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Monday, July 23, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Wil Myers:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .284.  Myers has battled injuries the last two seasons but in between nothing has changed here in terms of his level of production. 

Rhys Hoskins:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .252.  There was hope Hoskins would hit 40 home runs this season but he may not get to 30.  Typical case of an overhyped prospect who his fantasy baseball owners paid too much for. 

Jonathan Schoop:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .231.  Yeah we are kind of back to the drawing board here with Schoop as 2017 won't come close to being repeated. 

Randal Grichuk:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .213.  I never liked Grichuk as a prospect in St. Louis and that has not changed in Toronto despite the ballpark boost.  Way too limited. 

Yangervis Solarte:  2/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .239.  Typical power boost from Solarte going from San Diego to Toronto but didn't expect the average dip as he was generally a previous .280 guy. 

J.A. Happ:  5 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.18.  Could be Happ's last start in Toronto but at least it helps assuage some worries over his previous slump.  Again, Happ has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations the last few seasons and that shouldn't change no matter the potential new location. 

Jeimer Candelario:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .230.  Amazing how there are so many limited hitters like this in today's game.  AL and NL-only rosters have never been so stocked with options. 

Chris Sale:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.13.  I mean Clayton Kershaw has all the hardware but this guy is having a stretch the last few seasons that rival that production. 

Corey Dickerson:  4/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .315.  You can't get any hotter than this guy right now.  Leaving Colorado didn't sink this career.

Starling Marte:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .287.  This is one player I have MAJOR regrets about now owning and also MAJOR jealousy who had more foresight. 

Gregory Polanco:  2/5 with his 17th HR while hitting .237.  Polanco is not running much and his average still stinks which means his once five-tool outlooks is looking more like 2.5. 

Matt Harvey:  8 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 5.21.  The Mets don't miss him.  Neither does his former fantasy baseball owners. 

Chris Archer:  6 IP 8 H 3 ER 0 BB 13 K with an ERA of 4.30.  My goodness Archer is still as good a K artist as there is in all of fantasy baseball but still 8 hits allowed in 6 which is not a great ratio.  Still not smooth. 

Matt Kemp:  3/5 with 2 home runs (17 for season) while hitting .316. Good for Kemp that he remains a feared and very productive hitter this late in his career while Ryan Braun (who stole an MVP from him) can't stay on the field. 

Alex Wood:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.87.  While Wood has been pretty good, his fantasy baseball owners have an annoying feeling he has not pitched well. 

Tim Anderson:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .244.  Look past the average and Anderson is having a fantastic season and his power/speed game rivals anyone's.

Ryon Healy:  3/4 with 2 home runs (20 for season) while hitting .244.  Travis Shaw clone in 2018. 

Ian Desmond:  1/3 with his 19th HR while hitting .238.  Desmond is the Tim Anderson of first basemen but gets a whole lot more criticism.

Zack Greinke:  8 IP 2 H 1 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 3.05.  You see Mr. Archer this is how you dominate when you strike out 13 batters in a game. 

Mike Trout:  2/4 with his 26th HR while hitting .307.  It is almost laughable now that we ever had a Bryce Harper-Mike Trout debate. 

Ian Kinsler:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting. 227.  Now hitting towards the bottom of the lineup, Kinsler only has some moderate power and literally nothing else to offer. 

Justin Upton:  1/3 with his 20th HR while hitting .253.  Standard operating procedure here. 

Lance McCullers:  5 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.01.  I said before the All-Star Game to be concerned here as McCullers has not pitched this many innings in the majors previous to 2018 and so fatigue would likely start to become a factor.  The ERA is now over 4.00.

Andrew Heaney:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.66.  Taming a vert tough Houston lineup is another notch in the cap of Heaney in his decent breakout campaign. 




Sunday, July 22, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: NOAH SYNDERGAARD HITS THE DL AGAIN, THIS TIME FOR FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE?

As if this truly horrid New York Mets season has not been more pathetic enough, now we get word that ace starter Noah Syndergaard has been placed on the DL for the second time but foot and mouth disease of all things.  Syndergaard contracted the ailment while taking part in a kids camp this past week but the hope is that he will miss only the minimum ten games.  Be that as it may, this is now the third time Syndergaard has been on the DL three times in the last season-plus and so he is now more than earning the label of being injury prone.  Throw in the fact Syndergaard seems like your classic Tommy John future victim and investing in him on a yearly basis is become an exercise you might want to start avoiding.  In between all the injuries this season, Syndergaard has pitched to a splendid 2.89 ERA  but an elevated 1.25 WHIP with 83 K in 74.2 IP.  While he has pitched decently, it still has fallen short of expectations and added more negative storylines to a truly ugly Mets season. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: MADISON BUMGARNER SP SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

