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Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: ALEX REYES RIGHT BACK TO THE DL WITH A LAT STRAIN

So Alex Reyes was hurt after all.  After there was speculation regarding why St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Alex Reyes was removed from his first 2018 start after four shutout innings on Wednesday, we now know that it was a lat strain that sent him to the showers early and thus, required another DL stint Thursday.  After missing all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery, there was much anticipation about Reyes' arrival this season after he struck out almost every batter he faced during his recent minor league rehab assignment.  Those thoughts will have to go on the backburner now that Reyes is out again and lat strain tends to linger like obliques.  That means Reyes is unlikely to return when the initial 10 days are through and a late June return would seem much more likely.  Despite this, bite the bullet and stash Reyes again if possible given the talent. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: RHYS HOSKINS SUFFERED FRACTURED JAW, OUT INDEFINITELY

The CT scan results that were taken on the jaw of Philadelphia Phillies slugging outfielder Rhys Hoskins came in Wednesday and the results were not good as a fracture was found due to the foul ball that hit him in the face Monday night.  As a result of the fracture, Hoskins was placed on the 10-day DL Thursday and prospect Dylan Cozens was called up to take his place on the active roster.  As far as Hoskins is concerned, the fracture is another low point in what has been a terrible May and an overall sophomore slump of a season.  He goes into the DL stint with just a .233 average, 6 home runs, and a sky-high 28.2 K/9 rate.  Strikeouts have been the big problem for Hoskins this season as opposing pitchers had a whole offseason to go to town on his weaknesses and despite drawing a ton of walks, the average has taken a major hit.  Add in the drastically reduced home run rate as pitchers refuse to give Hoskins anything good to drive and we have a disaster of a season in the making coupled with the DL stint.  Obviously given the cost and remaining upside, you want to stash Hoskins but he could be out until late June given the fracture. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: KYLE BARRACLOUGH LIKELY TAKING OVER MIAMI CLOSER ROLE

In an obvious development that should have taken place weeks ago, Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly hinted on Wednesday that hard-throwing setup man Kyle Barraclough will likely take over the team's closer role beginning with that day's game.  Having endured Brad Ziegler pitch brutally all season to this point in login a laughable 7.83 ERA, Mattingly really had no choice but to go with the much more potent Barraclough who has a sparkling 1.48 ERA and 27 K's in 24.1 IP.  By now Barraclough should have been owned in most competitive fantasy baseball leagues given the inevitability of Ziegler being removed from he role but it can't hurt to take a look just in case.  While there won't be many save chances on the miserable Marlins, Barraclough has the talent to be a decent closer.  

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: ROBERT GSELLMAN MAKING A MOVE ON JEURYS FAMILIA?

The incoming tweets began flying in seconds after New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia began trotting out for the EIGHTH inning and not the ninth during the team's victory over the Atlanta Braves.  While Familia got the job done by tossing a scoreless frame (although he gave up two hits), it was Robert Gsellman who came on to get the three outs for his second save in a scoreless ninth.  As a result, the fantasy baseball community got into a quick tizzy regarding whether or not a changing of the guard was taking place at the Mets closer position and Gsellman quickly became a big add.  With all that said, some clarity needs to be given here which is what we are here to offer.  First of all, right after the game Mets manager Mickey Callaway said that they only reason he used Familia in the eighth was due to the fact that the heart of the Braves order was due up and that it had nothing to do with a demotion.  While unconventional, the Mets were at "rock bottom" which was a direct quote by Callaway prior to the game and that getting a win was incredibly crucial given all the negative vibes surrounding the team of late.  Thus, Callaway did whatever he had to do to secure the win and that involved using Familia in the eighth.  Leading into the game, Familia had thrown scoreless outings in five of his previous six appearance but the one negative was that two-earned run blown save last week.  Be that as it may, Familia's numbers trump Gsellman no matter where you look and so making a change would not make statistical sense.  So while there are those who may think Gsellman is the guy, this is simply not the case.  Now things could very well change in the future if Familia begins to have more consistent difficulties but for now, nothing needs to be done here in terms of actionable adds.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Jose Ramirez:  2/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .300.  Next stop:  the same power with a .315 average.

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .235.  "Damn tomorrow is the last day of May" says all Encarnacion owners.

Reynaldo Lopez:  7 ER in 2.2 IP with an ERA of 3.80.  I said to be very careful with Lopez given the lucky BABIP he toted around and also due to his mediocre K/9 while operating in the AL.  Those are always two recipes for fantasy baseball disasters.

Corey Kluber:  9 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.02.  I think I saw Kluber yawn throughout this start as he toyed with the brutal White Sox lineup.

Teoscar Hernandez:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .247.  From the very beginning I talked about the impressive power but also noted that Hernandez propensity to be an average killer.  It took a bit longer than I thought but we are there now which puts Hernandez now more into backup territory.

J.D. Martinez:  1/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .322.  13 home runs now in the month for Martinez as previous May maven Edwin Encarnacion nods in approval.

Eduardo Nunez:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .249.  Nunez is pretty useless with Dustin Pedroia returning and even if he were to be considered owner-worthy, the average hit for someone who was a yearly help in that category makes him tough to keep around.

Christian Yelich:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .307.  Still plenty of time for Yelich to have that superstar OF 1 season we all paid for.

Alex Reyes:  4 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 2 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Strange outing as Reyes saw his velocity dip from the first inning onward which led to an early removal.  Apparently there were no injuries round and so we will get an encore.  The strikeout upside is immense and I would throw Reyes right back out there.

Junior Guerra:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.65.  None of this makes sense, I have no answers, and I still wouldn't own Guerra despite how good the numbers look.

Patrick Corbin:  6 ER in 6 IP with 10 K and ERA of 2.99. One of those mixed bag games with lots of runs and K. Has not been smooth of late for Corbin who continues to leak velocity and now is giving up home runs which is always related.

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting. 209. Now two full months into a garbage season so far, Goldy's struggles become more believable by the day.

Max Stassi:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .303.  On a team with three catcher-eligible players, this guy has been the best of the lot. 

Luis Severino:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.31.  Still not sure what the hell 2016 was all about but Severino is locked in now as a top-five starter in all of fantasy baseball. 

Bryce Harper:  1/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .238.  While the contract push has not been as potent as what we have seen out of Manny Machado, Harper's power has been insane just the same. 

Max Scherzer:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 12 K with an ERA of 1.92.  This guy has more consistently awesome outings like this more than anyone else in all of fantasy baseball.  Just incredible stuff from the top pitcher in the game. 

Josh Harrison:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .286.  Somehow Harrison become boring as heck to own but the numbers are still quite good in a sort of low-end starter kind of way. 

Joe Musgrove:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 4 BB 5 K with an ERA of 0.64.  Yeah that ERA will work just fine on your team. 

Shohei Ohtani:  5 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.18.  One of the real treats in baseball this season is watching how the movement on Ohtani's pitches defy conventional science.  If you are an Ohtani pitcher owner, you almost wish he would drop the hitting aspect of things so he can instead pitch every five days and get more aggregate statistics.

Brian Dozier:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .237.  Like I said when it happened, Dozier's massive power outburst a few seasons ago belongs in the outlier bin and he should be graded as more of a 25-30 home run guy instead.  At this rate though in what has been a tough season so far, Dozier may not even get there.  Add in the average dropping back to his ugly early days and Dozier is creating a lot of angst for his fantasy baseball owners.

Jorge Soler:  4/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .278.  Interesting how Soler's 8 home runs are much more impressive than Dozier's considering the history of both. 

Mike Moustakas:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .280.  This the guy the New York Mets should have signed last winter and not Todd Frazier. 

Fernando Romero:  8 ER in 1.2 IP with an ERA of 4.15. Mama always said there would be days like this when owning a rookie hurler. 

Nolan Arenado:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .319.  You get the feeling Arenado's owners will be let down if he doesn't reach 40 home runs, so high are the annual expectations here. 

Jon Gray:  4 ER in 3.1 IP with a 5.68 ERA.  Just pretend the guy is not even in major league baseball anymore. 

Nathan Eovaldi:  6 IP 0 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Please don't even ask me.  The answer is still a resounding "No"! 

Sean Manaea:  4 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.60. Getting closer to the 4.00 ERA I said Manaea should be at once luck evened out and this was right before the no-hitter.  Always have faith in the forecasts coming from here. 

Matt Kemp:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .345.  The power is down a bit bit now Kemp is challenging for the batting title.  Some guys just defy all sense of explanation. 

Ross Stripling:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.68.  Damn this guy has been really good and should be added everywhere despite my earlier reluctance.  I still think there is some unfamiliarity from opposing hitters with Stripling's stuff but there is no denying the K potential.  Let's see where it takes us. 

