FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

LIKE THE FANTASY SPORTS BOSS ON FACEBOOOK

Saturday, May 31, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: EARLY SATURDAY EDITION

Anthony Rendon:  4/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .268.  Rendon has been doing a nice job in this his first full season in the majors.  The power leveled off after a big April which is not much of a shock since Rendon is not a 20 home run guy yet.  However he is capable of more in batting average and with dual eligibility, is worth chasing since his stock price is not very high.

Adam LaRoche:  2/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .321.  I thought LaRoche was supposed to struggle in the first half.  Some nice BABIP is helping the average and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out LaRoche didn't all of a sudden figure out how to contend for a batting title.  The average will slip quite a bit going forward but LaRoche once again will be in the running for the cheapest 25 home runs in the game.

Doug Fister:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.34.  Had given serious thought to picking Fister back in the winter as our darkhorse Cy Young pick but chickened out.  Either way Fister has been everything I expected with the low WHIP, boosted K rate, and nice ERA in moving from the AL to the NL.

Marcus Stroman:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 7.30.  There we go.  Was incredibly stupid of the Blue Jays to put Stroman in the bullpen his first call-up.  Good to see that terrible stint didn't mess with his confidence.  Stroman has nice power potential and should be picked up in all formats.  Everyone should now be back full on this bandwagon.

Yagervis Solarte:  3/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .299.  Just when it started to look like Solarte's shockingly good run was about to be over, he comes back in the last three days with some red hot hitting and a home run.  No point in continuing to doubt the kid now two full months into the season.  Fatigue in September is possible but Solarte is still an everyday play.

Masahiro Tanaka:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.06.  Tanaka also has a 0.96 WHIP as he is giving himself a very good chance to win the AL Cy Young and the rookie of the year award.  I think we can retire the "can they handle the bigger baseball and workload" question marks for awhile when talking about arriving Japanese starting pitchers.  Even Tanaka's mom didn't think he would be this good.

Tyson Ross:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.85.  Nice work considering Ross has been shaky on the road.  Overall Ross has made good on making out sleeper lists coming into the season.  The K rate is terrific and overall Ross reminds me somewhat of Jeff Samardzjia the 2012 version.  There is a bright future here.

Oscar Taveras:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .333.  There you go.  Of course Taveras homered in his first game.  This guy is as can't miss as they get and should instantly be an outfielder 2 bat.  My grade on Taveras is as high as it was on Mike Trout minus the steals which is saying something.

Michael Wacha:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.45.  The Cards are limiting Wacha's innings somewhat as he was primed to go at least eight the way he was rocking.  Still Wacha should hold a class with Tony Cingrani, Zack Wheeler, and Gerritt Cole about how to pitch in the major leagues effectively as a sophomore.

Charlie Blackmon:  2/4 with his 10th HR and 10th SB while hitting .317.  The average has come down from the .340 which was a given but the power/speed game is still working in high order.  HAs already looked down a spot on the all-value team for 2014.

Chris Dickerson:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .346.  Chris Dickerson is drawing envy from Carlos Gonzalez which is all you need to know about how poor the latter has been.

Trevor Bauer:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.63.  As always you look at the walks first and everything else next with Bauer and today is what you get when he keeps the free passes to a minimum.  The comparisons to an early Clayton Kershaw are uncanny as the Los Angeles Dodgers' ace had some pretty shoddy control himself when he first arrived which few remember.  Only a matter of time before Bauer reaches ace level. 

Cody Allen:  scoreless ninth for his third save with an ERA of 3.09.  Maybe now Allen can finally hold down the closer job that should have been his at the start of 2013.  Bryan Shaw we hardly knew you.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS 1B MARK TEIXEIRA SUFFERS SETBACK WITH WRIST, COULD HIT DL

                                                      

New York Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira suffered a slight setback with his surgically repaired wrist Saturday which forced him out of the team's win over the Minnesota Twins.  Teixeira had just returned to the lineup on Friday after missing four games with soreness in the wrist.  He will now sit out Sunday and Monday in an attempt to see if the pain lessens.  If not Teixeira will be placed on the DL.

Analysis:  It never stops with this guy.  Teixeira is a mess right now and has to be nailed to the bench in all formats.  He may never be the same physically and Teixeira has already declined with his hitting despite still being relatively young.  I would still hold if you could since Tex's power is still valuable but overall I wouldn't blame anyone for throwing in the towel.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MICHAEL PINEDA SHUT DOWN AGAIN WITH BACK PAIN

                                                          

New York Yankees rehabbing SP Michael Pineda has been shut down by the team after he reported pain in his back.  Pineda was diagnosed with back inflammation which canceled his rehab outing on Saturday.  The setback likely will keep Pineda out of the Yankees' plans until July.

Analysis:  Pineda is beyond frustrating at this point.  All the good vibes from his 1.83 ERA before he got hurt have all but been eliminated at this point and really he is close to being cut in all leagues. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: OSCAR TAVERAS OUTFIELDER ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

                                                         

The moment is finally at hand.  After seemingly hyping up St. Louis Cardinals top outfield prospect Oscar Taveras since 2012, a calf injury that placed 1B Matt Adams on the DL Friday opened up the door for the team to make the long-awaited promotion for Saturday's game.  After battling a frustrating lower body injuries for the last season-plus, Taveras is finally healthy and tearing up opposing pitching like he always has done since becoming Cardinals property.  So with all that said let's once again take a closer look at the kid more than a few compare to Vladimir Guerrero.

What made Vladimir Guerrero so great and such a stud fantasy baseball outfielder for many years was his uncanny ability to hit .320 while also slamming 30-40 home runs.  Very rare is it in today's game especially that you can find a guy who can slug home runs the way Guerrero did while also hitting well over .300.  That combination is fantasy baseball gold and historically has resulted in first to second round grades.  While Taveras has some ways to go before he reaches that lofty level, the ability is certainly there for him to hit the ground running as a dual power/average asset.  Leading into his promotion, Taveras was hitting .325 with 7 home runs and 40 RBI which is exactly the type of monster production we loved so much out of Guerrero so the comparison sticks.  In addition, Taveras possesses a terrific batting eye that results in a very low K rate which again helps boost the average.  Taveras' K rate this season was only 12 percent at Triple-A despite only a 6 percent walk rate.  While Taveras is not patient by any means, he is not a hacker at all which ensures he should hit .300 with little effort.  One thing Taveras doesn't have much of however is speed as his career-high in steals in the minors is only 10 so don't expect much more than single-digit tallies there.

Overall the only thing preventing Taveras from stardom is health as he has dealt with ankle and leg injuries the last couple of season which stunted his growth a bit.  In fact Taveras would have already been up with the Cardinals going back to last season if he had stayed in one piece.  The Cardinals have not stated any plans beyond Adams' DL stint when concerning Taveras but there is no reason for him to do anything but stay in the majors.  If you already own Taveras and have waited for this moment, you are about to get a nice payoff on your investment. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKNG NEWS: MICHAEL CUDDYER STARTING AT THIRD BASE SATURDAY

                                                        

The Colorado Rockies will start outfielder/1B Michael Cuddyer at third base Saturday as they continue to look for ways to replace the injured Nolan Arenado.  The Rockies would only say that this is a trial start for Cuddyer who has a history in the minors of playing third base.

