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Thursday, June 21, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Jeimer Candelario:  2/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .252.  While Candelario has more or less cemented his starting standing in just AL-only leagues, he has had a good breakout campaign to earn plaudits from the fantasy baseball community.

Scooter Gennett:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .336.  What is funny here is that Gennett is putting up the holy grail combination of batting title average and big power but at second base when no one gave him a chance to replicate his power from a year ago. 

Eugenio Suarez:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .295.  Yes, the Cincinnati Reds are in full rebuild but they need to hold onto this third base gem.

Michael Fulmer:  5.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.17.  The K's will flow like this once out of every 7 or 8 starts from Fulmer so take what you can get there.

Tyler Mahle:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 4 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.89.  It will only be so long for Mahle to hold off his 1.38 WHIP and the expected damage that will come to his ERA. 

Kyle Schwarber:  1/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .243.  Schwarber is that classic kind of all-or-nothing slugger that when you see he homered in a given game, you 9 times out of 10 guess correctly it was his only hit of the game.

Ross Stripling:  6 IP 8 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.99.  Even without his best stuff in this one, Stripling still struck out more batters than innings pitched.  And that ERA my goodness. 

Jon Lester:  7 IP 5 H 0 ER 3 BB 1 K with an ERA of 2.10.  I admit I have been completely wrong about Lester but I will also say that let's see how things look at the end of the season as the mileage on his arm will not be able to sustain a heavy workload into the fall like he always did previously.  Also, the K's are leaking in another sign of age. 

Kurt Suzuki:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .281.  I have owned Suzuki in one of my two competitive leagues all season and won't stop now. 

Kendrys Morales:  2/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .232. When you can't hit in Toronto, the fantasy baseball curtains are closing. 

J.A. Happ:  8.1 IP 6 H 4 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.56.  Happ hung around a bit too long as the Braves got to him a bit in the ninth which is so annoying if you are his owner but the 1.01 WHIP and tidy ERA are not getting enough credit considering the division. 

Yadier Molina:  2/3 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .273.  Admit it.  Your are a guy who avoids Molina in recent years in thinking each time THIS is the year he falls off the statistical cliff. 

Odubel Herrera:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .299.  I guess I should just write a general blub that talks about Herrera homering and just update the tallies each day in the WRAPUP.  Nothing is getting past Herrera at this juncture and a separate piece is on its way. 

Jake Arrieta:  6 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Getting closer to where I said Arrieta would have an ERA over 3.75 by the end of the season. 

Jed Lowrie:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .285.  The average has come down like I said it would in mid-May but Lowrie is holding steady with the power which keeps him a daily league guy for the time being. 

Matt Olson:  2/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .237.  Standard Kyle Schwarber operating procedure. 

Mark Canha:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .250.  Given the good power and ugly average, Canha is made for this Oakland A's team. 

Christian Villanueva:  2/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .228.  Well it took until July 20th but this is the version of Villanueva I said you would see eventually once opposing starters began to figure him out. 

Joey Luchessi:  1.2 IP 3 H 4 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.86.  It is always very tough for a rookie pitcher to jump back into it off the DL and so give Luchessi a mulligan with this. 

Jose Ramirez:  1/2 with his 22nd HR while hitting .291.  I mean this is getting simply ridiculous right now. 

Corey Kluber:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.10.  This guy is so consistently good it is scary. 

Giancarlo Stanton:  2/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .255.  K/9 still at 31.6 but power showing much more like the norms Stanton has previously set.

Gary Sanchez:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .197.  Yeah nobody saw this turning into J.P. Arencibia or Mike Zunino.

Mark Trumbo:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .262.  I picked him up two weeks ago.  So should you have.

Jose Altuve:  3/4 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .347.  So much for the power of 2016-17 not being there. 

George Springer:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .279.  While it is a yearly bummer Springer doesn't run in the majors like he did in the minors, he still reached OF 1 status relatively quick.

Alex Bregman:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .268.  Been expecting the numbers to explode for a while now but here we are.  Bregman does though seem to be the new Mark Teixeira slow starter who requires patience to own early on when we are all 100 percent into our leagues. 

Charlie Morton:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 4 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.74.  There really has been no letdown here since the insane April which adds to the lore of one of the more improbably post-30 revivals I have ever seen.

Rougned Odor:  2/3 with his second HR while hitting .226.  You get the sense the kid's career is at a crossroads already. 

Mike Moustakas:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .263.  Moustakas better be careful not to let the average fall much further or else even the Royals won't want him back next winter. 

Jakob Junis:  3 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 4.43.  Had been saying from the beginning of the season that Junis was playing with BABIP house money and that at some point he wouild regress to his true ability.  Sometimes that regression takes longer than anticipated but we are there. 



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: BRANDON MORROW (BACK) PLACED ON THE DL WEDNESDAY, PEDRO STROP OR STEVE CISHEK THE ADD

After playing with health house money for the first two-plus months of the 2018 fantasy baseball season, the career-long injury issues of Chicago Cubs closer Brandon Morrow reared their ugly heads when he was placed on the 10-day DL Wednesday with the balky back that has kept him out the last few days.  Prior to the injury, Morrow was absolutely fantastic in his first full season closing games as he logged an ERA of 1.59 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 25 K in 22.2 IP.  As a result of Morrow going on the DL, top setup man Pedro Strop would be the figurative add as he has been dominant himself with a 1.76 ERA but Steve Cishek has been very good himself with a 2.01 ERA and has much more experience closing games. Of course, Joe Maddon has been known to use committee's in the past during his Tampa Bay days so who knows where he will go with this. 


HERE IS THE POST BY CHEAT SHEET WAR ROOM WHERE OUR 2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE WAS RANKED NUMBER 2 IN THE INDUSTRY

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: BRYCE HARPER OUTFIELDER WASHINGTON NATIONALS

$400 million?  $300 million?  No matter what the sum of the expected massive contract that pending Washington Nationals free agent Bryce Harper nets this winter, his 2018 numbers almost don't even matter given the still very young age and overall insane offensive ability here.  While Harper still has just one 30-home run season under his belt in 6 MLB campaigns, he remained locked in as a first-round pick in almost all fantasy baseball leagues this past spring given the brand and fresh memories of his still unfathomable 2015 campaign.  While there have been some issues we will get into, Harper generally has been terrific as he went into Tuesday's games with the following numbers:

.212
19 HR
43 RBI
41 R
6 SB
23.6 K/9
17.0 BB/9
.208

What obviously stands out here is the hideous batting average and it is almost hard to believe Harper would be capable of such a terrible number there.  But in another reminder of how random average can be, take a look at his .208 BABIP which is so incredibly unlucky that I can't remember that number ever going that low for someone this late in the season and who has good speed like Harper has.  As a result, I say you can give Harper almost a complete mulligan there and soon you should expect the hits to start falling in and the average taking a sharp turn upwards.  I mean Harper's average has fluctuated wildly the last three-plus seasons (twice going over .315 and twice going under .250 in that span) but the 17.0 BB.9 is as good as it gets and reinforces how that average can be tossed out into the fluke bin.

In terms of the rest of the numbers, Harper is on pace for over 40 home runs and his runs and RBI number are just fine.  Add in a few steals and Harper has hit the mark in four offensive categories.  So while we still don't know where Harper will end up in free agency, the bottom line is that he remains at the age of 25 as good as it gets in today's fantasy baseball and there are no signs of that changing anytime soon.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Joc Pederson:  1/3 with his 9th HR in Game 1 while hitting .277.  Pederson is really impressing me so far with his 13.8 K/9 which is way down from 27.3 and 21.1 the last two seasons prior.  If that can be maintained, there is no telling where this can go considering the type of power Pederson has.  Should be owned everywhere.

Kenta Maeda:  3.2 IP 5 H 3 ER 5 BB 2 K with an ERA of 3.84.  Tough return for Maeda but the strikeouts continue to show up in massive numbers per inning and the advanced metrics still show ace-like skills.

Nelson Cruz:  1/3 with his 18th HR while hitting .250.  Cruz has been on a home run per every other game for awhile now as he marched toward another 40 in that category.  Since we already talked about the tough BABIP luck, it is pretty much standard Cruz.

Aaron Hicks:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .256.  Bam!  Third straight game with a homer from Hicks and right before the stretch I said to remain patient with the guy who has the tremendous natural ability.  Throw in the fact Brian Cashman can't stop gushing about him and there was no way Hicks wasn't going to be given every chance to succeed.

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/4 with his 17th HR while hitting .252.  Nothing really new to add here that hasn't been mentioned here in terms of the insane amount of strikeouts depressing the overall offensive potential impact.

Glyeber Torres:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting. 291.  Torres with 30 homers right out of the gate as a rookie would be something else.

Miguel Andujar:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .290.  I almost feel as though Andujar continues to unfairly get overshadowed by Torres but there is no denying the rookie third baseman has the skills to be a perennial top 12 guy at the position for awhile.

Domingo German:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 0 BB 9 K with an ERA of 4.77.  The kid went through that rough patch soon after his promotion but has been money his last three times out with strikeouts everywhere.  Always proceed with extra caution with a rookie AL East hurler in terms of evaluating every matchup but pick him up if someone dropped him.

Trea Turner:  4/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .267.  Turner was batting sixth which is not really what his fantasy baseball owners want to see since that spot will cut down on his plate appearances and especially his running chances (big game notwithstanding).

