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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: TAKE ANOTHER SHOT ON BYRON BUXTON????

With Danny Santana hitting the disabled list Monday due to a strained hamstring, the Minnesota Twins moved quickly to address the sudden lack of speed in their lineup by promoting top outfield prospetc Byron Buxton for another chance to finally stick in the majors leagues.  No stranger to injury himself, Buxton is really testing the patience of those who eagerly drafted him due to what most say is unlimited five-tool potential.  Unfortunately the tools have not shown up in either of the former number 2 pick overall in the 2012 draft two cracks at the majors, both in 2015 and at the start of this season.  THe numbers are ugly here as you can see below from both stays:

2015:  .209 2 HR 16 R 6 RBI 2 SB
2016:  .156 0 HR 5 R 2 RBI 2 SB

Buxton simply has not hit in either stay with the Twins and a lot of it has to do with injuries stunting development time at the minor league level and also because of some very pronounced contact issues.  In fact it was downright frightening how awful Buxton was with the strike zone as his K/9 rate in 2015 was a crazy 31.9 percent and this season was an unfathomable 49.0 percent.  So Buxton basically was striking out in half of his at-bats in 2016 and that is why the Twins sent him back down for more seasoning.  Again though Buxton is still very young at 22 and we have seen countless examples of top prospects who needed to go until 24 or 25 before the even got comfortable at the major league level.  So what Buxton is doing is not totally shocking and early Quad-A labels are off the mark.  What was nice to see was Buxton doing everything at Triple-A after his demotion as he goes into his second stint with the Twins this season batting a scorching .336 with 6 home runs and 4 stolen bases in just 129 at-bats.  Those were the numbers Buxton's fantasy baseball owners expected and the burst in pop was very nice to see as he didn't show much there initially even on the farm.  Stay patient with Buxton because you don't want to be that guy who gave up on him too soon and then saw him flourish with another owner.  Pick him up where available and hope this is when things finally do click. 


Monday, May 30, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ADAM DUVALL OUTFIELDER CINCINNATI REDS

In a power-packed 7-home run game between the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies on Sunday, it was oufielder Adam Duvall who stole the show as he cracked two of the longballs which increased his season total to 13 in two months of action in what is his rookie MLB campaign.  At 27-years-old and a former 11th round draft pick, Duvall took awhile to make his way to the majors and was never considered a big prospect whilc coming up the pipeline first in the San Francisco Giants organization and then with the Reds.  Duvall did get a look for 27 games last season with the Reds but the results were not overly impressive as he batted just .219 but with 5 home runs in 72 at-bats.  The home run rate was very good though and it hinted at what was to come this season where Duvall has become a very good value play for the Reds due to his power.  In fact Duvall has cracked 11 of his 13 home runs in May which puts him right at the top of baseball in that category for the month. 

So where did this come from and where do we go from here?  Well like we said in the previous paragraph, Duvall hinted at this kind of power with the Reds in 2015 and especially in the minors lats season as he went yard there a total of 30 times.  Clearly Duvall has big power and his tremendous offensive park in Cincy will continue to help in that area.  As far as the rest of his statistics are concerned, Duvall is batting .267 with 26 RBI, 22 runs, and 1 steal.  You can forget steals here as Duvall doesn't run much and his .267 is not looking sustainable due to his very high 29.4 percent K Rate.  Duvall also doesn't have much in the way of patience to ward off the expected average drop either as he walks in just 3.8 percent of his at-bats.  So in essence the guy is a power hitting specilist as the average should get nasty but home runs in today's game we all know are very previous.  Duvall is beocming more legit as a power hitter by the day and right now those who picked him up off waivers have a big value on their hands.  No one will buy him high due to the lack of name brand so if you own Duvall you are better off just riding his out and seeing where it takes you. 


FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: JOSE ABREU 1B CHICAGO WHITE SOX

When it came to prospective first round fantasy baseball draft picks for the 2016 season, one of the more safer options appeared to be Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.  The Cuban slugger was the model of consistency in his first two major league seasons, hitting 36 and 30 home runs, while also batting .317 and .290.  Flat in his prime at the age of 29, Abreu should have been a very low maintenance draft pick.  Fast forward to present day and needless to say the numbers have fallend short of expectations concerning Abreu and he went into MOnday's action wiht the following digits:

.247
6 HR
27 RBI
19 R
0 BS

Obviously Abreu's average is down more than a little and the home runs is slipping as well.  Abreu is not a base stealer and only scored a modest amount of runs so he has to make his fantasy baseball money in the power and average categories.  Starting with the average, the K rate and walk rate are both within their normal Abreu ranges so BABIP is where some of the issues lie.  Right now Abreu has a slghtly unlucky .287 BABIP but since .300 is average, that is not a gross number.  Instead what we did was look at Abreu's BABIP his first two years which came in at .356 and .333.  Both numbers were well into the lucky range and that is why the average has slipped this season for Abreu.  What is interesting is that guys with above-average speed ususally can beat the BABIP curve.  Abreu has little to no speed so we have to think his BABIP's the first two years were not repeatable.  That could spell trouble for Abreu going forward with his average as he simply doesn't have the speed to continue beating the BABIP curve.  As far as the other numbers, Abreu's power runs hot and cold so he should be able to start sending baseballs out at a high clip as the weather warms.  While 30 could be tough since he is behind the pace with two months down the drain, it would not surprise me in the least if Abreu gets there with 100 RBI and 80 runs.  Ultimately the batting average is where the issues lie and we will get our answer over the summer.  Either Abreu also has a knack to beat the BABIP curve or he is more of a mediocre average guy then he was his first two seasons. 


FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: GIANCARLO STANTON OUTFIELDER MIAMI MARLINS

Well that was certainly an ugly stretch.  With even the Yahoo homepage and not the sports section running a headline story on the epically horrific stretch of non-hitting and pretyy much striking out in every at-bat frightfest of Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, you know things are bad.  The carnage was 17 whiffs in only 7 games and going into Monday's action, Stanton was looking back at a .212 batting and some insane K numbers.  As we always do with the Crisis Point, let's dig in and find out whats up.

When it comes to Stanton and an ugly batting average, there is really no shock there for a guy who has annually posted K/9 rates over 25 percent each and every season he has been in the majors.  Just a .267 career hitter, Stanton has needed some lucky BABIP numbers to post usual numbers there such as when he hit .288 in 2014 that made many think he was ready to help in that category.  However Stanton was able to achieve that average due to a very lucky .353 BABIP and by 2015, he was back down to a more accurate .265.  However there is a big difference between .265 and .212 and one only has to look at the brutal 33.5 percent K/9 Stanton is walking around with.  Consider that last season Stanton was at 29.9 and in 2014 26.6.  A trend is starting to emerge here of Stanton becoming more and more of a hacker as he gets into his prime years and that is not where you want to see him go as a fantasy baseball owners.  With zero stolen bases this season after going for as many as 13 in the past, Stanton is starting to lose some of his overall picture of statistics.  This is not first round fantasy baseball material right now and Stanton's owners clearly are ticked off about his performance.

Now on the bright side, Stanton is still hitting for big power with 12 home runs and 26 RBI in two months of action.  That is a pace of 48 homers which would be a tremendous numbers to say the leaast with over 100-RBI.  Benchmarks you expected out of Stanton going into the season.  Overall though Stanton's average is taking shine off the power output and for the time being you have to wonder if all those beanings have taken a mental toll on his approach.  At the very least, this is no longer a first round bat. 


Sunday, May 29, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CARLOS CORREA SS HOUSTON ASTROS

There was not a single player outside of maybe Mike Trout that was the single MUST-HAVE batter or pitcher for 2016 fantasy baseball than Houston Astros shortstop gem Carlos Correa.  After coming up at the age of 20 and proceeded to put up monster first round-worthy numbers for the Astros that included incredibly rare power/speed talents at the always shallow shortstop spot, Correa carried as much hype as any young player to come down the pike since the Los Angeles Angels outfielder.  As a result, Correa wound up on average as a late first round pick in almost all fantasy baseball formats as visions of at least 25/25/.315 danced in his prospective owners' heads.  There was instant regret for those who didn't get the chance to land Correa, so great was the battle for his skills.  Fast forward to present day and let's just say that the hype has not matched the production with the 2016 season almost two months in the books. As a result, there is some buyer's remorse concerning Corrrea and the thought already that maybe the fantasy baseball community was a bit quick in labeling him a star before completing even one full major league campaign.

Going into Sunday's games, Correra carried around with him the following numbes which again have fallen short of the anticipated mark:

.241
7 HR
22 R
22 RBI
8 SB

Now getting 7 home runs and 8 steals from your fantasy baseball shortstop is nothing to sneer at and truth be told those are very good power/speed numbers for any hitter.  The problem of course is the gross .241 average and the drop in runs and RBI.  As always, let's dig in a bit deeper and find out what is going on.

As far as the average is concerned, Correa's .241 mark is actually legitimate as his BABIP is a neutral .300.  Consider that Correa's BABIP was .296 a year ago when he batted .279 which means what you see is what you get there.  Instead we turn to the K rate which is where the problems begin.  Right now Correa is striking out in 25.0 percent of his at-bats which is way above the 18.1 percent he achieved as a rookie.  Correa is actually walking more this season then last which means his strikeout issues are the main reaon why he is struggling with his average.  One could argue that the kid is going through a sophomore slump which makes sense as most young hitters do.  The uptick in K's is the easy way to see if that is the case and with the luck neutral, it works. 


