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Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: NOAH SYNDEGAARD FINALLY MET BULLET HE COULDN'T DODGE, WILL GO ON DL

Three scares and no DL were the maximum amount of times New York Mets ace Noah Syndegaard could escape from injury gods apparently.  Returning to the rotation Sunday versus the Washington Nationals after being scratched from his start scheduled for this past Tuesday with soreness in his biceps, Syndegaard this time was forced out in the second inning with what is believed to be a lat strain.  Syndegaard will have yet another MRI to confirm this latest injury but it already is expected that the Mets will place him on the DL Monday.  What was obvious Sunday was that Syndegaard had zero command and the lat injury could be a result of pitching differently with the biceps soreness.  This now marks the second high-profile Mets player to come down with a more serious injury after suffering a more minor ailment a few days earlier.  Yoenis Cespedes is currently on the DL with a pulled hamstring after he sat for a few days earlier last week with a strain.  Now Syndegaard has a new injury that is likely related to the first and so the Mets training staff needs to be called on the carpet here.  As far as Syndegaard is concerned, this is the risk that all of his owners accepted when picking him in fantasy baseball and there are rumblings he could be out for a large chunk of May given the nature of lat injuries.  Either way, this is a HUGE loss for Syndegaard's fantasy baseball owners no matter how you look at it and he joins Madison Bumgarner as recent ace injuries that have really impacted the early season.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: CARLOS CORREA SS HOUSTON ASTROS

Boy can things change fast in fantasy baseball.  It was just in 2015 when Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa took the game by storm during his debut with the team.  Showing instant stardom and the ability to be a five-tool monster, Correa posted the following numbers in less than a full season:

22 HR
.279
68 RBI
52 R
14 SB

All of those numbers in just 432 at-bats.  Needless to say, Correa's stock in fantasy baseball for 2016 went through the roof as he went right into first round territory given the numbers and his eligibility at the shallow shortstop spot.  We were a bit leery of this as Correa was still just 21 and had not had much minor league seasoning.  What happened next may not have been a big shock given those issues as Correa disappointed many of his owners by posting these numbers:

20 HR
.274
96 RBI
76 R
13 SB

Of course is sounds ridiculous that Correa's owners would feel letdown as those are still very good numbers from a guy who was just 21.  The power was impressive and the steals pretty good as well.  However Correa LOST two home runs and 1 steal last season despite having 228 more at-bats which is where the disappointment came in.  Again though we are talking about a young player who still needs to go through some growing pains before he levels off into the stardom we anticipate.

While Correa did not get drafted as high as he did the year prior, his name still carried a lot of cache at the draft table this spring.  With shortstop not as shallow as it has been though, Correa needed to show he was still one of the best young players at the position.  Needless to say, his season has been dreadful so far as Correa went into Saturday's action with a horrid .231 average, 2 home runs, and no steals in 89 at-bats.  Already the e-mails have come though to yours truly asking if they should trade Correa and what is wrong with him.  Well again he is just 22 and it won't be until around four years later where Correa reaches his prime.  He has seen his K.9 spike to 22.5 this season, which would be the third year in a row he saw a rise there.  That is not helping matters but opposing pitchers likely have more of a firm book on Correa and his weaknesses.  Also his 9.0 BB/9 rate is down from 11,4 last year which again has hurt the average.

All in all, there is no doubt that Correa has endured a tough start to the season but I actually would suggest buying low on him.  This is a 15/15 guy at the leastand Correa will likely go to 20 home runs again.  He will also continue to fill out and add more power as we go along.  Take advantage of the panicky Correa owners and try to steal him away.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Michael Conforto:  3/4 with his 2 HR (6 for season) and first SB while hitting .333.  Yeah I would say that was a good say at the office.  Conforto checked all of the boxes today and this reinforces how the Mets need to have him in there on daily basis even when Yoenis Cespedes gets back.  I told you all throughout Conforto's struggles last season to continue to trust the talent and the 25 home run projection I have always had for him.  What a talent.

Jose Reyes:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .173.  Reyes is hitting the last four games now and so he is clearly coming out of the fog.  Just when the Amed Rosario began to take off.  Of course.  

Ryan Zimmerman:  3/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .410.  Eric Thames who?

Brett Gardner:  2/4 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .210.  Gardner has been waiver trash until this one so not many were rewarded from this.  Honestly while Gardner is running more, do you really want to own this guy?

Aaron Judge:  2/2 with his 10th HR while hitting .310.  Judge, Thames, and Zimmerman are all fighting it out for fantasy baseball MVP.  No one had any of them on their top 50 list of best chances to be in that conversation in spring training.

Michael Pineda:  5.1 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.14.  The WHIP is 1.05 and shows how efficient Pineda has been.  There is money at stake since Pineda will be a free agent and we know situations like that go.

Jose Abreu:  2/3 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .269.  Yeah I did write a few pieces last week to buy low.  Hope you listened.

Victor Martinez:  2/5 with his first HR while hitting .229.  Of course V-Mart homered since I just cu him the other day.  Doesn't it always happen like this?

Roberto Osuna:  scoreless ninth for second save with an ERA of 6.43.  That should get the confidence back on track.  As bad as Osuna has been pitching, he was still striking guys out so I trust the stuff from the kid.

Nelson Cruz:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .302.  What a four year stretch Cruz has had offensively and to think they took place once he LEFT Texas.

Kyle Seager:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .254.  Hey listen you all know how I feel about Seager.  A buy low is absolutely a splendid idea if you want to get a hold of someone who is a firm 25-homer guy for a song.

Anthony Rizzo:  1/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .269.  You can't ever go wrong using a first round pick on this monster.

Ben Zobrist:  1/5 with his third HR while hiting .214.  Again Zobrist is much more useful in real life than in fantasy baseball and given his age, there is little reason to own the guy.

Andrew Benintendi:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .326.  I said the other day that while hitting everything in sight, Benintendi's power may not show up fully until after the break.  Maybe I should re-think this.

Hanley Ramirez:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .250.  The shoulder remains a major problem for Ramirez and a flare up could send him to the DL at a moment's notice.

Matt Kemp:  3/5 with 3 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .327.  I would say Kemp had a good day wouldn't you?  Don't doubt for a second that Kemp's arrival in Atlanta has boosted Freddie Freeman this season and vice versa.

Dansby Swanson:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .149.  Swanson has already been dropped down in the Braves order and no telling how much longer they will let him struggle the way he has given confidence concerns.

Khris Davis:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .275.  This is Khris Davis telling Aaron Judge and Eric Thames, "Hey wait for me."

Jose Altuve:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .318.  I am going to flat out say that Altuve is the best hitter in baseball.  Hands down.

Andrew Triggs:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.84.  Got beat up his last start but then throws another gem.  I have been on record calling out Triggs as a fraud and stand firmly behind that thought.  The problem for Triggs owners is that he doesn't have enough of a track record to be a trade asset so you might as well ride this out.

Ivan Nova:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.50.  If there ever was a clear example of a guy who is garbage in the AL but turns to something much bigger in the easier NL, this is it.