Clayton Richard:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.74.  Continue to just stream while he is operating at home. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ALEX REYES SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

So after striking out a million batters during a shutout minor league rehab assignment following missing the entire 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, all we got was a grand total of four innings and another apparent injury.  While Reyes threw four shutout frames, there is sizable concern regarding a noticeable dip in his velocity during the outings as the innings went along.  If Reyes ends up with another batch of elbow trouble just four innings into his comeback, that would be a tremendous blow to his previously stoked fantasy baseball owners who had visions of massive strikeouts and a top-shelf guy the rest of 2018.  Once again we are reminded that Reyes is a classic injury waiting to happen among pitchers who are young of age and throw as hard as he does.  Stay tuned.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: LUKE WEAVER SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

The sophomore jinx is a real thing as we have seen countless times in yearly fantasy baseball leagues and the narrative is almost always the same.  A buzzy hitter or pitcher comes roaring up from the minors to dominate the opposition to instantly thrust themselves into early-round consideration the following season as visions of even more potent numbers dance in the heads of their prospective owners.  This is exactly what has taken place in 2018 with St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Luke Weaver who opened a bunch of eyes in 2017 when the former 2014 first-round pick came up to log a solid 3.88 ERA and overpower hitters to the tune of a 10.74 K/9.  Combining potent velocity and a vast four-pitch arsenal with the first-round pedigree made it almost a lock Weaver would be a solid asset for 2018 fantasy baseball purposes but as we continue to see, opposing hitters always seem to have an adjusted answer the next time around.  The numbers overall have been pretty brutal at times this season and Weaver goes into Tuesday's action possessing statistics that look as follows:

3-5
4.63 ERA
1.29 WHIP
8.18 K/9
3.09 BB/9
0.93 HR/9
.295 BABIP

The first thing that gains notice is the massive drop in K's and this has happened despite Weaver showing an actual IMPROVEMENT with his average fastball velocity this season.  That tells you opposing hitters are making Weaver go deeper into counts in waiting for their pitch and being less aggressive.  This has resulted in a spike in walks and put more baserunners on that are coming around to score since Weaver is also giving up more hits per inning.  With a neutral .295 BABIP, Weaver's ERA and WHIP are almost completely legitimate and so he has been pretty miserable no matter how you slice it.  The question is whether Weaver can turn things around and on that front, there is optimism considering he is just 24 and has that 94-mph fastball under his belt.  If Weaver can cut the walks a bit, he could quickly go back to being an impact arm.  I would not suggest trying to buy low though because we are already almost into June and so young arms like Weaver's tend to get tired around mid-August given the fact they have not thrown long MLB seasons like they are now.  So even if you do acquire Weaver, you may only get 2.5 months of decent production but that is not even guaranteed considering his struggles this season.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Michael Brantley:  3/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .343.  Yeah there are a whole bunch of us in the fantasy baseball community who are thinking they should have looked more into this situation back in March.

Jose Ramirez:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .296.  All right Jose you made your point about how you power last season was legit. 

Jason Kipnis:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .197.  Amazing how this guy has become utter trash in the span of like two seasons. 

Mike Clevinger:  6.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.14  Talk about wanting to show 2017 was legit, Clevinger has blown well past that notion with his superb pitching. 

Asdrubal Cabrera:  2/5 with 2 home runs (10 for season) while hitting .315.  Cabrera is almost literally the only nice thing you can say about the New York Mets from a hitting perspective. 

Bryce Harper:  3/5 with his 17th HR while hitting .238.  The BABIP is somehow still at just .213 so again throw the average out and that is especially true when a guy has speed like Harper,  It will turn.

Mark Reynolds:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .417.  Ridiculous.

Manny Machado:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .326.  It is really something else when a player can hit over .315 with massive power which is what Machado has been this season. 

Evan Gattis:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .236.  Gattis should be universally owned again now that he is hitting home runs which is really all he has to offer the fantasy baseball community.  April and early May were a tough go but at least we are getting some signs of life.

Brett Gardner:  4/5 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .256.  This is Brett Gardner telling Gleyber Torres to stay the heck away from the top of the lineup. 

Aaron Judge:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .288.  Not even Charlie Morton can contain him.

Charlie Morton:  6 IP 8 H 3 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.26.  I will sound a bit of an alarm here in terms of Morton being prone to home runs and now the weather is really heating up in the south and across the country which will exacerbate the problem. 

Justin Smoak:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .249.  I won't write off Smoak's 2018 as a complete fantasy baseball bust if he gets to 25 home runs but he still will at least be a sizable letdown if the average continues to stay in pre-2017 levels.

Xander Bogaerts:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .283.  Boagerts is really reaching his power growth years and so I am on board believing the uptick this season is legit and no random fluke. 

Luis Valbuena:  3/5 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .234.  He will be on waivers where he belongs if you need him in a very deep league.

Ian Kinsler:  3/3 with his third HR while hitting .195.  While we have incorrectly written Kinsler off before, the cliff season seems to be here.

Jeimer Candelario:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .274.  Already said a bunch on this guy last week in a separate piece but if you don't want to scan down, the gist was to ride it out and enjoy the breakout which seems legit.

Michael Fulmer:  5 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 4.60. I wish you would all just trust me on this guy in putting 2016 completely out of your head and accepting he really is not that good. 

Matt Carpenter:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .223.  Carpenter is hot as a pistol in terms of power but he is selling out like never before to get those bombs as shown by the gross average.  Guys like this are a dime a dozen so ignore the name brand. 

Kyle Gibson:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.57.  Great start no doubt but law of averages will kick in here soon enough.  Just wait for it. 

Eugenio Suarez:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .294.  I think we can safely say Suarez is now a top 8-10 fantasy baseball third baseman despite the lack of name pop.

Zack Godley:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.38.  Still too many baserunners for Godley but the uptick in K's is possibly an indicator things are going to change for the better.

C.J. Cron:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .268.  Cron was in a bit of a slump leading into this one but the power has held steady throughout.  We just got to make sure he doesn't slide to Matt Carpenter territory with the average.

Wilson Ramos:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .308.  My favorite catcher has been one of the best fantasy baseball catchers for some time now whether thre majority in the community want to admit this or not.  Sorry but pairing a .300 average with power at the position is unheard of. 

Blake Snell:  5.2 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.56.  The massive breakout continues but that ticking you hear is the August fatigue clock counting down.  Selling high at any moment the way to go. 

Nelson Cruz:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .227.  Cruz has the rest of the season to show he has not reached his all-or-nothing phase of his career as we have now seen this season from Carpenter and Edwin Encarnacion. 


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL LINEUP WATCH: RHYS HOSKINS (MOUTH) OUT OF LINEUP TUESDAY

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins will be out of the lineup on Tuesday due to the mouth injury he suffered when he took a foul ball off the area in the team's Monday game. 

Analysis:  After a decent start to his season, Hoskins has been in a prolonged slump that has dropped his average down to a pathetic .229 as his strikeouts have spiked and opposing pitchers are being much more careful throwing to him this season.  I still like Hoskins' long-term outlook but it certainly looks like he is headed for a sophomore slump. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY WATCH: CARLOS MARTINEZ (LAT) TO MAKE REHAB START WED.

St. Louis Cardinals ace SP Carlos Martinez will make a rehab start on Wednesday as he makes more progress in his return from a lat injury that has kept him shelved for weeks.  Having pitched to a 1.62 ERA prior to the injury, Martinez has been sorely missed by his fantasy baseball owners given his ace status but the end of the DL stint seems to be in sight.

Analysis:  Martinez is a guy I am always leery of drafting given his checkered injury history and 2018 has gone according to script.  The allure of owning Martinez is shown by his excellent ratios and strikeout rates which are as good as ever.  In other words, it has been a standard Martinez season for better or for worse. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: MORE WOES FOR THE METS AND FANTASY BASEBALL OWNERS OF NOAH SYNDERGAARD

It never stops with the New York Mets doesn't it?  Injury upon injury once again is ruining a Mets season and it has spared no one as ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard was the latest victim as he hit the 10-day DL due to a strained ligament in one of his pitching fingers of all things.  While there is no official word on how long Thor will be out, any ligament injury usually is at least a two week deal and so his fantasy baseball owners are in a big bind.  While Syndergaard has not been as dominant this season as he was in 2016 when he became an overnight fantasy baseball ace, he still had a very good with a 3.06 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 76 K in 64.2 IP.  It is another reminder of how insane the injuries have been in 2018 fantasy baseball and Syndergaard was a guy we always put a disclaimer on in terms of drafting him each year due to his tendency to hit the DL.  This year looks to be no different but this is what Thor's owners signed up for when they took the chance investing in the guy. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: WALKER BUEHLER LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Given that it has taken Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer the better part of five years in the majors to fully harness his overpowering/ace-like repertoire, it makes what Los Angeles Dodgers rookie hurler Walker Buehler has accomplished in 2018 that much more impressive.  Just 41 innings into his rookie campaign as a member of the team's rotation, Buehler has been a godsend for the perpetually injured Dodgers rotation as he goes into his next start with just a 2.20 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and a sparkling 10.54 K/9.  Known for his massive strikeout potential, perhaps the most impressive part of Buehler's performance so far is the fact he is not giving up free passes which was always the biggest concern here as it is for most young power arms.  With just a tiny 1.98 BB/9 so far, Buehler has actually performed like a control maven and when you consider the impressive K/9 rate that was always going to be a part of the equation, it is making him an almost impossible chore for opposing hitters.  Also keeping the ball in the park (0.44 HR/9), Buehler looks here to stay as a high-end SP 2 talent right out of the gate who could be an ace as quickly as the start of 2019.  Now we still have to think that maybe some of the walks creep back into the picture as opposing hitters learn more about Buehler's tendencies and a .260 BABIP has certainly been on the lucky side in terms of ERA but overall, the kid is already an every-time-out starter who is heading to stardom already.  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Anthony Rendon:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .272.  When a younger player who is still in his early prime years gets off to a rough start to the season, the BUY LOW bells should be going off which is what Anthony Rendon was.  I screamed to the rafters to stay patient and trust in the talent and so the inevitable payoff is here.

