Sunday, May 28, 2017


After putting up the latest in what has been a season-long litany of ugly starts filled with high pitch counts, horrid control, and overall shoddy efficiency, the Cleveland Indians finally decided that starter Danny Salazar should not be allowed to hurt the team in the rotation any longer.  Salazar wound up giving up three earned runs, six hits, and 5 walks in his outing on Saturday which cemented the demotion and sent his fantasy baseball stock fully into the toilet.  Going down as of the more potent teases in the game, Salazar has just never been able to fulfill the ace-level promise he showed when he arrived on the scene in 2013 firing 100-mph fastballs.  While Salazar had his moments when it seemed he was set for stardom (such as in 2015 when he registered a 3.45 ERA and 195 K), he more often has supplied terrible WHIP's built on some of the worst control in the majors and also a knack for getting injured.  2017 has been some of Salazar's worst work as he left his Saturday start with a composite 5.50 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and unfathomable rates in BB/9 (4,82) and HR/9 (1.89).  Other than strikeouts which has always been his best trait, Salazar has been as bad a pitcher as any in the game.  So with the move to the bullpen and having no chance to close with Cody Allen excelling, Salazar truly has next-to-no fantasy baseball value the rest of the season.  Even if he does go back into the bullpen, we can't trust the guy one bit.  Stop chasing the potential and move on.


Stephen Strasburg:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 15 K with an ERA of 2.94.  My goodness.  Strasburg is on the short list with Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, and Yu Darvish as the greatest strikeout artist in baseball and that part of his game has always been stable through the injuries and mid-3.00 ERA's.

Kodi Glover:  scoreless ninth for fifth save with ERA of 2.35.  Why Glover was not closing from Day 1 this season is a question only Dusty Baker could answer.  It only took him just about two months to remedy it.

Mike Moustakas:  3/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .260.  Moustakas has the average up a bit again lately which is nice and the power has been big-time all year.  Considering the dirt-cheap draft price, Moustakas has been a fantastic buy warts and all.

Francisco Lindor:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .283.  Lindor's HR and fly ball rates continue to point to growth and they have been consistent both in April and May which adds to the validity.  Another ceiling reached.

Danny Salazar:  5.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 5 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.50.  Unrealized potential at its finest.

Mike Trout:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .342.  What is scary is that Trout is still improving.  How that is even possible defies logic.

Marcell Ozuna:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .311.  Another hitter who has tapped into some more offensive growth like with Francisco Lindor.  Ozuna's combining power and average is about as much as he can do (considering his lack of speed) to make his fantasy baseball value go as high as possible.

J,C. Ramirez:  7 IP 7 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.38.  The K/9 is just 7.29 and HR/9 is an ugly 1.33.  Smoke and mirrors specialist.

Eric Thames:  0/4 while hitting .278.  So yeah I did say to sell high on Thames at the height of his power surge.  Listen to me.

Chase Anderson:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.72.  Man has there been some insane strikeout games the last few days.  Anderson has joined in the party and actually has been pretty decent on a Brewers team filled with fantasy baseball values.  Just know the XFIP is well over 4.00 so don't be shocked if the bottom falls out.

Zack Cozart:  4/4 with 5th HR while hitting .355. I wrote a Status Report on Cozart before this game that was pretty glowing.  Now got to update it to make it more glowing before going up later.

Carlos Hernandez:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .293.  It seems like we haven't heard much from Hernandez lately which is true but that is because he has been a bit light during that span in the juice categories.  He still has been hitting though which is all that matters since everything else falls into place from there.

Tommy Joseph:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .255.  25 home runs here we come.

George Springer:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .242.  Sorry George but one guy you should have not have truid to be like coming into the majors was Joc Pederson but you pretty much have done so right on down to this apparent disdain for running.

Dallas Keuchel:  8 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.81.  Now 8-0, you got to think Keuchel is right there as the leader in the AL Cy Young derby.

Jay Bruce:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .249.  Standard Bruce season so far.  Hot and cold, hot and cold.

Travis D'Arnaud:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .221.  Since he did something positive on the field, D'Arnaud is now destined to sprain his finger getting water from the Gatorade jug and go on the DL.

Lucas Duda:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .267.  Duda is seeing the ball really well right now as he has been on a tear the last week.  Keep him anchored into your UTIL or CI spot.