Carlos Gomez:  4/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .239.  Now out of the leadoff spot, Gomez is hitting again as he went for the cycle.  He was never a good contact guy to begin with but he used to beat the BABIP curve with pure speed.  With Gomez aging and losing speed due to injuries as well, the average has dipped which is not a shock.

Rougned Odor:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .194.  We are almost into May and Odor continues to struggle badly but like with Carlos Correa, we are talking about a VERY young player who is prone to ebbs and flows like this.  Sometimes we expect too much out of these kids.

Yu Darvish:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 4 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.79.  This is a Yu Darvish Special, right on down to the high K's and ugly walks.



Saturday, April 29, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: STEVEN SOUZA EXITS AFTER HBP TO HAND

Tampa Bay Rays red-hot hitting outfielder Steven Souza was forced out of the team's game Saturday after taking a pitch off his left hand.  X-Rays are being ordered as we speak for Souza who suffered a fracture on a similar situation in 2016.  Long on power/speed potential but held back by an ungodly K rate, Souza has been as good as any outfielder in fantasy baseball this season with a .330 average and 4 home runs to his name.  Stay tuned as an update is expected shortly.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: TWINS/ROYALS JOINS REDS/CARDS AS SATURDAY RAINOUTS

Already two games are down from the Saturday MLB schedule as the Minnesota Twins-Kansas City Royals joined the earlier call on the Cincinnati Reds-St. Louis Cardinals to postpone their games due to rain.  The Twins-Royals will make it up as part of a doubleheader on July 1, while the Reds-Cards have not announced anything yet.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: GOOD START BY ADAM EATON DERAILED BY KNEE STRAIN

Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton was placed on the 10-day DL early Saturday after suffering a left knee strain where the severity is still unknown.  Based on the fact Eaton was placed on the DL so quickly means that the team likely saw something bad on the MRI and so he could be out past the 10 days easy.  With Eaton sidelined, his fantasy baseball owners lose a valuable OF 3 who was hitting .297 with 2 home runs and 3 steals on the season while manning the leadoff spot for the majority of this young season.  While Eaton is not a star player, his ability to quietly help in all five standard ROTO categories was a plus not to be taken likely.  His absence means that Chris Heisey and Michael Taylor will step up to play more but both only have some appeal in NL-only formats.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Wellington Castillo:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .297.  Not much power yet from Castillo but he has been at or above .300 since the jump.  I have been a fan of his for awhile now as Castillo is your classic late round veteran catcher pick who you plug in and never worry about as he will do enough to keep the position afloat.

Manny Machado:  3/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .231.  Got so many tweets recently about people thinking of trading Machado which is the epitome of stupidity and ridiculousness.  Yes he got off to a slow start but this is MANNY MACHADO uber-stud.  He looks good to me now doesn't he?  Sometimes you really need to trust the talent.

Mark Trumbo:  3/6 with his second HR while hitting .212.  The average has been disgusting so far fro Trumbo but honestly nothing he does in that category would surprise me given his strikeout rate and total lack of speed to receiver some BABIP help.  The power needs to flow consistently though and that has been lacking.  However you know in cases like this once once goes out, a bunch will follow.

Aaron Judge:  2/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .282.  It is classic fantasy baseball where all the Yankees prospect attention went to Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird and yet the guy who struck out in almost HALF his at-bats last season is going nuts.  In fact Eric Thames is now jealous.

Jacoby Ellsbury:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .295.  You know there is someone in your league who feels safe picking older veterans and thus owns both Ellsbury and Ryan Zimmerman.

Starlin Castro:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .361.  I mean this guy has been insane this season.  What's funny here is that if you own Castro and offered him around the league, no one would want him.  Trust me.

Matt Holliday:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .263.  If someone dropped Holliday in your league, pick him up and start using.  He was beat up physically early on this season which no doubt can be blamed on age but Holliday is rounding into form.

Kevin Gausman:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 7.50.  LOL.

Brad Brach:  first blown save with 3 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 2.08.  This was more runs given up in one inning by Brach than Zach Britton gave up for almost all of 2017,  Despite this slip, Brach has more than proven worthy of being a top ten fantasy baseball closer whenever he would receiver the call to fill-in again.

Travis D'Arnaud:  2/3 with 2 home runs (4 for season)while hitting .240.  Yeah a good deal of D'Arnaud owners dropped him when he injured his hand.  So D'Arnaud is that special guy who is pissing people off even when he finally does something good.

Ryan Zimmerman:  2/4 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .392.  I have run out of words here so I will just let the fantasy baseball season process do is thing eventually.

Matt Wieters:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .279.  Wieters is Brian McCann with the potential for a slightly better average.

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.84.  Third straight game of double-digit K's from DeGrom as he outdueled Max Scherzer.  Just an incredible start to DeGrom's season who is fully healthy and dominating again.

Max Scherzer:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 2.94.  Gave up two home runs to D'Arnaud and honestly this is the only way you get a bad outing if you own Scherzer.  If no home run go out, he gives you zilch.

Corey Dickerson:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .329.  It is like he never left Colorado.

Evan Longoria:  1/5 with his fourth HR while hitting .226.  My goodness the home runs are flying out at an insane rate already this season.  So much for the pitching era.

Kevin Pillar:  4/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .326.  I thought this guy was supposed to be built for speed?  Since Pillar can run, bat .300, and is now hitting for power, ummmm yeah pick him up.

Marcus Stroman:  7.1 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.97.  Yeah Stroman is arriving right on schedule.  And those Roy Oswalt comparisons I have him seem pretty spot on.

Adam Conley:  9 ER in 1.2 IP with an ERA of 6.86.  Wow Conley sucks.  I mean he has talent but man he is an unrefined product so far who looks like he needs to go back to the minor league garage for a tune-up.

Robinson Cano:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .253.  About another three weeks until Cano is hitting .300,  And two weeks after that when he is at .315.

Jose Ramirez:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .337.  I think we have to start making room at the upper tier table at third base for Jose Ramirez.

Carlos Carrasco:  8 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.04.  Just keep staying healthy my man.  Remember I did drool all over Carrasco last season until avoiding this time around.  Partial credit.

Andrew Benintendi:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .325.  The power has not exploded yet from Benintendi as he continues to fill out physically but it will come and maybe by the second half of the year.  Meanwhile enjoy the ,325 average.

Kris Bryant:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .281.  Another guy whose power has been light early on but that just means Bryant will crack 37 the rest of the way.

Jake Arrieta:  5 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.66.  I said to avoid Arrieta in all leagues and we are seeing way.  He has not been crisp at all and all those recent seasons of extremely high inning totals have sapped his arm.  In fact the whole Cubs staff is firing blanks.

Avisail Garcia:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .388.  On and on the breakout goes.

Todd Frazier:  1/5 with his second HR while hitting .167.  Frazier can't hit for a horrific average two years in a row or else he will become persona non grata in fantasy baseball no matter how many home runs he cracks.

Albert Pujols:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .247.  Yeah about .250 is all Pujols is capable of at this late stage of his career in terms of average.

Mike Trout:  3/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .355.  Mike Trout has talent.  Moving on.

Tyler Skaggs:  5 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.99.  With a Tommy John surgery in his past, Skaggs is starting to round into form in terms of harnessing his stuff which at one time had many in the fantasy baseball community pumped.  He should have been picked up already but don't automatically assume he has graduated into an SP 3 either.