Gio Gonzalez:  7.2 IP 6 H 0 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.10.  I admit I was a big Gio skeptic but he has shown an uptick in K/9 this season and his BABIP has been in the neutral mode almost all season so he is actually in fact legit.

Andrew Benintendi:  3/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .292.  Damn I am jealous of all Andrew Benintendi owners.

J.D. Martinez:  1/3 with his 17th HR while hitting .320.  The Triple Crown could actually be in play here.

Jose Altuve:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .329.  The hit streak was nice but we need to see a bit more of this if you spent the second pick overall on the guy.

Greg Bird:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .273.  Never a question of talent here but instead the comical health woes that Bird has dealt with.  We clearly can't ever depend on the guy but being smack dab in the middle of the awesome New York Yankee lineup is as sweet a spot as there is in all of fantasy baseball.

Justin Verlander:  6.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.11.  Even Ken Giles couldn't blow this gem.

Mike Trout:  1/5 with his 18th HR while hitting .303.  I finally own Trout this season for the first time in literally forever in the Experts League and now I can see why his previous owners always walked around with a smile.

Leonys Martin:  1/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .250.  I would absolutely pick Martin back up after coming back from the DL.  While the average is a bit rough right now, he has shown an uptick in power of late and the speed is still hanging on.  Lots of tools to work with as your OF 3.

Tyler Skaggs:  5 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.60.  There are just some guys I never want to own no matter how good their start to the season may be and Skaggs is one of them.

Anthony Rizzo:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .228.  You get the feeling by the end of the season Rizzo's average will be where it should be but as an owner of his, I have to say it has been a tough slog so far.

Mike Montgomery:  5.2 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.35.  I always thought Montgomery deserved a long look as a starter for the Chicago Cubs and I am intrigued again given what he did Monday. Keep an eye on him.

Matt Carpenter:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .221.  Bless Mike Matheney's heart because he stuck with Carpenter longer than anyone reasonably could and now he is getting results.  Add him back while the going is good.

Christian Yelich:  2/4 with his sixth HR and 2 SB (6 for season) while hitting .310.  This game alone pretty much encompasses why everyone tripped over themselves trying to get a piece of this in drafts this past spring.

Jonathan Villar:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .275. Everyone is valuable at the right price and Villar became that guy this spring given the drastically dipping ADP and this a year after his insanely high ADP made him a huge bust made good as I said he would be.  Wow that was a really long sentence.

Luke Weaver:  4 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 4.63.  It is just not happening this year it seems.

Marco Gonzales:  6.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.60.  Like in San Diego with Petco Park, feel free to stream Seattle starters at home.

Devin Mesoraco:  2/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .241.  I said as soon as Mesoraco arrived in New York that he should be added and he has been very solid in a catcher 2 sort of way in two-backstop leagues.  Keep him in that realm.

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.52.  Second straight gem by DeGrom wasted by the inept Mets pen.  Reason 1410462792 to do away with wins in fantasy baseball.

Tim Anderson:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .242.  Hey man if your not going to steal bases then keep doing this.

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .228.  All Encarnacion owners wish May went a few more weeks.

Brandoin Nimmo:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .260.  Those in on-base leagues certainly have more love for Nimmo but the power is consistently showing up for the first time in his still-young career.

Kurt Suzuki:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .269.  I own Suzuki as a starter in one of my two competitive leagues and I have no qualms about throwing him out there on a daily basis.


Monday, May 28, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TREND OR MIRAGE: JESUS AGUILAR 1B MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Jesus Aguilar where have you been my whole fantasy baseball life?  Many in the fantasy baseball community and Milwaukee Brewers fans are surely searching for an answer to this query after witnessing what Aguilar has done with the bat the last three weeks when the team's new first baseman has gone bonkers with the power and become an extreme overnight waiver wire gem.  Having now hit 6 home runs in the last ten games, Aguilar goes into Monday's action with the following numbers:

.325
9 HR
30 RBI
25 R
0 SB
9.6. BB/9
24.0 K/9
.372 BABIP

At 27-years-old, you can say Aguilar is a bit of late bloomer and as he failed to first make it in the Cleveland Indians organization but then perhaps began to hint at what was to come when he smacked 16 home runs in just 311 at-bats in his debut with the Brewers in 2017.  With injuries having opened up consistent time for Aguilar of late, he is looking like a slam-dunk daily league guy who is evoking some Jose Abreu comparisons with the power-centric game matched by a .300 average.  Clearly, Aguilar has good power as he showed a year ago but the average is a bit suspect when you consider his high 24.0 K/9 and VERY lucky .372 BABIP.  With the slow-footed Aguilar having no chance to sustain such a lofty BABIP, the average is headed for a fall for sure but the power is likely to stick around.  As we always do in situations like this that come out of nowhere, it is best to ride out the Aguilar run for as long as it goes and embrace whatever numbers you get from here.  While we are not suggesting Aguilar is the next first base monster, we will say his breakout has some decent power legs to it.

TREND OR MIRAGE:  POWER (YES), AVERAGE (NO)


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Mike Foltynewicz:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.55.  Really like the season Folty is having as the K rate has jumped up and he remains very tough to get a hit off of.  Like what we said with Blake Snell, if Folty could consistently reign in the K's he could graduate right into an ace.

Chris Sale:  6 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 2.76.  8 K's shows Sale was still his overpowering self but he also elevated the ball a bit too much which accounted for the runs.  No one is even remotely worried thought right?

Blaine Hardy:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.70.  The 31-year-old has been almost a career minor leaguer which speaks for itself but Hardy has the experience to maybe help a bit in AL-only formats before opposing hitters get a book on him.

Bryce Harper:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .232.  Whether it is a sliding average or a vanishing of steals, every season there seems to be one aspect of Harper that really annoys his fantasy baseball owners.

Anthony Rendon:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .267.  I fully anticipate Rendon hitting .300 before the end of June.  Never have wavered on anything about the guy this season from an offensive standpoint.

Justin Bour:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .236.  Bour is much more capable than what he has put forth so far but the fantasy baseball community never wants to wait around for him to work through any slump.  Certain guys just fall into this tier every season and Bour is a firm resident.

Stephen Strasburg:  5 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.13.  With his stuff, Strasburg should never have an ERA over 3.00 but he does almost every season.

Kevin Gausman:  7 ER in 2.2 IP with an ERA of 4.31.  It always amazes me how many fantasy baseball "pundits" write every spring how Kevin Gausman could be on the verge of a breakout.  What are they watching?

Andrelton Simmons:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .332.  Not enough credit has been given to Simmons' amazing development with the bat to go along with his all-time glove.  While he will struggle to hit more than 10 homers, Simmons' bat can now hit for average and a bunch of runs will go along with it as well.  He is now a graduate into full-time daily fantasy baseball duty in leagues of 12 teams or deeper.

Masahiro Tanaka:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.62.  Just one solo home run given up which is always the main storyline for any Tanaka start.  The weather was cool and damp which helped keep the ball in the park unlike the day before when it was 90 with high humidity which turned Yankee Stadium into Home Run Derby.

Mike Mikolas:  6 IP 5 H 4 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.58.  When this qualifies as a shelling, you know you are having a big season.  Also for the second start in a row, the high K rate repeated.

Nick Pivetta:  5 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.26.  even in a so-so outing those K's continue to show up.

J.A. Happ:  6.2 IP 6 H 3 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.84.  What is funny with Happ is that as great as he has pitched in his Toronto tenure, I bet a large segment of his fantasy baseball owners never felt comfortable going into any of them.

Jonathan Lucroy:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .261.  Wait you mean Jonathan Lucroy can actually do something positive?

Frankie Montas:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.50.  Last season in Triple-A Montas pitched to a 5.22 ERA.  This season?  Try 4.39 before his promotion.  So Montas all of a sudden hasn't figured out how to pitch.

Salvador Perez: 2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .244.  The average is ugly no doubt but again as often happens there, that number is a fluke.  For one thing, Perez' 17.7 K/9 is very good and his .232 BABIP is insanely unlucky.  Don't sweat it if you are one of his owner.

Joey Gallo:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .198.  You know youw average sucks when the only thing up for debate with Gallo is whether he will bat .200.

Jason Hammel:  5.1 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 5.23.  This qualifies as a "broken clock is right twice a day."

Evan Gattis:  2/6 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .230.  I expected more out of Gattis but he likely aging quicker than most hitters his age given his past troubles.

Jose Ramirez:  2/6 with his 15th HR while hitting .292.  Ramirez is having a fantasy baseball MVP season folks.