Overall here, Carlos Correa remains a crazy talent at a shallow position whose power/speed game remains invaluable.  The average will eventually come around as Correa gets more in tune with his swing again and you can forget about buying low here given the draft cost.  Patience is the word. 


Saturday, May 28, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: SALVADOR PEREZ HELPED OFF WITH KNEE INJURY

Having just lost third baseman Mike Moustakas for the season with a torn ACL in his knee this past Friday, the Kansas City Royals are bracing themselves for a serious injury to catcher Salvador Perez who had to be helped off the field Saturday after a nasty collison with Cheslor Cuthbert.  Perez was in visible pain after the collision and couldn't put any weight on the knee as he went right to the locker room for testing.

Analysis:  Perez had been red hot with the bat over the last week and generally has performed like a top five fantasy baseball catcher the last year-plus.  This could be a devastating injury for Perez's fantasy baseball owners as guys who can hit like he can are as rare as it gets in today's game.  Stay tuned but it would be a good idea to begin lining up possible replacements by the looks of how bad this looked. 


FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: SURPRISE! TROY TULOWITZKI PLACED ON THE DL AGAIN

As sure as the sun coming up in the morning, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will land on the disabled list at some point during any given season.  Once again that point was proven correct as the Blue Jays placed Tulo on the 15-day DL early Saturday with a quad strain.  Darwin Barney is expected to start in Tulo's place but this is just a reminder of how the All Star shortstop continues to prove he is one of the most injury prone players in the game.  It was that annual problem that made owning Tulo extremely volatile and that was even during his monster first round draft pick days with the Colorado Rockies.  Years and years of injuries now have robbed Tulo of some of his skills as he no longer runs, his average is down to a pathetic .204, and his K rate is going through the roof at 25.8 percent.  When you see a veteran hitter go through such a rise in his K rate, alarms go off in terms of him not being able to catch up to fastballs like he once did.  That looks to be what is happening now with Tulo who has a solid 8 home runs but he has done nothing much else.  We have advised against drafting Tulo for years and now he is dropping to the bottom of daily mixed league shortstop starters.  It is getting very disturbing now with the veteran at this stage of his career. 




FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY PART 1

Joe Mauer:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .281.  Without catcher eligibility, the only reason to own Mauer is if you just can't stop living in the past. Guys with his hitting profile are a dime a dozen.  Just look on the wire.  They are all there.

Miguel Sano:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .228.  Sano is starting to hit the cover off the ball but only with home runs.  The power is coming around to what was advertised but if you are happy with a .230 average then fine by me.  I am not.

Franklin Gutierrez:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .219.  Here is to hoping the splendid comeback story from Gutierrez last season has another chapter. 

Felix Hernandez:  6 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 2.86.  Will be watching Hernandez closely this summer to see if he struggles as bad as he did last year once July arrived.  If it happens again. a trend is emerging and that is that Hernandez' arm starts getting tired early now after all those massive innings already on his still young frame. 

Pat Dean:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.43.  Well what do we have here?  Anytime there are strikeouts like this, especially in the AL, you have our attention.  Dean is a former 2010 third round pick of the team but his K/9 rates in the minors were horrendous at 5.00 and 4.93 the last two years.  So basically ignore the 8 K's last night and don't bother. 

Matt Kemp:  3/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .232.  Love the power but Kemp is aging so much now that he is devolving into a pure home run specialist which is not what you want to see from any fantasy baseball bat.  Age does not discriminate. 

Yangervis Solarte:  2/5 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .289.  Solarte has become a very useful player with eligibility all over the diamond the last few seasons so he makes for an excellent bench stash that you can plug in anywhere on light schedule days or Sunday high days off.  The power is not going to stay where it is over the last week as you know but average, runs, and a few homers is in the cards. 

Brandon Drury:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .301.  We are now into almost a month of usefulness from Drury who is holding the average and still hitting for power.  The minor leagues numbers didn't show this type of player but we said the same about Aledmys Diaz and look where that has gone. 

Jake Lamb:  1/1 with his 7th HR while hitting .280.  Even when he doesn't start, Lamb is showing how underrated he is. 

Christian Friedrich:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.65.  Yeah getting drafted by the Colorado Rockies has a way of really stunting your growth.  Now that he has escaped that carnage, Friedrich is showing why he was the 25th pick overall in the 2008 draft.  It has been a long road to here filled with struggles but Friedrich is still not worth your time despite the glowing ERA.  His 4.66 ERA at Triple-A and 7.00 there the year before shows you this. 

Albert Pujols:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .219.  Age, age, age. 

Matt Shoemaker:  8.1 IP 7 H 2 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 5.96.  This guy just won't go away. 

Nick Castellanos:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .341.  This is Nick Castellanos giving me the finger for calling him regression candidate. 

Michael Fulmer:  7.2 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.97.  Two excellent outings in a row for Fulmer who survived a near demotion to become a sudden asset.  Fulmer does not have the top K rate as other prime pitching prospects but he deserves notice in deeper formats and non-inning capped setups. 





FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JULIO URIAS SP LOS ANGELES DODGERS

When it comes to a top pitching prospect making the Major League debut, you never know what you are going to get as Forrest Gump would say.  Sometimes you get instant dominance and more often then not you get struggles as the big stage and the major adjustment to professional hitters make it tough on the youngster.  The latter scenario unfolded last night for top Los Angeles Dodgers pitching prospect Julio Urias who didn't even make it out of the third inning as he went 2.2 frames with 5 hits given up, he walked four, and altogether surrendered 3 earned runs.  Urias seemed so rattled that he threw a fastball clear to the backstop for a wild pitch.  Needless to say, this is not what the Dodgers or those owning fantasy baseball stock in Urias expected.  As I have noted many times on this site, you always want to tread very carefully in a pitching prospects's first start for all the reasons given above.  We have seen already guys like Sean Manaea struggle badly his first few go-rounds as major league teams are rushing their young arms to the pros earlier then many are ready for.  The Dodgers now have every reason to send Urias back to the minors for more seasoning or they can stick him in the bullpen where he would have little value.  Hold Urias until this is cleared up but his time doesn't look to be now in terms of impact. 


Friday, May 27, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: JURICKSON PROFAR FINALLY MAKES HIS WAY BACK TO MAJORS

It may only last for just a week but the promotion of Texas Rangers seocnd baseman and former top prospect Jurickson Profar was noteworthy Friday as he is slotted into the number 2 spot in the batting order and will fill-in while Rougned Odor serves his 7-game suspension.  After missing two full seasons with very serious shoulder trouble, Profar finally got a clean bill of health for 2016 and already we are seing why he was such a highly sought after prospect to begin with.  Profar goes into his season debut with the Rangers with minor league numbers that included a .284 average with 4 home runs and 5 stolen bases.  The athleticism and power/speed game that Profar was advertised to have way back when he was first drafted is apparently still there and at the shallow second base spot, his abilities are even more intriguing.  Right now Profar should be picked up in all formats due to his natural skills and for the chance that he could stick if he has a big week.  Nice story but this one is far from having is final chapter written. 


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: YOENIS CESPEDES OUTFIELDER NEW YORK METS

In one of the more shocking developments of this past Hot Stove Season was the absolutely dead market for free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.  Coming off a ridiculously productive two month run with the Mets where Cespedes knocked 17 home runs and actually garnered some NL MVP talk, the list of prospective buyers for the Cuban masher was limited to two:  the Washington Nationals and the Mets.  Ultimately Cespedes took what amounts to a one-year deal with the Mets (on paper it was for three years but with an opt out after Year 1 which he will undoubtedly take), instead of a more lucrative deal with the Nats.  With the 2016 season almost two months in the books, Cespedes has picked up right where he left off with the Mets a year ago as he currently is in the MVP discussion as he leads the National League with 15 home runs, 36 RBI, and a .301 bating average.  While no one ever doubts Cespedes' natural power which is as good as anyone in baseball, the uptick in average continues what we began to see when he landed with the Mets last season and hooked up with hitting coach Kevin Long.  It was Long who dissected Cespedes swing and plate discipline and so far this season, the work has paid off in some key areas.  The first is that Cespedes' BB/9 rate is currently at an all-time best 9.9 percent.  Consider that Cespedes was at a terrible 6.4, 5.4, and 4.9 the three seasons prior.  That has helped boost Cespedes' batting average which was a clear liability during his stint with the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox.  Cespedes' BABIP is also .301 and flat in neutral territory which means he is not getting any good luck from the average either.  If Cespedes can continue with his improvement there, he is set to have his best overall season with 90-plus runs, RBI, 30-plus home runs, and a good average.  That puts him right in prime outfielder 1 territory despite the fact he doesn't steal bases anymore and hasn't since his rookie campaign.  Either way Cespedes has been a tremendous investment and is showing his work with the Mets last season was legit. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Gerrit Cole:  5 IP 7 H 0 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.53.  The manifestation of Cole continues as his K/9 is now a very mediocre 7.43, a number which the pitcher himself is proud of as he openly tries to pitch to more contact.  The ERA is sparkling and the .318 BAIP is just a bit lucky so it is working for Cole.  You can be annoyed as a owner due to the drop in K's but with nothing else. 

Mark Trumbo:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .279.  Give it enough time and a hitter will always roll back to his standard batting averages unless he has big speed to beat BABIP curves.  Classic case here with Trumbo who was over .300 for awhile but his .321 BABIP is dropping.  Outside of that, the power has been huge just like his old Arizona days and I am as shocked as anyone that I am benefitting from this as a past critic. 