Matt Carpenter:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .239.  The home run binge continues on here for Carpenter who has that and the leadoff spot as two big feathers in his fantasy baseball cap going for him.

Tommy Pham:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .272.  Carpenter looks so much more boring when compared to his teammate who has the same amount of homers but the much better average.

Odubel Herrera:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .292.  Third straight game with a homer as that epic slump Herrera just recently endured is nothing but a memory.

Carlos Santana:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .226.  It just never got better here once Santana started putting up nasty averages during his early Cleveland days when we all thought he was going to be a stud offensive catcher across the board.

Luke Weaver:  4 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 4.69.  I am surprised the Cardinals have let this go on as long as it has considering Weaver's youth.  Minor league tuneup needed.

Jesus Aguilar:  2/3 with his 14th HR while hitting .298.  Here is what is funny about Aguilar.  If you offered him around your league, no one would bite in thinking he is a fluke and will just cool off.  Well that cool off hasn't happened yet and he is up to 14 home runs with a near-.300 average. 

Starling Marte:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .280.  Marte looks exactly like the same player he was prior to his PED bust so why did he even go there?

Freddy Peralta:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.30.  Another one of those young and wild pitchers who could be taking the Blake Snell path in 2019 to big prominence once the kinks are knocked out. 

Johan Camargo:  4/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .240.  Even in very deep mixers (talking 14 or more), Camargo is still pretty much waiver fodder.

Mike Clevinger:  7.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.00.  All you need to know here is that Clevinger's 2.91 BB/9 is down from 4.44 a year ago.  Everything else falls into place.

Joey Votto:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .302.  The power is down but I refuse to consider any drop-off here just yet considering how Votto can get as hot as any hitter on the planet. 

Sal Romano:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 4 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.18.  Great outing but let's move on to more pertinent stuff.

Kyle Schwarber:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .241.  Yeah it is not .200 but Schwarber once again has not shown the ability to help anywhere but in homers. 

Rich Hill:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.99.  There is not a more volatile pitcher in all of fantasy baseball than the blister-plagued Hill and at his advanced age that makes taking a shot here even more of a fruitless endeavor. 

Mike Montgomery:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 4 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.11.  Montgomery was wild but kept the runs to a minimum as he continues to serve as a stable SP 5. 

Rafael Devers:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .243.  Ehhhh things are getting very shaky here.

Chris Sale:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 2.74.  What is interesting here is that Sale was once a huge Tommy John/injury risk but he has been incredibly durable the last few seasons.  This speaks to the argument that getting past your mid-20's as a young/hard-throwing pitcher greatly reduces the Tommy John chance as the muscles/joints stabilize to the workload.  The evidence is striking.

C.J. Cron:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .237.  Cron keeps sliding further down the Rays lineup as the average takes a similar plunge.

Blake Snell:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 7 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.48.  Wow the walks in this one were like dreaming about a past girlfriend that drove you crazy. 

Justin Verlander:  6.2 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 1.60.  Throw Verlander into the Chris Sale point I made above. 

Cole Hamels:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.41.  The strikeout rate coming back was the key for Hamels becoming as decent fantasy baseball pitcher again but he has to try and get out of the AL to extend this run going into next season. 

Nolan Arenado:  3/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .311.  The rare top-notch hitter we don't ever have anything to say about given the ultra-consistent numbers.

Trevor Story:  2/5 with his 16th HR while hitting .271.  Now we are talking in terms of the average!

Ian Desmond:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .214.  Not so much here!

Carlos Gonzalez:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .272.  You almost want CarGo to just go away so the young Colorado outfield prospects can show what they can do on an daily basis. 

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .266.  Goldy has managed to get back to his first-round standing in literally like the last three weeks. 

Ian Kinsler:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .225. Hanging on.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: BROKEN HAND TO KNOCK OUT HUNTER STRICKLAND FOR 6-8 WEEKS

The early front-runner for Dumbest Injury of the 2018 Fantasy Baseball season undoubtedly will go to San Francisco Giants closer Hunter Strickland who suffered a broken hand after punching a door after leaving his Monday appearance.  The break was found on subsequent testing done after the game and now Strickland will miss the next 6-8 weeks and throw the Giants' closer spot in flux yet again.  The real shame of it all is that Strickland had been pitching great in the closer role in place of the injured Mark Melancon; recording a 2.84 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 29 K in 31.2 IP.  Now Strickland will be out until well after the All-Star break and he could be drop-worthy in deeper leagues.  In his place, manager Bruce Bochy said he would turn to either lefty Tony Watson (1.87, 0.95, 40 K in 33.2 IP) or Sam Dyson (2.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 26 K in 32.1 IP).  Since we have seen Dyson struggle badly closing games in the past, Watson would be the guy we would pick up if we had just one spot to use.  It was also telling that Bochy didn't mention the just recently returned Melancon who struck out the side the other day in the seventh inning. 


2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: AMARI COOPER WR OAKLAND RAIDERS

When it comes to prime players with regards to the 2018 fantasy football season, few elicit such a reaction either positive or negative with such force as Oakland Raiders fourth-year wideout Amari Cooper.  Having been drafted 4th overall in 2015 after a stellar career at Alabama, Cooper immediately went out and produced back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons for the Raiders as he hinted at star WR 1 ability.  Then 2017 arrived and Cooper had what could only be described as a miserable season across the board as he missed two games due to injury and saw his offensive numbers dip to the tune of just 48 catches for 680 yards and 7 scores.  This after Cooper went as a second-round pick in the majority of fantasy football leagues.  As a result of that dud, Cooper became a pariah by the end of the season and his outlook for 2018 is being handled with extra caution since he burned so many a year ago.  Be that as it may, Cooper actually could be shaping up as a big-time value player for a number of reason which we will talk about.

The first positive going for Cooper obviously is the arrival of Jon Gruden as head coach.  Given that Gruden is widely considered one of the best offensive minds in the game and was once a wide receiver coach, the easy assumption is that he will do wonders for getting Cooper back on track.  Then there is the fact that TD vulture Michael Crabtree is now in a Baltimore Ravens uniform which will now make Cooper the number 1 option in the red zone as well.  Having a bit of a Julio Jones tendency to not score a high amount of touchdowns despite tremendous physical ability, Cooper is being talked about by Gruden as being the main guy in the team's passing attack.  Combine all of that together and Cooper could easily slide back to WR 1 status with a run at career-best numbers across the board.  So while last season was certainly ugly, Cooper is still young and filled with potential to be a smart pick no from late Round 2 or later.  

2018 PROJECTION:  88 receptions 1,105 yards 8 TD  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: BRANDON NIMMO OUTFIELDER NEW YORK METS

Score one for the state of Wyoming.  It is from that non-baseball hotbed locale where one of the hottest hitting outfielders in all of fantasy baseball originated from as the New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo comes off a two-home run game Monday night that continued what has been a scorching stretch at the dish.  Having been drafted by the team in the first round of the 2011 draft, Nimmo took his time reaching the majors and the book on him was that of a decent on-base/batting average hitter who had little in the way of power.  Whether it is through adding strength in growing into his body more or moving closer to prime years (having turned 25 this past March), Nimmo has been one of the few positive stories emanating from the Mets this season. Operating out of the leadoff spot for the majority of the season so far, Nimmo goes into Tuesday's games with the following numbers:

.287
12 HR
22 RBI
35 R
7 SB
26.7 K/9
12.4 BB/9
.358

Add in the terrific .410 OBP and Nimmo has been an on-base machine who all of a sudden has become a power/speed/average stud almost overnight.  While there are clear struggles versus lefties and with strikeouts, Nimmo also has a keen batting eye as shown by his 12.4 BB/9 which helps keep the average in solid territory despite the previous issues we mentioned.  As it is, the Mets are content to leave Nimmo in the leadoff spot where his better than expected steal acumen can work best and where the runs will continue to flow nicely.  The power has really been the story though as Nimmo never showed this type of home run ability previously both with the Mets and in the minors but it is not a total shock given his physical maturity and development as a hitter.  So in the end, Nimmo could be on the way toward one of the best value play seasons in all of fantasy baseball in terms of his five-tool ability and "Finding Nimmo" would be a slam-dunk team name as well. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Juan Soto:  1/2 with his 5th HR in Game 1 while hitting .312.  While he can't legally pound the brews, Soto can surely pound the baseball with the best of them already at 19.  Can't think of a better keeper right now outside of maybe Ronald Acuna.

Anthony Rendon:  1/2 with his 4th HR in Game 1 while hitting .276.  Rendon seems to be one of those players who always does the opposite of expectations in any given season.

Aaron Hicks:  2/5 with his 9th HR in Game 2 while hitting .246.  I kept saying to stay patient with Hicks and now the results are showing up nicely.  Could go 20/20 if all breaks right and he continues on this pace. 

Sonny Gray:  5 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.89.  If you stupidly are holding onto Gray due to just the name brand, you can only start him just on the road.  Overall he is a complete abomination like I said he would be as a charter member of my "Busts" section in my 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide.

Matt Carpenter:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .235.  The .300 averages are a forever thing of the past since Carpenter began swinging for the fences a few seasons ago and so the current product is a bit all-or-nothing if that floats your boat. 

Yadier Molina:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .273.  By now you know Molina will continue to produce no matter how old he is and how many injuries he comes back from.  A true freak of a catcher in every way.