Yonder Alonso:  2/6 with his 11th HR while hitting .234.  The only I wonder now with Alonso is if the power will dry up after the All-Star break like it did a year ago.

Trevor Bauer:  7.1 IP 5 H 4 ER 2 BB 13 K with an ERA of 2.61.  So this is why we all hyped Bauer for 271 years.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: FOREARM DISCOMFORT FOR FELIPE VAZQUEZ

Updating an earlier item, the video didn't lie as Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez is to be examined after admitting to forearm discomfort while throwing his last two pitches in a very rough outing on Sunday.  Vazquez will likely have the requisite X-Rays and MRI to determine if the UCL is damaged but I don't have to tell you that he is your classic Tommy John victim given his young age and hard-throwing ability.  In terms of who would step up into Vazquez' place if he goes on the DL as anticipated, Michael Feliz has the big-time K rate that most closers do but he pitched to ERA's of 4.43 and 5.63 the last two seasons and after getting hit around Sunday (3 ER in .1 IP), his 2018 ERA rose to 5.32.  That is a tough pill to swallow in terms of owning him going forward and I would like to think Richard Rodriguez should get the first look as he has pitched great with a 1.40 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 31 K in just 19.1 IP.  I won't be adding Feliz shares given the ugly ratios but instead would be willing to take a shot on Rodriguez given how great he has pitched this season. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: FELIPE VAZQUEZ SHOWN CLUTCHING ARM/ELBOW AFTER LATEST MOUND DISASTER SUNDAY

Uh-oh.  After coming in to blow another game in very ugly fashion on Sunday, Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez was seen in the team's dugout wincing and clutching his elbow/arm.  Vazquez had just given up a hit and two walks while getting just one out before being pulled for Steven Brault and that is when he was shown on local television in pain.  No word yet on if Vazquez is hurt but his 3.54 ERA and 1.43 WHIP continue to serve as a major disappointment.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JEIMER CANDELARIO 3B DETROIT TIGERS

Given the massive influx of big-time offensive third baseman over the last four seasons, it can be difficult for a young and upstart player at the position to gain traction in terms of being accepted by the fantasy baseball community.  Such a case is unfolding in Detroit where the rebuilding Tigers decided to give third base prospect Jeimer Candelario a shot to begin the season at the hot corner after he opened some eyes but hitting .283 with 3 home runs in 38 games in a rookie season split between the team and the Chicago Cubs.  Thrust into an everyday role for the first time, Candelario has been very good so far in 2018 as he goes into Sunday's games with the following numbers after smacking two homers the day prior:

.277
7 HR
24 R
20 RBI
0 SB

When looking at the numbers above, they don't exact overwhelm you but keep in mind Candelario has played in just 39 games due to spending some time on the DL with a wrist injury.  The power is what stands out here as Candelario has zero speed to speak of.  Going along with the power has been a decent .277 average as well which is crucial to be paired with the power considering there is no speed here.  Digging into the advanced numbers, Candelario's .322 BABIP is a bit lucky but he is drawing walks at a very nice right as shown by his 10.8 BB/9.  The strikeout rate is a bit elevated at a 22.2 K/9 but Candelario has surely shown that he can be an everyday fantasy baseball third baseman in 12 team leagues or deeper.  Yes he is not exactly lighting things up but Candelario was not drafted in most leagues which means those who picked him up have gotten a nice bonus play.  While the fun could end at a moment's notice, we also could be seeing a nice breakout happening. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Dansby Swanson:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .279.  The early DL stint interrupted what was shaping up to be a big start to the season for Swanson who flopped badly as a big fantasy baseball sleeper a year ago.  It already feels like Swanson is old news given the arrival of Ozzie Albies and the next guy on this list.

Ronald Acuna:  3/5 with his fifth HR while hitting .263.  A very high 29.2 K/9 is the only sigh of Acuna's youth but otherwise, the kid has been the monster all anticipated he would be. 

Andrew Benintendi:  3/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .283.  Benintendi could only be held for so long before exploding like he has since the start of May.  What can be said is that the similarly priced Benintendi and Christian Yelich have favored the former in terms of production. 

Sean Newcomb:  3 IP 6 H 3 ER 4 BB 4 K with a 2.75 ERA.  Tough chore for Newcomb in Boston and so the result should not shake your confidence in the big breakout he is having. 

Paul Goldschmidt:  0/4 with 3 K while hitting .201.  Just when we thought Goldy was starting to come around, it is back in the dumps here under a hail of strikeouts.  Nothing seems to be snapping Goldy out of his insane slump and this is looking like an epic bust campaign. 

Matt Olson:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .245.  Not for one second did I ever have any regrets of not owning Olson and that goes back to the day after the draft as well. 

Clay Buchholz:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 1.64.  Buchholz is getting a last chance to stick in the majors with the D-Backs and so far, so good.  Moving to the easier NL is always a plus but my bias against the guy is not going to change now.

Daniel Mengden:  9 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.85.  Mengden still doesn't miss a lot of bats which makes long-term success here dicey but operating in a major pitcher's park in Oakland and being in the weak AL West is a help. 

Matt Carpenter:  2/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .206.  Amazing the Cards are still going with Carpenter at leadoff but he has been hot the last week or so.  The health has completely failed Carpenter the last couple of seasons which has a lot to do with the premature decline but he is selling out for the long ball more than ever. 

Starling Marte:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .313.  Just an overall fabulous season for Marte who never needed the juice in the first place.

Jack Flaherty:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.15.  Another fantastic start for Flaherty who doesn't look like he is ever going back to the minor leagues.  The K's are a little volatile from start-to-start but the upside remains significant. 

Trevor Williams:  4 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 3.43.  The ratios continue to inch up as they should since Williams has gotten a ton of BABIP love and that is why I was not impressed by what I had seen previously. 

Michael Conforto:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .231.  In terms of the Mets' batting order, the theme to the Jeffersons keeps popping into my head "movin' on up!!!"

Brandon Nimmo:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .277.  Nimmo is an absolute on-base machine who is now showing a bit of pop too.  I say a bit as Nimmo is really just a 15 home run guy at best but in deeper leagues or those that use five outfielders, Nimmo has earned a long look as a daily asset.

Jesus Aguilar:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .317.  I swear I feel like I am watching Jose Abreu here.  I am very interested to see how far this run goes because Aguilar surely can hit.

Tim Anderson:  2/4 with 2 home runs (10 for season) and third in two games with an average of .246.  Who does he think he is Gleyber Torres?

Jose Abreu:  4/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .319.  There may not be a more stark "write his yearly numbers down in ink" guy in all of fantasy baseball than Mr. Abreu. 

Jeimer Candelario:  2/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .277.  Candelario returns in style with two bombs as he picks up where he left off prior to getting injured.  Get him back in there. 

Mark Reynolds:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .444. This guy needs a lifetime contact from MLB since he never gets old and seemingly can hit for monster power until he is 90. 

Tanner Roark:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.17.  It is very easy to get overlooked in the stacked Washington lineup but you better believe that Tanner Roark is having a big season. 

Tony Kemp:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .375.  Since everything in Houston comes up smelling like roses, pick him up.

Jose Altuve:  4/4 with his third HR while hitting .321.  Altuve really going to have to get on his 5-7 horse to reach 20 home runs again but another batting title is within reach.  Still, if the steals don't come back then we have a letdown investment. 

Michael Brantley:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .333.  Brantley is on pace for a career-best in home runs to go with the always stellar average so that dirt cheap 2018 price tag is working out as well as could be.

Edwin Encarnacion:  3/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .224.  There are still a few days left in May for Encarnacion to tear things up as he always does.  But not sure we saw enough evidence to not think he has dropped another level or even two this season in terms of production.

Yonder Alonso:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .230.  Encarnacion may not even be the best 1B/DH slugger in terms of the Cleveland Indians roster.  This guy may be it.

Lance McCullers:  7 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 3.98.  McCullers can't ever seem to avoid these brutal beatings that come about once every three weeks and that bloat his ratios.  It does seem for as overpowering a pitcher as McCullers is, he can't ever fight through things when he doesn't have his best stuff. 

Carlos Carrasco:  5 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 3.98.  Carrasco is like an older McCullers clone for all the reasons just spoke of. 

Kyle Schwarber:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .257.  Back to the ugly average for Schwarber as he is the latest "a tiger can't change his stripes" player.

Javier Baez:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .262.  The above mantra may apply here as well.

Jose Quintana:  4 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.78.  Man, Quintana just can't get out of his own way in not being able to put good back-to-back starts together. 

Nelson Cruz:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .225.  I don't know but this is surely looking like a "cliff season" from Cruz who can't stay healthy and whose per game numbers are way down. 

Jean Segura:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .324.  Once again, Segura is having a magnificent season that no one is referencing.  To think that Corey Seager was the preferred choice of many this past March. 

Mike Zunino:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .195.  Same old story. 

Mike Trout:  5/5 with his 17th HR while hitting .313.  Trout dropped the mic after the fifth hit.  This was also Trout saying to Mookie Betts, "not so fast.!" 

