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Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: KENTA MAEDA SP LOS ANGELES DODGERS

I think Kenta Maeda just gave up another home run.  And another.  And another.  Yes it has been a beyond tough start to the 2017 fantasy baseball season for prospective high-end Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda, whose sophomore MLB campaign now consists of a current 8.05 ERA and 1.53 WHIP through his first four starts.  Widely considered to be a solid SP 2 for fantasy baseball in coming off a terrific rookie campaign (3.48 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 179 K in 175.2 IP), Maeda has been a colossal flop thus far.  So as we always do in his space, let's dig in a bit more and find out what is really going on here.

Before we proceed further, keep in mind the small sample size aspect of things. Yes the numbers are ugly but 4 starts is a microcosm of an entire season.  So with that out of the way, let's compare some advanced numbers from 2016 to this season for Maeda:

K/9:  9.17 (2016) 9.00 (2017)
BB/9:  2.56 (2016) 2.37 (2017)
BABIP:  .283 (2016) .315 (2017)
HR/9:  1.02 (2016) 3.32 (2017)

Comparing these numbers, we highlighted the HR/9 due to the massive disparity between the two and it is this area more than anything that has completely derailed Maeda early on.  There could be some tipping of pitches going on here as jumps like this are almost impossible to accept being an eventual full-season deal.  As you also know, home runs can destroy any given start in that one or two pitches could inflate the ERA despite the pitcher having good stuff overall.  How often have we seen 4-hit/10-K gems results in 4 or 5 earned runs due to home runs given up?  Yes 24 hits in 19 innings is very high but Maeda's already top-notch control is IMPROVED this year and his K/9 is right where it was last season which is a nice place to be at.  Also consider that Maeda's BABIP has moved into the unlucky territory, with adjusted ERA's of 6.48 (FIP and still very ugly) and 4.34 (XFIP).  Overall it just goes to show you that the advanced numbers all indicate a turnaround is on its way and it could be soon.  All Maeda has to do is knock down that home run total and he could just like that turn back to the SP 2 we all anticipated he would be.  With that said, a buy low is a good idea here as Maeda is simply going through a rut and is still very young (29) which means he has not lost anything stuff-wise.  I myself am going to try and steal away Maeda and it is moves like this that ultimately help you win your league.


FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY UPDATE: DL LOOKING LIKELY FOR TRAVIS D'ARNAUD. YOENIS PLANS TO PLAY TUE.

The physical hits keep on coming for the New York Mets as it now looks likely the team will place catcher Travis D'Arnaud on the 10-day DL Tuesday when the team comes off their day off on Monday.  D'Arnaud has not seen any improvement from the hand that was injured at the end of last week and his long history of injuries is well-documented to say the least.  The real shame is that D'Arnaud has hit well since the spring and was looking like he was back to unlocking the potential he has carried around since coming to the majors.

Meanwhile things are more positive for New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes as the player himself said he will play on Tuesday.  While it is nice to hear Cespedes say that, we will believe it when we see it as Cespedes still was not able to do anything this past weekend due to his strained hamstring.  If Cespedes were to not be able to play Tuesday, he almost certainly would be placed on the DL as well.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Anthony Rizzo:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .296.  Rizzo is clicking on all cylinders now after having a quiet power start to the season.  Just goes to show you that certain guys in their prime that are proven will eventually get where they need to get to.

Scott Schebler:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .175.  Schebler has hit for power but the average makes him a non-use player for now.

John Lackey:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 4.88.  Aging guys like Lackey who have a huge workload the previous year often don't bounce back well the following season and that looks like what is going on with Lackey who is not fooling anyone.

Matt Kemp:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .333.  Hamstring no longer an issue and so Kemp is back to being a very good low-end OF 2 and who also will continue to get great pitches to hit behind Freddie Freeman.

Cesar Hernandez:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .338.  Big things are happening here for Hernandez who was very good in 2016 and now is looking like a stud.  He is checking all of the boxes right now and I saw enough last season to believe this is all legit.

Odubel Herrera:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .273.  Herrera is trying to make the jump in power that would truly elevate him to OF 1 status and he is clearly knocking on the door already.  On of my favorite players in a short MLB time span, Herrera is still on the upswing.

