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Friday, May 17, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Michael Conforto:  1/2 with his 9th HR while hitting .271.  Conforto smashed into Robinson Cano chasing a pop fly and ended up with a concussion that will likely land him on the IL Friday.  Concussions are always tricky so Conforto's return date could be murky.

Zack Wheeler:  6 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 4.85.  Overall is has been a miserable season for Wheeler with some small doses of top-notch pitching that brought forth memories of his second half of 2018.  Always struggling to place pitches, Wheeler is getting destroyed when he misses and for now last season's second half run is looking like an outlier. 

Christian Yelich:  3/5 with 2 home runs (18 for season) and 9th SB while hitting .342.  Yelich already has enough home runs where if the season ended today it would be a very respectable total for 90 percent of the players.  And if the season ended today he would be in play to win the batting title.  Incredible stuff.

Mike Moustakas:  3/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .259.  We could see a nice boost from Moustakas now that he is back at his natural third base position with Travis Shaw wiping out.

Yasmani Grandal:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .263.  Grandal is back to his standard batting average territory so solid stuff from here on out which counts for extra at catcher. 

Jean Segura:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .312.  Only two steals from Segura so maybe he is losing steam there as he ages a bit.  Everything else has been right on par though so just a minor quibble here. 

Zach Davies:  1 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 1.54.  Crazy stuff here as Davies is doing with with way below average K rates but is inducing very weak contact and avoiding the long ball.  Obviously Davies is not a 1.54 ERA guy but the fantasy baseball community knows this which means you are not going to get fair market value here.  That means the best course of action is to hold and enjoy the fun while it lasts. 

Jurickson Profar:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .185.  Man Profar has been terrible and it is not enough that he qualifies everywhere for you to keep holding through all of this.

Matt Olson:  2/6 with his third HR while hitting .214.  I said to add Olson when he returned given his 30 homer power but this works only as a UTIL or CI option in deeper leagues. 

Chris Bassitt:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.93.  Who knew all we had to do to destroy our leagues in pitching was to pick Bassitt and Davies with their last two selections in the draft. 

Rougned Odor:  3/5 with 2 home runs (5 for season) while hitting .167.  I have made endless excuses for Odor so I lost credibility here a long time ago.  The crazy thing is that Odor is supremely talented with terrific power and underrated speed.  If only he can get his shizz together once and for all.

Willie Calhoun:  4/7 with his second HR while hitting .500.  Remember we all climbed over one another to get a share of Calhoun last spring so nothing should change now in terms of quickly grabbing this potent bat off waivers.   Classic post-hype sleeper in play.

Joey Gallo:  4/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .269.  4 for 5 for a Joey Gallo game?!!!!  The end of times are here.

Hunter Pence:  1/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .292  Got to get the number for the hypnotist who successfully convinced Pence it is 2012 again. 

Jason Kipnis:  2/6 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .216.  Up until now the best swing Kipnis put forth this season was the viral gender reveal he took part in last week. 

Trevor Bauer:  7 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.76.  Letdown city here of late as Bauer has gotten his head beaten in twice in his last three starts.  With 4 walks in this one, Bauer is fighting his stuff a bit which is a theme for his entire career to this point. 

Marcell Ozuna:  1/4 with his 13th HR while hitting .231.  Think about how exciting it was to own Ozuna last month.  Wow have things changed. 

Matt Carpenter:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .200.  Think about how exciting it was to own Carpenter last season.  Wow have things changed. 

Adam Wainwright:  5 ER in 4 IP with an ERA of 4.75.  Well that short burst of turning-back-the-clock numbers was fun while it lasted. 




Thursday, May 16, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: BRENDAN RODGERS 2B/SS COLORADO ROCKIES

Another day and another top prospect has arrived in the majors.  Following closely on the heels of the Milwaukee Brewers promoting top second base farmhand Keston Hiura, the Colorado Rockies on Thursday made it official their calling up of second base/shortstop Brendan Rodgers from Triple-A.  The former third overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft, Rodgers was hitting .356 with 9 home runs in 152 at-bats at that level and he clearly has the look of a player who no longer is challenged by minor league pitching.  With just a 16.4 K/9 and very solid 9.2 BB/9 as well, Rodgers is checking all of the boxes in terms of his development as a hitter and so now let's see where this goes.  Already on top prospect lists prior to each of the last two seasons, Rodgers in the friendly hitting confines of Coors Field will likely be worth checking out.  The power is obvious here and again the atmosphere in his new home will likely further assist his work in that category.  Even more noteworthy is that Rodgers has really come a long way this season with his pure hitting as he came off a .232 average at Triple-A last season which followed a .275 stint at Double-A.  Rodgers also chipped in a total of 12 steals during those two stops last season which means he has something to offer in that category as well.  Whether this will all translate right away to useful fantasy baseball numbers in 2019 is not known just yet but Rodgers should be scooped up where available. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: GLEYBER TORRES 2B/SS NEW YORK YANKEES

If you are a fantasy baseball owner of New York Yankees second baseman/shortstop Gleyber Torres, it was a good day on Wednesday.  For not only did Torres homer twice in the team's opening game of a doubleheader, he added yet a third bomb in the nightcap to complete a beyond monster day for his fantasy baseball owners.  As a result, the perennial top five prospect in the Chicago Cubs system who was subsequently traded to the Yanks in the Aroldis Chapman deal is putting forth another huge season as he goes into Thursday's action with the following numbers:

.290
8 HR
20 RBI
22 R
3 SB
21.0 K/0
4.8 BB/9
.325 BABIP

Coming on the heels of a 24-homer full-season debut in 2018, Torres is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the premier power hitting middle infielders in the game and he has the added value of qualifying both at second base and shortstop.  Digging into his 2019 numbers a bit more, Torres has actually been a bit impatient with just a tiny 4.8 BB/9 rate but that is an outlier number since he historically has been around the 8.0 mark in that category.  Since Torres already carries around a solid K/9 rate of 21.0, more walks should increase the batting average some and maybe get him closer to around .300.  Already having the natural power to hit 25-30 home runs, Torres has actually run a bit as well this season to add to the value.  Since you always want steals from your middle infielders, this is no small contribution.  So when combined together, Torres is having a terrific season and more good stuff should be on the way as well given the fact he is still only 22 and has a good batch of upside remaining.  While the term of being a "can't miss" prospect is one that is overused in today's game, Torres seems set to be a rare case where he fully comes through on such a label. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Jose Ramirez:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .199.  What happened to the stud overall hitter from 2016-18?  Ramirez is possibly swinging for the fences as the gross average since the start of the season would attest.  Even though he is stealing bases at a high rate, there is a sizable bust element here as the power per game average is down sharply as well.

Jordan Luplow:  2/5 with 2 home runs (4 for season) while hitting .280.  Luplow is perfecting the two homer games that's for sure.

Carlos Carrasco:  7 IP 6 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.18.  I mean Carrasco just doesn't do 2 or 3 earned run outings.

Wilson Ramos:  1/3 with his second HR while hitting .237.  For the second time in a week, a Mets Crisis Point feature ran hours before a home run from the same player.  Hey any way I can help.

Victor Robles:  1/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .250.  The plate discipline is non-existent here but the overall talent is silly good.  When Robles begins to figure out how to take a walk, the power/speed game will explode and turn him into a first-round monster overnight.

Noah Syndergaard:  8 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.74.  Another home run given up which has been the big problem for Thor this season but two dominant outings in his last three validate the buy low theme I typed all over here back then.

Jason Heyward:  0/4 while hitting .250.  Yeah he still sucks after all.

Joey Votto:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .207.  Votto looks older than dirt but the occasional big game will emanate based on law of averages.  That doesn't mean you need to bother here anymore.