George Springer:  2/4 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .270.  The 24 percent K rate pretty much matches his 2015 output there so a bit disappointed in that respect but Springer is right on schedule in terms of rising close to outfielder 1 status.  Needs to add some more steals to cement that though if the average remains shaky.

Luis Valbuena:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .220.  Fourth straight game with a home run from Valbuena and this is something we saw last season in terms of the all-or-nothing power swing.  In AL-only formats I guess you could take a shot while the homers are flying out but back-to-back O'fers are as far as I would take this.

Lance McCullers:  5 IP 1 H 1 ER 6 BB 10 K with an ERA of 4.60.  It is like an old A.J. Burnett Florida Marlins start.  McCullers has a Kerry Wood arm with massive K potential but like Wood, has trouble with control with a BB/9 over 3.00 and of course poor health. 

Bryce Harper:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .246.  Harper had been in a big slump lately.....not Giancarlo Stanton slump....but a slump nonetheless.  A few things here:  one is that Harper's .230 BABIP is the main reason for his trouble as his K/9 of 18.3 is almost 2 points down from his monster 2015.  Once the luck turns around as it will (Harper's BABIP was .369 and .352 from 2014-15), he will be back to his MVP ways.  Your fooling yourself if you try a buy low though.

Aledmys Diaz:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .329.  Here we are now in almost June and Diaz is going the way of Nomar Mazara with the average/power thing.  The shortstop eligibility is the key here of course and that alone has Diaz as a top five option there.  Been saying he would cool off for awhile but it simply has not happened.  Maybe I should stop and throw my hands up. 

Joe Ross:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.52.  Joe's brother Tyson now wants to be him.

Jonathan Villar:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .295.  Great credit goes to Villar who couldn't hit a lick when he first came up and now he is doing a terrific leadoff impression.  Already among the most profitable value plays of the season, Villar could be a prime trade chip in July. 

Ryan Braun:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .361.  Can't knock the production but only the character. 

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .287.  Slow go of it for CarGo who still is not running and the power on a per game basis is way down.  Of course he went all Hank Aaron on us last July through the end of the season so no reason to panic yet.

Trevor Story:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .272.  Story continues to hold onto his average and hit for power as this "Story" has gone on longer then anticipated.  Not that I doubted the power but I thought we would be looking at .250 now. 

David Ortiz:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .337.  I will call it now.  Ortiz will have 10 home runs at this point next May.  Forget retirement.  And no one will want to draft him again too like always. 

Starlin Castro:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .264.  Ehhh.  Castro is losing his average and has been another guy who stopped running in his upper 20's.  It is almost now like hitters think it is cool to just stop moving on the bases at that age.  Thank you very much Mike Trout. 

J.A. Happ:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.20.  A lefty against the Yankees is always a profitable situation.  The only numbers you should focus on here is the lucky .263 BABIP which shows in the XFIP and FIP ERA's both over 4.00.  It will turn ugly.  Trust me. 

C.C. Sabbathia:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.83.  All right.  No doubt Sabbathia is pitching well and he was up to 93 in this one which is his highest velocity in two years.  Keep in mind Sabbathia got help for alcohol troubles at the end of last season and a clear mind could be helping him as well.  Proceed cautiously but I will hedge and say try him out if the matchup is right. 

Jose Fernandez:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.82.  If Fernandez is not giving up walks, you are getting nothing out of him.

Drew Smyly:  6 IP 6 H 5 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.92.  There could be a dead arm deal going on here as Smyly missed almost all of last season.  Hold the fort here as Smyly is terrific when all is right.  In fact try a buy low. 

 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: TORN ACL FINISHED MIKE MOUSTAKAS FOR 2015

While not considering a top third base option in fantasy baseball terms, Kansas City Royals hot corner veteran Mike Moustakas still proved himself quite useful over the last two years as he further refined his batting approach and added power as he moved closer to his prime.  After years of struggling mightily with his batting average, Moustakas posted an impressive for him .284 mark with 22 home runs in 549 at-bats.  Now turning 27 when a player begins to tap into his most power, Moustakas came out and slammed 7 home runs the first month-plus of 2016.  While the .240 average brought back memories of struggles past, Moustakas was still holding his own as an every day fantasy baseball third baseman.  Soon though disaster would strike in the form of a torn ACL in his knee which was confirmed Thursday and that means Moustakas will miss the remainder of the 2016 season.  Again we are not talking Josh Donaldson, Kris Bryant, or Manny Machado here but in 12-team leagues and especially AL-only, Moustakas is a moderate loss whose power was his best asset.  Obviously cut Moustakas loose and look to the waiver wire for reinforcements. 


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: STEVEN MATZ ALREADY LOOKING LIKE A FANTASY BASEBALL ACE

Coming off yet another Matt Harvey brutal beatdown at the hands of the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets turned to lefty Steven Matz to try and win the series for them Wednesday afternoon.  Continuing a pattern of ace-like pitching since getting blasted in his initial 2016 start, Matz tossed eight shutout innings which included just four hits given up, one walk, and 7 strikeouts.  The outing brought Matz' season totals to a 2.36 ERA. 0.99 WHIP, and 50 strikeouts in 49.2 innings while going 7-1.  Take out the first dud and Matz has an ERA under 2.00.  All at the age of 24 and in his first full MLB season.  No matter how you look at it, Matz has been phenomenal this season and his numbers are impressive wherever you look such as his 9.29 K/9 which is at another ace level.  His 0.65 HR/9 is also splendid and shows that Matz is not beating himself there with the long ball.  Matz also is showing good control with his 1.71 BB/9.  Put them all together and only health has held Matz back this season as he missed a start with tightness in his pitching elbow.  Health has been a challenge for Matz in his young career as he already has been a victim of Tommy John elbow surgery, plus he missed two months in 2015 with a torn lat muscle.  As long as Matz' health is good, he has fantasy baseball ace stuff which he has shown throughout 2016.  A late fade could happen due to fatigue but all signs are positive thus far for the kid.


FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: JULIO URIAS SP LOS ANGELES DODGERS

A big prospect name is coming up to make his MLB debut Friday and the fantasy baseball community should already be all over him where available.  Of course we are referring to the news that the Los Angeles Dodgers are calling up top pitching prospect Julio Urias to make his debut Friday against the New York Mets in place of the injured Alex Wood.  Only 19-years of age, Urias has been compared to Felix Hernandez in terms of his power fastball and ability to generate a bunch of strikeouts.  The numbers thus far at Triple-A are ridiculous as Urias goes into his debut with a 1.10 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts in 41 innings pitched.  Better yet, Urias has shown good control with just 8 walks.  Put it all together and Urias has immense upside and could easily stay around in the rotation is he excels out of the gate which would not be a shock given how good his stuff is.  Pick him up everywhere.  Do it now. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

David Wright:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .226.  Two home runs in the same week for Wright is a nice sign but the batting average and K Rate remain putrid.  Nothing new to add here as Wright continues to be a 2/3rd's playing time third baseman which is never what you want from your starter.

Steven Matz:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.36.  Keep in mind that Matz dominated at Triple-A Las Vegas of the PCL of all locations prior to being called up by the Mets last season and he has done nothing but deal like an ace since arriving.  More on this in a Status Report later in the day.

Tanner Roark:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.71.  We have seen this from Roark before in 2014 before things went haywire last season when he was jerked around from the bullpen to the rotation which is murder on a young pitcher.  You always want the K rate to be slightly higher but truth be told Roark has inched that up decently as well this season.

Corey Kluber:  7.1 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.78.  Kluber is predictably taking off as he went through his usual April issues before turning back into his fantasy baseball ace self.  Sometimes guys are this predictable.

Jose Quintana:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.22.  Quintana's maturation into high-end fantasy baseball starter took a few seasons but geez is he dealing.  The uptick in K's is perhaps most impressive as Quintana is finding some velocity he never had before.  The only thing I am upset about is that my annually cheap investment in Quintana is likely no more.

Brian Dozier:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .200,  Dozier apologists will say the two day benching he got helped clear his head but that is a bunch of baloney.  Sorry but if you struggle to hit .240 year after year and then stop running, you should be on the wire.  Seriously.

Miguel Sano:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .221.  That average is hideous as I said it would be this past winter and this is why I had no interest here.  Take a few less homers and go with a better average third baseman every time out.

Tyler Duffy:  5 ER in 6.2 IP with an ERA of 3.95.  Guys who throw soft in the AL can only get away with it long enough.

Odubel Herrera:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .327.  Yup Herrera already is looking my A.J. Pollock sleeper pick of the year.  There was always some burgeoning power/speed ability here and Herrera has even boosted the average by improving his patience as he further developed.  He is in near-outfielder 2 territory and looks like the new Carlos Gomez of a few seasons ago.

Kris Bryant:  2/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .279.  It was about this time a month ago I told all you Bryant owners to stop panicking over his "slow start."  You can only hold down supreme talent for so long.

Matt Holliday:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .233.  The average is slipping badly after a good start here from Holliday but the power has been beter then anticipated so it evens out.

Matt Adams:  3/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .316.  It is easy to forget about Adams but a few seasons ago alot of us wanted him.  He certainly looks the part of a young slugger on the rise but massive injuries interrupted the narrative.  Not saying Adams won't curb the disappointing power output from 2014 and 2015 but riding this out is always advised.