Zach Elfin:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.25.  Elfin has been very good as the numbers show but he is a soft-tosser all the way who should not be used in inning-capped leagues.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .333.  If there were ever any guy you want to sell high on, this is it.  The next injury is about 10.5 games away.

Ivan Nova:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Somewhere A.J. Burnett saw this and nodded understanding how one can turn into a terrific pitcher LEAVING the Yankees.

Jose Altuve:  3/5 with his second HR while hitting .324.  I swear I wouldn't have knocked anyone who took Altuve over Mike Trout in drafts this season.

Carlos Correa:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .197.  More and more it is beginning to look like Correa's career-year came as a rookie.  Yes it is a bit of a ridiculous statement to make since he is so young but the numbers have not been there going on season two now since his smashing debut.

Steven Souza Jr.:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .347.  Will it be .247 next month in the average department?  Souza's overall fantasy baseball stock depends on where that number goes.  So far though Souza is right there as one of the very best value plays in the game.

Ken Giles:  scoreless ninth for 5th save with an ERA of 5.00.  Giles has a 1.11 WHIP and been very locked in when saves on the line.  His struggles in non-save chances are pronounced but as long as he converts the saves given to him, his job is secure.  The Astros have a lot invested here so they will give Giles every chance to succeed.

Michael Fulmer:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.88.  Minnesota is an easy lineup to get through but Fulmer is replicating his 2016 so far,  Yes I was a big spring critic but will reserve my full judgment in June.

Mookie Betts:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .313.  As long as Betts continues to run as often as he did in 2016, he will bring back every bit the number 2 overall draft price you paid.

Hanley Ramirez:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .210.  Ramirez' shoulder looks like mince meat right now as he still can't play first base which is telling how much pain he is in.  I said that his big 2016 was the impetus to run away from Ramirez in 2017 as he was not going to stay so healthy in back-to-back years and his average has been sliding for awhile.  Bingo.

Mitch Moreland:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .315.  Whether it is in Texas or Boston, Moreland is quite dependable as a 20-25 home run guy with a mediocre average.

Andrew Benintendi:  5/5 with an average of .347.  Wow this kid has one of the prettiest swings I have ever seen.  Seriously Benintendi is so textbook it is scary.  While the average is a bit empty right now with one home run, this is a special case where literally the sky is the limit.

Kevin Gausman:  5 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 7.50.  Right now Gausman should not even be on a fantasy baseball roster.  No surprise here by what has taken place.

Francisco Lindor:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .315.  The Cleveland Indians have two of the best pure hitters in the game in Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Jose Ramirez.  The AL goes through them.

Danny Salazar:  5 IP 7 H 4 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.37.  There are just too many starts like this from Salazar who is a WHIP killer (1.50) and has elevated ERA which takes luster away from K's.

Gerardo Parra:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .333.  Yeah so the Rockies really don't need David Dahl.

Kyle Freeland:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.32.  Just look at the crazy WHIP to know that Freeland is your ultimate smoke-and-mirrors fluke.

Mike Moustakas:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .286.  No letup to the monster start for Moustakas.  I do feel some regret for not taking him more seriously given the insanely cheap draft price.

Joey Gallo:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .213.  Say it all together now "it was his only hit of the day."

Robinson Chiranos:  1/2 with his 4th HR while hitting .389.  Chirianos has one or two of these big power stretches each season which makes him tempting to pick up.  He has been at this for awhile now and is overall a very limited fantasy baseball bat.  Of course at catcher you ride these out until they expire.

Yu Darvish:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.03.  Now another year further away from Tommy John, Darvish is looking completely back to his fantasy baseball ace status.

Devon Travis:  2/4 with first HR while hitting .136.  Man it is always something with this guy.  Either he hits and is not healthy or he is healthy and doesn't hit.  Patience running out.

