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Thursday, June 30, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE DEADLINE FALLOUT: BUD NORRIS HEADS WEST OFF DOMINANT STRETCH, BAD OMEN FOR CLAYTON KERSHAW'S HEALTH?

On the same day that the Los Angeles Dodgers placed ace SP Clayton Kershaw on the 15-day DL with a herniated disk in his back, the team quickly completed a trade with the Atlanta Braves for veteran starter Bud Norris to help fill the void.  Norris has been especially locked in of late as he has a 2.15 ERA and has punched out 29 batters in his last 29.1 innings.  He will remain in a prime pitcher's park moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles but we all know by no how streaky Norris can be.  His career has been filled with tantalizing outings with high K rates but more often than not he has been a major disappointment and liability with ugly ERA's and walks galore.  Norris has thrown well enough though to continue being used as a SP 5 in all fantasy baseball leagues but his move to the Dodgers possibly says more about the bad health of Kershaw right now than anything else which is doubly worrisome for his owners. 


FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: FERNANDO RODNEY MOVES INTO SETUP ROLE WITH MIAMI, RYAN BUTCHER NEXT MAN UP IN SAN DIEGO?

Veteran fantasy baseball players know that when the summer arrives, save prospecting really gets underway as teams out of contention try and deal away whatever they can in order to stockpile prospects for the future.  Often that means moving the established closer as these arms becoming precious and highly sought after commodities around the trade deadline as contending teams look to fortify the bullpen.  As a result, new closers begin to appear as previous setup men step up to fill the void in the ninth inning on those teams who make such a deal.  We already saw this type of scenario in action on Thursday as the awful San Diego Padres struck early by moving closer Fernando Rodney to the Miami Marlins where he will pitch in setup in front of flawless A.J. Ramos.  In one of the biggest shockers of the season, the 39-year-old Rodney, who almost was out of baseball after a horrific 2015 campaign, turned himself back into an All-Star stopper to the tune of a ridiculous 0.31 ERA and which computes to one earned run given up in 28.2 innings.  Truly insane numbers no matter how you slice it as Rodney was as radioactive as one can get entering into the season and we all collectively laughed when the Padres opened up the season with him closing.  Be that as it may, Rodney loses almost all of his fantasy baseball value due to the move as he will pitch in setup in front of Ramos who himself has not blown a save and has been terrific.  Meanwhile the hole at the back of the Padres bullpen will likely be filled by Ryan Butcher.  Butcher is the guy to grab first as he has been dominant himself all seaosn with an ERA of 2.91 and looks like a closer with a crazy K rate that has resulted in 50 whiffs in just 34 innings.  While managers want lefty's like Butcher in setup mostly, the kid has been way too good to be not given the first crack. 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS:. MARLINS ACQUIRE FERNANDO RODNEY FROM PADRES

The Miami Marlins beefed up their bullpen Thursday by acquiring closer Fernando Rodney from the San Diego Padres.

Analysis:. Interesting as the Marlins are not big on acquiring players.  Rodney should slide into a setup role in front of closer A.J. Ramos, while the Padres could turn to Ryan Butcher in the ninth.







  

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: CLAYTON KERSHAW (BACK) TO HIT DL

The Los Angeles Dodgers will place ace SP Clayton Kershaw on the 15-day disabled list after receiving an epidural shot on Wednesday.  Kershaw began complaning of back pain after his last start and follow-up testing revealed inflammation that required the shot. 

Analysis:  Not good.  Right now the Dodgers think Kershaw will miss just the 15 days but backs are historically tricky in terms of recovery.  The number 1 fantasy baseball pitcher by far, Kershaw's loss can't be measured. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Adam Duvall:  2/3 with his 22nd HR while hitting .254.  Duvall has not stopped mashing one bit since the start of the season and his place as a supreme 2016 value play is already secured.  There are enough sizable holes in his swing that opposing pitchers will still try to be aggressive with him and that should ensure more mistakes being slammed. 

Anthony Rizzo:  1/5 with his 19th HR while hitting .284.  Rizzo's numbers each year can be written in ink in terms of a .280 average and 35 home runs.  And a first round grade. 

Addison Russell:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .236.  With no speed, Russell has not hit for average to go with power and that has not happened this season.  As a result that makes him a bench option ideally which is not what many expected at this juncture. 

Kyle Hendricks:  6.2 IP 8 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.76.  Amazing how Hendricks has turned a "Big Four" in the Chicago Cubs rotation into a "Big Five." 

Josh Donldson:  2/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .293.  Unlike in fantasy football which saw a majority of consensus number 1 picks go bust, in 2016 fantasy baseball almost all of the first round guys such as Donaldson have made their grades. 

Aaron Sanchez:  8 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.08.  Ratios are inching up and K rate inching down as the innings pile up.  This is your warning to sell high on Sanchez as the fatigue sets in.

Jose Altuve:  4/5 with his 21st HR while hitting .357.  This is getting stupid now.  The other day I said if the draft was tomorrow I would pick this guy first.  Over Mike Trout.  Yes sir.  The power uptick has turned the 5-7 Altuve into that special class of player known here as a "video game guy." 

Danny Salazar:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.22.  We are talking knocking on the door of top five among all SP territory. 

Lonnie Chisenhall:  1/4 with his fifth HR while hitting .297.  In AL-only leagues if you must go down this road AGAIN! 

Max Scherzer:  7.1 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.30.  Take out about 5 home runs and Scherzer has his customary 2.00-something ERA.  Nothing has changed here outside of that in terms of his ace profile.

Daniel Murphy:  2/4 with 2 home runs (14 for season) while hitting .352.  Talk about literally socking it to the team that gave up on you.  While he won't win it, Murphy has put his name in the fantasy baseball MVP chatter and at the very least has the second base spot locked up in the NL fantasy baseball All-Star team.  My goodness.

Brian McCann:  2/3 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .229.  Just when you get ready to start throwing dirt on McCann, he comes back with a game like this to remind you he is still very much potent in fantasy baseball terms.  The average has been disgusting for awhile so no surprises there but we need 20 home runs for him to retain his usual standards going into 2017.

Adrian Beltre:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .284.  Beltre likes Yankee pitching as he has gone all Babe Ruth on it the last few days.  What a underrated great career this guy has had as he knocks on the Hall of Fame door.

Rougned Odor:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .271.  Geez Odor is at 15 home runs and we are not even at the break yet.  Scary where this might go.  Future 40 home run second baseman?  Those are words I don't think I have ever typed here.

Didi Gregorious:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .290.  I haven't talked about the guy much but Gregorious has been very solid this season and clearly has elevated his hitting.  We are still just in AL-only territory but Gregorious also qualifies as a very good backup shortstop in mixers.

Eduardo Nunez:  3/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .316.  I have no more answers here.  Every season there is a guy who comes out of nowhere and hits like a first round pick and never lets up.  This season Eduardo Nunez is that guy.  Value play of the year right now with Jonathan Villar slowing down a bit.

Todd Frazier:  2/4 with his 22nd HR while hitting .202.  All Frazier does is hit home runs.  He hits a lot of them but damn I can't believe he is entering into that phase of his career already at still a young age.

Ryan Braun:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .325.  Braun himself has not let up with the terrific hitting all season as he further pushed the Biogensis mess into the rearview mirror.  I won't forget.

Junior Guerra:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.25.  Guerra's XFIP is 4.09 as his BABIP is incredibly lucky at .247.  That's all you need to know when you wonder how this is happening.

Andrew McCutchen:  0/5 while hitting .239.  Back to square one in terms of whether McCutchen can make it back to his All-Star self of contnue to struggle.




Wednesday, June 29, 2016

2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: LAMAR MILLER RB HOUSTON TEXANS

Sometimes an explosion of numbers is that obvious.  A confluence of events or changes come together to maximize the potential of a player who maybe only hinted at greatness prior.  It is under this scenario where I present to you Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller who I fully believe is sitting on a monster breakout 2016 campaign that will launch him into the stratosphere in fantasy football circles.  Let's get right into it.

As far as Miller's history is concerned, the 26-year-old former Miami Hurricanes runner comes off a four-season tenure with the Miami Dolphins where he often was severely underutilized both in the running and passing game.  Desite averaging 4.5 yards per carry or better in three of his four seasons in Florida, Miller's career-high in rushing yardage was the modest 1,099 he had in 2014 which also was the only time he went over 1,000.  The Dolphins always seemed more interested in forcing a committe approach at the expense of Miller which really hurt his fantasy football value and never made him more than a RB 2 in any of his four seasons.  2015 did show some promise of what Miller could do with the more work though, especially in the passing game as he caught a career-best 47 balls for 397 yards.  His 872 rushing yards was no doubt disappointing but Miller did average a very good 4.5 a pop there.  His best work though came in Week 7 when he rushed for 175 yards and a score, while catching 3 passes for another 61 yards and a second touchdown.  The team he did it against?  The Houston Texans.  Thus it was no surprise that run-loving head coach Bill O'Brien came calling in free agency and he is expected to make Miller his clear bell cow back who will get a ton of work both in the running and passing game.  That means those who especially take part in PPR formats should be doubly interested given the expected numbers Miller can put up in 2016.  O'Brien has made it clear he will use Miller heavily and this is from a team that finished first and 5th in the NFL in rushing attempts the last two seasons.  Put it all together and Miller is sitting on a monster breakout season and his potential alone makes him a very good late first round pick.  If you can snag Miller in Round 2, even better.  Either way this is going to be a significant story this season.   

2016 PROJECTION:  1,216 rushing yards 8 TD 59 receptions 488 yards 3 TD  




FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY WRAPUP: FINGERS CROSSED ON CLAYTON KERSHAW'S BACK

There are a ton of injuries striking down big name players across fantasy baseball so time to dust off the "Injury Wrapup" which we use for special occasions like this.