Freddie Freeman:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .368.  Few hitters have been as consistently good as Freeman so far this fantasy baseball season and while he has been around for awhile now, Freeman remains quite young and is tapping into yet another level of production by the looks of it.

Neftali Feliz:  2 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 6.52.  It is not looking good here and Corey Knebel needs to be picked up.  This is what you expected though when you drafted Feliz.  Hoping for the slim chance of a good year but expecting constant trouble.

Yuli Gurriel:  3/4 with his second HR while hitting .347.  I mean it almost is like people forgot Gurriel was a huge Cuban arrival last season.

Khris Davis:  2/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .276.  The average is leaking as expected but Davis' power has been insane.  40-plus on the way.

Charlie Morton:  7 IP 5 H 4 ER 0 BB 12 K with an ERA of 4.50. Just don't even look at the 12 K's as Morton is not this type of pitcher.  Capable of decent ERA?  Yes.  Above-average K Rate?  Career says no.

Scott Schebler:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .221.  With home runs going out like crazy, Schebler is not such a hot pickup since his average is terrible.

Joey Votto:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .247.  Now for the average jump, it is time for Votto to become Ted Williams.  Hold the power if you can too buddy.

Lance Lynn:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.45.  Always draft St. Louis pitchers. Always.

Friday, April 28, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: NOAH SYNDEGAARD SURVIVES ANOTHER INJURY SCARE

The New York Mets feel confident enough with the bout of biceps soreness that scratched Noah Syndegaard from his Thursday start to expect him to be ready to go Sunday versus the Washington Nationals.  While the Mets have not publicly discussed the MRI results yet, the fact Thor was being allowed to throw on Friday and that information is being sent to reporters that they expect him to start Sunday means a bullet has been dodged.  This is now the third injury scare for Syndegaard going back to last season and ultimately he avoided the worst in all three cases.  The injury risk is as big as it gets here given how hard Syndegaard throws but for now he seems to have made it through disaster yet again.  Start him Sunday if he gets the green light.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: BUD NORRIS LOOKS LIKE A NATURAL, COULD STICK AWHILE

Well this is certainly a surprise.  Thursday night brand new Los Angeles Angels closer Bud Norris finished off his fourth save chance in four tries since taking over the ninth inning role for the team as he dropped his ERA to 2.84 and his WHIP to 1.03.  With first Huston Street, then Andrew Bailey, and most recently Cam Bedrosian going to the DL with injury, Norris was the fourth man up in the team's closer carousel.  With Bedrosian still not going much of anything due to a stubborn groin injury, Norris is making a move to stay the closer even when his teammate gets back.  This of course is the shock of all shocks as we all know Norris as a perennial tease who ultimately has been a colossal disappointment in terms of being a starting pitcher for a number of teams. What always held Norris back was a total lack of control and also failing to develop secondary pitches to complement his always impressive fastball.  Having secondary pitches if much less a concern in one-inning appearances however and Norris can rely almost exclusively on his fastball which is more than doing the trick.  So for anyone who owns stock in Norris (which includes me), so far this is turning out better than anyone could have imagined.


2017 NFL DRAFT FANTASY FOOTBALL ANALYSIS ROUND 1

Already the 2017 fantasy football season is taking on more clarity as the first round of the NFL Draft brought forth some names that will be of interest going into the season.  Let's take a look at those offensive players who could be draft factors before too long.

Mitch Trubisky (2nd to Chicago Bears):  Interesting move here as the Bears just gave Mike Glennon a three-year deal to be the starting QB.  Alas Trubisky will likely get a firm red-shirt year in 2017 unless Glennon falls flat on his face (not an outlandish thing by the way given what we saw from a similar story in Brock Osweiler a year ago).  So this future Matt Ryan clone has pretty much zero fantasy football value at this stage of the game.

Leonard Fournette (4th to Jacksonville Jaguars):  The bruising Fournette now moves to the head of the Jaguars running back hierarchy which almost completely ruins the fantasy football value of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon.  In fact Ivory could be cut as his game is similar to Fournette and the LSU star will likely get all goal-line work,  Expect Fournette to be the primary runner for the Jags this season and thus he carries immediate RB 2 value.

Corey Davis (5th to Tennessee Titans):  Meet the instant number 1 wideout for the Titans and so Davis has the most immediate fantasy football value of the rookie receivers.  Marcus Mariota proved himself to be a high-end passer last season before breaking his leg and so Davis needs to be on all sleeper lists.

Mike Williams (7th to Los Angeles Chargers):  Close behind Davis in terms of having immediate fantasy football appeal at wideout is Mike Williams who will become instant friends with QB Philip Rivers.  Rivers has been looking for a big-play wideout for awhile but Williams has more competition for catches to deal with in terms of fellow receivers Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams; plus tight ends Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates.  Williams has some WR 3 upside in standard leagues but in PPR he is more of a backup.

Christian McCaffrey (8th to Carolina Panthers):  The multi-talented McCaffrey goes to a Carolina team in desperate need of offensive help and his setup is supreme with just the aging/fading Jonathan Stewart in front of him at running back.  Of course running the football is not the only skill McCaffrey will offer as he can really catch the football and is an excellent returner.  It will be interesting to see how high McCaffrey goes in drafts this season but the second round is not out of the question given how much he can do offensively.  In PPR formats, McCaffrey looks like an immense upside play who can easily be a top RB 2 and maybe a low-end 1 if he can hold up to NFL pounding physically.  60-plus catches seems certain and 1,000-rushing yards could be in play as well.  There is so much McCaffrey offers to his prospective owners that a second round price is not silly.

John Ross (9th to Cincinnati Bengals):  We all know that Ross has Olympic speed but his fantasy football outlook may is more DeSean Jackson which is a good but not great situation in terms of his prospective value.  Anyone who has owned Jackson over the years know how hot-and-cold he runs and Ross has the same build physically that can lead to injuries.  In fact Ross already has a pronounced injury history in college and his reception totals will likely fluctuate by the week given the fact he will have a tough time getting off jams consistently.  Still Ross is a big play waiting to happen and he has clear WR 3 status in standard formats.  In PPR though Ross should be picked as a backup with the upside to possible be a WR 3.

Patrick Mahomes (10th to Kansas City Chiefs):  Like with Mitch Trubisky in Chicago, it will likely be a red-shirt year for Pat Mahomes in Kansas City with the Chiefs this season.  Alex Smith is a very competent starter who gets the Chiefs into the postseason and so he will be the guy for 2017 unless he gets injured.  Mahomes has a huge and very powerful arm that has brought forth Brett Favre comparisons but he is unrefined and in need of some polish.  There is a bit too much gunslinger here and that could lead to turnovers like with Favre.  Again Smith is the starter here without debate and so Mahomes has little immediate value.

