He’s not just good for making shoes! Matt Shoemaker has been making batters look silly. His swinging strike % is at an all-time high of 13.6%, well above the league average of 10%. This could be because he has be getting batters to chase his pitches out of the strike zone 33% of time, where they only are making contact 51% of the time. Now, in stroll the Indians, who have a strikeout rate of 21.3%. He’s found more velocity, reaching nearly 93 with his fastball and 84 with his slider, which have been helping out his splitter. His last outing at Yankee Stadium was spoiled by his bullpen, resulting in 4 earned runs. The good news is he hasn’t allowed a walk in his last 4 starts and has struck out 37! A season ERA of 5.40 doesn’t look very good, but the 2.37 ERA in his last 4 starts looks more similar to his 3.16 ERA at home in his career, where he gets the start today. Shoemaker throws his splitter over 30% of the time, which sits a top of the league, and is generating 22% swings and misses. In addition, his it’s also creating nearly 50% ground balls. Shoemaker is also producing 15.6% pop-ups, good for 10th highest among qualified pitchers. Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana have each seen him 6 times and have only combined for one hit. No other player on the team has faced him more than that. The Indians inexperience against Shoemaker and his increased velocity may help him maintain his newfound strikeout rate. He has averaged 25.6 points in his last 5 starts. For the price of $7,600, I’ll even take 20 points! There’s a lot to like here with Matty K’maker, but let’s get on to the rest of my superb Saturday selections.

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The paragraph that I am about to write has next to nothing to do with the Thursday slate of MLB games, and that’s okay, because the NBA Finals begin on Thursday. Cleveland is stronger than they were last year, but most people are forgetting that Golden State is too. At least one of Steph and Klay will get hot in every game of the series, and when at least one of them is hot, they are virtually unguardable. Because of that fact, I am going Warriors in six. Now, to move onto the picks for today, with three AL East infielders making an appearance in my lineup, along with the Brewers’ battery.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday June 6th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Devon Travis was activated from the DL yesterday (1-for-4, 1 run).  Be interesting to see what he can do in his return from shoulder surgery.  Shoulder surgery never really stopped anyone from doing well before.  “Yes, Michael Brantley?  Ask your question.  Okay, if you’re not going to ask your question, at least put your arm down.  You can’t put down your arm?  Oh.”  The Blue Jays said that Travis could move up the order soon, and hit leadoff.  No way, Azul Jays!  You mean Jose Bautista isn’t a leadoff hitter?  That’s downright shocking.  I never would’ve guessed that.  Shiver me Timberlands, and stockpile my hatch chiles before Trump kicks New Mexico out of the union.  There’s been a lot of talk in the comments about how unenthused I am for Travis, and it’s not entirely true.  I would take a flyer on him in all leagues, but it takes hitters a while to return from shoulder surgery, so I’d tempura my expectations.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Yesterday, Sonny Gray hit the Disgraceful List with a combination of ineffectiveness and Grey calling him a preseason schmohawk.  My schmohawks:  Schwarber, Pollock, Gray, Tulo and Sano.  If I were Sano, I’d move into the giant bubble that Tulo is apparently living in to still be healthy.  Seriously, if you were placing odds in the preseason on which one of those would hit the DL, Tulo would be 10 to 1 odds as the first one; Pollock likely 2nd since he was nursing an elbow issue in the preseason; third would be Schwarber because he was playing a position he had no business playing and bound to run into a wall; finally, Gray because I put the kavorka on my namelganger, which is a magic spell so hideous that no amount of Creoles with an unlimited supply of chickens to sacrifice could reverse that hex.  By the by, everything I know of Creole black magic I learned from Angel Heart.  Gray has a 6+ ERA, so you can DL him if you have room, but I could see just dropping him if you don’t.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hello everyone and welcome to Sunday!

I’ll be frank with you guys, this slate does not instill confidence in me. There are some very good options on offense, but not too many like I have seen in the past and at the same time, there aren’t many good pitching options at all, so much so that spending up for two SP’s seems like a must on this 11-game main slate of games.

There’s not many value options here, as the only one I could even remotely endorse is Cesar Ramos at $4,600 against Toronto, however he’s facing Toronto, so that probably isn’t a very good idea.

But, as I listen to “Regulate” off of Warren G’s 1994 “Warren G Regulate…G Funk Era” album, I am very determined and confident that I can help you guys find some good pitchers, good pitchers to pick on, and some great bats. You ready?

Let’s get to it.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well reserve your spot in the 25 Team Razzball Exclusive League set to run Monday May 16th to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

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Before we point fingers and exclaim how “right or wrong” we are, know that I am writing this intro BEFORE Aaron Nola‘s start yesterday afternoon. I don’t want my intro to sully my thoughts from the top down. The post needs to read like a before-and-after! Kinda like how Grey slammed my Joe Ross rank endlessly on the Pod “before” the season, and even with awesome results “after” 5 starts, he’s still going to find ways to troll me on him… Sigh… Also, I need to use a thesaurus on the word “before”…