Randal Grichuk:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .241.  The outfield verison of Miguel Sano.

Carlos Martinez:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.25.  The Cards should just put Martinez on the DL already.  He has gotten hit hard in every start since the shoulder went bad and the team only has to look at the disaster that is teammate Michael Wacha to know how bad this could be.

Nomar Mazara:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .320.  Every night you can jot down two hits for Mazara and now the home runs are showing up nightly as well.  So incredibly impressed by what Mazara is doing and even his biggest fan can't even fathom whatis going on.

Hector Santiago:  5 ER in 2.1 IP with an ERA of 4.58.  I guess Santiago is begining his second half fade early.

Russell Martin:  2/5 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .181.  It seems like the home runs were Martin's first two hits of the season. 

Michael Saunders:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .312.  How good has Saunders been?  Told you all to pick him up when he was moved to the leadoff spot a month ago and while he has not stuck there, Saunders continues to pound the baseball.  The average won't hold given the high amount of strikeouts he accumulates but the power is absolutely legit.

Xander Boagerts:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .349.  If Bogaerts could ever get near 20/20 with that average, he would be a worthy first round pick. 

Steven Wright:  7 IP 7 H 2 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.52.  The correction looked like it was underway a few starts ago but Wright has bounced back.  Knuckleballers play by their own rules however so your guess is as good as mine where this goes. 

Yasmani Tomas:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .286.  Yasiel Puig owners would take this kind of decent but not great production from their Cuban outfielder right about now. 

Yasmani Grandal:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .192.  Not sure if Grandal fell in love with hitting home runs but his inability to match his minor league average is beyond frustrating.  We would really have something here if he could have just hit .260. 

Scott Kazmir:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 12 K with an ERA of 4.84.  Kazmir flashed back to his Tampa Bay days but it came against the woeful Reds so some perspective is needed.  You still shouldn't own him. 

Khris Davis:  1/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .232.  Once again the guy only hits home runs and does literally nothing else.

Adam Lind:  4/4 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .242.  I strongly told you all to stay patient here as Lind is a veteran in his prime who didn't all of a sudden forget how to hit.  The adjustment to the AL seems over and another bunch of home runs over the upcoming week is likely. 

Robinson Cano:  2/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .295.  Yeah so I guess Cano is not done yet. 

Nelson Cruz:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .293.  Ho-hum. 

Evan Gattis:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .253.  When he gains catcher eligibility in your league, Gattis will automatically become a top 3-5 fantasy baseball catcher.  That is all it takes. 

 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP NEWS: CHRISTIAN YELICH STILL OUT WITH BALKY BACK

Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich is out of the lineup again on Wednesday with ongoing soreness in his back but still the team is not planning on placing him on the disabled list.  Yelich has now missed four games in a row with the back but he continues to be listed as day-to-day. 

Anlaysis:  Yelich's loss is big as he has been terrific this season acorss the board and finally living up to the massive hype he had when he first arrived.  By now it is clear Yelich came up a bit too early which is why he struggled initially but his batting title bat and very good power/speed ability make him a good fantasy baseball asset. 


FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP NEWS: TROY TULOWITZKI (QUAD) OUT WED.

Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is OUT of the lineup Wednesday as he battles sorenes in his quad. 

Analysis:  Injuries and Tulowitzki have been best buddies for almost a decade now so no shock he shows up in the health blotter again.  Devon Travis is back making his debut at second base tonight against the New York Yankees with Ryan Goins handling short. 


FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP NEWS: MARK TEIXEIRA OUT WED. WITH NECK PAIN

New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is out of the lineup Wednesday with renewed neck pain.  Teixeira has been mired in a brutal slump all season and has dealt with on again/off again pain in the neck.  An update is expected after the game versus Toronto.

Anlaysis:  Teixeira has been a disgrace this season across the board and his big comeback with extremely good power prior to yet another season-ending injury in 2015 is already becoming a distant memory.  There is no reason to hold onto Teixeira at this point as he is such a liability and his age doesn't help matters.

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MAIKEL FRANCO SUFFERS SPRAINED ANKLE

Updating an earlier item, Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco suffered a right ankle sprain during Wednesday's game.  No word yet on how long Franco will be out but the team is expected to offer a more pronounced update Thursday. 

Analysis:  This sounds like a day-to-day deal so no reason to worry if you are Franco owner.  Franco has really done a nice job this season with some good power but the average has slipped a bit lately.  Either way Franco is supplying more positives then negatives and has a bright future. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: MAIKEL FRANCO EXITS WITH FOOT INJURY

Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco was forced out of the team's game Wednesday with an apparent foot injury.  Franco hurt the foot while sliding into second base in the seventh inning and headed to the locker room right away. 

Analysis:  Uh-oh.  Of course there is no reason to panic here but a hitter as promising and productive as Franco would be a big loss.  Check back for an update. 


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JACKIE BRADLEY JR. OUTFIELER BOSTON RED SOX

Well this is getting interesting.  Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 27 games as he went 1-for-3.  While still a ways away from Joe DiMaggio's record, it is more than surprising that it is Bradley Jr. and not pretty much anyone else who is challenging it.  The reason we say this of course is due to the fact that previous to this season, the knock on Bradley Jr. was that he couldn't hit enough to make it as a major leaguer and that was an understandable premise when you look at his .189, .189, and .249 averages his first three years in the league.  Alas Bradley Jr. finished the 2015 strong with 9 home runs in August and September and a .267 second half average.  Thus Bradley Jr. was starting to develop before our eyes which brings us to his scorching .346 average engineered mostly out of the bottom of the Red Sox lineup.  The average is not the only talking point here as Bradley Jr. has 8 home runs and 33 RBI to go with 2 stolen bases and that has all of a sudden turned him into a high-impact five category outfielder which no one saw as being possible this season.  As always when one digs into the advanced statistics, we get some answers as to who Bradley Jr. got here.  He has drastically reduced his K rate from last season's ugly 27.1 mark to this season's 19.3.  In addition, Bradley has also gotten bit luck boost from his .400 BABIP which is in no way sustainable.  While the average will come back down to earth, Bradley Jr. is no doubt developing nicely and also growing into his power.  We won't go there when it comes to the hitting streak but it speaks to how nicely Bradley Jr. has turned out to be a swell fantasy baseball value in 2016.  We would not sell high here as Bradley Jr. has too many tools to part with. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .214.  Things have gotten downright embarrassing for Stanton over the last few weeks as he pretty much has been a guaranteed strikeout.  When he connects you know it is going out but right now this is the worst case scenario for Stanton in terms of being an average liability and now with questions regarding whether or not he is jumpy at the dish after all the serious beanings he has taken. 

Alex Colome:  scoreless eighth and ninth for his 12th save with an ERA of 1.29.   I tell you what I think the Rays needs to re-think this Brad Boxberger automatically going back into the ninth inning scenario.  Colome has been a top five closer this season after having no experience in the ninth inning and remember Boxberger is a high-wire act who walks a lot of guys and can be homer prone. 

Jake Odorizzi:  5 IP 2 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.21.  Says a lot about the underrated ability of Odorizzi in terms of him going through some struggles early on but who still stands with an excellent ERA. 

Adam Duvall:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .259.  Duvall's average is coming down as expected since he strikes out like he wants to be Adam Dunn instead but the power remains potent.  Works best as your outfielder 4/5 in those formats that go that deep but you can retain Duvall on your bench if you want a power boost on light schedule days. 

Coco Crisp:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .248.  That a boy Coco.  You keep chugging along.  Another one of my old favorites who is still showing up in the box score.  Obviously his days of being a prime steals and underrated power asset are through but he still offers enough in both to hold bench value. 

Robinson Cano:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .292.  Yeah it pretty much is like Cano has never left the Yankees.  I guess that gastro issue was more serious then we all first though as he has gone nuts ever since it was addressed midway through last season.  Not saying Cano is back to first round value as no one would ever do such a thing due to the Seattle Safeco Field discrimination but boy has he been impressive.

Leonys Martin:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .259.  Thought Martin would have 9 steals and not not 9 homers by now.  Another example of how a fresh start can jump start as fantasy baseball contribution as Martin was not accepte in Texas.  Funny though how Martin had to go to Seattle to unleash his power potential.  You can never figure this stuff out completely. 

Jarrett Parker:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .250.  Parker has some Joc Pederson in him in terms of an awful average that goes with imprsssive power and some speed.  Well forget the speed part when it comes to Pederson who lost his on the way from the minors to the majors. 

Jeff Samardzjia:  6.2 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.54.  Yeah all of you who blasted me during the spring on Twitter about my sleeper suggestion on Samardzjia can apologize on there as well.  Remember that for veterans spring stats mean nothing. 

Carlos Beltran:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .275.  Beltran in the DH slot has coincided with his big jump in numbers recently but keep in mind Alex Rodriguez is coming back to steal that spot.  Be that as it may, Beltran looks like he is going to be that rare player who holds fantasy baseball value from the start of his career to the its completion. 

Nathan Eovaldi:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.95.  The WHIP is also solid at 1.15 here for Eovaldi who has won five in a row.  Development of his offspeed stuff since coming to the Yankees has been key since Eovaldi relied way too much on his heater prior which opposing batters waited on.  Been a bit hater of his and rightly so in the past and remain uninterested given the overall body of work however. 

