Our Commissioner Manfred presses his intercom, “Please escort in the Guatemalan baseball stitchers.”  Manfred’s secretary brings six men dressed in blanket ponchos and straw hats.  Their leader steps forward, “Mr. Manfred, the Capri Suns you have us using to juice the balls is not working.”  Their leader pulls out a baseball that is dripping with Ecto Cooler.  Manfred turns in his seat, silhouetted with the setting sun.  He lights a Virginia Slim 120 and pulls, coughing slightly.  “I no longer want the balls juiced.  Now….I want you and your friends to go to Dodger Stadium and blow.”  “Mr. Manfred, we are not sex workers!”  “Not blow like that!  Put your lips together and blow.”  “Like Bogey and Bacall?”  “Yes!  Now go!”  …And this was how Dodger Stadium became a launching pad.  Yesterday, Corey Seager (4-for-5, 6 RBIs) hit three homers (10, 11, 12), Yasmani Grandal (3-for-5, 2 runs) hit his 7th homer and Cody Launchangler (1-for-3, 2 RBIs) did it again, hitting his 22nd.  Granted, someone needs to put Cody Launchangler in carbonite for Cooperstown — we can’t risk something happening to him playing baseball! — but this Seager guy is pretty good too, huh?  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?

Okay, full disclosure. This post was planned for last week, but after Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Quintana‘s sh!t shows of a performance I decided I’d rather chug beers and yell racial slurs at online images of those two bastards. I was actually planning to title this post Smoak and Mirrors, but in Saturday’s Hey Batter³ Contest post Larry Chip 10 picked Smoak ‘n Mirrors as one of his three batters. Once that happened I realized I was going to have to either shift gears or throw him a footnote. It didn’t help that Mike Maher titled his most recent Top-100 Hitters post Full Bour Or Smoak And Mirrors? So here we have a slightly modified title for today’s points league post.

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Did the Pirates trade for Brian or James McCann?  Because every time Tony Watson pitches, I feel butt sore and shake my head questioning, “Watson McCann?”  And then I soothe the irritation with some aloe Rivero.  Before yesterday’s 2nd meltdown by Watson in two games (1 IP, 2 ER, and yet another blown save), C**nt Hurdle said Watson will remain the closer.  This is like when you have pimples in high school and you go to your dad, and he’s like, “Everyone’s got pimples at your age, I’m not paying for you to get rid of them, you’ll be fine.”  Then you go into your closet and chew on your 4-year-old baseball card gum until your mom comes into the closet and tells you she’ll take you to the doctor, using her bingo winnings she’s saved.  I don’t want a vote of confidence for Watson, I want mom to talk to C**nt!  I’d continue to hold Felipe Rivero (1 IP, 0 ER, ERA at 0.58), it’s only a matter of time.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Scooter Gennett had the game of his life yesterday.  Well, isn’t he Vespecial?  You say to me, “Unkie Grey, can I sit on your lap metaphorically and you tell me why Scooter hit so many homers?”  Sure, Nephew, it’s simple.  A story of my Scooter in two tweets:

I am the first person in the history of fantasy baseball to bench two hitters for games with at least three home runs in the same season.  *opens oven, sticks head in oven, opens The Bell Jar to read*  Ugh, could someone check on the pilot light?  You might be asking yourself why I had Scooter on my bench, while you coyly bat your eyelashes.  I’ll explain, you coquettish bastard!  He was hitless the entire previous week!  WHAT THE EFF?!  Any hoo!  Scooter had a big game, and will now be invited to all the same parties as Mark Whiten, but Scooter is not much more than a hot schmotato.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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…

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Ty Blach threw his first career complete game shutout Friday night surrendering seven hits and striking out four enroute to his fourth win of the year. If he were Jewish you could say yesterday was his Blach Sabbath. *crickets* It was Ty’s fifth straight quality start and his fourth straight win. He even walked three times and scored two runs to help his own cause. He’s been an excellent replacement for Madison Bumgarner so far and the best part is he’s terrified of motocross. Sure it was the Phillies last night and anyone can shut out the Phillies, but he’s gone at least seven innings in his past five starts including some tougher lineups such as the Cubs, Dodgers and Reds. Over the past two weeks, Blach has a 1.90 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 23.2 innings pitched. The strikeout numbers won’t impress but those ratios certainly put him in the streaming conversation. By the way, if you’re looking for good convo topics at your next dinner party, fantasy pitcher streaming is always a solid choice. Blach’s .250 BABIP and 4.64 xFIP could suggest some regression is coming but he’s certainly worth an add while he’s on a roll. Ty has a tough test in Milwaukee next week but he’s available in about 75% of leagues and worth a look if you’re in need of a solid streaming option before he fades to Blach.

Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

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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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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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?