DeShaun Watson (12th to Houston Texans):  Out of the three quarterbacks taken in the first round of the draft, DeShaun Watson has the most immediate fantasy football value as he could start from Week 1.  Watson only has to beat out the unproven and shaky Tom Savage and so there would be no surprise if he were under center for the opener.  Watson has tremendous physical skills such as as powerful arm and very good scrambling ability.  However he threw a bunch of INT's the last two years and at 6-0 and a shade under 200 pounds, questions of whether he can hold up to NFL pounding are legit.  There are comparisons here to Robert Griffin III here and that is not what you want to hear.  However Watson should be drafted as a backup QB in single-passer setups and he could be moved up a bit higher in the rankings in leagues that go with two options there.

O.J. Howard (19th to Tampa Bay Buccaneers):  Howard fell a bit in the draft but he ends up on a potent passing offense in Tampa Bay with emerging star QB Jameis Winston.  Cameron Brate did a nice job in a breakout year at tight end for the Buc's last season which makes the pick of Howard a bit curious but count on the Buc's using a lot of two-TE formations to get both on the field.  Howard has ridiculous physical skills for a tight end and comparisons to Jordan Reed from a receiving standpoint (Howard is a much better blocker) are spot on.  While Brate's presence could impact Howard a bit negatively, he still should be drafted as a firm starter for 2017 fantasy football.  Also the stock of Winston goes up even more given his ridiculous receiving options this season.

Evan Engram (23rd to New York Giants):  While he can't block a lick, Evan Engram is a terrific pure receiver who ran a 4.42 at the Combine.  That is very rare speed for a tight end and basically Engram is a wide receiver masquerading at the position.  QB Eli Manning's best years came when he had a tight end to throw to consistently and Engram is that guy now for him.  75 catches is absolutely in play for Engram this season as he is that good of a receiver and like with O.J. Howard, he should be drafted as an every week starter.

David Njoku (29th to Cleveland Browns):  The third tight end to go in Round 1 is the raw but freakishly athletic Njoku.  The Miami Hurricanes can be known as "Tight End U" given the fact such fantasy football assets like Greg Olsen, Kellen Winslow, and Jeremy Shockey have all come from there.  While Njoku has only one-year of starting experience, his upside is immense given his speed and size combination.  The receiving skills are very good here and more than make up for the fact Njoku is not a strong blocker.  Cody Kessler doesn't have a strong arm at QB for the Browns and so count on him targeting Njoku often this season.  Draft him as an every week starter.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Jeremy Hellickson:  6 IP 7 H 1 ER 0 BB 1 K with an ERA of 1.80.  Yeah this is Hellickson personified.  Solid pitching with next-to-no K's.  That won't work in inning-capped leagues but everywhere else Hellickson is as good an SP 5 as you can get.

Michael Conforto:  0/3 while hitting .302.  With Yoenis Cespedes sidelines for two weeks and maybe more, Conforto is now an everyday player which is the only good thing to come out of this injury.  Conforto has done nothing but yet and hit for power so far and so he gets crucial development time with Cespedes out.

Jose Reyes:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .137.  Everyone who picked up Amed Rosario did a collective groan.

Matt Harvey:  4.1 IP 5 H 6 ER 5 BB 1 K with an ERA of 4.25.  Harvey had absolutely nothing today and you can't blame him totally as this is the second straight start he has had pushed up a day which throws off the routine.  Still Harvey's velocity was not good at all today as he sank to the low 90's very quickly and only one strikeout shows that he is still having as tough time getting the K's to cooperate.  Overall while Harvey has not been terrible, he looks like Phil Hughes now right on down to the high home run rate which is not what you want by any means.

Russell Martin:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .190.  It was right about this time where Martin broke out of a season-opening slump last season on his way to a very solid year.  In two catcher formats Martin is more of an interest at this late stage of his career.

Matt Carpenter:  2/5 with his third HR while hitting .250.  Carpenter has been beat up to start the season but there is no reason to worry here.  One of the more dependable NAME guys in fantasy baseball.

Roberto Osuna:  third blown save in four tries with 2 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 7.50.  Wow.  I said after the last blown save that I didn't think Osuna was 100 percent healthy and I still firmly believe that.  He is still missing bats though and Osuna was so dominant the last two years that a bad three weeks won't run my view of him.

Carlos Martinez:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.71.  The WHIP is a nasty 1.47 as Martinez has been completely inefficient.  Yeah I was not a fan so just saying.

Adam Eaton:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .291.  Still can't believe what the Nats gave up for Eaton.  He has to hit 15 home runs and steal 20 bases with a .300 average to even make that deal seem sensible.

Bryce Harper:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .418.  Remember when I said in the spring that Harper would put up video-game numbers this season after his somewhat rough 2016?  Exactly.

Daniel Murphy:  3/6 with his 5th HR while hitting .340.  Speaking of video game numbers, that has been Murphy's batting average the last season-plus.  It is almost like he is no Edgar Martinez at second base.

Nolan Arenado:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .314.  With Charlie Blackmon hitting so many home runs lately, it was almost like Arenado was making a statement here to show him who still is the top hitting dog in Colorado.

Antonio Senzatela:  6 IP 7 H 4 ER 3 BB 1 K with an ERA of 2.81.  Wow when Senzatela's owners saw the box score they all had a collective heart attack in thinking they were going to see a 7-earned run bomb attached to his name.  Still it was not a good outing and we are on borrowed time here before the bottom falls out.  Let this be a warning.

Francisco Rodriguez:  took the loss with 1 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 6.23.  Justin Wilson is now warming up in the closer bullpen.

Corey Seager:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .318.  The new Troy Tulowitzki but without the injuries and he can hit anywhere and not be helped by his home park......Well maybe not exactly like Troy Tulowitzki.

Cody Bellinger:  0/2 while hitting .100.  Already striking out a ton.  Like I said he would.

Julio Urias:  5.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.59.  Listen the kid is barely out of high school so don't concern yourself with the shaky amount of base runners.  In fact if you want to trade him to me I am all ears.

Matt Moore:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.80.  Yup it is all-or-nothing with this guy.  There may not be a more annoying pitcher to own in fantasy baseball.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .213.  Encarnacion's May power binges are a thing of beauty and he is test firing his home runs swing on the eve of the month.  This will be fun and will help erase the tough start.

Francisco Lindor:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .301.  It is amazing how quickly things have flipped with Carlos Correa and Lindor.  No one would draft the former over the latter now but even this past spring training that was something that seemed laughable.

Corey Kluber:  7 IP 8 H 3 ER 4 BB 10 K with an ERA of 4.19.  Second straight K special from Kluber who himself is rounding into his late-April towards May form.  With Edwin Encarnacion ready to go Mickey Mantle in May, the Indians are set to win a lot of games.

Chris Sale:  8 IP 8 H 2 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 1.19.  Even when he loses, Chris Sale dominates.

Masahiro Tanaka:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.20.  Tanaka outdueled Sale which is saying a ton and he pitched to contact to keep the number of throws down and thus allow him to finish the game.  He had as truly brutal first two weeks but now Tanaka seems back in control.

Kendrys Morales:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .235 in Game 2.  I have said numerous times I thought Morales would be doing more.  Obviously there is plenty of time but a guy with this kind of power should be easily over 30 home run this season.

Chris Owings:  2/3 with 2 home runs (4 for season) and sixth SB while hitting .325.  Owings went a bit quiet with the juice lately but one big game changes all that.  Nothing like getting five games of numbers in one game.