Asdrubal Cabrera:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .283. The 25 home runs Cabrera hit a few years ago go down as a gigantic outlier but he continues to help a bit at the shallow shortstop spot.  The steals though seem to be a thing of the past whereas he helped there a bit as recently as 2015. 

Ben Revere:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .194.  Forget the home run as that could be the only one Revere hits this season but what is more important is that he is starting to hit.  Typical two weeks or so of struggles after missing all of April.  Pick him up if available as Revere is a very stable source of runs, steals, and yes average. 

Daniel Murphy:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .392.  Kevin Long's tutelage of Murphy sitting back more at the plate has unlocked the power and it is now into a second season which adds to the validity.  Murphy is as good as pure hitter as there is as he continues to show and the power helps make up for the lost mini-run of stolen bases. 

Anthony Rendon:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .254.  Rendon has been nothing short of a disaster going back through all of his injury-marred 2015 and one has to wonder if 2014 will go down as an outlier.  For one thing, the steals have not come back at all and the average is pathetic given that was his strength coming up the minor league ladders.  Forget third base, second is where Rendon holds onto some value but I am not liking what we have seen here one bit.  Looking like the second base version of Yasiel Puig in terms of a gross inflation of value by the fantasy baseball community as Rendon was a first round pick in many leagues prior to a year ago. 

Wilson Ramos:  1/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .336.  Been saying it for years but I was always a believe or apologist if you will for Ramos.  The guy just could not stay healthy to show what he could do with the bat but now we are seeing it.  He won't hit even .300 but 20 home runs seems a cinch which at catcher is like 30 anywhere else. 

Ryan Zimmerman:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .242.  Zimmerman has become very limited in his overall impact at this stage as his body has totally betrayed him.  The power is useful of course but only in a backup capacity in competitive leagues. 

Stephen Strasburg:  6.2 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.79.  I guess the Nats knew what they were doing when the shut Strasburg down at 159 innings a few years ago despite the team going to the playoffs.  Ironic this outing was against Matt Harvey.

Matt Harvey:  5 IP 8 H 5 ER 2 BB 1 K with an ERA of 6.08.  Stick a fork in Harvey for the time being.  We reported after his last start that Harvey would go on the DL but he talked his way back into the rotation.  Now you can guarantee Harvey is going to be on ice for at least 15 days after this slop.  A few things:  opposing batters at batting almost .600!!!! against Harvey after the fourth inning and his fastball went rom 96 in innings 1 to 92 by the end.  Simply put, Harvey's arm is looking tired and lacking juice which can almost completely be blamed on his 216 innings from a year ago. 

Nomar Mazara:  3/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .317.  Mazara even got caught stealing which shows you he is trying to be the man everywhere. 

Manny Machado:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .307.  Come on dude.  Start running.  Yeah I am a spoiled Machado owner who always wants more. 

Chris Tillman:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.61. Can't argue with the numbers here as Tillman is dealing and he has had some big stretches the last few seasons outside of his complete dud of 2015.  Unfortunately Tillman has never been able to fully sustain it so a sell high is not the worst idea.

Salvador Perez:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .276.  Perez is killing it right now and cementing his status as a top 2-4 fantasy baseball catcher behind Buster Posey. 

Adam Eaton:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .295.  Yeah I am an Eaton owner and happy about it.  The steals haven't matched the minor league numbers but the power has grown to offset it and the average and runs are stellar.  No one talks about Eaton but he is every bit an outfielder 2. 

Josh Tomlin:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.35.  Tomlin has generally pitched well when healthy for the Cleveland Indians the last few seasons but his K rate is very mediocre and in the AL that is asking for trouble.  Just stream him.

Chris Sale:  6 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 3.1 IP with an ERA of 2.26.  Yeah even Sale is human. 

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT FALLOUT: TYLER EIFERT NOT GUARANTEED WEEK 1 DUE TO ANKLE SURGERY

NFL training camps have not even opened yet and we have our first sizable injury to discuss in terms of possibly impacting Week 1.  The unlucky first victim was Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert who was forced to undergo surgery on his ankle which ESPN's Adam Schefter says could threaten his Week 1 availability.  The real annoying part about this is that Eifert suffered the injury to his ankle during last year's Pro Bowl and nothing was done to it until things got worse recently.  He will likely be on the PUP list for all or most of training camp and through the preseason games and as Schefter is reporting, Week 1 is not guaranteed.  With fantasy football drafts now just getting going, Eifert's loss of one game and who knows how many more is the first talking point of the season.  This is not a small matter as Eifert comes off a 2015 season that was Rob Gronkowski good as he caught 52 balls for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns.  Eifert quickly proved himself a massive red zone threat and of course scoring touchdowns is fantasy football gold.  Of course Eifert is also no stranger to injury as he missed all but three games in 2014 with more health woes.  If Eifert just misses the one game, this is not a major deal and right now we wouldn't downgrade him much at all due to this news.  As camp gets underway though, we should have a better idea where he is heading with the injury.  We always advise holding your draft as late as possible so that these issues work themselves out one way or another. 


FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP NEWS: JUSTIN UPTON (QUAD) OUT AGAIN TUESDAY

Detroit Tigers outfielder Justin Upton is out of the lineup again on Tuesday due to the sore quad that forced him to sit before Monday's game. 

Analysis:  Upton has been an utter disaster this season as he barely is hitting over .200 and not for power either.  He has been extremely streaky in his career so Upton should come around eventually but switching leagues clearly has taken a toll on his numbers. 

FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP ISSUES: DAVID WRIGHT (BACK) OUT OF LINEUP TUES.

It is another maintenance day off for New York Mets third baseman David Wright on Tuesday as he takes a seat after playing in three straight games for the team.  Wright comes off a Monday outing where he hit a home run off Gio Gonzalez but the Mets will stay true to their no more than three games in a row routine for their captain.

Analysis:  This is the norm now for Wright and his fantasy baseball owners due to the spinal stenosis.  The home runs was encouraging last night but it is not the worst thing in the world to not have to face Stephen Strasburg. 


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: RICH HILL SP OAKLAND A'S

There is ridiculous and then there is what is going on right now with Oakland A's lefty starter Rich Hill.  After dominating yet again during his start Monday night, Hill now sits with an ace-like 2.18 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 65 batters in 57.2 innings pitched.  At the advanced age of 36, Hill seems primed to engineer one of the best comeback seasons in quite some time and his early production mirrors the splendid four-start run with the Boston Red Sox last September when he pitched to a 1.55 ERA and rocked an 11.17 K/9 rate.  So what do we make of all this?  Why was Hill almost out of baseball the last few seasons before his comeback with Boston and can we believe what we are seeing here?  Let's take a look.

Right now there is no denying the fact that Hill is as locked in as a starter can get.  What is key here is that Hill's always strong curveball has unleashed a ton of trouble on opposing hitters and has been the main weapon that has garnered so many strikeouts.  Such a good curveball like Hill has no doubt has surprised opposing hitters and then are having a tough time getting a read on the spin and trajectory.  Hence the 11.17 K/9 last season and his current 10.14 mark in 2016.  Even more impressive is that Hill has given up just 43 hits in his 57.2 innings which again mirrors the low hit rate he showed for Boston last season.  The fact we are into a second season of this and are almost into June of 2016 lessens the fluke factor here and adds legitimacy to what Hill is accomplishing.  Truth be told, many forget that Hill has always been a high K guy going back to his Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles days.  What used to undermine Hill in the past was shoddy control which got downright hideous at times.  Now this season Hill is still dealing with his career-long troubles on that front as his elevated 3.28 BB/9 shows but he is limiting damage with a tiny HR/9 of 0.31 and the low hit rate.  As a result, Hill's walks are not coming around to score and his strikeouts are further making it very tough to score on him.  Bottom line is that until fatigue sets in during the summer due to the fact Hill has not pitched a high number of innings the last few seasons, he seems quite safe to continue producing very good outings like he has.  Dominant outings we should say.  All in all, Hill right now is right there as one of the very best values in all of fantasy baseball as the numbers tell it all.  What a story this is. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Todd Frazier:  2/3 with his 14th HR and 4th SB while hitting .236.  Frazier is showing up in the home run column almost every other day now and that he has been locked in for over a month with the longball.  Rememeber too that Frazier has decent speed and is capable of 10-12 steals. 

Brett Lawrie:  2/3 with his 6th HR and third SB while hitting .256.  Lawrie says to Frazier, I can do anything you can do. 

Marlon Byrd:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .253.  Byrd's power per game rate is slipping which is not a surprise since he is pushing 40.  He has had a terrific late run to his career with some very useful and cheap home run outputs but right now Byrd is nothing but a waiver add. 

Mike Napoli:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .222.  Napoli swings for the fences and closes his eyes hoping for home runs.  This has been the story for a few years now which makes him not worth using in anything but the deepest of formats. 

David Wright:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .225.  Wright managed to avoid the DL with his latest back flareup and it was nice to see him go yard here.  Alas it was his only hit of the game, his average is a joke by his standards, and the K Rate is through the roof.  With Wright getting 2 days off a week each week, his stock is as volatile as it could get.

Neil Walker:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .261.  Now that his scorching April is over, Walker has settled back down to being the solid .260-ish/15-20 home run guy on a per game basis he always has been.  That works fine as a cheap and solid source of second base production but I didn't have to tell you how much of an outlier April was.