Analysis:  Wow.  Cuddyer just potentially got even more valuable as he already carries first base and outfield eligibility.  The guy has done nothing but hit since joining he Rockies, with a batting title already under his belt.  Now we have to see if Cuddyer is such a butcher at third base that he fails to get the starts necessary to gain eligibility.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: CARDS RECALL OUTFIELDER OSCAR TAVERAS FROM TRIPLE-A SATURDAY

                                                         

The St. Louis Cardinals have officially recalled top hitting outfield prospect Oscar Taveras Saturday and will play him in that day's game.  Taveras will play in the outfield on a daily basis as he takes the roster spot of injured 1B Matt Adams.  He was hitting .325 with 7 home runs and 40 RBI before the recall.

Analysis:  Here we go.  This is the moment we have waited for since Taveras first began smashing baseballs all over the place in 2012.  Now is the perfect time to remind you to stay patient with this if Taveras gets off to a slow start.  Keep in mind how George Springer struggled mightily at first which led to many cutting ties with him stupidly and than being forced to watch the Astros outfielder hit a home run in almost every game the last two weeks.  The sky is the limit here.  It should be fun.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY WRAPUP: BAD DAY TO BE NAMED MATT, OSCAR TAVERAS TO PROMOTED

                                                     

As always injuries continue to throw fantasy baseball players' rosters into a constant state of flux.  A few big games hit the DL Friday, to go along with other injury updates worth talking about.

-The St. Louis Cardinals placed 1B Matt Adams on the DL Friday with a calf strain.  The move was backdated to May 29th as Adams has not played since Tuesday.  That means the Cardinals will finally call up top hitting prospect Oscar Taveras to take Adams' place on the roster, with Allen Craig moving to first base.  Adams was hitting a very good .303 but he was coming up well short of expectations in the power department with only 3 home runs and 17 RBI.  With power being the part of Adams's game that was supposed to be his biggest contributions to his fantasy baseball owners, the fact he hit only those 3 home runs was a letdown for sure.  On the flip side Adams' propensity for striking out was supposed to depress his batting average to the .260-.270 range so the .303 is a plus no doubt.  Be that as it may, Adams' absence will finally give us the Taveras look we have all been waiting for.  I will discuss Taveras in more detail later on so check back for that.

-The other Matt to fall victim to the DL Friday was San Francisco Giants SP Matt Cain who had been dealing with a hamstring injury that didn't improve enough in the short-term to keep him on the active roster.  Despite Cain throwing a BP session and be able to run this past Wednesday, he admitted that the hamstring was still not 100 percent which necessitated the DL stint.  Despite once again having major problems with the home run ball for the season second in a row, Cain pitched to a solid 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with 39 K's in 46.2 innings.  The ratios are looking much better than they did in April but still Cain is now quite a bit from his past ace stats due to some lost velocity.  While Cain's loss of velocity has not completely ruined him yet like it has for C.C. Sabbathia and maybe now Justin Verlander, opposing hitters are catching up to his stuff like never before which means the hard contact that results in home runs.  Cain still has potent offspeed stuff though which is keeping him as at least an SP 2.  He should be back off the DL when first eligible in less than 2 weeks.

-It is looking more and more like New York Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran will avoid surgery on the bone spur in his elbow.  Beltran was able to take swings in the cage Friday and reported no pain afterwards which is huge.  If Beltran had needed surgery, he could have been out 8-12 weeks. 

On a related front, Mark Teixeira returned to the lineup Friday after missing four days with inflammation in his surgically repaired wrist.  As we said all along no DL stint was needed but this is fluid situation that will need constant monitoring as a flareup could happen at a moment's notice.  The power has returned to Tex's game however so he still works as a solid UTIL or CI bat.

There you have it.  As always let us know what you think.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: KHRIS DAVIS OUTFIELDER MILWAUKEE BREWERS

                                                             Khris Davis

While not as famous as his Baltimore Oriole slugging counterpart who bears the same name (albeit with a slightly different spelling), Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Khris Davis is no doubt getting quite a bit of attention in fantasy baseball communities lately.  After hitting a three-run home run Wednesday which marked the third straight game Milwaukee's version of Davis went yard, few could argue that at least for the time being he is one of the more hotter players in the game.  For the season Davis entered into Friday's action with a collective 9 home runs and 21 RBI to go along with a bit of an ugly .251 batting average.  Be that as it may, Davis is once again back in the good graces of his fantasy baseball owners after a rough April had everyone doubting his true ability to stick as an everyday major league outfielder. 

Of course it was Davis' surprising power run the second half of 2013 that generated so much attention and excitement in the first place.  No one's idea of a top prospect by any means, Davis came up to the Brewers during the summer and immediately starting hitting home runs out of the ballpark with decent regularity.  Overall Davis wound finish his short 136 at-bat stint with the team at 11 home runs and 27 RBI to go along with a .279 and even three steals.  The power was not totally surprising as Davis has done a decent job there while out on the farm but the average was high compared to the .255 Davis hit at Triple-A before his promotion.  With many fantasy baseball players doing the extrapolating game in saying would have his 20-plus home runs if he had a full season in 2013, expectations rose as Davis entered into the 2014 sleeper realm.  Unfortunately it started to look like the second half of 2013 was a fluke as Davis struggled mightily in April by hitting only ..245 with three home runs while striking out a ton.  Davis got going once the weather began to warm in May however with his six home runs for the month and his average rising to a still shaky .268.  Put it all together and Davis currently is on the border of outfielder 3 status.

In looking at the numbers from an advanced perspective, the .251 he currently is hitting is legit as it goes with a neutral .294 BABIP.  Also with Davis striking out in 25.1 percent of his at-bats which is a very high number, expecting anything better than .260 is not realistic given the holes in his swing.  Thus what we have now is a decent power hitter who offsets some of the home runs with an ugly batting average.  Not the best recipe for success.

When you put things all together, Khris Davis is a guy you really want to use on your bench if you can.  As far as power is concerned, Davis would be a nice source of home runs for your bench when you need to plug him in for injuries or on a light schedule day.  Anything more and the returns will be coming back somewhat negative.

 

Friday, May 30, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: CARLOS GONZALEZ (FINGER) BACK IN LINEUP FRIDAY

                                                        

Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is back in the lineup on Friday after missing a game with inflammation in his left index finger.  Before the finger issue flared up, Gonzalez was also limited by a right calf contusion.

Analysis:  Gonzalez has been a big disappointment so far and once again is dealing with constant injuries.  How this guy can't keep his fingers of all things healthy is a mystery with no answer.  Hitting only .262 on the season, Gonzalez has been far from the power/speed dynamo he was expected to be in 2014. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: GIANTS' BUSTER POSEY OUT AGAIN ON FRIDAY

                                                       

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is out of the lineup again on Friday due to continued nerve irritation in his back.  Posey has now missed three games with the ailment but again no DL stint has been discussed.

Analysis:  This is getting a tad annoying with Posey who is in that dreaded day-to-day situation.  Saturday is now the new target date for a possible return but again check back tomorrow for an update.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: NATS 3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN (THUMB) HEADING FOR REHAB ASSIGNMENT FRIDAY

                                                         

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman will begin a rehab assignment Friday as he finally is getting close to returning to the team after missing a month with a thumb injury.  The current plan is for Zimmerman to play in the minors through the weekend and than return to the team early next week.