-The biggest "cross your fingers" injury of the day Tuesday was the news that Los Angeles Dodgers ace and by far consensus top pitcher in all of fantasy baseball Clayton Kershaw would be headed to see a back specialist due to ongoing pain.  While Kershaw expressed optimism he would be able to make his Friday start, the fact he is seeing a specialist means this is more than a minor deal.  Results are expected sometime on Wednesday and needless to say Kershaw is one of a handful of guys who is truly irreplaceable in fantasy baseball.  Kershaw is once again redefining the word "dominance" as he sports a 1.79 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, and has struck out a ridiculous 145 batters in 121 innings.  Any loss of a Kershaw start would be a monstrous loss. 

-Kershaw's teammate Joc Pederson bruised the AC joint in his shoulder Tuesday night while making a catch and crashing into the outfield wall.  Pederson came out of the game immediately and headed for testing which revealed the bruise.  Since there were no breaks, Pederson is expected to return in a couple of days.  As far as the numbers are concerned, Pederson once again is quite disappointing with a .236 average but 13 home runs is a nice number in terms of power.  Still Pederson has not shown any of the dynamism he had as a minor leaguer in terms of speed as he has just 4 steals 6 attempts after taking just 4 in 11 attempts a year ago. 

-The rough initial season in Arizona for Diamondbacks ace SP Zack Greinke took another bad turn on Tuesday as he suffered a dreaded oblique strain that likely will send him to the disabled list.  Greinke exited his start after two scoreless innings with the strain and it adds another layer to what has been at times a horrible debut in the desert.  Realizing the differences in moving from a prime pitchers park in Los Angeles to a power park in Arizona, Greinke was destroyed in April to the tune of a 5.50 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.  Greinke began to find himself though from that point on as he logged a much better 3.82/1.12 mark in May and then was dominant in June to the tune of a 1.63/0.91 slash.  Now it is likely Greinke will be out for a few weeks which adds to the frustration.  His days as a fantasy baseball ace are over as long as Greinke resides in Arizona. 

-New York Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran avoided trouble Tuesday when an MRI came back clean on the sore hamstring that took him out of that night's game after one at-bat.  Beltran is considered day-to-day and will likely man the DH spot more and more in order to preserve his legs.  Beltran is just the latest graybeard hitter to excel this season, having smacked 19 home runs with a shockingly good .297 average to show he is not done yet. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Cole Hamels:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.60.  Hamels is now up to 9-1 and has been every bit the ace he has always been and in Texas of all places.  As a longtime Hamels lover, I admit I avoided him this season due to the AL and his so-so performance with the Rangers after coming over via trade last summer.  While the K rate is downslightly, everything else is where it should be which is a testament to the player. 

Adrian Beltre:  3/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .285.  While Beltre is no longer a .300 hitter or a 30-home run guy, he is still holding steady as a solid daily league fantasy baseball third baseman.  That is more toward the bottom in the 10-12 range though.

Matt Carpenter:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .300.  If Carpenter stole some bases, you would easily say he is in the running for fantasy baseball MVP.  Carpenter leads the game in runs scored with 54 and also has 49 RBI out of the LEADOFF spot in the NL!

Corey Kluber:  8 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.50.  Amazing how if you throw out April and even early May, you can argue that you can count on one hand more effective fantasy baseball power pitchers then this guy.  Reo:  member that when you go out and buy low next April 30. 

Travis Shaw:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .273.  Shaw has settled more into his actual level of production now that oppoing pitches are getting more of a book on him after he debuted in garbage time for the Red Sox a year ago but he is still doing a nice job overall for a guy who was not considered a top prospect.  The sell high window is likely closed now that the average is dropping but Shaw makes for a top backup third baseman. 

Chris Archer:  6.1 IP 7 H 4 ER 4 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.76.  It is just not happening here for Archer who despite standing second in the majors in K/9 rate at 10.91 which is excellent, he has given up an insane amount of home runs and the walk rate is approaching 4.00!!!!  Just like with Matt Harvey in New York whose arm has bounced off a big workload jump a year ago, Archer's overall stuff is not nearly where it was in 2015. 

Bryce Harper:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .258.  I did a long piece on Harper the other day and stand by what was written in terms of the average being severely depressed by an unlucky BABIP and now the power will always be there ready to explode.  Yup. 

Lucas Giolito:  4 H 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 1 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Giolito looked great as expected and his curveball is something right out of a video game.  With a fastball that approaches 100, Giolito is here to stay and set to be a fantasy baseball ace before long.

Matt Harvey:  3.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.55.  See Archer, Chris.  Just not happening with the guy.

Giancarlo Stanton:  3/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .228.  Ho-hum.

Miguel Cabrera:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .295.  Cabrera could straddle up close to 40 home runs this season and yet some still say he is losing it.  Outside of average which is still helpful, talk such as this is nonsense. 

Nick Castellanos:  3/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .302.  Castellanos' average has sunk lately as I said it would when he was up there with a .350 BABIP in May but as long as he still hits for power, he holds his spot as a top ten fantasy baseball third baseman. 

Brian Dozier:  3/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .259.  Wow Dozier is really locked in right now.  Over the last week he is taking batting practice among major league pitchers and his average is above .250 which is the most shocking thing of all.  Yes I told you to cut him loose in May and still don't like him as every hitter has a stretch like this at some point. 

Ben Zobrist:  2/6 with his 10th HR while hitting .296.  Zobrist will finish the season with his customary .260-.280 average but the uptick in power is a pure product of his new offensive park. 

Javier Baez:  1/7 with his 7th HR while hitting .256.  Like how Baez has worked to cut down on the K's which is what will help him stay in the majors and we all know the power/speed game could be special. 

Billy Hamilton:  1/6 with his third HR while hitting .255.  The home run was nice but let's get the steals going. 

Jon Lester:  7.2 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.03.  Lester how not slowed down one bit with his dominant pitching this season and another Cy Young could be in the offing.  In addition, Lester's second wave of ace pitching after he dipped during the end of his Red Sox tenure has not gotten the attention it should have received.

Julio Urias:  6 IP 2 H 2 ER 6 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.09.  Better.  Urias has terrific stuff with tremendous movement but that movement he has not harnessed yet as evidenced by the sky-high walk rate.  Obviously things will smooth out as he further develops as Urias is still just 19.  He wil be a very good one but not yet.  He remains a volatile start every time out for now. 

Carlos Correa:  3/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .265.  Correa is really heating up right now like he did last summer.  We didn't see him last April in the majors so maybe he is a slow starter.  Either way the best time seem ahead this season. 

Wil Myers:  1/2 with his 18th HR while hitting .284.  Myers also has 11 steals as he is doing a five category dance.  Post-hype sleeper made very good. 

Denard Span:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .253.  Age is robbing Span of some of his skills and right now he is only a bench bat. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: STEVEN MATZ (ELBOW) TO PITCH THROUGH BONE SPUR

It appears as though New York Mets lefty starter Steven Matz will attempt to pitch through the bone spur in his elbow and getting the process going, the team has pushed his next start back to Thursday. 

Analysis:  Well I guess that can be taken as a positive but the fact of the matter is that Matz is a huge risk in terms of starting him in fantasy baseball.  With his elbow hurting caused admittedly by using his slider, look for Matz to ditch the pitch which will give hitters one less thing to worry about.  We saw him get beat around against the Atlanta Braves his last time out which was a bad sign and surgery could result at any moment if this gets worse.  Very tough call regarding what to do with Matz but I would sit him down next time out to see how he does pitching with it. 


FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: XAVIER CEDENO COULD SEE SAVES WITH ALEX COLOME ON DL

The Tampa Bay Rays finally placed closer Alex Colome on the 15-day DL due to a bout of right biceps tendinitis that has not subsided since he first began sitting out games around 10 days ago.  Colome had already been the injury replacement since the start of the season for Brad Boxberger and shocked many with how dominant he was in the closer role with 19 saves, a 1.76 ERA, and 38 K's in 30.2 innings.  With Boxberger still out injured, the next man up for the Rays figures to be Xavier Cedeno who has been uneven in a setup role this season but overall has been solid with a 3.91 ERA and 25 K's in 25.1 innings.  Colome could return next Monday which makes any stint Cedeno has a short one but those in weekly leagues with daily transactions should give him a chance. 


2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL TIGHT END RANKINGS: A FIRST LOOK

Here is the first look at the 2016 fantasy football tight end rankings:

1.  Rob Gronkowski:  Same story as always.  First round talent who is among the bigest risk/reward guys in the game. 
2.  Jordan Reed:  Exploded to serve as the most vauable tight end in fantasy last December.  Very high ceiling but like with Gronk, Reed is always hurt and there is major bust potential given the rapidly increasing draft price. 
3.  Greg Olsen:  Best value among top three as Olsen has durability the two guys above him don't have.  Return of Kelvin Benjamin will only help open more space. 
4.  Travis Kelce:  Held back a bit by the lack of passing game in K.C. but Kelce as tremendous receiver. 
5.  Delanie Walker:  Was a monster value in 2015 as we said he would be due to rookie QB looking to him constantly.  Could inch back the numbers a bit but Walker's draft price getting a bit elevated which cuts down on the value a bit. 
6.  Coby Fleener:  Classic case of a good player who could be great entering into a new offense.  Jimmy Graham was the best tight end in fantasy football with the Saints and now is nothing in Seattle.  Fleener could be primed for 80-plus catch season and near double-digit scores but everyone will be in on this in your league. 
7.  Tyler Eifert:  Likely to miss the first week to two weeks of the season as he recovers from surgery which keeps Eifert out of top five.  Did a great Gronkowski impersonation last season with massive TD total but overall reception numbers just all right.  Don't overvalue. 
8.  Zach Ertz:  Second season in a row we saw flashed but not overall consistency out of Ertz.  That should change with Chip Kelly out of town.  Love the value here as Ertz is becoming sort of old news with the rise of guys like Reed, Fleener, and Ladarius Green. 
9.  Gary Barnidge:  Not going here as Barnidge could be a bust waiting to happen.  Never did a thing until 2015 and could easily slide back into irrelevancy.  Also already battling injury.  Overhyped. 
10. Ladarius Green:  Yes please.  Athletic tight end entering into a prime passing offense in Pittsburgh with a TE-loving QB.  Just has to stay on the field to yield incredible value. 
11. Antonio Gates:  Still getting it done but injury bug showed up again in 2015.  Now 35 and with the Chargers bringing in new offensive toys, name brand likely to outstrip production. 
12. Julius Thomas
13. Jimmy Graham:  Huge bust last season and now recovering from serious knee injury.  Avoid at all costs. 
14. Jason Witten:  Listen if you want to wait until the last few rounds to draft a tight end, Witten would be a terrific selection.  Still very effective for the Cowboys and you know he will be out there every week. 
15. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
16. Martellus Bennett:  Remember the Pats have had two fantasy football-worthy tight ends in the same offense before. 
17. Dwayne Allen
18. Jared Cook
19. Charles Clay
20. Eric Ebron:  Can improve a bit more but still just a backup option.
21. Richard Rodgers
22. Zach Miller
23. Jordan Cameron
24. Clive Walford
25. Ben Watson

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YANKS COULD CALL UP AARON JUDGE "WITHIN A WEEK"

The New York Yankees could call up top outfield prospect Aaron Judge "within a week" if the team continues to tread water.  Hovering around the .500 mark all season and having benched Alex Rodriguez against righties, the Yankees are mulling calling up the red-hot Judge who has hit .429 with 6 home runs in his last 7 games.  Under that arrangement, Judge would play in the outfield with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, while Carlos Beltran would be the DH. 

Analysis:  Pick up Judge now as he has been incredibly hot and the Yankees have no reason to keep him in the minors anymore.  While he does strike out a bunch which will hurt his average initially at the major league level, the power is immense and Judge could smack a bunch of home runs the rest of the way. 


FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: STEVEN MATZ PITCHING WITH BONE SPUR ON ELBOW

Just like with rotation-mate Noah Syndegaard, New York Mets lefty Steven Matz has been diagnosed with a bone spur in his pitching elbow.  The Mets have refused to acknowledge the bone spur in Matz, which is the same deniability they gave about Syndegaard before Thor admitted to it after his ugly outing Monday.  As far as Matz is concerned, he comes off a beating at the hands of the Atlanta Braves his last time out and he has been seen rubbing his elbow in the dugout after his last three starts.  Matz also admitted that the slider is causing him the most discomfort and that he won't be able to throw the pitch until the pain subsides.  Now the fact that Matz will be removing a prime pitch from his arsenal is a major problem for his outlook as the injury is now robbing him of his stuff.  As a result, Matz is looking like an incredibly risky pitcher to go with in any one start for the time being and surgery has not even been ruled out.  This is just another chapter in a very ugly season for the Mets and their young rotation which has bene besieged with injury and decreased stuff.  Anyone owning stock in Matz is in trouble there but hold him until we get a more firm diagnosis. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Mike Trout:  3/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .319.  So much for that whole "Bryce Harper is passing Mike Trout as the number 1 pick in fantasy drafts" narrative.

Matt Shoemaker:  6 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.12.  ERA has been coming down for weeks as Shoemaker continues to deal.  He was an aboslute joke last season and first two month or so of 2016 but even though I have been a huge critic, I will say he is still young enough to possibly have the light blub go on here.  Can't argue with the K rate as well and again it all comes down to how many home runs Shoemaker gives up.  On that front, his still high 1.13 HR/9 is vastly lower than 2015's 1.60.

Francisco Liriano:  4.1 IP 4 H 4 ER 5 BB 3 K with an ERA of 5.33.  The control can't get any worse and honestly I am shocked the Pirates are still trotting him out there every five days.  He has no business being on any fantasy baseball roster unless the goal is to finish last.  It was a nice run in Pittsburgh for a few years but Liriano's arm looks shot.

Ian Desmond:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .321.  With shortstop eligiblity remaining for one more season, you can argue that Desmond has been the best att he position in fantasy baseball.  Makes you wonder what Desmond was capable of if he were in a hitter's park all along.

Rougned Odor:  1/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .271.  Odor will be a .300 hitter in a year or so but don't let that category not let you see how incredibly talented this kid really is.

Mark Teixeira:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .191.  No one benefitted from the home run outside of Teixeira's mom's fantasy baseball roster.  And no one will benefit from the next one either.  Maybe by the third we will talk again.

Ben Revere:  3/5 with 3 steals (10 for season) while hitting .220.  Maybe this will get Revere going who we are still waiting to get value out of at the end of June.  Not the 40-steal gem of a season we all expected but when he is right, Revere can carry you in that category. Give him another whirl.

Noah Syndegaard:  5 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 2.59.  The velocity was back in the extreme range as Syndegaard whiffed 5 but everything else was terrible.  Now we learn Thor is pitching with a bone spur in his elbow on top of everything else.  He is going to try and pitch through it but the Mets would be royally screwing up here if they continue with this.  Either way, Syndegaard overnight has turned from a top five fantasy baseball pitcher to a guy who loks incredibly scary both on the mound and with his health.

Logan Forsythe:  3/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .297.  Forsythe once again is having a nice season on the heels of his eye-opening 2015.  Nothing ever jumps out about the guy but he is solid across the board nonetheless.  As long as he sits in your second base slot, that works.

Desmond Jennings:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .200.  Knowing he sucks, Jennings is now swinging for the fences every time in order to at least do something.

Eduardo Rodriguez:  9 ER in 2.2 IP with an ERA of 8.59.  Don't let the door hit you on the way back to the minors.

Matt Holliday:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .258.  Holliday can be added to the Ian Kinsler's and David Ortiz' of the world as aging like fine wine.  What a hitter Holliday has been throughout his career and his power output has seen an uptick in 2016 when we were all ready to write him off.  Health is now looking like the only thing that can derail him the rest of the way.

Adam Wainwright:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 5.04.  Haven't checked in on Wainwright in awhile but good to see he still is garbage like I said he would be.

Danny Duffy:  8 IP 6 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.24.  Good comeback here off some recent struggles where alarms began to blare.  I see a Status Report on the way.

Devon Travis:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .274.  Travis has hit for good power since coming back fron his myriad shoulder problems and he fits like a glove near the top of the Toronto order.  Last April everyone went nuts about the kid but this time around things are muted given how long he was out.  The talent is real.

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/3 with his 17th HR while hitting .321.  A .376 BABIP is ridiculous and is the main reason CarGo is batting .321.  That will reset as he is more .280 than anything but for the second season in a row he is on a near-40 homer pace.

Jon Gray:  7 IP 5 H 4 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.83.  Man the K rate is so nice but owning Gray will give you Gray hair due to the ballpark.

Vince Velasquez:  5 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.38.  I have questions about whether or not Velasquez can hold up as a starter physically but there is no denying how potent his stuff can be.  Did the Houston Astros really deal him for Ken Gile?  Wow.

Kris Bryant:  5/5 with 3 home runs (21 for season) while hitting .278.  Perfection.

Anthony Rizzo:  2/3 with his 18th HR while hitting .287.  So funny how guys like Bryant and Rizzo eventually find their numbers despite peaks and valleys of output.  Both guys got off to slow starts in April which led to some crazy e-mails asking me what was wrong and now look.  Patience is never in abundance in fantasy baseball but AT LEAST two months need to go by before a more firmer analysis can be made.

Joey Votto:  2/4 with 2 home runs (13 for season) while hitting .248.  You can throw Votto into the above piece as well.

Jake Arrieta:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 2.10.  Not saying this to sound any alarms or to say this is the start of a trend but remember that Arrieta lost his fastball late last season as all the innings piled up.  Considering how 2015 was far and away his high for innings, he could fatigue even earlier this time around.


Monday, June 27, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: STEVEN MATZ (ELBOW) '50/50' TO LAND ON DL

The New York Mets are growing increasingly concerned about SP Steven Matz who will head for testing on his left pitching elbow which has been sore during his last three starts.  Matz was seen rubbing his elbow in the dugout after his start two outings ago and then got bombed his last time out against the Atlanta Braves. 

Analysis:  Matz is really earning a reputation as a fragile and high volatility fantasy baseball pitcher despite a world of talent.  He reminds many of Cole Hamels right on down to the high K rate as a lefty but this is more than concerning.  Stay tuned. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: YULIESKI GOURRIEL WORKS OUT FOR METS

The New York Mets held an extensive workout for Cuban free agent third baseman Yulieski Gourriel in front of GM Sandy Alderson and ownership.  This on the heels of Gourriel having already worked out for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Analysis:  The Mets just signed Jose Reyes to pay third base but the team says that has nothing to do with their pursuit of Gourriel.  Gourriel needs about three weeks to a month to get up to speed against American pitching before he would get promoted but the recent checkered history of Cuban hitters bombing in the U.S. leaves him far from a sure thing. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: LUCAS GIOLITO SP WASHINGTON NATIONALS

The consensus number 1 pitching prospect in all of baseball is set to debut on Tuesday after the Washington Nationals confirmed the promotion of Lucas Giolito.  The 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft enters into his Major League debut with a 3.17 ERA and 9.13 K/9 rates at Double-A on the strength of a fastball that routinely touches 100-mph.  Compared to a Noah Syndegaard due to the extreme heat, Giolito also keeps the baseball in the park as evidenced by his tiny 0.25 HR/9 rate.  Control is about the only issue as Giolito's 4.31 BB/9 is a very ugly number but everything else screams out "fantasy baseball ace!"  The Nationals are reportedly planning on having Giolito stay in the rotation and not have this be a one-start deal and so if he is available on any waiver wire, run and pick him up immediately.  The ceiling is incredibly high here and Giolito can surely be a very impactful arm the rest of the season. 