Brett Gardner:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .234.  I like Gardner as a player but he has to get the hell out of the way for Mr. Torres.

Aaron Judge:  2/2 with his 14th HR while hitting .287.  Judge's owners should rejoice he is not going to be in the Home Run Derby this season considering how much it ruined his swing a year ago.

Sonny Gray:  5 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 5.98.  Just a ridiculous disgrace this guy is. 




Saturday, May 26, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: FELIPE VAZQUEZ CLOSER PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Maybe he should change his name back to Felipe Rivero.  Coming off what could only be described as a monster breakout debut as a closer in 2017 when he pitched to a 1.67 ERA while nailing down 21 saves for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the newly-named Felipe Vazquez was looked at as a slam-dunk top five stopper for 2018 fantasy baseball drafts.  As we so often see at the always volatile closer position, there has been nothing but chaos surrounding Vazquez' on-field performance as he got off to a horrendous start in March/April and those struggles have carried into the month of May as well.  As it stands now going into Thursday's action, Vazquez had the following numbers to show for the high ADP:

2-1
3.60 ERA
1.30 WHIP
9.90 K/9
3.15 BB/9
0.00 HR/9
3.28 BABIP

When digesting the numbers above, what becomes obvious is that this seems to be strictly a closer/bad luck situation as Vazquez has yet to give up a home run on the season and his 9.90 K/9 is not far off what he did the previous season with regards to that number.  Consider that Vazquez' .328 BABIP is in unlucky territory and that his adjusted FIP (1.95) is right in line with his 1.67 ERA from last season.  Add in the fact that Vazquez' 97.6 average fastball velocity remains as good as there is in all of baseball and this becomes a clear case of bad luck and some shoddy control inflating the ERA past where it should be.  The result here is that Vazquez' owners can feel better about his long-term prospects this season and that better times are going to be ahead real soon.  In fact, trying to buy low would be a smart idea as well.  So don't fret if you are invested as we are confident Vazquez will be dominating hitters at last season's rate before you know it.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: FRIDAY

Kyle Hendricks:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.16.  Once you threw out Hendricks' outlier 2016 campaign, you then come to appreciate the low-to-mid-3.00 ERA pitcher he generally is.

Gleyber Torres:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .333.  Just stupid production from Torres who has homered in four straight games with 5 overall in that span.  Despite not starting the season with the Yanks, Torres already is putting up first-round fantasy baseball numbers which is insane.

Mike Trout:  1/2 with his 16th HR while hitting .293.  An absolute moonshot from Trout who is still without peer outside of just Mookie Betts.

Andrew Heaney:  6.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.09.  I remain extremely bullish on Heaney and he fought well in this one against a very potent Yankee lineup.  Use liberally from here on out.

Luis Severino:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 4 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.28.  Severino gave all of his fantasy baseball owners a mild heart attack when the Yankee trainer went out to the mound for a visit but nothing came about it.

Michael Conforto:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .225.  Thought it was ridiculous the amount of "do I drop Conforto" tweets I received.  The guy barely played in the spring and is a young player so he really is just now working off the spring training mode rust.

Amed Rosario:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .253.  I have not been impressed with Rosario given the hype as he has done almost no running and the plate discipline is horrific.  However like with Orlando Arcia in Milwaukee, the lineup spot with Rosario hitting 9th in the NL is a HUGE problem for any hitter and is retarding his growth.

Travis Shaw:  3/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .254.  Hope you bought low when I said to since the average is now shooting up as expected.

Noah Syndergaard:  6 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.06.  Solid and steady has been the name of the game for Thor so far but his owners anticipated spectacular.

Justin Smoak:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .255.  Ultimately, I think we are going to get a split in the middle between the awesome Smoak of 2017 and the brutal Smoak of 2016.

Tommy Pham:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .292.  I admit I have Tommy Pham Envy.

Joe Musgrove:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 0.00.  Musgrove is interesting in that he had some pop as a prospect in Houston and then moved to the easier NL via trade which led to the additional appeal.  I would take a stab here given the outing and NL upside.

Mookie Betts:  1/3 with his 17th HR while hitting .316.  Or one more home run and a much higher average than Mike Trout. 

J.D. Martinez:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .326.  It is almost like every other day now where Martinez homers. 

Mitch Moreland:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .318. While I have always been lukewarm about Moreland in the past, he should be added everywhere now that Hanley Ramirez is no longer in town.

Xander Bogaerts:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .285.  Good luck ever trying to figure out where the yearly numbers will end up here. 

George Springer:  3/6 with his 11th HR while hitting .305.  We have reached the point now where talk should begin about moving Springer and his awesome power bat down in the order some. 

Corey Kluber:  6.1 IP 7 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.17.  Kluber is the AL's version of Max Scherzer in terms of overpowering ace ability and durability. 

Tim Anderson:  3/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .240.  Yeah the average is garbage now after early optimism early on that his speed could help overcome it a bit. 

Reynaldo Lopez:  7 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.93.  Lopez is dialing back the fastball a bit to maintain better control and it is working clearly.  Like with all young hurlers though, selling high is always the way to go during the summer before the fatigue sets in.

Matt Adams:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .270.  One of the better in-season pickups so far given the consistent power Adams has shown for the second season in a row.

Michael Taylor:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .193.  I have to say that Taylor has crammed in as many home runs and steals as he could with an average under .200.

Jonathan Schoop:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .242.  Crucial season for School to prove that the average gains he made a year ago can stick.  If not, he is moved way down to bottom of the everyday second baseman rankings. 

Ryan Yarbrough:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.21.  I wouldn't say the kid is a "must add" in fantasy baseball mixed leagues due to the lack of support and operating in the AL East but he is certainly worth a look. 

Jorge Soler:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .285.  Soler has to maintain an average north of .270 given the moderate power so far to continue to be worth daily status.

Mike Moustakas:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .281.  Maybe Moustakas should try to net some steals in order to get the market going for him better this time around.  His fantasy baseball owners would appreciate it. 

Nomar Mazara:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .268,  There is hope for Eric Hosmer as Mazara is hitting for big power despite having a similar groundball-heavy approach.

Ronald Guzman:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .226.  Guzman has put himself on the fantasy baseball map with some good pop of late but that average needs to be a whole lot better for him to get out of AL-only range.

Nolan Arenado:  1/2 with his 9th HR while hitting .320.  The power is down some on a per game basis but the average is way up.  Happy with it no as an Arenado owner?

Eugenio Suarez:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .289.  Love the guy. 

Sean Manaea:  6 ER in 3.2 IP with an ERA of 3.34.  So all of those who mocked me when I said to sell high on Manaea right before his no-hitter?  He has been brutal since as he was pitching way over his head like I said he was. 



Friday, May 25, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: ALEX COLOME OUT OF A CLOSER ROLE AFTER BEING TRADED TO MARINERS

I said it from the beginning of the season that Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome and his fantasy baseball owners were on notice in terms of the strong chance he was going to be moved before or at the July 31 MLB trade deadline.  Well Colome did get moved but at a much earlier date than anticipated as he was acquired by the Seattle Mariners along with outfielder Denard Span for pitchers Tommy Romero and Andrew Moore and he will now be a setup man for superstar Mariners closer Edwin Diaz.  Prior to the deal, Colome had struggled for most of the season as he goes to Seattle with a 4.15 ERA and 1.48 WHIP and I was on record going back to the winter that he should have been avoided at all costs in fantasy baseball drafts given his just average K/9 rate.  With Colome now in Seattle, he should be dropped in all leagues and attention should turn to who will move into the closer role for the Rays.  That should fall to favorite Jose Alvarado (2.95 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) or less likely Chaz Roe (4.67 ERA, 1.33 WHIP).  Pick up Alvarado in all leagues and do it right after reading this. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: ELOY JIMENEZ FORCING THE WHITE SOX'S HAND FOR PROMOTION

Yeah I would say he looks ready.  Anyone who has seen top Chicago White Sox outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez at any point so far in the 2018 Double-A season would make that easy conclusion as the 21-year-old is showing not only that there is big power on the way but also a beyond-advanced bat that should yield a string og .300-plus averages from the jump.  The main prize the White Sox received from the Chicago Cubs in the Jose Quintana deal, Jimenez has been so good that team brass have spoken publicly about how they may have to move his MLB arrival time up just a bit.  Originally thought of as a possible late-season candidate to be brought up, there are now whispers that Jimenez could get the call sometime in June or July.  The numbers certainly show he is ready as Jimenez sports the following line as of this writing:

.323
8 HR
31 RBI
23 R
0 SB
15.6 K/9
7.5 BB/9
.333 BABIP

The most obvious numbers here are the power and average as Jimenez already is a guy who looks like a 25-home run guy to go with a .300 average.  It is amazing to think that Jimenez is still just 21 and that he has a good 4-5 years to go before reaching his prime.  That means 30-plus home runs could very well be in his future with 80-plus RBI and runs given his good on-base percentages.  The on-base percentages are also helped along by Jimenez' very impressive contact rate for a young player as his 15.6 K/9 is incredibly low for someone his age.  While there is no speed to be had here, Jimenez is a future star who should not be on any waivers wires in the realm of fantasy baseball.  Look out because this is going to be a real show and it should be starting quite soon. 




