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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: WELLINGTON CASTILLO HITS THE DL WITH TESTICULAR INJURY

Oh boy.  Every man alive had to feel for Baltimore Orioles catcher Wellington Castillo who had to be placed on the 10-day DL Wednesday with a testicular injury suffered from a ricocheted ball Tuesday night.  Castillo's loss is a decent one considering how shallow the catching position remains in fantasy baseball and for the fact he was hitting a very impressive .317 with four home runs.  The veteran has been a decent buy the last few seasons in fantasy baseball due to his underrated bat and he is worth a stash as long as he is due back soon.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: EARLY WEDNESDAY EDITION

George Springer:  4/4 with 2 home runs (13 for season) while hitting .265.  Boy the Houston lineup is insanely potent.  Looks like Springer is in one of those classic power grooves which is all fine and dandy.  Never had any issue with the home run swing but instead remain bothered by the ugly averages and utter lack of running.  Maybe next season his ADP will adjust accordingly.

Carlos Correa:  3/6 with his 9th HR while hitting .316.  Correa has nudged back ahead of Francisco Lindor after falling behind him in value last season.  While Correa too has stopped running (maybe a Houston management decision), his swing is a thing of beauty an his power is fully back to 20-25 range.

Alex Bregman:  2/6 with his sixth HR while hitting .264.  Maybe slow starts is just part of the fantasy baseball profile for Bregman.  Like the new age third base version of old friend Mark Teixeira.

Evan Gattis:  4/6 with his 4th HR while hitting .287.  Gattis wanted to get in on the fun. Said to draft him over Kyle Schwarber this spring.  How is that working out?

Brian Dozier:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .249.  Boy was the baseball flying out here Wednesday.  Dozier on pace for a 20/20 campaign which is a beautiful thing at second base but again he was never going to get back to 40 homers again given that now extreme outlier performance.

Joey Votto:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .283.  This guy is fully on the short list of fantasy baseball MVP early contenders.

Jose Peraza:  2/4 with 2 steals (14 for season) while hitting .264.  Wow look who woke up.  Peraza is running wild now and doing what we anticipated he would do on that front.  He is also capable of a better average so even more sunny times should be ahead.

Scott Schebler:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .249.  Wow has this kid been good.  Keep in mind here that Schebler should be even BETTER as his .228 BABIP is very unlucky and his 18.8 K/9 is solid.  Talk about the average and make a play.

Devon Travis:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .261.  If Travis could just get out of his own way health-wise, he could become some story.  Particularly hot of late, Travis' stock is rising quick.

Jake Arrieta:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.60.  I am not a fan of his but Arrieta has had some rough (.340) BABIP luck.  While his adjusted 3.61 XFIP is nice, Arrieta tends to tire as the season goes on given his high workloads the last few years and so he is not an automatic buy low.

Brandon Maurer:  scoreless ninth for his eighth save with an ERA of 5.73.  The Padres seem determined to make it work with Maurer in the ninth inning in their infinite wisdom.  Just dumb as they could build up more value for Brad Hand if he pitched the ninth.  Also don't hold your breath now on Carter Capps closing.

Justin Bour:  2/5 with 2 home runs (15 for season) while hitting .288.  Yeah so good luck trying to find anyone else out there in the fantasy baseball community who boosted this guy more than I did.  Always a terrific and cheap power buy, Bour is actually tapping into another level of production as he is on pace for career-bests everywhere.  Yupppppppppppp!

Marcell Ozuna:  3/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .321.  Man the power was no concern of mine here but boy has Ozuna shocked with the average.  Thank you .351 BABIP.

Dan Straily:  6.2 IP 9 H 1 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.56.  Straily seems to flash once or twice each season in putting himself on the verge of pickup status.  He always has collected a decent haul of strikeouts in his rampant MLB travels but we will sign off on a streaming capacity.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: THE FLUKE THAT IS THE "STRUGGLING" MANNY MACHADO

If I were to venture a guess, I would say that the subject theme "what is wrong with Manny Machado?" has been the most often arrival in my inbox this season.  Of course many Machado owners are reflexively firing off these e-mails to yours truly mostly on the fact that the All-Star Baltimore Orioles third baseman has seen his batting average languish terribly in near the Mendoza Line.  Even going into Tuesday's games, Machado sat with a putrid .216 average with pretty much two full months into the books.  So with so much data put forth already, these skittish Machado owners feel there has to be a reason why he is struggling and they also are beginning to question whether his monster 2016 was a fluke.  Well this one hits close to home for yours truly as I myself am a Machado owner and have been the last four years.  While I don't like seeing the .216 average, I can tell you I have zero concerns about Machado outside of possibly injury and in fact think that those who don't own him, should do what they can to buy low.

It is the batting average where we begin the discussion because that is where most of the hysteria is coming from.  Again .216 is a pretty nasty number to look at if you are a Machado owner but some context is in order.  The biggest red flag here is that Machado has had some downright brutal luck on the batted ball as shown by his current .225 BABIP.  Considering that .300 is neutral, Machado just can't buy a hit.  Also consider the fact Machado's BABIP has come in at .317, .297, and .309 the last three seasons prior to 2017 and you can easily see how bad his luck has been.  So it stands to reason the luck will eventually even itself out and that Machado will see a sharp uptick in the average department.

As far as the rest of the numbers, Machado is also doing a nice job with the walks, posting a BB/9 mark of 10.3 which is way up from the 6.9 he posted in 2016.  Again with Machado drawing a high number of walks, the average should begin to move upwards soon enough.  About the only negative thing you can say is that Machado is in fact striking out more this season (20.1 K/9 compared to 17.2 in 2016) but that could be because he is pressing a bit.  So while this is a legitimate reason for an average to fall, Machado is still doing so much more positive on the other fronts that it is not a major issue.

Finally, Machado is still doing his thing with the power as he has 10 home runs in 214 at-bats.  That is a pace for 31 and so all would be well there once again.  Machado even has two steals already compared to the zero he had a year ago.  So when you put it all together, Manny Machado makes for a tremendous buy low candidate and the chance to get a first round talent at a discount is something anyone should be interested in doing.  The guy is a terrific player and so don't let the average (which is very fluky) overshadow how much of a good impact he can make the rest of the season.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Jason Kipnis:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .235.  Well he is leading off and now hitting for bets power of the season.  For what it's worth.

Bradley Zimmer:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .314.  I think it is about time the Indians move up Zimmer a spot or two in the order. So far, so really good.

Sonny Gray:  7 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 4.72.  Hearing all of the Yankee trade rumors, Gray decided to go out and pretend like he was pitching in the bandbox stadium.

Trevor Baur:  7 IP 7 H 3 ER 1 BB 14 K with an ERA of 6.00.  Even after this gem, look at that ERA!  We all have blinders on from time-to-time when it comes to Bauer due to the massive K potential but everywhere else he is garbage.

Robbie Ray:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.00.  We are all in love.  I tweeted last night that Ray is THIS close to joining the fantasy baseball ace level as he already is a 200-K stud and his hit rate is very low.  Notice how he didn't walk anyone as well.  This is looking mighty nice.

Michael Wacha:  3 IP 5 H 3 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.99.  I warned you this was coming.  Wacha always starts out well and then turns to crap when Memorial Day approaches ever since he first came down with shoulder trouble a few years ago.  The shoulder can only last so long under strain before the pitches flatten out.  Next up:  a DL stint.

Brett Gardner:  2/5 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .276.  Gardner has his customary average down pat but now is on pace for a career-best in home runs.  He suddenly stopped running a week into the season but I am good with him making it up in the homer column.

Matt Holliday:  2/5 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .261.  Holliday is a stripped-down version of his old All-Star self but still a very helpful bat.

Luis Severino:  6 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.93.  Something must be in the water at Yankee Stadium as BOTH Severino and Michael Pineda all of a sudden understand the meaning of "consistency."

Zack Cozart:  2/3 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .350.  Said all the glowing things I was going to say about Cozart in his own Status Report a few days ago.  Scroll down to look.  Long story short:  you should have owned him back then.

Joey Votto:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .282.  Votto is having a spectacular season and he still in his 30's surprises us one way or the other with his numbers.

Josh Donaldson:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .289.  Donaldson has a TON of work to do to salvage his season and the first round price tag his owners paid for him.  This is a good start.

Jose Bautista:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .251.  I admit I have a strong bias against Bautista and maybe counted him out a tad early.  Oh well its my site.

Russell Martin:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .241.  It was about this time last year that Martin (after being dropped in 90 percent of leagues) began to get going with the bat.  Those in two catcher formats need to move.

Lucas Duda:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .260.  First Zack Cozart and now Duda homers right after a Status Report.  I should just do one on each of the players on my Experts League roster.  Anyways Duda is in one of those crazy runs right now where he homers 8 times in two weeks.

Marcell Ozuna:  3/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .314.  Ozuna is having one of those years where you look at his 25 home runs and .300 average at the end of the season and go "damn I missed the boat on this."

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .284.  How about the average?  I have to say a lot of that is legit as Stanton has lowered his K/9 rate significantly from 29.8 a year ago to 23.3 this season.  With a .313 BABIP that is almost neutral, Stanton is having a great run of it.