Tommy Pham:  1/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .269.  Still bad at myself for not being more bullish on this toolsy dynamo.

Odubel Herrera:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .293.  We are in uncharted territory with Herrera and his power this season and his big breakthrough this season is the hitting version of Aaron Nola as both guys were annual favorites of mine who took an extra year to realize their potential (and caused me lost of blowback).

Nick Pivetta:  7.1 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 13 K with an ERA of 4.08.  You are looking at one of the biggest strikeout reveals this season as Pivetta has been a K machine from the jump.  While he is still a bit inconsistent as most young hurlers are, I was in on this back in mid-April so I am wedded.  Damn I like a lot of Phillies and this from a New York guy.  Looking at you too Eflin.

Trevor Williams:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.00.  If Williams can successfully push back the erosion we have seen from him the last few weeks, I will pay attention but I won't bet on it.

Matt Davidson:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .241.  Whether it is Matt Davidson or Matt Chapman or Matt Carpenter, they are all the limited/mediocre same. 

Trevor Bauer:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.50.  Despite the added challenges of facing the DH, Bauer, Severino, Cole, Kluber, Sale, and Verlander have been downright unfair.  It used to be you avoided AL pitchers if you could but now all the top ones reside there. 

Wilson Ramos:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .286.  What is funny about Ramos is that he can continue to have a fine season like he is having but then still be a forgotten man in 2019 fantasy baseball drafts.  Happens all the time to certain players and Ramos is in that class. 

Gerrit Cole:  7 IP 3 H 4 ER 5 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.59.  While he was a bit wild, the march to 300 K's continues onward. 

Shin-Soo Choo:  2/2 with his 13th HR while hitting .279.  Holy crap Choo may hit 25 home runs or more.

Adrian Beltre:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .322.  The power is certianly drying up andhis body is betraying him constantly but Beltre can still put forth line drives like the best of them.

Brandon Nimmo:  4/6 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .287.  Third home run in two games for Nimmo and a Status Report on the way for later. 

Devin Mesoraco:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .221.  I suspect Mesoraco's ownership is way down again after he flashed upon arriving with the New York Mets but in two catcher formats I would give it a bit more time to see if he can be a help.

Jacob DeGrom:  8 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.51.  Even Coors Field can't stop DeGrom whose only resistance has been found through the limp Mets bats costing him wins. 

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .265.  All is well that ends well. 

Nick Ahmed:  2/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .227.  Those 10 home runs kind of snuck up on the fantasy baseball community but that is really the only thing worth talking about here which is not saying much.

Albert Pujols:  1/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .249.  With the average not yet competely in the gutter this season, Pujols can still hang as a decent backup in most leagues.

Justin Upton:  1/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .255.  Another fine season developing with this guy as his owners continue to seemingly curse at everything Upton does. 

Jaime Barria:  6 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 3.57.  While he was pitching well leading into this, I was not a fan of Barria given the lack of K's and operating in the AL.  This is never a combination you want to have on your roster. 


Monday, June 18, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: KELVIN HERRERA ACQUIRED BY NATIONALS

The July 31 trade deadline is still more than a month away but the Washington Nationals got a jump start on their summer shopping when they came to terms on a deal to acquire Kansas City Royals closer Kelvin Herrera late on Monday.  Despite coming off a terrible 2017 campaign after a magnificent first season closing the year prior, Herrera has been completely dominant in 2018 in recording a 1.05 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and striking out 22 batters in 25.2 IP.  Unfortunately the deal hurts Herrera's fantasy baseball value as at best he will be a co-closer with Sean Doolittle and more likely will be a setup man to the lefty.  Doolittle has been magnificent in his own right this season as the Nats closer (1.52 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 41 K in 29.2 IP) and actually been better almost across the board than Herrera but it will be interesting to see how they are both initially deployed.  In terms of the Royals and the saves picture, there is nothing but a mess being left with Herrera's departure as Brandon Maurer has a 13.50 ERA, Burch Smith a 7.31, Justin Grimm a 16.76, and Blaine Boyer is hurt.  It could very well be a messy committee with no one really worth adding unless you were desperate. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: RHYS HOSKINS OUTFIELDER PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

With this already being the third Status Report done on  Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Rhys Hoskins in just two-plus months of the 2018 fantasy baseball season, there has been a lot of issues worth discussing to say the least.  Having come into the season among the most highly sought-after players in drafts after Hoskins came up midway through 2017 and began a nightly home run assault on the league, expectations went through the roof.  As so often happens with young players amid those expectations, the resulting production has not matched the hype as Hoskins began to develop struggles at the dish and then was forced to go on the DL with injury.  Since coming off the DL 8 games ago however, Hoskins has been really good and the power is really starting to take off.  So with that said let's dig in a bit deeper here.

Now as far as the season as a whole so far, Hoskins has been good in two of the three months.  A .303 April with 4 home runs was a fine start but the bottom really fell out in May when he sank to a ghastly .161 average with 2 home runs and K's everywhere.  Then the injury hit as Hoskins' owners became even more beside themselves.  Since his return to the lineup though, Hoskins has hit .333 with 4 home runs in just 30 at-bats which speaks to the massive potential here. 

Moving into the advanced statistics world, Hoskins still is struggling in the strikeout column but his ridiculous 32.0 K percentage in May is down to just 17.1 in June which is promising.  Add in an overall 15.1 BB/9 which is tremendous and things are looking up here for the slugger.  If Hoskins can continue to lower his strikeout rate as he had done so far in June, the power will really begin to flow and the home runs will really become potent as well.  I personally remain bullish on Hoskins and think he is a major hold for those who own him.  You already have hopefully gone through the struggle phase and so you should make sure you are there for when things turn for the better like they look like they are. 

 

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CARLOS CARRASCO SP CLEVELAND INDIANS

The expected happened early Sunday morning when the Cleveland Indians placed top 10-15 starter Carlos Carrasco on the 10-day DL with what is being called a right elbow contusion.  Carrasco suffered during the contusion when he took a line drive off the area during his struggling Saturday start and initial fears were of a break of some sort as he was sent to the hospital for some further evaluation.  The fact that there has been no update outside of the DL and initial contusion call likely means Carrasco avoided the dreaded break but he could be out longer than the 10 days depending on how quickly the bruise heals.  Once again we are reminded of how Carrasco finds health trouble at least once a season as he has a reputation for being one of the more injury-prone top pitchers in fantasy baseball.  With that said, Carrasco has some terrific power stuff as his 9.46 K/9 shows and the fact he came off of 226 K's a season ago.  Despite all the K's, Carrasco's 4.24 ERA is quite a bit above expectations and a .306 BABIP that is almost neutral shows he is earning his ratios.  Digging a bit further, Carrasco's walks are up just slightly and home run rate a bit more than that but his 94.3 average fastball velocity, while still excellent, would mark the fourth straight season he saw a dip.  That could be all the difference in the ERA jumping combined with the slight walk and home run increase.  In the end though, Carrasco is usually a strong finisher to a season and better times are expected when he returns.  Stay patient with the guy as he should bring the overall results we forecasted would occur.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Justin Bour:  2/5 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .240.  The season has been a step back from 2017 for Bour overall but the power is still there for those in NL-only formats.

Mark Trumbo:  3/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .261.  Trumbo has become a forgotten man in fantasy baseball for the second time in three seasons which means he should be added where available as we saw in 2016 where his tremendous natural power can take you under such a setup.

Shane Bieber:  5.2 IP 10 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.97.  The live arm is apparent here given all the K's Bieber put forth in the minors but he has had a ton of baserunners in his two MLB starts in 2018 as well to suggest he may be more of a story for 2019.

Teoscar Hernandez:  3/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .268.  Hernandez has managed to hang onto his position among the first two spots in the Toronto batting order almost since being called up which speaks to how consistent he has been with the power.  The average is teetering a bit into ugly territory but Hernandez is still a daily league guy for now.

Yangervis Solarte:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .258.  Anyone who has owned Solarte in the past can't help but ask where all this power was before as you can't put all the blame on Petco Park.

Randal Grichuk:  3/3 with 2 home runs (7 for season) while hitting .196. Joey Gallo is proud.

Scott Schebler:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .281.  I did say a year ago and throughout the winter that Schebler was sitting on a much better average this season to go with the solid power given how much poor BABIP luck he had a year ago.  Right on schedule.

Eugenio Suarez:  1/5 with his 14th HR while hitting .297.  I can't stop gushing about this guy as he steps forward to become a top fantasy baseball third baseman which some of the older guard fade away (looking at your Mr. Longoria).

Gregory Polanco:  3/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .211.  Austin Meadows is not impressed.

Colin Moran:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting. 273.  Moran is doing a decent David Freese impersonation which counts for something as a backup or a starter in leagues that go very deep in starters.

Aaron Hicks:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .243.  I still preach sticking with Hicks whenever he is playing given the power/speed game but that average has to get better in a hurry.

C.C. Sabathia:  7.2 IP 10 H 3 H 3 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.30.  To think we all collectively wrote this guy off four seasons ago when he was one of the worst pitchers in baseball.

Julio Teheran:  6 IP 0 H 0 ER 3 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.97.  Teheran was filthy in this one with no hits given up and all those K's in his first start off the DL.  The continuation of what has been a very intriguing comeback campaign.