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: HWAN OH LINED UP TO CLOSE SUNDAY?

Closing Time beckons so let's get to all the latest:

-We have delved into the closing situation with the St. Louis Cardinals for two days now and there is still no concrete answer as to who will replace Trevor Rosenthal while the latter is working on his stuff in setup.  There may have been a hint though on Sunday when Hwan Oh was warming up in the eighth inning for a possible save chance bu then the Cards scored two runs to keep him in the pen.  That would suggest possibly that Hwan Oh will get the first crack which is a sizable upset over Kevin Siegriest who has put in more time as a dominant setup man or veteran Jonathan Broxton who has the experience.  No on can argue with the numbers regarding Hwan Oh however as he carries a 1.66 ERA and a crazy strikeout rate in his debut campaign after coming over from Korea.  While we said Siegrist was the guy to own, it is now looking like Hwan Oh is in fact going to be the guy. 

-Falling under the "who would have predicted this?" heading, we present to you the ninth inning for the Houston Astros this season.  After the team swung a deal for Ken Giles during the winter, it seemed the hard-throwing former Philadelphia Phillies product was a star in the making with his massive K rate and classic closer stuff.  Expectations were so high that Giles supplanted incumbent closer Luke Gregerson who overall was very good saving games for a playoff Astros team in 2015.  The results were horrific as Giles walked the ballpark and saw his ERA sail to demotion territory.  Gregerson would get the gig back but after a solid start, he too threw away the closing job.  Enter the third option which has turned out to be Will Harris who is adding more than a little stability as evidenced by his dominant 0.83 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 32.2 innings.  Harris has saved 6 out of 6 chances so far and he obviously is the guy to own going forward.  What we are seeing out of the guy is not a shock either as Harris was quietly one of the best relievers in baseball in 2015 with a 1.90 ERA and 68 K's in 71 innings.  We have seen many closers appear.....and good one.....out of the blue in the past and so Harris should not be considered a fluke.  While next year will be up for debate in terms of if he is a Robb Nen or a Derrick Turnbow, Harris is showing us that drafting relievers like Giles in the high rounds often winds up being a wasted pick. 


FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: BRYCE HARPER OUTFIELDER WASHINGTON NATIONALS

The sequel is never as good as the original.  Whether in the cinema world or coming off a career-year in fantasy baseball, the follow up product is never quite as impressive.  Such has been the 2016 season of Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper who entered into the year as the 2015 MVP when he put up video game-like numbers that were highlighted by 42 home runs, 118 runs scored, 99 RBI, and a crazy .330 average that fell a point short of the batting title.  All at the age of 22 we might add.  While saying it was a career-year is kind of weird considering how young he remains, the fact of the matter is that Harper's production had him as a firm challenger to Mike Trout as the number 1 pick for 2016 drafts. 

Fast forward to present day and needless to say those who took Trout at the top have no regrets.  With opposing pitchers coming up with new approached to dealing with Harper and with the slugger starting to chase pitches out of the zone with regularity, he goes into a big series with the New York Mets on Monday with an ugly .249 batting average.  Harper has hit 15 home runs but his pace is quite a bit off his pace from 2015.  As we always do, let;s dig into the numbers and find out what is going on.

First let's get to the walks.  Harper got the Barry Bonds treatment during his blockbuster 2015 campaign, walking in 19.0 percent of his at-bats.  Harper openly bristled about all the walks and spoke about how tough it is to lay off pitches when he is not allowed to swing.  2016 has seen a slight uptick in walks as well as that number is now at 19.4 percent and Harper seems to be chasing now in showing his impatience.  Harper's swings outside the strike zone have shot way up and that has helped quite a bit in shooting down the batting average and also given opposing pitchers the idea of not throwing down the middle in knowing he will chase.  That has hurt the home run total in turn as Harper is not getting anything to drive and when he swings outside the zone, they are mostly line drives or foul balls.  This is a big factor as Harper's K rate has actually gone down and quite a bit from 2015's 20.0 percent to this season's 16.8.  In addition, Harper's BABIP has been in the unlucky territory all season as it sits at a very low .250.  Consider that Harper's BABIP last season was .369 and .352 in 2014.  This is a huge disparity and the .250 mark looks like a major outlier that will be corrected soon.  That means the average will shoot way up from this point onward as the luck evens out.  This is even more likely when you see the K rate is down. 

On the positive side, Harper has stolen 9 bases to help make up for the average hit after he took only 6 all of 2015.  The 15 home runs again are not terrible but also far from what we expected from Harper with regards to his pace.  When the BABIP luck starts to even out, count on more of those drives clearing outfield fences. 

When you put it all together, Bryce Harper will be just fine this season and likely will achieve most of his first round value outside of a dip in home runs.  The guy is ridiculously talented and you can only hold that kind of talent down for long before the numbers start piling on. 


Sunday, June 26, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: TREVOR ROSENTHAL OFFICIALLY OUT AS ST. LOUIS CLOSER, NOW WHAT?

Seving as yet another exmaple of the fact that no closer is truly safe. the St. Louis Cardinals and manager Mike Matheney made it official on Saturday in demoting previously All-Star stopper Trevor Rosenthal from the ninth inning.  Coming into the season, Rosenthal was considered a universal top five fantasy baseball closer but again that means nothing when it comes to this position.  As it was, Rosenthal pitched horrible, especially over the last month as his ERA soared to an unfathomable 5.63 ERA and his WHIP an unbelievable 2.03.  Matheny made the move finally which many thought should have come weeks ago.  Be that as it may, now attention turns to who is up next.  We reported yesterday that Kevin Siegrist would get the first crack but now new reports indicate Matheney will use the dreaded committee until Rosenthal straightens himself out.  This looks like a classic case where Rosenthal "finds himself" in setup and then goes back to finishing games when he is right.  Anyways, here as the three prime candidates who stand the best chances to get saves in Rosenthal's place:

Kevin Siegrist:  We start with Siegrist because he deserves the first look.  With a 2.79 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, Siegrist looks the past of a clsoer with 32 K's in 29 innings pitched.  He was also dominant in 2015 as well so Siegrist is a legit top reliever.  Of course Matheney could go the experience route which brings us to.......

Jonathan Broxton:  Yes the old "go with the veteran" mantra that many managers foolishly use when deciding on a replacement closer.  Broxton at one time was a top closer himself with the Los Angeles Dodgers before injuries sapped his fastball and made him a journeyman reliever.  He has thrown well enough this season (3.77 ERA/1.19 WHIP) but his K rate is far from what is used to be.  If Siegrist doesn't get first crack, Broxton will likely be the one to be given the shot.

Sueng Hwan Oh:  Oh is certainly very intriguing as the guy has been crazy good with a 1.66 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and an insane 51 K's in 38 innings.  The South Korea native has been a revelation for the Cardinals and looks like a guy who more than can hold his own as a closer.  However Oh is still a rookie and Matheney will go with Siegirst or Broxton first.

Again we think it will be Kevin Siegrist who gets the first nod but Broxton would not surprise us either.  If you have one spot to use, go with Siegrist and don't be upset if Broxton gets it as he can hurt you more than help you.

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

By Michael Wong  

Carlos Carrasco:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.73.  Just like clockwork, Carrasco is doing his best work as the weather heats up.  Carrasco has quickly become a favorite of yours truly due to his extreme K rate and vastly imporving ratios across the board.  He is absolutely Cy Young and fantasy baseball ace material.

Drew Pomeranz:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.76.  The amazing breakout season for Pomeranz continues as he now has 102 K's in just 88 innings which is insanity for a guy who was hardly on anyone's fantasy baseball radar.  He was on mine though as he made the SLEEPER list in the Draft Guide (hope you bought it) as the arm was always capable of high strikeout numbers and the ballpark was elite for hurlers.  Fatigue will become and issue in late July so a sell high should be undertaken in a few weeks but this is a spectacular value play no matter.

Justin Bour:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .273.  Bour has homered in three straight games and continues to slow elevate himself into usage in all fantasy baseball formats.  He reminds me of a young Mike Morse before injuries ruined his career and guys like Bour and Adam Lind are always valuable commodities with their power and the fact their draft price habitually is dirt cheap given the lack of flash.

Chris Carter:  2/3 with his 19th HR while hitting .229.  Carter should be finding a new home soon as the Brewers will deal whatever is not nailed down.  He is having a solid comeback season off his busted 2015 but the average needs to be covered still.

Andrew McCutchen:  2/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .243.  Maybe McCutchen is taking this whole gets off to a slow start and gets hot in the summer to an extreme.  It took extra long for us to see this kind of production from McCutchen but he has a ton of work to do to get back in his fantasy baseball owners' good graces.  With only two steals and a body that is starting to betray him with more regularity, McCutchen's days of being a five category guy look finished.

D.J. LeMahieu:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .328.  Also with 7 steals on the season, LeMahieu has been terrific once again like he was in his 2015 breakout.  While the overall slate of numbers is impressive, LeMahieu could even get slightly better as he firms up his prime.

Jose Altuve:  4/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .348.  This is your fantasy baseball MVP folks.  Can you imagine now Altuve being a 20-plus home run hitter with all those runs and steals and that batting title average?  I just peed msyelf I think.

Matt Wieters:  3/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .278.  Safe to say Wieters is back to being the stud top five fantasy baseball catcher he was before injuries ruined his 2014 and 2015.  There was a lot of rust to knock off but he has made good on the sleeper tag I placed on him again.  Always look for value at catcher and this is my best case for that strategy.

