Since Corey Kluber returned from the DL, he’s been lights out.  Then lights on.  Then off.  On.  Off!  Nothing but glow sticks.  The sweet smell of body odor, ganja and herbal ecstasy rises.  An Asian man with pigtails walks by with a Red Bull and you see he’s wearing a diaper that reads “Change me.”  And…the…music…DROPS!  What?  He is a Kluber.  Yesterday, he went 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, zero walks, 11 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.58.  Shin-Soo Choo-Choo, next stop 3.25!  Kluber has had some great years, says Private Obvious.  “You’ll never replace me!” says Captain Obvious.  Kluber’s great years are looking up at this season’s peripherals thus far.  He has his highest K/9 (11) and his best xFIP (2.98) since his Cy Young year, which happens to be the fifth best xFIP in the majors before Clayton Kershaw.  I’d guess Kluber comes up short of his Cy Young season’s 2.44 ERA, but there’s little reason why he can’t be a top five starter for the rest of the season.   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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?

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?

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?

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?

Yesterday was a bad day to quit being young with A.J. Pollock and Carlos Gomez both hitting the DL.  Together!  In a non-gay way.  But it would’ve been totally cool with me if it was in a gay way.  Let’s start with Pollock since he is the less ethnically sensitive of the two.  Pollock has a Grade 1 groin strain.  When the strain happened, Pollock was reading Groin Strains for Dummies.  Chapter 1:  Don’t Move Your Leg In A Normal Manner.  “Go to a trampoline, but don’t jump on it with your feet, fall on it sitting criss-cross apple sauce.”  Pollock will likely be out for two to three weeks, and in his place the Russian Game of Thrones character, Gregor Blanco, and Reymond “You Can’t Not Think Of Daisy” Fuentes.  Fuentes is the more interesting of two, since he should be on the stronger side of a platoon, and has speed.  Outside of NL-Only and deep mixed leagues, I’m passing on both.  As for CarGomez, he will miss four to six weeks.  That’s too bad, he used to be good three years ago.  Replacing him on the roster will be Jared Hoying, who looks like a Motter-fodder.  Then, we have Carlos Carrasco, who is affectionately known as Cookie, and I am a Cookie Monster for him, so this one hurts me.  In yesterday’s game, Carrasco had a huge lead, when he squandered that and left the game with a trainer.  All you had to do with cruise to the W on the Ivictory Coast!  Apparently, that’s the way the Cookie crumbles.  He was diagnosed with left pectoral tightness, which doesn’t sound bad.  Which, Part 2:  The Return of the Which, will still likely mean a DL stint.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, on the holiest of Hallmark-created holidays and celebrated most of all by Bill Hall, mothers from all different backgrounds came together to put up their feet, sip mimosas and talk about how “The Handmaid’s Tale” could totally happen now with Trump.  I’d contend that Hallmark should get a little credit for women’s rights.  Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Secretary’s Day, “Buy a card just because you love her” Day… Before this, it was, “Do you wanna make this pelt I skinned into a rug or a sweater for little Kevin?  What?  You’re tired from churning butter?  Okay, you can have the afternoon after you make beef and kidney pie.”  In honor of Mother’s Day, one of the great lovers of women (who are handcuffed to his bedpost), Aroldis Chapman was diagnosed with rotator cuff inflammation, and will be sidelined for a month.  If Dellin Betances is available in your league, can I get into your league?  If there’s an entry fee, all the better.  You pay it, and we’ll split the cash prizes.  I even grabbed Tyler Clippard in one league just in case Betances gets all Cuddle Boy on us.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

George Springer ($3,600) has always had power. He can do things with a baseball that few can do. He’s hit balls over 115 mph, hits balls over 460 feet and averages 31 homers per 162. He’s pretty good. The best ball he’s probably ever hit, however, is probably one just a few people have seen. He was 18, and it was on a June day in 2008 for his summer travel team at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, NY. The pitcher (and I won’t name names, to protect the innocent) threw him a pitch and he hit a tank to dead center, over the trees and onto the entrance way of the facility. According to Google Earth the bomb Springer hit, and the picture is below, was ~526 feet. A scout who was in attendance said, “I’ve scouted many thousands of baseball games in the past many years and I’ve never seen a home run hit harder or farther.” Springer gets to face Jordan Montgomery, who is a fly ball pitcher (40.5% GB rate) who doesn’t miss that many bats (7.68 projected K/9) and walks guys (projected 3.77 BB/9). Oh yeah, Springer is also likely to bat leadoff.

On to the picks as soon as that Springer bomb lands…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

Greetings and salutations!  The Collector here once again welcoming you to a amazing Wednesday slate over on FanDuel.  We have quite a few pitchers to use today, but I’m going to focus on my boy Yu Darvish at $11,200.  He’s one of my favorite pitchers in the game right now, as I love his stuff and wish/hope he’d stay healthy.  Darvish’s K/9 is down a bit this year, but I expect it to start rise back to his career norm and this is the start it begins to do so.  Today he gets the really good San Diego Padres… San Diego let AJ Griffin get a complete game shut out yesterday, that’s how good they are. This seems very easy to me and even though it’ll be popular, I think you need to go with Darvish today.

Now on to the picks…

New to FanDuel? 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 jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care! 

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I had the occasion to travel to Montreal this week. I live a mere two-hour train ride away, but visiting Montreal always feels like entering a different country. Suddenly, you’re surrounded by French. You can get the best bagels <looks defiantly at New York>. People are Paris-elegant. All the boys are still wearing man-buns, because dear God they are still pulling it off. Also, suddenly, there’s no Blue Jays on the telly: in Montreal, they’re (wistfully) all about the Washington Nationals. It’s partly a TV rights thing, partly a geography thing, but also partly because, of course, the Nats used to be the Montreal Expos. So all that to say (at last! The point!), this week I got to watch a fair bit of the Diamondbacks versus Nats series. The Nats ultimately ran away with it, but Arizona, second-place run leaders, were so fun to watch. I’m looking forward to tracking them in Colorado this weekend and I’m going to hoard as many Diamondbacks and Rockies bats in my FanDuel lineup as I can today (spoiler alert: not many — they’re pricey. [Shocker!]), and find ways to plug up the gaps. That said, in case you’re looking to pursue a strategy that may be a little different from mine, Boston and Baltimore bats should make for good picks versus Nick Tepesch and Dylan Covey, respectively. Without further Machado, let us unveil the crystal ball (because really this is a crap shoot, isn’t it?) and see what the future holds.

New to FanDuel? 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 jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!

Please, blog, may I have some more?