Carlos Correa:  2/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .273.  Correa still has a ton of work to do to even get back into the same statistical hemisphere as Francisco Lindor.

Nick Castellanos:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .310.  All of us who were wondering where Castellanos' home runs were all season realize the answer is right here in front of us the last two days.

Odubel Herrera:  3/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .291.  Herrera had really hit the skids of late but that honestly was just hi average correcting itself to proper norms. 

Rhys Hoskins:  1/5 with his 10th HR while hitting. 248.  There are going to be a ton of home runs from thie guy from here on out. 

Maikel Franco:  2/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .247.  We have seen too much of Franco hitting for an ugly average the last few seasons to think this is not who he is now.  Very disappointing because I expected better.

Eric Thames:  2/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) and his third SB while hitting .244.  The humidity in half the country made it a home run bonanza across fantasy baseball and that should continue for the majority of the week.

Jesus Aguilar:  3/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .293.  I am not even sure Milwaukee knew what it had here.  What a nice surprise. 

Aaron Nola:  4 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 2.55.  Nola survived the home run derby as best he could in this game with the temps/humidity making almost every solid contact sail out.  No worries.

Chase Anderson:  6 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 4.54.  Anderson wasn't so lucky. 

Marcus Semien:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .255.  Still curious to see what a full season of Semien out of the leadoff spot looks like.

Andrew Heaney:  8 IP 3 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.64.  Some may accuse me of being a Heaney apologist but I stand by him continually given the massive potential and for the fact his advanced metrics still scream out high-end guy.  Getting there.

Xander Boagerts:  2/5 with his 12th HR while hitting .279.  Looks like Bogaerts is all right with trading a bit of average for more power this season which I am fine on as lng as the former doesn't go much lower.

Rafael Devers:  2/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .239.  All in all for Devers in his first full MLB season, he has done well enough to this point but he is still a work in progress as a hitter overall.

Eduardo Rodriguez:  6 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.59.  While I like Heaney better, you can throw this guy in there as someone on the brink of upper-level status if he works on the consistency issue.

Brandon Belt:  1/3 with his 12th HR while hitting .302.  It is a shame Belt got hurt yet again this season as he was in the midst of a major power run but he seems primed to reprise it. 

Nick Hundley:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .257.  Good OLD Nick Hundley always there when you need him.

DJ LeMahieu:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .281.  While he hit a bunch of homers in April, I still think any one you get the rest of the way should be considered a nice bonus. 

Jurickson Profar:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .243.  I am rooting for the kid since he endured so much physical trouble to get himself into the position where he is now as a daily guy for the Texas Rangers.  While he is not there yet in terms of fantasy baseball usage, the tools are evident in terms of why he was such a highly sought-after commodity for so all those seasons. 



Sunday, June 17, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: ROYALS GIVE ADALBERTO MONDESI ANOTHER TRY

While he has a new name this time around, the hope for the Kansas City Royals is that outfield prospect Adalberto Mondesi will put forth a new offensive approach/results during his latest promotion to the major leagues.  It was early Sunday when the Royals made the announcement that Mondesi would get the call for Sunday's game and while he was not in the starting lineup that day, the plan according to manager Ned Yost is to start him 3-4 times a week.  Despite possessing breathtaking speed that could make him an annual stolen base dynamo, Mondesi has failed miserably at times both at the minor league and major league levels in terms of just picking up hits.  Even this season at Triple-A, Mondest was hitting just .250 he has yet to even bat over .200 during short stints with the Royals in 2016 and 2017.  On the bright side, Mondesi does have 5 home runs and 10 stolen bases (in 10 tries) and so there remains some decent power/speed upside here if he can figure out the hitting aspect of things.  In the meantime, Mondesi should be picked up in deep mixers and especially in AL-only leagues given how tough stolen bases are to find in today's game and maybe he could turn out to be the next prospect who got bored in the minors and failed produce before turning it on with a renewed focus in the majors. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SATURDAY

Matt Duffy:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .311.  Duffy is leading off every game now for the Rays and that alone carries decent value in fantasy baseball given the high amount of plate appearances.  Add in the .300 average and moderate power and Duffy is putting forth a nice value play season so far.

Giancarlo Stanton:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .242.  A 31.5 K/9 is simply hideous and has really dragged down Stanton tremendously this season.  If he hits under .250 as he seems to want to do this season., it is imperative that Stanton hits at least 40 home runs given the first-round price tag.  The strikeout issue was the red flag that made Stanton a decent risk in the first place and this is the worst case scenario short of an injury for those who paid such a lofty price this spring.

Gary Sanchez:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .190.  There is only so many times I can say that Sanchez' season is being undermined by an insanely unlucky BABIP before his jaded fantasy baseball owners tune me out.  Understood.

Luis Severino:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.09.  The durability and excellence has been beyond anticipated from my vantage point this season as I was worried about the major innings jump he went through last year.  I guess Severino is nothing but an ace freak.

Eugenio Suarez:  1/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .299.  Suarez' learning plate discipline in primarily lowering his K/9 from 23.3 in 2017 to just 17.1 this season has elevated him to very lofty status this season and really that was all he needed to do to reach that level.  Buy in fully.

Josh Harrison:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .297.  Typically underrated Harrison season who has annually is a favorite value play as he is one of those strange cases of a very effective offensive player who happens to always fall through the draft cracks.

Devon Travis:  2/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .229.  The light is almost out here in terms of Travis being an interest in fantasy baseball. 

Max Scherzer:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.06.  I mean the guy never seems to have an off-day.

Marco Estrada:  6.2 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.66.  Estrada has been nothing but a batting practice pitcher for the last two seasons so don't overanalyze this outing. 

Nick Castellanos:  3/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .310.  Been wondering where the power has been all season but Castellanos at least has hit consistently overall throughout.  With the homers tending to come in bunches, Castellanos still can get to 25 but he really needs to continue picking it up on that front like this.

Alex Bregman:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .264.  Bregman batted second between George Springer and Jose Altuve and that is about as plush a spot as you can get.  The hits should really pile up if that setup remains. 

Dallas Keuchel:  6 IP 6 H 0 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.15.  Keuchel has a .297 BABIP so his shaky numbers have been earned and one red flag is the fact his K/9 is down to around 7.00 which is below average and always an issue in the AL. 

J.T. Realmuto:  3/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting. 309.  Realmuto is a stud player on a team full of retreads/bench players but boy is this swing as pure as it gets. 

Jonathan Schoop:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .209.  The encore to the 32 home runs a year ago has been quite ghastly but a drop from a .330 BABIP in 2017 to just .236 this season is a major reason why the average looks the way it does.  While I never saw Schoop as the .293 hitter he was in 2017 due to his allergy to walks, split that with his average now and that is where he SHOULD be. 

Marcus Semien:  1/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .252.  Semien is doing just enough to hang as a starting option in deeper fantasy baseball leagues but some more steals (just 4 so far) would help improve that standing. 

Sean Manaea:  6 IP 4 H 3 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.56.  The strikeout rate continues to lag under 7.00 which speaks to the limitations here and the regression in overall numbers since the no-no.

Eddie Rosario:  4/4 with his 16th HR and 6th SB while hitting .323.  Eddie Rosario has morphed into Mike Trout-lite right before our eyes.  I was already obsessed with guy coming into the season and now that is bordering on disturbing hysteria.  Completely legit talent who began hinting at this in 2017. 

Francisco Lindor:  2/5 with his 16th HR while hitting .292.  Seems like ten years ago when no one could hit on Cleveland in April.

Jose Ramirez:  1/4 with his 21st HR while hitting .292.  Ramirez would and should be taken over Kris Bryant next season.

Rhys Hoskins:  3/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .249,  That rumbling you feel is the nuclear home run explosion kicking off for this guy. 

Zack Eflin:  5 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.43.  Instead of focusing so much on Nick Pivetta, we maybe should have looked more closely here. 

Sean Newcomb:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.70.  Basically as a lineup, your toast if your not getting more than 2 walks from Newcomb. 

Madison Bumgarner:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 4 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.67.  The guy looks so unimpressive so far and all those recent injuries and previous massive inning totals are always a red flag combination. 