Danny Valencia:  3/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .333.  Yeah you scratch your head that it took going from Toronto to Oakland for Valencia to hit like this but we'll take it.  The numbers are fantastic but it gets a bit loost in the shuffle some given the insanity that the third base position has been lately.

Francisco Lindor:  2/4 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .306.  I admit I doubted the power put up by Lindor last season but he has more than validated it.  In fact what is nutty here is that Lindor was the better buy so far over Carlos Correa. 

Edwin Encarnacion:  3/4 while hitting .258.  Encarnacion is destroying the baseball right now and he is something to see when he is in a run like this.  Look for a home run today.

Kevin Gausman:  7.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.93.  Less flash but more impressive has Gausman been this season.  While it is tough to use anyone in the AL East who is a pitcher, Gausman can be streamed in the right matchup based on how nicely he has developed.

Jacob DeGrom:  8 IP 7 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.69.  DeGrom has been his old dominant over the last month despite the fact his fastball sits in the 93-95 range and not 95-98 like it was last season.  While the K rate is down, everything else is right in line where it should be. 

Julio Teheran:  8 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.46.  Teheran has given up three total earned runs in his last four outings as his monster comeback season continues.  The BABIP remains in lucky territory which will correct when he stops throwing against the New York Mets but yeah 2015 is old news by the looks of it.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: BRANDON NIMMO OUTFIELDER NEW YORK METS

Wyoming is not what you would consider to be a hotbed of baseball talent.  However that is the home locale of former 2011 New York Mets first round pick Brandon Nimmo.  Despite the long and harsh winters there, Nimmo showed enough to become the first pick of the successful Sandy Alderson regime for the Mets but it took a bit of time before the outfielder finally made his way to the bigs.  That call came on Saturday as Nimmo takes the place of struggling top outfield pick Michael Conforto on the active roster.  So with Nimmo set to debut on Sunday, let's get to know him a bit better from a fantasy baseball angle. 

At 23-years-old, Nimmo is still young but also getting a bit older when it comes to being a prime prospect.  Lauded for his pure hitting upon being drafted, Nimmo was initially quite disappointing with his overall hitting and showed next to no power.  The Mets stayed patient though and finally they started seeing some nice results in 2016 as Nimmo shortened his swing more and sprayed the ball to all fields.  That allowed Nimmo to post a scorching .326 batting average, while also smacking 5 home runs and stealing 5 bases.  Nice overall numbers for sure but they also have to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt due to the fact Nimmo achieved them in the offensive haven that is the Pacific Coast League.  Moving from there to the spacious park in Citi Field means there may not be much of any power from Nimmo initially.  However there is no reason he can't post a useful average and help a bit in the runs and RBI categories.  Nimmo also can chip in some steals as he possesses some good speed. 

Overall, this is a sure-fire pickup in NL-only formats and even in mixers you can make a play here to see where this goes.  Nimmo is not considered a big power guy which caps his potential but again some guys tend to take off at the major league level as they move away from the boredom of the minors. 



FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS:. BRANDON NIMMO CALLED UP BY METS

The New York Mets promoted outfield prospect Brandon NIMMO Saturday as a replacement for the demoted Michael Conforto.  NIMMO was hitting .328 with 5 home runs and 5 steals prior to the call-up.

Analysis:. Nimmo was a 2011 first round pick but he never showed much pop until this season.  Still his numbers have come in the PCL so they are up for debate in terms of legitimacy.  

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME:. TREVOR ROSENTHAL LIKELY OUT AS CARDS CLOSER

It was another horrific closing experience for St. Louis Cardinals stopper TREVOR ROSENTHAL on Friday when he gave up a three-run hime run to blow the save and spike his ERA to a ghastly 5.63 and his WHIO to 2.03.  Afterwards manager Mike Matheney refused to endorse Rosenthal for the team's next save chance.   Speculation is rampant that Kevin Siegrist will get the next save chance and this move is beyond overdue given how bad ROSENTHAL has been.  As far as Rosenthal is concerned, he has been terrible all season as his velocity is down and his fastball comes in too straight.  The bottom line is that Siegrist is a must add pickup as his high K rate and helpful ratios make him ideal for closing.  

2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL RUNNING BACK RANKINGS

1.  Le'Veon Bell:  Take out injury risk and this is not even close for first. 
2.  David Johnson:  Some concern about how much Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington will play but last December no running back was better.  Major potential and worth first round pick, especially in PPR.
3.  Todd Gurley:  Electric runner who is in the same class as Jamaal Charles in terms of blazing speed but penchant for injuries.  High risk quotient for a first round pick. 
4.  Adrian Peterson:  Eventually all the carries will start taking a toll but Peterson looked as fresh as ever in 2015.  Has to stop fumbling so much though. 
5.  Lamar Miller:  I am all-in on Miller who will be used a TON both as a receiver and runner.  You should be able to get him in Round 2 but he will produce like a Round 1 back.  Write it in ink. 
6.  Doug Martin:  Now that he has been paid you have to wonder if the edge is still there.  With A very capable Charles Sims handling rceiving duties, I am not paying to find out. 
7.  Jamaal Charles:  Creeping up there in age and now has had two ACP reconstructions.  Also count on Andy Reid curtailing some work for Charles in order to keep him on the field.  In other words ignore the name brand and draft someone else. 
8.  Ezekiel Elliott:  From being drafted to becoming a first round pick as a rookie
9.  Devonta Freeman:  Tevin Coleman will likely handle a sizable amount of carries as the Atlanta front office drafted him  Also Freeman's yards per carry was not impressive despite some early big games in 2015.  Proceed carefully here.  In PPR leagues though Freeman's very good receiving skills make him more safe. 
10. Mark Ingram:  Got to hand it to Ingram as he changed the narrative of his career from being a bust to a continually improving top ten back.  Not banking on the uptick in receptions from last season repeating and injury risk remains VERY high.  Use only in standards. 
11. Matt Forte:  Can still run and catch the football but Forte's yards per carry average dropped, he missed games with injury in 2015, and will likely cede third down plays to Bilal Powell.  Another big name brand you should move away from. 
12. Tomas Rawls:  In standard leagues Rawls is very interesting as the main runner in a ground-based attack.  Rawls has to prove he can handle a full load though after coming down with injuries as a rookie.  Also C.J. Prosise will handle all of the receotions so avoid in PPR. 
13. Eddie Lacy:  Arguably the biggest bust in all of fantasy football in 2015, Lacy's draft stock will plummet this season.  Reports are he lost weight but that means nothing to us.  With a very solid James Starks knocking on the door behind him, Lacy has small margin for error so don't even think of drafting him as anything more than your RB 2. 
14. Carlos Hyde:  Power back who will be featured on the ground in Chip Kelly's offense but this is a standard play only.  Also Hyde has to kick the injury bug that has robbed him of half his starts already in his career. 
15. LeSean McCoy:  Lots of carries on a smallish frame that started the decline early for LeSean McCoy.  He can still run and catch enough to be a RB 2 but there is a lot of volatility here and a good Karlos Williams who is the future behind him. 
16. C.J. Anderson:  Correctly told you all to avoid Anderson a year ago and there remains a lot of volatility here with Ronnie Hillman still in the mix. 
17. Latavius Murray:  Potential remains as Murray can run and catch but he tends to level off as the carries pile up which is not what you want from your running back in December when leagues are won. 
18. Jonathan Stewart
19. Jay Ajayi:  Will get first crack at starting for Miami but Dolphins backs have not been big fantasy producers lately and Ajayi doesn't catch the football. 
20. Jeremy Hill:  Hill was another big bust a year ago and another slow start could get Giovani Bernard the lion's share of work.  Small margin for error for this power runner as there are no receptions to be had. 
21. Ryan Matthews:  Leading man in the Philly backfield for now but getting major heat already from rookie Wendell Smallwood.  Also Matthews staying healthy would be a first. 
22. DeMarco Murray:  Looked like Murray was set for a big comeback year after getting moved to the Tennessee Titans but then they go and draft Derrick Henry.  Won't go near him. 
23. Jeremy Langford:  Inside track to being the starter for the Bears but Langford was not overly impressive as a rookie in 2015 spelling Matt Forte. 
24. Matt Jones:  Speedy and electrifying back who can be a big sleeper if he stops dancing so much. 
25. Giovani Bernard:  Still really like the product here as Bernard is one of the best receiving backs in the game and has big speed.  If Jeremy Hill were to get hurt, Bernard would be a top ten guy easy and maybe top five.  Seriously. 
26. Frank Gore:  Tires are almost completely worn here but Gore will get a high workload at the very least. 
27. Dion Lewis:  Was a PPR gem until season-ending injury put him on I.R.  Lewis should be ready for Week 1 which means in PPR he is a RB 2 again. 
28. Rashad Jennings:  Likely will start Week 1 but with five other backs in the New York Giants' backfield, this is one big mess. 
29. Danny Woodhead:  Usual RB 2 production expected in PPR formats for Woodhead who should be avoided in standards. 
30. T.J. Yeldon:  The arrival of Chris Ivory hurts both guys as a 50/50 split could ensue.  Could work as a RB 3 in PPR. 
31. Melvin Gordon
32. Justin Forsett:  Can still be a RB 2 if the health allows but this seems like a fading storyline. 
33. Chris Ivory
34. Karlos Williams: 
35. Charles Sims:  Can really catch the football but there is little value here unless Doug Martin gets nicked.