Yoenis Cespedes:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .303.  There may not be a more productive hitter in the NL right now as Cespedes has the clear motivation to be shown the money this winter.  He will get it for sure as he is crushing every mistake pitch thrown his way.  Outfielder 1 status was firmly cemented last season and this season is elevating him even higher in the overall rankings at the position as the average continues to be solid. 

Gio Gonzalez:  5 IP 10 H 7 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.87.  Gonzalez was overdue for a clunker so no worries.  His owenrs though feel like this was a missed opportunity however as Gio has absolutely owned the Mets over the years.  Be that as it may considering the draft price, Gonzalez has been a huge value thus far.

Clayton Kershaw:  9 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.48.  Only 7 strikeouts is unacceptable. 

Rich Hill:  8 IP 8 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.18.  You really have to wonder why Hill was pretty much out of baseball the last few years before finding redemption with the Boston Red Sox.  His curve is hellacious and when he doesn't get in trouble with walks, Hill is a major chore for batters.  He will no doubt tire as the summer gets underway but Hill is defying all sorts of explanations right now so I won't even try. 

Stephen Vogt:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .252.  Vogt has had matched the big first half he had a year ago but he has been steady nonetheless.  That steadiness is actually a big plus what with catcher being a colossol joke this season. 

Drew Pomeranz:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.70.  Forget about drafting Clayton Kershaw or Chris Sale.  Just wait until the last few rounds and take Rich Hill and Pomeranz.  Dominating on the road to go with his Petco Park excellence, Pomeranz has been one of the biggest steals thus far. 

Johnny Cueto:  9 IP 2 H 0 Er 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.38.  The pitching overall was just ridiculous across baseball and Cueto led the way with his stuff that was of the near no-hitter variety.  Clearly moving back to the NL and in a pitcher's park no less has unleashed another level of fantasy baseball ace ability. 

Albert Pujols:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .228.  The Mets ought to see what it would take to work out a deal for Pujols if the Angels eat some of the money.  Guy can still crack home runs at the very least which is what the Mets lose with Lucas Duda being out. 

Nick Tropeano:  6.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.86.  Tropeano right now carries the mantle of being the most extreme smoke and mirrors.  You know there is trouble lurking underneath the surface when you terrific 2.85 ERA is matched with a 1.47 WHIP.  Those two don't jive one bit and Tropeano's hideous control will open the dam to a score of earned runs soon.  Abandon ship.

Joe Mauer:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .271.  Not sure if you really want me to say anything here.  I choose not to as I don't get involved with overrated and extremely limited fantasy baseball players. 

Randall Grichuk:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .228.  Had no interest in Grichuk due to his awful K rate and the pathetic averages that go with it and needless to say I feel no remorse over not owning him.

Maikel Franco:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .255.  Franco has fought through some injury issues lately but that could simply yield a small buy low window worth pursuing. 

Miguel Cabrera:  3/3 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .327.  Well it looks like we may have been premature in calling for the demise of Cabrera.  He has been silly the last two weeks with a slew of home runs and the average is almost back to his customary batting title levels.  When any hitter is in such a groove like this, life is sweet. 

Nick Castellanos:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .311.  I gather Castellanos is going to be the guy who torments me all season when I said his early production was a fluke. 

J.D. Martinez:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .260.  This is why you never worry about an extended slump from Martinez as he is one of the more hot/cold players in all of fantasy baseball. 

Marcell Ozuna:  3/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .321.  Everything is working on all cylinders with Ozuna who is doing that very beautiful power and batting average combination.  Not sure if the average can hold even at .300 given the K rates but Ozuna has 25 home run power that was interrupted only by some maturity issues a year ago. 

Ichiro Suzuki:  4/5 while hitting .417.  With Bartolo Colon pitching well and David Ortiz on a 30-home run pace, of course Suzuki will challenge for another batting title. 

 

Monday, May 23, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: BODIES DROPPING EVERYWHERE

Monday was a very busy day for the injury blotter in fantasy baseball as some prime hitters and pitchers were diagnosed with their respective maladies that could have them out of commission for awhile.  As always let's get to the bottom of each and their fantasy baseball fallout:

Lucas Duda:  Perhaps the most serious injury of the day involved New York Mets slugging first baseman Lucas Duda who was found to have suffered a stress fracture in his back that will keep him out "awhile" according to manager Terry Collins.  Duda began experiencing pain in the back last week and after an aborted comeback try into the lineup, underwent the tests that revealed the fracture.  Obviously any back issue is a major problem for a hitter, especially one who swings as hard as Duda does.  Count on him missing at least a month and maybe more and with Duda not being especially impactful before the injury, you could argue whether or not he is worth keeping around.  An absolute brutal 1-for-25 against lefties this season, Duda is an average liability which hurts the impact some of his 25 home run bat.  Either way he won't be talked about much for awhile. 

Shin-Soo Choo:  It has been nothing but injury frustration for Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo who missed most of April and May with injury, only to come back for a short active stint before he went down again over the weekend.  This time it was a  strained left hamstring that sent Choo to the DL which will keep him out at least two weeks.  Delino Deshields Jr. is expected to take Choo's place in the lineup and this gives him a chance to make amends for his own brutal start to the season where he hit very little.  Anyone in needs of steals can give Deshields another try and Choo can safely be cut in all formats as he is nothing more than a poor average hitter who has zero speed left and moderate power. 

Jordan Zimmerman:  It was a Grade 1 groin strain that took down surprisingly tremendous Detroit Tigers SP Jordan Zimmerman over the weekend which at the very least will have his next outing skipped.  The Tigers don't think Zimmerman will need the disabled list but any missed start is a bummer considering how great he has been pitching with a sub-3.00 ERA despite going from the easier NL to the rougher AL. 

Kevin Kiermaier:  Kiermaier got some pub this spring when Sports Illustrated did a piece on how valuable he is due to his terrific defense and solid enough hitting.  Unfortunately Kiermaier didn't hit much at all before suffering a fractured left hand that requires surgery and will keep him out for 8-10 weeks.  Only those who are in AL-only formats are impacted by this but obviously Kiermaier needs to be cut loose. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Logan Morrison:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .176.  You got issues when you are known more for his Twitter habits then hitting a baseball. 

Miguel Cabrera:  3/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .315.  Over the last two weeks Cabrera has been every bit the early first round monster he was a short while ago.  Age has no doubt robbed some numbers from the bottom line but when the swing is right, there is no one better.

Victor Martinez:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .329.  Martinez can teach a class on pure hitting and it is nice to see the power again after the complete flameout of 2015.  Guy is not going away yet.

Chris Archer:  6 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 5.16.  See similarities to Matt Harvey?  Note to self and to everyone else:  avoid young pitchers who make a big jump in innings the season after.  The numbers are all very ugly under this scenario and that could make someone like Noah Syndegaard scary for 2017. 

Jordan Zimmerman:  5.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.52.  Got his seventh win before departing with a groin injury that may or may not end up with a trip to the DL.  Zim has been shockingly good in defying all convention going from the NL to the AL and all of this despite a mediocre K Rate which is always trouble in the DH league.

Madison Bumgarner:  7.2 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.17.  You can't get anything off Bumgarner right now as he is as locked in as one gets.  Remember that we said it was only a matter of time before Bumgarner figured things out after his second straight early April bump in the road and boy did he put the hammer down since.  Basically you group Bum in with Chris Sale and Jake Arrieta. 

Jacoby Ellsbury:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .275.  Ellsbury is on a nice little run right now but the next injury should be on tap in another week or so.  Then Ellsbury will be day-to-day for another week.

Brian McCann:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .258.  Standard operating procedure personified.  What is funny here is that every season we all chase other upstart looking fantasy baseball catchers and year after year McCann still goes out and swats 20 home runs and collects 75 RBI.  Yet McCann continues to get treated like old news.

Michael Pineda:  6 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 6.34.  Talked a lot about Pineda last week and the advanced metrics all point to a turn for the better and probably by a sizable margin since he is still missing a ton of bats.  Overall though I still don't advise a buy low as the summer slide will approach soon.

Justin Turner:  1/1 with his 4th HR while hitting .232.  It takes hitters about three weeks or so if they miss the majority or all of spring training with injury to find their swing.  Said Turner was done with that trial run a few days ago and now he has hit 2 home runs since.

Kenta Maeda:  4 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.29.  Yet another shaky outing on Maeda whose ERA has jumped a full two runs over the last three weeks.  Correction, correction, correction.

Jonathan Schoop:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .270.  Doing a better impression of Robinson Cano then Robinson Cano. 

Nomar Mazara:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .304.  No letup in sight here as Mazara is a line-drive machine with burgeoning power.  Missed the boat on this one when Mazara was coming up but he has the type of pure swing that elicits some Manny comparisons.

Evan Gattis:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .244.  Yeah all of these home runs will look nice once the catcher eligibility is gained here. 

Dallas Keuchel:  7 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 5.92.  I mean I really don't have to say anything anymore that I already haven't said.  I will let the numbers speak for themselves which would be screaming out "The Fantasy Sports Boss told you to avoid him." 

Cole Hamels:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.83.  It seems like if you are a veteran starter age 30 or above, you have a better chance of holding your ratios in switching from the NL to the AL like we have seen from Hamels and Zimmerman.

Jose Bautista:  1/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .230.  While about as opposite a player as you can get in terms of being a classic leadoff hitter, the move to the top spot in the order has coincided with the biggest power surge of the season for Bautista.  Sometimes the attention snaps to the forefront when a move around the lineup commences. 