Analysis:  Finally.  Zimmerman will return at third base despite discussion he would work in the outfield on his rehab assignment.  While Zimmerman can always hit for a solid average and good pop, his inability to stay on the field for a whole season is becoming a major negative in his overall profile.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: JASON GRILLI STILL NO SURE THING

When Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli came off the DL a week ago, some were unsure whether or not he would get his ninth inning gig back from Mark Melancon who is much younger and who has pitched as well as any reliever in the game the last season-plus.  However Grilli did in fact receiver a save chance fresh off the DL which he converted......but than Melancon was out there to get the next two.  What gives?  It appears as though manager Clint Hurdle didn't like the way Grilli looked during that first save chance and that the inference was Melancon would continue to close in the meantime.  This is something that obviously has to be watched because Hurdle clearly is not comfortable having Grilli pitch in such a high-stress spot at this point given whatever he saw.  I noted when the aging Grilli hit the DL originally that Melancon had a chance to steal the job outright given his youth and terrific results and it could very well happen now given what we are seeing.  Melancon needs to be held in all formats even if Grilli does go back to then ninth because I have serious doubts about his long-term health and viability there. 

UPDATE:  Grilli was given the full vote of confidence from Hurdle after saving Thursday's game with no damage but again wait a week or so before unloading Melancon in order to see if his counterpart can hold up physically again. 

*******THE REST OF THIS FEATURE IS FOR INSIDER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB AT THE TOP OF THE HOMEAGE TO GET ACCESS TO ANN THE INSIDER FEATURES THE REST OF THE SEASON FOR ONLY 24.99.*******

 

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: EDWIN ENCARNACION 1B TORONTO BLUE JAYS

                                                          Edwin EncarnaciĆ³n

By the time you read this Edwin Encarnacion probably hit another home run.  And then maybe another one.  With 16 home runs in May and counting, Encarnacion is certainly giving new meaning to what a difference a month makes.  After all it was only last month when my inbox was flooded with "what is wrong with Edwin?" queries, not to mention quite a few hate mails from others regarding my strong conviction that the Toronto slugger was valued as a first round guy.  Despite the ugly April, I continually advised patience as Encarnacion was a guy who is squarely in his hitting prime and thus would eventually pull out of the funk and unleash his complete potential.  One mistake many fantasy baseball players make is to jump to conclusions to quickly when veteran prime-age players struggle, looking to sell low or maybe even cut the guy outright.  Guys who are between the age of 26 and 34 like Encarnacion is will almost always find themselves and get back to their standard numbers unless injuries are impacting things.  This is exactly what happened with Encarnacion once May arrived as he began what has been a beyond eye-opening run of power hitting.  Just to put things in perspective, Encarnacion finished April with a .260 average and 2 home runs with 15 RBI.  The biggest issue which I spoke of back then was the fact Encarnacion was striking out at a 25 percent clip which was an outlier number for him given his career track.  Clearly uncomfortable at the time with his swing, the career numbers didn't lie which meant Encarnacion would eventually right the ship which we all know he did.  The result was a truly ridiculous May where Encarnacion goes into Friday's games with a .284 average and 16 home runs with 33 RBI.  In a word "Wow!" 

In looking deeper at the numbers, let's go back to the K rate which as I said earlier was at 25 percent by the end of April.  The K rate mark as of this writing?  How about 16.5 percent which is right in line with his career marks.  Sometimes it is simply that easy.  So going forward the rest of the way, Encarnacion is right here he should be across the board.  Never a .300 guy, Encarnacion was more of a .280 hitter who can reach 25-40 home runs which is a number he is actually on pace to surpass.  Thus Encarnacion is putting up first round numbers like I said he would.  Never lose the faith friends.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Josh Willingham:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .276.  If you are playing in an AL-only league and are in need of some power, Willingham is finally healthy.  For another five days or so.

Rick Porcello:  5.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 6 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.82.  For a guy known for his control, I don't know what the heck was going on here.  The last two starts by Porcello have been horrific and again if he is not putting up zeroes, he has next to not value since he doesn't strike guys out.

Aaron Hill:  3/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .259.  Trying to predict what Hill will do is like picking lotto numbers.  Your chances are better for getting hit by lightning.  The power bat is coming around over the last 10 days which is a perfect time to get him back in there if you remain hurting at second base which overall has been a terrible producing position this season.

Josh Collmenter:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.34.  Collmenter has had his moments in the past so this is not total a shock that he is pitching well (although obviously not at this level).   In NL-only leagues Collmenter should have already been added and in standards streaming or picking your spots is the preferred method.  Same story as always with guys who don't collect strikeouts like Collmenter.  Prone to a major blowup but worth using against certain teams.

Pedro Alvarez:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .221.  Alvarez has been in the majors long enough now to where this is pretty much who he is.  Excellent home run hitter who can't hit .240.  Your kind of guy maybe but not mine.

Dee Gordon:  1/4 with 2 steals (32 for season) while hitting .288.  The average has been on a steady fall since the end of April which is no shock since Gordon didn't automatically go from a .250 guy to a .320 guy.  Still Gordon is one of those rare players whose excellence in one stat (steals) make him a guy you have to use on a daily basis no matter how poor the average gets. 

Gerrit Cole:  6.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.80.  Truth be told Cole has not lived up to anyone's expectations.  The K rate has lagged and the control has been shaky.  I said in the winter that Cole reminded me of a young Justin Verlander but instead he is now reminding me of today's Justin Verlander.  Which of course is not a good thing.

Jason Grilli:  scoreless ninth for his sixth save with a 3.27 ERA.  Clint Hurdle said that Grilli is back as his everyday closer.  Still I would hold Melancon for another week or so just to be sure he can hold up.

Kyle Seager:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .247.  Seager is capable of being a .270 hitter but a few prolonged ruts have stunted his overall line.  He has been sent to the wire more than he is being used right now which speaks to the disappointment level here.

Eric Aybar:  3/5 with his 4th HR and 4th SB while hitting .274.  Aybar is once again doing his thing as one of the more boring but slightly underrated shortstops in the game.  Aybar also can help you in the sense that if you are wired and can't fall asleep at night, just log onto your team and stare at his name for a few minutes.  That will do the trick.

Pablo Sandoval:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .247.  Geez at this rate Sandoval is going to hit 25 home runs since the first time he started putting the fear into all-you-can-eat buffets in the San Francisco area a few years ago.

Mike Morse:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .290.  I will make a bet with you.  If Morse hits 25 home runs this season, he will still be drafted as at best an outfielder 3 next season.

Allen Craig:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .255.  So in April I told you all to buy low on Craig and Edwin Encarnacion.  How did that turn out?

Jaime Garcia:  7 IP 5 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.12.  Garcia now has a 19/0 K/BB ratio since getting off the DL.  Yup use him. 

George Springer:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .268.  I am now fully convinced that George Springer will hit a home run every game for the rest of the season.  You know bro?  How about every other day a home run and every other day a stolen base? 

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/4 with 2 home runs (16 for season) while hitting .268.  Does the pitching fraternity facing Encarnacion understand how an intentional walk works?  Holy crap Encarnacion now is up to 16 home runs in May with two days to go.  Yeah so when I told you all to buy low on him in April despite Encarnacion striking out at an Adam Dunn rate, I guess that was some good advice.  Remember guys flat in their prime will almost always come around which is a rule to always live by in fantasy baseball when such a guy is struggling early on.

 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS : YANKS 1B MARK TEIXEIRA (WRIST) WILL NOT GO ON THE DL

                                                     

New York Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira remains sidelined with soreness in his surgically repaired wrist but he is not expected to be placed on the DL.  Teixeira was officially diagnosed with inflammation in the wrist and could return as soon as Friday. 

Analysis:  Good news that Tex won't be going on the DL but the wrist is looking like it will be a constant issue which needs to be monitored.  The fact the Yankees are showing interest in free agent 1B Kendrys Morales is telling since they also could be worrying about their his availability.  The real shame is that Teixeira was hitting as well as he had in years but once again he is frustrating his fantasy baseball owners.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: PHILS SP CLIFF LEE (ELBOW) AGAIN NOT READY TO THROW

                                                       

Philadelphia Phillies ace SP Cliff Lee remains sidelined with soreness in his pitching elbow and has no return date yet as far as resuming his throwing.  He will now be reevaluated on Friday in order to get a better read on the injury.

