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?
Clap your hands everybody, and everybody clap your hands. We’re Lambda Lambda Lambda and Omega Mu. We come here on stage tonight to do our show for you. We got a rockin’ rhythm and a hi-tech sound that’ll make you move your body down to the ground. We got Jake Lamb on the violin, and Mark and Aaron will be joining in. We got Mike Moustakas on the mean guitar and a rap by little ol’ me Nomar. We got Schebler beating on his gong, the boys and the Mu’s are clapping along. And just when you thought, ya seen it all, along comes a Lambda four foot tall. So Altuve come on out here on the floor, so we can move our bodies, like never before. Break!Please, blog, may I have some more?
Turns out there is a 50/50 shot that I’ve hit on Grey’s mom in Whole Foods. I would raise those odds to like a 90% chance if she likes wearing yoga pants. What can I say? I’m a sucker for yoga pants. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Grey and I found out this weekend that Grey’s mom and I live in the same area and shop at the same supermarkets! We also found out that JB doesn’t have to be the host in order to get sucked into a Brewers vortex for the first 20 minutes of the show, as talking about Lewis Brinson bled right into Domingo Santana, which bled into Orlando Arcia. We finally do move on, and get to such luminaries as Aaron Judge, Jeff Hoffman, Brad Peacock, Aaron Hicks, Corey Seager, and many more. I then congratulate “nightpandas” on his Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest victory last week. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast: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?
Cameron Maybin returned from the disabled list last night after a minimum stay and got right back to business. Leading off, Maybin went 3-for-4 scoring four runs, and stole four bases to bring his total to seventeen for the year. That’s right, folks. FOUR STEALS! Sweet sassy molassy! Killer Cam already has more steals than he did all of last year in Detroit (15), and he became the first player since 2013 to steal four bases in a game, and just the 12th player in EVER to steal four bases and score four runs. Have a day! Setting records! Making history! Years ago I wrote a lede pleading with my readers to pick up Cameron Maybin in April and he ended up having one of his most productive seasons ever. So here’s hoping lightning can strike twice, and by lightning I am of course referring to Maybin’s speed. He stole 10 bases in May in 89 at bats hitting .270 with two home runs. Basically, if you got a need for speed, you’re not going to do much better than Maybin, who is available in a little over 80% of ESPN leagues at the moment. With the Angels outfield decimated by injuries, Cam should have ample opportunity to play, and leading off can only help his stolen base numbers. He’s capable of putting up big speed numbers for your team (he stole 40 for San Diego in 2011) if he can stay healthy, which of course with Maybin is a huge Aaron Judge-sized “if.” Still, Cameron is worth riding while he’s leading off, and hitting, and stealing and healthy and I’d add him everywhere I had a need for speed. Let’s hope Maybin this time will be different.
Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night: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?
If only every starter could return from the DL like Corey Kluber did yesterday — 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 4.36. Though, if every pitcher returned from the DL like that, there would never be another run scored in the major leagues because every pitcher is returning from the DL in every game, and then Orel Hershiser’s scoreless inning streak would get surpassed, and that would cause Orel Hershiser’s self-esteem to be damaged, and then to fill that hole he’d run for president. I don’t want Orel Hershiser as our president, so I don’t want every starter to return as gracefully as Kluber. Any hoo! Corey Kluber has a pattern of abuse he drags his fantasy owners through. In April, he starts Cold as Ice and you wish he were a Foreigner, that Dirty White Boy, but he turns it on as the season progresses and you’re like, “Feels Like the First Time.” There’s some of you who read the previous sentence as a tribute to Foreigner, and some who thought of Vanilla Ice. Which one you thought of says more about you than any Buzzfeed quiz. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Avisail Garcia – Sell, sell, and sell. I’m sure it’s been used before, but for the purposes of this post his name should be Avisell Garcia. Even if we buy into to his breakout, he’s producing at a level too high to sustain. He’s so high he’s in Tim Lincecum territory. Last year he had a points per plate appearance of 0.428 and over the last three seasons it’s 0.422. This year, however, it’s 0.78. That’s a significant jump. Last year Mike Trout finished the season with a 0.797. Do you really believe that Garcia can put up Trout-like numbers over the course of a full season? Like I said, Avi-SELL.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Excuse me for one second, there’s a doorbell ringing. *opens door* “Luigi! Paisan! What are you doing here?” To you, “This is Luigi, my tailor. And, yes, I’m addressing you, the audience, like it’s Sesame Street.” “Grey Liotta, as you insist I call you, I saw Michael Conforto had a huge game – 3-for-4, 4 RBIs and hit his 12th and 13th homers, now hitting .333 with a .425 OBP — and I say I have to go see my favorite customer to let out his inseam.” “Ah, Luigi! You know me better than anyone, except my mustachioed mother and even more stereotypical Italian barber!” On a serious note, what Michael Conforto is doing now is why the Mets should promote Amed Rosario. Reyes, Walker, yadda, blah, blooie are not going to lead to anything of note. Maybe they have a good game or two, maybe a solid week, but, in the end, you have *raspberries lips* and Rosario still with no major league experience. Not even saying Amed’s the answer like Iverson, but you have to give guys a chance over these third-rate vets that lead you nowhere. If the Mets had given Conforto the at-bats all last year, he might’ve came out of his 1st half slump and carried them in the 2nd half and thru the playoffs. As for those who don’t know me as well as Luigi, I’ve always said Conforto would be an All-Star at some point. This is not out of nowhere, nor someone to sell high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Jose Bautista is such a douche canoe. He bat-flipped after a home run that cut the Braves lead to 8-4. That’s like “Pimp my Ride” with a Hyundai. That’s like moonwalking at a bar mitzvah with toilet paper on your shoe. That’s like screaming at your recently ex-girlfriend, “I’ll never be alone, because I will always have my mom!” He’s hitting .208, and hasn’t looked right since Odor ended him like Drago ended Apollo. Any hoo! This has nothing to do with Bautista. Well, kinda. Freddie Freeman was hit on the wrist, and then all hell broke out for the better part of the Jays/Braves games. Freeman looked like he was in serious pain and he’s headed for an MRI and CT scan today. I don’t own him, but I will join your prayer hexagon if you need me. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?