2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: ALEX REYES SP ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Strikeouts anyone?  Holy fastball smoke has St. Louis Cardinals to pitching prospect Alex Reyes been beyond overpowering in his minor league rehab outings coming back from missing all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery.  The numbers are simply astronomical as Reyes has not given up one earned run in 23 total innings, while registering a beyond insane 44 strikeouts.  The strikeouts speak to the monstrous potential Reyes carries and keep in mind it was just a little more than a year ago when he was one of the more sought-after fantasy baseball sleepers given the dominant power stuff.  As it does for many young power arms, Tommy John interrupted the proceedings and so a year later, Reyes is a bit off the radar for casual players of fantasy baseball.  Be that as it may, Reyes needs to be owned right this very second in all leagues given the potent stuff and for the fact the Cardinals have a long history or producing top arms.  It seems so long ago but Reyes pitched to a 1.57 ERA in 46 debut innings with the Cardinals late in 2016 and that came after he recorded a 12.81 K/9 in Triple-A.  Now despite how impressive a prospect Reyes is, we still have to be aware that there are some stark control issues that have always gone along with the strikeouts and this issue may be even more of a problem with him coming off the surgery.  Despite this issue, Reyes could very well be a major fantasy baseball asset right from the jump when he makes his season debut and the upside is as good as any pitcher who has arrived in the majors in quite a bit. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAUP: THURSDAY

Austin Meadows:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .440.  Big stuff happening here as even Gleyber Torres is impressed how Meadows has launched himself already.  There is no way in hell Meadows will come out of the lineup when he is hitting like this and those who smartly picked him up could really be making out here.

Jesse Winker:  2/5 with his first HR while hitting .257.  This could be the only home run Winker hits.

Eugenio Suarez:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .280.  The average is beginning to slip as it moves back to Suarez' mean but he is still in play as a very viable low-end daily third baseman.

Luis Castillo:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 5.34.  We will take whatever positives we can from Castillo given how brutal he has been this season but the truth is that Castillo is pitching to around a 3.00 ERA in May which is what we would have anticipated out of him in April.

Mike Trout:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .291.  What is interesting here is that Trout has been so consistently awesome that the fantasy baseball community is growing used to it and becoming a big ho-hum about the numbers.

Nick Tropeano:  7.1 IP 4 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Tropeano has flashed as a useful SP 5 in AL-only leagues or very deep mixers the last two season but anything more and you are asking for trouble.

Dylan Bundy:  9 IP 2 IP 3 ER 1 BB 14 K with an ERA of 4.45.  Holy mercy was this impressive.  I am not a fan of Bundy as I have expressed many times but when all is working, he gets results like this.  In the AL East though they are few and far between.

Trey Mancini:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .251.  Ever since the power began ticking up for Mancini, the average has dropped down which is not what you want to see.  Until Mancini finds that happy medium, he will barely hold OF 3 value.

Brandon Nimmo:  4/4 while hitting. 294.  Nimmo's on-base is over .400 and he seems to have staked a firm claim on the leadoff spot.  There is mostly an empty average here though as Nimmo doesn't run much and the power is hit-or-miss, so this is just an NL-only play.

Steven Matz:  6 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.80.  Matz has been decent but not overly great this season as he simply can't ever give his fantasy baseball owners any length in his starts.  The enigma label still applies. 

Alex Bregman:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .277.  Listen I get the concern but I feel that Bregman's fantasy baseball owners are some of the most impatient folks in the game.  He is still just a kid finding his way but the extreme talent is undeniable.  If anyone dangles Bregman in a trade in your league, wait 2.5 seconds before diving in. 

Charlie Morton:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.04.  To think that as overpowering as Morton has been, Justin Verlander's ERA is half of his. 

Mike Clevinger:  5 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 3.32.  No shame in getting it handed to you versus the Houston Astros.  What is interesting here is that Clevinger has really dialed back the K's in order to better his 2017 horrible control and so you have a mixed bag from a fantasy baseball angle since the strikeouts have cratered terrible (10.13 to 7.48 in K/9) but much fewer walks (4.44 to 2.91). 

 Wilson Ramos:  3/4 while hitting .301.  Yeah, this was the catcher I told you all to draft. 

Blake Snell:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.78.  When you can tame the Boston Red Sox lineup like this, your breakout season become that much more impressive.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: ROBERTO OSUNA COULD BE FACING 30-GAME BAN, RYAN TEPERA COULD SLIDE INTO NINTH INNING

There was a lot of news on the Toronto Blue Jays closing front on Thursday, with the first item being Fanrags' Jon Heyman reporting that closer Roberto Osuna could be facing as much as a 30-game ban by MLB for the alleged domestic violence incident he was involved in earlier in the month.  Still on administrative leave which goes until May 28th, Osuna will likely hear an official sentence from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred at or before that date.  Either way, Osuna is not likely going to be seen again until July which puts his fantasy baseball owners in a bind.  Be that as it may, Osuna has everything coming to him for being such a scum in the first place.

On a related front, a quick changing of the guard in the new Toronto bullpen hierarchy could be at hand as Osuna's replacement Tyler Clippard comes off the type of massacre (4 earned runs in .1 IP Wednesday evening) that gets you booted from a closer role and Ryan Tepera has continued to dominate in the eighth inning to where he is looking like a very viable alternative.  Clippard has been downright brutal in giving up a total of 6 earned runs in his last 2 IP and Tepera meanwhile is rocking a swell 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 26 K in 24 IP.  Picking up Tepera is the way to go here as Clippard didn't figure to have a long leash and with Osuna out for a while now, John Gibbons is not going to wait around for the former to get himself right as the AL East gets decided without them being involved.  

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: ZACK GODLEY SP ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Damn.  That would be the collective reaction to anyone who owns Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Godley who supplied a 6-earned run in 3.1 IP bomb early Wednesday to further along what has been a frustratingly poor season to this point despite carrying immense expectations heading into the new season.  As it stands now, Godley sits with the following numbers going into his next outing:

4-4
4.53 ERA
1.56 WHIP
8.41 K/9
4.69 BB/9
1.13 HR/9
.315 BABIP

Wow those are some ugly numbers and overall Godley has been nothing short of a liability for his fantasy baseball owners despite coming off a major 2017 breakout where he registered a 3.37 ERA and posted a 9.58 K/9 rate.  What jumps out right away is the complete lack of control as Godley has walked the ballpark so far this season as shown by his pathetic 4.69 BB/9 and that is way up from 3.08 the year prior.  In addition, Godley has leaked strikeouts as well as his 8.41 K/9 is down more than a full whiff from 2017.  With a fly ball rate that is only up slightly and a line drive rate that is down from last season, the lack of control is looking like the biggest issue here.  It makes sense since more runners on base via the walk lead to more runs when Godley does give up hits and so we get the major spike in ERA and WHIP.  Now there has been some slight bad luck with Godley's BABIP but even his FIP (4.43) and XFIP (4.10) ERA's are not impressive.  So in the end, we have to accept that Godley is hurting himself with the walks but that hitters have a better read on how to deal with him this season after 2017's success.

In the end, I would not automatically buy low here as Godley is now pitching poorly in two of the last three seasons and so 2017 looks like the outlier at this point.  While his stuff is still good, Godley simply has not put hitters away in any way the manner he did a year ago.  As a Godley owner, I am not officially gun-shy in terms of using him for the immediate future.




2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .209.  The are signs now that Goldschmidt is starting to emerge from the fog and so the buy low window will begin to close quickly.

Travis Shaw:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .243.  Have said numerous times to ignore the BABIP-depressed average and instead embrace the big season Shaw is having once again.  Average remains the most overrated hitting category by far given the impact team defense and luck on the batted ball has on its number.

Zack Godley:  6 ER in 3.1 IP with an ERA of 4.53.  Trouble all over the place here as it looks like Godley is your latest one-year wonder.  I will delve more into this in a separate Crisis Point later in the day.

Michael Fulmer:  5.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.03.  Everyone else likes Fulmer much more than me as I see through his mediocre K/9 rate and lucky BABIP's on an annual basis.

Salvador Perez:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .245.  Perez got the start at first base to keep his bat in the lineup which is always a plus.  If that keeps up, Perez becomes even more potent as an everyday catcher-eligible player.

George Springer:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .294.  Really digging the average uptick which is has enabled Springer to reach another level in his value.  Forget the steals though as they are gone for good and never really were there in terms of the majors.

Justin Verlander:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 1.08.  That 1.08 ERA in the American League is just beyond insane.

Matt Adams:  3/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .273. They don't mess up much but the St. Louis Cardinals screwed up by throwing in the towel too early on this guy.  Guaranteed they would prefer him over Matt Carpenter in a second. 

Tyson Ross:  6.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.13.  Ross has not just been a Petco Park Special as this came against the potent Nationals lineup in their ballpark.  Major comeback story in progress. 

Luiz Gohara:  4 IP 4 H 2 ER 4 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.45.  A bit messy due to the lack of control but watch this situation closely as Gohara has big strikeout potential and was one my sleeper lost back in January before he got hurt and lost a chance at a rotation spot to begin the season. 