How quickly things change both in real life and in fantasy baseball.  A case in point can be seen with San Francisco Giants ace SP Madison Bumgarner who for years since first coming up with the team has been a slam-dunk power pitching ace in every sense of the word.  Combining very low ratios and 200-plus K stuff, Bumgarner was a top-five starter in all leagues since at least 2014.  Last season was no different as Bumgarner was looking at another big campaign on the way in 2017 but of course, a dirt bike accident where he tore up his pitching shoulder ruined his season.  Once Bumgarner returns from the accident, there was some disturbing signs from here as the velocity was down and the overpowering stuff from before was not being seen.  With that said, a mulligan was given to Bumgarner for 2018 fantasy baseball and many dived right back on. 

Fast forward to present time and Bumgarner comes off a horrid outing Saturday where he walked 6 batters and saw his ERA rise to 3.19 and his WHIP to 1.25.  While the ERA is not terrible, the WHIP is not so hot and there are other red flags to discuss from the overall numbers below: 

3-3
3.19 ERA
1.25 WHIP
7.71 K/9
3.86 BB/9
0.84 HR/9
.257 BABIP

Outside of ERA, Bumgarner has been shaky all over and his 7.71 K/9 is a major red flag as it is way down being above 9.00 each season from 2014 to 2016.  Last season that dipped to 8.19 and now at 7.71, Bumgarner is just average there which is a big problem for his value since much of his cost comes from the strikeouts.  On a related front, he is now averaging just 91.6 on his fastball which is down from 93.0 in 2015.  A case can be made that all of those years of heavy usage early in his career could be hurting Bumgarner now and we don't need to remind you that the Giants have a very bad track record here when it comes to Matt Cain and Tin Lincecum having their careers derailed before hitting 30 given the same issues. 

In addition to the velocity and strikeout problems, Bumgarner is showing some career-worst control and his .257 BABIP is actually in the lucky zone.  When his BABIP is adjusted, Bumgarner's FIP (3.99) and XFIP (4.48) are much worse than his actual ERA.  So in essence, Bumgarner is pitching WORSE than what his ERA shows. 

No matter how you slice it, Bumgarner is in a bad way and his fantasy baseball owners might see more ugly outings the rest of the way given the advanced indicators.  Get out now while you can. 




2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Michael Conforto: 1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .221.  Conforto has zero confidence right now and is almost swinging with his eyes closed in the hopes of making contact.  Maybe some of it is mental coming off the very serious shoulder injury last summer but clearly he has taken a step back in development.

Aaron Judge:  3/4 with his 26th HR while hitting .286.  Judge did not become the average killer many feared this season as his insane amount of walks helps offset the damage his high-K tendencies bring to the table.  In between, the power is immense as ever.

Steven Matz:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.65.  Not the best way to build trade value and it is a reminder that Matz is nothing but an SP 5 which is a disappointment considering how nicely things started out a few years ago.

Marcus Stroman:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.42. This is the best Stroman has looked all season and maybe there is a strong second half push.  With that said, I still want to see more before I even think of trying him out again.

Matt Carpenter:  1/3 with his 24th HR while hitting .275.  I admit I blew it on Carpenter more than any other player this season.  I figured with all the injuries and the brutal start to 2018, he was shot.  Boy was that misread.

Luke Weaver:  4 IP 7 H 3 ER 5 BB 2 K with an ERA of 4.79.  Check back in 2019.

Mike Fiers:  6.1 IP 7 H 0 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.49.  Few SP 5's know how to dominate in the second halves of a season more than this guy.

Christian Yelich:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .300.  Yelich is stealing some bases, hitting .300, and will crack about 20 homers which is a typical year for him.  Which then goes down as a bit disappointing after moving to Milwaukee and given the resulting spring hype.

Clayton Kershaw:  6 IP 7 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.64.  If you look closely, you will see a lesser version of Kershaw than from pre-2016.

Corey Dickerson:  2/5 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting. 307.  It took Dickerson a bit to get going with the power this season but at least he was hitting .300 prior to the recent surge.

George Springer:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .249.  The BABIP is just .275 which is unlucky and especially for Springer so no need to worry about a permanent trip back down to where he was average-wise earlier in his career.  The 18.4 K/9 and 10.4 BB/9 both check out.

Josh Reddick:  1/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .261.  He gets hurt with more frequency the last two seasons but Reddick remains a grossly underrated outfielder in fantasy baseball.

Justin Verlander:  6 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.19.  The audacity of anyone suggesting Verlander was in a slump recently.

Salvador Perez:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .223.  Always worried about the insane workloads the last five seasons and the toll it would take on his body.  The answer is "very bad" on both fronts.

