no way Hicks wasn't going to be given every chance to succeed.

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .252.  Nothing really new to add here that hasn't been mentioned here in terms of the insane amount of strikeouts depressing the overall offensive potential impact.

Glyeber Torres:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting. 291.  Torres with 30 homers right out of the gate as a rookie would be something else.

Miguel Andujar:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .290.  I almost feel as though Andujar continues to unfairly get overshadowed by Torres but there is no denying the rookie third baseman has the skills to be a perennial top 12 guy at the position for awhile.

Domingo German:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.77.  The kid went through that rough patch soon after his promotion but has been money his last three times out with strikeouts everywhere.  Always proceed with extra caution with a rookie AL East hurler in terms of evaluating every matchup but pick him up if someone dropped him.

Trea Turner:  4/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .267.  Turner was batting sixth which is not really what his fantasy baseball owners want to see since that spot will cut down on his plate appearances and especially his running chances (big game notwithstanding).

Matt Carpenter:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .239.  The home run binge continues on here for Carpenter who has that and the leadoff spot as two big feathers in his fantasy baseball cap going for him.

Tommy Pham:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .272.  Carpenter looks so much more boring when compared to his teammate who has the same amount of homers but the much better average.

Odubel Herrera:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .292.  Third straight game with a homer as that epic slump Herrera just recently endured is nothing but a memory.

Carlos Santana:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .226.  It just never got better here once Santana started putting up nasty averages during his early Cleveland days when we all thought he was going to be a stud offensive catcher across the board.

Luke Weaver:  4 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.69.  I am surprised the Cardinals have let this go on as long as it has considering Weaver's youth.  Minor league tuneup needed.

Jesus Aguilar:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .298.  Here is what is funny about Aguilar.  If you offered him around your league, no one would bite in thinking he is a fluke and will just cool off.  Well that cool off hasn't happened yet and he is up to 14 home runs with a near-.300 average. 

Starling Marte:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .280.  Marte looks exactly like the same player he was prior to his PED bust so why did he even go there?

Freddy Peralta:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.30.  Another one of those young and wild pitchers who could be taking the Blake Snell path in 2019 to big prominence once the kinks are knocked out. 

Johan Camargo:  4/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .240.  Even in very deep mixers (talking 14 or more), Camargo is still pretty much waiver fodder.

Mike Clevinger:  7.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.00.  All you need to know here is that Clevinger's 2.91 BB/9 is down from 4.44 a year ago.  Everything else falls into place.

Joey Votto:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .302.  The power is down but I refuse to consider any drop-off here just yet considering how Votto can get as hot as any hitter on the planet. 

Sal Romano:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 4 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.18.  Great outing but let's move on to more pertinent stuff.

Kyle Schwarber:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .241.  Yeah it is not .200 but Schwarber once again has not shown the ability to help anywhere but in homers. 

Rich Hill:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.99.  There is not a more volatile pitcher in all of fantasy baseball than the blister-plagued Hill and at his advanced age that makes taking a shot here even more of a fruitless endeavor. 

Mike Montgomery:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 4 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.11.  Montgomery was wild but kept the runs to a minimum as he continues to serve as a stable SP 5. 

Rafael Devers:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .243.  Ehhhh things are getting very shaky here.

Chris Sale:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.74.  What is interesting here is that Sale was once a huge Tommy John/injury risk but he has been incredibly durable the last few seasons.  This speaks to the argument that getting past your mid-20's as a young/hard-throwing pitcher greatly reduces the Tommy John chance as the muscles/joints stabilize to the workload.  The evidence is striking.

C.J. Cron:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .237.  Cron keeps sliding further down the Rays lineup as the average takes a similar plunge.

Blake Snell:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 7 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.48.  Wow the walks in this one were like dreaming about a past girlfriend that drove you crazy. 

Justin Verlander:  6.2 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 1.60.  Throw Verlander into the Chris Sale point I made above. 

Cole Hamels:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.41.  The strikeout rate coming back was the key for Hamels becoming as decent fantasy baseball pitcher again but he has to try and get out of the AL to extend this run going into next season. 

Nolan Arenado:  3/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .311.  The rare top-notch hitter we don't ever have anything to say about given the ultra-consistent numbers.

Trevor Story:  2/5 with his 16th HR while hitting .271.  Now we are talking in terms of the average!