Friday, June 24, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: OSWALDO ARCIA KICKS OFF TRADING SEASON

While the August 1st trade deadline is still more than a month away, it is no unusual for some trades to begin coming together as early as late June.  On that front, the Minnesota Twins unloaded struggling power hitting outfielder Oswaldo Arcia and gave him a fresh start by moving him to the Tampa Bay Rays.  While Arcia was lauded for very good power coming up the Minnesota system, his big troubles with contact and strikeouts sent him down to the minors in 2015 and stunted his progress.  Arcia began 2016 in the minors as well as the Twins seemed to be signaling their giving up on the guy.  Making that point clear is the fact the Twins dealt him to the Rays for a player to be named later.  Toting an ugly .240 career average with the Twins, Arcia has more than a little proving to do to show he can be a major league contributor.  Be that as it may, Arcia is only 25 and home runs are always a previous commodity.  He also is going to the right place as Tampa Bay has salvaged some stalled careers along the way.  There is no actionable move to make in fantasy baseball but in AL-only formats you can watch the progress. 


FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JOSE REYES SS UNSIGNED

With it now being reported on a widespread basis that the New York Mets will reunite with former star shortstop Jose Reyes, now would be a good time to check back in on him to see if he can still be useful in fantasy baseball terms.  While Reyes is expected to need a few weeks of tuning up in the minors when he does sign with the Mets, he is slated to be the team's THIRD BASEMAN and leadoff batter.  Having just turned an aging 33 and with a long history of leg injuries in his rearview mirror, by now we all know that Reyes has dealt more with off-the-field trouble then anything he has done on it.  Of course we are referring to the domestic violence incident last Halloween where Reyes reportedly hit his wife.  While no charges were filed, Rob Manfred sat Reyes down for 51 games and the Colorado Rockies in turn wanted no part of him coming back to the team.  With the Mets in desperate need of offense after losing David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Travis D'Arnaud to injury, there was certainly a major need for runs which Reyes has always been good at creating. 

Digging into the current version of Jose Reyes, he is no doubt FAR from the former first round monster that won a batting title and also stole more than 60 bases in a given season as a five category stud.  In fact given the influx of shortstop help this season such as Aledmys Diaz, Jonathan Villar, and Trevor Story, Reyes may not even be daily league worthy.  Be that as it may, the gun can still run as he swiped 24 bags in 2015 in a season split between the Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies.  Reyes also can hit a few home runs, score a high number of runs leading off for the Mets, and hit around .280.  That is still a very decent amount of numbers but again keep in mind the age and Reyes' very checkered injury history.  It is very likely Reyes will get injured again, especially after being on the pine for so long.  Those in NL-only formats should absolutely pick up Reyes but in mixed leagues you can add him just as a bench bat. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Nelson Cruz:  2/4 with 2 home runs (18 for season) while hitting .285.  Still impressed not by the power from Cruz which was always potent but the average improvement as his career has gone on.

Leonys Martin:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .254.  Who knew?

James McCann:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .203.  Whether it is Brian McCann or James McCann, they both have been horrenodus.

Ryan Howard:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .150.  A new low standard has now been reached when it comes to a pure home run specialist and nothing else with Ryan Howard this season.

Jerad Eickhoff:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.36.  With Aaron Nola struggling, all of a sudden Eickhoff is staking his claim to being the best young pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.  I am a fan.

Jose Abreu:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .267.  Ladies and gentleman this is the new Jose Abreu which I have been saying for week.  Very good power but a .270 average and not .300.

Khris Davis:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .239.  Davis has picked up right where he left off the second half of last season when he hit home runs like they were going out of style.  He is safely in the tier of "home run outfielder 3" as long as you got average covered elsewhere.

Marcus Semien:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .236.  Same goes for Semien at shortstop. 

Tim Lincecum:  3 IP 7 H 4 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 5.00.  If only he had iced his arm.  Or that the Giants didn't make him throw 169273011 innings before he turned 28.  Boy for an organization that is as good a place for a pitcher to go in baseball due to the ballpark, they sure know how to ruin arms (right Matt Cain?). 

Matt Kemp:  1/5 with his 16th HR while hitting .267.  Very nice season from Kemp thus far but stop daydreaming about the past as the steals are never coming back and same goes for the helpful average.

Derek Norris:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .215.  Yeah so not liking the J.P. Arencibia impersonation here. 

Adam Duvall:  2/4 with his 21st HR while hitting .263.  Can't say enough nice things about this bomb of a value play this season.  Duvall could hit 35 home runs for the price of a waiver add in April.  Should have seen this one coming after he reached the 30 mark last season on the farm.  Couldn't see past the ugly averages however as it is a habit. 

John Lamb:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .279.  Lamb is the third base version of Duvall. 

Marcell Ozuna:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .322.  Right now Marcell Ozuna is blowing first round pick Giancarlo Stanton out of the fantasy baseball water.

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .216.  Stanton just doesn't seem like he has ever seen the ball like he used to before getting a pitch off the face from Mike Fiers.  Stock heading way downward this season.

Jon Lester:  7 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.10.  The most pronounced competition Lester will get for the NL Cy Young is from anyone in the Cubs rotation. 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: NOAH SYDEGAARD EXPECTED TO START MONDAY

Despite an elbow scare on Wednesday, New York Mets ace SP Noah Syndegaard is expected to make his next start Monday against the Washington Nationals.  Syndegaard needed an MRI on his pitching elbow after feeling soreness but only inflammation was found. 

Analysis:  Great news all around here for Syndegaard and his owner but that makes it two elbow scares in the last two months.  I still think the best course of action is to sell Syndegaard is he pitches well Monday given the expected innings cap and more elbow trouble likely. 


FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP UPDATES: YOENIS CESPEDES OUT THURSDAY

New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is out of the lineup on Thursday with a mild left wrist sprain suffered in Wednesday's game.  Cespedes is being listed as day-to-day and could get back into action on Friday.  In addition to Cespedes are the following lineup moves for the light Thursday schedule:

-Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is out with back stiffness and he will be replaced by catcher Willin Contreras. 

-Joey Votto is out again Thursday with the flu.


FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: NOAH SYNDEGAARD AVOIDS DISASTER, WHY YOU NEED TO SELL HIGH PRONTO

It was the best sort of news for those owning stock in New York Mets fireballing right Noah Syndegaard on Wednesday as an MRI performed after his lackluster start against the Kansas City Royals prompted by a bout of elbow soreness revealed no structural issues.  Syndegaard will be put on some anti-inflammatories and could even make his next start on Monday.  While the Mets will no doubt be cautious and skip Syndegaard, the bottom line is that no Tommy John surgery is needed.....YET!  I say yet because like I have said going back to last winter, Syndegaard is your classic Tommy John case as a young hard-throwing (freakishly hard-throwing I might add) pitcher that covers about 80 percent of cases.  While Syndegaard made it through this scare, another will be right around the corner.  Also as it didn't get as much play as it should have, Syndegaard underwent similar testing last month for more elbow soreness.  See the patten?  As a result, those who own Syndegaard need to do one thing and one thing only:  SELL, SELL, SELL.  Not now of course as the injury news is too fresh to get fair value but as soon as he comes back and registers as typical Syndegaard dominant outing, get him off your roster before diaster arrives.  Also keep in mind that the Mets will keep an innings cap on Syndegaard this season and also fatigue will likely turn into a factor as well as the summer continues onward.  Get those trade requests ready.


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/2 with his 19th HR while hitting .255.  Encarncion is on pace for another 40 home run season and that is how he is judged around here and nothing more.  The nagging injuries have not surfaced yet which is a nice bonus.

Russell Martin:  1/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .218.  Martin has picked up a bunch of RBI with 28 which is a very good total for a catcher but his average is a joke and the power is way down from a year ago.  That is not a total shock though as Martin was in outlier territory there in terms of the home runs.  Age a problem as it would be for any catcher with Martin's digits.

Troy Tulowitzki:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .215.  Still no signs of an upward push in the average department from Tulo but at least his power has returned to pre-hip surgery form.  Like with our updated shortstop rankings though, the infusion of shortstop talent this season has believe it nor knocked Tulo close to being not worth of daily usage in 12-team leagues.

J.A. Happ:  5 IP 6 H 2 ER 4 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Now Happ wants to strike a high number of guys out in a given start.  I am done trying to figure this one out.

Nick Hundley:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .265.  We are now up to one home runs since I told you to pick up Hundley.

Carlos Beltran:  1/3 with his 19th HR while hitting .286.  Someone please remind Beltran he was supposed to be completely shot by now and walking with a cane.

Starlin Castro:  3/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .260.  Castro looks like he is perfectly fine being a volatile player from week to week with his swings in production but 10 home runs prior to the break from a middle infielder is still quite nice.

C.C. Sabbathia:  5 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 2.72.  You had to know this was coming soon enough as Sabbathia was in way over his head with his ace numbers.  Could be the start of the downfall for arguably the worst pitcher in the game the last three years.

Jose Altuve:  1/2 with his 12th HR while hitting .343.  Jose Altuve has 12 freakin' home runs.  And is hitting freakin' .343.  And he is only freakin' 5-7.  Move over Mike Trout?

Scooter Gennett:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .275.  Gennett is having a career-year by his modified standards.  I still wouldn't own him but props.

Justin Bour:  2/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .267.  Doing a better Adam Lind impression then Adam Lind.

Adam Conley:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.56.  Solid season by Conley without blowing anything up as we have a new SP 4/5 entrant.

Asdrubal Cabrera:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .270.  Second home run in a row for Cabrera who has shown he can still hold his own as a daily fantasy baseball shortstop despite reaching his 30's.  Something to be said for the consistency but Cabrera unfairly gets knock for never repeating his one outlier monster campaign a few years back.

Noah Syndegaard:  6 IP 8 H 3 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.08.  Velocity was down, K rate way down, and now headed for MRI on elbow.  Other then that it was a good day.

 Mark Trumbo:  3/4 with his 21st HR while hitting .283.  Not sure whether to be ecstatic that Trumbo has all these home runs or that he is hitting over .280.