Kyle Hendricks:  8 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.86.  Hendricks is having a dominant start to the season and looks like he did a few years ago when he was right there as the best pitcher in baseball.  The strikeouts will never be stable as Hendricks is not a big whiff guy overall but no more arguing over the quality of his stuff.

Ryan Braun:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .256.  I think Braun is now going to be that guy that gets added and dropped a million times in your league.

Yasmani Grandal:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .265.  Grandal's average has sunk back to his previous norms which is not a total surprise.

Keston Hiura:  2/3 while hitting .667.  Here we go!

Bryce Harper:  0/2 while hitting .219.  Now will you all finally admit that Harper is overrated?

Brandon Woodruff:  6 IP 1 H 0 ER 5 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.72.  Woodruff is an advanced statistics darling as he is striking out a very high amount of batters and his swinging strike numbers look like that of an ace.  Still a work in progress in terms of control, Woodruff is putting forth a nice breakout campaign.

Charlie Blackmon:  1/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .302.  Amazing how Blackmon was hitting around .250 a few weeks ago and now it is like it never happened.

Nolan Arenado:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .317.  Nothing new to talk about here as Arenado is as excellent as ever.

Rafael Devers:  1/5 with his third HR while hitting .331.  The lack of home run may be obscuring the fact that Devers is having a spectacular season so far.  With Devers running at a higher rate this season and now the average challenging for the batting title, the expectant power is really turning this into some story.

Michael Chavis:  2/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .289.  Yeah it doesn't look like Chavis is headed back to the minors anytime soon.  Or ever again.  Keep him firmly planted in your lineups.

J.D. Martinez:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .316.  Not only is Martinez arguably the best power hitter in the majors but also maybe the best pure hitter.

Chris Sale:  7 IP 3 H 2 ER 0 BB 17 K with an ERA of 4.24.  I am opening my mouth wide so you can shove the crow deep into there.  The absolutely wicked stuff is back and as potent as ever.  However I will quality that Sale now has to prove he can hold up in August and September.

Carlos Correa:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .298.  It certainly looks like good health has restored Correa's past top-tier status.

George Springer:  2/3 with his 16th HR while hitting .329.  This is your front runner for AL MVP.  Holy cow.

Charlie Morton:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.32.  That ticking you hear is Morton's remaining time on top of his game before age-fueled fatigue begins to take its toll in late summer.  I would even entertain some offers now.

Marcell Ozuna:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .237.  A lot of the pop has dulled here as Ozuna has been in a massive slump leading into this one.  At the very least, he is firmly proving his stark hot and cold spells.

Yadier Molina:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .283.  Marvel Agents of Shields need to study Molina to see how he is laughing in the face of age.

Jack Flaherty:  6 IP 3 H 3 ER 5 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.34.  We continue to see glimpses of ace-level ability but Flaherty can't get out of his own way with the walks and big innings.  Still not there yet.

Mike Foltynewicz:  8 ER in 4.2 IP with an ERA of 8.02.  I think another stint on the IL is coming.

Mitch Garver:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .329.  I mean this is some pretty incredible stuff coming from Garver this season and especially so at catcher which is as bad as ever.  Not sure the long term viability here but it is certainly time for a separate report.

Josh Bell:  2/4 with 2 home runs (14 for season) while hitting .329.  Been saying for awhile now that if Bell could combine his minor league .300 averages and major league power uptick, he would be something to behold.  Well here we are.

Joe Musgrove:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.59.  Kudos to those who got right back on the horse here after the beating Musgrove took his last time out but remember another blowup could occur at a moment's notice given the lack of strikeouts.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.:  3/4 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .235.  The epitome of fantasy baseball impatience was anyone fretting over the first 10 quiet days of this kid's career.  It is all upwards from here and it promises to be a swell ride. 



Tuesday, May 14, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: KESTON HIURA 2B MILWAUKEE BREWERS

While we are well into prospect promotion season where most of the top names have already arrived in the majors, there are still some big names that were still waiting for the call as May moved to its midpoint.  One was Milwaukee Brewers second base prospect Keston Hiura who was originally a 2017 first-round pick of the team and who has done nothing but destroy the baseball so far this season which led to his promotion on Tuesday.  Already considered a top overall prospect who has been ranked as high as sixth in the minors, Hiura was hitting a scorching .333 with 11 home runs and 4 steals in just 147 at-bats at Triple-A before arriving in Milwaukee.  Needless to say, Hiura should be picked where in any league where he is available as the bat is real and very potent.  Already we are seeing plus power from the 22-year-old and while he has some struggles with strikeouts (27.2 K/9), he offsets that some with a solid walk rate (10.2 BB/9).  Even better, Hiura is not just a slugger as he can swipe some bases to help further solidify his massive potential.  So while there are bound to be growing pains along the way, Hiura is an immediate add and plug-in bat at a position that is sorely lacking in high-end impact bats this season. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: WILSON RAMOS CATCHER NEW YORK METS

After dealing with the never-ending injuries and underwhelming performance of Travis D'Arnaud for the better part of the last five seasons, the New York Mets finally decided to open up the vault to sign a veteran backstop with a strong offensive background to solve the gaping hole they have carried around at the spot.  That came in the form of All-Star Wilson Ramos who, despite his own stark injury history, has proven to have one of the best bats of any catcher in baseball who combined a .280-plus average with solid 15-20 homer power.  Despite the risk of more injuries, Ramos was widely viewed as a locked-in top-five fantasy baseball catcher and he was drafted as such.  Unfortunately, the Mets front office are likely sitting with their mouths agape when they gaze at Ramos' numbers going into Tuesday's action:

.235
1 HR
19 RBI
14 R
0 SB
18.9 K/9
7.9 BB/9
.286 BABIP
.299 OBP

Needless to say, Ramos has been so much less than anticipated with the bat with just a single home run a month and a half into the season and his average has severely lagged behind as well.  Now it does need to be said that Ramos' 18/9 K/9 and 7.9 BB/9 are both very solid numbers and pretty much align with previous norms for him but the power has been completely absent and the exit velocities are lagging also.  Now it does need to be said that Ramos is already 31 and he will turn 32 this August.  We don't need to remind you that catcher typically begin to lose their offensive games when they hit the age of 30 and Buster Posey is only the latest example of this.  Another comparison that may fit even more with Ramos is Jonathan Lucroy who went from being a top catcher one season to almost a complete zero the next when he too reached past the age 30 mark.  Now we are not saying Ramos is doomed to follow in Lucroy's footsteps but it also is not out of the realm of possibility he is eroding sharply given his age and past workloads.  Those who are holding stock in Ramos need to be very concerned here and while I wouldn't suggest cutting him loose, I also would start exploring some fallback options if this continues on. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Lorenzo Cain:  5/6 with his 4th SB while hitting .266.  Basically Cain is an older version of Andrew Benintendi.  But also cheaper and the better value. 

Mike Moustakas:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .250.  Same old, same old here.  The power went up per game given the new ballpark but that is about the only change from this stable but flawed commodity. 

Cesar Hernandez:  2/3 with his 4th HR while hitting .306.  You never take a loss on this guy when you invest here. 

Aaron Nola:  3 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 4.86.  Nola's control has been putrid by his very good previous standards there but the 9.32 K/9 and 93.2 fastball average velocity are both right in line so again I would still try and buy low.  Once the walks starts to decrease as they should, Nola will be right back to being the ace he generally has been the last few seasons. 

Alex Bregman:  1/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .275.  Just when you thought Bregman couldn't get any better, 2019 gets underway.

Robinson Chirinos:  1/2 with his sixth HR while hitting .278.  Good old Robinson is always there when you need him after 99.9 percent of the catchers out there suck a lemon.

Aledmys Diaz:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .247.  Since everyone in the Houston lineup is going nuts with the bat, feel free to add Diaz in AL-only leagues. 