Yasmany Tomas:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .308.  With all of the giant Cuban hitting busts to come out of there the last few seasons, Tomas should get more credit for being a high impact power hitter from the start.

Taijuan Walker:  8 IP 4 H 2 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.94.  So this is what will happen.  You will see this, pick Walker up off waiver, and then he will give up 6 earned in 3 IP his next time out.  Just watch.  Put Walker and Matt Moore in the same family.

Bud Norris:  scoreless ninth for his fourth save with an ERA of 2.84.  Keep in mind we are dealing with Mike Scoscia so if Norris keep this up, he could stay the closer.



Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JETT BANDY C MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Basically if you play for the Milwaukee Brewers this season and you are a hitter, you are a fantasy baseball stud or a very useful asset.  Whether it is Eric Thames, Ryan Braun, Hernan Perez, or Jett Bandy, the Brewers have had some major offensive production with their bats this season to say the least.  As tremendous an out-of-the-blue story as Thames has been, catcher Jett Bandy and his offensive production has to be considered a major surprise as well.  Coming into the year Bandy was not touted to be much of anything as he was expected to split time with Manny Pina and his fantasy baseball value was considered nil as well even though the position is insanely shallow.  Fast forward to present day and Bandy just finished a 3-for-4 outing in the Brewers' Wednesday matinee versus the Cincinnati Reds which raised his average to .349.  Bandy has also shocked with the power as he has 4 home runs and 13 RBI in limited playing time.  With Pina also hitting very well (.419 with 1 home run) which means it is not the worst idea to own both guys in fantasy baseball and keep rotating them in-and-out.

As far as Bandy is concerned, he hinted at this before when he hit 8 home runs in just 231 at-bats in 2016 with the Los Angeles Angels.  Bandy clearly has the power to clear fences and sometimes that is all it takes to gain fantasy baseball relevancy at catcher.  With a .308 BABIP that is pretty close to neutral, what Bandy is doing is quite realistic and believable.  Those who own Bandy needs to keep trotting him out there and like I said adding Pina is a good idea as well.  Sometimes these things tend to sneak up on us and that looks like it has happened to the whole Brewers lineup.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: PULLED HAMSTRING TO SEND YOENIS CESPEDES TO DL FOR WEEKS

                                                              

Wow has it been a rough day for the New York Mets.  First round 11 AM they announced that ace Noah Syndegaard was scratched from his Thursday start with biceps tenderness that sounded quite scary and required an MRI.  Then hours later with the team losing yet again, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes pulled a hamstring running to first base.  Cespedes had just come back from a hamstring tightness that first cropped up last week and now he pulls it completely which means he will be placed on the DL maybe as soon as Thursday's game is through.  In addition, count on Cespedes being out for more than the 10 day minimum as hamstring pulls are a serious deal.  It wouldn't shock me in the least if we are pushing up toward June when Cespedes does get back.  Just a huge loss for his fantasy baseball owners as Cespedes is a low-end outfielder 1 who is only held back from a lack of speed.  With Cespedes being out, Michael Conforto owners will be happy to know he will now be an everyday player.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: MRI ON TAP FOR NOAH SYNDEGAARD AFTER START SCRATCHED DUE TO SORE BICEPS

After the last start for New York Mets ace Noah Syndegaard that resulted in 10 strikeouts on April 20th, I commented how the team was pretty negligent in allowing him to throw 114 pitches in what was very cold weather conditions.  It was not the right call when you consider the elbow scares Syndegaard had last season and for the fact he seems like your classic next Tommy John case given how hard he throws and his youth.  Well now we get word Thursday that Syndegaard's start tonight has been scratched as a result of what the team is calling biceps soreness and he is heading for an MRI to get a better look at what is going on.  This was the big fear for anyone who invested in Syndegaard this season, as his immense ace talent is out of this world but there was always the thought things could go very wrong here with the health.  We are looking at such a situation now and the MRI results will determine where this is headed.  Stay tuned on this but all Syndegaard owners are holding their breath.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Avisail Garcia:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .373.  It is almost May and Garcia is still racking.  That means some sort of light bulb might be blaring here.  Remember Garcia was a highly touted prospect before falling on his face the last two years.  Scores of post-hype sleepers have made god over the years so absolutely pick him up to see if Garcia is the latest.

Jose Quintana:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 5.22.  There we go.  Quintana is fully back on track and now that the rotation matchups are muddled and he doesn't have the de facto ace slot, the pressure is lessened.  If you bought low then good job.

Scott Schebler:  2/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .203.  Schebler is hitting a home run every chance he gets to play and has more than earned a long look in fantasy baseball mixers.  Just hope the average comes up because now he is Joey Gallo with no speed in the outfield.

Joey Votto:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .238.  Wow Votto's power is on par with the 37 he hit in 2010.  While his career rates indicate he is over where he should be on that front, imagine if he goes back to 2010 this one year and he goes on a second-half tear like he did in 2016?

Adam Duvall:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .228.  Funny how guys like Duvall always move back to their mean numbers before to long.  For Duvall that means the nasty average and good power.

Evan Gattis:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .292.  The Astros need to do whatever they can to make sure Gattis is playing more than he is since he is swinging such a good stick.  And because I own him.

Brian McCann:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .281.  In today's fantasy baseball there are virtually no catchers who can consistently hit but yet the Astros have two.

Lance McCullers:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.34.  It was all going swimmingly for McCullers there up until this week when trouble arrived.  As long as he is healthy, this is typical young growing pains for a guy who while it seems have been around awhile. it still only 23.

Anthony Rizzo:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .277.  After taking a year off from running, Rizzo has 4 steals to go with the 5 bombs.  And could be gaining second base eligibility.  Yeah the year is off to a fine start.

Josh Harrison:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .308.  Harrison has improved as a pure hitter since his early utility days and kudos to him for that.  He can help you as an OF 3 with his speed and the occasional homer.  And yet doesn't it feel like a yawn to own him?

Josh Bell:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .237.  The average is creeping up now for Bell as it should since he is a .300 hitter but yet he is still collecting unexpected home runs.  If that trend holds on both fronts, we may have something better than anticipated here.

Jon Lester:  5 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 3.68.  Remember Lester's worst month by a mile is April.  In fact I wish his ERA was worse so I can have an easier time buying low.

Maikel Franco:  3/4 with his fourth HR while hitting .203.  Told a few people on Twitter the other day to remain patient with Franco.  Next day he does this.  Yes Franco has become a bit undisciplined in his approach but the raw ability and power is still quite obvious.

Freddy Galvis:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .243.  At least Galvis didn't have to run hard on the home run.

Vince Velasquez:  6.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 6.33.  It seemed like Velasquez took a bit off the fastball which curbed the walks and resulted in contact outs.  Best start in a while which could make this a trend.  That's not what you want as an on-the-fence Velasquez owner given that you want the K's but it is always something with this guy.

Hector Neris:  1 ER in 1 IP in non-save with an ERA of 2.38.  Neris has given up three earned runs since being put in the closer role.  That might be speaking to mental issue which have taken down many guys moving into the ninth inning prior.  Keep Joaquin Benoit close.