Josh Donaldson:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .250.  Donaldson's average is actually not a major shock as he has had contact issues going back to his Oakland days and Rogers Center kept that from being an issue a year ago.  He is more .280 then .250 but also more .280 then .300 when luck is equal. 

Marcus Stroman:  7.2 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.89.  You want a few more K's here but Stroman continues his ascent toward being a fantasy baseball staff ace. 

Todd Frazier:  2/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .228.  Geez the average is still putrid but Frazier was only a .260 guy to begin with so it is what it is.  Can't argue with the massive power though which remains the key number emanating from a Frazier swing. 

Zack Greinke:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.59.  Came on the road in a pitcher's park in St. Louis so Greinke is far from out of the struggle woods right now. 

Justin Bour:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .254.  Even if Bour hits 25 home runs this season, he will still be around in the late middle rounds of next season's fantasy baseball draft.  Just watch.  Guys like this always slip through the cracks where they then end up on my wining team.

Adam Conley:  6 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 4.15.  I didn't co crazy when Conley got off to a hot start and told you all not to overreact despite the decent K rate.  Now look.  The WHIP is also 1.43 people. 

Max Scherzer:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.80.  Yet another home run given up which has derailed what has been the usual dominant stuff from Scherzer.  If he can get that more under control, he is back to being the number 2 guy in the game among starters.

Noah Syndegaard:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 1.94.  Here is what is insane about Syndegaard outside of the monster velocity:  his K/BB ratio is 7:1 which is ludicrous for a young power pitcher.

Michael Conforto:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .284.  What a nice swing this kid has.  Conforto has that classic "It" factor with being a young hitter in today's game who can adjust back when hurlers start to take advantage of some holes in his swing.  The power ceiling is likely going to be capped at around 25 but Conforto still has a shot at outfielder 1 status a few seasons down the road. 

 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: BRIAN DOZIER 2B MINNESOTA TWINS

It was another fruitless night at the plate for Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier on Saturday, as his latest 0-for brought his season average to a very ugly .204 mark going into Sunday's games.  Flat out, nothing has gone right for Dozier this season after being a top five fantasy baseball second baseman from almost all publications heading into 2015.  While we had Dozier in such a standing, yours truly has gone on record too many times to count in suggesting you avoid the guy in yearly drafts due to some big struggles with his K rate and perennially poor batting averages taking shine off the impressive power/speed haul.  It was the home run/stolen base numbers though that made Dozier so interesting in the first place and kept many coming back to him this season while ignoring the ugly averages.  Of course the caveat that I talked about all along is that the average can be accepted as long as Dozier continued to threaten the 20/20 mark which is very valuable at the shallow second base spot.  Any slippage in either category and Dozier's value goes into the gutter.  Unfortunately for those owning stock in Dozier, the latter is what has transpired this season as Dozier goes into Sunday's game with just 4 home runs and 2 stolen bases to go with the .204 average.  With Dozier not running or hitting for power, he is looking like nothing but waiver fodder in fantasy baseball terms. 

As I always do in cases like Dozier's, digging into the advanced statistics is where to go in terms of figuring out what has gone wrong.  What stands out quickly though is that Dozier may not be as bad as the average indicates.  Primarily speaking, Dozier's .226 BABIP is incredibly unlucky and is especially stark when you consider that guys with above-average speed like he does can often beat the curve a bit in this advanced statistics category.  Thus the .204 average is misleading since everything Dozier is hitting is making its way into a fielder's glove.  The luck will start turning the other way eventually and that means Dozier should see the average inch up more closer to his standard .240 number there.  Of course .240 is still a nasty average and that brings us to the power/speed numbers which is where things get a bit more murky.  The problem now with Dozier is he is already 29 which means he is moving past his speed prime which for most players is between the ages of 21-28.  Like we have seen from Mike Trout, the steals start to ebb as a player reaches his upper-20's and thus Dozier doesn't seem like a good bet to ever approach his past as a 20-steal guy.  Now 12-15 might be the way to project here and this might even be too high for him to reach.  The bottom line then is that Dozier has to start hitting more home runs and that is not happening.  We could be looking at a situation where opposing pitchers are taking advantage of the inconsistent swing of Dozier and not give him anything to hit.  With fewer pitches being good enough to drive, Dozier is seeing his home run output slip.  It is crucial for Dozier to start swatting home runs as even though his average will likely come back up, the loss of steals won't make him valuable enough to continue his past standing as a top fantasy baseball second baseman. 

The bottom line here is that Brian Dozier is not looking like a good player to be using in your lineup right now and I am not surprised by what I am seeing given all the warnings I posted in the past.  He was never my cup of tea even during his 20/20 days due to the ugly average and with the steals now vanishing, the outlook is as bad as ever.


FANTASY BASEBAL LINEUP NEWS: JAY BRUCE (KNEE) BACK IN LINEUP SUNDAY

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is back in the lineup on Sunday after he sat out Saturday with soreness in his left knee. 

Analysis:  It turns out that Bruce's absence Saturday was nothing but a cautionary move and he is back at it Sunday against Wade Miley.  Bruce has actually hit quite well so far this season with his usual high allotment of power.  The average will likely come down a bit but otherwise Bruce is where he should be when it comes to his numbers. 


FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP NEWS: LUCAS DUDA OUT AGAIN SUNDAY WITH SORE BACK

New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is out of the lineup again on Sunday due to ongoing soreness in his back.  Eric Campbell will once again start in Duda's place as the slugging first baseman remains day-to-day.

Analysis:  Duda has developed into a player who has some back issues each and every season and that is concerning considering he is still young.  We all know the book now on Duda is that he goes through some extreme hot and cold streaks but the power is always where it should be by the end of the season. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Lorenzo Cain:  2/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .271.  Considering that half of Cain's home runs came in one game, his power output has been minimal and the average disappointing to this point. 

Matt Wieters:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .283.  There is a major buying opportunity at hand now with Wieters who is finally looking like his old top five fantasy baseball catcher self after missing pretty much the entire last two years.  There was a lot of rust to work off but Wieters looks like he has done so and his 20-plus home runs power has always been a big asset.

Kevin Gausman 6.2 IP 8 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.70.  Gausman has really done a nice job going back to last season with the O's and all it took was for him as well to cut back on the high heat and stop trying to strike everyone out.  That seems to be very en vogue right now around baseball with high-profile guys like Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole doing so as well. 

Matt Shoemaker:  7.1 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 12 K with an ERA of 6.81.  I mean haven't we been down this road like a million and a half times with this guy already?  Shoemaker has an outing like this once every seven or eight starts and every time else he is getting pounded with home runs.  Stop with this foolish fantasy that he will ever be helpful more than one start a month.

Trayce Thompson:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .281.  Told you all to pick up Thompson last week so now let's start the count on how many home runs you are going to miss out on.  And he can run too.

Alex Wood:  6 IP 4 H  ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 4.03.  Once upon a time back before the 2014 season, I wrote a bunch of sleeper posts on this guy anticipating outings like this.  Two bombed out seasons later we get this finally.  Wood has been spectacularly bad at times during that ugly span so I of all people won't bite off one start but at least I can say he is heading in the right direction.  some consistency and we will talk more. 

Dexter Fowler:  3/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .324.  Fowler has been insane with the bat this season and it is almost like he realized he screwed up re-signing as a fourth outfielder with the Cubs and then injury gave him new fantasy baseball life which he is taking full advantage of.

Kris Bryant:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting. 282.  About two weeks ago I said Bryant looked about ready to launch and the other day I said something along the lines of him looking like he would start swatting 8-10 homers a month.  Yup and yup. 

Buster Posey:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .274.  Don't you get the feeling with Posey that he is "just there?"

Jon Lester:  5 ER in 2.2 IP with an ERA of 2.60.  Honestly all Lester owners were waiting for this clunker as he had been way too dominant for way too long.  With that out of the way, the pursuit of the Cy Young continues. 

Jose Fernandez:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.02.  When Fernandez is not walking guys like he had in most of his outings prior to this one, he is impossible to deal with.  The movement on his stuff is beyond sickeing and puts Fernandez in the truly elite category.  If the non-walks continue like this start, look out baseball. 

Justin Bohr:  1/2 with his 8th HR while hitting .252.  Should have maybe ignored the struggling Adam Linb as the later round power gem and went with this guy. 

Elvis Andrus:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .290.  Andrus hit a home run!  The end of times is near. 

Williams Perez:  6.1 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Soft-tossing pitchers on a bad team like the Braves are not very good fantasy baseball investments despite the NL locale.  Perez has done a decent job thus far but he is more likely to be rocking an ERA approaching 5.00 with his rate stats then stay anywhere near where he currenly is. 

Jose Bautista:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .231.  Bautista has gotten a spark with his power hitting leadoff and hey whatever works as he was pretty brutal before this stretch.  He is really getting up there in age now and we have been calling for his decline the last few seasons to no avail like with David Ortiz.  Remember though that power hitters tend to last longer and by a wide margin then speed guys.  Unless your name is Ryan Howard.

Michael Saunders:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .315.  Let's flip/flop Bautista and Saunders in the lineup and all will be good.

Brian Dozier:  0/4 while hitting .204.  Nothing has gone right here all season and Dozier is beyond due for a Crisis Point.  I have been talking about this for years now though with Dozier in terms of his ridiculous K Rate making him a huge average liability.  Opposing pitchers have no reason to throw Dozier anything to drive at this stage and with him not even getting on base at a high clip, he can't run to offset the brutal average damage.  This is why I tell you every season to avoid average liability/high-K guys such as this. 