Saturday, June 16, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: JUAN SOTO OUTFIELDER WASHINGTON NATIONALS

I guess teenagers can play baseball at the highest level after all.  One look at Washington Nationals superstar outfield prospect Juan Soto would cement this previously discounted opinion as the 19-year-old has been nothing short of brilliant in his initial 20 games with the team, with the kid putting forth a power/average game that is very valuable in both today's real and fantasy baseball universe.  Already the projections are going haywire as to how great Soto can be and he goes into Friday's games looking to build on his tremendous start: 

.344
5 HR 
12 RBI 
14 R
1 SB
14.5 K/9
15.8 BB/9
.354 BABIP

I mean look at those K/9 and BB/9 rates!  While we always talk about how Vladimir Guerrero Jr. profiles just like his father, Soto may be an even better version of what the former Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Angels stud used to be.  You just don't see such tremendous plate discipline both in the walk and strikeout rates from such a young slugger like Soto and projections can one day center on him being a spectacular four-category monster (with just steals being open to debate).  The fact of the matter is that Soto already is an everyday OF 3 in fantasy baseball and you get the sense that he will only go up from here.  In fact given the talent at hand with the kid, Soto could very well graduate into an OF 1 before the end of the season and certainly for the following 2019 campaign.  What a start.  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ROSS STRIPLING SP LOS ANGELES DODGERS

What in tarnation is going on here?  How is it that a guy who was universally ignored when it came to 2018 fantasy baseball drafts back in March suddenly morph into one of the best pitchers in basebal just two-plus months later?  Well if you are Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, that type of unfathomable journey is exactly what has taken place so far after another gem Friday night lowered his eye-opening numbers to the following rates:

6-1
1.76 ERA
1.01 WHIP
10.58 K/9
1.49 BB/9
.299 BABIP

Those are simply incredible number above and what makes them even more amazing as there has been almost zero luck involved as Stripling's .299 BABIP is almost right on the nose in neutral .300 territory.  So what you see is what you are actually getting here and it has been beyond ace-like no matter where you look.  The ratios are phenomenal as shown by Striplin's 1.76 ERA and 1.01 WHIP and if you didn't know any better, you would have thought you were looking at his teammate Clayton Kershaw a few seasons ago before health woes began to downgrade his stuff.  Then there are the strikeouts which are insane a 10.58 and again remind us of a healthy Kershaw.  What is interesting there is that Stripling didn't previously hint at such ability, what with his K/8 coming in at just 8.96 and 6.66 his previous two years in stints with the Dodgers.  Whatever adjustments Stripling has made, he has more swing-and-miss stuff than even before and a simple explanation may simply be that he is finally 100 percent healthy as he has dealt with some serious injuries during prior years.  Add in the excellent walk rate and the fact Stripling doesn't give up home runs and this performance has legs and the ability to continue onward throughout the summer.  If this were a Trend or Mirage post, Stripling would undoubtedly be a "TREND" and he is a HOLD as well the rest of the way. 


Friday, June 15, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT SLEEPER: JERICK McKINNON RB SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

With the summer now just days away, it is time to begin our 2018 fantasy football coverage and we always begin by focusing in on the top sleeper target from yours truly to get things underway.  It is under that setup where we look deeper into San Francisco 49ers free agent arrival Jerick McKinnon who became the obsession of head coach Kyle Shanahan once the winter signing period began.  Once McKinnon signed on the dotted line, Shanahan didn't waste any time speaking glowingly over this new starting running back and how he has big plans for him.  This immediately set off fantasy football alarms everywhere, in particular for those who take part in PPR formats for reasons we will explain below.  So let's not waste any more time and get right to it.

Now as far as the Shanahan marriage with McKinnon, it needs to be brought back to the attention of the fantasy football community how he helped turn Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman into a first-round PPR stud over the last few seasons.  When Shanahan was in charge of the Atlanta offense before landing in San Fran prior to last season, it was Freeman who he unleashed as a running/receiving dynamo who held top RB 1 status in PPR formats and low-level RB 1 status in standard leagues.  Remember that in addition to rushing for over 1,000 yards and a massive 22 total touchdowns on the ground from 2015-16, Freeman also caught 73 and 54 passes respectively during that span as well.  Talk about a PPR monster and Shanahan has plans for McKinnon to be that type of player for the 49ers this season.  Now entering into his fifth NFL season, we have seen flashes of big speed from McKinnon during his previous four years while with the Minnesota Vikings and also the ability to be a decent factor as a receiver as well.  Unfortunately, McKinnon was stuck in a timeshare almost throughout this time period and so he was never able to really flourish in a way he figures to do now.  The best part in all of this is that McKinnon's 2018 fantasy football draft price doesn't figure to be astronomical so a tremendous value/upside pick could be had here.  Given the track record of Shanahan and his work with running backs previously, McKinnon could be a monster PPR man on the lines of a David Johnson or a Kareem Hunt but a full round or two cheaper.  Get on board here because McKinnon is headed for big things this season.

2018 PROJECTION:  1,125 rushing yards 7 TD, 59 receptions 554 yards 2 TD  

******BE SURE TO PICK UP YOUR COPY OF OUR 2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE HERE:  https://www.amazon.com/Fantasy-Sports-Football-Draft-Guide/dp/1717048900/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1528988288&sr=8-4&keywords=2018+fantasy+football

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: J.T. REALMUTO CATCHER MIAMI MARLINS

As the figurative "last man standing" in a Miami Marlins clubhouse that was almost completely dismantled during the offseason as Derek Jeter traded whatever wasn't nailed down, All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto trudges ahead with another very good season as the rare/very valuable backstop that can put forth a terrific offensive game.  Despite beginning the year on the DL, Realmuto has been as good as any catcher this season in fantasy baseball as he takes the following numbers into Thursday's games:

.304
7 HR
22 RBI
30 R
1 SB

Still young at the age of 27, Realmuto is once again showing the very rare skill of being a catcher who can bat .300 and the power continues to impress as well which is a tremendous combination given thee offensive challenges of those who don the tools of ignorance.  What really makes Realmuto a hitting talent is his annually low K/9 rates and this season is no different as his 17.2 K/9 shows.  While he could use some more walks (just a 6.9 BB/9 rate), Realmuto has few issues you can knock the guy on.  The big question now is if the Marlins will trade him and as far as right now is concerned, all is quiet on that front.  If Realmuto doesn't get dealt, he will be hurt a bit in the counting numbers given the lack of support in the Marlins lineup but a trade virtually anywhere else will serve as a major boost.  While it is a tough slog for Realmuto operating in such a listless environment, his fantasy baseball owners have zero complaints about his game this season.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Rhys Hoskins:  3/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .244.  Hoskins is starting to percolate and the buy low window will close very fast here.  Possibly last chance to get him dirt cheap.

Nick Williams:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting. 230.  Was never excited about Nick Williams coming into the season and he still smells like a fourth outfielder to me. 

Ryan McMahon:  1/3 with his first HR while hitting .202.  Like Tom Murphy a few seasons ago, this Rockies prospect fizzled out quickly but always pay attention to any Colorado hitter. 

Andrew McCutchen:  3/7 with his 8th HR while hitting .267.  Yeah I guess you got to use him again.  After all that, McCutchen is close enough to .280 with improving per game power. 

Dan Straily:  5 IP 3 H 3 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.23.  Straily strong suit is not giving length with his starts but the K's are always underrated and he has been a top SP 5 for a while and through multiple organizations. 

Francisco Lindor:  2/5 with his 15th HR while hitting .295.  The average up around .300 as expected after the fluky drop a year ago and the power is being completely legitimized from 2017 as well.  What a talent and Carlos Correa is clearly looking up to him in every way. 

Jose Ramirez:  1/5 with his 20th HR while hitting .292. So after all that talk about Ramirez trying to replicate the power uptick a year ago, he may now actually get to 40 home runs.  Incredible. 

Jose Abreu:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .288.  The fact that Abreu slipped to the third round this past March in drafts makes him one of the best picks relative to round in all of fantasy baseball.  There may not be a more dependable hitter around. 

Mike Clevinger:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.15.  Add in the 1.18 WHIP and Clevinger has been tremendous.  Lots of validation among Cleveland hitters and pitchers this season and Clevinger has come through in every way and more for his fantasy baseball owners after the unexpected a breakout a year ago. 

Michael Fulmer:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.13.  This is about where I anticipated Fulmer being around ratio-wise after his unsustainable previous seasons.  Pay the cost based on these ratios going forward. 

Brian McCann:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .216.  You can make the case that McCann has been the third-best catcher-eligible player on the Houston Astros this season.  No longer a fantasy baseball story even in very deep leagues. 

Khris Davis:  2/4 with his 20th HR while hitting .248.  Extra credit goes to Davis for going long versus Justin Verlander. 

Matt Olson:  1/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .242.  Olson has been worth everyday status for about two weeks now and that should continue.  A 28.5 K/9 is dangerously high though so the bottom could drop out at a second's notice. 

Justin Verlander:  7 IP 5 H 3 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.61.  This "shelling" opens the door for Gerrit Cole to grab the AL Cy Young favorite spot. 

Matt Duffy:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .316.  Not sure how much longer Duffy can hit over .300 given his .260-ish career marks but as always enjoy the fun while it lasts and at the very least he is a terrific MI guy in leagues that go deeper than 12.

Aaron Hicks:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .243.  A .276 BABIP has depressed thins for Hicks in terms of his average but a 7/6 split on his per game pace is not awful by any means given the earlier DL stint. 

Gleyber Torres:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .295.  Nothing Torres will do from now through the end of the season will surprise me given the vast amount of talent at work here.  Already moving toward top-tier status. 

Blake Snell:  5 IP 5 H 4 ER 4 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.58. Again, while there were a ton of baserunners, Snell hung in there and punched out 8 in Yankee Stadium which is another sign of growth here.  What a season. 

Domingo German:  6 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 10 K with an ERA of 5.23. We have seen the strikeout potential in glimpses but German is much too raw to use outside of streaming at this point in his very young career.

Ender Inciarte:  2/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .250.  Really think the Braves should put Inciarte back in the leadoff spot to remove some pressure from the scuffling Ozzie Albies. 

Anibal Sanchez:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.93.  Sanchez has been rejuvenated with the Braves and honestly, he faded to the reaches of the fantasy baseball world due mostly to serious injuries.  Pretty much everything in Atlanta has come up smelling like roses this season so no reason this shouldn't be any different. 

Brandon Nimmo:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .265.  The Mets are so pathetic that Nimmo is now hitting in the third spot.  Good for Nimmo's growing fantasy baseball value but a huge indictment on his team.