Tommy LaStella:  3/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .272.  Tommy LaStella is outproducing Bryce Harper.  This is fantasy baseball. 

Shohei Ohtani:  2/3 with his first HR while hitting .250.  For all the acclaim Ohtani gets for his pitching ability, don't think for a second he can't be a damn good UTIL bat for you the remainder of 2019. 

Jorge Polanco:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .327.  Maybe Polanco found some new juice that has not been detected yet because he is absolutely tearing the cover off the baseball. 

Jose Berrios:  5 ER in 5.2 IP with an ERA of 3.05.  Just a bad day at the office and a rare one indeed for this guy this season. 

Francisco Lindor:  2/2 with his 5th HR and 4th SB while hitting .296.  Its like he never left and the big thing here are the steals as Lindor has shown no hesitancy there off the leg injuries. 

Yoan Moncada:  3/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .289.  The K/9 is beginning to climb again as it is now up to 26.9 but everything else has been swell here for this incredibly talented hitter who is working out the kinks overall.

Jose Abreu:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .269.  Abreu is what Adrian Gonzalez was for all those years before his shoulder went bad.  A very consistent but somewhat affordable first base slugger. 

Shane Bieber:  5 ER in 6.1 IP with an ERA of 3.81.  Bieber has shown flashes of ace potential but he is also still raw and needs to work on getting the ball down since he gave up four home runs in this one. 

Christian Walker:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .292.  Walker has outplayed Paul Goldschmidt in Arizona.  Just saying. 

Robbie Ray:  5 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.14.  Ray is his own worst enemy in terms of the insane amount of walks but the arm is as electric as it gets. 

Mitch Haniger:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .229.  The Mariners seems intent on keeping Haniger in the leadoff spot for better or worse but maybe this gets him jump started again. 

Daniel Vogelbach:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .248.  Vogelbach has looked more like the Quad-A guy he has been previously over the last month but the power is still playing. 

Khris Davis:  2/4 with 2 home runs (12 for season) while hitting .243.  The average is almost at .247.  Amazing. 


Saturday, May 11, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CRISIS POINT: YASIEL PUIG OUTFIELDER CINCINNATI REDS

Should we be surprised?  I mean really?  After all, underachieving and Yasiel Puig go hand-in-hand going back to his early years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In addition, tumult and Yasiel Puig go hand-in-hand as immaturity and run-ins with management have peppered his career to this point as well.  Through all that however, there was still an immense level of talent within Puig who not only possessed tape-measure power but also could steal bases with impressive speed.  So while things didn't work out in Los Angeles, Puig's trade to the Cincinnati Reds last winter go the hype meter moving again since he was now going from a prime pitcher's park with the Dodgers to a launching pad home in his new locale.  A big spring training served to only heighten the excitement as well.  Unfortunately, the same old Puig narrative has held true as he has struggled with the bat from Opening Day all the way through the first week of May to where he now sits with the following numbers:

.206
5 HR
19 RBI
15 R
6 SB
23.0 K/9
6.1 BB/9
.232 BABIP

Anyone who has watched Puig in particularly over the last week would see a player consumed with frustration as he seemingly is slamming his bat down every game and mouthing loud obscenities the TV audio is picking up.  Thus, it is no shock to see Puig's walks are down and his strikeouts are up which are hallmarks for a pressing player.  Given the mental weaknesses of Puig in terms of maturity, these issues are only exacerbated here.  Still, Puig has had some rotten luck as shown by his horribly unlucky .232 BABIP and that number surely will move back towards the mean at some point.  Through the ugly .206 average, Puig's 5/6 split in homers/steals is actually not too bad and it is particualrly nice to see him run as much as he has.  Only 28 as of this writing, Puig is just entering into the early stages of his prime so a big rebound should be on the way.  However given that nothing ever goes smoothly here, you may want to watch how much you are willing to pay here.  Overall, Puig is too talented to continue to struggle like this and a smart buy low where the price is not out of control could pay off nicely. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: TYLER GLASNOW'S FOREARM PAIN AN POTENTIAL OMINOUS SIGN

Proof positive that we can never have anything good sustained in fantasy baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays were forced to remove ace-level starter Tyler Glasnow early from his Friday start with what is initially being called right forearm tightness.  The word "forearm" used in conjunction with any injury for a pitcher is always a VERY ominous sign and things get even more worrisome when you take into consideration Glasnow carried BOTH Tommy John traits of being a young hurler who also throws hard.  Right now Glasnow is scheduled for an MRI on Saturday and that is when doctors will get a good look at the UCL and whether it is damaged.  If the URL is torn, obviously season-ending Tommy John surgery will commence and Glasnow will be lost for the remainder of the year and his loss would be monstrous.  Heading into his Friday outing, Glasnow was pitching as well as any starter in baseball as he now sits with a splendid 1.86 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, and 55 K in 48.1 innings.  A talented but flawed pitcher with massive control problems during his stay with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Rays bought low on the upside and quickly went to work correcting the pitch inefficiency.  With Tampa having the reputation for being the best team in baseball in developing arms, I was all over Glasnow this spring as a big sleeper given the new locale.  The result was spectacular going into Friday but now all the fun is on the backburner for now.  This looks to be a 50/50 deal in terms of whether or not Glasnow need Tommy John but forearm injuries are usually a precursor to such.  Stay tuned on this but expect the worst. 


Friday, May 10, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Tim Anderson:  0/2 while hitting .323.  Regression has been the theme here for the last two weeks after the insane April.  Be that as it may, I still am a big booster of Anderson who has lowered his strikeout rate by a very impressive margin which has helped with the average uptick. Unfortunately, Anderson's 3.7 BB/9 shows he remains allergic to walks.

Jose Ramirez:  1/4 while hitting .206.  I guess the return of Francisco Lindor was not the cure all here.

Carlos Carrasco:  5 IP 2 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.91.  Its always a hairy ride but Carrasco remains capable of completely shutting anyone down in any given outing.

Kris Bryant:  1/2 with his 7th HR while hitting .252.  I won't say he is back to 2016 Bryant by any means but the ball is exploding off his bat again at a level not seen since maybe then.

Anthony Rizzo:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .260.  The new Mark Teixeira in terms of slow starts, Rizzo is already almost back where he should be in May statistically.

Yu Darvish:  4 IP 1 H 1 ER 6 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.40.  This is everything you love (strikeouts, lack of hits against) and hate (walks, early exits) about Darvish.

Albert Pujols:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .208.  Pujols still has a ton of money coming to him but he really needs to think about hanging it up after this season.

Tommy LaStella:  2/4 with 2 home runs (9 for season) while hitting .256.  LaStella is that random mediocre veteran who maybe tinkered with his launch angle to add more power out of the blue.  Nice story but I have better things to do than try him on for size.

Kole Calhoun:  2/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .223.  Amazing how many boring/flawed veterans the Angels have outside of Mike Trout.

Nolan Arenado:  3/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .322.  Arenado is red hot and that is saying something given his previous standards.

Ian Desmond:  1/2 with his 4th HR while hitting .204.  This guy is such trash that there are not enough adjectives to adequately describe the level of futility being shown by him this season.

Kyle Freeland:  5 IP 4 H 3 ER 4 BB 3 K with an ERA of 5.84.  If you listened to be one bit, you would have had no shares of Freeland this season and been enjoying fantasy baseball more.

Eugenio Suarez:  3/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .242. Suarez has entered into the boring veteran portion of his career which is reserved for very good hitters who don't steal bases.  This means you can usually get a good price on such a potential trade acquisition.  Try it.

Derek Dietrich:  1/2 with his 10th HR while hitting. 247.  See LaStella, Tommy above.

Tanner Roark:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.27.  The 1.43 WHIP shows trouble is on the way so proceed carefully even in an SP 5 sense.