Tim Beckham:  3/5 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .280.  Maybe Beckham is one of those post-hype sleepers made good times infinity.

Dylan Bundy:  6.1 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.65.  The K rare is still pathetic here and Bundy will guaranteed fatigue in late July given the lack of big inning seasons on his resume.  Get out now.

Robert Gsellman:  5 ER in IP with an ERA of 6.23.  It was a fun ride last year but Gsellman simply can' get anyone out and needs to go down to the minors to get straightened out.  Hello Rafael Montero.

Aaron Judge:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .281.  Hey were almost through the first month and Judge is still hitting over. 280.  Just five more to go.

Luis Severino:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.00.  This is why you stay patient with young pitchers who have this type of power arm.  Severino has been magnificent and just needed some ironing out.  Look out MLB.

Rick Porcello:  6.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 4 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.75.  Nice with the K's but Porcello but he is still putting a lot of base runners on.

James Paxton:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.39.  Sigh.  For someone like myself who touted Paxton heavily all winter and into the spring and then not to own him while he tosses three shutouts in April, this is sort of a form of emotional torture.  Like with Severino, Paxton needed to work on his delivery and control to add pop to his stuff.  Mission accomplished.

Nelson Cruz:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .308.  Locked in now.

Cole Hamels:  6.2 IP 7 H 3 H 3 BB 1 K with an ERA of 3.03.  One K versus the Minnesota Twins reinforces what I wrote in Hamels' Crisis Report the other day about the slipping velocity and strikeouts,  Again April is his roughest month so I won't panic fully until we see what he has in store for May,

Trea Turner:  3/5 with his second HR while hitting .326.  You can't get Turner out right now and we are seeing why he went in the late first round this spring.  Turner can dominate in runs, average, and steals at the very least and the power looks like it could be legit from last year.  This could get insane.

Ryan Zimmerman:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting. 387. Speaking of insane, no one is more off-the-charts than Zimmerman.  It is almost like he has all the fantasy baseball press clipping on him (none of them positive) taped to his locker stall.  Your welcome Ryan I guess.

Hunter Renfroe:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .247.  Renfroe is just a newer version of Adam Duvall.

Fernando Rodney:  first blown save with 5 ER in .1 IP with an ERA of 11.00.  Not a misprint.  Boy when Rodney wants to suck, he goes off the charts.  Shame on the D-Backs and anyone who owns Rodney in thinking he could do this.  I picked up Archie Bradley where available and so should you.  Up to 17 K in 14.1 IP.

Sean Manaea:  2 IP 4 H 3 ER 0 BB 1 K with an ERA of 5.18.  Exited with shoulder tightness which is code for "welcome to the DL sir."  

Bud Norris:  scoreless ninth for third save with an ERA of 3.09.  Norris struck out 2 and was firing bullets in a clean frame.  This actually doesn't shock me as Norris has always had closer stuff (i.e. strikeout stuff) but lacked secondary offerings.

Corey Seager:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .368.  Already Seager is so good that he is boring to talk about.

Christian Arroyo:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .167.  Look past this as Arroyo is still an empty average.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: ERIC THAMES LEAVES EARLY WITH TIGHT HAMSTRING

The 11-home run in April sensation that is Milwaukee Brewers slugger Eric Thames finally ran into something he could not totally overcome as he exited Wednesday's game with a tight left hamstring.  Thames has been the story of the fantasy baseball season so far with his massive power coming off a three-year run of Babe Ruth-like numbers in Korea.  While there was doubt about whether or not Thames could handle MLB pitching coming back from Korea, his early performance has been beyond great.  Of course hamstring injuries tend to be trouble and often require a DL stint but New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes escaped the DL with a similar diagnosis.  Stay tuned for an update.


FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT HIP FLEXOR STRAIN COULD LAND JOSE ABREU ON DL

When it rains it pours for Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.  Already struggling with the bat coming into Wednesday's day game against the Kansas City Royals, Abreu was forced out early with what the team later diagnosed as a hip flexor strain.  Often hip flexor strains end up being a disabled list deal and Abreu being placed there would add another layer to his tough start to 2017.  His bat has been noticeably silent this season so far as he went into the Royals game with a .233 average and somehow had yet to hit a home run in 77 at-bats.  This from a guy who has hit 36, 30, and 25 homers his first three years in the majors.  I did an earlier piece on Abreu a week or so ago where I reminded his owners that he struggled like this last April as well before having a huge second half that salvaged his numbers.  That very setup was in place again before the injury and so Abreu represented a nice buy low target.  Even if he lands on the DL, I would still try and steal Abreu away given his consistency.  For now though, a tough start just got that much more difficult.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Michael Brantley:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .306.  Brantley is one of those special hitters who can roll out of bed.....or virtually miss two full seasons.....and hit .300.

Dallas Keuchel:  9 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.22.  Man this guy.  You can forget about the 200-plus K's from 2015 as those are never coming back and belong in the outlier bin but a c;early healthy Keuchel is doing his 2014 thing again when he pitched to a 2.93 ERA despite a shaky 6.57 K/9/  Keuchel's K/9 this year?  6.57.  

Kyle Hendricks:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.50.  Much better from Hendricks but honestly he couldn't be any worse coming in.  I this helps you get out from under him, then by all means sell.

Gerrit Cole:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.60.  Like with Dalls Keuchel, Gerrit Cole must be feeling good after a ruined 2016 due to injury.  The K's are popping now when that happens, Cole can be a fantasy baseball ace.

Wade Miley:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 6 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.08.  Another big K game from Miley but again the advanced numbers have so many red flags that you think he was from Stalin's Russia.

Jean Segura:  3/6 with his second HR while hitting .342.  This is a nice way to re-introduce yourself to your fantasy baseball owners.  Second big start to a season in a row now for Segura.

Nelson Cruz:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .297.  A bit of a slow power start but honestly there is no cause for concern since Cruz is healthy and hitting for average.

Justin Upton:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .294.  Ahh this brings back memories of earlier versions of Upton when he wasn't such an average train wreck.  

Felix Hernandez:  2 IP 6 H 4 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 4.73.  It has all gone terrible wrong here for King Felix but you know how I felt about him coming in.  I sounded the alarms on Hernandez going into LAST season and the drop in velocity and ruination of his arm from all those massive 200-IP seasons are coming to roost.  It's over.

Adam Duvall:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .224.  Blah.  

Eric Thames:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .371.  As another publication put out in a headline, Thames is on pace for 81 home runs.  (throws hands up in the air).

Hernan Perez:  3/3 with his third HR while hitting .261.  Time to jump back on the Perez train.  Juice is leaking everywhere.  

Miguel Sano:  3/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .258.  Figured Sano would get a bit of a pop in his numbers after his dust up the other day.  

Joey Gallo:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .224.  Man Gall can really send the baseball a long way.  Just to show you how he is seen by many with the nasty average, Gallo is a free agent in the Experts League.

Mike Moustakas:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .296.  Moustakas is hitting for major power and leading off.  The third base version of Corey Dickerson.

Danny Duffy:  6 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 2.81.  I am a bit worried about Duffy as his velocity has lagged all season so far, which has caused his K/9 to dip and now this.  Hmmm.