Analysis:  Not good.  Like all aging players, increased risk of injury is something to always be wary of but Lee was still as good a starter as anyone in the game before this issue cropped up.  The longer this goes on, the higher the possibility that surgery could become an option. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: BUSTER POSEY STILL BOTHERED BY PINCHED NERVE IN BACK, OUT THURSDAY

                                                      

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey is out of the lineup again on Thursday as he continues to deal with soreness from a pinched nerve in his back.  Posey said he might be available to pinch hit and could return as soon as Friday.

Analysis:  That's two missed games in a row now for Posey but overall this is not something that will end up on the DL by any means.  Posey continues to hit very well on the season with increased power from 2013 but as with all catchers, nagging injuries are a concern. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ALBERT PUJOLS GIVEN DAY OFF THURSDAY

                                                    

Los Angeles Angels 1B Albert Pujols is being given a routine day off on Thursday as Mike Trout will slide into the number 3 spot in the order.  Pujols is slated to return on Friday.

Analysis:  Nothing to see here as Pujols is just getting a quick breather.  Get him ready to go back in there on Friday.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MATT CAIN (HAMSTRING) MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GO SAT.

                                                         

San Francisco Giants SP Matt Cain may not be ready to return on Saturday from the hamstring strain he suffered in his last start.  Despite Cain throwing a bullpen session on Wednesday and was able to throw with no issues, manager Bruce Bochy remained non-committal regarding his pitcher's status.

Analysis:  Cain has become a very frustrating player to own the last season-plus due to the fact his gopheritis has ruined more than a few starts.  There is extreme volatility in every Cain start as a result so his days as an ace are clearly finished.

 

2014 FANTASY SPORTS BOSS FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE QB RANKINGS PREVIEW

The 2014 Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Football Draft Guide is currently on sale for only $14.99 which you can purchase by using the BUY NOW tab below.  Guide will ship out the first week of June.  Here is a small preview of the QB rankings below.


QB

Draft Strategy:  For the third season in a row, the way to attack the first round of the draft is to look QB first and than everything else second.  Never before has the passing game been more potent and record-setting than it currently is and one only has to look at the video game numbers put up by Peyton Manning last season as evidence.  We don't have an official stat on this but we would venture that more than half of fantasy football champions in their respective leagues had Manning as their starting QB, so awesome was his level of production.  Gone are the days where taking a running back in the first round (and even picking a second back in Round 2) was the slam dunk way to go.  Instead taking Manning, Drew Brees, or Aaron Rodgers right at the top is the new recommended play in this era of passing dominance . With the ridiculous numbers these three and others have put up the last few seasons, starting your draft off with a top tier passer sets you up for immediate success, while also serving as a big time tool to overcome some of the shortcomings from the rest of your roster.  It is clearly time to forget old habits in Round 1 and embrace the points where they are the most plentiful which is from the guys who are under center.

1.  Peyton Manning:  Let's get the obvious out of the way which is that Manning or anyone else would be extremely hard-pressed to repeat his beyond belief 2013 production.  Tossing 55 touchdowns to go with a ridiculous 5,477 passing yards, Manning was beyond reproach when it came to any player at any position in all of fantasy baseball last season.  Thus Manning deserves to be the top pick in all drafts even if you slash 10 scores and 1,000 passing yards from his ledger.  Despite losing Eric Decker to free agency, Manning still has quite possibly the best trio of pass catchers in wideouts Demaryuis Thomas and Wes Welker to go along with tight end Julius Thomas.  Manning passed the all-important offseason checkup on his surgically repaired neck which eliminates the one possible stumbling block.  Cross your fingers and hope you get lucky enough to land the top pick.
PROJECTION:  4,981 yards 48 TD 12 INT

2.  Drew Brees:  At 35-years-old Brees is aging but is still seemingly at the top of his game as he comes off another superb 2013 season where he threw for 5,162 yards and 39 touchdowns.  Brees also was more careful with the football, slashing 7 interceptions from his bottom line total from the year prior.  With Sean Payton continuing to make the pass-happy calls, Brees remains one of the surest bets in all of fantasy football.  There is little to talk about here as Brees shows no signs of slippage and despite a smallish frame, he has been one of the more durable players in the game.
PROJECTION:  5,018 yards 40 TD 14 INT

3.  Aaron Rodgers: 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

David Wright:  2/3 with his 4th HR and 3rd SB while hitting .304.  Vintage right in this one with the Hit and Run Special.  It has been stated ad nauseum that Citi Field has destroyed Wright's value as a power hitter which is partly true.  While Wright's days of 30 home runs have been long time for some time now, 25 was always a possibility.  However Wright was so stone cold in the power department until just the last week that now 20 is the goal which no doubt is a bit disappointing.

Bartolo Colon:  7.1 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.73.  As always as long as Colon is pitching at home, is worth starting in all formats.  Call him a fatter version of Jason Vargas.

George Springer:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .269.  I already spoke at length earlier today about how Springer has now clearly found his comfort zone at the major league level with his amazing recent power surge.  Only thing to add after all that earlier writing is that Springer is a tad more awesome now than he was this morning.

Chris Carter:  2/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .200.  Again don't even waste your time here as Carter will screw you blue in the average department which takes the shine off the home runs. 

Ronald Belisario:  second blown save in a row with 1 ER in ninth with an ERA of 5.10.  That makes I four out of four with regards to Belisario giving up runs in every outing since becoming the closer.  There won't be a chance for a five-for-five.  Daniel Webb or Scott Downs you are up.  What a disgrace this whole bullpen is.

Wil Myers:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .228.  Nailed this bust pick cold.  Everything I spoke about in the winter about Myers' high K rate allowing opposing pitchers not to throw him anything down the middle of the plate has been borne out as Myers is on pace for 15 home runs.  Yup!

Wilson Ramos:  3/6 with his first HR while hitting .226.  Ramos should be picked up in all formats before the dam bursts on his numbers.  This is a guy capable of hitting above-average home runs at a weak hitting position, slow start be damned. 

Henderson Alvarez:  five scoreless innings before leaving with sore elbow.  Alvarez ahs a 2.97 ERA but a 1.34 WHIP which shows you how lucky his strand rate and BABIP have been which meant an automatic sell high.  However the elbow issues blows that idea out of the water.  Alvarez is young so Tommy John is always going to be in the discussion. 

Justin Morneau:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .312.  The power had dried up the last two weeks but Morneau is maintaining the average.  He should be at UTIL or CI in 90 percent of leagues but I also advise to HOLD him as you will not be able to get adequate returns if you did offer him in a deal given how far Morneau's name had fallen prior to this season.

Ryan Howard:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .240.  Howard's average compared to Chris Carter makes him look like Tony Gwynn.

Tim Lincecum:  five hitless innings before being removed with a blister.  Lincecum's ERA is now down to 4.18 but the WHIP is still horrific at 1.54 even after all those hitless innings.  Remains as volatile as they come so take your shot of Jack before watching any of his starts.

Nelson Cruz:  2/3 with 2 home runs (19 for season) while hitting .303.  Cruz is now on pace for 60 home runs.  Allow that number to set in your brains.

Khris Davis:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .251.  Told you last week to pick up Davis and he has hit three home runs since.  Just saying.