Domingo Santana:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .276.  I would lock in .276 for the average to go with the 20/15 pace.

J.A. Happ:  5 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.36.  Happ has completely turned his season around but tread carefully when he is throwing at home as he is giving up a bunch of homers to the short porch in right. 

Gregory Polanco:  3/4 with his second HR while hitting .308.  Polanco is quickly making up for lost time.  The talent is so obvious here which keeps the "maybe THIS is the year" narrative going.

Joe Musgrove:  8 ER in 3 IP with an ERA of 4.20.  This is the danger you run when liberally using soft-tossing control artists like Musgrove in that when they are off, they get absolutely destroyed. 

Hunter Pence:  1/3 with his sixth HR while hitting .343.  One of my all-time favorites, Pence has found some new hitting life in Texas.  Why not?

George Springer:  3/5 with his 13th HR while hitting .301.  Good stuff happening here as Springer is hitting .300 and not .260 along with all the power.  The lack of stolen bases keeps him in the low-end OF 1 tier but still Springer is tremendous.

Josh Donaldson:  1/3 with his 6th HR while hitting .258.  Donaldson at the very least has proven this season he is not completely shot just yet but he still is a clear notch or two below his Oakland days due to aging.

Mike Soroka:  6 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 4 K with an ERA of 1.21.  Wow.  Soroka is absolutely dealing right now and should be started in any locale every time out.  Remember he was good last season as well before getting injured so don't doubt what your eyes are showing you.

Luke Weaver:  7 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 2.98.  Not sure how it went all wrong in St. Louis of all places last season but Weaver is fully back on track towards SP 2 status.  Talent won out. 

Patrick Corbin:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 4 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.20.  It is very rare to say in today's game but Corbin has been worth every dollar the Nats gave him as a free agent. 






Thursday, May 9, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: MARTIN PEREZ SP MINNESOTA TWINS

Charlie Morton 2.0 anyone?  When it comes to 2019 Minnesota Twins pitching surprise Martin Perez, the comparisons to Morton have been floated around in many publications and one the surface this makes sense on a number of levels.  For one thing, both Morton and Perez were failed starters who struggled badly year in and year out while also battling serious injuries.  However it also was both Morton and Perez who decided to change their approaches on the fly by learning new pitches and also enhancing their spin rates.  We already have seen Morton turn himself into a top-end SP 2 the last few years despite moving into his mid-30's and so far it appears Perez is aiming to engineer a similar story based on how well he has thrown the ball this season.  Going into Thursday's games, Perez was carrying with him the following numbers:

2.83 ERA
1.26 WHIP
.234 BAA
.301 BABIP
8.49 K/9
0.44 HR/9
3.48 BB/9

Looking at the numbers above, the ERA stands out and so does the K/9 based on Perez' previous history.  For one thing, Perez routinely put up some of the ugliest ERA's in baseball during his Texas Rangers days and his strikeout numbers were beyond poor as well.  Enter in the new cutter that Perez developed over the winter and the increased spin rate overall on his throws and all of a sudden the ratios began to plummet.  In addition, Perez also began to uptick his strikeouts which went right along with an increase in average fastball.  Consider that in 2018, Perez' average fastball velocity was 93.2 and this season that number has jumped to a more impressive 95.4.  The K/9 itself has moved from 5.48 last season all the way up to 8.49 in 2019 which is another nice jump.  Even more noteworthy is that Perez' .301 BABIP is in neutral territory which means he has been pretty legit as the 3.11 FIP shows.  So while the move to a more spacious park in Minnesota has helped Perez, there is also no debate that his new approach has also been a big boost as well.  So anyone holding shares in Perez should continue to liberally use him at home and only bench him in the most difficult road assignments.  This breakout seems quite legit and should lead to more fun before summer fatigue sets in given that Perez has not thrown big inning totals the last few seasons.  This is a concern for another day though so enjoy the fun while it lasts. 




2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: STEVE CISHEK COULD BE THE MAN FOR SAVES IN PLACE OF PEDRO STROP

Already having lost incumbent closer Brandon Morrow to injury for all of spring training and for the 2019 to this point, the Chicago Cubs then proceeded to see backup stopper Pedro Strop land on the IL Wednesday with a bum hamstring.  Given that the Cubs have a well-stocked bullpen filled with former closers who have succeeded in the ninth inning in the past, there was a bit of a dart throw feel yesterday afternoon in terms of who to target off waivers among Steve Cishek, Brad Brach, Carl Edwards Jr., and Brandon Kintzler.  Given the accomplishments of all four, it was tough to try and break this situation down but yours truly pegged Cishek as the guy given his experience edge over the others and for the fact he has pitched well this season (3.18 ERA, 19 K in 17 IP).  The first test of this prediction came in Wednesday's game versus the Miami Marlins which went 11 innings and saw Cishek and Edwards both pitch.  What was interesting is that it was Kyle Ryan who came on in the ninth to give up a hit that came around to score when Cishek entered and gave up one of his own.  While Cishek got the blown save for allowing the inherited runner to score, it was Ryan who picked up the earned run.  Eventually, it was Edwards who got the win with a scoreless 11th which proceeded Jason Heyward's walk-off bomb.  So in the end, there was not much clarity here and we all know that Joe Maddon is the king of the bullpen committee.  With Cishek and Edwards Jr. having worked Wednesday, it is entirely possibly Kintzler or Brach will get the next save chance but overall this looks like one big mess to try and figure out.  I would still bet Cishek being the longer term bet but as we have seen across baseball this season, there is no rhyme or reason for many of the ninth inning decisions being made in many locales. 


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Lucas Giolito:  7.1 IP 3 H 0 ER 3 BB 8 K with an ERA of 4.06.  Giolito is still far from the stud prospect he was once touted to be but at least we are finally seeing some signs of progress.  Even so, Giolito is barely worth rostering as an SP 5 given how dicey his overall game remains. 

Pete Alonso:  3/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .284.  Just one day after sharing concern about Alonso, he hits a home run that likely is still in orbit.  My goodness the power is insane but a near 30.0 percent K/9 is something to watch. 

Franmil Reyes:  3/5 with his 10th HR while hittting .261.  Comparisons to Khris Davis are right on par. 

Noah Sydergaard:  4 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 5.14.  Thor was unable to build off his terrific last outing in a plush matchup in San Diego.  The advanced metrics are still glowing outside of the home runs though so try to buy low again.

Edwin Encarnacion:  1/3 with his 11th HR while hitting .246.  Another crazy power packed May is underway for the veteran.

Gio Urshela:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .360.  Urshela has been so good that the Yanks are now toying with the idea of having him start everyday at third base and using Miguel Andujar at DH.  Bad news for Andujar owners as the starts will get tight once the injured return.

Marco Gonzales:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 3 K with an ERA of 3.08.  Good rebound for Gonzales after he got his head beat in the last time out.  The margin for error here is smaller than those who can collect a decent amount of K's which keeps him in SP 5 territory but he has more than proven his relative stability in that tier. 

J.D. Martinez:  1/2 with his fifth HR while hitting .323.  The power has been a bit slow to collect out of the gate but this should be the launch point now for monster home runs to begin flowing.  Absolutely no concern here. 

Xander Bogaerts:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .254.  For some strange reason Boagerts can't ever seem to be able to combine a .300 average with power. 

Ryan Brasier:  2 in .2 IP with an ERA of 3.68.  Matt Barnes (1.1 scoreless, 1.88 ERA) is making a strong push for the closer role in Boston as Brasier has hit the skids.  Truth be told, Barnes looks more like the classic closer than Brasier ever did. 

Gregory Polanco:  2/4 with his first HR while hitting .273.  Polanco is back to start showing flashes but ultimate disappointment as he has done every single year of his career.

Mitch Garver:  3/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .367.  And to think we all were chasing Willians Astudillo. 