Roberto Osuna:  second blown save with 1 ER in 1 IP with a 5.40.  I am starting to think Osuna is not healthy and the concern meter is growing.  Might be time to add Joe Biagini in case.  

Trea Turner:  4/6 with his first HR while hitting .289.  I mean would it have killed Turner to steal a base?  

Carlos Gonzalez:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .219.  Oh wow I was starting to think CarGo was on the DL or something given how absent he was from doing anything positive. 

Mark Reynolds:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .324.  The Rockies are now thinking of having Ian Desmond go back to the outfield in order to keep Reynolds in the lineup.  Why not?

Charlie Blackmon:  3/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .286.  Blackmon is downright silly with the power right now and I vow not to talk about the lack of steals anymore given how everything else is going swimmingly.  Hey we all age.

Paul Goldschmidt:  4/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .297.  Take that Trea Turner.  No non-hit at-bats.

Mike Trout:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .246.  Please get this guy onto a winning team, preferably the East Coast.

Santiago Casilla:  first blown save with 1 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 4.00.  Sean Doolittle has a 2.57 ERA in front of him but since he is lefty, he can't possibly be a closer.  Ridiculous.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: DREADED OBLIQUE STRAIN TO SEND MITCH HANIGER TO THE DL

Oh boy.  From the start of spring training, one of the more talked-about storylines was the non-stop hitting of Seattle Mariners emerging outfielder Mitch Haniger.  The "other piece" that came to the Mariners in the Taijuan Walker trade, Haniger continued his big spring into the regular season as he went into Tuesday's action with a .321 average with 4 home runs and 2 steals.  Unfortunately the unfolding breakout will be put on hold as Haniger suffered an oblique strain during the team's Tuesday game versus the Detroit Tigers.  Haniger will certainly be placed on the 10-day DL on Wednesday and he likely will be out beyond the initial 10 days given the fickle nature of the injury.  Just a tough blow for all Haniger owners who now have to face being without him well into May.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: CODY BELLINGER 1B/OF LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Just one day after the San Francisco Giants promoted top shortstop prospect Christian Arroyo, the Los Angeles Dodgers responded with their own move by calling up massive 1B/OF prospect Cody Bellinger.  You won't find many other hitters who got off to a hotter start than Bellinger has this season, as he arrives with the Dodgers with a .343 average with 5 home runs and 7 steals in just 77 at-bats. Yes please to that juice to say the least and the 21-year-old former 2013 fourth-round pick has the clear ability to be the next big five-category player.  Or make it four categories in that Bellinger's 28.6 K/9 rate this season at Triple-A is the stuff of a slugging first baseman and will make hitting for average his biggest challenge.  Even going back to Double-A last season, Bellinger hit just .263 given his contact issues.  If it sounds bit like Bellinger is a newer version of teammate Joc Pederson, we can certainly see that.  Pederson was a big power/speed guy in the minors before arriving in the majors leagues with contact issues but once with the Dodgers, he infuriatingly stopped running.  We don't Bellinger will stop running and so he offers much more upside than Pederson does.  Pick up Bellinger where available as he can be an immediate impact player.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: AUSTIN HEDGES C SAN DIEGO PADRES

When it comes to the catcher position in fantasy baseball, the bar is set very low here given the annual dearth of even somewhat useful options for your team.  This always causes the few top guys like Buster Posey and this year Gary Sanchez to see grossly inflated draft prices (both guys already have earned the anger of their owners) and makes the rest of us constantly pan for guys to sign off the wire.  My personal strategy has always been to smile and not have a care in the world when the Poseys and Sanchez' of the world are drafted and instead pick an upside or undervalued catcher later in the draft.  Prospects and guys coming off somewhat disappointing years qualify here and one such player who belongs in the former category is the San Diego Padres' Austin Hedges.  The former 2011 second-round pick certainly had the prospect tag applied to him given how high he was drafted and that was further enhanced when he went out and hit .326 with 21 home runs at Triple-A in 2016.  Of course Hedges got those numbers in the offensive bonanza that is the PCL and so there was some regression expected overall but he still carries intrigue when 2017 drafts came around.

While Hedges went as a decent sleeper pick this spring, his start to 2017 was beyond rough as he piled on strikeout after strikeout.  That caused some rash and impatient owners to cut Hedges loose and thus miss out on the recent power binge he has supplied.  Hedges is now up to six home runs on the season in just 66 at-bats which actually makes him one of the better power-hitting catchers of the season.  The overall package though is shaky as Hedges has just a .189 average due to the fact he has put up a ghastly 28.8 K/9 rate and tiny 4.5 BB/9.  Hedges really needs to cut into those K's in order to save his average and gain some more fantasy baseball relevancy.  Right now he is a newer Mike Zunino or J.P. Arencibia and that doesn't get you very excited in fantasy baseball.  The upside remains though and Hedges' best days are ahead of him.  In two catcher formats Hedges has more value but in single leagues he can be played as well due to how poor the outlook is again on the position.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: RED SOX/YANKS POSTPONED TUESDAY DUE TO RAIN

The Tuesday night series opener between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees has been postponed due to rain.  The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader in July as both sides realized the rain plaguing the East Coast was not going to let up for them to play.  Consider the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves game in jeopardy as well.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: CHRISTIAN ARROYO SS SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

In desperate need of any sort of excitement surrounding the team after the loss of ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner for 6-8 weeks after a dirt bike accident, plus the fact the team is not winning; the San Francisco Giants called up top shortstop prospect Christian Arroyo on Monday.  Whether Arroyo is ready or not and if this is a panic move by the Giants is up for debate but there is no denying the fact the former 2013 first-round pick is going to be a very good player.  In terms of fantasy baseball though, Arroyo may not be a big help just yet.  Consider that at Double-A a year ago, Arroyo hit just .274 with all of 3 home runs and 1 steal in 517 at-bats.  That is your epitome of an empty average but at just 21, Arroyo has not filled in yet physically.  While I think he will eventually add some power, Arroyo is really more defense than offense at this point.  So in NL-only leagues you can be more aggressive on the kid but in mixers Arroyo is just a speculative add.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Jason Heyward:  1/4 with his 3rd HR while hitting .294.  Listen you treat Jason Heyward like you do Ryan Zimmerman.  You know the good times are going to end soon and maybe with a thud but you first see how long they go.

Chad Kuhl:  9 ER in 1.2 IP with an ERA of 6.63.  This is one of those rare cases when you can legitimately say when watching Kuhl from your coach, "I can do better than that."

Corey Dickerson:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .324.  Just to show you the level of disrespect for Dickerson in the fantasy baseball community, he was on waivers in the Experts League until I picked him up for Monday.  Yes timing is everything but I also literally have been saying to pick up Dickerson since March 1st at like 3:23 PM ET.

Jonathan Schoop:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .279.  Over slight to his right, J.J, Hardy gazes at Schoop and says to himself "yeah this certainly looks familiar,"

Adam Jones:  3/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .300.  After the game Jones called up Evan Longoria and said "Dude we still got this but why does everyone not like us anymore?"  I wish I knew Adam.  

