I wish I knew more about Street Fighter so I could come up with better Ryu puns or references. My knowledge of SF (do people abbreviate it like that?) ends at knowing it was fighting video game I had growing up that wasn’t as good as Mortal Kombat (hot take alert). And for the record, yes, I know Hyun-Jin Ryu pronounces his name differently. Give me a break, and go with it.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Every year, there are surprises in fantasy baseball. Some players come out of nowhere and breakout or, in the case of Aaron Judge, absolutely dominate. Other players regress after a breakout season the year before. There are even the players who have long track records of mediocrity who, all of sudden, appear to have figured something out en route to becoming legitimate contributors both in fantasy and in, you know, real baseball. I like to call these players Justin Smoak-Logan Morrison-Yonder Alonso. The more popular terms among Razzballers for these players are Schmohawks and Hot Schmotatos.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Another week, another Clayton Kershaw start pushed to Monday. At least this week they moved the start before I wrote and submitted this article. If they move it again Saturday morning, then I will be convinced that Dave Roberts is just doing this to troll me every week. As of now, he is your top two-start starter for Week 12. He might even deserve his own tier.
For Week 12, there aren’t a ton of attractive options after our first two tiers. In previous weeks, we have had middle-of-the-road arms with some good peripherals or some recent success that were available in the majority of leagues. This week, though, I’m not crazy about any of the starters on this list that are going to be available in most leagues. Just look at the numbers in the chart below.Please, blog, may I have some more?
I use a number of different tools, sites, and metrics every week to adjust my rankings and to determine exactly who I should focus on each week. I usually try to focus on players owned in less than 60% leagues, players who are rising or falling and who you should probably buy low or sell high on, or players who are new to the Top 100 or on the cusp of joining the ranks. It has only been a few weeks since I took over these rankings for the legendary M@, so I am still working on creating the most efficient system (I spend wayyyyyy too much time agonizing over these rankings every Sunday).
I start by going over my notes and spreadsheets from the previous week, then take a peek at Razzball’s Player Rater and look at the current rankings and the Rest of Season Projections. Once I jot down some notes from those, I take a look at ESPN’s PR15 Player Ratings for the last 15 days. Lastly, I check FanGraphs with a focus on the best wOBA for the last 14 days and the last 30 days. Usually, once I am finished with that process, I have an idea of who I am going to write about and a starting point for adjusting the rankings.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Mike Trout used to be pretty much the only reason to watch the Angels :::pause here for sobbing break:::. Despite having the best player on the planet and one of the larger budgets in the league, the Angels were still not very good. Now Trout is gone forever (Okay, he will probably be back in a couple months) and we have no reason to watch that team out in Los Angeles of Anaheim of California or whatever they are calling themselves this week. But that wouldn’t make any sense. Why would I start off this article with such a non-sequitur? Aha! I wouldn’t!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Let’s begin by having a moment of silence for the fact that we will be without Mike Trout for two months. I dropped him to 23 in the rankings below, which are considered ROS trade value. I know it is hard to justify Trout over some talented players who aren’t going to miss two months, I just couldn’t bring myself to drop him much lower. The Razzball Player Rater has him all the way down to 71 for ROS projections. Personally, if I were to trade Trout, I would hold out for the highest bid and make someone overpay. Otherwise, I’m not moving him. And in keeper leagues, I would still have him at number 1 and wouldn’t entertain offers.
Now, for the players who are playing right now. The two players I moved up and want to focus on this week are Justin Bour and Justin Smoak. I received some questions and comments on here and on Twitter last week about Smoak, so let’s take a look at him first. He has looked great this season, but I have my doubts.
While Smoak’s slash line and counting stats look great right now, unless he finally figured everything out at 30 years old, I have my doubts. Yes, he is currently on pace for almost 40 home runs. Yes, he is striking out 17.9% of the time, which is almost half as much as he did last season and is well below his career average of 23.5%. Through 55 games and over 200 plate appearances in 2017, the metrics back up what he is doing.
But here’s the thing.
Smoak has been in the league for eight seasons and has over 3,000 plate appearances. He’s a career .227 / .311 / .402 hitter. His previous high for home runs in a season is 20, which he did back in 2013. Take a look at his wOBA by season:
Translation: Smoak isn’t this good. This probably isn’t going to last, and a regression is coming.