Jose Berrios:  7 IP 4 H 0 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.53.  It was obvious from the beginning Berrios had ace-worthy stuff but it is nice to see a graduation into that tier that went as smooth as it did here. 

Griffith Canning:  5.1 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.66.  The Angels will likely not extend the leash too far with their top pitching prospect but the signs are there for him to become an asset real soon if not right now. 

Hansel Robles:  scoreless 9th for his third save with an ERA of 4.24.  All fans of the New York Mets can't believe the Angels or any team for that matter would trust Robles to be a closer but he actually has thrown well......for now. 

Brandon Lowe:  2/5 with his 8th HR while hitting .311.  I think next season I am only going to draft Tampa Bay Rays players.

Stephen Strasburg:  6.2 IP 6 H 4 ER 2 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.71.  Whether you love him or hate him, you can't argue that Strasburg is about as sweet a strikeout artist as there is in the game. 

Rhys Hoskins:  4/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .302.  All Bryce Harper owners feel they got the wrong Philly. 

Bryce Harper:  2/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .236.  Brett Gardner has one less homer. 

Aaron Nola:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 4.57.  Next season just bench Nola for all of April and proceed from there. 

Kris Bryant:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .250.  It took a full season and this past April but now we may finally be seeing the Kris Bryant of old.  Maybe. 

Jon Lester:  6 IP 8 H 0 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.41.  Only two more months or so before you got to deal him. 

Whit Merrifield:  4/5 with his 6th HR and 7th SB while hitting .299.  My goodness Merrifield is literally filling up every category and he is playing like a monster first round pick.  Having added power as he moved towards his 30's while retaining the speed, Merrifield is the true definition of a fantasy baseball powerhouse. 

Alex Bregman:  1/3 with his 10th HR while hitting .283.  Some guys like Bregman can literally emerge out of a slump in like one game and then look out.

Madison Bumgarner:  6 IP 6 H 3 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.99.  Listen the guy is a step below his past ace status but there is still useful material here that could yield low-end SP 2 value if all breaks right. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL NEWS: MIKE FIERS THE MOTHER OF ALL STREAMING STARTS TUESDAY

Allow me a moment to brag here as I bask in the glow of picking up Mike Fiers for a spot start prior to Tuesday night's game and the proceeded to watch him toss a no-hitter that netted six K's versus the Cincinnati Reds.  Picking up Fiers prior to the outing made me swallow hard since he came in with a 6.81 ERA and 1.49 WHIP but there was a bunch of poor BABIP luck impacting him and the veteran has generally been a strong SP 5 asset when right./  Well certainly the move paid off as Fiers threw the no-no and he should be held for the head-to-head crowd since he will go again this weekend looking to build off that tremendous momentum.  Even now Fiers has a shoddy 5.48 ERA but the 1.24 WHIP is decent enough and both ratios are heading downward.  What a night.  


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: PETE ALONSO 1B NEW YORK METS

We all know the spring cliche that April showers being May flowers but there is also a trend in the fantasy baseball universe when it comes to rookie pitchers and hitters.  It goes pretty much according to the lines of said hotshot rookie bursting out of the gates in April with mammoth home runs and 10-K shutouts as they take advantage of opposition that has little to no book on their tendencies.  We all then swoon over these prospect gems who make us feel validated for reaching for them in drafts just a few weeks earlier.  Alas, the fantasy baseball season is a six month marathon and more often then not for these players, May often brings forth a crash into rookie reality as the strikeouts begin to pile up for the hitters and the 5 earned run outings for the pitcher.  Opposing players now have a concrete scouting report to attack and soon the numbers began to lose a lot of shine as May proceeds.  While we are just a week into the month, we are already seeing this trend develop with New York Mets hulking first base slugger Pete Alonso who was the toast of fantasy baseball in April as he hit over .300 for most of the month with 9 home runs but then soon began to pile up the fruitless at-bats as May approached.  Now with May underway, Alonso has continued to struggle in hitting .250 with zero home runs through the first week and the strikeouts are beginning to pile up. 

Overall as we head into Tuesday's action, Alonso was hitting .271 with 9 home runs and 27 RBI which are tremendous numbers but spring concerns about the strikeouts and the negative impact it would have on his batting average are beginning to reveal themselves as his K/9 is up to 29.9 which is a very scary number.  Now Alonso is drawing walks as shown by his 10.2 BB/9 which will help keep the average from being totally dragged down but still there is cause for concern right now about how long this slump will go on.  If it drags well into May, it is not out of the realm of possibility Alonso goes back down to the minors to get his confidence back up and so this is something to watch closely.  The sell high window on Alonso was about a week ago so if you are an owner, you have to hold tight until at least the next home run goes out.  While overall Alonso should be just fine, just know that there is never any set pattern with any rookie pitcher or hitter. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: MONDAY

Nick Senzel:  2/6 with 2 home runs (2 for season) while hitting .235.  Already did a lengthy piece on Senzel yesterday.  He is pretty good. 

Eugenio Suarez:  2/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .231. Listen Suarez has more than proven himself to be a .270 or better hitter so patience there. 

Drew Pomeranz:  7 ER in 1.2 IP with an ERA of 5.93.  For a fleeting moment Pomeranz looked like something special while he was in San Diego but absolute garbage since. 

Pete Alonso:  0/4 while hitting .271.  The K rate is getting pretty scary of late and Alonso is now dealing with pitchers adjusting to him.  His turn to make a change. 

Hunter Renfroe:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .239.  Always big power here but guys like Renfroe as we all know are a dime a dozen.

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.60.  No run support is just as much a theme here as the awesome ratios and strikeouts. 

Chris Paddock:  7.2 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 11 K with an ERA of 1.55.  Unbelievable.  While the Mets lineup stinks, Paddock is pitching insanely right now.  A 10.18 K/9 combined with a 2.21 BB/9 and 0.44 HR/9 is an impossible situation for any hitter to deal with so this explosion has more than a few legs to it. 

Yoan Moncada:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .293.  We are now into May and Moncada is still hitting for average with the power and speed.  Yes sir. 

Trevor Bauer:  7 ER in 5 IP with an ERA of 3.42.  Just one walk so not too concerned about this but overall Bauer is falling a bit short of expectations like literally every other Cleveland Indian. 

Domingo Santana:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .269.  Still good stuff emanating here but the slipping average was expected for a guy who strikes out as much as Santana does. 

Dee Gordon:  3/4 with his third HR while hitting .297.  Gordon has exceeded all expectations so far in my book as he is still running at a high rate despite showing some negative signs there a year ago and the average has rebounded as well. 

Luke Voit:  1/4 with his 10th HR while hitting .260.  Never looking back. 

Jonathan Villar:  1/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .273.  Villar has never been a pure speedster as he has the pop to hit 15 homers which makes his overall value so much more potent than one may be led to believe. 

Eddie Rosario:  1/4 with his 12th HR while hitting .224.  I hope Rosario is not falling too much in love with the home run swing. 

Jorge Polanco:  3/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .317.  I would be so much more amped here if there was no steroid bust. 

Martin Perez:  7 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.83.  Introducing your latest spin rate veteran career campaign.


Monday, May 6, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WELCOME TO THE SHOW: NICK SENZEL OUTFIELDER CINCINNATI REDS

Well that wait was certainly worth it.  Monday marked one of those "stop what your doing and take a look" moments in fantasy baseball as top Cincinnati Reds outfield prospect Nick Senzel hit not one but TWO home runs out of the leadoff spot for the team in their 12-4 win over the San Francisco Giants and just like that we see the immense potential that the former second overall pick in the 2016 draft brings to the table.  Having been dogged by injuries for most of 2018 and at the start of this season, Senzel's upside is incredibly vast as he not only hits for power but also can steal bases and bat .300.  That would be the kind of combination to yield high round picks in yearly fantasy baseball drafts and Senzel could be headed towards this status if he keeps this up.  Having hit .300 with both power and speed at every level in his development, Senzel should be here to stay now with the Reds and those who had been waiting for his arrival could find themselves with potentially a high impact player the rest of the way.  With Senzel also showcasing himself as a guy who draws walks, the typical slumps that come with most rookies figure to be minimized to an extent and so there should be very interesting numbers emanating out of here on a somewhat consistent basis.  So strap in and have fun with this as Senzel is already showing he is going to be something to behold. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: SUNDAY

Edwin Encarnacion:  2/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .241.  It is May so Encarnacion will now hit a home run every other day.