Shelby Miller:  7 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.94.  Whew!  Traded Miller at just the right time.  Sorry for those who didn't.  Clearly too much time has gone by now with Miller and his shoddy performances to automatically think he will turn it around.  Miller has looked nothing like the star he appeared to be last season which only Tony Cingrani can understand.

Brandon Phillips:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .275.  Phillips is going to finish the season with 5 steals and around 12 home runs with a .270 average.  And to think we used to fight each other to own the guy.

Yasiel Puig:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .344.  Upward and onward we go.  Where this ends up stats-wise nobody knows.  But it will be good. 

Homer Bailey:  7 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.04.  Better.  Only one start though.  Got to see more before we try Bailey again.  For like the 12640192 time. 

Clayton Kershaw:  7 IP 7 H 3 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.57.  Kershaw pitched a nice game but took the loss.  He got King Felix'd.

Josh Donaldson:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .277.  Donaldson's shot was the walk-off variety.  For his next trick he will walk on water.

Anibal Sanchez:  8.1 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.49.  See Kershaw, Clayton above.

Scott Kazmir:  9 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.36. The single biggest reason KAzmir has once again turned back into a near fantasy baseball ace is not the fastball coming back from Siberia.  It is the consistent bagels he has thrown in the BB column.

 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: CARL CRAWFORD DONE FOR AWHILE WITH ANKLE INJURY

                                                           Carl Crawford

Here we go again. Just when Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford began re-entering into the good graces of the fantasy baseball community due to a nice and productive start to the 2014 season, the bottom fell out in an ugly way Tuesday night when he suffered a sprained ankle that will have him placed on the DL sometime Wednesday.  Leading into the game Crawford was hitting a solid .267 with 4 home runs and 9 stolen bases which fit in nicely in the outfielder 3 realm.  Since signing his mega seven-year free agent contract, Crawford has been besieged with leg and foot injuries and so this is just par for the course when it comes to the Dodgers outfielder lately.  During that time Crawford has lost some of his speed and/or ability to steal bases which of course was his calling card going back to his days with Tampa Bay when he ran all day long.  The current version of Crawford was a much different player than from his heyday obviously but in fairness Crawford was running at a rate that he hasn't shown in a few seasons which spoke to his good health.  Unfortunately his health is always on an expiring contract and so Crawford will be out for at least 15 days as a reminder.  The fallout here is to decide whether or not it is worth stashing Crawford or not.  Close call there but the testing on the ankle didn't reveal any ligament damage which means Crawford could return relatively soon at or after the 15 days.  In that case he would be worth a stash but anything that changes from this point on changes the narrative. 

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: GEORGE SPRINGER OUTFIELDER HOUSTON ASTROS

                                                           George Springer

The talent always rises to the top.  That is the harsh lesson many initial and impatient owners of Houston Astros outfielder George Springer learned this season.  After Springer failed to hit like the top outfielder prospect in the game who nearly went 40/40 in the minors a year ago, impatience won out as he hit the wire in solid numbers the first week of May as the strikeouts piled up and the home runs and steals did not.  However those who took advantage at the good fortune of seeing Springer stupidly hit the wire after such a small sample size of numbers made out in a major way to say the least based on what has taken place from the multi-talented outfielder the last two weeks.  Seemingly turning on a switch to unleash all of his vast potential, Springer proceeded to go on an absolute tear in May as he went into Wednesday's games with a .325 average to go with 8 home runs, 20 runs, and 20 RBI.  Basically the monster across the board numbers we expected.  Well not entirely as Springer has only one steal in three attempts as he seems unsure of running.  In addition the .268 Springer is currently hitting going into Wednesday should be much lower as he is benefitting from a very lucky .358 BABIP.  Guys with Springer's type of speed can beat the BABIP regression some but not in its entirety so the average is due for a fall.  With a K rate that is still extremely high at 30 percent, Springer has also made good on the one big red flag to his game which will take its toll on his batting average. 

When you put everything together, we can look past the average and see that stardom is in this kid's future very soon.  Springer has top notch speed so as soon as he gets his stolen base timing down, he will be a solid help there as well.  The power and run production are already terrific and the best is actually on its way which really gets the hype meter moving.  Reminding me of Carlos Gomez, Springer has the look of a guy who could be in the very early round consideration next season.  Yet another reminder to stay patient with young hitters. 



 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS 1B MARK TEIXEIRA (WRIST) OUT AGAIN WED.

                                                           

New York Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira is out of the lineup again Wednesday, which marks the second straight game he has missed with soreness in his surgically repaired wrist.  The Yankees have said Teixeira is just dealing with inflammation and nothing more and that he will not go on the DL.

Analysis:  Teixeira said in the spring he would be dealing with on and off soreness in the wrist so we won't worry yet.  The real shame is that Teixeira was destroying the baseball before this interruption. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: NOAH SYNDEGAARD DOESN'T NEED TOMMY JOHN

                                                         

An MRI done on top New York Mets pitching prospect Noah Syndegaard came up clean with regards to damage in the joint and instead he was officially diagnosed with a strain.  Syndegaard had already been placed on the DL with the injury and it is expected he will be out for most or all of June.  No surgery will be needed according to GM Sandy Alderson.

Analysis:  Great news all around as the last thing we need is to discuss another Tommy John surgery interrupting another young pitcher's progress.  Unfortunately it will now be late summer with regards to seeing Syndegaard getting promoted.  If you have a thin bench and are holding Syndegaard, you may want to cut him loose.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: NO DAMAGE FOUND IN YORDANO VENTURA'S ELBOW, TO MISS ONLY ONE START

                                                           

An MRI done on the pitching elbow of Kansas City Royals SP Yordano Ventura failed to reveal any damage to the joint and GM Dayton Moore reported that his young hurler will likely miss just one start and avoid the DL.  A collective exhale was done by the Royals after Ventura came out of his Monday start feeling pain in the elbow and forearm which often had led to a Tommy John surgery diagnosis this season.  However no structural issues were found and Ventura should be back on the hill in a week to 10 days according to Moore.

Analysis:  Wow what a bullet dodged.  I am still a bit concerned about the drop in velocity but at least the elbow is sound.  Ventura is a risk the rest of the way due to the fact he will soon be going into uncharted innings territory which means the ERA and WHIP will rise.  As a smallish pitcher, the wear and tear on the season will affect him more than others.  If Ventura comes back and throws a few good games, sell high.

 

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED FIRST BASEMAN RANKINGS

                                                      Paul Goldschmidt

Once again it is time to check in on the updated fantasy baseball first baseman rankings.  Let's see where things stand three weeks since we last updated the list.