Jake Arrieta:  6.2 IP 7 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.45.  Arrieta doesn't have the fastball he did even just two seasons ago which is old news but he has enough movement to continue to post good results.  Perhaps the bigger surprise is the health has cooperated. 

Dan Straily:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.12.  I tweeted the other day that Straily and pretty much any pitcher that goes against the New York Mets is a streaming option.  Beyond that, Straily is still a very good and quite underrated SP 5 as he seems to find his way to decent numbers each season. 

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.54. Among the MLB leaders in ERA, DeGrom has been on some insane run so far this season.  250 strikeouts is very much in play which is yet another level reached in excellent for the guy. 

Aaron Judge:  2/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .284.  It was Home Run Derby in Texas between the Rangers and New York Yankees and so Judge was going to be a part of the fun.

Gleyber Torres:  1/5 with his 8th HR and 4th in last 3 games with average of 323.  I mean you got to be kidding.  Get this kid at least up to the fifth spot in the order. 

Didi Gregorious:  1/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .246.  It is amazing how the whole narrative has changed here from just the first week of May. This is almost literally Gregorious' first hit of the month as well.

Nomar Mazara:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .274.  Will absolutely accept .270 as long as 30 homers go along with it. 

Yangervis Solarte:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .265.  All Solarte owners are praying to the fantasy baseball gods that somehow he survives the trade deadline. 

Devon Travis:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .149.  Travis is so far off the fantasy baseball radar now that it was easy to miss the Blue Jays brought him back up.  Don't waste your time with this guy for even one second. 

Francisco Cervelli:  2/6 with his 7th HR while hitting .282.  I believe in the power growth here and already Cervelli was an underrated hitter for a catcher. 

Scooter Gennett:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .328.  This is Scooter Gennett giving the finger to all of us who said "no way he does it again" this season.

David Price:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.08.  Of course I cut Price loose prior to his last two starts so I hate him even more than I already did. 

Chris Archer:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.68.  The way he has been pitching this season, it is a miracle Archer made it out of this one with just one run given up. 

Jon Lester:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.37.  Lester is a major "Sell" as the arm can't withstand the rigors of a long season at his age anymore.  Considering the name brand, you should get a decent return given the present ratios. 

Yoan Moncada:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .262.  Moncada has been very solid since the end of April and that works fine for 2018 before we expect some more growth in 2019.  Never a question of talent here but instead how many strikeouts pile up. 

Dylan Covey:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.46.  Spot start made good for Covey who was not much of a prospect due to some mediocre K/9 rates in the minors but this looked tidy.  The old theme of catching opposing hitters off guard though applies and so this is not a recommended add considering the average quality of overall stuff. 

Kenta Maeda:  6.2 IP 2 H 0 ER 4 BB 12 K with an ERA of 3.38.  Well there you go.  I think it was just YESTERDAY I summed up a glowing piece on Maeda with this:  "So when you add everything up, Maeda has pitched like an ace whose ratios don't show it only due to some poor luck.  He has been a great buy no matter how you look at him and there should be a whole bunch more of this level of performance the rest of the season." YES SIR!  Guy can be a legit ace the rest of the way as I said as the strikeout rate is insane and everything else checks out.  





Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: RAISEL IGLESIAS PLACED ON DL WITH BICEPS INJURY

The Cincinnati Reds were forced to place closer Raisel Iglesias on the DL Wednesday with what the team is calling a strained left bicep and there is a chance the injury could keep him out past the minimum ten days.  Having pitched to a terrific ERA of 2.08 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 21.2 IP this season, Iglesias has been one of the few dependable closers in fantasy baseball at a position that is always filled with chaos.  In terms of possible replacements, the Reds bullpen has been filled with injuries as Michael Lorenzen and David Hernandez are both coming off DL stints of their own which means that Amir Garrett or Jared Hughes could get a shot.  As far as Garrett is concerned, he has the look of a closer with as he has pitched to a 1.67 ERA and 1.04 WHIP; while also punching out 31 batters in 27 innings this season.  Hughes woundup picking up a save the other day and he has pitched well himself with a 1.30 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. While this could go in any direction or even be a full blown committee, Hughes or Garrett in that order could be the one to get the first save chance.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: TREVOR BAUER SP CLEVELAND INDIANS

The magical age-27 season bears fruit yet again!  Whether it concerns a hitter or a pitcher, the general consensus is that an MLB player's prime years begin around the age of 27 and that the age also becomes one where the previous rough edges get ironed out to a degree.  Take the case of 27-year-old Cleveland Indians power pitcher Trevor Bauer who through two months of the 2018 season has been one of the very best pitchers in baseball with the following numbers:

4-3
2.35 ERA
1.15 WHIP
.212 BAA
10.11 K/9
3.18 BB/0
0.42 HR/9
.290 BABIP

Now in his fifth full season in the majors after two initial cup of coffee appearances the two years prior to that stretch, Bauer's previous performances made him one of the most frustrating players to own among all pitchers in fantasy baseball.  The reason is that for all of Bauer's massive strikeout ability, he also infuriated his owners due to incredibly high walk rates and some trouble with the long ball.  As you can see by the numbers above however, Bauer is in the midst of a career-year and the totality of his work so far has him in ace fantasy baseball territory.

Taking the numbers apart some, the ERA and WHIP are easy career-bests to this point and the .212 BAA shows that Bauer is as hard to get a hit off of as any pitcher in the game.  With incredible movement on his offspeed stuff generating a ton of swings-and-misses by itself, Bauer's average of 95.5 on his fastball (a personal best so far) have him an impossible chore for opposing hitters this season.  A 10.11 K/9 has been the tremendous result and other than a still-high 3.18 BB/9, Bauer has been terrific no matter where you look.  Now the question is whether he can keep it up and on that front, I think there is a bit of slight giveback on the way.  For one thing, Bauer' s 0.42 HR/9 is in outlier territory compared to his career standards and his walks are still somewhat of an issue.  Still, Bauer's FIP ERA of 2.71 is sparkling and even his less bullish 3.53 XFIP would still mark a career-low ERA if the season ended today.  So if you hold stock in Bauer, this is a hold all the way around.


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL INJURY FALLOUT: POTENTIAL MASSIVE BREAKOUT TIGHT END HUNTER HENRY DONE BEFORE HE EVEN STARTED DUE TO TORN ACL

Unbelievable.  While 2018 fantasy football drafts don't begin getting underway in earnest until at least July, the news on Tuesday that Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry suffered a season-ending torn ACL during OTA's was simply devastating.  With Antonio Gates finally out of town after serving as a sizable roadblock to TE 1 production, all the planets were aligned for Henry to have a truly big breakout year as a big target of QB Philip Rivers.  Prior to the injury, we were forecasting a potential 80-catch year for Henry given his terrific combination of size, speed, and receiving ability but obviously this all goes out the window now.  Simply put, this is a brutal loss for the game of fantasy football altogether and it removes one key tight end from a position that is always lacking decent options. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Jose Ramirez:  1/2 with his 14th HR while hitting .297.  Just like with Joey Votto, Ramirez could be hitting .200 on May 15 but will be at .300 by June 30.

Trevor Bauer:  6 IP 7 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.35.  Again, this is the best I have ever seen Bauer throw and even on a day with a lot of baserunners, he bore down and didn't let any score which speaks to the mental development as well. 

Caleb Smith:  6.2 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.83.  Don't pick him up outside of NL-only as Smith did this against a New York Mets lineup that is so limp right now that signing Atlanta Braves trash (Jose Bautista) was considered a good idea.

Franchy Cordero:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .254.  Honestly, this is the same type of production we would see from the contact-challenged Cordero five years from now.

Bryce Harper:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .238.  I said the other day Harper's average will push up dramatically given his insanely unlucky BABIP and so we are on our way. 

Ozzie Albies:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .286.  When you also consider all the doubles Albies has, there is actually room for some more power growth which is unfathomable. 

Vince Velasquez:  4.1 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.18.  Make him a closer, make him a closer, make him a closer. 

J.A. Happ:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.97.  The Blue Jays should highlight Happ to potential pitching free agents that you can, in fact, succeed in Toronto. 

Austin Meadows:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .400.  I told weekly lineup people on Twitter to use Meadows liberally given how hot he is out of the gate and the onslaught continues.  Gregory Polanco is on watch.

Scooter Gennett:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .324.  This guy has truly become a hitting monster right out of the blue with no one believing it legit going back to last season. 

Jameson Taillon:  6 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 4.56.  I had preached being patient here given the pedigree and good raw stuff but that has run its course. 

Matt Harvey:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 5.49.  As an admitted Mets fan, I fully believe Harvey will rally to win the NL Cy Young Award this season. 

Mookie Betts:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .368.  If Betts keeps this up, there will be a realistic and legit debate about him going over Mike Trout at the top of 2019 drafts. 

Rafael Devers:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .239.  Like how Devers is still hitting for power despite the ugly average as pitchers adjust to his rookie tendencies.  Still, overall he has been a slight letdown given the all-or-nothing results. 