Kyle Seager:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .262.  Ehhh.  Damn Seager is a bit annoying with his slow start but the guy has more than proven himself worth of being given the benefit of the douvbt.  Guys who hit on the West Coast and in Seattle of all places don't often get this courtesy however.

Robinson Cano:  2/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .294.  Unless your this guy.

Dinelson Lamet:  5 IP 5 H 2 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.70.  Second outing in two starts that Lamet has been the strikeout machine I said he would be.  And just one walk.  There will be Zack Wheeler-like hiccups such as a high pitch count forcing him out early but Lamet has legit major league K stuff.

Kyle Schawrber:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .174.  You get the notion Schwarber is now just closing his eyes and swinging as hard as he can in the hopes he makes contact.

Todd Frazier:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .182.  Said the other day how Frazier is a major buy low given that all his advanced metrics are positive.  Yup.

Mookie Betts:  2/6 with his 9th HR while hitting .276.  With Mike Trout down the next 6-8 weeks, Betts has his chance to challenge for the top spot in fantasy baseball.

Devin Marrero:  2/5 with 2 home runs (3 for season) while hitting .194.  Only played because the newly activated Pablo Sandoval was given an extra day.  Nothing to see here.

Xander Bogaerts:  4/5 with his second HR while hitting .339.  Give up 15 homers bro and we're good.

Chris Sale:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 2.77.  Even Sale can have a bad day.  This is probably going to be his only one though.

Jose Quintana:  7 ER in 2.2 IP with an ERA of 5.60.  When we are two full months into the season, we have enough data to say that Quintana has been an utter disgrace.  Do what you need to do.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CAMERON MAYBIN OUTFIELDER LOS ANGELES ANGELS

The reverberations were still being felt all around baseball on Tuesday due to the massive news that Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout would miss the next 6-8 weeks due to a torn thumb ligament that required surgery.  As a result of Trout's absence, fellow outfielder Cameron Maybin will shift to centerfield for the Angels; putting more of a spotlight on what has been a nice season so far for the perennially intriguing but also habitually underperforming speedster.  Now a veteran at the age of 30 and onto his fifth MLB team (in addition to serving 2 stints with the Detroit Tigers), Maybin is looking to continue building on some solid offensive numbers out of the leadoff spot for the team.  While Maybin can't hold Trout's jock when it comes to impact, he still has become a help this season in fantasy baseball with the following numbers going into Tuesday's games:

.242
3 HR
29 R
12 RBI 
13 SB

Looking at the numbers, Maybin has garnered OF 3 value given his leadoff numbers and for the help he has supplied in runs and especially stolen bases.  Maybin has speed to burn and the running game has always been his greatest strength in fantasy baseball.  Operating out of the leadoff spot will continue to supply running chances for Maybin and also the ability to collect runs.  He also has shown capability as a 10-home run or so guy; eliminating the designation of simply being a speedy specialist.  Of course the downside with Maybin has always been his batting average and this is something which continues to be a problem given his .242 mark.  While Maybin has been a big negative in that area in the past, this season he has been more unlucky with a .289 BABIP.  That BABIP is very low for a speedy guy like Maybin and considering he also has a tremendous 16.0 BB/9 rate, count on the average rising some as the season moves along.  Maybin is a daily starter in fantasy baseball given his present production and things should get even better when the average comes around.  Buy in fully what we are seeing at this juncture from Maybin and plant him firmly in your OF 3 slot for the foreseeable future.  


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: LUCAS DUDA LOCKED IN FOR METS

When it comes to New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda, there is no denying the fact that he can really try the patience of his fantasy baseball owners on a yearly basis.  For one thing, Duda has been a health mess the last couple of years; with a chronic back problem that caused him to miss large stretches of games during that span.  In addition, Duda has always shown a tendency to run extremely hot or extremely cold with the bat without little advance warning.  While both issues are firmly true, Duda is now in the midst of a major hot stretch for the Mets and his fantasy baseball owners since coming back from his first injury this season.  Fresh off smashing his 7th home run of the year late Sunday night, Duda has now gone yard in three of the last four games and raised his average to .264.  While Duda's profile as a pure slugger is well-earned, he always has been one of those batters who get insanely hot for a stretch or two during the season and that is where he is right now.  Still young enough at the age of 31, Duda's advanced numbers are solid in that he is walking at a very high 17.1 BB/9 clip and his .293 BABIP is pretty neutral which means his average is stable.  We will take .260 over .240 (or the .250 he hit a year ago) any day from Duda and given how locked in he is now, a UTIL or CI spot should be cemented with his name on it for now.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: MIKE TROUT INJURY ROCKS FANTASY BASEBALL WORLD

In this apocalyptic season of massive injury in fantasy baseball, the consensus by a mile number 1 player in the game became the latest victim of this scourge on Sunday when it was revealed Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout would unbelievably miss the next 6-8 weeks due to a torn thumb ligament that will require corrective surgery.  Obviously Trout's injury is literally as big as it gets in fantasy baseball and even five outfield replacements combined wouldn't be able to replace the insane five tool production he brings to the table.  The real shame of it all is that Trout was on his way to a truly historic season as he was hitting .337 with 16 home runs, 36 runs, 36 RBI, and 10 stolen bases.  The comparisons to Mickey Mantle are spot on here and so the game of baseball without Trout is a major shame.  There is simply no way to recover from a Trout loss and once again we are reminded that in 2017, league winners will likely be the ones who dodged the most injury bugs.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Aaron Judge:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .319.  This is truly getting insane now.  Judge takes over the MLB lead in home runs and unlike someone such as Chris Davis...or Khris Davis.....the Yankee outfielder is showing he can make the adjustments to hit for average to go with the power.  Could be looking at near-first round status next season if this keeps on going.

Dylan Bundy:  7 IP 7 H 2 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.89.  I know, I know.  I keep saying Bundy will start getting hit due to all his BABIP luck and continued shoddy K/9 rate which doesn't work in the AL East.  Keep the faith in this prediction because if that doesn't get Bundy first, fatigue will.

Cody Bellinger:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .271.  The power has been unending here but see how the average is dropping?  There is a case to be made that Bellinger is the new George Springer but let's hope he keeps on running.

Logan Forsythe:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .238.  I like Forsythe but the Dodgers are going to regret moving Jose De Leon for him.

Rich Hill:  5 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.09.  Five innings and out is what the Dodgers will only allow Hill to do now given his rampant blister problems.  Not the best way to collect wins and K's.

Mookie Betts:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .274.  So good he is boring.

David Price:  5 IP 2 H 3 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.40.  Decent enough for Price's first start back from the DL.  It will be interesting if Price can regain his old velocity and stop with all the home runs he has been giving up the last two years.  I am not a fan of his anymore as I think Price is a depreciating pitcher built more on name brand.

Carlos Correa:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .311.  Shame on any of you who sold low on Correa when he was struggling in April.  And there were a few of you as per Twitter.

Carlos Beltran:  4/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .253.  Beltran has been slow with the bat this season and at his advanced age, nothing shocking there.  It has been a fun and wild ride but it looks like Beltran is now nothing but a bench outfielder in deep leagues.

Alex Bregman:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .254.  Really like the way Bregman is swinging the bat right now and like with Correa, the talent was way too potent to keep down for long.

Miguel Sano:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .292.  Sano has been off to an MVP start and if he hit 40 home runs it would not surprise me in the least.  Any average over .270 would though.

Ervin Santana:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.75.  I give up.

Trevor Story:  1/4 with his 8th HR whileh it hitting .191.  Yup his only hit of the game.

Charlie Blackmon:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .329.  Blackmon was a first or second round pick given his power/speed game but now he is a first or second round pick given his power and average.

Tony Watson:  third blown save with 2 ER in 1 IP with an ERA of 4.03.  Major trouble here as Watson has been blowing a bunch of saves of late and Felipe Rivero has been dominant in front of him.  Pick up Rivero if you are a Watson owner.

Ryan Zimmerman:  3/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .374.  How about the guy who drafted Ervin Santana and Ryan Zimmerman in the last two rounds of their draft?

Tanner Roark:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Two dominant starts in a row for Roark who is fully back in control after some recent struggles.  I told you all to stay patient.

Yonder Alonso:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .273.  Up is down this season.

Ryon Healy:  3/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .271. 25 home runs is not out of the question and they seem like they will sneak up on us by the end of the season.

Khris Davis:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .227.  I think I am starting to like the other Chris Davis better now.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .221.  I am hearing some "Encarnacion is back" talk but the power is the least of my worries here.  I want that average up above .255 before I even consider the thought that Encarnacion has not grown old before our eyes.

Carlos Santana:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .232.  By now the script is the same here with Santana.  While he may be capable of an uptick season (like 2016), the fact of the matter is that he remains a flawed hitter who will test your patience all season.

Carlos Carrasco:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.89.  Looks like Carrasco is fully back on track now and at least for now has avoided health trouble.

Whit Merrifield:  3/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .289.  Merrifield has been trying to get your attention for awhile now but the complete disgrace that has been the K.C. lineup has overshadowed his contributions.

Eric Hosmer:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .300.  Hosmer can't decide in any given year if he wants to hit for power (last season) or average (this season).  He has shown he can't do both in conjunction.

