Monday, April 22, 2019


Maybe we should just do a Crisis Point on the entire starting pitcher fraternity no?  After all, the pitching dominant era of a few seasons ago is long in the rearview mirror and now we have a Home Run Derby situation enveloping the game on a nightly basis.  The result has been chaos among even the very best pitchers in baseball as top-tier names like Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Jacob DeGrom, and Noah Syndergaard have all come out of the gates with some very shoddy results.  As far as Thor is concerned, he added another clunker on Sunday by yielding 4 earned runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, and 5 K's in 5 innings in a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday which has left him with the following numbers:

5.90 ERA
1.28 WHIP
.261 BAA
2.17 BB/9
0.93 HR/9
.346 BABIP
2.92 FIP
3.34 XFIP

Obviously, the surface numbers are ugly and when it comes to Syndergaard, you always have to worry about his health given how hard he throws.  We all know that if you were a betting man or woman, Syndergaard would be among your top 3 choices in terms of predicting the next Tommy John victim and he already has had multiple scares on that front.  In addition, Syndergaard tore a lat two seasons ago as well to add to the litany of health trouble.  As of right now there has been no indication Syndergaard is hurt but he clearly is struggling.  Or is he?  The real beauty with advanced metrics is that they reveal some "fluke" aspects of things and in this case, it is easy to see Thor has had some very rotten luck with the batted ball.  Right away you can take note of the unlucky .346 BABIP which means a lot of hits are falling in in an odd way.  When adjusted, Syndergaard's ERA comes out to a very Thor-like 2.92 FIP and 3.34 XFIP.  This alone should get the buy low alarms blaring.  In addition, Syndergaard's control has been very good with his 2.17 BB/9 and while the home runs have gone up, they are not terrible in terms of rate.  Finally, Syndergaard;s average fastball velocity of 98.2 has been tremendous and is right with his career norms.  So adding everything together, you get the picture Syndergaard should be able to turn it around real soon and represents a major buy low opportunity.  Trying to snipe Syndergaard away from a panicking owner would be the right thing to do here so do so quickly before that buy low window eventually starts to close. 

Sunday, April 21, 2019


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. 


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


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.  


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.