Mitch Haniger:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .246.  The scorching start has descended into some stark inconsistency but a buy low here would be smart as Haniger overall has top OF 2 written all over him.

Jay Bruce:  1/5 with his 11th HR while hitting .183.  We all know there is immense power here but Bruce is barely worth rostering in today's power-centric fantasy baseball.

Christian Yelich:  1/4 with his 15th HR while hitting .346.  It must be sweet to be a Yelich owner.  Even Mookie Betts owners are jealous. 

Travis Shaw:  0/3 while hitting .172.  I said to stay patient with Shaw as he is a proven 25-home run guy with very useful versatility but geez we are at the point now where patience is in short supply here. 

Zach Davies:  7.2 IP 6 H 2 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 1.56.  Smoke and mirrors at its finest but it is clearly working for Davies right now.  Movement is what is getting Davies success right now since his fastball velocity would not impress those in a beer league and a .275 BABIP comes out to a rough 4.86 XFIP which means this is all going to turn for the worse before you know it.  Look out. 

Hunter Dozier:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .343.  While we get power hitting bats coming out of nowhere each and every season, the difference that makes Dozier so much more valuable is that he is helping in the average department as well.  Ride it out as always. 

Spencer Turnbull:  7 IP 6 H 1 ER 1 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.31.  Another shockingly good start comes from Turnbull who unlike Zach Davies, is missing some bats as well as putting up the swell ratios.  There is a lucky .283 BABIP here as well but that number is not otherwordly and Turnbull was once a 2014 second-round pick which makes him a bit more intriguing. 

Nick Markakis:  2/2 with his third HR while hitting .333.  The man can hit.  One of the more underrated careers we have seen in quite some time. 

Julio Teheran:  6 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.63.  Up and down like the stock market.  Avoid.

Pablo Lopez:  6 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 6 K with an ERA of 4.03.  Now with a 1.08 WHIP, Lopez' peripherals are glowing and so a kid who is really a fantasy baseball asset waiting to happen.

Starling Marte:  2/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .211.  I tried so hard to buy low on Marte but couldn't get it done.  A failure I will regret. 

Jordan Lyles:  6.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB 3 K with an ERA of 2.20.  What is interesting is that so many top power arms are struggling this season but soft-tossing control artists like Lyles is excelling.  Something to be said for not beating yourself with walks. 

Kurt Suzuki:  2/4 with his 4th HR while hitting .298.  We need to see more of Kurt Suzuki and less of Yan Gomes. 

Zach Eflin:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.00.  It is all coming up smelling like roses for Eflin who showed signs a year ago of being capable of this.  SP 3 status is very attainable if he keeps this going. 

Jose Abreu:  2/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .291.  Hope you all listened to me not only in April when I told you to buy low on Abreu but also in March. 

Xander Bogaerts:  1/5 with his 6th HR while hitting .264.  It seems like Bogaerts is a bit wild in his numbers across the board but they all settle where they should by the end of the season.

Rick Porcello:  6 IP 5 H 2 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 5.11.  If you want to start trusting Porcello again after a few good recent starts feel free but I won't even go near the guy. 

Asdrubal Cabrera:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .232.  The skills are eroding in terms of the batting average which is no surprise given Cabrera's age but the guy still has the pop to help in a backup capacity. 

Rougned Odor:  2/4 with his second HR while hitting .141.  I really need to stop making excuses for the guy or I will surely lose my audience. 

German Marquez:  5 ER in 6 IP with an ERA of 3.46.  Once again Marquez struggled at home which has been a stark trend all season. 

Zack Greinke:  6 IP 6 H 3 ER 0 BB 4 K with an ERA of 3.42.  Now with a 0.96 WHIP, Greinke is dealing once again when we all wanted to run away from him in the spring.  Starting to think that even if he throws 80, Greinke has such a potent arsenal of pitches that he will remain a top guy. 

Domingo German:  6.2 IP 4 H 1 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.35.  What a find this kid has been.  If you can generate any sort of market for German I would see what I could get for him as hitters will adjust back to him before too long but the fact he was nothing but a waiver wire add has made German one of the best pickups so far this season.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: LOU TRIVINO BECOMES A MAJOR PERSON OF INTEREST WITH BLAKE TREINEN DEALING WITH ELBOW SORENESS

The late new Saturday night that Oakland A's top-tier closer Blake Treinen was suffering from pain in his pitching elbow sent shudders throughout all of his fantasy baseball owners and at the same time, likely caused a stampede to the waiver wire for top setup man Lou Trivino.  Right now the word is that Treinen will see team doctors on Monday and then a determination will be made regarding whether or not he will need to be placed on the IL.  The worst case scenario in here is that Treinen's UCL is compromised and that would lead to season-ending Tommy John surgery.  We don't have to tell you that hard-throwing young pitchers like Treinen are almost always the classical Tommy John surgery candidates and so this is no small worry.  Even if the UCL is fine, it is likely Treinen will land on the IL as the A's look to be cautious here.  In such a scenario, top setup man Lou Trivino would step up into the ninth inning and he certainly looks capable as he went into Sunday's action with a 1.38 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 13 innings.  An earlier thumb issue has been put to rest and last season Trivino was excellent in recording a 2.92 ERA and 82 whiffs in 74 innings to show what he could be capable of if given a chance at saves.  So the only move to make here is to grab Trivino off the waiver wire and hope for the best in terms of length of absence for Treinen owners.  If given the chance to close however, Trivino could be quite impressive. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL INJURY FALLOUT: JAMES PAXTON ONCE AGAIN CAN'T AVOID THE IL, DOWN THREE WEEKS WITH KNEE ISSUE

The sun coming up in the morning.  The Real Housewives bickering.  The Kentucky Derby being overturned (well maybe not that last one).  There are certain things in life that are an almost absolute given and in the fantasy baseball world, one of the more consistent trends each and every season is that ace-level starter James Paxton will hit the IL at least once and maybe for a lengthy time period.  Still yet to avoid the IL in any of his five MLB seasons and he got his yearly stint out of the way early as the New York Yankees placed him on the shelf again for maybe up to three weeks with left knee inflammation.  The good news is that Paxton's arm was not involved but on the other hand, that maybe leaves open the likely chance he will hit the IL again later on in the year with something shoulder/hand/elbow related given his rough delivery and maximum velocity fastball.  The real shame of the injury is that Paxton was pitching his best of the season so far as he recently came off two consecutive 12-strikeout games to answer questions regarding whether or not he was cut out to pitch in the bright lights of New York.  Already one of the best strikeout artists in the game, Paxton's current 12.42 K/9 is absolutely mammoth and his 3.11 ERA was ace-like as well.  Obviously, all of Paxton's fantasy baseball owners know that he is going to hit the IL at least once when they cut the draft check and the fact it will be on the short side this time around is encouraging.  However the volatility remains very high here and Paxton himself will never reach that ace status given all the missed starts. 