1.  Paul Goldschmidt:  Only got competition from Jose Abreu for the top spot before the latter got hurt.
2.  Jose Abreu:  It didn't take the Cuban import long to shoot right to the top of the first baseman rankings.  Power is immense and there is more batting average to come.
3.  Freddie Freeman:  Still stand by initial assessment that Freeman will be a first round pick next season.
4.  Albert Pujols:  I have to be fair here.  Pujols looks like his old power-hitting self minus .30 points of average.
5.  Adrian Gonzalez:  Quiet and steady as he goes.
6.  David Ortiz:  Power really picking up as expected.  Guy just doesn't age.
7.  Justin Morneau:  Looking at these first baseman rankings with Pujols, Ortiz, and Morneau in the top 7 makes one think this is the 2009 version.
8.  Edwin Encarnacion:  The power swing is realty getting into gear but the high spike in K's are tumbling down the average.
9.  Joey Votto:  More knee issues and lack of pop this season very concerning. 
10. Anthony Rizzo:  Really starting to find his groove now and power points to the 30 mark.
11. Mark Teixeira:  Back and healthy for now, the power has been locked in the last three weeks. 
12. Prince Fielder:  Can't seem to find his power and the average is sinking too.  Very strange indeed.
13. Chris Davis:  Again don't ever pay for career seasons and the average has sank like I told you it would.
14. Brandon Belt:  Tough break for Belt who was having a career season before injury struck. 
15. Mike Morse:  Among the most underappreciated players in the game.  Could hit 30 home runs again. 
16. Buster Posey:  Again keep him at catcher.
17. Matt Adams:  Average better than we thought but the power is shockingly absent.
18. Brandon Moss:  Right along the lines of Morse as a very underrated bat.
19. Allen Craig:  Told you to steer away form Craig who is overrated with light pop, lack of runs, and now poor average.
20. Mark Trumbo:  Has to get back soon or else will continue to slide.
21. Eric Hosmer:  Utter lack of pop has many swearing off for good. 
22. Ryan Howard:  Hitting home run again but not much else.
23. Billy Butler:  Another Kansas City Royal who can't hit this season. 
24. Michael Cuddyer:   Back from long DL stint will get Cuddyer moving back up this board.
25. Lucas Duda:  Still not showing consistency to be anything more than a bench guy.

There you have it.  As always let us know what your thoughts are.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Let's check out what took place in fantasy baseball Monday.

Lucas Duda:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .236.  Duda was like 0-for-his-last-100 it seemed so no one actually owns the guy anymore anyway.  Let's keep moving.

Jacob DeGrom:  6.2 IP 5 H 0 ER 5 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.83.  The walks were a bit out of control but DeGrom still sports a 1.17 WHIP afterwards.  He and Rafael Montero will do doubt go through their struggles so these two are very volatile investments outside of NL-only formats.  However Dillon Gee is not close so at least DeGrom will get some more starts.

David Ortiz:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .270.  Another 25 home runs sounds about right.  Total that is.

Clay Buchholz:  6 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 7.02.  One of my most spirited personal debates is who sucks the most out of all starting pitchers in fantasy baseball:  Buchholz or Justin Masterson?  Close.

Ervin Santana:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.06.  It has all gone completely wrong for Santana.  It is almost like he remembered who he was.  That is a guy who drove his owners batty with stats so up and down you felt seasick. 

Dayan Viciedo:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .284.  We have seen Viciedo get on some nice hot power runs in the past which no doubt is useful in today's game.  Just don't buy him thinking he is all of a sudden a .280 hitter.

Scott Downs:  scoreless ninth for his first save with an ERA of 5.68.  They got to be kidding me.  Instead of Daniel Webb the White Sox are now resorting to a washed-up looking Scott Downs?  You just can't help people sometimes.  If you wish go ahead.

Khris Davis:  4/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .244.  Davis is doing his thing now after sleepwalking through the first month-plus.  He was never a .280 hitter as he strikes out way too much but 20 home runs is a good possibility.  Feel free to add sine Davis is now looking more comfortable.  Also we take power where we can get it.

Chris Tillman:  6 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 4.69.  Tillman pitched like a near-ace the second half of last season but he has been one of the worst starters in the game to this point.  He has been so bad that one has to wonder how much more leash he has in the rotation.  Obviously he should be benched or cut outright until further notice.

Albert Pujols:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .269.  No let up from Pujols as he has generally been hitting (and hitting for power) at the same rates since the beginning of the season.  That eliminates a lot of the volatility and validates much of what we have seen.  Hold all the way.

Nick Tepesch:  6.2 IP 7 H 2 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.95.  Like saying this guy's name.  Tepesch belongs in the Kyle Lohse headlined class of soft tossers who can post nice ratios.  Except ai hate the ballpark which makes him pretty dangerous to own in mixers.

Nathan Eovaldi:  6.1 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.36.  The 3.36 is now pretty much the settling point for Eovaldi when it comes to his actual ratio there.  Will sprinkle in some big time K games and than retreat there the next time out.  All the while filling the number 3 SP role.

Giancarlo Stanton:  3/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .316.  Would love to see where the average finishes up because that is the only part that is left somewhat of a mystery with regards to Stanton and his MVP season.  Will be a top six pick in 2015 drafts for sure.

Pablo Sandoval:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .239.  Has five home runs in his last eight games.  No one is hotter during that span and we are well past the point now where we have to stop with the weight jokes if he is hitting like this. 

Jeff Samardzjia:  7 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 1.68.  On any other team Samardzjia would be in the Cy Young conversation.

Derek Norris:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .316.  Norris is hitting second in a potent Oakland lineup and is hitting for pop with a .300-plus average.  He also has some speed to swipe a few bags.  Give me your password so I can pick him up for you.

Josh Donaldson:  3/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .276.  So yeah Donaldson is the second most valuable player in fantasy baseball according to the WAR stat.  And honestly how many third baseman would you say is hitting better than Donaldson?  Miguel Cabrera?  Nope.

Brandon Moss:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .289.  Of course Brandon Moss homered.  He is like the coolest guy ever.  No sure when my man crush on Moss began but the heart skips a beat no doubt when I hear his name. 

Yoenis Cespedes:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .247.  Time to accept Cespedes for what he is which is a .260 at best slugging outfielder who can pop 25 home runs.  Looked at from that more realistic prism and you won't be longing for what you thought he once would become a few years ago.

Kyle Kendrick:  6.2 IP 6 H 0 ER 4 BB 2 K with an ERA of 4.04.  If Kendrick's ERA was 2.04 I still wouldn't pick him up.

Ryan Howard:  3/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .236.  The average is ugly once again as it was eventually going to be given his age and all those whiffs.  Howard went out of style the same time as Beanie Babies.

Edwin Encarnacion:  3/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .262.  Hey all you people who ripped me for saying this guy was a first round pick, things have gotten very quiet on that front.  Just saying.  Where did you all go?  I guess you are still watching the home runs this monster is hitting.

Hyun-Jin Ryu:  7.1 IP 3 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.10.  Ryu was perfect through seven before tiring late.  Has 47 strikeouts in 52.1 innings on the season and has been virtually unhittable since getting back from the DL.  Moving in on ace status real quick.





 

Monday, May 26, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YODANO VENTURA HEADED FOR MRI ON ELBOW

Kansas City Royals SP Yordano Ventura is headed for an MRI on his pitching elbow after he was forced out of Monday's game with elbow soreness.  Ventura had been rocked all game in giving up five runs in just 2.2 innings and his fastball touched only 91 mph which was a major red flag for the team.  A trip to see Dr. James Andrew is likely if the MRI comes back badly.

Analysis:  Here we go again.  I just got done mentioning a few weeks ago about how Ventura is scary as a young hard-thrower in this era of the Tommy John procedure.  In particular, young pitchers like Ventura, Matt Harvey, and Jose Fernandez all seem to eventually go under the knife for some reason or another.  We are not saying this is what Ventura has but it is a major issue when his fastball is lagging like that all of a sudden.  Prepare for some ugly news tomorrow.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: CLIFF LEE (ELBOW) STILL NOT READY TO THROW

                                                         

Philadelphia Phillies ace SP Cliff Lee is still not ready to throw a baseball as he continues to try and recover from a bout of elbow soreness.  Diagnosed officially with a flexor strain, Lee has no timetable for a return.

Analysis:  Not good.  This looks like it could go on for awhile for Lee.  At 36 there was always the increased risk for injury here but in between Lee was pitching very well as always.  Patience is needed. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: CLAY BUCHHOLZ COULD BE REMOVED FROM ROTATION

                                                       

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell was noncommittal when it came to the rotation status of struggling starter Clay Buchholz late Sunday.  Buchholz gave up six earned runs in only three innings earlier in the day which spiked his ERA to a horrid 7.02.  Allen Webster has been mentioned internally as a possible fill-in candidate if such a move was made.

