Does anyone remember when Vince Vaughn was funny? It was a time long ago in a land far, far away, your wife was still dating guys wearing Armani Exchange shirts, and George W. Bush was using words like strategrey. It was long before the abortion that was True Detective Season 2, or Couples Retreat, and sometime between Swingers, and The Breakup. In that wrinkle in time Vince Vaughn ruled the box office, and the douchy part of our soul where things like Ed Hardy t-shirts, mirror selfies, and Criss Angel performances still roam free. So where am I going with this awkwardly constructed analogy? I’ll hurry up and get to the point, today’s subject Vince Velasquez has much in common with his big screen brother in initials, way beyond his first name and banal use of the word “Bae-be”. He too started his career with a bang, and universal love during his brief stay in Houston, and then the early season dominance in 2016. And much like Mr. Vaughn, Velasquez took on the task of leading man in the drama that is the Philadelphia Phillies 2017, but unfortunately he just hasn’t been able to recapture the magic. Maybe Velasquez’s nightmare seems less like a heroin dream, and more like a string of poor performances. But the effect is still the same, you just don’t view their latest release with the same excitement you used to. So when I was tasked with covering Velasquez this week by our fearless leader Grey Albright, it felt like a choir singing to me. Perhaps it was the angelic voice of Mr. Albright, perhaps it was my paycheck. Either way, when Grey Albright comes to you and asks “Can you see what’s happin’ with this young brother”, you A. wonder when he became a member of 5% Nation, B. you profile Vince Velasquez. So to the God Grey Albright this is for you…

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Over the past few weeks, Yasmani Grandal has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. Despite being a pinch-hitter who sometimes wears the wrong helmet, he has been hitting .345 with a .392 wOBA over his last 30 days. Part of that has to do with an unsustainable .409 BABIP during that span, but most of it has to do with Grandal being locked in and being more aggressive at the plate. While he has a history of being frustrating to fantasy owners who aren’t utilizing him in OPS or OBP leagues, Hot Yasmani has been very different this season.

Regular Yasmani is a patient hitter who posts OBPs 100 points higher than a mediocre AVG, who walks 15% of the time and strikes out 25% of the time. He can hit home runs but hurts AVG in standard leagues. Last season, he rewarded fantasy owners with 27 home runs, which is great, especially at the catcher position. But, again, he hit just .228, struck out 25.4% of the time, and recorded just 86 hits. That means a third of his hits went for home runs. With 116 strikeouts and 62 walks, it also means that he either struck out or walked 50% of the time. Other than the home runs (which, again, are great to get at the catcher spot), those numbers are fine for OBP/OPS leagues but are not ideal for your standard leagues.

Hot Yasmani, 2017 Yasmani, is a different story. Hot Yasmani has no time for patience at the plate. He wants to eat. HY’s BB% over the last 30 days is less than 6%, and it’s below 10% on the year. He already has 42 hits and is on pace for well over 100 for the first time in his career. He his hitting around .300 after hitting below .235 the last four seasons. The home runs are down, for now, but he is making up for it with career marks in nearly every other offensive category (except walks, of course). I included HY in this week’s Top 100 because he is no longer just posting good numbers for a catcher; he’s one of the hottest hitters not named Charles Cobb Blackmon (full name, look it up) right now.

Now, for a few guys who are not so hot right now…

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A funny thing happened while I was setting my lineups for this week. I picked up not one, BUT TWO starting pitchers from the Colorado Rockies. Here’s where I blow your mind….They’re both named Tyler! Weird, right? You see friends, there once was a myth in fantasy baseball that the only good Rockies’ pitcher was the one not on your roster. My how times have changed. I mean, people are listening to albums again, The Rock is contemplating a Presidential run and a good portion of the Colorado pitching staff is fantasy relevant. What’s real anymore? Is this the Upside Down?? Anyway, both Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood have dates with the San Diego Padres this week and here’s the best part: The games are in Petco Park. I just high-fived myself. Both Anderson and Chatwood are lightly owned, just 11% & 7% respectively. That’s bargain bin shopping amigos. Ignore Anderson’s ugly ERA (5.38) and focus on this: He’s allowed just seven runs and racked up 32 K’s over his last 24.2 innings across his past four starts. Chatwood owns a 4.50 ERA (Thanks Coors!), but he’s been effective on the road dropping that number to 3.06 while producing a 3.86 xFIP.  The Padres meanwhile, have decided to continue their tradition of being all but unwatchable by turning in a .641 OPS, .148 ISO and 73 wRC+. Those numbers rank 29th, 29th and 30th respectively. So yeah, this seems like a great time to get to know the Tyler’s.