Amed Rosario:  1/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .238.  Things have not gone according to the sleeper plan for Rosario this season but that just means the post-hype sleeper angle is in place.

Michael Conforto:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .216.  Conforto is playing for his major league life so this helps but boy has it been a trying season.

Paul Goldschmidt:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .258.  Goldy is killing it right now in almost completely erasing April and May.  That's how it goes in fantasy baseball which is about as an extreme "what have you done for me lately?" arena. 

David Peralta:  2/3 with 2 home runs (14 for season) while hitting .279.  Just hours after doing a feature on Peralta's power growth, he goes yard two more times.  Yes sir. 

Xander Bogaerts:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .281.  Love the power growth here as Bogaerts taps into his prime years but it always just comes down to health here which already has been a bit of a challenge. 

David Price:  7 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.76.  Price will throw a gem every single time out the rest of the season based solely on the fact I cut him last month.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL ISSUES: MIGUEL SANO DEMOTED ALL THE WAY DOWN TO HIGH-A

Having already stated my strong opinion to avoid Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano for 2018 fantasy baseball due to what I felt was a vastly overrated/strikeout-prone power game, anyone had to be shocked when we learned Thursday that he had been demoted all the way down to High-A in the minors.  Previously dogged by allegations of domestic violence, Sano dealt with injuries the first two months of the season and was woeful at the dish to the tune of a .203 average and a downright hideous .40.5 K/9 rate.  The fact of the matter is that Sano was becoming an automatic out and the Twins clearly are trying to light a fire under him with the demotion to High-A.  Sano will have to revamp his swing in order to work his way back to the Twins as his current approach simply is not working.  While some in deeper formats may want to hold Sano, I would suggest cutting him loose in all fantasy baseball formats given the fact we don't know how long he will be on the farm and since he has been nothing but putrid when in the majors this season. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: DAVID PERALTA OUTFIELDER ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

When it came to the 2018 Arizona Diamondbacks batting lineup entering into the fantasy baseball season, the talk that dominated things centered on the installation of the humidor at Chase Field and how it could negatively impact the Paul Goldschmidt's, Jake Lamb's, and A.J. Pollock's of the world. With two of the three having seen their offensive numbers crater and the third go out with serious injury, good news on the hitting front was few and far between.  One bright spot however has been the performance of outfielder David Peralta who at the age of 30 seems poised for a career-year as he goes into Thursday's action with the following numbers:

.274
12 HR
34 RBI
30 R
2 SB
22.7 K/9
7.7 BB/9
.317 BABIP

Looking at the number, the home runs jump out quickly as Peralta already is just 5 short of his previous high of 17 set back in 2015.  Clearly, Peralta is hitting for power at a per game right he has never shown previously and some of that has to do with an increase both in his line drive (decent) and fly ball (slight) rates.  In addition, Peralta seems to be swinging much more aggressively this season as well since his K/9 of 22.7 is up by a bunch from 16.3 the year prior.  So while the power uptick is nice, Peralta has taken a hit in the average department after hitting a very good .293 a year ago. That is the trade-off that usually takes place under such an arrangement though and his fantasy baseball owners are not complaining.  

As far as the rest of the numbers are concerned, the counting stats in runs and RBI are solid which is helped by Peralta hitting at or near the top of the D-Backs lineup but the speed is almost non-existent so far with just the two stolen bases.  Overall though, Peralta has been a terrific waiver add who is holding his own as a solid OF 3 this season.  Still in his prime and showing the increased power, we are on the side of the fun continuing.  


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Freddie Freeman:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .344.  Freeman is as locked in as you can get right now and he has been the best buy by a mile with other first-round options such as Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt.

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 7 H 1 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.55.  Ridiculous.  Over his last five starts, DeGrom has given up 6 earned runs COMBINED and he has ZERO wins!  With a 1.55 ERA.  I mean you can't make this stuff up.

Mike Soroka:  6 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.57.  All outings versus the Mets need to be put into perspective but Soroka seems more than here to stay.

J.A. Happ:  5 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.48.  Wednesday was the day of the one-hitter I guess.

Lorenzo Cain:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .288.  Cain has been incredibly steady throughout the course of the season which is something to never overlook when you guys like Justin Upton drive us all up the way with his vast swings in production.

Mike Montgomery:  6 IP 2 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.31.  The WHIP is down to 1.08 as Montgomery has been downright dominant since moving into the Cubs rotation.  Said from the beginning he was worth trying out and his production has done nothing to change that line of thinking.

Mookie Betts:  1/4 with his 18th HR while hitting .352.  Betts is picking up right where he left off in terms of the dynamic five-tool ability he was achieving before landing on the DL.  Short of Mike Trout, no one has been better per game.

J.D. Martinez:  1/3 with his 22nd HR while hitting .313.  Why pitchers continue to give Martinez anything to hit is one of the season's great mysteries.

Chris Sale:  6 IP 2 H 1 ER 4 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.75.  It always needs to be said how incredible a performance Sale has put forth during his Boston Red Sox tenure given the AL East surroundings.

David Peralta:  1/4 with is 12th HR while hitting .274.  I didn't see this power coming.

Zack Greinke:  5 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 3.87.  Well this ERA is moving toward shaky territory which is concerning given the velocity dip but no need for a full blown panic just yet.

Mitch Haniger:  2/5 with his 16th HR while hitting .270.  It's like April all over again.

Nelson Cruz:  1/4 with his 16th HR while hitting .255.  I didn't think it was possible at the end of April but Cruz looks like he may get to 40 home runs yet again.

Ryon Healy:  3/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .255.  Four home runs in his last three games now for Healy as he fully has moved into daily status as your UTIL or CI bat.

Marco Gonzales:  5 IP 7 H 3 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Lots of baserunners for Gonzales but the strikeouts were impressive.  Keep trotting him out there.

Juan Soto:  2/3 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .344.  Forgive me for going overboard but I can't help it.  With Miguel Cabrera going out for the season, I now see a baby Cabrera/outfield version of the guy in this kid. 

Greg Bird:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .200.  Bird has done nothing for so long since coming back from injury that I thought he went back on the DL again.

Gleyber Torres:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .296.  It is always double exciting when a top prospect is hyped to the moon and back and then goes out and actually performs like this such as what we are seeing from this gem.  Looking already at second-round status in 2019.

Jorge Alfaro:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .248.  The average is up to usable status for Alfaro but only in two-catcher formats.

Jose Berrios:  6 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.51.  The WHIP remains a gem at 0.95 which speaks to how good Berrios is really pitching and while I try to avoid AL pitchers in yearly fantasy baseball leagues, I will be going after him with determination next season. 

Andrew McCutchen:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .262.  McCutchen is saving his season midway through the year yet again but he is now officially one of the most boring players to own in all of fantasy baseball. 

Trevor Bauer:  7.2 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 12 K with an ERA of 2.69. Bauer has dealt with a lot of Jacob DeGrom bad luck with wins (just 5-5) but he is making a push for 300 strikeouts in what is shaping up to be one of the greatest post-post-post-POST-hype breakouts ever.

Dylan Covey:  7 IP 10 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.29.  Did a Trend or Mirage on Covey a few days ago that came out a "Trend" and so this outing doesn't surprise me.  Keep him sending him out there.

Luke Weaver:  4 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 4.52.  Move on please.

Evan Gattis:  2/3 with 2 home runs (13 for season) while hitting .246.  Holy cow Gattis is a bit insane right now.  Was wondering early in the season is he was on the back-nine of his career and maybe even the 16th hole but he is doing a top-five catcher thing right now.

Khris Davis:  3/4 with 2 home runs (19 for season) while hitting. 243.  You can't deny Davis his 40 home runs. 


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: GARY SANCHEZ CATCHER NEW YORK YANKEES

There was some news that was easy to overlook on Tuesday when it was learned that New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez would not be in the team's lineup for that night's game versus the Washington Nationals.  On the surface alone, Sanchez missing one game was no big deal but later it was learned from manager Aaron Boone that he would also sit for Wednesday's game as well.  While Boone would not say whether the rides on the pine had to do with Sanchez' previous calf injury or whether it was due to his season-long slump at the dish, the fact of the matter is that the Yankees backstop has been one of the bigger disappointments when it comes to 2018 fantasy baseball.  Having gone as high as a late first-round pick and mostly in the second round in the majority of 12-team mixed fantasy baseball drafts this past March, Sanchez goes into Tuesday's action with the following numbers:

.190
12 HR
35 RBI
33 R
0 SB
24.8 K/9
12.2 BB/9
.197

Wow there is a lot to digest here but as far as the surface numbers are concerned, Sanchez looks like a typical catcher who struggles to hit better than .200 as he is actually under that number as of this writing.  That alone is a shockingly bad number but Sanchez has been plagued by some of the worst BABIP luck I have seen in all of fantasy baseball as his .197 number there is beyond ridiculous and in no way sustainable.  The hits are bound to start falling in soon and the average almost has to rise and by more than a little.  Adding to the optimism is the fact Sanchez is drawing a bunch of walks with a 12.2 BB.9 and that also will help improve the average soon enough.