Analysis:  You don't have to tell me how bad Buchholz has been as I have constantly harped on what a terrible pitcher he is, even through years he posted lucky ERA's.  There is no reason he should be owned in any leagues right now so this is a moot discussion.  Wesbter would have some deep appeal and certainly worth a look in AL-only formats however.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: CARLOS SANTANA MIGHT HAVE SUFFERED CONCUSSION SUNDAY

                                                     

Cleveland Indians third baseman Carlos Santana may have suffered a concussion on Sunday after taking a foul tip off his head.  Santana will head for some testing on Tuesday in order to see if he does in fact have a concussion and a stint on the 7-day DL has already been discussed.

Analysis:  It has been one big trainwreck of a season for Santana who has killed his fantasy baseball owners.  The awful contact rate and pathetic average have glossed over any power contributions Santana might have added.  Long since benched or cut in many leagues, Santana is now entering waiver territory for the first time in his disappointing career.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT REVISITED: JUSTIN VERLANDER BOMBING LIKE I SAID HE WOULD

Thanks for making me look smart Justin.  The rock bottom of the 2014 fantasy baseball season and the firm exclamation point regarding yours truly telling anyone who would listen....and not many did....that former top pitcher in the game Justin Verlander was on a sharp decline, was completely validated to a "T" in his beyond awful Sunday start.  Leading up to the game and all season long I explained about how Verlander was on the C.C. Sabbathia 2013 decline as his velocity had dropped for the third season in a row, his hit rate shot way up, and his walks were getting out of control.  In addition the former 240 K monster was losing strikeouts left and right.  The bottom literally fell out for Verlander Sunday as he gave up 6 ER in 5.1 IP while giving up a ridiculous 11 hits and 3  walks.  The number of strikeouts?  Try only 1.  That brought Verlander's season ERA to 4.04 and his WHIP a truly horrific 1.51.  For anyone who tried to debate me earlier in the season about my negative views on Verlander, needless to say I believe I got the last laugh.  Comparisons to Sabbathia's 2013 gross fade as right on par as the rapid loss of velocity has made him more hittable than ever and the strikeouts have fallen off the map as the fastball lags.  What is worse is that Verlander's XFIP is almost 5.00 as he has benefitted from some good luck on his BABIP which means he has actually pitched worse.  Put it all together and Verlander is now looking like he is really nothing more than around an SP 4.  Seriously.  As I always say the numbers don't lie and all you have to do is go back to this past winter to see I spoke about the negatives surrounding Verlander before the season began.  This was one guy I wanted no part of this season and the numbers have bore that out.  What a joke this guy is. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Josh Donaldson:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .268.  Donaldson now has 36 RBI which has gotten a bit overlooked.  If you can believe it, Donaldson is having a better season than he did in his breakout 2013 campaign.  Forget the average, everything else has checked out above what he did last season.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .254.  12 home runs and counting for the month of May.  Imagine if Encarnacion did that in April, we would be talking about him being the fantasy baseball MVP.

Evan Longoria:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .271.  Just pulled off a deal in the Experts league for Longoria.  Sent away Jose Altuve, Starling Marte, and Shelby Miller for Longoria and A.J. Burnett.  Already had Brian Dozier.  How did I do?

Jake Odorizzi:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.56.  The ratios are really ugly still but Odorizzi is striking out guys at a pretty good clip.  Nothing to do yet but at least worth monitoring.

Masahiro Tanaka:  6.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.29.  Standard excellence for Tanaka who now has a 79/10 K/BB ratio.  Insanity.

Rafael Montero:  6 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 10 K with an ERA of 4.96.  It came against the woeful D-Backs but darn Montero was impressive.  Buys him another few starts at the very least but don't overreact too much just yet.  Control still very shaky and the K's will come and go.

Manny Machado:  1/2 with his second HR while hitting .235.  Starting to think this may be a throw-out year from Machado.  Could be wrong but 2015 looks like the breakout year in my crystal ball.

Nelson Cruz:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .295.  Cruz is having a monster season and I am starting to remember all those sleeper 40 home run posts I once wrote but than hit the delete button on?  Maybe I was right after all but just five years behind.

Justin Verlander:  6 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 4.04.  The WHIP is now 1.51.  Verlander sucks.  He is now nothing more than an SP 4.  Called it going back to this past winter.  Check out the Crisis Point Part 2 later.

Marcell Ozuna:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .261.  Ozuna is hot again like he was in early April.  Reminds me a tad of the 25 home run hitting Nelson Cruz.  Before his Baltimore days of course.

Josh Beckett:  throws no-hitter, lowering ERA to 2.43.  Guy has been terrific after three awful seasons filled with declining stats and injuries.  Beckett is feeling sound and the velocity has come back some.  Threw a ton of pitches in this one so the next start could be scary.

Adam Wainwright:  8 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 12 K with an ERA of 1.67.  Now has 77 K' in 81 innings to go with ridiculous ratios.  Adam Wainwright is good.  In related news water is wet.

Justin Upton:  1/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .294.  You got to wonder if brother B.J. has any sort of jealousy that Justin is a million-and-a-half times better than he is.  If your younger brother's excellence can't motivate you, I guess nothing will. 

Evan Gattis:  2/4 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .248.  Gattis was hitting .330 back in April but I told you the average would fall badly which it has.  Anyone who strikes out as much as he does cant hit more than .260 without luck.  The power is extreme though and the new old Mike Napoli is well on track.

Chris Johnson:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .264.  Finally decided to hit the baseball hard and not the dugout walls and his former teammates with bat shards.

Julio Teheran:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.77.  Teheran has been unbelievable this season and his rise has been steady all the way to....yes his current ace status.  This is how it is done.

George Springer:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .246.  His third home run in two days.  And his sixth since his original owners cut him loose.

Dallas Keuchel:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.55.  When you are number 1 in all of baseball in ground ball rate, this is what happens.  The number are not BABIP-influenced which makes Keuchel's overnight explosion all the more impressive.

Hunter Pence:  3/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .294.  Yeah Pence is doing his thing again.  Sucked for awhile which meant no one wanted him and now he is on fire which means his 20/20 numbers will be there at the end of the season as always.  Rinse and repeat the underrated theme.

Madison Bumgarner:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.15.  Nice.  This is Bumgarner at his optimum.  Witness the no walks which was the big issue he surprisingly had going into this one.  We all knew h would turn it around but boy he was annoying for a bit.



 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL ADDS/DROPS

ADDS

Daniel Webb:  The latest 3 earned run meltdown for Ronnie Belisario means Webb should get the next save chance.  While Webb has had some control issues, he has the power arm to make it work in the ninth.  

Maikel Franco:  Word is Franco could get the call to replace the injured Cody Asche at the hot corner for the Phillies.  Franco is universally considered one of the top hitting prospects in baseball, with future 30 home run power.

Jaime Garcia:  Garcia looked good in his first start off the DL, striking out seven Saturday.  This is a lower end starter in all formats but Garcia usually wins his fair share of games and posts decent ratios.

 
*******THE REST OF THIS FEATURE IS FOR INSIDER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY.  USE THE BUY NOW TAB BELOW TO PURCHASE YOUR SEASON PASS TO ALL INSIDER FEATURES FOR A NOW SEASON-LOW  $24.99.******

OR JUST PURCHASE THIS ARTICLE ALONE FOR $1.50 USING THE BUY NOW TAB BELOW.