Friday, May 3, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: CARLOS CORREA SS HOUSTON ASTROS

How quickly a narrative can change when examing a prime fantasy baseball player is a theme that certainly is deserving of Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.  While he is still just 24, it seems like A.) Correa has been around for ever and B.) the guy has gone from being a stud five-tool monster we all wanted to persona non grata in the fantasy baseball universe.  Of course, we all remember the exciting days when Correa first came up in 2015 after being picked number 1 overall in 2012 and then seemingly turned into a star overnight as he hit 22 home runs, stole 14 bases, and batted .274.  This was followed by 20 homers, 13 steals, and a .274 average the following year and Correa was off and running as a first-round pick with pretty much unlimited potential in the eyes of many. 

As so often happens in situations like this, the fairytale story got interrupted and in Correa's case, it was serious injuries that kept him under 500 at-bats both in 2017 and 2018 and maybe also contributed to his statistical profile changing for the worse.  On the latter front, we first saw Correa showing no interest in stealing bases anymore beginning in 2017 as he swiped just 2 bags and then he followed that up with 3 last season.  Now we have heard of countless players erode sharply in steals as they move towards 30 but this is a guy who is still to this day not even 25.  In addition, Correa went into a massive slump in 2018 when he batted just .239 and smacked 15 homers in 468 at-bats.  In other words, borderline waiver wire numbers from a guy who was a second round pick at worst.  So it was these themes that followed Correa into drafts this past March and he was someone I identified as a player I would watch closely to see if he could get his career back on track as a high end guy.

Well if the first month is any indication, we have generally gotten positive developments from Correa almost across the board.  For one thing, he has stayed healthy and been nearly an everyday guy.  Secondly, Correa is already up to 6 home runs on the season which has him on pace for 30-plus.  Also, Correa's .296 batting average has been terrific and his 8.3 BB/9 has been solid. 

Now on the negative side, Correa is still not showing much interest in running with a single stolen base and we may have to now accept the fact those numbers may never be coming back.  In addition, Correa's 26.7 K/9 is quite ugly and could lead to average trouble down the line if he doesn't correct this soon.  Be that as it may though, Correa has been more good than bad and seems ready to reclaim second round status.  Of course the season is still early but so far Correa is supplying very good value for those who kept the faith in the kid. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: THURSDAY

Ian Kinsler:  3/6 with this third HR while hitting .174.  You got to hand it to Kinsler with regards to his career going so much longer than we all anticipated.

Wil Myers:  2/5 with his sixth HR while hitting .248.  Typical Myers who is not hitting for average but also is doing his power/speed thing with little fanfare. 

Matt Strahm:  6 IP 8 H 2 ER 0 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.03.  Funny thing happened with Strahm in that he was the toast of spring training and then all it took was one lousy start to begin the year for his ownership to plummet drastically.  Since ten though, Strahm has been very good like in spring training but yet no one wants him.  Fantasy baseball players are weird folks.

Noah Syndergaard:  9 IP 4 H 0 ER 1 BB 10 K with an ERA of 5.02.  Yeah so I did say last week to buy low on Syndergaard.  How is that working out now?  The guy will be just fine.  

David Dahl:  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .333.  Man if Dahl could ever just stay on the field he could really be something else.  Alas, his per game numbers are swell as expected this season so keep him a fixture in your lineup.

Nolan Arenado:  3/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .297.  Arenado getting to 40 homers is almost as sure as the Tampa Bay Rays muddling their closer situation.

Raimel Tapia:  3/5 with his 4th HR while hitting .286.  Tapia should have been added last week or even the week before so check your league's wire one last time since are now into Month 2 of him hitting like this.

Ryan Braun:  2/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .206.  Yeah Braun is officially old as he fully graduates into an all-or-nothing home run guy.

Jon Gray:  5 ER in 5.2 IP with 9 K while logging an ERA of 4.22.  As maddening as ever.  At least brother from another mother Carlos Rodon is out injured for awhile and can't hurt his owners for the time being.

Alex Bregman:  1/4 with his sixth HR while hitting .260.  I said the other day Bregman shoul dbe a top five guy from here on out and he is certainly off to a nice start making that prediction look good.  

Jose Berrios:  7 IP 7 H 2 ER 0 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.91.  Along with a 0.97 WHIP, Berrios has realized his ace potential already.  

Brandon Lowe:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .303.  Well this has been an unexpected surprise.  

Charlie Morton:  6.2 IP 5 H 1 ER 1 BB 9 K with an ERA of 2.52.  Years ago we had Dan Haren who pitched like a power ace for the first four months of the season before fatigue did him in for August and September.  Morton follows the same endurance path so hold until July.  Even now if you get a swell offer for Morton, I would consider selling.  

Stephen Strasburg:  6.2 IP 6 H 1 ER 2 BB 9 K with an ERA of 3.45.  It takes a lot of patience to own Strasburg on a yearly basis but the drop in velocity doesn't seem to be hurting him much.

Andrew Benintendi:  2/4 with his third HR while hitting .273.  It may seen on a daily basis that Benintendi is disappointing but his deliberate pace to 20/20 is on track.  

Mike Trout:  2/4 with his 7th HR while hitting .312.  As someone who owns Trout, it was certainly a bit of a wait for a home run the last week or so.  




Thursday, May 2, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: WEDNESDAY

Christian Vasquez:  1/3 with his 5th HR while hitting .227.  It is amazing how any catcher showing any semblance of a hitting pulse gets us all to pay attention. 

Anthony DeScalfani:  5.2 IP 3 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 3.48.  The WHIP is 1.16 so DeScalfani is pitching pretty well in a valid sort of way.  We have seen a few useful seasons from DeScalfani in the past so no reason he can't continue on a strong SP 5 path.

Jacob DeGrom:  7 IP 3 H 0 ER 2 BB 6 K with an ERA of 3.82.  DeGrom looked like his old ace self here with the fastball having bite and no homers allowed which should allow his owners to breath a giant sigh of relief.

Adalberto Mondesi:  1/4 with his 4th HR and 2 steals (10 for season) while hitting .295 in Game 1 and 2.  There may not be a more exciting player to own for all of 2019 fantasy baseball and this is how it should be as I deserve to be tortured watching this on a daily basis after I pumped the breaks on Mondesi this past spring. 

Joey Gallo:  1/4 with his 11th HR while hitting .264.  Gallo is in one of those awe-inspiring power runs where any swing where he makes contact is liable to result in a ball going out. 

Danny Santana:  2/3 with his third HR while hitting .355.  I picked up Santana this morning and it was telling he was still available considering how much juice (homers/steals) he has thus far supplied.  That likely has to do with the fact Santana has been pretty brutal with the bat the last few years when he got a chance in the majors but the past is the past as they say and riding out a hot player like this in Texas is always a swell idea.

Luke Voit:  1/3 with his 9th HR while hitting .277.  I think we can retire the whole "is Luke Voit legit?" queries. 

Ketel Marte:  2/2 with his 7th HR while hitting .263.  Where are all those minor league steals?

Anthony Rizzo:  1/3 with his 7th HR while hitting .231.  Already Rizzo's average is coming back up at a steady rate after his brutal April in that category.  You know, just like a year ago. 

Javier Baez:  3/5 with his 10th HR while hitting .314.  Baez is the latest example of a player whose incremental gains in plate discipline suddenly launched him into first two round territory in fantasy baseball. 

Wilson Contreras:  2/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .301.  The best catcher in fantasy baseball by not only a mile but TWO miles. 

Jon Lester:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 8 K with an ERA of 1.73.  Lester is showing a bit of renewed life on his fastball and his advanced metrics look pretty solid which means we should buy the early results.  Just be careful when the summer comes around as the fatigue sets in. 

Miles Mikolas:  6 IP 7 H 1 ER 1 BB 4 K with an ERA of 4.73.  This more looks like a typical Mikolas start going forward with the decent hit rate and lack of K's.

Rhys Hoskins:  1/4 with his 9th HR while hitting .278.  Pretty much everything we anticipated so far with Hoskins so no reason to quibble. 

