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Sunday, May 31, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Tsuyoshi Wada:  5.2 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.30.  Told you to pick up Wada's two starts ago as he is striking out a batter per inning and showing terrific hit rates.  The pitch efficiency wasn't great as Wada should have been able to go deeper with the stuff he had today but that is nitpicking.  I am a Wada owner and used him today.  Do the same.

Manny Machado:  3/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .270.  It was quite awhile ago but still not that much in the past when I pointed out that Manny Machado reminded me of a young Miguel Cabrera with his natural hitting skills and can't miss label.  Knee injuries got in the way but Machado is now almost a full year removed from the last procedure and the numbers are starting to jump off the page.  What is making this even more exciting is that despite the two knee surgeries, Machado is running at a good success rate to go with his burgeoning power.  Maybe he will be star we all thought he would become after all.  Amazing what good health can do for a prospect. 

Delmon Young:  3/4 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .303.  Young has done a nice job in a part-time role for the O's but he has no fantasy baseball value unless your league has a category for bigots. 

D.J. LeMathieu:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .335.  The kid was a second round pick for a reason and the talent in combination with Coors Field is starting to show.  A good but not impactful player to this point, LeMathieu deserves another look to see if he can continue on his hot start.  Think 10/20/.300 as the best case scenario.

Nolan Arenado:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .284.  Another day and another home run from Arenado.  To think he was only 5 picks away from me in the Experts League draft this past spring.  So damn close.

Josh Donaldson:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .312.  As much as I love Arenado and Machado, give me this monster every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  The move to Toronto has supplied the power boost and than some.  Thank you very much Rogers Center. 

Trevor Plouffe:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .279.  Plouffe is having a fine season and it underscores how good third baseman have been overall this season in fantasy baseball.  Now if only we can do something about shortstop.  Or catcher.  Or second base. 

Adam LaRoche:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .236.  What do you know.  June is here and LaRoche is starting to hit home runs.  In related news, the sun comes up in the morning. 

John Danks:  9 IP 10 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.81.  Remember when we once were intrigued with John Danks?  Sorry I don't remember either. 

Joc Pederson:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .258.  Pederson truly has been a three results player this season:  either a home runs, walk, or strike out.  While that has not helped the average, Pederson is destined for 30 home runs real soon and it could even come in 2015.  Now if only we can get the wheels going on the bases. 

Carlos Martinez:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.13.  Martinez has been very good again recently after a very tough opening half of May.  We can maybe chalk that up to Martinez adjusting to hitters adjusting to him.  Good sign there.  Start using fully again. 

Stephen Vogt:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .322.  I righted a major wrong when I drafted but than cut Vogt only a week into the season by dealing Hunter Pence from my excess outfield for him just two days ago.  While ten home runs fell by the wayside, my fantasy baseball world is spinning on its axis again.  Vogt has been an absolute monster in every sense of the word as even my spring optimism was not imaging anything like we have seen.  Away we go. 

Jesse Chavez:  8 IP 7 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.11.  Chavez is a terrific pitcher who has a decent K rate and very good hit rate while getting almost no attention.  Just like with last season, the expiration date on this is sometime in late July but otherwise enjoy the ride until then. 

Todd Frazier:  3/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .287.  Geez Frazier is impossible to deal with right now and pretty much not let up on the home run rate since the beginning of the season.  He is moving very close to first round territory for next season as he already has fully answered in the positive whether 2014 was a mirage. 

Wilmer Flores:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .244.  For all the negative talk about Wilmer Flores' horrific defense, he is now up to 8 home runs and the calendar has yet to turn to June.  That is 8 home runs at shortstop.  Don't dismiss that out of hand automatically. 

Bartolo Colon:  7 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 2 K with an ERA of 4.72.  The K rate has sank and the hit rate is rising sharply as Colon 42-year-old arm begins to feel the effects of the season.  Really just for NL-only formats at this stage. 

Joe Panik:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .300.  Give me yours password so I can pick up Panik for you. 

Brandon Belt:  2/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .306.  Sometimes I guy has to become a post-hype-hype-hype-HYPE sleeper before he realizes his potential.

Brandon Crawford:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .299.  Wilmer Flores with a better average. 

Juan Uribe:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .258.  Second home run in a row for Uribe who is exhibiting the typical hot star that we often see out of guys who get traded from one team to another.  Change of scenery always seems to give a boost to hitting numbers and while Uribe has been a big yawn for awhile now, feel free to ride this out.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: STEPHEN STRASBURG MERCIFULLY PUT ON DL WITH NECK AILMENT

After serving as the flat out biggest fantasy baseball pitching bust of the 2015 season through the first two months, the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg hit rock bottom Friday night when he exited his outing after only five batters with a tightness in his neck.  A day later the Nats put Strasburg on the DL in citing the neck but much more likely the team made the move in order to figure out what in the heck is wrong with their former ace.  To say that Strasburg has been bad this season is a gross understatement as he hits the DL with a composite 6.55 ERA and 1.72 WHIP which has no doubt torched his owners' ratios in their ROTO leagues.  We had reached the point anyways in terms of benching Strasburg even before the neck injury arose but there is really no simple reason for what is going wrong.  For one, Strasburg has had some ungodly luck with the batted ball as evidenced by his .389 BABIP which is a through the roof number.  As a result Strasburg's XFIP (3.76) and FIP (3.97) are under 4.00.  However even those adjusted ERA's are still much higher than what we expect out Strasburg, especially when you consider how great his strikeout ability is.  The strikeouts though are part of the problem as Strasburg's K rate this season of 8.93 is quite a bit down from 2014 when it was at 10.13.  The walk rate is up sharply too from 2014's 1.80 to this year's 2.78.  Those two trends alone are a major part of the problem with Strasburg in addition to the poor luck.  However the injury trumps all of those issues and as long as Strasburg is sidelined, he can't help one way or the other. 

When you put it all together, all Stephen Strasburg owners can do is sit and wait for his eventual return.  I do think there is an underlying shoulder problem affecting Strasburg as well but so far that is being kept under wraps.  All in all, it has been nothing but one big bomb of a season for Strasburg when he was drafted as a top five guy among all starting pitchers in the draft.

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: "ONLY MATTER OF WHEN" TYLER CLIPPARD WILL BE TRADED

A source close to the Oakland A's front office has indicated that it is "only a matter of when and not if" the team will trade closer Tyler Clippard.  With the A's among the worst performing teams in the game this season, Billy Beane is already putting word out that guys like Clippard and Ben Zobrist are available for trade.  The fallout here is that those who do own Clippard should be looking to get out front under him before he gets moved to a likely setup situation with a contending club.  We see this every season where closers on bad teams get moved to a contending team to pitch in setup and this year should be no different.  The real key now is identifying who could inherit the closer role when Clippard gets moved.  With Sean Doolittle back on the DL and showings no signs that he will be healthy this season, Evan Scribner and his high K rate could be the next in line at the back of the A's bullpen.  While I wouldn't run right out and grab Scribner just yet, I would keep a close watch on this issue as Clippard should be gone before July is out.  Let this also be a reminder that other bad teams could be peddling their closers as well such as John Axford from Colorado or Francisco Rodriguez from Milwaukee.  Read and react as always. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JOHNNY CUETO (ELBOW) STARTING ON TUESDAY

Cincinnati Reds ace SP Johnny Cueto will start on Tuesday which will mark 13 days since his last outing due to a sore pitching elbow.  Cueto has not had any pain in the elbow after his recent throwing sessions but the Reds may not allow him to throw much more than 80 tosses his first time back.

Analysis:  The Reds really need for Cueto to show he is healthy as he is the premier starter who will be available at the trade deadline.  He has a long history of arm and elbow trouble so this bears close watching.  When on the mound this season, Cueto has been as good as usual in mixing his very low ratios and high K rate. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ADAM JONES (ANKLE) OUT AGAIN SUNDAY

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is out of the lineup for a second straight day due to the ankle he twisted Friday.  He remains listed as day-to-day as an MRI showed no structural issues.

Analysis:  Jones should be back in a day or two so no problems here.  He should once again finish around the tremendous numbers he has posted the last four seasons for the Orioles. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Erasmo Ramirez:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.53.  Ramirez has been hit hard all season but he was very good today no doubt.  That is the extent that I will discuss.

Joey Votto:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .282.  Second game in a row for Votto with a home run as he is becoming more streaky with his power as he has aged.  The fact Votto is on pace for 27 home runs is the main storyline here as the very good comeback campaign continues. 

Gio Gonzalez:  5.1 IP 7 H 4 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.73.  No signs of a turnaround here for Gonzalez who has been just as bad as Stephen Strasburg before the latter was placed on the DL.  Another candidate to bench completely or even toss to the wire as he has done more than enough damage to your team already. 

Evan Gattis:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .230.  Next season when Gattis no longer carries catcher eligibility, his value will plummet but he has the ball hard for the last month now and there is no reason for him not to be used on a daily basis again.

Chris Carter:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .188.  Right now Gattis is running away with batting average race between he and Carter to see who can hit closer to .230. 

Jake Marsinick:  1/2 with his 9th SB while hitting .266.  Good thing April favorite to May dud Marsinick stole a base because the regression police have done a nice job covering him up lately.

Dallas Keuchel:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 1.76.  Now starting for the American League in the All-Star Game?  Mr. Dallas Keuchel.  Sinker-slider combination taking names.