J.D. Martinez:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .288,  What might have been if Martinez had not gotten injured.


Monday, May 29, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: GREGORY POLANCO LIKELY HEADED BACK TO DL WITH ANKLE INJURY

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco suffered what appears to be a serious right ankle injury in Monday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks that will likely lead to him being placed back on the DL.  Polanco just recently returned from the DL which followed a horrid start to the 2017 season at the dish offensively.  An update is expected shortly but a broken ankle would likely keep Polanco down for two months.  A terrible season somehow is getting even worse.  


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DANNY DUFFY DOWN 6-8 WEEKS WITH SERIOUS OBLIQUE STRAIN

Kansas City Royals ace Danny Duffy is out the next 6-8 weeks with a serious oblique strain.  Duffy got shelled during his outing on Sunday and afterwards reported the oblique pain.  Subsequent testing revealed the extent of the strain and so now Duffy will be out through the All-Star break.  Duffy has been pitching well most of the season and his K/9 rate was rising the last few weeks after lagging early on.  Needless to say, this is a big loss to Duffy's fantasy baseball owners who are down a big arm.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: JOSE DE LEON COMING UP AS A RELIEVER FOR RAYS

There was initial excitement Monday when it was announced that the Tampa Bay Rays would promote top minor league power arm Jose De Leon from the minor leagues for Monday's game versus the Texas Rangers but that initial dose of optimism faded quickly when it was learned he would at least initially be used as a reliever.  De Leon has rocked some major strikeouts rates in the minors leagues first with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the with the Rays after coming over in the Logan Forsythe deal.  On the one hand, maybe the Rays are grooming De Leon to take over the closer role since they are expected to move ninth inning man Alex Colome sometime this summer but also perhaps they are keeping his innings down a bit early on so that a move to the rotation later can last toward the end of 2017.  Either way De Leon should be added in almost all fantasy baseball leagues on his potential alone as a power arm and a move to the rotation eventually would make him even that much more a person of interest.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: YOENIS CESPEDES DOWN ANOTHER 7-10 DAYS DUE TO QUAD INJURY

One step forward and two steps back for New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes who will now be down another 7-10 days after suffering a quad injury while taking part in minor league rehab games recovering from a previous hamstring strain.  GM Sandy Alderson confirmed the timeline on Monday and so at least for the time being, the struggling but recently hot Curtis Granderson will remain an everyday player for the Mets.  As far as Cespedes is concerned, a month of games is almost already gone from his 2017 ledger and his recent history of rampant leg injuries is putting him close to injury-prone territory.  While there is no doubting the OF 1 ability of Cespedes, he is more than trying the patience of his owners this season.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: DODGERS PLACE ALEX WOOD ON DL WITH JOINT INFLAMMATION

Add emerging Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood to the ever-increasing list of injuries to afflict the starting community as the team placed him on the 10-day DL Monday with AC joint inflammation.  Wood had been a revelation this season as he went on a pitching tear to the tune of a 1.69 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 60 K's in just 48 innings prior to the injury and so of course it robs his fantasy baseball owners of a major value play arm.  Stash Wood if you can as he has the stuff to pick up where he left off when he returns but obviously this is a decent hit.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: METS TOYING WITH ACTIVATING STEVEN MATZ FOR NEXT START

After throwing 5 perfect innings and ringing up 8 strikeouts in his latest minor league rehab outing on Sunday, New York Mets lefty Steven Matz might be forcing the team to activate him for his next start.  Originally the Mets wanted Matz to throw one more minor league outing where he was scheduled to toss 100 pitches but the injury-plagued rotation is in need of major support and team brass wants to take advantage of the current health before the next ailment crops up.

Analysis:  Matz looked great Sunday and he always has had big potential on the rare occasions he is healthy.  I am still a fan of the stuff but Matz simply can't stay healthy for more than a 3-4 start stretch.  Get him in there whenever he is activated but be prepared for the next injury when it inevitably surfaces.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: RED SOX ACTIVATE DAVID PRICE (ELBOW) MONDAY

The Boston Red Sox activated SP David Price on Monday; allowing him to make his 2017 debut later in the day versus the Chicago White Sox.  Price has been on the DL for the entire month of April and almost all of May while recovering from an elbow/forearm scare early in spring training and he gave up six runs in 5.2 innings during his minor league rehab stint.

Analysis:  Well let's see what we have here.  Price is a walking red flag given the elbow scare and his drop in velocity which began last season and led to him being more hittable than ever.  I am not optimistic here as I think all those early years of heavy usage have stolen some pop from Price's stuff but he still has the ability to miss a lot of bats and win games on a good Red Sox team.  Proceed with caution.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Khris Davis:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .227.  If Davis is hitting .330 at the end of April next season. he will still be back around .240 before the middle of June; if not earlier.

Aaron Judge:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .322.  Grand slam for Judge who just can't do anything wrong this season.  

Michael Pineda:  6 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.32.  Amazing how a guy who has had a career-long focus problem is all of a sudden locked in with free agent dollars at stake.

Joey Gallo:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .198.  Interesting debate:  will Gallo have a better chance of accumulating 35 or more home runs or an average above .215?

Andrew Cashner:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 2.92.  Oh give me a break.  The only person who should be vouching for what Cashner is doing is his mother.  Maybe also his grandma.

Jason Kipnis:  4/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .242.  I would say that Kipnis had a locked-in kind of day.  He has been hitting all right the last 10 days or so but honestly even if he were on the wire right now, I still wouldn't add him.

Jorge Bonifacio:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .273.  The average continues to point upwards for Bonifacio which adds to the potential value.  Said when this power run started that he should be in daily lineups until he cools.  The longer it goes, the better.

Josh Tomlin:  9 IP 6 H 1 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 5.79.  If Tomlin did this two more times in a row, he should still not be picked up.

Andrew Bentinendi:  0/4 while hitting .273.  Oxygen please!

Robinson Cano:  2/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .294.  Like with teammate Nelson Cruz, Cano is one of those special hitters who doesn't seem like he wants to ever get old.

Christian Bergman:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 4.67.  Two excellent starts sandwiched around a truly brutal butt kicking.  Shutting out Boston in seven innings is no small feat though and streaming Bergman as your SP 5 in non-innings capped leagues works well enough.

Giancarlo Stanton:  3/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .280.  Stanton is having a tremendous season and he has stayed in one piece thus far.  The latter is much tough for him to accomplish then the former.

Adam Duvall:  3/4 with 2 home runs (13 for season) while hitting .274.  Duvall has lowered his K/9 from 27,0 last season to 22.2 so far in 2017 which is a  tremendous improvement.  Thus the average uptick to go with the power.

Scott Schebler:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .241.  It is like Schebler this season is just like Duvall last season.

Domingo Santana:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .270.  Who knew on a Brewers team with Ryan Braun and Jonathan Villar that Santana would be the most impactful bat in fantasy baseball?

Jimmy Nelson:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.83.  You all know how much of a booster I have been of Nelson over the years and he is sucking us in again.  The strikeouts are popping and Nelson is avoiding the big inning like he failed to do in 2015 and 2016.  Get on board.

Ryan Schmipf:  1/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .163.  I mean this guy is just hilarious.

Joe Ross:  5 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 6.18.  You get extra demerits for getting shelled versus the San Diego Padres of all teams.  Already getting "should I drop" Ross queries and while this was ugly, I would hold him for at least one more start (but keep him on the bench).

Brandon Maurer:  scoreless ninth for his sixth save with an ERA of 6.30.  Looks like Maurer is back in the ninth inning after getting a breather in setup the last week.  Brad Hand wasn't exactly lights out which surely contributed to the flip-flop.

George Springer:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .243.  Maybe next season those in the fantasy baseball community will accept that Springer is no star player.

Mark Trumbo:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .262.  The power rate is way down from a year ago but that just means Trumbo is in line for an insane home run display the last four months.  About as dependable as power bat as you can get.

Jonathan Schoop:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .275.  (humming to myself to try and think of anything interesting to say here.....I failed).

Lance McCullers:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.48.  So we have now reached the point in the season where entertaining the idea of selling high on McCullers is not the worst idea in the world.  He has yet to pitch a full major league season and so fatigue will absolutely become a factor in late July.  Also with fatigue can come injuries and McCullers is already on bad terms with the trainer's table.  It will likely only go downhill from here.

Todd Frazier:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .186.  A .194 BABIP tells most of the story here as Frazier has actually IMPROVED his K/9 rate and quite a bit (19.8 this season to 24.5 a year ago).  Also how about this.  Frazier is walking at a 14.4 BB/9 clip compared to 9.6 last season.  This means Frazier is getting royally screwed and is actually a solid buy low candidate.

Evan Longoria:  2/6 with his 7th HR while hitting .240.  Longoria is another Frazier in that his .268 BABIP is quite unlucky and he too has improved his K/9 rate (18.7 to last year's 21.0).  Both Longoria and Frazier and becoming boring veterans the last two years but they represent could future investments for the last four months.

Logan Morrison:  2/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .251.  I will take anything from Morrison in terms of an average north of .250 with all that power.  Remember back in the day before Morrison let Twitter distract him to no end, he was a prime prospect in the Miami system.  Fully buying the power.