Tyler Chatwood:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.02.  Yup it came on the road.  With such a middling K rate, relying on a Colorado pitcher like this is a recipe for disaster anywhere Coors Field. 

Mookie Betts:  3/5 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .276.  A guy who was known at first for his average and speed is now hitting home runs at a high rate.  Commence drooling. 

Trevor Bauer:  5 IP 8 H 4 ER 2 BB 0 K with an ERA of 4.31.  For Bauer's next trick of massive infuration, he will make an effort not to strike anyone else out the rest of the season. 

Yadier Molina:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .313.  Kudos to Molina who is still hitting for a very good average for a catcher but the power is completely shot here.  In two catcher formats Molina still works very good but in single you should have moved on prior to last season. 

Jedd Gyorko:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .225.  Like a tiger can't change his stripes, an awful average power hitter can't change his statistical rates even if he switches teams. 

Mike Leake:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.07.  Leake is having a typical Mike Leake season.  Solid enough ERA, middling K rate, winning some games.  Rinse and repeat. 

Masahiro Tanaka:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.24.  Tanaka's WHIP is 1.05 and generally he has been tremendous for his fantasy baseball owners.  I am shocked the elbow has not blown out completely by now but keep in mind the drop in K rate since the tear was found is an indication that it is having an impact in a negative way to Tanaka's bottom line impact. 






Saturday, May 21, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP NEWS: JAY BRUCE OUT SATURDAY WITH KNEE SORENESS

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is out of the lineup Saturday as he battles soreness in his left knee.  Tyler Holt will start in his place as Bruce is being listed as just day-to-day.

Analysis:  This looks like your classic precautionary deal but obviously Bruce needs to be monitored.  He is so far posting one of his better batting averages at .275 to go with his above-average power but Bruce never really turned into the superstar many thought he would become. 


FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP NEWS: RYAN BRAUN (BACK) OUT AGAIN SATURDAY

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is out of the lineup again on Saturday as he continues to battle soreness in his back.  Braun said Saturday that he aims to return on Sunday but he remains listed as day-to-day.

Analysis:  Braun once agian has a day-to-day injury which is becoming the mantra for his career in addition to his PED bust.  While Braun remains quite frustrating, he is actually having a very good season with a high average and moderate power. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Aaron Nola:  7 IP 7 H 2 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.85.  Nola actually gave up five runs but three were unearned.  Even when he gets shelled he is still awesome. 

Freddie Freeman:  2/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .272.  Freeman has hit well over .300 for the last three weeks and the power has taken off as well.  Goes to show you what Freeman is capable of overall but a putrid Braves lineup neuters his overall possible impact.

Nick Markakis:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .257.  Still trying to figure out why the hell on earth the Braves signed Markakis as a free agent prior to last year when they were shipping off anything that was not nailed down in order to prep for their new ballpark.  Also remember when Markakis was a borderline outfielder 1?  Then the power and speed vanished overnight.  Why?  (Insert chemical reason here................).

Matt Wisler:  6.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.93.  Some very nice value things happening here with the kid but some major perspective is needed.  For one thing, Wisler was pounded a year ago to the tune of a 4.71 ERA.  While you can say rookie jitters, his K/9 rate is awful at a below-average 5.94 a year ago and 6.34 this season.  The margin for error is razor thin and reminders of Taylor Jungmann a year ago come to mind.  Be very careful here. 

Justin Turner:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .234.  Turner is now just starting to knock off the rust after missing spring training recovering from surgery and most of April.  I would take a stab as Turner was a line drive machine the last two seasons prior to the health problems. 

Yasiel Puig:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .242.  There has to be more here right?  Starting to think not. 

Melvin Upton:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .266.  It is amazing to say this but Melvin has been the most valuable fantasy baseball hitter in the family in 2016.

Derek Norris:  1/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .176.  Norris has let me down at every turn as he has fallen in love with the home run and in the process left behind decent averages and some speed in the minors and his early Oakland A's seasons.  Not good.

Scott Kazmir:  5 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 5.23.  Speaking of not good, Kazmir has pretty much gotten his brains beaten in all season and the first half is usually when he excels before going into his mid-to-late year tailspin.  Could be among the worst overall starters this season based on that trend.  Never was a fan in the first place.

C.C. Sabbathia:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.41.  Nice start off the DL for C.C. and overall he has been pretty good.  His K rate has jumped up a bit as well but honestly do you really want to go down this road AGAIN?

Sonny Gray:  4 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 6.19.  There are no words to describe how awful Gray has been.  The only people who would understand how bad are Matt Harvey owners.  There is ZERO life on Gray's fastball and rememeber I did a Crisis Point on him two weeks ago sharing with you the fact his K/9 rate has slipped each of the last three years.  Now combined with his head getting beaten in every time out, there is legitimate worry over misuse of Gray with all those early innings on his arm. 

Manny Machado:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .323.  MVP here we come.

Mark Trumbo:  1/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .306.  So far Trumbo has my "A.J. Pollock 2015 Value Play of the Year Pick" award all locked up.  Yes me of all people recommended a buy low on Trumbo this season after ripping him for years.  Move to offensive park+extreme drop in draft price=metamorphosis into value play I like.

Chris Davis:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .243.  Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris are enjoying this Trumbo-Chris Davis duel from above.

Joey Rickard:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .268.  Rickard looks like just the latest uncovered hitting value play found by Buck Showalter.  Originally a ninth round pick, hit only two home runs in the minors a year ago so don't go crazy here.  This is more of a steals add as that is what Rickard did best on the farm. 

Kris Bryant:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .277.  Bryant seems primed to have one of those summers where he hits 10-12 home runs each month. 

Ben Zobrist:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .326.  Zobrist has been terrific and so much better then I anticipated.  Keep in mind though he is still a changed player from his prime when he was a near-20/20 guy.  The speed is shot but Zobrist's uptick in home run rate has to do with him finally moving into a hitter's park.  The average will come down due to a lucky BABIP but those who got the cheap rate on Zobrist are patting themselves on the back.

Jake Arrieta:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.29.  19 wins in a row for Arrieta who has put his picture right under the heading of "ridiculous" all over the Internet.

Jose Bautista:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .229.  There has been a lot of talk about Bautista batting leadoff but that is not a good thing for his fantasy baseball as he doesn't run and it will cut down RBI chances. 

Josh Donaldson:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .252.  The average is down a bit but otherwise it remains paradise owning Donaldson.

Michael Saunders:  3/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .317.  Saunders was a guy I previously was not a fan of due to the ugly batting averages he toted around but in Toronto and with no one wanting him, he was like the outfield version of Mark Trumbo.  Again everyone has value at the right price.

Aaron Sanchez:  7 IP 8 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.20.  Sanchez has legitimately been good as his .285 BABIP is only slightly lucky.  Only concern of course is fatigue during the summer after Sanchez pitched mostly in the bullpen previously so get readty to sell on the kid sometime in June.

Tyler Duffy:  6 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 3.30.  Goes to show you that guys who throw soft like Duffey in the AL will eventually get expoded and it will get nasty.

Colby Lewis:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.75.  Have not typed much on Lewis this season because I haven't wanted to.  Guy knows how to pitch but there may not be a more boring guy in the world to own.  Do what you must. 

Chris Hermann:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .290.  All of a sudden a catcher value play has appeared for us.  Alas Hermann is old at 28 and was a high-K/ugly average guy with some pop in the minors.  You ask questions later with catchers who can hit but there should be an expiration date on this.

Brandon Drury:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .309.  Yeah we need to do a Status Report pronto.

Carlos Martinez:  5 IP 7 H 4 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.56.  Yup Martinez was garbage again.  Not striking guys out all of a sudden and he is getting hit after the shoulder went bad again.  Cards in jeopardy of ruining their second young hard-thrower like they have done with Michael Wacha.

Nolan Arenado:  3/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .314.  I had a dream I owned Nolan Arenado.  It was a nice dream.  All was well in the world.  Then I woke up and depression hit me that I don't own him.  Anywhere. 

Gerrit Cole:  7 IP 10 H 1 ER 1 BB 0 K with an ERA of 2.79.  Not one strikeout?  Maybe Cole read that whole Chris Sale article this past week in SI where he talked about purposely not striking out as many guys in order to pitch deeper into games.  As an owner of Cole you don't want this kind of a trend but the ERA and WHIP is still at the ace level it should be.

Nelson Cruz:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .279.  This is Cruz telling us all "don't count me out for 40 home runs just yet."

Dae-Ho Lee:  2/2 with his sixth HR while hitting .273.  I want to see more of this and less of Adam Lind.

Zack Cozart:  1/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .326.  Why more people are not talking about the tremendous hitting of Cozart is beyond me.  This is what happens though when a guy bombs his first few "sleeper" seasons. 

Steven Souza:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .276.  Souza has managed to keep the average in useful territory unlike last season and really that is the only talking point worth mentioning since he has proven to possess very interesting power/speed ability. 

Steve Pearce:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .302.  2014 again?

Miguel Cabrera:  3/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .308.  We started counting out Cabrera as a monster first round hitter but over the last two weeks he is back at that level.  Whether these are now just considered hot streaks and nothing else will determine his overall value for 2016. 

Matt Andriese:  5.1 IP 5 H 4 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.11.  Just like with Tyler Duffy, Andriese is a soft-=tosser who should get exposed in the American League.