Giancarlo Stanton:  2/4 with 2 home runs (15) while hitting .232.  Do yourself a favor and queue up the second home run.  Was one of the hardest balls I have ever seen hit. 

J.L. Realmuto:  2/4 with his second HR and his second SB while hitting .215.  Was a semi-interesting story early on but Realmuto fell flat on his face in replacing Jarrod Saltalamacchia who wasn't much worse. 

Paul Goldschmidt:  3/5 with 2 home runs (14 for season) while hitting .345.  I wake up every fantasy baseball morning thanking my lucky starts that while I don't own Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt is mine. 

Kyle Lohse:  7 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 6.50.  It was a good run while it lasted but the ultimate smoke and mirrors pitcher from the last five years has run out of good luck charms. 

Nolan Arenado:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .285.  I have to stack the deck somehow in some league next season to make sure I get Arenado.  With Adrian Beltre fading, David Wright going completely injury bust, and Evan Longoria paying attention only half of the time, Arenado is the most equipped for being considered the number two third baseman in the game. 

Jace Peterson:  3/5 with his sixth SB while hitting .265.  Like most rookies or extremely raw players, it takes about a month for them to find their footing, if at all at the major league level which his the path Peterson has taken with the Atlanta Braves this season.  This runs and stolen base play has hit .300 over the last three weeks and the stolen bases are starting to fall into line.  Much safer now to ride with the kid than it was just a month earlier.

Tim Lincecum:  4.1 IP 8 H 4 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.00.  So much for reinventing himself as a pitcher.  More like reinventing ways to piss you off if you actually took a shot here again.  WHIP now back over 1.30 at 1.33 and ERA following suit.  Abandon ship.

Juan Uribe:  3/4 with his second HR and second SB while hitting .258.  The old man with the Hit and Run Special.  The Dodgers couldn't wait to get rid of Uribe for reasons unknown (it was obviously not to play Alex Guerrero everyday) but Uribe can still help those of you in NL-only formats.

Ian Kinsler:  1/5 with his first HR while hitting .270.  With Kinsler's speed having started to severely rode starting three years ago, it was very crucial that he hold onto the 15-20 home run power he has possessed throughout his career.  With Kinsler having just hit his first home run as we turn to June, his standing as a top 5 fantasy baseball second baseman looks like it can be said in the past tense. 

Mike Trout:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .296.  Trout goes into the last day of May with a 12/8 power/speed line which his very good but not at his 201113 levels.  It seems pretty clear that already Trout is done stealing even 30 bases which stinks but honestly that is just a nitpick as the guy will be the top pick of drafts for the next five years barring serious injury.

Albert Pujols:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .250.  Now up to three games in a row with a home run.  What does Pujols think he is wearing a Cardinals uniform again?  I still stand by my assessment that he is a UTIL or CI guy going forward in his career only due to the average erosion but it seems Pujols is intent on making me choke on those words.

Kole Calhoun:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .281.  Calhoun is really taking to this hitting leadoff thing.  We all knew he was not a leadoff guy since Calhoun would struggle to steal 10 bases but cleanup didn't seem right either.  Credit goes to Calhoun though as he has made the most of it.  Without the steals and with power that won't go much past 20m if at all, Calhoun is still just an outfielder 3.

Carlos Perez:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .292.  Perez has done a nice job since coming up to the Angels and hitting for a very rare .280-plus average behind the dish which is what he did on the farm earlier this season.  Perez was not a big home run guy either at Triple-A despite having a scorching bat that earned him the promotion so nothing he is doing now has deviated from that line of production.  Still works best as the second catcher in two backstop formats.

Matt Joyce:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .186.  It is the first half of the season so Matt Joyce must be slamming home runs.  Only he forgot about that trend in April and most of May. 

Shane Greene:  1.2 IP 6 H 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 1 K with an ERA of 5.19.  This might be the single worst outing by a starting pitcher this season.  Somehow Greene managed to give up FIVE!!!! home runs in less than two innings.  When this guy is bad, he is redefining the word.  The first two weeks of April are now just a rumor.

Charlie Morton:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 2 K with an ERA of 1.93.  With Kyle Lohse now simply a batting practice pitcher, this guy can be considered one of the best smoke-and-mirrors pitcher in all of baseball.

Robinson Cano:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .257.  Now he did not retire.  Hopefully for goodness sakes this will get Cano's limp bat going.  Either that or Nelson Cruz put on a Cano disguise in this one to help boost his friend's numbers for a day.

 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: KHRIS DAVIS DIAGNOSED WITH TORN MENISCUS, WILL UNDERGO SURGERY

Updating an earlier item, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Khris Davis will undergo surgery after being diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his right knee. 

Analysis:  Stick a fork in Davis who will be out for months with this.  He was really on the border of outfielder 3 status and worked better in five outfielder formats but Davis should now be cut loose. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING CLOSER NEWS: SEAN DOOLITTLE (SHOULDER) PUT BACK ON DL

The Oakland A's placed Sean Doolittle right back on the disabled list on Saturday after he felt renewed discomfort in his pitching shoulder that has had him out for almost the entire season so far.  Doolittle's velocity has been way down since coming off the DL earlier in the week and a throwing session on the side did not go well either.  Tyler Clippard will continue to man the ninth inning. 

Analysis:  It is looking like a complete disaster of a season for Doolittle who was dominant for all of 2014 and especially when he ascended to the closer gig.  Clippard meanwhile gets a much longer leash. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: KHRIS DAVIS EXITS AFTER INJURING KNEE

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Khris Davis exited after his first at-bat Saturday with an apparent left knee injury.  Davis hurt the knee while swinging the bat in his first tine up and never came out for the bottom of the inning as he was replaced by Gerardo Parra. 

Analysis:  Not good.  Looks like a classic twisted knee which could have Davis listed as day-to-day or even be placed on the DL.  He was in a nice groove lately leading up to Saturday's game which makes the injury double disappointing. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: JOSE ABREU (FINGER) OUT SATURDAY

Chicago White Sox 1B Jose Abreu is out of the lineup Saturday in order to rest his right index finger that has given him pain for more than a week.  Abreu is slated to return tomorrow for the team.

Analysis:  Maybe the finger has something to do with the fact Abreu's numbers are well down across the board.  More likely he is dealing with a bit of a sophomore slump as opposing pitchers had a full offseason to delve into his weaknesses.  Abreu should turn on the power soon enough and will likely finish in the ballpark of his numbers from 2014. 

FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: ADAM JONES (ANKLE) TAKING SEAT SATURDAY

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones is out of the lineup Saturday due to some residual pain in the ankle that he sprained the middle of last week.  Jones is being listed only as day-to-day and could return as soon as Sunday.

Analysis:  Nothing major happening here so there is no reason to panic.  May has been less productive for Jones than his monster April but all in all he has been as good as advertised. 

 

FANTASY SPORTS BOSS EXPERTS LEAGUE TEAM UPDATE

As always I continue to share with you my performance in the all-important Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Experts League for full disclosure after telling you all how to run your teams.  With that said, I am currently in the midst of a hot run that has me in second place of the ten teams, only 1 point out of first.  Here is how my team is stacking up presently.

LINEUP

One of the more frustrating aspects of my team this season has been catcher where Carlos Santana continues to annoy me with his .220 average and power that has not been as great as advertised.  I even went so far as to pick up Wilin Rosario when Justin Morneau hit the DL for the Colorado Rockies but Walt Weiss didn't go along with the plan.  I of course was the idiot who cut Stephen Vogt only a week into the season as I had a bunch of early injuries and a lack of roster flexibility.  How things would have looked if I still had him.

Meanwhile Paul Goldschmidt by far has been my offensive MVP at first base and I got on board the Lucas Duda train before the recent power spike in buying low on the 30 home run Mets first baseman to hold onto my UTIL spot.  I needed Duda after I cashed out on the hobbled and disappointing Victor Martinez who was on my BUST lost but who I got dirt cheap in a trade earlier in the season.  It didn't work out and now he is hurt so see you later.  The 32 home runs he hit last season were as big an outlier stat as we have seen in awhile.

As far as the infield is concerned, Jose Altuve has more than justified the first round price he had and other than Goldschmidt, he has been the best hitter on my team.  At shortstop, I already went through Alicides Escobar and Zack Cozart before snagging Alexei Ramirez off waivers.  Not expecting much there and shortstop has been my biggest hole by far with no solution in sight.  I am not alone there.  Meanwhile at third base, David Wright is collecting cobwebs on the DL but I am well covered both with Manny Machado who I actually got off waivers after he was stupidly released earlier back in April and Alex Guerrero who has been tremendous when he actually gets the chance to play.

Now for my outfield which is overflowing with fantasy baseball options.  I bought very low on Hunter Pence back in the spring and finally got him back over a week ago and he has hit very well out of the chute.  Pence joins stalwart Adam Jones and my recent acquisition of Carlos Gomez to form my starting outfield.  I got Gomez in a deal where I moved Garrett Richards at the height of his value before his recent slump and closer Brett Cecil in what has to be considered a colossal steal.  Gomez was on the DL at the time and this is always the perfect time to strike in buying low on guys who are hurt.  My outfield is so crowded that Joc Pederson AND A.J. Pollock are taking up space on the bench.  I am trying to deal one or the other or BOTH if I can get a big bat.  With Duda hot and holding down UTIL, I don't have room for either.  If I need a stolen bases boost (I don't as I am far and away the league leader there) I will use Pollock again.  I actually love Pollock and he has performed like a near outfielder 1 so far with his 12-HR/30-SB pace.