Marcus Stroman:  9 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.10.  So remember when I told you all to stay patient with Stroman and buy fully on a big 2017 breakout?  Yup.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: ROUGNED ODOR 2B TEXAS RANGERS

When looking up and down the Texas Rangers batting lineup, all you seemingly see are struggled from top-to-bottom.  Whether it is Carlos Gomez, Mike Napoli, or Rougned Odor, the Rangers have had lifeless bats from the start of the year.  In our latest "Crisis Point," we dig in a bit more on Odor who is trying his fantasy baseball owners' patience so far with his underwhelming performance that has him going into Saturday's game with the following numbers:

.194
3 HR
6 R
8 RBI
0 SB

Clearly those numbers fall way short of where the power-hitting second baseman should be and already the e-mails and tweets are flowing in asking what is going on.  Well first off some deep breaths are needed here as we are only THREE weeks into the season and Odor is still just 23-years-old.  Odor has been in the majors since he was 19 and he had little-to-no seasoning a the minor league level to smooth out some flaws in his approach.  Those flaws manifest themselves in an utter lack of patience as Odor's BB/9 rates have not even reached 5.0 in each of his first four years in the majors.  Not getting on base via walks is always an issue when it comes to batting average and that is why Odor so far is just a .261 hitter in his career.  While the batting average is a negative, the terrific from Odor's bat is what really has put him at the forefront of the second baseman hierarchy.  In 2016 Odor exploded there as he smacked 33 home runs and drove in 88 at the age of ONLY 22.  The .271 average as not great but not horrible either.  A .297 BABIP last season also showed that his .271 average was legit and so were the rest of his numbers.  That is truly remarkable power for such a young player who is not a corner infielder or outfielder and that put Odor as a very high-priced item in 2017 fantasy baseball drafts.  Alas the poor start has began some rumbling about whether Odor was a fluke in 2016 which in my humble opinion is ridiculous.

Digging into the early numbers, a few things stands out.  For one thing, Odor is getting ZERO luck on the batted ball as his .196 BABIP would attest.  That is a completely unsustainable number as the mean BABIP is .300.  The hits will soon start falling in and the home runs will go out.  It is guaranteed.  Also don't overlook the fact Odor has speed as he stole 14 bags last season and his help there overcomes any average hit.  Speaking of the average, while Odor's 4.2 BB/9 is horrible, his 18.3 K/9 is an improvement from the 21.4 he had in 2016.  If Odor keeps the K's down as he has so far, again the average will shoot upwards.

When breaking it all down, Rougned Odor is a terrific buy low candidate who you all should be trying to get a hold of now.  The numbers will eventually get where they should and can even go over expectations given the age and upside he still has.  This one is easy.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER WRAPUP: SATURDAY

CLOSER WATCH: Bud Norris just might work as Angels closer. always had K stuff.

CLOSER WATCH: Matt Bush with the W with scoreless 9th in non-save and 2.70 ERA. full steam ahead here with Bush

CLOSER WATCH: Seung-Hwan Oh scoreless 9th for 4th save. Oh looks past his early issues and so heat turned down

CLOSER WATCH: 2nd blown save by Jim Johnson w/ 2 ER in .2 IP with 3.52 ERA. Arodys has 2.00 ERA (just saying)

CLOSER WATCH: Alex Colome scoreless 9th for 4th save with 0.00 ERA. Colome has more than proved top level status.

CLOSER WATCH: K-Rod 1 ER in 9th for 6th S with ERA of 5.87. He has been as ghastly as anticipated. heat growing


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Anthony Rizzo:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .299.  30 home runs and 100 RBI are about as safe a "put down in ink" projection as you can get on any player in fantasy baseball here.

Wilson Contreras:  3/4 with his second HR while hitting .275.  Catcher is downright pathetic this season and that is saying a lot.  Conteras is like the oasis in the desert that is this hideous offensive group.

Jason Heyward:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .300.  Maybe those tweaks to Heyward's spring did unlock something.

Joey Votto:  3/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .239.  No Votto is not swinging for the fences at the expense of his average.  That will never happen with this hitting machine.

Eugenio Suarez:  3/5 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .367.  Suarez is better then he is being given credit for as no one talks about him.  This is a guy who can go 20/15 but the wild card is the average.  If Suarez were to get to .280 he would be a top 12 guy.