Chris Archer:  6.2 IP 6 H 5 ER 5 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.94.  This fallows Jacob DeGrom dropping six walks on my WHIP in his last outing.  (Turn dryer on and try to get in without making it stop). 

Brad Brach:  scoreless ninth for fourth save with 0.00 ERA.  Brach owners keep sending Zach Britton telegrams saying "hey man take your time coming back and make sure you are 100 percent ready to go."

Scott Schebler:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .191.  I will sign off on NL-only usage but the Chris Davis average is a no-no in mixers for now.

Eric Thames:  2/3 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .373.  Even Chris Shelton can't believe someone can be this hot in April.

Hernan Perez:  2/4 with his second HR and first SB while hitting .209.  Perez was not a buy I chased one bit as I saw his 2016 as a fluke.  The Brewers did too since they are not actively playing him everyday.

Amir Garrett:  9 ER in 3.1 ERA with an ERA of 5.09.  That traffic jam you see that rivals rush hour in Los Angeles is Amir Garrett heading toward the waiver about 5,000 times this morning.  I mean come on people he was never considered a top prospect and his K/9 was middling in the minors.  This is no shock.

Matt Davidson:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .368.  Davidson has always had power but MASSIVE strikeout problems had previously held him back.  He is still whiffing at a high rate but do what you must here until the bottom falls out on the average.  

Miguel Gonzalez:  8 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Check out the career ERA's on Gonzalez on a yearly basis and you will be surprised how solid they are.  Guy can pitch and be an excellent SP 5 every season.  

Ryan Zimmerman:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .379.  This really pisses me off because Zimmerman has been garbage for so long now and all of a sudden he is doing this out of the blue for someone else.  And so I hate him all the more.

Charlie Blackmon:  1/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .266.  Blackmon is all slugger now.

Wil Myers:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .345.  No running yet from Myers but we will take the power and health.  

Austin Hedges:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .183. Hedges is a bit too all-or-nothing right not but the power is really picking up.  

David Peralta:  3/4 with his third HR and third SB while hitting .329.  Man I have picked up and dropped Peralta so many times I have lost count.  Looks like I got to add him yet again.  

Zach Greinke:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.93.  Here's the thing.  The velocity has rebounded a bit and so now we are getting this.  Not a novel concept.  

Bud Norris:  scoreless ninth for second save with ERA of 3.38.  Norris walked one and gave up hit but go through it.  If you have stones and needs saves, Norris is the guy.

Matt Cain:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.42.  I guess Matt Cain and Ryan Zimmerman hung out over the winter and figured out a way to push the walkers away for one more season.  However they are doing it.  




Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY BREAKING NEWS: JOC PEDERSON (GROIN) LANDS ON 10-DAY DL

The Los Angeles Dodgers placed outfielder Joc Pederson on the 10-day DL Monday with a right groin strain.  Once again Pederson is struggling to hit consistently as he goes onto the DL with a shoddy .220 average and just 1 home run.  18 strikeouts in 50 at-bats is a problem and Pederson still can't figure out how to steal some bases after being a big force there in the minors.  While I was initially a fan of his, Pederson is now almost worthless in fantasy baseball today.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING INJURY NEWS: SHELBY MILLER LIKELY NEEDS TOMMY JOHN

When a pitcher goes for a second opinion after an MRI was conducted on his elbow, that means nothing but the worst.  In the case of Shelby Miller of the Arizona Diamondbacks, it means Tommy John elbow surgery.  Miller felt the classic Tommy John forearm pain in his last outing and thus went for the testing on his elbow where it likely revealed some UCL damage.  Miller will now go for the second opinion to likely confirm he needs the surgery.  If he does go under the knife, Miller from Atlanta to Arizona will go down as one of the truly worst trades in MLB history.  Cut Miller loose in all leagues.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: JULIO URIAS TO START THURSDAY, CHANCE HE COULD STAY

The Los Angeles Dodgers will promote top pitching prospect Julio Urias with the intention of starting him Thursday.  With Rich Hill constantly dealing with a blister problem that could necessitate a move to the bullpen, the opportunity is now there for Urias to permanently stick with the team for the remainder of the season.  Just 20 years of age, Urias was already dominating at Triple-A as he pitched to a 1.93 ERA and posted a very good 9.64 K/9 rate.  The only issue that still remains here is lack of control, which was an issue during his brief 77 inning stint with the Dodgers last year (3.62 BB/9).  This kid is beyond talented though and it seems almost a given he will graduate into a fantasy baseball ace before too long.  If you drafted Urias knowing he wasn't going to make the Dodgers out of camp, kudos to you.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: COLE HAMELS SP TEXAS RANGERS

It wouldn't be April in fantasy baseball is Cole Hamels of the Texas Rangers wasn't struggling.  Whether it was during his terrific tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies or his more recent stint with the Rangers, Hamels and April just have never jived with one another.  Consider that for his career, Hamels' 3.74 ERA is by far the highest of any month and from that point onward, the lefty always gets stronger.  Also for his career, Hamels' first-half ERA is 3.51 and after the break it goes down to a dominant 3.05.  So again here we are in late April of 2017 and Hamels is causing stress to his owners as he sits with a........2.77 ERA?  And 1.04 WHIP?  Ummmm come again?  Is this the same Hamels we have always known?  Doesn't he know what month it is?  Apparently not as Hamels has pitched quite well for the Rangers so far this season but his owners still are unhappy.  How are they unhappy?  Well let's get into it.

Part of the allure of owning Hamels in yearly fantasy baseball leagues is the fact that he is a 4-time 200-K ace who achieved the feat last season with the Rangers with 200.  Strikeouts are part of the package with Hamels and it is what has made him a fantasy baseball ace for years.  Of course a full season in the AL and in a launching pad park in Texas last season caused Hamels' WHIP to spike to a shaky 1.31 and without some BABIP luck, his ERA of 3.32 was closer to 4.00 when adjusted.  Now while the ratios are splendid so far, Hamels is not striking guys out as he has just 14 in 26 innings.  The velocity?  Down by enough to worry.  Unfortunately what we COULD be seeing now is all the massive amount of innings Hamels has had on his arm over the years are beginning to take a toll on his stuff.  In 2015 Hamels' K/9 was 9.11 and last year it dropped to 8.87 which is not a shock in moving to the AL and not facing pitchers.  However so far this year Hamels is at a pathetic 4.85 in that category and if not for a ridiculously lucky .203 BABIP., his adjusted FIP ERA would be 4.82 and his XFIP ERA would be even worse at 5.01.  Disturbing numbers all the way around.  So while we always have correctly said to buy low on Hamels in April, that may not be the case this time around.  Even last year when Hamels posted a 2.52 ERA in April, he struck out 23 batters in 25 innings.  He is not missing bats this time around and when combined with the league and offensive ballpark, Hamels is starting to concern me some.

Now of course Hamels could turn things around and get stronger as the season goes on and the weather heats up.  Still he is an old 33 given all the innings and so Hamels may be tipping over the edge past ace status.


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday, April 23, 2017

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

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

.194
3 HR
6 R
8 RBI
0 SB

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

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

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


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSER WRAPUP: SATURDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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


FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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