Ian Desmond:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .214.  Not so much here!

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .272.  You almost want CarGo to just go away so the young Colorado outfield prospects can show what they can do on an daily basis. 

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .266.  Goldy has managed to get back to his first-round standing in literally like the last three weeks. 

Ian Kinsler:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .225. Hanging on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


The early front-runner for Dumbest Injury of the 2018 Fantasy Baseball season undoubtedly will go to San Francisco Giants closer Hunter Strickland who suffered a broken hand after punching a door after leaving his Monday appearance.  The break was found on subsequent testing done after the game and now Strickland will miss the next 6-8 weeks and throw the Giants' closer spot in flux yet again.  The real shame of it all is that Strickland had been pitching great in the closer role in place of the injured Mark Melancon; recording a 2.84 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 29 K in 31.2 IP.  Now Strickland will be out until well after the All-Star break and he could be drop-worthy in deeper leagues.  In his place, manager Bruce Bochy said he would turn to either lefty Tony Watson (1.87, 0.95, 40 K in 33.2 IP) or Sam Dyson (2.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 26 K in 32.1 IP).  Since we have seen Dyson struggle badly closing games in the past, Watson would be the guy we would pick up if we had just one spot to use.  It was also telling that Bochy didn't mention the just recently returned Melancon who struck out the side the other day in the seventh inning. 


When it comes to prime players with regards to the 2018 fantasy football season, few elicit such a reaction either positive or negative with such force as Oakland Raiders fourth-year wideout Amari Cooper.  Having been drafted 4th overall in 2015 after a stellar career at Alabama, Cooper immediately went out and produced back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons for the Raiders as he hinted at star WR 1 ability.  Then 2017 arrived and Cooper had what could only be described as a miserable season across the board as he missed two games due to injury and saw his offensive numbers dip to the tune of just 48 catches for 680 yards and 7 scores.  This after Cooper went as a second-round pick in the majority of fantasy football leagues.  As a result of that dud, Cooper became a pariah by the end of the season and his outlook for 2018 is being handled with extra caution since he burned so many a year ago.  Be that as it may, Cooper actually could be shaping up as a big-time value player for a number of reason which we will talk about.

The first positive going for Cooper obviously is the arrival of Jon Gruden as head coach.  Given that Gruden is widely considered one of the best offensive minds in the game and was once a wide receiver coach, the easy assumption is that he will do wonders for getting Cooper back on track.  Then there is the fact that TD vulture Michael Crabtree is now in a Baltimore Ravens uniform which will now make Cooper the number 1 option in the red zone as well.  Having a bit of a Julio Jones tendency to not score a high amount of touchdowns despite tremendous physical ability, Cooper is being talked about by Gruden as being the main guy in the team's passing attack.  Combine all of that together and Cooper could easily slide back to WR 1 status with a run at career-best numbers across the board.  So while last season was certainly ugly, Cooper is still young and filled with potential to be a smart pick no from late Round 2 or later.  

2018 PROJECTION:  88 receptions 1,105 yards 8 TD  


Score one for the state of Wyoming.  It is from that non-baseball hotbed locale where one of the hottest hitting outfielders in all of fantasy baseball originated from as the New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo comes off a two-home run game Monday night that continued what has been a scorching stretch at the dish.  Having been drafted by the team in the first round of the 2011 draft, Nimmo took his time reaching the majors and the book on him was that of a decent on-base/batting average hitter who had little in the way of power.  Whether it is through adding strength in growing into his body more or moving closer to prime years (having turned 25 this past March), Nimmo has been one of the few positive stories emanating from the Mets this season. Operating out of the leadoff spot for the majority of the season so far, Nimmo goes into Tuesday's games with the following numbers:

12 HR
22 RBI
35 R
7 SB
26.7 K/9
12.4 BB/9

Add in the terrific .410 OBP and Nimmo has been an on-base machine who all of a sudden has become a power/speed/average stud almost overnight.  While there are clear struggles versus lefties and with strikeouts, Nimmo also has a keen batting eye as shown by his 12.4 BB/9 which helps keep the average in solid territory despite the previous issues we mentioned.  As it is, the Mets are content to leave Nimmo in the leadoff spot where his better than expected steal acumen can work best and where the runs will continue to flow nicely.  The power has really been the story though as Nimmo never showed this type of home run ability previously both with the Mets and in the minors but it is not a total shock given his physical maturity and development as a hitter.  So in the end, Nimmo could be on the way toward one of the best value play seasons in all of fantasy baseball in terms of his five-tool ability and "Finding Nimmo" would be a slam-dunk team name as well. 