Jake Arrieta:  6 IP 8 H 4 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.65.  Arrieta is not flat out dominating like he did in 2015 and the first half of 2016 but he is generating a high amount of strikeouts again after the second half dip last season.  I personally think Arrieta is going to get worse as the season goes on given the usage on his arm and so come July I would be selling.

Francisco Rodriguez:  1 ER in 1 IP with ERA of 5.87 for sixth save.  Rodriguez has been as bad as I thought he would be and this one was obvious given the lack of velocity and age.  The heat is rising on this situation so grab Justin Wilson quick.

Nick Castellanos:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .254.  Yeah Castellanos is still boring and is still squarely in the AL-only territory in terms of being an every day starter.

Justin Upton:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .273.  Upton is now like Evan Longoria in terms of going from a guy everyone wanted who would be picked in the first two rounds to now a boring veteran who you yawn when you draft him.

Robinson Cano:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .257.  When you blink Cano will be hitting .300 with a boatload of HR and RBI.

Ryon Healy;  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .266.  Healy is holding down the fort for Adrian Beltre owners out there and doing a fine job.  In fact Kyle Seager owners are jealous.

Starlin Castro:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .364.  Castro is silly hot right now and he tends to do this in April-May.  His value has become quite good over the years after losing speed and that makes what he is doing now so much more potent.

Chris Carter:  1/1 with his first HR while hitting .179.  He has zero fantasy baseball value given his lack of playing time but nice to see a good guy like Carter get rewarded when the Yankee fan community wanted him cut.

Aaron Judge:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .281.  And to think we all were drooling over Greg (.111 average) Bird this spring.  Wow is Judge killing it.....literally.

Andrew McCutchen:  1/2 with his third HR while hitting .262.  Considering how bad McCutchen has been in April's past, this is like MVP work by his low standards in that month.

Jacob DeGrom:  5.2 IP 8 H 3 ER 6 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.55.  Call this the Carlos Martinez special with the K's and walks.  The rain was falling and DeGrom was battling a sore neck so he fought his mechanics.  The strikeouts have been insane here though so no overall worries.

Gio Gonzalez:  6.1 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.35.  If Gonzalez only faced the Mets, he would gave a 0.00 ERA all season.  Be that as it may, he has been very good so far for a guy who is always inconsistent with his numbers.

Evan Gattis:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .294.  It took longer than expected for the first home run but Gattis has hit well but only has played in about 2/3 of the team's games.  While you would like to see Gattis play more, he is doing the job when in there.

Brandon Phillips:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .333.  Phillips is still shocking running and everything else looks smooth for a guy who refused to get old.

Jerad Eickhoff:  5 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.55 I told you all to stay patient here as Eickhoff has very good stuff that is highlighted by a four-pitch arsenal.  While he won't blow anyone away with high K rates, Eickhoff is set to be a top SP 4.

Jim Johnson:  second blown save with 2 ER in .2 IP with ERA of 3.52.  Given his age and some nasty recent seasons, Johnson is a prime candidate to lose his closing gig at any moment.  Arodys Vizcaino has a 2.00 ERA in front of him which needs mentioning as well.

Jackie Bradley Jr.:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .333.  Back from the DL, Bradley is hitting for power again like he did in his 2016 breakout.  As long as he keeps the K's in check, Bradley should firmly cement his OF 2 status this season.

Trey Mancini:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .286.  Almost everywhere you look in Mancini's minor league career, he is hitting at or above .300.  The guy can flat out hit but the power has been better then expected.  He should already be picked up.

Jonathan Schoop:  2/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .291.  I see some Bret Boone here.  Agreed?

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .222.  So May is almost here and that is when Encarnacion turns into the best home run hitter in fantasy baseball for 31 days.

Michael Brantley:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .310.  It is like Brantley has not missed a single beat as he is back to his .300 ways.  Better yet, he is hitting home runs and stealing bases.  If this keeps up, he goes right back to top-end OF 2 status.

Jose Ramirez:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .313.  Got to say I doubted the power from Ramirez last season (not the average) and so he is starting to move himself up towards the top guys at the position which as you know is a hallowed level.