Joe Mauer:  4/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .283.  Mauer also drew three walks as he remains an OBP machine.  But you know you should not be owning Mauer in any competitive fantasy baseball league outside of streaming him on light schedule days.

Alex Cobb:  5 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.67.  Told you three starts ago that the fastball bite (A.K.A. more strikeouts) is coming back on Cobb's stuff.  Yup.

Jedd Gyorko:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .322.  Gyorko is still toting around an insane .385 BABIP and his K/9 and BB/9 rates are both WORSE than last year.  That means a sell high is in order but no one will pay for Gyorko so your best bet is to stick with him.

Tommy Pham:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .333.  So Tommy Pham has become what I thought Stephen Piscotty would be.

Gerardo Parra:  3/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .279.  So remember when everyone was ga-ga over David Dahl and I said at the beginning of the year don't overlook Gerardo Parra?  Yuppers 2.0.

Johnny Cueto:  6 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.37.  Multiple blisters have made somewhat of a mess of Cueto's first two months but he is still in his prime and as talented as any ace in the game.

Wilson Contreras:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .241.  Very letdown from what Contreras has done so far this season but at catcher you have to stick with him considering the price you paid and how shallow the position remains.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ZACK COZART SS CINCINNATI REDS

When you once have had the label of fantasy baseball sleeper early in a career and then proceed to take a few extra seasons to find your major league bearings, often what happens is that player becomes someone who is widely looked over in yearly leagues.  When expectations don't meet the initial excitement, these hitters and pitchers can sink to a status where those who take part in fantasy baseball reflexively look past that individual in moving onto the next great and promising prospect.  As a result, some truly good value seasons and performances can be lost in the murkiness and in the process, represent a lost opportunity to strike with an ascending player.  This exact scenario is unfolding now with Cincinnati Reds shortstop Zack Cozart who for a number of reasons, has not gotten near the pop he deserves given the production he has put forth this season.

Taking a quick history lesson on Cozart, he certainly was a young player who had some fantasy baseball sleeper status attached to his name going back to 2012 when he came out of the gates with 15 home runs in his first major league season.  Also having shown some stolen base ability, Cozart became a sleeper candidate given the shallow nature of shortstop and the possibly power/speed game.  Alas Cozart would go on to engineer three straight dud seasons that resulted in home run totals of 12, 4 and 9; while also putting forth ugly averages of .254 .221, and .258.  As a result, Cozart became persona non grata in fantasy baseball as 2016 came around.  It was that season where Cozart began to show that maybe the proverbial light bulb had gone on as he hit a career-best 16 home runs, scored 67 runs, and stole 4 bases in just 508 at-bats.  Injuries put a cap on the fun somewhat but Cozart has now made it two seasons in a row of very good offensive production by coming out of the gates in 2017 with a .355 average and 5 home runs and 25 RBI in 172 at-bats.  Now a veteran at the age of 31, Cozart has been hitting ropes all year and has gained some daily status in deeper mixed leagues.  As always though, let's dig in on the numbers and find out what is up.

First things first, the .355 average is way above anything Cozart has ever accomplished previously and one look at his insanely lucky .393 BABIP tells you why he is where he is currently with that number.  Still Cozart has become a much more selective hitter this season, raising his BB/9 rate from 7.3 in 2016 all the way up to 12.7 in 2017.  With a decent 17.3 K/9 rate, Cozart has absolutely made some inroads with the average. His power is also coming in at a nice level and being in his prime, some growth there was no shock.  While he is not a burner Cozart can pick up some steals now and again to help the overall profile.

So when you put it all together, Zack Cozart is doing his thing again as a quality mixed-league fantasy baseball shortstop who few are even talking about.  He should be picked up in all leagues and started continually while he is going good the way he is now.  While a major breakout is unlikely, a career-best season looks to be realistic.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: THE FAILURE OF DANNY SALAZAR IS COMPLETE AS HE MOVES TO BULLPEN

After putting up the latest in what has been a season-long litany of ugly starts filled with high pitch counts, horrid control, and overall shoddy efficiency, the Cleveland Indians finally decided that starter Danny Salazar should not be allowed to hurt the team in the rotation any longer.  Salazar wound up giving up three earned runs, six hits, and 5 walks in his outing on Saturday which cemented the demotion and sent his fantasy baseball stock fully into the toilet.  Going down as of the more potent teases in the game, Salazar has just never been able to fulfill the ace-level promise he showed when he arrived on the scene in 2013 firing 100-mph fastballs.  While Salazar had his moments when it seemed he was set for stardom (such as in 2015 when he registered a 3.45 ERA and 195 K), he more often has supplied terrible WHIP's built on some of the worst control in the majors and also a knack for getting injured.  2017 has been some of Salazar's worst work as he left his Saturday start with a composite 5.50 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and unfathomable rates in BB/9 (4,82) and HR/9 (1.89).  Other than strikeouts which has always been his best trait, Salazar has been as bad a pitcher as any in the game.  So with the move to the bullpen and having no chance to close with Cody Allen excelling, Salazar truly has next-to-no fantasy baseball value the rest of the season.  Even if he does go back into the bullpen, we can't trust the guy one bit.  Stop chasing the potential and move on.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: LATE SATURDAY EDITION

Stephen Strasburg:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 15 K with an ERA of 2.94.  My goodness.  Strasburg is on the short list with Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, and Yu Darvish as the greatest strikeout artist in baseball and that part of his game has always been stable through the injuries and mid-3.00 ERA's.

Kodi Glover:  scoreless ninth for fifth save with ERA of 2.35.  Why Glover was not closing from Day 1 this season is a question only Dusty Baker could answer.  It only took him just about two months to remedy it.

Mike Moustakas:  3/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .260.  Moustakas has the average up a bit again lately which is nice and the power has been big-time all year.  Considering the dirt-cheap draft price, Moustakas has been a fantastic buy warts and all.

Francisco Lindor:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .283.  Lindor's HR and fly ball rates continue to point to growth and they have been consistent both in April and May which adds to the validity.  Another ceiling reached.

Danny Salazar:  5.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 5 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.50.  Unrealized potential at its finest.

Mike Trout:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .342.  What is scary is that Trout is still improving.  How that is even possible defies logic.

Marcell Ozuna:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .311.  Another hitter who has tapped into some more offensive growth like with Francisco Lindor.  Ozuna's combining power and average is about as much as he can do (considering his lack of speed) to make his fantasy baseball value go as high as possible.

J,C. Ramirez:  7 IP 7 H 0 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.38.  The K/9 is just 7.29 and HR/9 is an ugly 1.33.  Smoke and mirrors specialist.

Eric Thames:  0/4 while hitting .278.  So yeah I did say to sell high on Thames at the height of his power surge.  Listen to me.

Chase Anderson:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.72.  Man has there been some insane strikeout games the last few days.  Anderson has joined in the party and actually has been pretty decent on a Brewers team filled with fantasy baseball values.  Just know the XFIP is well over 4.00 so don't be shocked if the bottom falls out.

Zack Cozart:  4/4 with 5th HR while hitting .355. I wrote a Status Report on Cozart before this game that was pretty glowing.  Now got to update it to make it more glowing before going up later.

Carlos Hernandez:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .293.  It seems like we haven't heard much from Hernandez lately which is true but that is because he has been a bit light during that span in the juice categories.  He still has been hitting though which is all that matters since everything else falls into place from there.

Tommy Joseph:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .255.  25 home runs here we come.

George Springer:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .242.  Sorry George but one guy you should have not have truid to be like coming into the majors was Joc Pederson but you pretty much have done so right on down to this apparent disdain for running.

Dallas Keuchel:  8 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.81.  Now 8-0, you got to think Keuchel is right there as the leader in the AL Cy Young derby.

Jay Bruce:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .249.  Standard Bruce season so far.  Hot and cold, hot and cold.

Travis D'Arnaud:  3/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .221.  Since he did something positive on the field, D'Arnaud is now destined to sprain his finger getting water from the Gatorade jug and go on the DL.

Lucas Duda:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .267.  Duda is seeing the ball really well right now as he has been on a tear the last week.  Keep him anchored into your UTIL or CI spot.

Andrew McCutchen:  2/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .212.  McCutchen has turned into Chris Young circa Arizona right before our eyes.



Saturday, May 27, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: EARLY SATURDAY EDITION

Matt Holliday:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .269.  Got to love the body of work of Holliday this season who is showing he is not done yet being a top OF 3.  His swing is tailor-made for his home park and that alone will keep him in a daily lineup the rest of 2017.

C.C. Sabathia:  6.1 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.42.  You get flashes of the old ace C.C. once in awhile but the other three times out of four he goes out, the numbers can be very scary.

Dellin Betances:  scoreless 1.1 IP for his fifth save with an ERA of 0.52.  Betances has dominated since becoming the Yankee closer and so his struggles finishing games last season can now be fully blamed on fatigue and not mental struggles.

Shin-Soo Choo:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .255.  Like with Matt Holliday, Shin-Soo Choo is showing he can still be of service.  Batting leadoff is a nice bonus as well.

Jose Bautista:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .236.  Bautista's home run swing has been in fine working order the last three weeks and he can carry your team for awhile in that area when the going is good.  Still I would rather have Choo or Holliday.