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Happy Memorial Day DFSers.  Be sure to pause and give thanks today for those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  They are the true heros.  We’ve got a nice, full early slate today and a five game late slate, a little backwards from how most days run.  It’s a pretty grey day where I live, perfect for sitting in and enjoying a full day of MLB and DFS.  I hope you’ll join me and with any luck we’ll all win a little somethin somethin to make our holiday weekend even better.

I’m almost always a fan of Carlos Carrasco (except when he’s talking about elbow issues in the preseason causing me to avoid him in drafts and end up with Danny Salazar instead…ugh) and today is no exception.  Carrasco is the 4th highest salary player ($18,000) on the early slate, but he’s the number one pitcher on the slate in my opinion.  Carrasco gets the strikeout prone A’s at home.  These A’s are 8th in the majors in Ks and Just wrapped up being struck out 34 times in 3 games at the house next to the house that Ruth built.  CC Sabathia struck out 9 A’s for crying out loud! CC!  Carrasco has looked amazing so far this season, pitching to a 9 K rate and a sub 1.00 WHIP.  His FIP (3.29) is right in line with his ERA (2.93) as well, so it’s no fluke.  Cookie will be an auto-roster for me today and I suggest you do the same

New to FantasyDraft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before you do.  It’s how we know you care!

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On Saturday, Stephen Strasburg went 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 15 Ks, ERA at 2.94.  That’s right, fifteen strikeouts, a career high.  Ah… If only every starter got to face the Padres in every game…*wavy lines*  Hey, Danny Salazar is facing the Padres?  This is awesome!  Wait, why is he walking a guy with a .260 OBP?  Did he just give up a homer to Erick Aybar?  He’s having an epileptic fit trying to pronounce Szczur?!  He’s wiping a booger on my Reggie Jackson rookie card?!  How does he even have my Reggie rookie card?!  Mom, did you give Danny Salazar my Reggie rookie card?!  Oh my God, make it stop….Please… *wavy lines*  Worst dream sequence ever!  On this day of BBQs and Memorials, hot dogs and beer, baseball and refreshing our fantasy baseball team page, we can be thankful Strasburg is not a dream.  Though, the reality is Strasburg was a 2.62 ERA pitcher in the 1st half last year and a 6.15 ERA pitcher in the 2nd.  Happy Memorial Day!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Positional depth is a fascinating topic. Preseason, it’s one of the first things returning owners look at when emerging from their offseason hibernation. Thoroughly fattened by chips and Dominos’ pasta dishes – please tell me nobody is actually spending money on those – understanding where “fall offs” occur at positions is essential in constructing overall rankings and providing guidance for where targeting positions might be more appropriate.

A narrative I remember hearing in March was that elite first basemen were hard to come by. We had Goldschmidt, Votto, Freeman, and Encarnacion, followed by some Wil Myers believers (justified!), and a stretch of murky waters. As with any depth estimation, what happens in-season always throws a metaphorical wrench in what we initially thought. Cody Bellinger gets called up after less than one month, Freeman is lost for 10 weeks, Encarnacion once again starts slow, and everything we thought we had ironed out is tossed like that salad you should have eaten instead of that Dominos’ pasta dish! Has Jenny Craig taught you nothing?!

Enter our two darlings of the first base position two months in, Justin Bour and Justin Smoak, single handedly causing disgruntled twitter followers to tweet at the likes of Tristan Cockcroft and complain that he should do his job better. Yeah Cockcroft, we want four LABR titles in a row, three isn’t enough!