So why was I so slow to sip any of the Nola Kool-Aid? Well, here’s the red flags I saw PRIOR TO yesterday’s start: .227 BABIP, he averages 90.0 on his fastball, was never a K guy through the Minors, K rate has jumped from 7.88 in 77.2 IP last year to 9.90 in 40.0 IP this year, and finally, he’s looking like a 2-pitch guy right now with 59.5% fastballs and 33.7% curveballs. Now, I admittedly use Fangraphs as my reference, and maybe he mixes a few fastball variants and he’s leaning off his change-up since his curve is working so well right now. Unless you’re in the MLB Man Cave, you’re not watching every single SP every start (plus you’re like, a few weeks behind the current action, so that’s lame), so I concede I hadn’t watched Nola yet this year. But after the Nola-grilling on my ranks in the comments last week, seeing Nola was getting the start on Sunday made him the prime Pitcher to be Profiled. Here’s how he looked yesterday afternoon in the Crayola Canyon:

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Jose Fernandez exploded onto the Miami scene harder than Vanilla Ice in 1990, dude was mowing people down like he was the Cuban sales manager for John Deere. JFer looked like he was going to be the foundation for the Miami rebuild collecting All Star honors & ROY in 2013. He was young, exciting, electric, fiery and then he had a visit with Dr. Freeze. Dr. Freeze immediately put him on ice and for the next 14 months the only time we got to see JFer pitch was for a 5 hour energy commercial on the MLB channel (seriously, that commercial ran non stop last year). Thankfully he came back late last year and looked sharp racking up 79 K’s in 65 Ing’s with a solid 2.91 ERA. He was in Grey’s top ten SP’s at the beginning of the year and personally I was excited to see him come back and pick up where he left off. Then the season started, Chen was tapped as the opening day starter and after that it seemed like the JFer banner season went sideways. I’m not sure what happened in the clubhouse or front office, but who the eff decided that JFer wouldn’t be the opening day starter? I get that they’re trying to keep his innings down, but this is your 23 year old franchise starting pitcher you’re messing with. I get that they’re supposed to be professionals and it’s business, but this kid just got bumped for Wei-Yin Chen on Opening Day. Yeah I’d be super pissed too. I’m not saying his rough start is due to not getting the nod on Opening Day, but maybe, just maybe he’s like that crazy ex GF that messes with you just to prove a point. I could be way off base here, but maybe, just maybe JFer is making a point to Loria and the rest of the Miami Minions, he’s Numero Uno snitches! I’m banking on the fact he sowed his April oats, he’s done pouting and that he’s proved his point to the peeps in charge. This wild horse’s reigns have been weighing him down to start the season and now it’s time for the guys in charge to let this stud run free like Nyquist, cause he’s a got a lot more in the tank Vanilla’s five point oh. At $11,300 he’s on the bottom end of the aces, but I think he be under owned due to the juicy match-ups for Corey Kluber and Jon Lester.

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Jung Ho Kang returned to the Pittsburgh line up after being sidelined since last September with a fractured tibia and what a return he had. Tibia shmibia! Kang came back with style, hitting two ding-dongs and going 2-for-4 with 3 RBI. Talk about gung ho! Talk about an obvious headline! What? You think you can do better? Go ahead and try. Please don’t I need that .0001% of a cent per page view every month if I want to afford my obsessive soba noodles and MOBA habit. Kang slashed .287/.355/.461 last season with 15 homers and 58 RBI.  If there’s a possibility Kang is somehow still available in your league now’s your chance because he won’t be long. Me suspects manager Clint Hurdle will ease Kang into the daily line up slowly, but if he keeps hitting dingers we should see him playing everyday sooner rather than later. From the looks of it, Kang is going to pick up right where he left off and be a valuable fantasy asset immediately.

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

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Jose Altuve is on pace for 60 homers.  He can’t even reach the cereal in the morning!  If an opposing manager were to ask to see Altuve’s bat, they would crack it open to reveal gumballs because he’s the leader of the lollipop guild.  If the major leagues were to institute a Daffy Duck ‘You Have To Be This Tall’ sign before getting to the batter’s box, Altuve would need his mother to escort him into the batter’s box every time.  That’s assuming she’s tall enough!  If she’s not, who does he get?  His uncle?  Erik Kratz?  If might were height, Jose Altuve would be a giant.  That much is true.  I love that lil’ bugger!  I want a Teddy Ruxpin in the shape of Altuve to cuddle at night.  Last night, he went 4-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs with his 9th homer, hitting .330.  So, the question is, can he keep it up?  Up is not a word I associate with Altuve, and, no, he can’t keep it up.  No one could keep up this pace.  Of course, he’s still a .315 hitter with an easy 110 runs, 35 steals and 70 RBIs, i.e., a top ten bat.  So, keep it up?  No, not without four phonebooks under him.  Do enough to make you glad you didn’t sell high?  As a French dwarf would say, “Wee!”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re finally starting to settle into the season!  The Opening Week jitters are gone, and while we still say “small sample size” on everything – it’s not the size of the data but how you use it!

With starting pitching, most guys have only made their first start on the year – a few top-of-the-rotation guys have made two – so unless you see something drastic, you’re not panicking.  And full disclosure, I wrote this intro before Joe Ross‘s first start, so admittedly I am a little nervous…  I have several shares of Ross – on all my redrafts teams, I ranked him crazy high, he’s going to have my first born child…  But whatever happens, it’s still only one start!  This is one of the most nerve-racking Pitcher Profiles I’ve done!

My heavy investment in Ross made him an easy choice to break down for the first Profile on the young season, so here’s how he looked on Sunday afternoon hosting the Marlins, after having his start Saturday night postponed:

Please, blog, may I have some more?