Marco Estrada:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.15.  Estrada is the new Matt Cain, as the former used to always beat the BABIP curve year after year.  Don't know how he does it but he does it.

Michael Fulmer:  8 IP 9 H 3 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.65.  We may have to add Fulmer to the Cain-Estrada slayers of BABIP.  Fulmer's advanced metrics continually scream out "regression" but he has escaped thus far.

Tyler Danish:  5 IP 3 H 0 ER 6 BB 6 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Effectively wild in his first start.  The 22-year-old former second-round pick had all of a 4.53 K/9 at Triple-A before reporting for MLB duty.  No thanks.

Colby Rasmus:  1/2 with his 6th HR while hitting .254.  Nope I still don't care about him

Brian Dozier:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .255.  At least Dozier has raised his average a bit lately to help overcome the horrid power.  NEVER PAY FOR CAREER YEARS.

Brian Johnson:  9 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.57.  Just going out on a limb in predicting that Johnson will be the biggest pickup in fantasy baseball the next 24 hours.  Had a 2.82 ERA at Triple-A prior to his promotion.  Decent power arm who has a chance to stick around.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MASAHIRO TANAKA SP NEW YORK YANKEES

Well that's certainly more like it.  Coming off a recent stretch that could be argued was the worst starting pitching in baseball, New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka got back on track and in a resounding way on Friday.  Tanaka struck out the side in the first inning against the Oakland A's and never looked back as he totals 13 K's and only 5 hits given up in 7.1 innings.  Yes Tanaka took a hard-luck loss but the bigger picture is that he was in complete control and looked like the ace of the team the last few seasons.  The outing also pushed Tanaka's K/9 rate back upwards to 8.46 and that numbers remains his best mark there since his huge rookie debut (and before the tear in his UCL was discovered).  Now the big issue that remains here is Tanaka's sky-high 2.11 HR/9 but he did not give up a long ball against the A's and at home no less.  Hopefully that is a sign of things to come but at least for now, Tanaka seems to have righted the ship.  If it lasts or not is the bigger question.  Personally Tanaka still scares me but at least this shows he can get his bite back on the fastball.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ZACK GREINKE SP ARIZONA DIAMONDABCKS

If you were to pick out the single worst starting pitching performance of the 2016 season, the name that was appear on the most ballots would undoubtedly be the Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke.  Fresh off signing the biggest contract given to a pitcher in Major League history, Greinke was a pure abomination as he lost velocity on his fastball and proceeded to put up 4.37 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a very mediocre 7.60 K/9 rate. Turning 33 and having a pronounced home run problem (1.34 HR/9), Greinke was a pariah for 2017 fantasy baseball drafts as he was picked more on name value than anything.  Fast forward to present time and Greinke just got done engineering a 12-strikeout masterpiece that lowered his 2017 ERA to 2.82 and raised his K/9 rate a career-best 10.48.  Looking every bit the ace that he was earlier in his career, Greinke has been one of the biggest fantasy baseball pitching stories of the season.

As always we need to dig in on the advanced numbers as Greinke's performance so far this season has been about as polar opposite as he showed just the year prior.  It is staggering in actuality how good Greinke has been, in particular with the major jump in K's.  What is interesting is that Grienke's fastball velocity has not improved this season but he is generating a major uptick in strikeouts for different reasons.  The first is that his overall K percentage and swinging strike percentage are way up.  There is clearly more bite and spin on Greinke's stuff and that is leading to the big strikeout jump.  In addition, Grienke has vastly improved his control; going from a 2.33 BB/9 a year ago to a stellar 1.61 in 2017.  Combined with the swinging strike increase and Greinke's lowered ERA can be explained a good deal from those issues.

However there are still some underlying things here that need to be mentioned.  The first is that Greinke remains homer-prone as his 1.34 HR/9 is WORSE than the 1.30 he had a year ago.  Also, Greinke has a lucky .267 BABIP but the adjusted ERA's still clock in very nicely (FIP ERA of 318, XFIP ERA of 2.88).  What this says is that Greinke is pitching legitimately well and that he is safe to proceed into the second half.  No major falloff is being indicated here barring injury and other than a bit of a rise in ERA due to the BABIP, Greinke looks safe to trust through the month of September this season.

Overall those who invested and bought very low on Greinke this season are being handsomely rewarded and they have one of the most potent performing arms as shown by the numbers.  It goes to show you that veterans can often find new ways to say on top of things and remain effective, something we are surely seeing now with Grienke.  What a story this has been.




2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: JUSTIN VERLANDER SP DETROIT TIGERS

Yeah so this one was obvious.  Well obvious to yours truly who put in print both in this past spring's Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide and all over this site on multiple occasions to avoid the bust that I saw Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander to be.  In other words, his current 4.87 ERA and 1.41 WHIP are far from a surprise from this peanut stand and it was his very murky outlook on a number of fronts that had me avoiding him in the Experts League draft.

So let's take a quick trip down memory lane shall we?  From 2014-15, Verlander looked like he was toast as his fastball lacked zip, his ERA and home run rates rose, and it seemed like all those years of 220-plus innings had sapped the pop from his arm.  Thus a 6.95 K/9/4.54 ERA in 2014 was followed by a mini-rebound in 2015 that saw those numbers improve to 7.63 and 3.38.  Be that as it may, Verlander was still a guy I told you to avoid for 2016 in thinking his ace days were a thing of the past.  Then Verlander goes out and strikes out an insane 254 batters (10.04 K/9) and a 3.04 ERA as he challenged for the AL Cy Young and reclaimed fantasy baseball ace status.  With the fastball gaining some life again and the durability always impressive, Verlander went back into the circle of trust for many in the fantasy baseball community as 2017 drafts came around.  Not me as I argued that Verlander's 2016l while impressive on the surface; was still troubling underneath the hood.

Digging into the 2016 advanced numbers, the first red flag centered on Verlander's lucky .255 BABIP which was completely unsustainable.  When adjusted, Verlander's FIP ERA came out to 3.48 and his XFIP 3.78.  Not terrible ERA's but not ace level either.  Then there was Verlander's 1.19 HR/9 rate which was an incredibly high number,  A high HR/9 rate is deadly on aging pitchers as leaking velocity is a bad combination with that number.  So I said to avoid Verlander with good scientific reasoning.

Fast forward to present time and Verlander is a mess.  What is really comical is that Verlander's 4.87 ERA should be WORSE as his .284 BABIP is still in lucky territory.  Then there is even WORSE home run problems as Verlander's HR/9 rate is as high as any starter in the game at 1.33.  There is also the huge control problems Verlander is having as his 4.28 BB/9 is horrendous.  Verlander is fighting his stuff like crazy and age no doubt is a factor.  Finally, Verlander's K/9 rate has sank from 10.04 last season to its present 8.56.

So when you put it all together, nothing Verlander is doing is helping his owners.  This all could have been prevented if you trusted my analysis but some don't listen.  I don't think things will get much better (although they really can't get worse) and so Verlander is already stamping himself as a prime bust for 2017.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Trea Turner:  0/3 while hitting .237.  Now we have to hope for 10 homers and 25 steals.  And a ,280 average.  Yikes what an overreach.  Carlos Correa and Yasiel Puig are nodding in understanding.  And so does this guy......

Anthony Rendon:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .283.  Four homers in three games now for Rendon.  It took a long while but Rendon is almost all the way back in terms of his previously enticing fantasy baseball name.  

Nelson Cruz:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .296.  Cruz is now fully one of those veterans who you keep drafting no matter how old until the wheels come off.  

Ariel Miranda:  5 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.22.  Said last week to pick up Miranda as your SP 5.  That is one win you would have had.  

Edwin Diaz:  scoreless ninth for his 8th save with an ERA of 4.19.  Tough to say Diaz gets his job back since no one closed a game since he was "replaced."  Be that as it may, the M's are doing whatever they can to try and make this work.  You get a do-over Diaz owners.  

Adam Frazier:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .361.  It was just 24 hours ago I said Frazier is now leading off everyday and is doing a quiet power/speed thing.  To think that Frazier is now looking like the most potent outfielder on the Pittsburgh Pirates this season.  He has to this point.  This game I swear.  

Matt Andriese:  8 IP 6 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.24.  Tampa Bay pitcher (no matter who it is)=yes pick him up.  

Trevor Story:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .188.  Just pathetic.

Tommy Joseph:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .255.  At this point I would rather own Joseph over Story.  No one would have said that in March.

Vince Velasquez:  5 IP 8 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.55.  More of the same.  It is obvious the electric stuff Velasquez has but my goodness he puts a ton of guys on base due to unrefined secondary offerings.

Kris Bryant:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .292.  While I pine to own Mike Trout more than anyone, Bryant is a close second.

Jason Heyward:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .256.  Things have been so bad lately with Heyward that 15 home runs and a .260 average would be a blockbuster output for him.

Ben Zobrist:  3/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .266.  When you bat leadoff, you automatically have fantasy baseball value how old you are or how much your bat has slowed.

Jeff Samardzjia:  7 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.50.  Said to buy low on Samardzjia as his K/9 is at a career-best level and his advanced metrics all point to him being a low-to-mid-3.00 ERA guy.  I can't do it for you.