PITCHING

My starting pitching has really hit their stride as I dealt for Madison Bumgarner straight up for Jacoby Ellsbury before he got hurt.  While I liked owning Ellsbury, he has not hit for any power and I knew it was only a matter of time before he got hurt again which of course happened.  Bumgarner joins Max Scherzer and the suddenly dominant David Price to give me three monster fantasy baseball aces.  I also am getting nice production from Jason Hammel who I also picked up off waivers early in the season when he was cut after some early struggled.  I did move Richards but I got Jose Fernandez getting back in July.  Finally I also have stashed Lance McCullers on the bench due to his nice potential and so far he has looked very solid in his first two outings this season.

As far as the closers, this gets a bit ugly.  Brad Boxberger was tremendous until his meltdown on Wednesday which could open the door for Jake McGee to move back to the ninth inning but John Axford has shockingly been good so far in Colorado of all locales.  I want to get our from under him but there are no takers which is no surprise given how terrible he has been the last few seasons.  Meanwhile Brad Ziegler has looked shaky in blowing a save himself on Wednesday and he could be replaced quickly as closer in Arizona as well.  Last but not least Shawn Tolleson has been terrific so far in his short stint as the Texas Rangers closer but his stint is still very much in its infancy.  Overall this group is quite shaky but so is everyone else's closer stable.

Overall I think this team is set to challenge for the title as I only need to improve at shortstop and gets enough saves to win the league.  Let me know how you think my team looks at this stage. 



 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Albert Pujols:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .250.  Second bomb in two games for Pujols who maybe saw what I said yesterday in noting he is now just a home run specialist due to his ugly average.  Hey man whatever works.

Hector Santiago:  7.1 IP 3 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.18.  Wow this guy.  Santiago continues to walk a bit too many but the stuff that was very tough to hit while in the bullpen has moved with him to the rotation.  A 5-walk/5-ER barrage is always possible due to the lack of control but Santiago has more than proven his worth as an every time out starter until the wheels come off.

Brian McCann:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .253.  Third home run in a row for McCann who is throwing down the hammer on Stephen Vogt to pace the fantasy baseball catcher hierarchy. 

Brett Lawrie:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .265.  Lawrie has stayed healthy so far which is always his biggest challenge but in Oakland he lost 75 percent of his value due to vast decline in ballparks from Rogers Center. 

Sonny Gray:  8 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.82.  Now 6-2 on an awful team which tells you all you need to know about how awesome Gray is.  The K's are not at the elite level like some of the other fantasy baseball aces that surround him but you better believe Gray has made such an ascent to such a status. 

Francisco Liriano:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.47.  Liriano should just sign a lifetime contract with the Pirates.  Now up to an insane 75 strikeouts in only 59.2 innings.  In Liriano's big 2013 with the Pirates when he posted a 3.02 ERA, he walked what is for him a tremendous 3.52 per nine.  This season?  3.62.  And that K rate?  How about 11.331 which is about as high as you are going to get for a starting pitcher.  Once again always look toward Pittsburgh for ultimate pitching value. 

James Shields:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.69.  Expected the ERA to be lower, especially after going from the AL to the NL and Petco Park but we'll take it.  Shields himself has been a strikeout monster which WAS expected but he still is having a ton of trouble with the home run ball which could derail any one start. 

Trevor Bauer:  7 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.97.  Bauer has made a young career out of driving us all crazy but he is starting to put more distance between his walk-filled, ugly outings.  The ratios are in glowing territory right now and the strikeouts are always jumping off the map.  Always say a prayer before you throw him out there but Bauer is starting to show signs he is making the Gerrit Cole leap. 

Tajuan Walker:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 6.18.  95 percent of Walker's owners in April don't have him on their roster anymore of he is chained to the bench so very few benefited from this eye-opening gem.  It goes to show you that we all could not be totally wrong the potency of Walker's stuff when he is on but even with this one, that ERA is still unsightly.  If he puts up another good one next time out, dust him off. 

Fernando Rodney:  1 ER in earning 14th save with an ERA of 7.08.  The Joe Borowski special.  Don't worry Carson Smith owner.  Your time is coming quickly.

Freddie Freeman:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .288.  Freeman has really slowed down since his big April as opposing pitchers may have finally gotten the message that there is no reason to throw him anything to drive due to the dearth of any type of protection in the Atlanta lineup.  Classic case of a guy who can be a top tier hitter on any other team.

Buster Posey:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .301.  Posey has done a nice job getting back to his customary .300 average area code and the power is right in line with his norms.  Not so far McCann and Vogt. 

Mike Foltynewicz:  6.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.96.  With the ERA slipping under 4.00, Folty has made himself more interesting.  Forget about wins on this team and Folty's lack of control can make Trevor Bauer look like Greg Maddux. 

Hanley Ramirez:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .263.  Yesterday I talked about how Ramirez is now becoming more of a slugger than his old five-tool stud self with the lack of steals and slipping average.  Nice of him to drive the point home. 

Josh Hamilton:  2/3 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .278.  It's like Hamilton never left Texas.  Clearly Hamilton has an immense comfort zone in Texas and I won't go out and say that he can't be a very good contributor the rest of the way if he can keep his head on straight.  Smart pickup by those who made the move after the trade from L.A. where Hamilton was a bad fit all the way around.

Shawn Tolleson:  scoreless ninth for his sixth save with an ERA of 2.70.  Reason number 6172801 why you never have to draft saves.

Josh Donaldson:  2/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .316.  Just give him the AL MVP already and be done with it so I can gloat even more.

Chris Collabello:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .379.  I was a bit slow on coming around on this developing story but Rogers Center  + above-average power= pick him up in fantasy baseball.

Glen Perkins:  2 ER in .1 IP with an ERA of 1.96.  Non-save situation closer disaster.  Typical. 

A.J. Pollock:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .318.  Honestly if you don't have Pollock out there every single damn day than I can't help you.  I have been touting him more than maybe any other hitter not named Joc Pederson going back to last season and the kid is now on pace for 14 home runs and 32 stolen bases with an average of .300.  Ka-Zam!

Nick Ahmed:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .214.  When a shortstop gets hot like Ahmed is right now with his home run swing, you pick him up and ask questions later.

Carlos Gomez:  1/5 with his fifth HR while hitting .256.  Gomez had that rough start to the season due to injury but he is pretty much fully rounded into form by now on a truly awful team.  Could get traded by the deadline which bears watching but that will do little to dilute the value of this well-cemented outfielder 1.

Adam Lind:  3/3 with is 8th HR while hitting .276.  This is typical Lind.  He hit like all 7 of his previous home runs in like three weeks in April and than went ice cold for a month.  Now he has a perfect night at the dish with another knock which signals to you its time to get him back into the lineup.

Jimmy Nelson:  6 IP 7 H 4 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.90.  I will use another Gerrit Cole reference here as Nelson reminds me of the Pirates youngster in terms of having terrific strikeout stuff but who is still working through some things in his development.  Like the arm a lot but I sold my shares back in April in not wanting to get an ulcer every time out wondering what the results will be. 

Brad Ziegler:  1 ER in 1 IP while earning third save with an ERA of 1.59.  Gave up only one hit which came around to score but still Ziegler has given up runs in two straight outings which includes a blown save.  We are starting to wonder if Ziegler has the mindset to close and his leash won't be very long to find out. 

Carlos Rodon:  6.1 IP 8 H 1 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.45.  Rodon is still putting too many guys on base to trust in anything but AL-only leagues right now but give him time and he will be at least an SP 3 before too long.

Lance McCullers:  4.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.40.  The kid clearly knows how to miss bats but his pitch efficiency is not great which is not unusual from a young starter like McCullers is.  I haven't used him in any of his first three starts and am on the fence about sending him to the wire in the very competitive Experts League. 

Justin Bohr:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .361.  Getting to play everyday with Mike Morse on the DL and Bohr could maybe cement his spot with more performances like this in going deep off Matt Harvey.  Pick up in NL-only formats and watch in mixers.

Lucas Duda:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .304.  Duda is on the cusp of stardom as he went deep for the 6th time in the last 7 games.  With his issues against lefties solved for now, Duda is banging on the tier 1 door.

Curtis Granderson:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .237.  Granderson has managed to hold onto the leadoff spot all season for the Mets and he has hit for a good average since the start of May.  While the good old days of his Yankee tenure are gone for good, Granderson is back up to outfielder 3 status for now.

Matt Harvey:  8 IP 6 H 4 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.11.  Harvey was electric in fighting through the dead arm period that marred his last start.  He made a bad pitch to Justin Bohr that got deposited over the wall but the bigger issue is why in the hell the Mets let him throw 8 innings in a losing game.  Are they trying to get him hurt?

Dan Haren:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.03.  Would not ordinarily suggest starting the K-deficient Haren on the road but in locales like Citi Field, he should be put out there.  Just like a year ago with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Haren has been as good an SP 5 as one could get.

Chris Davis:  2/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .228.  It is almost like Davis and Lucas Duda are calling each other every game and saying "Top That!" 

Nathan Karns:  6 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.32.  Remind me next season to only draft Pirate, Chicago Cubs, or Rays pitchers.

Miguel Gonzalez:  8 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.48.  Gonzalez is the classic example of how the widespread elimination of steroids in baseball has allowed guys like this to make themselves into useable fantasy baseball assets. 