Miguel Cabrera:  1/2 with his 16th HR while hitting .307.  Hey if we get 30 home runs out of Miggy then that is more than good enough.  Amazing the standards we hold on the guy. 

Stephen Moya:  3/4 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .321.  Well that is a nice way to get noticed.  Moya almost has as many home runs already as Justin Upton.  Sad for the latter.

Eugenio Suarez:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .229.  It looked so promising in April but again the main reason he was on our draft guide bust list was for the .229. 


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: COLBY LEWIS DOWN TWO MONTHS WITH STRAINED LAT

The pitching injuries just keep on coming as it was learned Wednesday Texas Rangers veteran starter Colby Lewis would miss the next two months with a lat injury.  Lewis was in the midst of a terrific season where he registered a splendid 3.21 ERA and 1.01 WHIP while striking out 61 batters in 98 innings. While Lewis had benefitted from some generous BABIP luck, he is a decent enough loss for his fantasy baseball owners who got SP 3/4 numbers out of a guy who was a very late round pick or more likely was a waiver grab.  Lewis has been no stranger to injury in his career and the time he spent in Japan throwing a high number of pitches no doubt an be blamed some.  Overall though, Lewis can be cut in all leagues outside of AL-only.  His expected BABIP regression and low K rate make him a prime candidate to struggle when he does get back onto a mound. 


FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: NOAH SYNDEGAARD HEADED FOR MRI ON SORE ELBOW

Here we go.  Going back to January when I first started previewing the 2016 fantasy baseball season, I gushed over how awesome a pitcher New York Mets fireballer Noah Syndegaard was and how he could easily jump right into being a top ten guy right out of the gate once the regular season got underway.  However whenever I wrote about Syndegaard, I always made it a point to talk about the giant elephant in the room which was his classic makeup and susceptibility to Tommy John elbow surgery.  It has been more than proven now that young pitchers under the age of 27 who throw very hard stand a very good chance to needing Tommy John surgery at one point and one only had to look at Syndegaard's rotation mates to see this in living color as Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, and Jacob DeGrom all have had the procedure already and all fell under those standards.  Up to this point in the season though, Syndegaard did nothing but light up radar guns with his 100-mph fastball as he struck out scores of batters and put up miniscule ratios with top control.  In other words Syndegaard was the total pitching package.  He was pushed back a day going into his Wednesday start though coming off a 115-pitch outing his last time out but the thinking and the Mets' argument was that he needed just another day of rest off such a taxing day.  Well Syndegaard went out on Wednesday and didn't look like himself as his fastball sat in the mid-90's instead of his customary upper 90's and he gave up a bunch of hits to a Kansas City Royals team  he dominated his first start of the season.  Now we get word that Syndegaard will have an MRI and meet with Dr. David Altchek due to coming down with elbow soreness during the outing which has sent alarms going off everywhere.  With Matt Harvey lacking velocity and struggling all season and Steven Matz having a few elbow scares of his own already, the long slog to the World Series with a young rotation has certainly taken a toll on the team's pitching staff.  Breaths have to be held here as Syndegaard is in major danger of needing Tommy John.  I have said this was a strong possibility all season long and also mentioned this is the risk you signed up for when you drafted him.  Stay tuned. 


FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: MORE ELBOW WOES FOR ZACK WHEELER

The dark clouds are begining to circle around rehabbing New York Mets starter Zack Wheeler after he camae down with elbow soreness after a bullpen session earlier in the week.  Wheeler is now headed for an MRI on the elbow to rule out any structural issues such as the torn UCL he suffered a year ago that necessitated Tommy John surgery.  The hard-throwing righty was expected to rejoin the Mets at the end of July and replace Bartolo Colon in the rotation but now all bets are off until a diagnosis is made.  At the very least, Wheeler will likely be shut down for a bit if no structural problems are found which means we are now looking at an August return at the earliest.  This means Colon gets a longer rotation leash which he more than deserves given his terrific SP 5 pitching this season.  Stay tuned. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: METS EXPECTED TO INK JOSE REYES

According to a team source connected to the front office, the New York Mets will offer a contract to Jose Reyes if he gets set free Saturday from the Colorado Rockies.  The source indicated that the Mets will NOT trade for Reyes prior to the Saturday deadline for his release but instead will bring him aboard at the veteran's minimum salary if he gets set free.  Reyes would man second base, while Neil Walker shifts to third. 

Analysis:  This is what we have been hearing since yesterday as the Mets have come around on the idea of bringing Reyes aboard despite his off-the-field troubles.  Still capable as a leadoff hitter with speed, those in need of a shortstop or even a second baseman should take a stab. 

 

FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Johnny Cueto:  6.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.06.  Now up to 11 wins with 1 loss and taking dead aim at the NL Cy Young.  Just like with Jeff Samardzjia who I pumped up all winter, San Francisco is right there as the best ballpark for fantasy baseball pitching success in the game. 

Kyle Seager:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .269.  Love Seager as he once again is within single digits of where his career rates are across the board despite a horrid April.  Always be willing to pay extra for that type of dependability. 

Maikel Franco:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .239.  Shocked at the average as Franco is a guy who should be a perennialy .300 hitter given his very good approach with K's and walks but a bit of a sophomore slump deal could be at work.  Be that as it may, the power has fully made the trip from the minors to the majors.

Kurt Suzuki:  4/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .265.  Seems like every other season Suzuki brings some usefullness to the fantasy baseball table which is doing now.  We have seen his bat go limp for long stretches of the season though so this is just for AL-only formats. 

Aaron Nola:  7 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 4.11.  Nola has gotten hit hard the last few weeks as he reaches his first extended run of trouble in the majors.  Be that as it may, this is not a shock as the innings are starting to pile up on a young arm so fatigue could already be rearing its head as it does for almost all rookie pitchers in the summer.  I wouldn't buy low given that aspect and an innings cap at some point shutting him down but Nola's future remains extremely bright. 

Tyler Duffey:  6 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 6.18.  Yup the regression to suckville is complete. 

Charlie Blackmon:  2/5 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .295.  Forget the steals, Blackmon wants to now be a 25-home run slugger.  Love guys that continue to supply new tricks each season. 

Tim Anderson:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .292.  As with all guys build primarily on speed, take any home run you can get as a nice bonus.  So far, so good here with the potential stolen base dynamo. 

Chris Sale:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.83.  Sale back on track after some a bit of a rough patch in picking up his 12th win. 

Sonny Gray:  6 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.20.  This is the best I have seen out of Gray all season as he had some zip on the fastball after this pitch was completely absent up to this point.  Still not a fan here as Gray looks like a guy who has thrown too many innings at a young age which is sapping some pop from his arm. 

Ryan Madson: scoreless ninth for his 13th save with an ERA of 2.48.  Count on the A's trading away Madson which means Sean Doolittle could be back in the closer's seat soon enough.  All Madson owners need to back him up with Doolittle before this happens. 

Yasmany Tomas:  1/4 with is 10th HR while hitting .257.  Tomas has already been all over the statistical map where at first he hit for average and now power and now he is reversing it.  At least he is showing good outfielder 3 usefullness and is not going down the ugly Alex Guerrero or Rusney Castillo path. 

Daniel Hudson:  scoreless nith for his first save with an ERA of 1.55.  While Hudson could be traded also, Brad Ziegler will be a hot commodity at the July deadline so cover yourself here. 

Zack Cozart:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .284.  Amazing to me that Cozart's terrific season is not getting more pub than it deserves.  Keep in mind he began showing this ability as a post-hype sleeper before going down with injury and he has picked up right where he left off there in 2016.  At the end of June, we are in legitimate range of the season for surprising performances. 

Jurickson Profar:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .345.  Yeah so this is what we all were waiting for. 

Colby Lewis:  6 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.21.  The curse of the start after a no-no or near no-no shows up again. 

Corey Kluber:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.59.  It is the summer so that must mean Corey Kluber is pitching like the former Cy Young winner he already is.  Sometimes this game can be that easy. 

Carlos Correa:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .263.  Fair or unfair, Correra has to start going bonkers or else his owners will consider 2016 a letdown. 

Bryce Harper:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .258.  Pitchers are being much more careful with Harper this season which is the sole reason his numbers are down across the board.  Also Harper as a response is swinging at stuff out of the zone a bit more which is spiking his K's a bit. 

Jose Fernandez:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.45.  Yup the kid can throw a no-hitter in any given start, so dominant in his stuff. 

Matt Carpenter:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .297.  A clear darkhorse candidate for NL MVP.  Carpenter has been stupid hot the last few weeks and is filling up all the columns outside of steals.  With second base eligiblity remaining, Carpenter has been as good a buy as any hitter this season.  What a talent. 



 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: ADRIAN GONZALEZ 1B LOS ANGELES DODGERS

When it comes to the draft, this peanut stand has always gone on record saying your first two picks of a standard league draft should included a slugging first baseman or a five-tool player.  However we do make some leeway there in terms of going third base or shortstop with the outfielder if the value presents itself that way and that in turn means looking for a more affordable slugging first baseman you can get in Round 3 or later.  A guy who has always fit this profile over the last four seasons or so has been Los Angeles Dodgers veteran Adrian Gonzalez.  While his days of being a 40-home run monster for the San Diego Padres or the monster MVP-type slugger he was in his short stay in Boston with the Red Sox are long a thing of the past, Gonzalez had settled into being an ultra-consistent 25-HR/100-plus RBI/.280-.300 hitting first baseman with the Dodgers.  While not top tier numbers, Gonzalez was no slouch when it came to fantasy baseball first baseman and his draft price was always a round or two cheaper then some other guys around his statistical profile as he entered into the boring veteran part of his career.  2016 was seen as being no different as Gonzalez was still in his prime at the age of 34 and still in a prime spot in the middle of the Dodgers lineup.