Aaron Nola:  5.2 IP 7 H 1 ER 3 BB 6 K with an ERA of 5.06.  Talk up the ERA and listless outing versus the woeful Tigers in one last ditch effort to buy low.  Trust me Nola will be fine. 

Hector Neris:  .1 scoreless inning in the SIXTH!  Just when you thought Neris was the closer for the Phillies, Gabe Kapler does his maddening thing again with the bullpen.  I really think the control freak Kapler plays fantasy baseball and is trying to tell the community "see I can do what I want and don't care what your teams think."

Corey Kluber:  4.2 IP 8 H 3 ER 0 BB 3 K with an ERA of 5.80.  Not only was Kluber going bust like  I said he would be all spring training when on the mound but he threw in a broken forearm that will likely keep him out two months for good measure.  I mean I warned you all to steer clear. 

Caleb Smith:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 2.00.  Very few pitchers will I bestow such a label but Caleb Smith's stuff deserves to be called "electric." 

Manny Machado:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .236.  I really wanted to believe the money wouldn't cause Machado to relax and lose an edge when hitting but the evidence so far is not promising. 

Max Fried:  7 IP 4 H 1 ER 0 BB 7 K with an ERA of 2.11.  This is getting a but insane now as Fried was nobody's definition of a big prospect while coming up the minor leagues but the numbers are crazy.  Clearly, some regression is on its way as Fried is taking advantage of hitters who don't have much of a book on him but there could be some SP 4 staying power.  \

Nolan Arenado:  3/5 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .285.  Standard operating procedure. 

Trevor Story:  1/4 with his 8th HR while hitting .279.  The Rockies version of Adalberto Mondesi.  Or vice versa. 

Martin Perez:  8 IP 4 H 0 ER 2 BB 7 K with an ERA of 3.41.  Perez is another spin rate pitcher who looks to be the latest mid-career renaissance guy so pay close attention. 





Wednesday, May 1, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: JOSE LeCLERC OUT AS RANGERS CLOSER JUST ONE MONTH INTO SEASON

Somewhere Derrick Turnbow is nodding in understanding.  After all, the former Milwaukee Brewer closer was one of the all-time one-year wonders who burst onto the scene to completely dominate finishing games for the team and the next year was so unhittable that he not only lost the gig but soon was out of baseball after never-ending struggles.  While we won't say this is where the Texas Rangers' Jose LeClerc is headed, he certainly is drawing firm comparisons to Turnbow as he was removed from the team's closer role on Wednesday after yet another brutal outing the night before when he gave up 3 earned runs in 1 IP to raise his ERA to 8.44 and WHIP to 2.16.  Those are truly horrendous numbers and LeClerc has been terrible almost from the start of 2019 which almost completely has taken the shine off a sparkling 2018 when he came out to register a 1.56 ERA and 13.27 K/9.  It seemed LeClerc was set to be a new age star closer but now that notion looks laughable.  While the plan is for LeClerc to work in less intense situations in order to regain his confidence (and also begin to start earning some of the money he received after signing an extension in spring training) but now attention turns to the potential replacement.  On that front, the best bet is likely going to be veteran Shawn Kelley who has been a part-time closer in the past and who has the high K rate and good 2019 stats (1.50 ERA) and who is capable of staunching the bleeding at the back of the team's bullpen.  There also have been some mention that Chris Martin (3.97 ERA) but Kelley would be the add if you only have one spot to use.  As for LeClerc, try and stash him as his arm remains potent but just too wild to save games.  Given what the Rangers have invested here, count on him getting another chance. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WRAPUP: TUESDAY

Victor Robles:  1/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .255.  The plate discipline has been atrocious so far for Robles and he is running less than anticipated.  Still, this is a supremely talented player who is similar in style to Tim Anderson who is now in the process of himself putting it all together for Chicago.  Give it time and so will Robles.  Hold tight.

Adam Eaton:  2/5 with his second HR while hitting .296.  Eaton is a very good player who has more value in real life than in fantasy baseball as he only contributes the odd homer or steal every now and again.

Adam Wainwright:  6.1 IP 6 H 2 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 3.73.  Wainwright is mixing up his stuff like never before and it clearly is working for him.  While I have been a huge critic of his and rightfully so in the past, I am willing to see if this keeps up since Wainwright is now adjusting to life post-supreme fastball.

Eugenio Suarez:  1/5 with his 7th HR while hitting .230.  A clear veteran just now entering his prime, I would try to buy low here as Suarez is surely headed for better days. 

Luis Castillo:  6.2 IP 5 H 2 ER 3 BB 7 K with an ERA of 1.45.  When this qualifies as your worst start of the season so far, you are pitching pretty well. 

Spencer Turnbull:  6 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 5 K with an ERA of 2.53.  Turnbull has some ability which means he should be able to still be useful in an SP 5 sense when the BABIP gods come calling soon.

Mookie Betts:  2/4 with his 6th HR while hitting .295.  And just like that the first month slump is a distant memory. 

Mitch Moreland:  1/3 with his 8th HR while hitting .213.  If you are relying on Moreland outside of AL-only leagues, you are either his mom or a huge Red Sox homer. 

Rick Porcello:  8 IP 2 H 0 ER 2 BB 8 K with an ERA of 5.52.  Doubt anyone benefitted from this as Porcello is likely collecting cobwebs on the waiver wire given that he was arguably the worst pitcher in baseball per salary in April.  I remain leery. 

Carlos Santana;  3/5 with his third HR while hitting .316.  Santana has actually hit quite well this season as he is using the whole field more but it is coming at the expense of power.  You can't have it all.

Trevor Bauer:  7 IP 4 H 4 ER 4 BB 10 K with an ERA of 2.45.  Bauer is walking a bit more batters than last season which is a bit of a downer but the guy is so impossible to get a hit off of it may not really matter much. 

Eric Hosmer:  2/4 with his 5th HR while hitting .252.  This guy really just sucks doesn't he?

Franmil Reyes:  3/4 with 2 home runs (8 for season) while hitting .232.  As long as you got batting average covered elsewhere, Reyes can absolutely hit 40 home runs even given the challenges of Petco.  There are some crazy exit velocities here so Reyes is completely legit. 

Chris Paddack:  6 IP 4 H 2 ER 1 BB 5 K with an ERA of 1.91.  See Castillo, Luis. 

George Springer:  2/5 with his 9th HR while hitting .274.  Please get this man out of the leadoff spot.

Alex Bregman:  1/5 with his 5th HR while hitting .271.  Some injury issues held Bregman back initially but I would put money down he finishes in the top five in fantasy baseball points from here on out. 

Gerrit Cole:  7 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 11 K with an ERA of 3.95.  Cole absolutely overwhelmed a potent Minnesota lineup like only a handful of starters can.  It has been a bit frustrating to watch Cole in April given some rough run support and a high amount of homers given up but the K rate affirms how awesome a starter he is. 

Starling Marte:  1/6 with his third HR while hitting .200.  If you were hoping to buy low on Marte, the homer in his first game back was a bummer. 

Joey Gallo:  1/2 with his 10th HR while hitting .264.  Wow look who is hitting for a decent average? 

Jose LeClerc:  3 ER in 1 IP for second blown save with ERA of 8.44.  There is no way LeClerc gets another save chance and really Shawn Kelley should have already been scooped up.  Derrick Turnbow sees this whole scene looking eerily familiar. 

Ian Desmond:  1/4 with his third HR while hitting .196.  Just to show you how much Desmond stinks, he has proven that not all hitters can excel in Colorado.

Jesus Aguilar:  1/3 with his third HR while hitting .163.  Told you yesterday to pick up Aguilar if anyone dropped him.  Your chance is dwindling. 

Josh Hader:  1 ER in .2 IP with an ERA of 3.68.  He still doesn't look right to me.