Troy Tulowtizki:  4/4 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .285.  This might signify that Tulowitzki's hip is 100 percent better after only two home runs the first two months of the season.  That means look out until the next injury in two weeks.

Chad Bettis:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.96.  Well we got something here by the looks of it.  That's now 15 K's in his last 15.2 innings pitched.  Bettis is well worth a look in all formats as a road option but the small sample size needs to be understood.

Cole Hamels:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.91.  Cole Hamels was outstanding in his own right in this one but got no run support like usual.  Maybe a trade is not the worst thing that can happen.

Joey Votto:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .275.  Was starting to wonder if Votto was hurt or not since he has been so quiet after his tremendous April.  Hopefully this is the start of another run of ropes but Votto's May has quieted the comeback talks somewhat.

Todd Frazier:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .266.  Love it.  Frazier is more than backing up his 2014 breakout and is a lock for 30 home runs if he stays in one piece. 

Anthony DelScalfani:  6 IP 8 H 2 ER 2 BB 1 K with an ERA of 3.41.  Mike Leake was seen talking to DelScalfani during the game.  There is a strong rumor he was talking to his teammate about how nasty those regression fantasy baseball police can be when they get their hands on you. 

 

Friday, May 29, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: STEPHEN STRASBURG EXITS WITH SHOULDER INJURY

Washington Nationals ace SP Stephen Strasburg was forced out of his start Friday night after only five batters due to an apparent shoulder injury.  Strasburg summoned the Washington trainer early in the start and quickly went back to the dugout where he will likely go for some additional testing. 

Analysis:  There is not a bigger fantasy baseball big name pitching bust this season.  I said that Strasburg was hiding an injury all season as his pitching was simply horrific and now this.  Count on a disabled list stint and Strasburg is once again reaffirming his injury-prone label. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: VICTOR MARTINEZ (KNEE) MAY NOT RETURN UNTIL SECOND HALF OF SEASON


Detroit Tigers first baseman Victor Martinez may miss the rest of the first half of the season due to the ongoing soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee.  Martinez has had nothing but trouble with the knee even right off the surgery and his hitting was terrible before he hit the DL two weeks ago. 

Analysis:  We put Martinez squarely into the BUST column for this season and for good reason as the 32 home runs he cracked a year ago was one of the biggest outlier numbers we have ever seen from a guy who struggled to hit even 20 in his career.  Now with a potential second knee surgery on the horizon, Martinez can’t be counted on as anything right now and likely well into the future.

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DEVON TRAVIS (SHOULDER) SET FOR REHAB ASSINGMENT


Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis is set to begin a rehab assignment for the inflammation in his left shoulder that originally sent him to the disabled list.  The plan is for Travis to play three games at Triple-A and than be activated for Monday.

Analysis:  Travis was one of the biggest stories in April with his incredible five-tool production out of the blue from a very shallow spot.  May was a complete about face due to the injury and also for opposing pitchers now having a firm book on his tendencies.   It will be interesting to see just how much the shoulder inhibited Travis and his offensive numbers or if he was simply catching pitchers off guard last month due to the unfamiliarity factor.  Be that as it may, Travis should still be used right away upon his activation until he starts slumping again.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS : ALEX RIOS (HAND) TO BE ACTIVATED ON SATURDAY


The Kansas City Royals will activate outfielder Alex Rios for Saturday’s game from the fractured hand that sidelined him since the middle of April.  Rios was off to a terrific start with the Royals before he suffered the fracture after getting drilled on the hand but he will slide right back to his middle-of-the-order spot for the Royals.

Analysis:  Rios is worth picking up is he is still sitting there on your league’s wire as he had a big spring and was doing a nice five-tool job again for the Royals this season.  He is as volatile as they get in terms of Rios’ numbers being all over the map but the cost to find out if he can continue to build off his nice start makes him worth checking out.  At the very least Rios will get to operate in a good lineup that stresses running so steals will be his best asset.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MATT MOORE (ELBOW) SET FOR REHAB ASSIGNMENT


Tampa Bay Rays SP Matt Moore is close to starting a rehab assignment as he moves closer to making it back to the team from last season’s Tommy John surgery.  Moore is likely to need 3-4 rehab starts before he will be activated which means a late June or early July return is most likely.

Analysis:  I was never a big fan of Moore despite very good strikeout stuff due to the fact his control is horrendous and that figures to be an even bigger issue in coming back from the surgery.  Moore also doesn’t pitch deep into games which costs him wins as well so overall we are looking at nothing more than an SP 4 at best.

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: NOAH SYNDEGAARD THE REAL DEAL

Well that was impressive.  Anyone who watched Noah Syndegaard's fourth major league start for the New York Mets on Wednesday saw it all out of the 22-year-old fireballer.  Not only did Syndegaard toss 7.1 scoreless inning while yielding only six hits and no walks while striking out six, he also went 3-for-4 at the dish which included a monstrous 430-foot home run.  While the hits and home run don't count for fantasy baseball purposes, the excellent pitching has as Syndegaard has fully cemented his spot with the Mets going to a six-man rotation to accommodate him and also keep his innings in check.  While Syndegaard was disappointed outwardly about not getting promoted by the Mets last season, it was a crucial year of maturing and growing in 2014 as he got hit around somewhat at Triple-A Las Vegas which is about as bit an offensive league as there is in all of organized baseball.  Despite the offensive leanings of the league however, Syndegaard's 98-mph fastball and knee-buckling offspeed stuff would not be denied. 

From the start this season in the minors, Syndegaard went wild as he pitched to a 1.82 ERA in 29.2 innings at Triple-A while striking out 34 batters in those frames.  Thus when Dillon Gee went down with a groin injury, Syndegaard got the call and in his four starts, proved he is completely up to the task of being a top notch guy right away.  After yesterday's gem, which incuded a 100-mph offering, Syndegaard's numbers read as follows:

2-2
2.55 ERA
1.09 WHIP
22 K in 24.2 IP

Right now Syndegaard is showing ace-like ability which has been his outlook from those in the game who consider him a can't miss power pitching star.  The fastball has consistently sat between 95-98 and touches 100 occasionally like it did on Wednesday.  He also has shown better control than advertised with only 5 walks and his two-and-four-seam fastball is immense.  The six-man rotation will help keep Syndegaard in the majors the rest of the season which is tremendous and he looks ready to join Jacob DeGrom and Matt Harvey to give the Mets a crazy top three stable of arms to dominate baseball for the next few years.  The kid is that good.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Brian McCann:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .254.  With Stephen Vogt slumping a bit, McCann is staking HIS claim to be the top-rated catcher in fantasy baseball this season.  Just a sad state of affairs behind the dish.

Billy Burns:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .302. Everyone is asleep at their computers on this guy who went yard for the second time this week to go with his immense steals potential and .300 average.  The home runs are pretty much a fluke as Burns hit only TWO home runs in over 1,700 minor league at-bats.  With Coco Crisp out for who knows how long (but it will be awhile), this is a fun story that will continue to provide thrills. 

Tyler Clippard:  1 ER in earning 9th save with an ERA of 2.57.  T-minus a week until Sean Doolittle is closing games. 

C.C. Sabbathia:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 5.67.  While we all know Sabbathia was no longer a fantasy baseball ace, he may not even be an SP 5 or 6. 

Albert Pujols:  1/2 with his 9th HR while hitting .238.  Two months into the season now and Pujols' average is showing little to no signs of improvement so we could be fully reaching that point in his illustrious career where he is a home run specialist and that's all.  Which puts Pujols out of first base consideration and into UTIL or CI territory.

C.J. Wilson:  6 IP 2 ER 1 ER 5 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.18.  Effectively wild.  Wilson once again making a career out of doing the opposite of what is expected. 

Brandon Moss:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .227.  Was hoping Moss could give us even .260 but he has tested even my patience as a prime apologist of his this season.

Dustin Ackley:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .182.  It is just not going to happen here.  Gave this more than enough time waiting for the breakout that never arrived.

Mike Zunino:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .191.  Almost like Zunino really just closes his eyes and hopes to make contact.  On the odd times he gets lucky enough to do so, it goes a country mile.

Corey Kluber:  7 IP 7 H 3 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 3.52.  Yeah we are all kicking ourselves for not trying to buy low harder earlier in the season when the ugly starts piled up.  Honestly I never thought the Kluber owner would let him go without holding me up, so high was the draft price but damn those K's are gorgeous.

Cody Allen:  scoreless ninth for his tenth save with an ERA of 5.85.  The WHIP Is 1.65 and Terry Francona is driving us crazy in pitching Allen in setup a few times in suggesting maybe a change was at hand.  It is like Allen is the new Joe Borowski.  That is a name that will send shivers down more than a few spines. 

Starling Marte:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .279.  Who knew that the most valuable Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder this season would be Marte and not Mr. McCutchen?

Jung-Ho Kang:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .308.  The average will make a consistent drop southward as Kang strikes out way too much but he is finding a power comfort zone with three home runs and the doubles piling up. 

Gregory Polanco:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .247.  Polanco's recent slump got him pushed down toward the bottom of the order which stinks but he has run wild this season and there is more power where this came from.  Just very disappointed in the contact rate after Polanco was a strong average guy in the minor leagues.

Ian Kennedy:  7 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 7.15.  You really will earn the wrath of the fantasy baseball community when you blow while pitching half your games in Petco Park. 