Now on the flip side, Sanchez has seen his K/9 spike a bit from his 22.9 mark a year ago and that no doubt has something to do with him pressing.  Beyond that though, Sanchez has been fine in home runs, runs, and RBI and the average as we said has been knocked down tremendously by the unlucky BABIP.  That said, I would still suggest buying low on Sanchez as his price will never be cheaper and you would be getting arguably the best offensive catcher in fantasy baseball as we all thought he was back in March with little debate.  Throw out the average and Sanchez has been just fine.  Stay the course.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: MIGUEL CABRERA DONE FOR 2018, LOOKING DONE FOR FANTASY BASEBALL

The big news of the day in fantasy baseball Tuesday was learning that Detroit Tigers first baseman/DH Miguel Cabrera would miss the remainder of the 2018 season due to needing surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left biceps.  The devastating injury puts a bow on what has been nothing but an injury-marred campaign that continued from 2017 when his offensive numbers cratered terrible as Cabrera's back became a major issue.  Now that he will be turning 36 next April and has had back-to-back seasons of nothing but health woes, we have clearly reached the point where Cabrera is just a name brand best left avoided in yearly fantasy baseball leagues.  I have stated on too many occasions to count that big-bodied sluggers like Cabrera never age well (Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Carlos Lee anyone?) and that his health will continue to betray him.  It has been a fun ride as Cabrera became the most feared hitter in the game in his prime but the current situation says that he is nothing but a shell of his former self as he wasn't even hitting for power before the biceps issue. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Andrew Benintendi:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .297.  The Boston Red Sox not only have one but TWO five-tool outfielders who will be first-round picks next season.

Rafael Devers:  1/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .231.  A 27.2 K.9 shows the youth at work here and so Devers likely needs the remainder of this season to work toward being more of a stud in 2019.

Ozzie Albies:  1/5 with his 16th HR while hitting .255.  Albies picking up with the long ball again and fighting his way through his first extended slump of the season which is a tremendous overall sign he can maintain his terrific level of production from April and early May.

Freddie Freeman:  1/2 with his 13th HR while hitting .341.  You simply can't get this guy out right now.  Even Joey Votto is envious of the hitting ability.

Mike Foltynewicz:  5 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.16.  What might have been if Folty hadn't been forced out early with a triceps issue.  Bigger picture is that he was excellent yet again in this unbelievable breakout season and he is in line to make his next start.

Didi Gregorious:  2/4 with 2 home runs (13 for season) while hitting .248.  I feel like these are the first two HITS Didi has had since April.

Scott Kingery:  1/2 with his third HR while hitting.215.  The Phillies and Kingery's fantasy baseball owners forced this from the get-go this season with disastrous initial results but the kid wouldn't be the first guy to come back and play much better the second time around in letting the letting do the talking.

Aaron Nola:  6.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.27.  By the end of the season at this rate, we could be saying Nola is on the verge of top 5 SP status.  Would you take him over Madison Bumgarner or Noah Syndergaard?  The answer is yes.

Wilson Ramos:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .284.  I always like to needle the Buster Posey owners that you could have had a much cheaper value and more production catcher in this guy.  I should say the same thing to those who own Wilson Contreras.

Yoan Moncada:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .232.  This guy just really knows how to test patience.  So much potential but so many damn whiffs.

Chase Anderson:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.13.  Anderson has not lived up to 2017 but I never thought he would anyways so I am fine with the SP 4 production.

Eric Hosmer:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .286.  Hosmer's home run rate is slightly up this year which is quite exciting for the worm killer.  Will take anything we can get there.

Carlos Correa:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .268.  Correa is starting to feel like that top pick you invest in every season but still leave disappointed in for one reason (no steal) or another (increase in K's).

Evan Gattis:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .239.  The fact Gattis plays every day is always a huge plus for a catcher-eligible player but now that he is actually hitting, even better.

Mike Trout:  3/5 with 2 home runs (23 for season) while hitting .310.  My father was the biggest Mickey Mantle fan there is and he has said to me numerous times this is as closer to the Yankee legend that he has ever seen.

Mitch Haniger:  2/3 with 2 home runs (15 for season) while hitting .267.  I have had to bring back a lot of Haniger owners off the ledge the last few weeks.  Let this outing speak for itself in terms of what to do with the guy.  Leave him alone.

Ryon Healy:  2/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .245.  Three home runs in two games now for Healy who I said at the start of the season could quietly be one of the more production UTIL or CI bats in fantasy baseball.

Starling Marte:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .286.  The benchmark in homers I wanted from Marte this season was 20.  A bit behind the pace but still hopeful.  Everything else has been very good.

Trevor Williams:  3 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 4.38.  Garbage.



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: YOENIS CESPEDES (QUAD) STILL NOT READY TO RETURN

For the second season in a row, it has been nothing short of an injury-marred mess for both New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and his increasingly annoyed fantasy baseball owners.  Having endured unending injuries in a 2017 where a major chunk of the year was spent on the DL, this season is shaping up already as more of the same as Cespedes has been out for the last month with a quad strain and apparently is still not ready to make his return.  With Cespedes having reported ongoing pain in the quad as recently as just this past weekend, we could be looking at another 10 days at least until Cespedes can be considered close to getting ready to play again.  In the meantime, Cespedes' fantasy baseball are left with a guy who was not playing all that great before he got injured (.255 average, 8 home runs) and now is missing a major portion of the season for the second year in a row.  While the patience is growing thin, all Cespedes owners have to still stash him away as his power bat is too valuable to just cast to the waiver wire for someone else in your league to scoop up for nothing but the patience has already gone out the door here. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: BRANDON CRAWFORD AS SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

When it comes to yearly fantasy baseball leagues, one class of player who gets overlooked/discriminated against almost every season are middle infielders (second baseman, shortstops) who don't steal bases.  Admittedly one who has fallen prey to that line of thinking, I myself have espoused making sure you get a decent amount of your team stolen bases from these two spots on your fantasy baseball rosters.  As a result, players who may be very good offensive players in the other four standard ROTO categories can become tremendous values both at the draft table and off the waiver.  Think Asdrubal Cabrera of the New York Mets in terms of the draft and the San Francisco Giants' Brandon Crawford as the wire gem with regards to the early results from 2018.  Crawford has certainly become a big story in his own right as the 31-year-old shortstop has done nothing but hit the baseball this season to the tune of the following numbers:

.338
8 HR
30 RBI
28 R
2 SB
20.5 K/9
6.6 BB/9
.401 BABIP

Looking at the numbers from above, it is easy to see how good of a season Crawford is having.  He is both putting forth a batting title season with his current .338 average and the power has been at a terrific level as well with the 8 home runs in just 244 at-bats.  Having hit more than 12 home runs just once in his career, the home run pace is a bit outlandish given Crawford's previous rates but those 21 homers did come recently in 2016 so it is possible he grew into the power as he went further into his prime.  As far as the average is concerned, Crawford keeps his strikeouts down but his lack of walks and past as a .260-ish hitter make sustaining such a lofty average like he has right now tentative at best.  Add in the insanely lucky .401 BABIP and Crawford is on borrowed time in terms of maintaining his current form of numbers.  With all that said, there is almost no chance of dealing Crawford for adequate value as the fantasy baseball community has always been lukewarm when it comes to Crawford and two months of very good production won't change that much, if at all.  So your best course as a Crawford owner is to hold him and see where this goes.  You may get a career-year for a guy that cost your almost nothing and that is a win-win all the way.


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Dylan Bundy:  8 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.66.  I admit Bundy is making me eat massive amounts of crow by the start of late.  The 10.22 K/9 brings back memories of how potent a power arm he was prior to Tommy John but he seems to have that ability again so many years away from the procedure.  That also has helped fight off the pull from a lucky .282 BABIP.

Steven Wright:  6.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.21.  We saw this out of Wright a few seasons ago but the disgrace that he was last year (both on and off the field) is a reminder of how the volatility goes no higher than when you are dealing with a knuckleball pitcher. 

J.T. Realmuto:  3/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .301.  It is so refreshing to see a catcher who can hit .300 consistently like Realmuto can but boy his runs and RBI are being neutered in Miami.

Brian Anderson:  3/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .310.  Anderson has hit well pretty much all season in putting his name into the fantasy baseball lexicon for the first time but he remains mostly an empty batting average reserved for NL-only formats.

Madison Bumgarner:  5.1 IP 6 H 4 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.76.  You have to start to wonder when all these serious injuries Bumgarner has suffered the last season-plus will start ripping away his stuff.  It is early but just now his average fastball velocity is jus 91.2 which continues a trend of dropping from 93 in 2015. 

Teoscar Hernandez:  2/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .265.  Those who picked up Hernandez when he first got promoted this season have pretty much gotten Michael Conforto 2017. 

Michael Brantley:  1/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .317.  Man has Brantley been awesome in every sense of the five-category word. 

Carlos Carrasco:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.90.  When Carrasco is on like this in any given outing, he looks like Chris Sale. 

Anthony Rizzo:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .246.  The average still needs work but Rizzo's fantasy baseball owners came in off the ledge about a month ago now. 

Jonathan Villar:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .276.  Things worked out nicely here in terms of Villar being a post-hype 2017 pick gone back to good. 

Jose Quintana:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 4.09./ Still so maddening how Quintana pitched better in the AL then he has in the NL so far. 

Junior Guerra:  6 IP 5 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 2.71.  I threw up my hands here awhile ago.  I mean the BABIP is still a very lucky .264 and Guerra's 3.12 BB/9 is gross.  Still, you can't get anything for him since there is no track record so just keep going on with this. 