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JOSH BECKETT FIRES NO-HITTER SUNDAY

                                                                                                                                            

Los Angeles Dodgers SP Josh Beckett threw the season's first no-hitter of 2014 when he gave up no hits versus the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday.  He struck out six in the game which lowered his ERA to 2.43 with a 1.02 WHIP.

Analysis:  Yeah we are in a full-fledged comeback season by Beckett.  I said a week ago to pick him up in all formats and this is from someone who has been a big critic of the guy in the past.  The velocity ticked up a bit this spring which has carried over to the season and a lot of that has to do with health.  He did throw 128 pitches in the game though so as always the next start could be dicey. 

2014 FANTASY BASEBALL UPDATED THIRD BASEMAN RANKINGS

Not since March 22nd did we last check in on the 2014 fantasy baseball third baseman rankings.  So with that all said let's see where everyone currently stands.

1.  Miguel Cabrera:  Power is down a bit but no one worries. 
2.  Edwin Encarnacion:  Starting to earn back his first round grade with 11 May home runs as of the 24th. 
3.  Josh Donaldson:  Yes ahead of Wright, Beltre, and Longoria.  Have you seen those counting stats?  Over 30 runs and RBI with 10 home runs already.
4.  Evan Longoria
5.  Nolan Arenado:  Until he fractured a finger, Arenado was one of the best stories of the season.
6.  Adrian Beltre:  Bat looks a bit slow and injuries were a big factor early.  Could be a cliff season.
7.  David Wright:  Only two home runs and no help in the awful Mets lineup. 
8.  Matt Carpenter:  Play him at second base if you can.
9. Todd Frazier:  Yeah creeping into the top ten with 10 home runs and 4 steals.
10. Brett Lawrie:  Love the power but the average is horrific. 
11. Ryan Zimmerman:  Injured again.  Can't help you on the sidelines.
12. Aramis Ramirez:  Was hitting as usual before he got hurt yet again.
13. Kyle Seager
14. Pedro Alvarez:  Same old story here as Alvarez is hitting home runs and nothing else.
15. Manny Machado:  Better weeks are ahead as Machado gets himself back into hitting shape.
16. Matt Dominguez
17. Pablo Sandoval
18. Anthony Rendon
19. Chase Headley:  Just another guy now as he continues to lack any idea at the dish.
20. Jedd Gyorko
21. Nick Castellanos
22. David Freese
23. Martin Prado




 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: PHILS MULLING CALLING UP TOP 3B PROSPECT MAIKEL FRANCO

                                                      

With Cody Asche having gone on the DL, the Philadelphia Phillies are considering calling up top third base prospect Maikel Franco to take his place.  Franco is hitting .235 with 4 home runs and 19 RBI for Triple-A Lehigh Valley but he has been locked in lately since a slow start.

Analysis:  Stash Franco now.  Forget the average as Franco was in an early slump which he has come out of.  Franco has extreme power potential at third base and could be an immediate help in mixed leagues right out of the gate. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: HANLEY RAMIREZ TO GO ON DL WITH CALF INJURY

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez will be placed on the 15-day DL Sunday due to the calf injury he suffered in the middle of last week.  Manager Don Mattingly reported Sunday that an MRI done on the calf didn't cone back good and hinted about the DL trip.

Analysis:  Ramirez is really earning the injury-prone label the last season-plus and his absence is always big.  Calf injuries can be a tricky injury to deal with so Ramirez could be out longer than some think.  

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Carlos Santana:  1/2 with his sixth HR while hitting .160.  At this point nobody even cares as Santana has either been cut or benched outright in almost all leagues.  Now batting seventh in the lineup, even Terry Francona is trying to put him out of sight/out of mind.

Corey Kluber:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.10.  This is now becoming a significant breakout by Kluber, who now has 74 K's in 65.2 innings.  This is a kid who rocked a K rate over 9.0 in the minors so the K's are not a fluke by any means.  Talked him up all last season but admittedly got a bit gun shy this season which his my loss. 

Yoenis Cespedes:  3/4 with his 8thHR while hitting .254.  Right now Cespedes' owners would take his .254 average given how poor that numbers has been the last couple of seasons. 

Brett Lawrie:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .224.  More and more we are seeing home run hitters with horrible batting averages in this era of the pitcher.  Lawrie is just the latest example of this and what is really disturbing is that he calls Toronto home.  Clearly overrated when promoted, you also have to know that Lawrie's home run bat has improved which is very interesting at third base. 

 Jacoby Ellsbury:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .253.  Ellsbury is showing one of the highest ground ball rates in the majors despite being a lefty hitter who plays half his games at Yankee Stadium so our thoughts on him going back to the 20 home run mark for the second time in his career is now a pipedream.

Ronald Belisario:  blown save with 3 ER in 9th inning with an ERA of 5.14.  Just 24 hours earlier I talked about how Belisario had not given up a run in over 18 innings until he became the closer and than gave up runs in both of his closing chances which turned into 3/3 yesterday.  Welcome to the ninth Daniel Webb.  It is about time.

Mike Trout:  2/6 with his 10th HR while hitting .277.  Trout admittedly is not 100 percent as he deals with a couple of nagging injuries but he has the look of a hitter who is now clicking on all cylinders. 

George Springer:  2/5 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .246.  I guess the hip flexor is feeling all right.  Will go down as the single biggest regret cut foe many fantasy baseball players this season.  Remember the rule for top prospects when it comes to the hitters is to give them a full month before doing anything rash.  Took Springer three weeks to get his feet under him and now the talent is taking over as it does for all uber-talented kids like this.  Only caveat was what I continually said about the K rate hurting the average.  That will be an improvement for another day.

Chase Utley:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .333.  Utley has been terrific with the bat despite his age but the juice categories have been a bit light.  While Utley is still far from his heyday as a first round pick, he still is a top ten second baseman in all formats.

Rick Porcello:  8 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 3.88.  Porcello had finally earned mixed league usage in most formats after a string of very good pitching the last year-plus despite the middling K rate.  Only takes one outing like this to send him back spiraling to the wire.  That's the life of a fantasy baseball pitcher with a K rate under 7.00.

Adrian Beltre:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .284.  Beltre is showing signs the last week or so that he is getting his swing in full order.  Look out league.  As long as the body holds up Beltre should be able to give one more above-average campaign the rest of the season.

Troy Tulowitzki:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .382.  Almost two months down and no DL yet.  Like wishing your fantasy baseball life away.

Michael Cuddyer:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .325.  Could you imagine if Cuddyer wins a second consecutive batting title? 

Jaime Garcia:  5/2 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.26.  Garcia has been helpful in spurts in the past but only as an SP 5 which doesn't change after this one despite the rare uptick in K's.

Yadier Molina:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .330.  Despite the advancing age Molina is hitting like he is still in his prime.  In fact Molina has done what we all thought Joe Mauer would do well into his 30's when he first got to the majors.

Travis Wood:  7.1 IP 3 H 2 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.35.  Two big starts in a row for Wood who has righted the ship completely after a string of rough outings.   Wood remains one of the more underappreciated starters in fantasy baseball despite a K rate that goes up and down like the stock market.

Pablo Sandoval:  1/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .227.  Starting to think the Giants offered to buy Sandoval two dozen White Castle hamburgers for every home run he hits in order to get his previously slumbering bat going.

Wily Peralta:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.12.  Obviously the deeper into the season this run goes the more comfortable we can guy into all the numbers.  Truth be told Peralta showed this ability in the middle of last season before tiring late.