Now, as far as Justin Bour goes, I am still skeptical but am less skeptical. Bour is 29 but has just over 1,000 plate appearances at the MLB level. He has displayed this kind of power before, both at the major league level and in the minors, so it is easier to believe that his current power stroke is real. Will he continue to hit up around .300? No, but it is reasonable to expect him to hit in the .250-.270 range and offer up 30 home runs, as long as he can stay healthy (which he can’t always do).
The main point here is that, while Bour is only a year younger, he doesn’t have as much of a negative track record that we can hold against him. He has also displayed plus-power in the past, while Smoak has always struggled to fulfill his potential in that department. Bour is likely to regress a bit as well, but I don’t think his regression will be as extreme as Smoak’s. If I had to pick between these two first basemen as a guy I value higher ROS I am taking Bour every time. Maybe I’m just biased now that I live in South Florida, or maybe their track records are telling us everything we need to know about them…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Thank Godley I didn’t spend any time last night thinking up Zack Godley puns. The Diamondbacks inexplicably sent him to the minors the other day. Inexplicably, I say! Stop trying to justify it to me! Yeah, his 4.78 K/9 vs. BB/9 (there has to be a better way to write that) isn’t great, but still! 2.39 ERA! Five straight quality starts! This is an outrage. I want to speak to a manager!
Ok, so he was apparently sent down temporarily as they recover from a 14-inning dance-off with the Pirates. He’ll be back. At least, he better be. He does, however, have to stay in the minors for 10 days now. So, no Godley-ness for a couple weeks. The Dbacks called up Silvino Bracho to take his roster spot, so at least they gave us a fun name to say. Silvino Bracho. Silvino Bracho. Silllll veeeee noooo braaaa chOOO.
Anyway, as the headline suggests (or tried to suggest), we are here to talk about Dinelson Lamet and not Godley. We have only seen Lamet for two starts in the bigs so far, and this week we are going to get two more. So, do we take the gamble and roll with the young starter from San Diego for two starts this week? Let’s take a look…Please, blog, may I have some more?
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…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I was originally excited to focus on Baby Thor Mike Clevinger in my first post taking over the Two-Start Starters for M@, but the rainout on Thursday threw everything out of whack. So, I had to pivot and focus on what’s going on in Seattle. Enter Ariel Miranda and Sam Gaviglio.
Of the two starters for the Mariners right now, Miranda is the one to target. To be honest, neither one is likely to be a long-term fix for your rotation. Gaviglio is a 27-year old who has an ERA of 4.01 over seven seasons in the minor leagues, while Miranda is a 28-year old Cuban who had moderate success in the Cuban National Series and the minors. Both are scheduled to start two games next week for the Mariners.
At first glance, it would appear that Gaviglio is the tasty treat that a starter-needy fantasy owner should target. After all, he has the shiny 1.29 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Unfortunately, not only is that a very small sample size, but there are some pretty serious red flags. For starters, while he only gave up one run against the Nationals, he only struck out one batter in six innings. That shiny ERA is also aided by the fact that he actually gave up five runs, but just the one was earned. Against the White Sox in his previous start, he went five innings and only struck out two batters. In his two starts this season, he has thrown 11 innings and struck out just three batters.
But that’s not it, here is the bigger issue with Gaviglio. His ERA might be 1.29, but his FIP currently sits at 4.22. At 2.93, his FIP-to-ERA ratio is the highest of any of the 40+ two-start starters in week 9. Between his lack of strikeouts, his lackluster career in the minors, and his inflated FIP-to-ERA ratio, you better believe he is going to regress to the mean sooner rather than later. Ignore that ERA and stay away from Sammy G.
As for Miranda, I like him more and hate him less. While he doesn’t have the same sub-2.00 ERA as Gaviglio, he does have an 8.75 K/9, a less hideous .40 FIP-to-ERA, and a 5.77 K/9-to-BB/9 ratio. While he has had a couple of disastrous starts this season, he also has six starts in which he has given up two runs or fewer. You could do worse than Miranda as a two-starter starter. In fact, you could have Gaviglio. Both should be available in more than 75% of leagues. Despite the fact that the Mariners visit the Rockies next week, there are worse options for two-start starters…Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jackie Bradley Jr. Pitch Breakdown. Click to zoom.
See what I did there? His name is Jackie Bradley but I capitalized B-A-D because, you know, he’s bad at baseball. Well, I shouldn’t say that. He’s bad at hitting baseballs, but he is an elite defender. The latter means nothing to the fantasy world except that it is the only reason some schlubs get to stay in the lineup sometimes. That is certainly the case for JBJ sometimes.Please, blog, may I have some more?