Fast forward to present day and what we have seen out of Gonzalez almost three months into the 2016 fantasy baseball has been more than a bit disappointing.  While the .271 average pretty jives with the .274 mark he had a year ago, Gonzalez sits on just a paltry 6 home runs through 284 at-bats.  That puts Gonzalezon a pace for just 17 long balls which is not up to par for a starting first baseman in fantasy baseball.  In addition, the 32 RBI Gonzalez had going into Tuesday's games was also well behind his usual 90-100 pace.  Combine that with just 24 runs scored and zero steals and Gonzalez has been more UTIL or CI bat then a first base one. 

 Now in digging into the advanced numbers, Gonzalez' average is actually in the LUCKY territory as his BABIP sits at a high .332.  This is doubly disturbing as it means Gonzalez should be more of a .260 hitter or worse given the likely regression which should be on the way soon.  Throw in the drop in fly ball rate that Gonzalez also is carrying around and we have every right to be worried about the veteran. 

When you put it all together, it certainly looks like Adrian Gonzalez is starting to decline right before our eyes.  34 is not old but it is starting to get a bit up there and Gonzalez was never considered a good athlete which adds to the trouble we are seeing.  Also we are well into the season now which means a slow start can be discounted.  As a result, we may have to start believing that Gonzalez is no longer the slugging fantasy baseball first baseman we always knew him to be. 


FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: BARTOLO COLON EXITS WITH HBP

Only four pitches into his start Tuesday, New York Mets veteran SP Bartolo Colon exited after taking a liner from the bat from Kansas City's Whitt Merrifield off his right pitching thumb.  He was replaced by Hansel Robles out of the bullpen.

Analysis:  This did not look good as Merrifield's drive went right off Colon's right thumb and then went at a right angle after impact which shows you how hard of a hit it was.  Colon has been terrific in an SP 5 sense this season and his loss would be a decent blow, especially to those in NL-only formats. 


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Joc Pederson:  1/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .235.  The giant holes remain in Pederson's swing and frustratingly he is still not running like he did in the minors which makes him a very limited fantasy baseball outfielder.  While no one questions the big power, it is shocking to say that Pederson can't be nothing more than an OF 3 based on his current statistical production. 

Justin Turner:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .252.  Turner is really ramping up the power lately and the average will come up as well given what we have seen the last few years.  There is a very good chance Turner is sitting on your waiver wire as late blooming veterans like him always get disrespected in fantasy baseball. 

Clayton Kershaw:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.57.  Kershaw gave up a run so he got shelled. 

Jake Lamb:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .283.  Yet another young and power-hitting third baseman has revealed himself and this time it is Arizona's Lamb.  Lamb did hint at this early last season before getting injured and he has even upped his rates in 2016.  Was always a fan of Lamb's and now he is firmly entering into the Fantasy Sports Boss "Love Zone." 

Shelby Miller:  6.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 6.36.  I guess law of averages state Miller had to have a good start at SOME POINT.  What a joke this guy has been but I guess this is why he has been dealt twice already despite throwing a hard fastball. 

Madison Bumgarner:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.85.  We are really in a special time now in baseball with this pitching as outside of Clayton Kershaw, how do you rank the dominance of Bumgarner, Jake Arrieta, Chris Sale, etc.? 

Steven Wright:  9 IP 5 H 0 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.01.  Called for a massive regression of numbers from Wright a month ago and it simply has not happened as he is carrying a .246 BABIP and his XFIP is 4.27 which speaks volumes to how lucky he has been.  You can't sell high here though as no one will buy a knuckleballer so you might as well keep throwing him out there when the inevitable finally gets here.

Evan Longoria:  1/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .278.  I won Longoria in the Experts League and needless to say I am very happy with the value he provided.  I only own Longoria simply for the fact that his draft slot was finally corrected after years of being vastly overrated.  Just like with Mark Trumbo who I also own.  This is how you win folks.

Francisco Lindor:  3/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .314.  Amazing to say this but with Carlos Correa struggling the way he is, the argument can be made that Francisco Lindor is more valuable right now.  Either way Lindor has been nothing but a gem since debuting last season with his five-tool ability.  Also we doubted a bit the power a year ago since Lindor did not show much of it in the minors but he has proved legit there.

Carlos Santana:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .230.  Typical Santana.  Good power and awful average.  No catcher eligiblity means bench bat.

Cody Allen:  scoreless ninth for his 14th save with an ERA of 3.23.  Just like with last season, Cody Allen has smoothed things out after a horrific April.  Something to store away in your brain for next season.

Kyle Seager:  1/6 with his 14th HR while hitting .269.  Given what brother Corey is doing, even Kyle Seager's family don't want to talk about him at the dinner table.  Honestly though after a tough April when I told you all to buy low on Kyle, he has gotten right back to his standard numbers as I said he would.  Bad BABIP luck eventually turns.  It always does.

Adam Lind:  3/6 with his 10th HR while hitting .243.  Now is a great time to get Lind back in the lineup as he is crushing the ball right now and is capable of being a .280 hitter.  Yeah the adjustment from the NL to the AL took longer then I thought but we look forward.

Justin Upton:  2/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .237.  There were few bigger busts in April and May then Justin Upton but like Adam Lind, he had to go through the NL to AL adjustment which happens to every hitter and leads to slow starts.  Justin Upton also gets raging hot when he is locked in and that could be what we are seeing.

Miguel Cabrera:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .309. Yeah a bit below the overall MVP standard of the Cabrera from a few years ago but this aging slugger is still doing his sweet-swinging thing.

Marcell Ozuna:  2/4 with 2 home runs (15 for season) while hitting .322.  Third home run in two days for Ozuna who could wind up being among the cheapest 30 homers in fantasy baseball this season.

Giancarlo Stanton:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .216.  Yeah it is pretty much a guarantee Stanton would hit a home run going to Coors Field.  Unfortunately we have seen the worst case scenario with Stanton when it comes to his average and high K rate combining to produce a ghastly average.

Charlie Blackmon:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .292.  Third season of excellence in a row from Blackmon leading off for the Colorado Rockies.  The early injury was a bummer but his status as an OF 1 has staying power.

Trevor Story:  1/3 with his 18th HR while hitting .264.  With Jose Reyes now out of town for good, Story is here to stay which he cemented weeks ago with his big power.  He is still quite young which means an average gain in the future is very possible but the power could be approaching 40 before too long.

Nick Hundley:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .253.  With his concussion problems now in the past, Hundley needs to be added in all formats given his solid swing and home park.

Carlos Estevez:  scoreless ninth for his fourth save with an ERA of 3.86.  So far, so good with the new Colorado stopper. 


Monday, June 20, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: METS TO BE IN ON YULIESKI GURRIEL

The New York Mets reportedly plan to make a run at Cuban free agent third baseman Yulieski Gurriel according to CBS' Jon Heyman.  With David Wright likely done for 2016 and maybe beyond due to neck surgery/spinal stenosis, Gurriel would fill a major void for the team. 

Analysis:  Makes total sense as the Mets only have to pony up cash and no prospects to get Gurriel.  He will likely need three week or so in the minors to get his timing down at the dish but Gurriel has been said to carry big power and a solid bat average-wise.  Still for as good as Jose Abreu has been, recent busts like Alex Guerero, Yasiel Puig, Yasmany Tomas, and Rusney Castillo make it far from a sure thing Gurriel will carry fantasy baseball value. 


2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: CHRIS HOGAN WR NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

With training camps about six weeks away and fantasy football leagues already holding drafts, our coverage for the upcoming season will now begin to ramp up.  Today marks our fist SLEEPER post of the season and it centers on New England Patriots wideout Chris Hogan who enters into his first go-round with the team after spending his first three years with the division rival Buffalo Bills.  An undrafted receiver out of Monmouth, Hogan has followed in the footsteps of Miles Austin who also came from the D-II program to make hay in the NFL.  And in the case of Hogan, he certainly is in the right place with the Pats to possibly make a very solid impact for the 2016 season. 

As far as Hogan's tenure with the Bills was concerned, he was used mostly in the slot where his excellent hands and solid route running overcame a lack of pure speed.  And Hogan put himself a bit on the fantasy baseball map the last two years as he caught 41 and 36 passes for an offensively-challenged Bills team, also grabbing a total of six touchdowns in the span.  While clearly far from worthy of being a dependable fantasy football asset, whenever the Pats come calling on a player, we all need to take notice.  This is especially true if you this player is a wideout as a certain first-ballot Hall of Fame QB in Tom Brady still resides under center.  While he may miss the first four games of the season due to the Biogenesis suspension, Hogan is putting himself in position to at the very least be worth checking out in PPR formats for a numbers of reasons outside of Brady.  For one thing, the Pats are looking to cut the expensive and disappointing Danny Amendola and his replacement would figure to be Hogan.  Amendola is due $7 million for 2016 and that is a ton of cash for a guy who has been a major letdown since the Pats signed him three seasons ago thinking he would be the perfect replacement for Wes Welker.  Unfortunately Amendola has been nothing but an injury-marred mess who as quickly replaced by Julian Edelman in the slot.  Edelman of course became a 100-catch dynamo and the rest was history as far as Amendola was concerned.  Now a similarly skilled Hogan is around at a much cheaper rate then Amendola and if the latter is cut, he should get a firm promotion.  Also keep in mind that Edleman is not a picture of health himself right now as he comes off a broken foot in 2015 that has been repaired twice.  If Edelman were to miss time, Hogan's outlook would be even brighter. 

As far as ability is concerned, Hogan has all the makings of another big-receptions slot man for the Pats as his skills are perfect for the gig.  That alone should make him a strong person of interest in all fantasy football leagues, especially in PPR.  Hogan was the talk of minicamp which also has sent some alarms blaring above his name.  As a result, Hogan should be put on all your sleeper lists due to the upside he presents thsi season.