Juan Soto:  1/2 with his 5th HR in Game 1 while hitting .312.  While he can't legally pound the brews, Soto can surely pound the baseball with the best of them already at 19.  Can't think of a better keeper right now outside of maybe Ronald Acuna.

Anthony Rendon:  1/2 with his 4th HR in Game 1 while hitting .276.  Rendon seems to be one of those players who always does the opposite of expectations in any given season.

Aaron Hicks:  2/5 with his 9th HR in Game 2 while hitting .246.  I kept saying to stay patient with Hicks and now the results are showing up nicely.  Could go 20/20 if all breaks right and he continues on this pace. 

Sonny Gray:  5 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.89.  If you stupidly are holding onto Gray due to just the name brand, you can only start him just on the road.  Overall he is a complete abomination like I said he would be as a charter member of my "Busts" section in my 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.

Matt Carpenter:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .235.  The .300 averages are a forever thing of the past since Carpenter began swinging for the fences a few seasons ago and so the current product is a bit all-or-nothing if that floats your boat. 

Yadier Molina:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .273.  By now you know Molina will continue to produce no matter how old he is and how many injuries he comes back from.  A true freak of a catcher in every way.

Tommy Pham:  1/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .269.  Still bad at myself for not being more bullish on this toolsy dynamo.

Odubel Herrera:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .293.  We are in uncharted territory with Herrera and his power this season and his big breakthrough this season is the hitting version of Aaron Nola as both guys were annual favorites of mine who took an extra year to realize their potential (and caused me lost of blowback).

Nick Pivetta:  7.1 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 4.08.  You are looking at one of the biggest strikeout reveals this season as Pivetta has been a K machine from the jump.  While he is still a bit inconsistent as most young hurlers are, I was in on this back in mid-April so I am wedded.  Damn I like a lot of Phillies and this from a New York guy.  Looking at you too Eflin.

Trevor Williams:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.00.  If Williams can successfully push back the erosion we have seen from him the last few weeks, I will pay attention but I won't bet on it.

Matt Davidson:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .241.  Whether it is Matt Davidson or Matt Chapman or Matt Carpenter, they are all the limited/mediocre same. 

Trevor Bauer:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.50.  Despite the added challenges of facing the DH, Bauer, Severino, Cole, Kluber, Sale, and Verlander have been downright unfair.  It used to be you avoided AL pitchers if you could but now all the top ones reside there. 

Wilson Ramos:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .286.  What is funny about Ramos is that he can continue to have a fine season like he is having but then still be a forgotten man in 2019 fantasy baseball drafts.  Happens all the time to certain players and Ramos is in that class. 

Gerrit Cole:  7 IP 3 H 4 ER 5 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.59.  While he was a bit wild, the march to 300 K's continues onward. 

Shin-Soo Choo:  2/2 with his 13th HR while hitting .279.  Holy crap Choo may hit 25 home runs or more.

Adrian Beltre:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .322.  The power is certianly drying up andhis body is betraying him constantly but Beltre can still put forth line drives like the best of them.

Brandon Nimmo:  4/6 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .287.  Third home run in two games for Nimmo and a Status Report on the way for later. 

Devin Mesoraco:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .221.  I suspect Mesoraco's ownership is way down again after he flashed upon arriving with the New York Mets but in two catcher formats I would give it a bit more time to see if he can be a help.

Jacob DeGrom:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.51.  Even Coors Field can't stop DeGrom whose only resistance has been found through the limp Mets bats costing him wins. 

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .265.  All is well that ends well. 

Nick Ahmed:  2/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .227.  Those 10 home runs kind of snuck up on the fantasy baseball community but that is really the only thing worth talking about here which is not saying much.

Albert Pujols:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .249.  With the average not yet competely in the gutter this season, Pujols can still hang as a decent backup in most leagues.

Justin Upton:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .255.  Another fine season developing with this guy as his owners continue to seemingly curse at everything Upton does. 

Jaime Barria:  6 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 3.57.  While he was pitching well leading into this, I was not a fan of Barria given the lack of K's and operating in the AL.  This is never a combination you want to have on your roster.