Jose Martinez:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .327.  Martinez is right there as one of my best picks in the Experts League draft.  The guy has an incredibly smooth swing like Joey Votto and the power is exploding of late as well.  Big things happening here. 

Marcell Ozuna:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .282.  I keep saying to stay patient here but put 2017 out of your mind as it looks like a gross outlier more and more.

Jack Flaherty:  6.1 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.96.  This one was teed up for Flaherty at home versus San Diego and he delivered. 

Jake Lamb:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .235. I still don't get why people elevate Lamb above where he should go given how flawed he is overall as a hitter. 

Joe Musgrove:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.16.  Musgrove is really throwing well and the strikeouts have been decent to boost him to SP 4 status if he can maintain what he is achieving so far this season. 

Patrick Corbin:  5.1 IP 6 H 4 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.10.  Took a TON of flak (and still am) for going to town on Corbin a month ago when all of a sudden the velocity began to crater.  ERA up two full runs since and climbing. 

Mike Trout:  2/3 with 2 home runs (21 for season) while hitting .304.  There was a late injurt scare to his leg that turned out to be nothing and so Trout continues to make us all shake our head in wonderment. 

Nelson Cruz:  2/3 with 2 home runs (15 for season) while hitting .260.  This is what I wrote two weeks ago about Cruz:  " So bad luck is really playing a key role in depressing Cruz' average and so his fantasy baseball owners should not really be buying into the "getting old" narrative.  Yes Cruz' 5.6 BB/9 rate is a sharp fall from previous norms but other then that and some ill earlier health, things are looking pretty much on par from a statistical standpoint.  So all Cruz owners should stay calm here as things should turn around overall from here on out as the average should rise and the power is likely going to remain at or just slightly below previous levels"  Enough said. 

Ryon Healy:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .239.  This is the only player who is third base eligible on Seattle I would own right now.  Sorry my old friend Mr. Seager. 

Andrew Heaney:  5 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 3.68. Heaney hasn't found consistency yet which is the last battle before stardom for a pitcher.  I still believe. 


Monday, June 11, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: FRANCISCO MEJIA CATCHER CLEVELAND INDIANS

With the Cleveland Indians dealing with a slew of injuries throughout their batting order, they made a big move on paper to supply reinforcement when they promoted top catching prospect Francisco Mejia on Monday.  While Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez have done a decent enough job behind the plate to keep Mejia on the farm, the Indians were forced to make the move as both Perez and 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion are battling injuries.  Now as far as Mejia is concerned, he came into the 2018 season universally considered the top catching prospect in all of baseball as his pure hitting skills in the minors drew comparisons to Buster Posey as he hit .297 with 14 home runs in just 92 games at Double-A in 2017.  Alas, Mejia has taken a detour on his way to the majors as he has struggled badly at Triple-A almost from the start of the season as he goes into his promotion with just a .214 average and 4 home runs with 25 RBI in 50 games. The hitting struggles are shocking considering how good of an approach Mejia has shown previously but a spike in strikeouts has been the biggest issue since moving from Double-A in 2017 (13.8 K/9) to Triple-A this season (21.0).  Be that as it may, Mejia is still the future at the position which has been nothing but a complete wreck this season across fantasy baseball.  Unfortunately, Mejia is not likely going to stick around long as he should head back to the minors once Perez and Encarnacion are back from their day-to-day absence.  Despite this, Mejia deserves to remain a person of interest for all prospect hounds as we go through the summer and remainder of the season.  

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MAX MUNCY 1B LOS ANGELES DODGERS

For all of the insane amount of money they have spent over the last decade in chasing what so far has been an elusive World Series championship, the Los Angeles Dodgers sometimes stumble into some value play hitters or pitchers as well to help supplement the high-priced items on the roster.  Nowhere has this been seen more so far in 2018 than in the case of Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy who began the year in Triple-A but who has fully taken advantage of an early promotion to become an instant impact players in fantasy baseball to the tune of the following numbers:

.272
12 HR
28 RBI
21 R
1 SB
24.3 K/9
16.4 BB/9
.286 BABIP

Admittedly, I didn't pay Muncy much mind when he began hitting home runs last month and truth be told, he hadn't done much previously to this season to deserve our time as he bounced around from the Oakland organization to the Dodgers and all their various minor league levels along the way.  After years of listless hitting on the farm however, Muncy put forth his best work at Triple-A a year ago when he batted .313 with 12 home runs in 109 games.  Still, nothing jumped out here even when the Dodgers gave him a call.  Well Muncy has certainly put his best foot forward since the Dodgers gave him a look and the power has been eye-opening since he has those 12 homers in just 152 at-bats.  What also really has intrigued me has been the walks as Muncy's 16.4 BB/9 is Jason Giambi territory and serves as a big help to keep any average hit to a minimum since Munch does have a habit of striking out.  Add in a depressed .286 BABIP and Muncy's should even have a higher batting average at this point which adds to the legitimacy here.  So when you put it all together, Max Muncy is a decent person of interest who should be added where available as the Dodgers give him an extended run to see if he can be a continued daily presence in their lineup.  As far as your fantasy baseball lineup is concerned, Muncy is already reaching that classification this season. 


2018 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAUP: SUNDAY

Eric Hosmer:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .292.  Typical season for Hosmer which I guess is all that you could have expected or anticipated when you invested in a guy going from a pitching-leaning park in K.C. to an even more stark one in San Diego.

Clayton Richard:  7 IP 2 H 1 ER 3 BB 5 K with an ERA of 4.40.  While Richard is strictly just a play at home, making an exception versus the Miami Marlins or New York Mets would be the right call.

Reynaldo Lopez:  6.1 IP 6 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.26.  Beating the Red Sox at home is another feather in Lopez' cap in terms of fantasy baseball.  Amazing how he is beating the BABIP/K/9 curve so much but his owners are not likely going to get enough back in a trade to make moving him worth it.

Leonys Martin:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .262.  More and more power from Martin who I didn't think ever had it in him.

Corey Kluber:  8 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.99.  10 wins already for Kluber who is the AL version of Max Scherzer as an ultra-durable ace whose ratios and massive K numbers are right there as the best in all of baseball.

Carlos Martinez:  3.2 IP 4 H 5 ER 7 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.50.  The walks were just hideous here and Martinez has been brutal since coming back from injury.  He may still not be 100 percent which bears watching but there is always some volatility with Martinez each and every season.

Nelson Cruz:  1/3 with his 13th HR while hitting .254.  Typical Cruz season unfolding again as usual.  Which I said would happen after that slow and injury-filled start.

Kyle Seager:  2/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .225.  Seager used to be an annual favorite in this space every season but even I have no use for this nasty average.

C.J. Cron:  1/3 with his 15th HR while hitting .258.  The breakout continues.

James Paxton:  7 IP 5 H 3 ER 0 BB 10 K with an ERA of 3.02.  Paxton is one of the top ten pitchers in all of baseball on talent alone and we are now into a third month where we could be on our way to seeing what a full year of production looks like.

Zach Eflin:  6 IP 3 H 2 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.63.  While Nick Pivetta is deservedly getting most of the credit, don't overlook the mini-breakout happening here as well.

Fernando Romero:  5 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.92.  There have been a few nasty hiccups like with any rookie hurler but Romero looks like a guy who can be a firm SP 3 someday.

Josh Harrison:  2/5 with his third HR and second SB while hitting .295.  Good, old reliable Harrison at your service again in one of the more underrated power/speed games in all of fantasy baseball.  I bet if you owned Harrison and tried to trade him nobody would bite.

George Springer:  2/4 with his 14th HR while hitting .295.  Anyone who is a Springer owner should hope one day the team will move him down the order.  Since Springer doesn't steal bases, he wouldn't lose much of anything exiting leadoff.

Yuli Gurriel:  4/5 with his second HR while hitting .295.  Gurriel reminds me of Sean Casey as a tremendous average/contact hitter but one who lacks power. 

Dallas Keuchel:  5 ER in 4.1 IP with an ERA of 4.45.  Keuchel seems to have nailed down the alternating between good and bad seasons bit. 

Zack Godley:  5.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.97.  Figures that Godley would pitch well since most of his owners dropped him after his last putrid outing.  That's how fantasy baseball goes.  As far as this outing is concerned, Godley has more than this to do and then some to get back into good graces of his original or maybe now second owners. 

Brandon Crawford:  4/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .338.  Crawford is your classic example of a middle infielder who is disrespected greatly in fantasy baseball given the utter lack of steals since most like to get a boost in that category from their middle infielders. 

Max Scherzer:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 3 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.00.  It seriously is news when Scherzer doesn't strike out at least 9 in any of his starts. 

Freddie Freeman:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .340.  Just stay healthy bro so you can put forth that insane season we all forecasted for you.

Ozzie Albies:  2/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .256.  Hopefully this is a sign of Albies getting out of the rut that has dragged him down the last two weeks. 

Max Muncy:  1/2 with his 12th HR while hitting .272.  I admit I threw cold water on this early on but willing to take a firm second look here given the power. 

Sean Newcomb:  5 ER in 5.1 IP with an ERA of 2.92.  Just a bad day at the office.  No need to panic. 

Ross Stripling:  6.2 IP 4 H 2 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.65.  Lots of Ross Stripling regrets for those of us who once saw him just sitting there on the wire.