Lucas Duda:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .244.  Guys like Duda are a dime a dozen and if you are serious about winning your fantasy baseball leagues, you have him only as a backup in mixers.

Dinelson Lamet:  5 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.80.  I said to pick up Lamet soon after it was announced the San Diego Padres would promote him.  Now this is not a slam dunk any means as Lamet is Zack Wheeler with a better K rate.  In other words, Lamet has terrible pitch efficiency and control but his fastball is powerful.  Also like Wheeler, Lamet has one awesome pitch (fastball) and shaky everything else.  Stream for now.

Elvis Andrus:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .270.  Who knew that in the Texas infield, Andrus would be by far the most valuable offensive performer.  Yeah that was a dig directed toward one Mr. Odor.

Xander Bogaerts:  2/4 with his first HR and 8th SB while hitting .335.  Bogaerts is finally on the home run board and it took nearly two months to do so.  In the meantime though, he is in the running for the batting title and is running at a career-best clip.  So the home run is icing on the fantasy baseball cake.

Drew Pomeranz:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 4.70.  I think Pomeranz is going to keep teasing like this all season....in between DL stints of course.  If he were in the NL I would be much more liberal with Pomeranz but the AL East and rampant inconsistency in the DH league make me leery outside of streaming him on the road.

Craig Kimbrel:  scoreless ninth with 4 K's with an ERA of 0.87.  The Billy Wagner Special.  Man Kimbrel has been tremendous in bringing back memories of his Atlanta Braves days.

Chris Owings:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .320.  The BABIP is an unsustainable .384 and Owings' K/9 rate is UP this season at an elevated 21.8 (from 18,7 last season).  In other words, he will be aiming at .275 by July but I would still hold him as I am totally respectful of the power/speed game.

Eric Thames:  0/4 while hitting .294.  Thames is slumping again.  K/9 is now up to 22.9 and rising.

Robbie Ray:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.45.  So this is what it could look like it Ray could keep the walks completely at bay.  I think my knees are about to give out.

J.D. Martinez:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .378.  Martinez clearly seems intent on powering a full season of numbers in five months.

Justin Upton:  3/5 with his 9th HR and 4th SB while hitting .242.  Really in terms of Upton, he needs to swipe 10-15 bags to keep his value as high as it can be given his massive streaky nature.

Carlos Correa:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .288.  Not sure if there is another ceiling level for Correa but even if there is not, he is a top tier fantasy baseball shortstop at present ability.

George Springer:  0/4 while hitting .231.  Told you this guy is insanely overrated.

Justin Verlander:  5.2 IP 9 H 6 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.87.  Yeah not surprised by any of this as I was on record going back to January both in the Draft Guide and on here that Verlander was set to shizz all over your teams.  Yuppers.

Tommy Pham:  2/3 while hitting .309.  Still hitting.  Keep playing him in your lineup.

Kenta Maeda:  5 IP 7 H 3 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 5.08.  Oh man all the good karma Maeda had going prior to the injury has vanished.

Michael Wacha:  4 IP 7 H 6 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.66.  Whether it is shoulder trouble or Wacha's tendency to pitch terribly the longer the season goes, now is the time to get the heck out from under this potential bomb.




Thursday, May 25, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING NEWS: JACOB DeGROM PUSHED TO FRIDAY DUE TO RAIN THREAT

The struggling New York Mets didn't want to potentially waste a start from ace Jacob DeGrom with rain in the forecast Thursday evening and so as a result, the righty has been pushed back to Friday instead,  Rafael Montero will make a spot start in place of DeGrom but he has zero fantasy baseball value.  As an added bonus, the extra day of rest can further help alleviate the blister DeGrom has been battling.


FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: EDWIN DIAZ BACK IN THE NINTH INNINGI

It is like he never left.  Such is the situation involving re-installed Seattle Mariners closer Edwin Diaz who after being removed from the gig last week after a four-walk meltdown, nailed down his 8th save of the year on Thursday.  Giving up just one hit in the scoreless frame, Diaz put his demotion behind him in the best way possible in earning the handshake at the end.  Of course prior to this, Diaz was a closing mess as he battled walks and a sky-high home run rate.  Still the Mariners want to make this work with the fireballer and his plus 11.00 K/9 is tailor-made for the gig.  So anyone holding stock in James Paxos is surely disappointed as he never really had a shot to take the job but those who held Diaz get a second chance.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: AARON HICKS OUTFIELDER NEW YORK YANKEES

One player's misfortune is another player's opportunity.  Nowhere was this more true on Wednesday when on the first pitch of the game between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals, the immediate fates of outfielders Aaron Hicks and Jacoby Ellsbury would be impacted.  Ellsbury of course crashed face first while making an acrobatic catch off that first Luis Severino pitch and the result was that he suffered both a concussion and a neck sprain that will require a DL stint beginning Thursday.  The loss of Ellsbury in turn opened up a clear daily starting spot for Hicks who had earned more than a bit of plaudits for his big offensive start to the season.  So with that said, let's dig in a bit more on Hicks as he continues along on what is shaping up as a true breakout campaign.

When it comes to Hicks, the post-hype sleeper tag applies here as the former 2008 first-round pick took quite a bit of time and two organizations to find his offensive groove.  It was the Minnesota Twins who originally drafted Hicks and it was the Twins who gave up on him during the winter of 2016 in trading him to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy.  The Twins lost patience with the string of nasty batting averages and utter lack of power from Hicks who seemed like more an athlete than a major league hitter.  Enter in Yanks GM Brian Cashman who bought very low on Hicks and who now is earning praise for his foresight.

Still just 27-years-old, Hicks goes into Thursday's games with the following numbers:

.291
8 HR
24 R
20 RBI
6 SB

All of those swell numbers came in fourth outfielder duty for Hicks and so it led many to wonder what he could accomplish with starter plate appearances.  What has really been the impetus for Hicks' big 2017 so far is his major uptick in walks for one.  Hicks currently spots a massive 18.5 BB/9 rate which has helped him put up a monster .426 OBP.  On top of this, Hicks has lowered his K/9 rate from 2016's mark of 18.8 to this year's incredibly solid 16.9.  A .297 BABIP is very much in the neutral zone and so Hicks is totally legit in everything that he is doing.  This is a guy who has 20/20 ability with the requisite amount of at-bats and that seems like it will be happening now with the always slow to heal Ellsbury out of commission.  So if Hicks is still somehow still available in your league, do yourself a favor and bring him aboard quickly.  The numbers don't lie.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JOSE BERRIOS SP MINNESOTA TWINS

When you make three starts and win all of them, life in fantasy baseball is good for such a pitcher.  That is the current record being carried around by top Minnesota Twins pitching prospect Jose Berrios who already is putting a very ugly 2016 debut in the rearview mirror with his pinpoint power offerings.  Along with the sparkling 3-0 record, Berrios has also recorded a 1.66 ERA and is striking out guys at a high 9.14 K/9 rate.  The former 2012 first-round pick looks like a keeper by the looks of it and again he is erasing the bad memories that came from last season.

About that 2016.  Berrios quickly showed last season he was not ready to face major league lineups as he got absolutely lit up to the tune of a 8.02 ERA as pretty much everything went wrong.  For starter's, Berrios had zero control as evidenced by his ungodly 5.40 BB/9 and he allowed home runs by the bunches as shown by his 1.85 HR/9.  This season?  Try 1.66 and 1.25 respectively.  The former number is excellent but the latter is still too high as we saw in his outing Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles when Berrios surrendered three solo shots.  Be that as it may, Berrios is racking up the strikeouts and not beating himself this season with walks.  Keep in mind though that a .105 BABIP is insanely lucky and when adjusted, the ERA story changes here with Berrios FIP of 3.77 and XFIP of 4.03 bears out.  Now we are not saying Berrios will pitch to those latter numbers but a 3.25 ERA seems much more plausible than anything he is doing now.

Right now if you are a Berrios owner, I would try to capitalize on the big start and sell high.  Fatigue will be a factor in the late summer as it would be for any young starter and the home runs will further inflate the ERA as we move on through the season.  I like the arm for sure but Berrios is doing his best stuff now and will likely see a sharp drop in value as we go into the summer.


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Chris Davis:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .239.  Davis will be at .229 by next week.

Johnathan Schoop:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .269.  Schoop is one of those boring non-speed guys who get a short leash by the fantasy baseball community.  He was quiet for awhile which is why Schoop ended up on so many waiver wires but this is a decent home run hitter at a shallow position who at least should be on a bench.

Jose Berrios:  6.1 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.66.  Boy did Berrios skate by here as he gave up three solo home runs.  Another runner or two on and this outing would have looked a whole lot different.  Be that as it may, three wins in three tries and a fully reclaimed status as a top power pitching prospect has been a tidy development.  

Domingo Santana:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .268.  I really like what Santana has been doing with is six homers and 4 steals but the average is headed downward soon due to a lucky .348 BABIP.  In his favor though, Santana has cut his K/9 rate from 32.4 a year ago to this season's 26.6.  

Kevin Pillar:  1/5 with his seventh HR while hitting .303.  When he is not acting like a fool, Pillar can really hit and run.  Everything looks good here as Pillar is drawing walks (7.1 BB/9) and not striking out at all (13.2 K/9).  With just slight .329 BABIP, Pillar is absolutely legit.