Andrew McCutchen:  2/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .212.  McCutchen has turned into Chris Young circa Arizona right before our eyes.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Matt Holliday:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .269.  Got to love the body of work of Holliday this season who is showing he is not done yet being a top OF 3.  His swing is tailor-made for his home park and that alone will keep him in a daily lineup the rest of 2017.

C.C. Sabathia:  6.1 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.42.  You get flashes of the old ace C.C. once in awhile but the other three times out of four he goes out, the numbers can be very scary.

Dellin Betances:  scoreless 1.1 IP for his fifth save with an ERA of 0.52.  Betances has dominated since becoming the Yankee closer and so his struggles finishing games last season can now be fully blamed on fatigue and not mental struggles.

Shin-Soo Choo:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .255.  Like with Matt Holliday, Shin-Soo Choo is showing he can still be of service.  Batting leadoff is a nice bonus as well.

Jose Bautista:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .236.  Bautista's home run swing has been in fine working order the last three weeks and he can carry your team for awhile in that area when the going is good.  Still I would rather have Choo or Holliday.

Marco Estrada:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.15.  Estrada is the new Matt Cain, as the former used to always beat the BABIP curve year after year.  Don't know how he does it but he does it.

Michael Fulmer:  8 IP 9 H 3 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.65.  We may have to add Fulmer to the Cain-Estrada slayers of BABIP.  Fulmer's advanced metrics continually scream out "regression" but he has escaped thus far.

Tyler Danish:  5 IP 3 H 0 ER 6 BB 6 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Effectively wild in his first start.  The 22-year-old former second-round pick had all of a 4.53 K/9 at Triple-A before reporting for MLB duty.  No thanks.

Colby Rasmus:  1/2 with his 6th HR while hitting .254.  Nope I still don't care about him

Brian Dozier:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .255.  At least Dozier has raised his average a bit lately to help overcome the horrid power.  NEVER PAY FOR CAREER YEARS.

Brian Johnson:  9 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.57.  Just going out on a limb in predicting that Johnson will be the biggest pickup in fantasy baseball the next 24 hours.  Had a 2.82 ERA at Triple-A prior to his promotion.  Decent power arm who has a chance to stick around.


Well that's certainly more like it.  Coming off a recent stretch that could be argued was the worst starting pitching in baseball, New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka got back on track and in a resounding way on Friday.  Tanaka struck out the side in the first inning against the Oakland A's and never looked back as he totals 13 K's and only 5 hits given up in 7.1 innings.  Yes Tanaka took a hard-luck loss but the bigger picture is that he was in complete control and looked like the ace of the team the last few seasons.  The outing also pushed Tanaka's K/9 rate back upwards to 8.46 and that numbers remains his best mark there since his huge rookie debut (and before the tear in his UCL was discovered).  Now the big issue that remains here is Tanaka's sky-high 2.11 HR/9 but he did not give up a long ball against the A's and at home no less.  Hopefully that is a sign of things to come but at least for now, Tanaka seems to have righted the ship.  If it lasts or not is the bigger question.  Personally Tanaka still scares me but at least this shows he can get his bite back on the fastball.  

Friday, May 26, 2017


If you were to pick out the single worst starting pitching performance of the 2016 season, the name that was appear on the most ballots would undoubtedly be the Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke.  Fresh off signing the biggest contract given to a pitcher in Major League history, Greinke was a pure abomination as he lost velocity on his fastball and proceeded to put up 4.37 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a very mediocre 7.60 K/9 rate. Turning 33 and having a pronounced home run problem (1.34 HR/9), Greinke was a pariah for 2017 fantasy baseball drafts as he was picked more on name value than anything.  Fast forward to present time and Greinke just got done engineering a 12-strikeout masterpiece that lowered his 2017 ERA to 2.82 and raised his K/9 rate a career-best 10.48.  Looking every bit the ace that he was earlier in his career, Greinke has been one of the biggest fantasy baseball pitching stories of the season.

As always we need to dig in on the advanced numbers as Greinke's performance so far this season has been about as polar opposite as he showed just the year prior.  It is staggering in actuality how good Greinke has been, in particular with the major jump in K's.  What is interesting is that Grienke's fastball velocity has not improved this season but he is generating a major uptick in strikeouts for different reasons.  The first is that his overall K percentage and swinging strike percentage are way up.  There is clearly more bite and spin on Greinke's stuff and that is leading to the big strikeout jump.  In addition, Grienke has vastly improved his control; going from a 2.33 BB/9 a year ago to a stellar 1.61 in 2017.  Combined with the swinging strike increase and Greinke's lowered ERA can be explained a good deal from those issues.