Willy Adames:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .250.  The trend of rookies coming up and clubbing home runs in their first start continues which is uncanny.  Also, this is Adames telling Kevin Cash, "To hell with me staying on 2-3 days" as per reports. 

Chris Sale:  7.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.17.  The Boston Red Sox really need to stop Sale pitching past the eighth as he was brutal last September no doubt due to fatigue. 

Miguel Andujar:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .285. Boy does this kid have a beautiful swing. 

Gleyber Torres:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .330.  Ridiculous.  Simply ridiculous. 

Cole Hamels:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.38.  Only about two more months until Hamels is in a Yankee uniform. 

Gerrit Cole:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.86.  Cole is steaming toward 300 K but in the back of my mind I wonder if he won't get there due to health.  He is throwing real hard and with full intensity which often leads to trouble with the guy. 

Luke Weaver:  7 IP 7 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.31.  Weaver seems to have found his comfort zone so I expect a big June and July before he levels off some in August due to rookie fatigue. 

Mike Zunino:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .214.  One hit of course for the bomb. 

Trevor Cahill:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.75.  Yeah I have him to you as an under-the-radar pickup as well last month.  Working out nicely. 



Tuesday, May 22, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: WILLY ADAMES SS TAMPA BAY RAYS

May is always holiday time for prospect hounds as the Super 2 deadline has passed and the needs of the various teams around MLB start realizing the need to get reinforcements from the minors.  Tuesday the trend continued as the Tampa Bay Rays promoted top shortstop prospect Willy Adames who will immediately slot into the sixth spot in the order for that night's game.  Long considered one of the more talked-about prospects, the 22-year-old Adames was hitting .311 with 4 home runs and 3 steals in 40 games at Triple-A and so the Rays felt he was ready to show what he could do at the major league level.  Now in terms of fantasy baseball, Adames should be picked up in all leagues but in deeper mixers he may not yield as much value as his defense is head of his offense despite the very good batting average on the farm.  Keep in mind Adames only had a 10/11 split in the HR/SB categories a year ago at Triple-A and his 22.5 K/9 was not great considering it will surely go up against major league pitching.  

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: DEE GORDON PLACED ON DL WITH FRACTURED TOE

It has been a bad week to be a toe across Major League Baseball.  Just days after New York Mets outfielder Juan Lagares was lost for the remainder of the season due to suffering a torn plate in a toe, Seattle Mariners outfielder Dee Gordon was placed on the DL Tuesday with a fracture in his big right toe.  The move was backdated to May 21 but don't count on seeing Gordon until sometime in late June or early July.  His loss is a significant one as Gordon commanded a premium price tag at the 2018 fantasy baseball draft table as the premier stolen base weapon in the game but unlike Billy Hamilton, he is not a one trick pony since he can hit .300-plus and score a ton of runs out of the leadoff spot.  Gordon was doing just that as he was hitting .304 with 25 runs scored and 16 steals going into the injury but reaching 60 again in the latter category is going to be a chore given all the missed games.  As far as replacing Gordon's speed is concerned, start with looking to see if Travis Jankowski is available and then work your way through Jarrod Dyson and other steal specialists. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: KENTA MAEDA SP LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Coming into the 2018 fantasy baseball season, one of my personal favorite undervalued pitchers when it came to drafts was the Los Angeles Dodgers' Kenta Maeda.  Despite coming off what many described as a disappointing 2017 when he pitched to a 4.22 ERA, I instead saw the positives when it came to Maeda of which there were many.  For one thing, his 9.38 K/9 was terrific and showed swing-and-miss stuff that was even more pronounced in the States than it was when he was in Japan.  On top of that, Maeda's continued good control (2.28 BB/9) added up to a pitched who performed much better than his surface ratios suggested.  Fast forward to present day and as a Maeda owner, I am pleased so far with what I have seen as he takes the following numbers into Monday's action:

3.89 ERA
1.21 WHIP
3-3
11.05 K/9
.342 BABIP
2.66 BB/9
0.82 HR/9

Digging into the numbers, Maeda's ERA is decent but I did anticipate a better number there.  Truth be told though, Maeda has had some bad BABIP luck as seen by his high .342 mark and so when adjusted, his FIP (2.82) and XFIP (3.11) ERA's are downright sparkling.  Then there is the 11.05 K/9 which blows out of the water what Maeda has done his first two years in the majors.  He is really ramping things up on that front and so it can only be described as an added bonus.  The walks have crept up slightly but Maeda is keeping the baseball in the park which offsets that completely.  So when you add everything up, Maeda has pitched like an ace whose ratios don't show it only due to some poor luck.  He has been a great buy no matter how you look at him and there should be a whole bunch more of this the rest of the season.



2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Bryce Harper:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .231.  The average has really become an issue on paper but a .196 BABIP is all you need to see to understand why.  Everything else checks out such as Harper's personal best 16.7 K/9 and of course he is drawing a ton of walks.  The luck will even out so don't even bother worrying about the overrated average category.

Juan Soto:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .400.  Well I would say Soto is off to a nice start as a 19-year-old big leaguer.  Kid has a golden opportunity with Adam Eaton down forever to make his name a fixture in the lineup and boy that awesome power should give him a great chance to get there. 

Mark Reynolds:  3/5 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .444.  Different uniform but same impact from Reynolds who is becoming a timeless piece in the fantasy baseball world.

Jason Vargas:  5 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 9.87.  Vargas was stealing money prior to this outing so he finally did something good of note here.  Be that as it may, you never want to even look at this guy for a second in the deepest league there is.

Nick Pivetta:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.23.  Said the other day in his Trend or Mirage piece that Pivetta is completely "Legit" and my goodness he has been as dominant as can be his last three outings as well.  While there was reason to be cautious early on, take the training wheels off completely here and use Pivetta liberally. 

Jake Lamb:  1/2 with his first HR while hitting .250.  I have never been one to chase (or even own for that matter) Jake Lamb but the guy has a power swing that does damage.  Still, he was the one who was supposed to be impacted more by the humidor then Paul Goldschmidt so there is that to worry about considering how bad his teammate has been.

Travis Shaw:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .246.  I still say if you can talk up the low batting average, try and steal Shaw from his clueless owner. 

Lorenzo Cain:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .276.  When you talk up a guy so much like I did with Lorenzo Cain this season, you take extra pride in any homers he hits. 

Domingo Santana:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .255.  It has been criminal the way Craig Counsell has handled the playing time of Santana this season as the guy was terrific a year ago and has 30/15 ability on a yearly basis.  That said, injuries have opened up a clear path to daily action so check the wire to see if Santana is out there. 

Chase Anderson:  6 IP 3 H 2 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.86.  Boring but effective.

Zack Greinke:  6 IP 5 H 4 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.71.  While Greinke has overall pitched surprisingly very well despite the scary dip in velocity, the latter problem does reveal itself through the long ball of which he gave up three in this one.  The damage could have been worse but it is a reminder of the perilous tightrope Greinke walks in any one outing. 

Aaron Judge:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .286.  The Yankee lineup is the "unfair" comparison to the Houston starting pitching.

Aaron Hicks:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .250.  If Brett Gardner continues to slump the way he has all season, Hicks could move up to leadoff which would make things even sweeter. 

Gleyber Torres:  2/3 with 2 home runs (6 for season) while hitting .321.  As if the Yankees didn't have enough star hitting, they get what looks to be an immediate top-tier infielder added to the mix in-season. 

Joey Gallo:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .201.  Standard operating procedure for Gallo which is not good considering that all his great power is neutralized by that disgusting average. 

Rougned Odor:  1/4 with his first HR while hitting .173.  The Joey Gallo of second base is back to torture his owners and those who forecast players for a living. 

Masahiro Tanaka:  5 IP 3 H 4 ER 4 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.95.  The guy is one big pitching roller coaster. 

Bartolo Colon:  6 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 3.51.  This had disaster written all over it from the start and the law of averages are also catching up here as well. 

Adam Jones:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .268.  The numbers always speak for themselves here.

Mark Trumbo:  1/4 with his second HR while hitting .273.  With the average not being a killer as of yet, I would jump on board here to see if Trumbo can go on one of those home binges he is known for.

Manny Machado:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .343.  Could be the one player who puts all of his fantasy baseball owner straight through to their league titles and at the same time the real-life team that acquires him in July. 

Nick Castellanos:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .316. Castellanos is really ramping things up with the power now after a slow start in that category and since he was always hitting over .300, good times are fully here. 

Jose Berrios:  8 IP 3 H 2 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.82.  My Darkhorse AL Cy Young Pick should have an ERA a bit lower based on the advanced metrics but dominance to this level is starting to happen more frequently on a per start basis. 

Matt Carpenter:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .210.  I guess this qualifies as "heating up" when it comes to Carpenter. 

Tyler O'Neill:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .368.  Hey the rule has always been that if a young Cardinals prospect comes up from the minors, you pick him up whether it is a pitcher or hitter. O'Neill is no different. 

Miles Mikolas:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.24.  So remember when I said two weeks ago that the strikeouts would start coming around to go with the rest of the excellent package?  Here we go.  Right now Mikolas might be my top value pick recommendation of the season.