Brandon Belt:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .306.  Belt is BELTING everything in his path right now and unlike someone like Dustin Ackley, the Giants first baseman has shown that he can be a very good fantasy baseball bat if he can just figure out how to stay healthy.  Starting to kick myself for not picking him up after home run number two.

Shelby Miller:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 1 K with an ERA of 1.48.  More of the same from Miller who is embarrassing opposing hitters just as much as he is the St. Louis Cardinals.  There is a regression coming as this was a Mike Leake-like April 2015 start but to the 3.25 range so don't go crazy trying to sell high.

Chris Heston:  7.1 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.82.  Good luck trying to figure out what this kid will do from one start to the next.  Imagine owning both Heston and Jimmy Nelson?

Hanley Ramirez:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .257.  The nagging injuries are starting to pile up which became a negative issue the last two seasons for HanRam.  He is becoming much more of a slugger as he ages, with the home runs spiking at the expense of his average. 

Eduardo Rodriguez:  7.2 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Rodriguez was downright electric in his first MLB start and on the road in Texas no less.  I told you all to pick him up in all formats but to stash him in watching this on paper bad matchup.  Rodriguez passed with flying colors and I would use him next time out given what we saw.  Kid has tremendous control which is rare for a young pitcher.  This is especially true for someone who can throw hard and rack up some strikeouts like Rodriguez can. 

Nick Martinez:  7 IP 9 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.03.  Can't wait until the regression gods go all Mike Leake on this guy.

Chris Davis:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .220.  Davis is doing his scorched earth home run thing right now so keep riding it. 

Chris Sale:  7.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 12 K with an ERA of 3.66.  Chris Sale is now doing his best Corey Kluber impersonation right now.  Or maybe it is the other way around. 

Adam Eaton:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .238.  Adam Eaton is looking like the leadoff version of Dustin Ackley.  He better keep this up.

Adam LaRoche:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .241.  The launching point is close to being reached for this second half monster.  Pick him up off waivers where available.

Mike Wright:  5 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 2 K with an ERA of 1.40.  Wright was good for the third staright start so in deeper leagues I would fall in line with the kid.

 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL WEEKLY ADDS: 5/28/2015

Another week gone by as we look at the latest batch of prime pickups to help keep your fantasy baseball team competitive. 

Eduardo Rodriguez:  The kid was throwing a K rate north of 8.00 and posted a 2.98 ERA on the farm for the Red Sox who are desperate for pitching help.  Rodriguez has a chance to nail down a rotation spot but of course tread carefully in the brutal AL East.

Mark Reynolds:  Those in NL-only formats who need a home run boost need look no further than the veteran Reynolds who can still slam bombs with the best of them.  Obviously you have to be sure you have average covered before diving in as Reynolds remain a major liability there.

Cameron Maybin:  Maybin is getting on a roll again and is up to 5 homers with a respectable enough of an average at .262.  He will continue to get plenty of playing time in the rebuilding Atlanta Braves lineup and can do enough to warrant inclusion in those formats that use five outfielders. 

Nick Ahmed:  You need to always be on the lookout for shortstop options and Ahmed is hitting .290 in May and has homered twice in the last week. 

Jake McGee:  After Brad Boxberger imploded on Wednesday, it might be time to see if McGee was sent to the wire in your league. 

Joe Panik:  Panik is already a .300 hitter and the power could start showing up soon enough as he reaches his prime years.  Right now 10 home runs is the best your can hope for but the counting stats could be very useful batting near the top of the San Francisco lineup.

Justin Turner:  With Juan Uribe out of town, it looks like Turner and not Alex Guerrero will be given first crack at third base.  Turner is very similar to Joe Panik but with better speed/

Chase Smith:  With Fernando Rodney blowing up again the other day and walking around with an ERA north of 7.00, Carson Smith is just waiting for the chance to take over the ninth inning.  Smith has tremendous strikeout stuff and would seem like the perfect fit as a closer but Rodney is simply too awful to be allowed to go on much longer there.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO SHOW: EDUARDO RODRIGUEZ SP BOSTON RED SOX


With their rotation arguably the worst performing five-some in terms of salary, the Boston Red Sox were desperate for some sort of starting pitching relief as evidenced by their expected promotion of pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez to make his debut Thursday for the team.  While the Red Sox are saying for now that it is just a spot start, Rodriguez has the opportunity to stick around given how brutal the rotation has been all the way around.  The number 59 prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball American, the 22-year-old Rodriguez has been very good at Triple-A with a 2.98 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 48.1 innings this season.  Blessed with very good control for a young pitcher, Rodriguez has walked only 7 in those innings and registered a 9.40 K rate for the team in 6 Double-A starts last season.  Of course the reason Rodriguez is listed as the number 69 prospect is that he bombed out in the Baltimore Orioles system, posting ERA’s north of 4.00 during his stint there in 2014 and in 2013.  Still there are some things to like here as Rodriguez has posted only a 1.30 BB/9 in 2015 and the K rate of 8.19 still checks out nicely as well.  Pitching in the American League and the rough AL East is very tough as we all know however and Rodriguez would be a whole lot more interesting if he were coming up in a National League organization.  Those in AL-only formats though can take a stab here and stash him on the bench for Thursday in order to see how the kid does.  For the rest of us in regular mixed setups, leave him on the wire for now and react accordingly if Rodriguez looks comfortable. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Yoenis Cespedes:  2/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .291.  Cespedes is not going to reach 30 home runs while calling Detroit home but he has tried to run more the last couple of weeks, albeit with not the greatest success rate.  If he would have stayed with Boston, Cespedes would have been a clear outfielder 1 but he is nothing more than a 2 in Comerica Park.

Scott Kazmir:  three scoreless innings before exiting with tightness in pitching shoulder with an ERA of 2.93.  Kazmir had an ERA over 5.00 heading into this one in the month of May as he was already doing the fade which is part of his profile due to his slight size.  The shoulder is big trouble as Kazmir has a very long injury history.  Instead of me telling you to sell the guy over the summer, maybe I should have said the end of May.  We have already seen the best out of Kazmir this season is my opinion. 

Evan Gattis:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .218.  Gattis has been showing off the expected power and he is putting hits together at the highest rate since the season began so now is the time to pick him up.  It looks like it took him a month-and-a-half to get used to AL pitching which makes sense since Gattis did not have a ton of major league experience anyway with the Atlanta Braves.

Chris Davis:  2/4 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .216.  Forget the PED bust last season as we have now with Nelson Cruz and Ryan Braun.  Davis is doing what he is expected to do in hitting for above-average power with a hideous average.  Guys like this can kill you in doing irreversible damage to your team average which means you need 30 home runs bare minimum which Davis is not guaranteed to do.

Joe Panik:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .297.  Prior to the season I talked up Panik a bit as a guy who is a terrific pure hitter but who lacks a lot of fantasy baseball juice in the power and steals category to be anything more than a backup right now.  If he can grow into some more power, which is possible since he is now just getting to his prime years, we can revisit this.

Christian Yelich:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .209.  Nice sign here and again I am going to remain a strong Yelich apologist.  Everything has gone to crap in Miami this season outside of Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton's home runs.  The tools are just too good.  Buy low heavily.

Gerrit Cole:  7 IP 7 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.11.  Cole has been money all season and is already moving close to fantasy baseball ace status if he can just put a whole year of this together.  Watch out for 2016 when Cole could make a move on the top five among pitchers.  He is that good. 

Charlie Blackmon:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .262.  Now up to 7 home runs and 10 steals as Blackmon tries to prove 2014 was no fluke.  I put Blackmon in the outfielder 3 realm for this season as I was not a true believer but I can't argue too strongly against a 7/10 ratio that is on pace for 21/30. 

Nolan Arenado:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .287.  Arenado is starting to look like the first two weeks of April Arenado again.  Still curious to see where this all ends up but only in a is he a 25 HR or 30-plus HR guy.

Todd Frazier:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .260.  Prior to the season, I told you all Frazier is more of a .260 hitter to go with all those home runs as opposed to what he did in 2014 by putting up a .273 mark.  Well what do you know?

Mike Leake:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.66.  We have heard of the BABIP police coming to roost but this is getting ridiculous.  Don't even be in the same room with Leake right now as the roof is guaranteed to cave in.

John Axford:  scoreless ninth for his 8th save with an ERA of 0.75.  Since when does going to Colorado help save a fledgling pitcher's career?

Josh Donaldson:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .314.  Owning Donaldson this season is like being one of those side effects patience using Cialis.  If it last for more than four hours....Yup live is good as a Donaldson owner.

Jeff Samardzjia:  7 IP 8 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.84.  The ratios are all steadily coming down now for Samardzjia who was pretty darn brutal in April.  Could be finding a comfort zone like any other hitter or pitcher in a new locale.  Cautiously optimistic for now but again don't even think of Chicago Cub numbers anymore.

Mike Moustakas:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .329.  One of those classic cases of a guy who is apparently trading power for contact and a boosted average.  What Moustakas was doing prior was simply not working for him overall as he barely hit over .200.  Yes the power is down but Moustakas has been fantasy baseball useful since the start of the season with this new approach.  The home runs could start flying out at a moment's notice as well if Moustakas continues to get more comfortable with his new swing.

Alex Rodriguez:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .276.  The Yankees want AROD to go away on one hand but on the other he is their best power hitter right now along with Mark Teixeira.  All of these steroid guys seems to come back and kill it the next season they play which is annoying but the trend is startling.