Devon Travis:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .238.  Man Travis has been such a tease the last two seasons that it is tough to get pumped about this just yet.  

Jose Bautista:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .241.  Bautista has been hot of late and as typical of these kind of players, keep him entrenched in the lineup until the K's pile up again.  That is where we are at with the veteran.  

Keon Broxton:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .271.  Looking forward to seeing where his numbers end up by the end of the season.  Thinking .265/14 HR/30 SB.  

Jose Abreu:  4/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .291.  So I said back in April Abreu would be hitting .290 with power like he always does.  Yup.  Patience as always is needed.  

Jake Lamb:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .287.  Lamb has been beating the BABIP curve all season so maybe he can dodge this for a bit more.  It won't last totally but Lamb at the very least is firmly cementing his status as one of the very best power hitters in baseball.  

Fernando Rodney:  scoreless ninth for his 12th save with an ERA of 7.13.  I have to admit that Rodney has been money of late.  This guy is the envy of cats everywhere for as many lives as he has.  
Jose Quintana:  8 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.82.  Quintana's BABIP has been in the unlucky territory all season and so that is partly to blame here.  However Quintana is not helping himself either with the homers.  

Khris Davis:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .220.  Well April was nice.  May not so much.

Sonny Gray:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.34.  Wow.  So Gray is clearly not done yet and full health has him rejuvenated.  There is no trade market for Gray so those who drafted him very late this spring need to see how long he can do this.  I am optimistic.  

Adam Duvall:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .264.  Duvall is now like old news with Scott Schebler doing his thing but the former is not doing too shabby himself.

Carlos Santana:  3/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .230.  Maybe shifting Santana into the outfield for a few games snapped him back to attention.  Listen by now you should know the ends justify the means when it comes to owning Santana.  A rampant hot and cold player, you need to have the patience to see through the struggles so you can be there when the homers begin to fly out.

Carlos Gonzalez:  3/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .252.  It seems like CarGo crested the second half of 2015 and has been fighting uphill since.  By now his owners have had him plastered to the bench but now could be the time to dust him off.  The big threat though is a second half trade that would send Gonzalez away from Coors Field.

Jeremy Hellickson:  7 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.28.  Brutal start no doubt and it is outings like this that get a borderline guy like Hellickson sent off your roster before the next sunrise.

Didi Gregorious:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .330.  Man Gregorious has done nothing but hit going back to last season.  He truly has reached another level since coming to the New York Yankees.  20 home runs would have been likely if not for the DL stint but still Gregorious is fully validaing 2016.

Luis Severino:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.11.  I don't want to read anymore "should I drop Severino" questions ever again.  Like ever.

Anthony Rendon:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .277.  Three home runs in two games now for Rendon.  2014 is becoming a distant memory now but Rendon still has changed as a player in terms of not running much at all and the average not as potent as his minor league or early major league tenure.

Tanner Roark:  7 IP 8 H 1 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.32.  Good bounce back for Roark who went through some struggles for a bit.  I am a fan and actually an convert of his since the K's began to show up.  Stick with him as Roark will be a nice SP 4 the rest of the season.

Albert Pujols:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .244.  I think the end is going to be very ugly for this guy.

Steven Souza:  2/3 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .255.  Visions of Souza's big April after taking May almost completely off.  By now Souza is back to his mediocre average ways to go with decent power/speed.  In other words, no breakout.

Brad Hand:  scoreless ninth for first save with an ERA of 1.73.  Bam!  Told you guys to pick up Hand a week ago in predicting the demotion of Brandon Maurer.  In Padres fashion, it took that long for a save chance to confirm this but Hand is now the fully deserving guy.  What I really loved here is that Hand loaded the bases with no outs and then picked up two strikeouts and a fly out to end it.  That my friends is a closer who is mentally ready for the gig.

Mike Napoli:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .198.  Napoli has like 16492645 home runs over the last 10 days and they represent almost the same amount of total hits in that span also.

Chris Sale:  7.1 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.34.  No double digit K's?  Come on you bum.

Adam Frazier:  2/2 with his second HR while hitting .370.  Leadoff spot and hitting =pick him up.

Anthony Rizzo:
 3/3 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .238.  Hope you bought low when I said to do so.  Group Rizzo in with Manny Machado as first round monsters whose unlucky BABIP's are making it seem like they are struggling.

Alex Bregman:  3/4 with his third HR and fourth SB while hitting .261.  Bregman doesn't do good starts and so the outlook the rest of the way seems rosy given that he is hitting for power now.  He was too talented to stay down for long anyway.

Mike Leake:  8 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.91.  A .236 BABIP is fueling things for Leake who looks like he is aiming for a Cy Young.  Like I always say with players like this, the boring veteran label tag applies so there is not going to be fair value given back in any trade.  Ride it out.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CODY BELLINGER 1B/OF LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Well that has gone swimmingly.  Now 26 games and 110 at-bats into his rookie debut, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger has been nothing short of an instant hit.  Going into Wednesday's games, Bellinger was carrying around the following numbers:

.280
9 HR
24 RBI
22 R
1 SB

Those numbers built on the 5 home runs and 7 stolen bases with a .343 average Bellinger had at Triple-A prior to his promotion and since that time, the team's top hitting prospect has shown nothing but star ability.  Still just 21, Bellinger is positioning himself to be the next great five-tool category producer and there is no way the Dodgers can even think of sending him back to the farm no matter when Justin Turner/Adrian Gonzalez return.

Now as far as the numbers are concerned, the one blaring issue with Bellinger even in the minor leagues has been a massive strikeout problem.  While he did hit .343 at Triple-A, Bellinger posted an unsightly 28.6 K/9 rate that needed insane .450 BABIP luck to keep the average afloat.  Be that as it may, Bellinger was already a power/speed dynamo and given those skills, any immediate average hit would be muted somewhat.  Well since coming to the majors, Bellinger has struck out at an even worse 30.0 K/9 rate and his .280 average has been on a steady decline since his debut.  A .328 BABIP is still in lucky territory but not out of this world which is why his average has dipped since he was in the minors.  Still Bellinger is hitting the baseball hard and it is only a matter of time before he begins running.  Think Grady Sizemore here as a comparison, with the former Indians outfielder having his own massive power/speed ability but also some strikeout woes.

Ultimately Cody Bellinger already is shaping up as a huge value play to those who got his hands on his a few weeks ago and his future is very bright.  Also count on Bellinger making progress with his strikeouts as he continues to mature and so five tool production is surely a strong possibility.  This will be a fun ride to say the least.



2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: DINELSON LAMET SP SAN DIEGO PADRES

It was a busy day for prospect promotions as not only did the Boston Red Sox bring up first baseman Sam Travis but the San Diego Padres added top arm Dinelson Lamet to make his first major league start Thursday against the New York Mets.  Right off the bat Lamet is very interesting given the cushy home ballpark and decent initial matchup against a Mets team that is not swinging the bats well outside of Michael Conforto.  Lamer also brings with him some very potent strikeout stuff as evidenced by the 24-year-olds 11.54 K/9 rate at Triple-A which is a very eye-opening number for a starter.  Lamet also has registered a solid 3.23 ERA as well which means now is the time to try him out while the going is good.

Again the strikeouts are the name of the game here as Lamet also put up 10.97 and 11.02 K/9 rates at Triple-A and Double-A last season but the one big problem he has is with walks.  Like with most young hurlers who throw hard, Lamet gives up too many free passes as his nasty 4.62 BB/9 rate shows this season.  Be that as it may, the K's and home ballpark make Lamet a nice pickup in most fantasy baseball leagues and he could easily stick if he starts out strongly.  


2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Charlie Blackmon:  2/4 with 2 home runs (11 for season) while hitting .325.  Since he doesn 't run anymore, ideally now you would want Blackmon in the middle of the Rockie lineup to pick up some more RBI.  Be that as it may, the guy is amazing in that he seems to add new tricks each and every season.

Gerardo Parra:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .263.  This is Parra telling David Dahl he is not giving up his spot without a fight.

German Marquez:  6 IP 7 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Another piece of evidence that the end is near centers on the fact that you were probably best left off drafting all Colorado Rockies starting pitchers back in March.  If you had done so, you would be near the top of your league in ERA/WHIP.  (Commence opening dryer door and trying to figure out how to turn it on with you inside.)

Jorge Bonifacio:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .267.  Fourth home run in last five games fr Bonifacio who yes should be owned everywhere.  Just keep in mind this is not some huge breakout happening here.  Instead Bonifacio is your typical high-K slugger who is hot.

Whit Merrifield:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .257.  Merrifield has been trying to get our attention for the last two weeks or so and he has it now.  The guy can run some and hit a few home runs at a shallow position.  Sign me up for a trial run.

Lorenzo Cain:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .266.  Very little power from Cain this season and to this point he has been just helping in steals and runs.  He has been signed an cut about 6 times in the Experts League already as well which speaks out to his fantasy baseball standing.

Aaron Hicks:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .293.  Hicks is killing it this year and remember he was a former first round pick by the Minnesota Twins who took awhile to find his major league footing.  He has that footing now but is stuck in an outfield rotation that has him a part-time player.  Like with Michael Conforto with the Mets (and we all see how that is turning out), Hicks has to start playing on a daily basis given how well he is hitting.  Sorry Jacoby.