Matt Carpenter:  1/1 with his 25th HR while hitting .277.  Carpenter didn't even start but extended his home run streak to six games.  You have got to be kidding me with this.

Adrian Beltre:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .288.  Here is hoping we get another monster second half from Beltre, even if he is not really capable of such a stretch anymore with the power really fading.

Carlos Carrasco:  6.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.03.  The WHIP of 1.15 is fine and so are the K's (9.88 K/9).  With both FIP and XFIP ERA's under 3.50, try to steal him away from his jaded owner.

Brandon Belt:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .287.  You always have to deal with injuries but Belt seems here to stay now as the accomplished hitter he was touted to become when first arriving on the scene with the Giants. 

Madison Bumgarner:  4 IP 2 H 3 ER 6 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.19.  The WHIP is 1.25 and Bumgarner's owners need to read the Clayton Kershaw blurb above. 

Trevor Cahill:  5.2 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.95.  I told you to pick Cahill up about 57 times this season and he still sits with an ERA under 3.00. 


Saturday, July 21, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CARLOS MARTINEZ SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

When 2018 fantasy baseball drafts rolled around this past spring, one prominently named starting pitcher that I told you all to avoid despite coming off another decent year in 2017 was St. Louis Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez.  While no one would question Martinez' 200-K chops, I did have some very big reservations about investing in him and for a number of key reasons.  The first one (which I have spoken often about) centered on Martinez' past with shoulder trouble and any issues with that socket tends to be more serious for a pitcher than anything to do with an elbow.  Shoulder trouble also tends to come back more than once and historically steals mph from a fastball and can greatly erode stuff.  In addition, Martinez also was an issue for me due to his yearly poor control which manifests itself in annually high walk rates.  Combine the ill health with the ugly control and I was in no rush to pay the fantasy baseball ace cost for Martinez at the draft table.

Fast forward to present day and Martinez has just been placed on the DL once again, with this time being for a strained oblique that is expected to keep him out past the minimum 10 days.  While Martinez has battled poor health during the first half of the season, he also has not pitched as well as his fantasy baseball owners expected as he went into Saturday's action with the following numbers:

6-6
3.39 ERA
1.39 WHIP
8.37 K/9
4.52 BB/9
0.47 HR/9
.293 BABIP

While on the surface Martinez' 3.39 ERA is not terrible by any means, his 1.39 WHIP is horrendous and his 4.52 BB/9 a downright joke.  Martinez has really outdid himself with the pathetic walk rate this season and his strikeouts being down sharply (9.35 K.9 in 2017) is also a major red flag.  A clear issue is that Martinez is leaking velocity this season and has been the last few seasons.  After averaging a tremendous 97.0 on his fastball in 2016, Martinez dipped to 96.7 a year ago and now down to 95.5 this season.  That marks three straight seasons of a drop there and that my friends is a clear trend.  Add in the ugly health and Martinez has been a decent bust relative to the price his fantasy baseball owners paid for him this spring.  Which of course is no shock here since I told you as much previously back in March.  So all in all, Martinez has been spot on in terms of my projection for him and the troubles that arrived once his name was added to your roster.  So let this be a lesson learned that Martinez is in fact one of the more overrated pitchers in today's game. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: JEURYS FAMILIA ON VERGE OF BEING TRADED TO A'S

The Oakland A's have been surprisingly competitive in 2018 and with a chance to claim a wild card spot, have begun moving to pick up some reinforcements for the stretch drive.  That process began late Friday when word got out through Buster Olney of ESPN that the A's and New York Mets were closing in on a deal for former All-Star closer Jeurys Familia to help bolster an already strong bullpen.  Once completed (which is expected to be done sometime Saturday), Familia will move to Oakland where he will setup Blake Treinen who has been superb all season finishing games for the team.  Now in terms of fantasy baseball impact, it is obviously a very bad move for Familia's owners as saves will no longer be a part of the equation.  While Familia has pitched very well to the tune of a 2.88 ERA and 9.52 K/9, Treinen has been one of the very best closers in all of fantasy baseball this season as the former failed Washington National has put forth a 0.94 ERA and 11.44 K/9.  In fact, you can easily make the case that Treinen has been THE best closer in all of fantasy baseball as his numbers look a lot like Zach Britton's when the latter put forth one of the most dominant years in recent memory collecting saves a few seasons ago.  With Familia heading West soon, the Mets now have to figure out who will finish games on their end and on that front, Robert Gsellman would be the add despite a shaky 4.15 ERA.  The fact of the matter is that the Mets have a brutal bullpen and no one inspires much confidence here.  You should probably avoid the whole setup altogether but if you are that desperate for some saves, then Gsellman would be the guy to take on.