Brian McCann:  1/2 with his sixth HR while hitting .239.  Yawn.  Although I shouldn't say that as catcher has been so hideous this season that I should instead say "Yeah!"

Michael Pineda:  6.2 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.36.  Pineda reverses the two-start slide that had me worried his fairytale season was kaput already.  Impressive that he collected 8 K's against a lineup that doesn't whiff much as well.  Back on track.

Dustin Pedroia:  2/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .290.  Four of Pedroia's home runs have come in two games.  Maybe if we can get 6 more games like that we will be very satisfied.

Carlos Santana:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .221.  Right now you would take Brian McCann over Santana who was drafted four rounds earlier this past spring.  Really tired of Santana's act at this stage.  Will likely never own him again as I can't stomach the awful average and K rate anymore.

Carlos Carrasco:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.24.  Look out rest of baseball as Carlos Carrasco has found his 2015 equilibrium.  Imagine facing the 1-2 punch of Carrasco and Danny Salazar in a five-game series in the playoffs?

Lucas Duda:  3/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .305.  Now up to four home runs over the last week.  Average still well north of .280, smashing lefties, and power lifting off.  Enjoy the ride.

Michael Cuddyer:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .262.  Like with Lucas Duda, Cuddyer's power swing is falling into line as well.  If someone got tired of waiting for that to come around, be prudent and make the add.

Noah Syndegaard:  7.1 IP 6 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.55.  He also smashed a home run which of course doesn't count but it just goes to show you how much of an awesome day if was to be Noah Syndegaard.  There are a whole lot more K's where this guy came from and Syndegaard has played his last game in the minors unless its a rehab assignment.  Jacob De-Grom-Matt Harvey-Noah Syndegaard-and eventually Steven Matz.  That is scary for the next five years.

Nelson Cruz:  1/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .341.  Of course Cruz homered again.  Its the next day on the calendar. 

Felix Hernandez:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.91.  Sorry you can have Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer all you want.  Give me this durable horse every day of the week and twice on Sunday.  What an amazing talent who is engineering a remarkable career. 

Chris Archer:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.12.  Just sit there and stare at this beauty for awhile.  If you are an Archer owner, be aware of the drool coming out of your mouth.  I can't blame you.

Mark Trumbo:  1/2 with his 8th HR while hitting .265.  Trumbo is kind of just there now as a boring veteran guy who no one ever feels happy about drafting. 

Yasmani Tomas:  1/4 while hitting .345.  For all the concerns we had over Tomas' average this spring as he piled up the strikeouts that made Mark Reynolds shake his head, here he is batting .345 but with almost no power which was supposed to be his calling card?  Look for those tow numbers to veer in the opposite direction soon enough like two ships passing in the night.

Kolten Wong:  1/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .316.  Kolten Wong should not be taken out of the leadoff spot for the next five years.  Mike Matheney has a little Don Mattingly stubbornness in him but even he has to realize how Wong's skills translate perfectly to the leadoff spot.  This is a guy I spoke very highly of all winter and right now he have to add Wong's name to the recent list of post-hype sleepers made good.  I always tell you that guys like this who have talent but flop upon their first go-round habitually are tremendous investments. 

Jason Heyward:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .239.  The Cardinals have Heyward buried all the way to the number 8 slot as they try to get him as far out of sight as they can as the fans continue to chant "Shelby Miller, Shelby Miller!" 

Brad Ziegler:  second blown save with 1 ER in .1 IP with an ERA of 1.25.  Ziegler was brutal in getting only one out but giving up two hits and two walks.  It was one of those outings where the usually dominant Ziegler's mindset to close has to be questioned at least a bit given how epic the meltdown was.  Keep a close watch on Randall Delgado who I think can be an All-Star closer if given the chance.  Store that name away. 

Andrew Cashner:  7 IP 8 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.00.  I guess part of the reason Cashner never gets his due as one of the better starters in fantasy baseball has to do with his annually ugly records which this season stands at 2-7.  Win-Loss record should be blotted out of a stats column, while ERA, K rate, and WHIP should be in blue highlighter. 

Alex Guerrero:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .310.  The Dodgers trade away Juan Uribe to open up third base for.....Justin Turner?  Hey we will take what we can get out of Guerrero who continues to pound the baseball when he gets to play.  Seems so simple to us to play him everyday but we have wasted way too much space on this issue already this season.

Alex Wood:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.50.  The strikeouts are inching back up but they continue to be way down from last season, with the hit rate also still elevated.  After I hyped Wood heavily prior to 2015, this just means that he will win the Cy Young in 2016.

Zack Greinke:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.48.  It took seven years but maybe the fantasy baseball community is finally behind my annual argument that Zack Greinke is one of the best pitchers in baseball who annually is the most affordable ace in the game.

Max Scherzer:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 1.51.  The fact Scherzer struck out over 230 batters in the American League made me opine that he could go over the 250 mark in the National League this season given the weaker lineups he faces in the non-DH league.  Right on schedule.

Jon Lester:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.30.  Lester was game but Scherzer takes the strikeout duel in this one.  Seriously though, Lester has fully rebounded from the ugly April and is firing BB's like we all expected he would. 

Bryce Harper:  1/3 with his 18th HR while hitting .331.  I am wondering why any pitcher just doesn't walk Harper every time up right now the way he is hitting this season.  Amazing stuff going on here and it comes in the season that Harper's value dropped just a bit which explodes the payoff for those who got him in the draft.




 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: SCOTT KAZMIR SELLING HIGH WINDOW CLOSED AMID TIGHTNESS IN SHOULDER

When it came to the fantasy baseball prospects for Oakland A's SP Scott Kazmir, the story remained the same from his tremendous 2014 comeback campaign.  While I had all the respect in the world for the way Kazmir came back from the brink as far as his fledgling career was concerned, the problem with owning the guy is that his very short and slight frame would wear done much more quickly than other guys in his pitching range.  We saw this from Kazmir last season when he lit up baseball the first half of the season in putting himself into early Cy Young consideration, showcasing a fastball that once again touched the upper 90's after vanishing for a few years under a hail of injuries that turned him into a baseball nomad.  Eventually though the innings piled up and Kazmir fell hard the second half of the season due to fatigue as his ERA and WHIP soared and the K Rate dropped sharply.  It was with this backdrop that I advised a very firm plan for investing in Kazmir for 2015.  While I did expect a big April and May like usual, the idea was to sell high by Memorial Day before the fatigue or injuries set in.  Well Kazmir did not make it out of May as he came down with tightness in his pitching shoulder in today's start and will now head for some testing.  Even before the shoulder issue, Kazmir was already starting to see his numbers go in the wrong direction.  He posted a supreme 0.99 ERA in April which jived with his early performance last season but than May saw Kazmir shoot way up toward a horrid 5.14 ERA.  Now the shoulder is injured and we have big trouble.  Guys with the slight build of Kazmir are always trouble and he accelerated the issue this season.  Keep this in mind when it comes to investing in him or other short starters in the future.  For now if you are a Kazmir owner, you can forget about trading him.  Bide your time and hope for a quick return so that trade value can build up again. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: ALEX GUERRERO FINALLY GETTING HIS WELL-DESERVED SHOT

For the first two months of the 2015 fantasy baseball season, we have seen one of the more hair-pulling storylines taking place out West in Dodgers-Land under the maniacal management style of Don Mattingly.  Doing his best Dusty Baker impersonation in terms of leaning way too heavily on aging veterans at the expense of upstart youngsters, Mattingly quickly drew the ire of fantasy baseball owners of Cuban power-hitting infielder Alex Guerrero who began slamming home runs almost every time he got a chance to play.  Which unfortunately was not that often as Mattingly stubbornly stuck by fading veteran Juan Uribe.  As a result Guerrero became a part-time player who was tough to own since you were never guaranteed he would be playing on any particular day.  Eventually though, Mattingly couldn't ignore reality much longer as Guerrero hit two more home runs over the last week which helped put into motion the just-completed trade between the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves where the latter received Uribe in a six-player deal.  The trade itself is nothing major as Alberto Callaspo is the only other notable name (if you count Eric Stults as an impact player, than you need to pay attention more) but he will be just a backup in L.A. 

The bottom line now here is that Guerrero should play everyday at third base and thus be able to build on his already tremendous start.  On the season now Guerrero has hit 8 home runs to go with a nice .310 batting average in only 83 at-bats.  This kid is a clear difference-making hitter if he continues to play everyday and really the only issue remaining is for Mattingly to stop taking him out of games early which he has routinely done this season.  Otherwise Guerrero could hit 25 home runs and collect 80 RBI with a useful average which is tremendous at a shallow spot like third base.  A good day for Guerrero owners and one that was clearly something that should have been done back in April when this story began to take shape. 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

David Price:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.97.  Price has been beyond dominant his last two times out and he remains the longtime fantasy baseball ace he always has been.  The strikeouts are fluctuating more than ever from start-to-start but that is just a minor quibble.

Jesse Chavez:  8 IP 5 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.44.  Chavez should have been picked up weeks ago as he was pitching like this is the rotation the first half of last season as well.  Fatigue will become a factor during the summer just like last season as well since Chavez spent a lot of time in the bullpen a year ago but overall this is a guy who doesn't give up a lot of hits and can strike out enough guys to be useful in all formats.