Carlos Carrasco:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.65.  Of course Carrasco is doing this a year after I owned him.  Then he has a horrible spring training for the ages and then turns into the ace I always envisioned once the games began to count.  Pass the booze.

Aledmys Diaz:  1/1 with his 4th HR while hitting .250.  Diaz was a in a big slump which is why he was on the bench initially for this one.  Those who forgot to remove him from their lineups got a nice end game return.

Lance Lynn:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.70.  Bam!  One of my biggest pitching sleepers of the spring was this guy and after working off the rust, Lynn is right back to the guy who was in the Cy Young running prior to his Tommy John surgery.  What is crazy is that Lynn was virtually ignored in drafts which is ridiculous and a major miss by the majority of the fantasy baseball community.

Seung-Hwan Oh:  scoreless ninth for his fourth save with ERA of 6.23.  Oh looks to be past the early rut that caused concern to his fantasy baseball owners.

Jake Lamb:  1/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .290.  Lamb has big power no doubt and now 2017 is all about whether he can make gains with the average.  On that front things not looking good as Lamb's K/9 rate is UP to 30.4 and a .381 BABIP is not sustainable.  In other words, sell high on Lamb now.

Yasmani Tomas:  2/3 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .295.  Why didn't Tomas get any love in drafts?  I loved him and tried my best to get him in Experts but missed out.  This is a 30 home run bat who went in the late rounds.  With remaining upside also.

Kenta Maeda:  5 IP 9 H 6 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 8.05.  4 home runs given up and Maeda is a HUGE mess.  I have said many times before that many Japanese pitchers struggle their second year in the league for some strange reason.  Nothing Maeda is doing is working right now and he has to be sat down for the time being.  Still Maeda's 9.00 K/9 and 2.37 BB/9 are right in line with what he did as a rookie and only the home runs are the changed factor.  Once Maeda gets that under control, he should be good to go.

Charlie Blackmon:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .254.  Same theme since start of season:  love the power but not the slipping average and lack of steals.

Trevor Story:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .148.  Story is now Joey Gallo.

Antonio Senzatela:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.08.  Guess we need to dig in more on this one.  Status Report on the way.

Bud Norris:  scoreless ninth for first save with ERA of 3.72.  With the Los Angeles Angels now down THREE of their closer relievers, they are down to Norris who go the job done Saturday night.  In situations like this though, a manager will go with who can simply get the save and Norris did that.  That means he is the guy to own for now.  While Norris was a failed starter, he has a big fastball that could work in short spans like the ninth inning.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BLUE JAYS PLACE SS TROY TULOWITZKI ON DL WITH HAMSTRING STRAIN

The Toronto Blue Jays placed shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the 10-day DL Saturday with a right hamstring strain.  Tulowitzki is getting his annual visit to the DL out of the way early as his career is filled with physical issues but his overall fantasy baseball stock has slipped drastically the last few years anyways.  Hitting .263 with 1 home run before going on the DL, Tulo's loss is not tremendous in fantasy baseball terms as he is an aging slugger who is leaking numbers.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: GEORGE SPRINGER EXITS WITH HAMSTRING SORENESS

Houston Astros outfielder George Springer exited the team's Saturday night game versus the Tampa Bay Rays with left hamstring soreness.  Springer is currently in the team's locker room getting the hamstring examined and an update will be given after the game.  Of course hamstrings can go either way in terms of whether or not Springer will go on the DL but we just saw Yoenis Cespedes of the New York Mets avoided it just a few days ago.  

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: CAM BEDROSIAN HITS DL WITH GROIN STRAIN

Another day and another batch of closer chaos as the Los Angeles Angels have placed Cam Bedrosian on the 10-day DL with a right groin strain.  Bedrosian had been one of the rare closers who had not been an issue to this point either with performance or health but that now changes as he joins Andrew Bailey and Huston Street on the DL for the Angels.  With all three guys sidelines, Yusmeiro Petit could be the saves add as he currently has a 1,80 ERA and 11 K in 10 IP which is the kind of K rate you want in the ninth inning.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: DL A REMINDER OF MIGUEL CABRERA'S AGE