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I have no time to be wasting time on the mic, so lets get to it!  Hunter Renfroe has power, like, majorly, and now in his age 25 season he’s only going to get more.  If he’s available in your OPS league or you need power go get him now.  Did you check?  Add him?  Ok, now I’ll tell you why.  A first-rounder out of Mississippi State he’s Mississippi through and through, born in beautiful Crystal Springs (I’ve never been there, I have no idea if it’s beautiful…and a quick image search yields…it’s not a tourist destination unless small towns of 5,000 people with some lakes and nice foliage and gravel roads are your thing, then have at it, not that I can’t appreciate and enjoy them as well mind you).  Renfroe has shown good power in the minors, hitting 21, 20, 30 homers in his past three minor league seasons to go along with 13 homers in 227 PAs between this season and the last in the bigs.

Renfroe has scuffled a little bit through late April into May so his .734 OPS isn’t looking great but he’s been hot the last couple weeks with a 1.125 OPS and four homers in that span.  You know what I like best about his recent stats?  A 15% walk rate, which is way higher than his career numbers of 4%; already this season even with that weaker OPS his walk rate is 7.3%, so his eye is improving, too.

Lastly, this website has the hots for him too as Grey recommended him back in November and Ralph had him as the #24 prospect going into 2017.  So if you didn’t add him at the beginning of this like I told you to, go do it now.  The Padres are home against the Cubs and Rockies this week.

Top OPS past 14 days (min 30 ABs as of this writing):

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Pineda, Polanco, let’s call the whole thing off!  Actually, let’s get it on!  Happy Memorial Day weekend fellow DFSers.  I hope you’ll join me in BBQing, enjoying adult libations and winning some cash while sleeping it all off Monday morning.  It’s Clayton Kershaw Day mixed with a Coors Day, which means we have some serious decisions to make.  I’m personally fading Kershaw and instead starting a little cheaper at starting pitcher with good friend, Michael Pineda ($19,200).  I’m such a sucker for Pineda and that crazy K-rate.  His 61:9 K:BB is a fair impersonation of Kershaw and for $6K cheaper, I’m all in.  Pineda gets a play-date with the Oakland A’s who are tied for 7th in the league in strikeouts.  Fellow roation-mate Masahiro Tanaka just K’d a baker’s dozen and Pineda will be looking to duplicate that effort.  So, grab a hotdog and raise a glass to the unofficial beginning of summer while hoping Pineda delivers a 12 pack.  Remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice this weekend and allow us all to live in a land where (most of us) can freely wager some dough on our ability to pick the highest scoring group of fantasy baseballers.  Those men and women are true heros.

New to FantasyDraft? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond?  Well be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.  Just remember to sign up through us before you do.  It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I’d check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I’ve discussed Faria a lot of late, because he’s obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and that limits how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don’t like what you see. Amirite?!?  Today I venture back to Pawtucket to check out the Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, who just so happens to check in as the 7th most valuable pitcher on Rudy’s Prospectornator. Don’t worry I promise to give you all the details on Honeywell….Here’s who else is making noise in the MiLB…

 

In just his first full week back J.D. Martinez topped the charts in week 7 coming in with 40 points and doing what he does best, hit dongs. I freaking sound like Casey Kasem with that opening line. Is he still doing top 40 countdowns? I haven’t heard him in quite some time. But then again I pretty much only listen to the Howard Stern Show. En route to those 40 points, J.D. smacked four home runs, drove in nine and walked ten times. Owners that have been stashing him until now must be pretty happy with themselves. Have yourself a shot of JD! Jake Lamb fell one point short of Martinez with 39.

The winner for week 7 is the contestant that picked Nelson Cruz (21 points), Corey Seager (23 points) and Jose Bautista (33 points). That person is Peter guigli with a total of 77 points. Coming in at second on the charts was Smallwine who scored 76 points by picking Nelson Cruz (21), J.D. Martinez (40) and Buster Posey (15). With both selecting Cruz, it came down to Seager and Joey Bats versus J.D. and Posey, with just one point separating them.

Here are the top-5 from Week 7:

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