Matt Kemp:  2/5 while hitting .255.  Still stuck on one home run as Kemp has been the one import hitter for the Padres who can't solve Petco Park.  He made our Bust list this season if you remember. 

Matt Shoemaker:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.44.  The WHIP is a very good and Shoemaker has struck out 48 batters in 51.1 innings which checks out nicely as well.  An insane 13 home runs is all you need to know here though as Shoemaker is the new Marco Estrada in that we chase the good stuff and K rate but the home runs take most of the shine away.  I would not buy low.

Joc Pedeson:  2/4 while hitting .257.  If you had benched Pederson when he went cold the last couple of weeks, get him back in as he is well over .300 the last six games.

Adrian Gonzalez:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .344.  Boy did that home run rate slow up.  Gonzalez (post-San Diego) was a bit in outlier home run rate territory in April before he has settled back to his old form in May.  Still you can't argue with .344 in the average department and 35 RBI.  Remains a locked in top 5-7 fantasy baseball first baseman.

Julio Teheran:  8 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.91.  One step forward and one GIANT step back.  WHIP is now up to 1.56 as Teheran is a complete disaster you need to bench or cut outright.  Something could be wrong with his arm or fatigue could be a factor since Teheran has thrown a lot of innings at a young age.  Either way it is not working.  I would buy low more on Shoemaker than this guy.

Clayton Kershaw:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Nice to finally show up to the 2015 fantasy baseball season Mr. Kershaw. 

Mike Pelfrey:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.77.  No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO!

Hunter Pence:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .326.  This is the beauty of Hunter Pence.  He always shows up and does his job, despite us always seeming to want more. 

Brandon Belt:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .301.  We are now two weeks into this stretch for Belt.  Four months to go and even more importantly, four healthy months to go.

Aramis Ramirez:  2/2 with his sixth HR while hitting .236.  Amazing how we all have certain guys we always come back to.  With yours truly still waiting for David Wright to come back (and waiting and waiting), Ramirez looks like an attractive option. 

Madison Bumgarner:  6 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.00.  I am always holding my breath this season with Bumgarner off his 270 innings 2014 but he might be that freak who can withstand it.  But only to a point as Justin Verlander or C.C. Sabbathia can tell you.

Denard Span:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .322.  Usually Span is a 5-8 home run guy but he already smacked his fifth with four months to go.  2014 might have been just an appetizer.

Bryce Harper:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .331.  I am actually not so much impressed with the power out of Harper but instead more glowing about the batting average.  Yup it all came together.  Like we knew it would.

Kris Bryant:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .281.  Starting to wonder who I will have more envy of not owning going forward:  Bryant or Mike Trout?

Dexter Fowler:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .251.  We all could have owned Fowler as he was sitting on the wire in almost all leagues in April.  That guy in first place got him.  Damn.

Hector Rondon:  scoreless ninth for the win with an ERA of 3.43.  Two scoreless innings since his last blown save.  Back off the hot seat for now.

Mark Teixeira:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .243.  With 35 RBI and all the home runs, Tex is maintaining his solid comeback 2015 where he is one of the better UTIL or CI guys. 

Adam Warren:  6.1 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.91.  It looks like Warren has figured out this whole starting pitching thing but Masahiro Tanaka's return likely will put him back in the bullpen where he belongs from a baseball standpoint. 

Nick Hundley:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .317.  Since Walt Weiss absolutely abhors Wilin Rosario, Nick Hundley looks mighty attractive all of a sudden at catcher.  Moving from Petco Park to Coors Field, a hitter can't make a better park jump.

Michael Lorenzen:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.12.  Moved back to rotation from bullpen for the former 100th round draft pick.  Mediocre K rate and lack of any track record makes this very dicey.  Pitching is so deep that you shouldn't take chances on a guy like this.

Prince Fielder:  3/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .371.  I guess Fielder is eating meat again.  Prior to 2014, myself and everyone else went nuts in saying Fielder would be back to his old 40-home run self moving from Detroit to the great launching pad in Texas.  Well 2014 was a washout and early 2015 saw more of power outage from Fielder.  May arrives and it is like Milwaukee Brewers heyday all over again.  Maybe Fielder is finally healthy and adapted to his new park which means the rest of the way could be tremendous. 

Jason Kipnis:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .335.  Unreal production here from Kipnis who is hitting everything with authority.  We are forgetting 2014 more and more by the day as Kipnis' immense talent is taking over fully.  Those who bought low which didn't include me, are being immensely rewarded.  While the average will come down, the rest of the numbers should remain potent.

Shawn Tolleson:  scoreless ninth for his fifth save with an ERA of 2.82.  Goodbye Neftali.  Won't be seeing you anytime soon.

Danny Salazar:  5.2 IP 6 H 3 H 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.65.  Always have to write about every Salazar start as it is quite the sight to be seen.  The control has gotten just slightly wonky the last few outings but wow those K's are hot.

Jose Abreu:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .274.  This is one of those classic "It's about time" home runs.  Abreu has been pretty ordinary at times this season but you can still forget about buying low since his owner won't bite due to the still vivid memories of 2014.  He will be just fine.

Josh Donaldson:  4/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .315.  My selection for this season's AL MVP is back on that award-winning track.  All Donaldson has to do is print a poster with this box score and he is good to go. 

 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ANTHONY RENDON (KNEE) PLAYS THREE INNINGS OF SIM GAME

                                               

Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon played three full innings of a simulated game on Tuesday which was by far his biggest gain playing-wise since coming down with a knee injury way back on March 12th.  Rendon has not played in one game this season as he has been stuck on the DL with the knee which was than followed by an oblique injury during an earlier rehab try.  The current plan is for Rendon to return sometime in early June barring any other setbacks.

Analysis:  Finally.  We could be nearing an end to an excruciating deal for all Rendon owners who have been missing their first or second round five-tool bat all season.  His production was a huge loss and can't entirely be made up given how much time he has missed but Rendon can carry a team when he does get back onto the field which could be soon. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JONATHAN LUCROY NEARING RETURN FROM TOE INJURY

                                                  

Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy is expected to start a rehab assignment on Wednesday and play in four games there before rejoining the team Monday.  Lucroy has been out since April 12th with a broken toe but he had no complications while working his way back.

Analysis:  Great news here as Lucroy has been sorely missed by his owners.  The catching performances at the plate this season have been utterly horrendous and the worst we have seen in years, so an infusion from Lucroy is needed.  While he doesn't do any one thing great, Lucroy can help in all of the standard categories.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JOSE FERNANDEZ (ELBOW) HEADED FOR EXTENDED SPRING TRAINING

                                                    

Miami Marlins ace SP Jose Fernandez will head to extended spring training starting on Monday as he ramps up his rehab from last season's Tommy John surgery.  The current plan is for Fernandez to make three or four appearances at extended spring training and than to start a rehab assignment that could have him back with the team by July 1.

Analysis:  Those who bought very low on Fernandez in fantasy baseball drafts this spring could get a full three months out of this former top five ace.  Fernandez is truly a sight to be seen on the mound with his amazing strikeout stuff but one has to wonder how long he might need before he is back to full strength upon his return.  Overall though, Fernandez could easily be an ace quickly after returning, so good is his repertoire. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: JOSE BAUTISTA OUTFIELDER TORONTO BLUE JAYS


Prior to the 2014 fantasy baseball season, we listed Toronto Blue Jays power-hitting outfielder Jose Bautista as a BUST candidate to be avoided in drafts.  After all some very disturbing trends were beginning to emerge surrounding Bautista, one health-related and other performance.  On the health front, Bautista had just finished a 2013 campaign where he spent a large chunk of the season on the DL for the second year in a row.  The fact Bautista was now aging a bit in his early-30’s made this a trend that was more than a little worrisome. 

In addition to the injuries, 2013 also had Bautista posting his third straight season of a declining home run rate.  For a guy whose value is almost completely dependent on home runs and RBI, this was an even bigger problem for anyone interested in investing in Bautisa for 2014.  However Bautista wouild get the last laugh as he put forth a terrific comeback year last season as he swatted 35 home runs to go with 103 RBI and 101 runs scored while batting a very solid for him .286.  Bautista’s performance last season put him right back at the forefront of fantasy baseball drafts for 2015, seeing his name called on average in the middle of the second round.  With those heightened expectations came a 2015 season where more of the same was anticipated even though Bautista was now another year older at 34. 

Fast forward to present day and what we have so far is the disappointing and heading-toward-bust Bautista that I told you all to avoid prior to last season.  Heading into Tuesday’s games, Bautista’s numbers read like this:

.215

7 HR

25 RBI

29 R

1 SB

No doubt those stats are way down from what was anticipated from Bautista and there are a few reasons why things are going badly.  The first and most troubling is the fact Bautista has been dealing with a persistent shoulder injury that has now required a cortisone shot and kept him from playing the field.  While Bautista has not hit the DL yet, he has missed a bunch of games here and there when the shoulder flares.  That is more than a little bit annoying as Bautista’s owners don’t want to have to keep checking on his playing status on a daily basis.  No doubt the shoulder is also hurting his performance at the plate as Bautista is on pace for only 24 home runs, which while not a terrible sum, is clearly not worthy of his second round status.  And then there is the average which at .215 is horrific and takes the shine away from the few home runs Bautista has hit.  Bautista has been feeling some effects of bad BABIP luck with his very low .223 mark there but he still is striking out at a 19.4 percent clip which would be his highest tally there since 2009.  When you put all these variables together, you get a very rough start to the season for Bautista and his owners.