No one can escape age no matter how previously durable that player may be.  We got another reminder of this Saturday when the Detroit Tigers placed first baseman Miguel Cabrera on the 10-day DL with a groin strain.  The groin followed ongoing back problems that plagued Cabrera in spring training and throughout the first few weeks of the regular season.  Now at the age of 34, Cabrera and his big body type are not aging well like we have seen from similar cases such as Carlos Lee, Ryan Howard, and Prince Fielder.  Cabrera belongs in that group as he has always played with a husky body and those bodies tend to break down earlier in a career and lead to batting erosion.  Even before the injury, Cabrera was not hitting well and now we have him out for 10 days and maybe longer given the history of groin injuries lingering.  I said in the spring that Cabrera was worth drafting in the late first round/early second for one more year but maybe I was off by a year.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: GIANTS CONCERNED MADISON BUMGARNER WILL BE OUT LONGER THEN 2 MONTHS

Going in the "it keeps getting worse" bin, the San Francisco Giants are worried that ace Madison Bumgarner will be out LONGER then the 6-8 weeks reported on FridaY.  Bumgarner suffered a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident that had him placed on the DL for the first time in his career Friday and the team is trying to get a firm read on how serious the damage is in the joint.  Either way it will be quite awhile before we see Bumgarner again and so his loss is as big as it gets in 2017 fantasy baseball.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER WRAPUP

CLOSER WATCH: Tony Watson scoreless 9th for 5th S with ERA of 1.29. Admit I am surprised Watson doing so well.

CLOSER WATCH: Wade Davis scoreless 9th for 4th S with 0.00 ERA. Flawless. was scared of the elbow but Davis looks great

CLOSER WATCH: Giles remains an adventure any time he goes in non-save chance which ruins his ratios

CLOSER WATCH: Ken Giles scoreless 9th for 4th S with ERA of 5.63. Again Giles gets it done with save on line

CLOSER WATCH: Brandon Kintzler scoreless 9th with ERA of 0.00 biggest closing surprise so far. can it last?

CLOSER WATCH: Brad Brach scoreless 9th for 3rd save with 0.00. On other team Brach top 10 closer.

CLOSER WATCH: Greg Holland scoreless 9th for 9th save with 2.00 ERA nice comeback from 1st blown S. Holland been fabulous.

CLOSER WATCH: 1st BS for Cam Bedrosian with 1 H in .2 scoreless. clearly not a shelling and 0.00 remains

CLOSER WATCH: Casilla has matchup advantage over Sean Doolittle given plethora of righty batters. doing the job.

CLOSER WATCH: clean 9th for Santiago Castilla for 3rd save with ERA of 3.38. Casilla pretty much the guy.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Trevor Plouffe:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .222.  This guy doesn't ever go away.  Plouffe goes on these mini-power runs a few times a year but he remains an extremely limited player whose value is even more shallow when you consider how potent third base has become.

Sean Manaea:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.43.  Manaea's velocity is up this year and his swinging strike rate looks nice as well.  Those are usually good signs moving forward and so Maneea is a good buy low target who won't cost much.

Mike Trout:  2/6 with his 4th HR while hitting .333.  One of these days I am going to trade my whole team for Mike Trout just so I can experience what it is like to own him.

Jose Bautista:  2/6 with his first HR while hitting .131.  Bautista became 70 years old almost overnight.  He has been firmly on my DO NOT DRAFT lists since 2014 as he transitioned into the prevalent power hitting specialist with the awful average and he is not even doing the homer thing well now.

Brandon Belt:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .238.  Yawn.  The big first has already devolved into the average dipping badly.  It is never going to happen here.

Trevor Story:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .143.  So now we have some in Twitter telling me "see Story is going to be just fine."  Ummm no,  The power is not the problem here as Story can fall into 25 bombs.  It is the disgusting average being destroyed by his BABIP regression and horrendous K/9 rate.  You can try a buy low but do you want a .255 hitting middle infielder with average speed?  All of a sudden Story doesn't look so great under that heading.

Charlie Blackmon:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .239.  Yeah you love the power but Blackmon's average is still lagging and the steals are not there.  Not worried about the former but about the latter.

