The theme of the Top 100 hitters this week is triumphant returns. Carlos Gomez is back from his latest trip to the disabled list and is mashing. Ab-so-lute-ly mash-ing. Keon Broxton, left for dead just a few weeks ago, is the hottest power-speed combo hunk in all the land. Even Cameron Maybin has returned to our ranks, though his return has been more gradual over the last few weeks since we lost our beloved Mike Trout.

I have not been overly kind to the newcomers since taking over this series. Perhaps that is my way of initiating them and making sure they belong among us Top 100ers. This week, though, my heart is filled with warmth. Perhaps it is because I am looking ahead to a mini 4th of July vacation, or maybe I am just getting soft in my old age :::pause here and smirk as you slowly look around the room:::.

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Since it was an afternoon game, Ted and I settled in to watch Max Scherzer vs. the Marlins.  First inning and the slider was working.  2nd, 3rd, 4th innings and the Marlins had no chance.  5th inning and Ted demanded I take him out and play catch with him.

115 degrees in the shade and we’re back in for the 6th inning, and Scherzer hasn’t missed a beat while missing the bats.  Everyone knows everything there is to know about Scherzer.  He is at least the 3rd best starter in baseball, and likely second best, though who’s first?  Sale?  Then Kershaw and Scherzer?  I don’t know, Kershaw’s looked pretty human at times this year.  Sale, Scherzer then Kershaw?  Sounds about right, but need to search for other things to talk about with him.  Hmm…Well, there’s always his android eyes.

Now back for the 7th inning and it’s more no-hitter, and, Jesus Christopher Ramirez, the Nats announcers are a bore.  Let’s go mute for the 8th inning, and Dietrich gets, uh, diet rich of sliders.  Now, Ellis and goodbye no-hitter.  Of course, that was the point Dusty should’ve lifted Scherzer since even the announcers said Scherzer says he doesn’t want to ever throw past 120 pitches.  You guessed it, he went past 120 pitches, and lost the lead, but, once again, a dazzler — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits), 11 Ks, ERA at 2.09.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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.

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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.

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Springer springer hit a dinger. Actually he hit five of them in week 9. Until last week you might say that he was having a rather pedestrian start to the 2017 season. Coming into the week he wasn’t even a top 30 outfielder with respect to points. As a matter of fact his starting percentage was slowly taking a dip, and as a result, there were quite a few angry managers staring at 45 points on their bench last week. I have a rule that I nearly always abide by in weekly league: Play your studs. Well if George Springer was curious about what it’s like to be in the top 20, he now knows as his week 9 performance has catapulted him in the 17 spot.

Enough about this George dude from Houston, what you all really want to know is who won week 9. Actually there are probably only a small handful that really care. That would be those of you that had at least an outside chance of winning. Well wait no longer. The winner is the contestant that picked George Springer. Since there was only one of you that did so, the mystery winner should be easy to figure out. Ok, fine. I won’t make you go back and do the leg work. The winner was Fungazi with 90 points. Fungazi picked George Springer (45), Carlos Correa (40) and Brian Dozier (5). Dozier’s five points were meaningless considering Springer and Correa were the top two highest scoring players of the week. Second place was The Padre with 73 points. Like I said, no thanks to Dozier. Congrats Fungazi!

Here are the top 5 from Week 9:

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Hello everyone, I’m happy to be back for another stupendous slate on FanDuel today!  Today is interesting with no real pitchers sticking out to me.  I first want to tackle the staple for all my lineups today: that’s going to be the one, the only Eric Thames at 1B for $3,000.  I know what your going to say… “but he’s going up against a LHP.”  I know he is, but I expect him to break out and what better time than against a bad pitcher.  I’m not the only one that likes him either, Hitter-Tron has him as the 6th highest hitter for today and the 10th best bat on the FanDuel DFSBot.  I think he’s too good of a hitter to struggle this bad; the guy is just due.  Play him, watch him go deep twice, and then get “randomly tested.”

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 start this week’s podcast by wondering if JB still listens to the show and/or reads the website, but based on the nugget of information Grey passes along, I’m going to assume the answer to that question is no. I also thank everyone for the awesome podcast reviews this week, while Grey is unsatisfied and unimpressed. On the fantasy baseball side of things, our main focus is middle infield, kicking things off with the surprise of Elvis Andrus being the current #1 SS in fantasy, and Zack Cozart being the current #1 SS in real life. We also talk about if Grey is coming around on Daniel Murphy, how real the Whit Merrifield breakout is, and debate Carlos Correa vs. Trea Turner in Dynasty Leagues. Finally, I get excited for the return of the Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest today, so make sure to sign up and join in on the fun. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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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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Sometimes, baseball can be that game we all fell in love with *covers mouth so you can’t hear number* years ago.  Whether it’s Paul O’Neil hitting a triple with an error to score a home run for a child in the hospital or that minor leaguer who crashed through a fence to make a catch or Bryce Harper tossing a foul ball to an actual clown to silence his questions or Reggie Jackson thinking about someone other than himself for a moment after Thurman Munson’s plane crashed or Lou Gehrig’s speech or Kirk Gibson’s fist pump or Saturday.  It would’ve been Yordano Ventura’s 26th birthday.  Obviously Edinson Volquez was very close to him when they were both on Royals.  According to Volquez, they shared everything, even constantly having to tell people, “No, I’m not Johnny Cueto.”  Edinson posted a pic of Ventura on his Instagram page Saturday morning, then went out and pitched the game of his life that afternoon, a no hitter — 9 IP, 0 ER, 2 walks, 10 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.79.  For one day, Edinson was able to say, “No, I’m not Johnny Cueto.  I’m better.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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The Astros exploded for 17 runs yesterday, and it was the second game in the last three where they scored at least 16 runs.  Twins pitching, “Hold my beer…”  Am I doing that right?  The hero of the Astros’ offense, and a man that is widely known as George Jefferson Springer led the way with 4-for-4, 4 runs and his 12th homer and 13th homers, hitting .265.  The only thing missing from George Springer‘s game is saving a baby that is stuck in a tree and/or figuring out a way to ensure future babies don’t get stuck in the same tree (and maybe some steals).  Serious question, why is Springer hitting leadoff and Jose Altuve (1-for-4, 2 runs, hitting .319) in the two-hole?  It’s not hurting the Astros, but it is hurting my fantasy teams’ RBI totals!  Evan Gattis (4-for-6, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and his 4th homer) needs to hit cleanup?  How about Alex Bregman (2-for-6, 2 RBIs and his 6th homer) hits cleanup, Marwin Gonzalez (2-for-5, 3 runs, 2 RBIs and his 12th homer) hits fifth, Gattis sixth and Yulieski Gurriel (1-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBIs) hits eighth or lower?  Is that the most obvious thing I’ve ever said in my life?  Okay, after the time I said, “I’m not going up in any hot air balloon.”  All right, also not as obvious as the time I said, “I’m lost,” after driving around for two hours pretending I knew where I was going.  Fine, also after the time I said, “I can’t bench press 55 pounds.”  After those things, this is the most obvious thing I’ve ever said.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?