Right now all Bautista owners have to grin and bear it when it comes to the shoulder and the hitting issues.  The power is still as good as it gets in baseball but that is only the case when Bautista is fully healthy.  Turning 35 this October, Bautista is going to unfortunately continue dealing with health woes as he ages.  That is just a fact of life as a professional athlete and Bautista is no different.  Don’t trade him as he has zero value now but I would absolutely look to get our from under this if a hot streaks begins soon.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Nori Aoki:  4/4 with his second HR and 11th SB while hitting .312.  Can't do any better than this from an outfielder 3.  The return of Hunter Pence could have been a big threat to Aoki's standing but the Giants would be beyond dumb to curtail his playing time.  Perfect fit for Aoki who is playing his best baseball since he was a rookie.

Khris Davis:  3/3 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .245.  When Davis was not hitting home runs in April and most of May, his already bored fantasy baseball owners dumped him overboard which was completely understanding since that was the only thing he brought to the table.  Feel free to see if this is the start of a hot streak but Davis is nothing but a borderline outfielder 4 in formats that use five options.

Ryan Braun:  1/3 with his 12th HR and 5th SB while hitting .272.  If this is truly a clean Ryan Braun, you have to wonder why he needed to turn to juice in the first place and completely tarnish his name.

Tim Lincecum:  5 IP 5 H 4 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.56.  The WHIP continues to inch up as it is now a somewhat shaky 1.25 and the ERA is starting to follow suit.  While I applaud Lincecum to final giving in to his actual post-Cy Young abilities, he is still a very risky start any time out with the fastball now averaging an unreal 89 after his 97 heyday.  Ice your arm guys.  Look what happened here.

Joe Kelly:  7 ER in 1.2 IP with an ERA of 6.24.  There is no sense having a fastball that out of the blue started touching 98 and racking up a K per inning pitch despite moving from the NL to the AL if you can't get anyone else out.  My goodness the Red Sox pitching is a joke and Kelly is the biggest clown of all with Justin Masterson injured.

Denard Span:  1/3 with his fourth HR while hitting .316.  Right at the top of the most underappreciated player in both real and fantasy baseball.  Return from injury coincided with ridiculous hot streak the Nats are on and Span is doing a five-tool thing right now as well. 

Wilson Ramos:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .285.  Ramos is starting to tap into his very good power which is why you want to own the guy and grit your teeth through all of those injuries in the first place.

Kris Bryant:  2/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .282. Hitting home runs, stealing bases, hitting for average, still only a rookie.  Where have we seen this before?  I think he is a Los Angeles Angels outfielder.

Tanner Roak:  5 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.49.  We all know that Roark doesn't strike anyone out but in those leagues that don't have innings caps, the guy has more than proven to be a terrific pitcher in a Kyle Lohse prior to 2015 sort of way.

Hector Rondon:  perfect inning in non-save chance with an ERA of 3.60.  Likely a move by Joe Maddon to get Rondon a breather from a save chance while also getting in some work and it looked good to me.  No change happening yet but again Rondon has to convert the next save.

Tsyoshi Wada:  5.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.70.  Wada is a Chicago Cubs pitcher and he strikes out a batter per inning while bringing good stuff.  Ummm yes pick hi, up.  In all formats too.  I really like Wada's arm and he reminds me of a young Chan Ho Park with the K's.

Brett Gardner:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .285.  Gardner has been tremendous and now he gets to bat the hallowed leadoff spot with Jacoby Ellsbury injured for an undisclosed amount of time.  So far Gardner has been just as good, if not better than his big 2014 when he finally hit double-digits in home runs with 17.  As an added bonus, Gardner has been very aggressive stealing bases again like his old days of 40-plus.  At this point we have to say that Gardner has been the rare player to graduate to another level (outfielder 3 to outfielder 2) despite passing the age of 30.

Slade Heathcott:  2/5 with his first HR while hitting .417.  The Yankees were drooling all over themselves when talking up Slade Heathcott as a top outfield prospect just two years ago but than the shin dulled badly with some poor minor league results.  Still Heathcott has tremendous athleticism and power that is developing so he could do a poor Brett Gardner impersonation and be borderline fantasy baseball relevant if he keeps it up.

Brian McCann:  1/3 with his fifth HR while hitting .235.  McCann is kind of just there at this point in his suddenly boring career.  A few home runs here or there.  Lots of shifts.  Low batting average.  Rinse and repeat. 

Nathan Eovaldi:  7 IP 8 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.27.  Life's great mysteries.  How the pyramids were built. Where did Stonehenge come from?  How does Nathan Eovaldi strike out so few batters despite a 98-mph fastball? 

Lucas Duda:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .294.  That is now three home runs over the least week as we reach the launching pad part of Lucas Duda's season with the home run ball.

Wilmer Flores:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .252.  Since errors don't count in fantasy baseball, Wilmer Flores is making himself quite usable with his home run swing at a shallow position as shortstop is.  If Terry Collins had more courage to move him up in the order, his average is capable of being better as well.

Michael Cuddyer:  1/2 with his 4th HR while hitting .250.  Not sure what all the hysteria has been regarding Cuddyer.  Did you really think he was going to put up numbers even remotely close to his Colorado Rockies slashes?  Please!  What Cuddyer is right now is what I said he would be which is his old Minnesota Twins 20-home runs self.  Nothing more other than a slight average jump.

Charlie Blackmon:  1/3 with 3 steals (10 for season) while hitting .267.  It was like Blackmon tried to do everything in one game to refute the firm evidence that he was playing way over his head last April and into May.  Sorry bro not working.    Outfielder 3 you stay.

Nolan Arenado:  3/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .287.  Arenado has settled in now after his big first two weeks of the season.  Average is right where it should be now and the home runs will continue to go out at a good but not great clip.  Still would love to have him.

Todd Fraizier:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .258.  Applaud the fact Frazier went into batting average mode in laying off the home runs for awhile since we don't like looking at a .230 mark despite big power.  Now that we are close to where he should be given the K rate, Frazier now knows he has the green light to swing hard again. 

Marlon Byrd:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .211.  Byrd having 10 home runs is one of those stats where you look up and say "holy crap Marlon Byrd has ten home runs?"

John Axford:  scoreless ninth for his seventh save with an ERA of 0.82.  We survived yet another one Axford fellow owners.  Starting to think we are headed for disaster any minute now.

George Springer:  3/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .224.  Love the leadoff look with Jose Altuve operating out of the two spot but alas this is temporary.  Springer is inching the average up which is nice to see and the power is holding steady as expected. Still very bright future ahead but who would you rather own going forward for the next ten years:  Springer or Joc Pederson?

Steve Pearce:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .192.  The only reason we even mention Pearce now is the fact he has already or is adding second base eligibility.  Yeah still not interested.

Dallas Keuchel:  8 IP 6 H 4 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.98.  Even when he loses Dallas Keuchel is still great.

Jesse Hahn:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 B 5 K with an ERA of 3.69.  Oakland......the AL version of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Chicago Cubs for starting pitchers. 

Tyson Ross:  6 IP 10 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.84.  Ross just can't see, to throw a game this season where he gives up less hits and walks than innings pitched which is the line of demarcation that separates good fantasy baseball starting pitchers from mediocre ones. 

Jered Weaver:  6.2 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.06.  Now Jered Weaver on the other hand has taken a nice journey back from Suckville.  When you are as bad as Weaver was in April and than all of a sudden pitch great a month later, some mechanical adjustment was made for the better.  Whatever Weaver did, clearly it is working but with a fastball that barely goes over 85, his margin is incredible razor thin so you still have to have courage to start him.

Andre Ethier:  2/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .313.  At least Ethier is starting to earn that ridiculous contract of his.  The fact that he now is grossly outproducing Matt Kemp in much fewer at-bats shows that maybe the Dodgers sort of know what they are doing.

Jimmy Rollins:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .201.  You just can't live with that average on your team no matter unless Rollins already had 10 home runs and steals which he has neither.  The already steep drop in average has only gotten worse for Rollins as he moves toward 40.

Giancarlo Stanton:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .234.  Stanton is no doubt pressing since the Marlins are simply atrocious which is showing up in the woeful batting average.  While Stanton was never as good as any .280 mark he posted last season, he is not this bad either.  Something around .260 sounds right with all those K's and all those home runs.  Bottom line is that Stanton's greatest asset is the home run which he is supplying in good doses.

Charlie Morton:  7 IP 8 H 2 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.57.  Morton has more than proven himself in the past as a non-innings capped SP 5 in those formats so take a chance on this veteran arm.

Josh Donaldson:  2/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .300.  Donaldson is still holding onto the .300 average as we get set to go to the month of June and every other number has been stellar.  The home run rate has leveled off a bit from April but otherwise Donaldson is proving being worth every draft penny you spent.

Drew Hutchinson:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 5.12.  Starts such as this make you wonder why we don't see more of this from Hutchinson but given how vastly inconsistent he is, you don't want to own him.

Roenis Elias:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.56.  Elias has been doing a nice job with little fanfare so far and of course the home ballpark checks out.  Why not?

Jake Odorizzi:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.31.  With the great breakout season of Chris Archer underway, the just as impressive bustout of Jake Odorizzi has been forgotten somewhat.  The K rate has been tremendous all season and Odorizzi looks like he is here to stay as an SP 2/3.