Johnny Cueto:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 5.25.  It has all gone wrong so far for Cueto who control has been bad (3.00 BB/9) which is very uncharacteristic and his K/9 is down as well.  A guy with a slim frame like Cueto makes you pause an extra second when he begins a season struggling like this as their stuff tends to ebb quicker than a more solidly built hurler but he is still just 31 so a buy low is in fact warranted here.

Manny Machado:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .200.  Machado is that rare fantasy baseball star you have no shot of buying low on and he is showing signs of busting out literally from his ugly start.  No reason to worry.

Dylan Bundy:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.37.  So yeah we are seeing (about four years later then originally intended) what all the fuss was about with Bundy.  Like with Zach Wheeler, the comeback from Tommy John was not smooth and that more than anything derailed Bundy's stock.  There are some red flags though, with the biggest being Bundy's pretty piss poor 6.84 K/9 rate.  Striking out so few batters is a recipe of disaster in the AL East and Bundy's dip there is a victim of the TJ surgery as he as once a double-digit guy there in the minors.  On the plus side though, Bundy's control is flawless (literally no walks) and he is keeping the ball in the park which is just a s crucial as a high K/9.  In other words, two of three things are on the good side which means Bundy can be a hold if you want.

Corey Kluber:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.28.  Told you Kluber would be just fine.  Remember I told you to buy low after his last start.  I can't do it for you.  April struggle period now through.  Domination now here.

Hector Santiago:  6.1 IP 7 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.19.  Again why are you surprised?  Santiago's best month is April and then May.....then he sucks.

Justin Verlander:  5 IP 3 H 4 H 6 BB 4 K with an ERA of 6.04.  Second straight dud from Verlander who yours truly screamed to the rafters telling you would be a 2017 BUST.  I have hit on almost everything so far so again follow me and you win.

Carlos Beltran:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .274.  Feel free now to get Beltran back into your lineups.

Corey Dickerson:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .317.  The Tampa Bay Rays are the AL version of the Milwaukee Brewers with a slew of low-priced impact fantasy baseball bats.  This is a guy you should have been on from the beginning.

Logan Morrison:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .273.  I hate writing about guys like Morrison who will always go back to their "mean" numbers no matter the start.  That means Morrison will hit .250 with some home runs.  Do you really think he has changed?

Evan Longoria:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .235.  A buy low here won't cost much and is a good idea considering the power.  Amazing we are talking about the same guy who was once a first round pick just a few years ago.

Adam Duvall:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .242.  It took about three weeks but Duvall is where he should be in terms of the ugly average and very good power.  Ideally Duvall is best used as a bench bat you plug in when you need a power boost because over the long haul he will hurt with the average as much as the homers will help you.

Anthony Rizzo:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .286.  Rizzo is running a bit again and so with the power now coming around, things are just peachy.

Javier Baez:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .233,  Blech. Baez is playing all over which is nice for his versatility but his average stinks again and it is beyond annoying having to check if he is in there every day.  I wanted no part of this headache.

Jon Lester:  5 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 2.66.  Look on by.

Josh Bell:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .213.  So Bell was known for average and not power but now he is hitting for power and with zero average.  Welcome to fantasy baseball.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  3/4 with 2 steals (6 for season) while hitting .333.  Got to give credit where credit is due here.  Ellsbury has been terrific and maybe being moved from the leadoff spot has taken some pressure off.  Either way he is doing his job as a base stealer and putting for a nice average.  Will it last?

Joey Gallo:  2/3 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .213.  Yes again his only two hits of the game.  Gallow might have 40 hits all season.

Cole Hamels:  8 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 B 3 K with an ERA of 2.77.  Before the games last night I was telling people to buy low on Corey Kluber and Cole Hamels.  So much for that idea.

Marcell Ozuna:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .333.  Shame on me for not being more aggressive on this 2017 value play power hitter.

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .267.  So low is the bar that Stanton's owners are absolutely giddy over his average.

Austin Hedges:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .173.  Hedges is hot with the power bat at least but we need to now see if he can be more than J.P. Arencibia.

Trevor Cahill:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.44.  Cahill is a streamer at home like most Padres hurlers.