However there are still some underlying things here that need to be mentioned.  The first is that Greinke remains homer-prone as his 1.34 HR/9 is WORSE than the 1.30 he had a year ago.  Also, Greinke has a lucky .267 BABIP but the adjusted ERA's still clock in very nicely (FIP ERA of 318, XFIP ERA of 2.88).  What this says is that Greinke is pitching legitimately well and that he is safe to proceed into the second half.  No major falloff is being indicated here barring injury and other than a bit of a rise in ERA due to the BABIP, Greinke looks safe to trust through the month of September this season.

Overall those who invested and bought very low on Greinke this season are being handsomely rewarded and they have one of the most potent performing arms as shown by the numbers.  It goes to show you that veterans can often find new ways to say on top of things and remain effective, something we are surely seeing now with Grienke.  What a story this has been.


Yeah so this one was obvious.  Well obvious to yours truly who put in print both in this past spring's Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide and all over this site on multiple occasions to avoid the bust that I saw Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander to be.  In other words, his current 4.87 ERA and 1.41 WHIP are far from a surprise from this peanut stand and it was his very murky outlook on a number of fronts that had me avoiding him in the Experts League draft.

So let's take a quick trip down memory lane shall we?  From 2014-15, Verlander looked like he was toast as his fastball lacked zip, his ERA and home run rates rose, and it seemed like all those years of 220-plus innings had sapped the pop from his arm.  Thus a 6.95 K/9/4.54 ERA in 2014 was followed by a mini-rebound in 2015 that saw those numbers improve to 7.63 and 3.38.  Be that as it may, Verlander was still a guy I told you to avoid for 2016 in thinking his ace days were a thing of the past.  Then Verlander goes out and strikes out an insane 254 batters (10.04 K/9) and a 3.04 ERA as he challenged for the AL Cy Young and reclaimed fantasy baseball ace status.  With the fastball gaining some life again and the durability always impressive, Verlander went back into the circle of trust for many in the fantasy baseball community as 2017 drafts came around.  Not me as I argued that Verlander's 2016l while impressive on the surface; was still troubling underneath the hood.

Digging into the 2016 advanced numbers, the first red flag centered on Verlander's lucky .255 BABIP which was completely unsustainable.  When adjusted, Verlander's FIP ERA came out to 3.48 and his XFIP 3.78.  Not terrible ERA's but not ace level either.  Then there was Verlander's 1.19 HR/9 rate which was an incredibly high number,  A high HR/9 rate is deadly on aging pitchers as leaking velocity is a bad combination with that number.  So I said to avoid Verlander with good scientific reasoning.

Fast forward to present time and Verlander is a mess.  What is really comical is that Verlander's 4.87 ERA should be WORSE as his .284 BABIP is still in lucky territory.  Then there is even WORSE home run problems as Verlander's HR/9 rate is as high as any starter in the game at 1.33.  There is also the huge control problems Verlander is having as his 4.28 BB/9 is horrendous.  Verlander is fighting his stuff like crazy and age no doubt is a factor.  Finally, Verlander's K/9 rate has sank from 10.04 last season to its present 8.56.

So when you put it all together, nothing Verlander is doing is helping his owners.  This all could have been prevented if you trusted my analysis but some don't listen.  I don't think things will get much better (although they really can't get worse) and so Verlander is already stamping himself as a prime bust for 2017.


Trea Turner:  0/3 while hitting .237.  Now we have to hope for 10 homers and 25 steals.  And a ,280 average.  Yikes what an overreach.  Carlos Correa and Yasiel Puig are nodding in understanding.  And so does this guy......

Anthony Rendon:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .283.  Four homers in three games now for Rendon.  It took a long while but Rendon is almost all the way back in terms of his previously enticing fantasy baseball name.  

Nelson Cruz:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .296.  Cruz is now fully one of those veterans who you keep drafting no matter how old until the wheels come off.  

Ariel Miranda:  5 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.22.  Said last week to pick up Miranda as your SP 5.  That is one win you would have had.  

Edwin Diaz:  scoreless ninth for his 8th save with an ERA of 4.19.  Tough to say Diaz gets his job back since no one closed a game since he was "replaced."  Be that as it may, the M's are doing whatever they can to try and make this work.  You get a do-over Diaz owners.  