Danny Duffy:  7 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.92.  Second straight good strikeout game for Duffy who was very slow out of the gate on that front.  Good times seem to be ahead and through the K barren desert in April, he still kept the ERA down.  That shows you a guy who knows how to pitch.

Brian Dozier:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .247.  So yeah I said over the winter that Dozier had the double-whammy of coming off a career-year which is a major no-no in terms of investing and he also was in major outlier territory with the home runs which led me to believe he was going to slide back there.  Right on both fronts.

Ervin Santana:  9 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.80.  How about the AL trotting out Santana first and Jason Vargas second during the All-Star Game?  This is getting beyond insane now with Santana and sorry but it needs to be pointed out he was a PED guy in the recent past.  If you don't think that is how he is doing this, how about the ridiculous .136 BABIP.  .136!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That simply does not happen since the mean is .300.  Also how about a under-mean 6.43 K/9 which sucks?   Of the fact that despite the glowing ERA, Santana is walking guys at a high 3.47 BB/9 rate?  Quite possibly the biggest fluke ever.

Dylan Bundy:  7 IP 6 H 2 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.92.  Bundy is another fluke guy with underwhelming K numbers and a very lucky BABIP but if he can up the strikeouts like he did in this one, the erosion may not be as steep.

Kyle Schwarber:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .186.  Schwarber out of the leadoff spot in this one and is firmly showing himself to be all-or-nothing which is not what you expected when you overpaid at the draft table like I told you not to do.  Also if Schwarber had no "C" attached to his name, be very well would be waiver trash.

Jason Heyward:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .257.  The bar has been set so low now for Heyward that his season so far can be considered progress.

Anthony Rizzo:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .224.  If you haven't bought low yet, you are not paying attention.

Johnny Cueto:  6 IP 5 H 4 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.64.  So now we find out that Cueto has been battling multiple blisters which is no doubt to blame for the bloated ERA considering he should be dominating in the NL and in that park.  This puts the breaks on a buy low because blisters continue to wreak havoc in any given start once they show themselves.

Jon Lester:  9 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.19.  Lester always gets stronger as the season goes along so no shock here.

Anthony Rendon:  3/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .278.  Almost all of Rendon's homers have come in like 3 games.

Bryce Harper:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .346.  A .371 BABIP has to be answered for and zero steals is a bummer but overall Harper has been the monster stud we all expected despite the so-so 2016.

Jayson Werth:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .286.  I personally always root for Werth because he got unfairly beat on due to the contract the Nats gave him almost 7 years ago.  He has produced throughout and is going out strong there.

Joe Ross:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.32.  Injuries have really derailed the progress of Ross the last two years but the talent is obvious.  The wins will be there at the very least so Ross should be added.

Christian Bergman:  10 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 6.30.  Shame on your trying Bergman out against the Nats.  Unless you have an ace, avoid the Nats lineup at all costs.

Francisco Lindor:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .274.  The K/9 rate is up here which is why the average has slipped a bit and that could be Lindor falling a bit in love with the long ball.

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .215.  Yes it is still May and so Encarnacion has another week to fully get his season on track like he always does this month.  Re-evaluate him in mid-June.

Yan Gomes:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .255.  Gomes has been hitting well of late and this is all it takes for a catcher to gain immediate value.  Sad.

Eugenio Suarez:  1/1 with his 10th HR while hitting .302.  Pinch-hit HR.  So for those who forgot to edit their lineup, all's well that ends well.

Carlos Carrasco:  6.1 IP 5 H 4 ER 4 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.93.  I watched this game and Carrasco didn't look healthy.  His stuff lacked bite and so the hits/walks piled up.  I am not liking the immediate outlook.

Cameron Maybin:  1/5 with his 3rd HR while hitting .243.  Maybin has been red hot of late and he is leading off for the Angels which carries value in and of itself.  He has never reached his ceiling as a former top prospect but Maybin can swat 10 home runs or so, steal 20 bags, and bat .270.  That works as your OF 3.

Mike Trout:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .342.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Matt Shoemaker:  6.1 IP 3 H 0 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.97.  For like the 100th time, Shoemaker is making himself interesting again.  This always plays out badly though so be careful.

Michael Conforto:  3/4 with 2 home runs (13 for season) while hitting .333.  If this keeps up, Conforto will be challenging Yoenis for the nod as the top non-steals outfielder in fantasy baseball for 2018.

Ryan Schimpf:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .169.  Adam Dunn is a fan.

Matt Harvey:  5 IP 3 H 2 ER 4 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.36.  Over 100 pitches to get through 5 and Harvey walked Craig Stammen to lead off the third with a 7-2 lead.  Not happening.

Yasmani Grandal:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .298.  K/9 rate is down to 20.4 after being 25.4 last season.  Maybe Grandal is tapping into the average skills from his minor league days.  Combine that with the huge power and Grandal could be set to challenge for the number 3 spot among all catchers behind Posey and Perez.

Clayton Kershaw:  9 IP 3 H 1 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.10.  Insane.

Joey Gallo:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .193.  If not for the initial prospect hype, Gallo would be almost completely ignored outside of AL-only formats.  Funny how this works.

Ender Inciarte:  3/4 while hitting .289.  Go ahead and pick up Inciarte for the third time this season.  8-for-his-last-9.

Matt Adams:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .311.  Opportunity is everything.  Especially moving into suddenly one of the best home run parks in the majors.

Tony Watson:  second blown save with 2 ER in .2 IP with an ERA of 3.54.  Things are coming a bit unglued here as Watson now enters into the circle of closing concern.  Was not enamored of him from the jump but a terrific April quieted doubts.  No longer.

Kendrys Morales:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .244.  I dropped Morales weeks ago and he is still sitting on the wire in the Experts League.

Jonathan Villar:  1/4 with 3 steals (12 for season) while hitting .220.  Maybe Villar is starting to realize he has to run like mad to even come into the same hemisphere in terms of what his foolish owners paid for him this past March.

Lance McCullers:  5 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.43.  I like how the Astros are managing McCullers' innings so he can not be on fumes in September.  When on the mound though, few have been better.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: SAM TRAVIS 1B BOSTON RED SOX

After a big slump to begin the season, Boston Red Sox 1B Mitch Moreland reeled off three straight games with a home run as May began to turn for home; with the idea that he was now fully comfortable in his new locale after coming over to the East Coast this past winter from Texas.  That is what makes the Red Sox' decision to promote top first base prospect Sam Travis on Tuesday all the more shocking.  Coming into his promotion. the team's former 2014 second-round pick was batting .286 with 4 home runs and 2 stolen bases in 139 at-bats,  Not earth-shattering numbers by any means but Travis has been lauded as a hitter who is advanced beyond his years; highlighted by his ability to draw walks and limit K's.  Moreland is still around however and so at least initially, Travis is likely to only play versus lefties.  That puts a cap on any immediate fantasy baseball upside value for Travis and it honestly makes him more of a story in deeper leagues or AL-only setups.  While Travis has a nice outlook, he is not considered a major thumper and really is more of a potential story for 2018.  

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: MASAHIRO TANAKA SP NEW YORK YANKEES

When you have given up 7 home runs in your last 7 innings pitched, Houston we have a very big problem.  That is exactly the amount of long balls New York Yankees "ace" Masahiro Tanaka has given up in his last two outings and needless to say, he has arguably been one of the biggest pitching busts of the season.  Of course yours truly once again told you to avoid drafting Tanaka this season, with his ADP putting him in SP 2 territory.  Ever since a partial tear in his UCL was discovered, Tanaka has been a ticking time bomb where one pitch could send him right to Tommy John surgery.  While there has been zero talk about Tanaka being hurt, the fact of the matter is that he is more hittable than ever before as he sits with a ghastly 6.56 ERA and an unfathomable 2.44 HR/9 rate.  Also it stands to reason that maybe the tear has grown and that Tanaka's stuff has lost some more pop like it first did when the tear was discovered.

At first glance, the obvious issue are the home runs and this has been a problem for Tanaka going back to his rookie year.  Already Tanaka has given up 13 home runs in just 48 innings pitched and thus every single start is now at risk for blowing up due to a few misplaced pitches,.  Again going back to when the tear in his UCL was first discovered, Tanaka has given up 25 and 22 home runs in the two complete seasons since and he is on pace to approach 30 in 2017.  That simply won't work for any pitcher in fantasy baseball and that is especially true for those who had such a lofty draft price.

In addition to the home runs, Tanaka continues to leak strikeouts as his K/9 has gone from an ace-like 9.31 as a rookie, down to 8.12 in 2015, and further down to 7.44 a year ago.  This season?  Try 7.31 as Tanaka is clearly on a downward trend.  Combined with the home runs and Tanaka is a major liability in all fantasy baseball leagues and if not for his name brand, likely would have been rotting on the waiver wire.

When you put it all together, Masahiro Tanaka has to be benched in all leagues for those who are still holding onto him.  I have zero shares in Tanaka and have not owned him since he was a rookie and this is what I was afraid of.  It doesn't look like it will end well either so feel free to cut him loose if need be.