Adam Frazier:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .361.  It was just 24 hours ago I said Frazier is now leading off everyday and is doing a quiet power/speed thing.  To think that Frazier is now looking like the most potent outfielder on the Pittsburgh Pirates this season.  He has to this point.  This game I swear.  

Matt Andriese:  8 IP 6 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.24.  Tampa Bay pitcher (no matter who it is)=yes pick him up.  

Trevor Story:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .188.  Just pathetic.

Tommy Joseph:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .255.  At this point I would rather own Joseph over Story.  No one would have said that in March.

Vince Velasquez:  5 IP 8 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.55.  More of the same.  It is obvious the electric stuff Velasquez has but my goodness he puts a ton of guys on base due to unrefined secondary offerings.

Kris Bryant:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .292.  While I pine to own Mike Trout more than anyone, Bryant is a close second.

Jason Heyward:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .256.  Things have been so bad lately with Heyward that 15 home runs and a .260 average would be a blockbuster output for him.

Ben Zobrist:  3/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .266.  When you bat leadoff, you automatically have fantasy baseball value how old you are or how much your bat has slowed.

Jeff Samardzjia:  7 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.50.  Said to buy low on Samardzjia as his K/9 is at a career-best level and his advanced metrics all point to him being a low-to-mid-3.00 ERA guy.  I can't do it for you.

Lucas Duda:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .244.  Guys like Duda are a dime a dozen and if you are serious about winning your fantasy baseball leagues, you have him only as a backup in mixers.

Dinelson Lamet:  5 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.80.  I said to pick up Lamet soon after it was announced the San Diego Padres would promote him.  Now this is not a slam dunk any means as Lamet is Zack Wheeler with a better K rate.  In other words, Lamet has terrible pitch efficiency and control but his fastball is powerful.  Also like Wheeler, Lamet has one awesome pitch (fastball) and shaky everything else.  Stream for now.

Elvis Andrus:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .270.  Who knew that in the Texas infield, Andrus would be by far the most valuable offensive performer.  Yeah that was a dig directed toward one Mr. Odor.

Xander Bogaerts:  2/4 with his first HR and 8th SB while hitting .335.  Bogaerts is finally on the home run board and it took nearly two months to do so.  In the meantime though, he is in the running for the batting title and is running at a career-best clip.  So the home run is icing on the fantasy baseball cake.

Drew Pomeranz:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 4.70.  I think Pomeranz is going to keep teasing like this all between DL stints of course.  If he were in the NL I would be much more liberal with Pomeranz but the AL East and rampant inconsistency in the DH league make me leery outside of streaming him on the road.

Craig Kimbrel:  scoreless ninth with 4 K's with an ERA of 0.87.  The Billy Wagner Special.  Man Kimbrel has been tremendous in bringing back memories of his Atlanta Braves days.

Chris Owings:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .320.  The BABIP is an unsustainable .384 and Owings' K/9 rate is UP this season at an elevated 21.8 (from 18,7 last season).  In other words, he will be aiming at .275 by July but I would still hold him as I am totally respectful of the power/speed game.

Eric Thames:  0/4 while hitting .294.  Thames is slumping again.  K/9 is now up to 22.9 and rising.

Robbie Ray:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.45.  So this is what it could look like it Ray could keep the walks completely at bay.  I think my knees are about to give out.

J.D. Martinez:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .378.  Martinez clearly seems intent on powering a full season of numbers in five months.

Justin Upton:  3/5 with his 9th HR and 4th SB while hitting .242.  Really in terms of Upton, he needs to swipe 10-15 bags to keep his value as high as it can be given his massive streaky nature.

Carlos Correa:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .288.  Not sure if there is another ceiling level for Correa but even if there is not, he is a top tier fantasy baseball shortstop at present ability.

George Springer:  0/4 while hitting .231.  Told you this guy is insanely overrated.

Justin Verlander:  5.2 IP 9 H 6 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.87.  Yeah not surprised by any of this as I was on record going back to January both in the Draft Guide and on here that Verlander was set to shizz all over your teams.  Yuppers.

Tommy Pham:  2/3 while hitting .309.  Still hitting.  Keep playing him in your lineup.

Kenta Maeda:  5 IP 7 H 3 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.08.  Oh man all the good karma Maeda had going prior to the injury has vanished.

Michael Wacha:  4 IP 7 H 6 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.66.  Whether it is shoulder trouble or Wacha's tendency to pitch terribly the longer the season goes, now is the time to get the heck out from under this potential bomb.