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?

I’m not a religious girl, but when I was sitting down to write this post and saw the magic words “Stephen Strasburg versus the San Diego Padres” and [email protected] (mmm, strudel), I raised my hands and gave up a “hallelujah.” Which caused some raised eyebrows in the coffee shop I was sitting in, let me tell you (ugh, whatEVer, Man Yelling Into Skype About His Deck Repairs).

So it’s fair to say I’m reasonably excited about Stephen’s match-up today. Even if he does cost me $11,100 (gulp). Collectively, the Padres are hitting .221 at time of writing. They’re the third-worst team in MLB (and I hate pointing all this stuff out — I do root for the Padres). I have some worries: so far this year, Strasburg’s K/9 is a little down (8.80) and his ERA at home is not ideal (4.00 at home versus 2.70 away), but I gotta have faith. I also want to stack some Rockies and Cardinals bats. Trying to squeeze all this into my FanDuel salary cap is gonna hurt like kneeling too long at church when you’re as old as I am, but I’ll make it work.

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?

Usually I start my day eating breakfast while reading Grey’s excellent daily posts (suck up alert!).  I’ve been doing this for god knows how many years, at least a decade it seems.  Anyhoo, I usually look through the comments and see this comment (in various forms), “Player A for Player B.  Who wins?”  and part of that just bugs me. Not the asking for advice of course, because that’s the main point of the site.  I’m talking about the winning part.  Maybe it’s the current American winning obsession because to some we’re winning too much, others not at all (and that’s as far as I’ll dip my foot in the political pool).  I think it goes back to the idea that trading, in the minds of some, is a zero-sum game. Someone has to win and someone has to lose. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Can’t a trade help both teams so they both win? Absolutely.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Jameson Taillon was sidelined indefinitely as he’s being treated for testicular cancer.  *everyone but five girl readers cross their legs*  As a man, this is up there with the scariest things that could happen.  1. Ball cancer.  2.  Someone scratches my ride.  3.  Hearing “Are you in yet?” when you’re in.  That’s ranked in order, but they’re close.  This reminds me of the time I neutered my dog.  I asked the doctor if I could take home in a formaldehyde jar my boys’ ‘berries.’  I told the doctor no dog would ever misbehave with a constant reminder nearby that I could hold up to show what I was capable of.   They didn’t give the jar to me.  Hopefully Taillon’s okay, and back soon.  I will say I would’ve liked to be there when his replacement, Trevor Williams, was asked to take the ball.  Williams gulps, “Can we clarify which ball you mean?”   Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After fourteen drafts/auctions I am finally done selecting players. It was a long (and tiring) stretch of two weeks, but I don’t regret one thing. Although give me a few more days of watching my pitchers get knocked around and I might have a change of heart. The aforementioned drafts consisted of four points league auctions, one points league snake draft, five various mock drafts with the fantasy baseball gurus over at CBS, and four Razzball Commentator Leagues, concluding with the Razzball Experts league. Towards the end, my selections almost began to feel robotic. Something akin to a human auto-drafter. And while we’re discussing auto-drafting, I’d like to announce that I hate auto-drafters. Not the actual person, but the act of auto-drafting. Unless you’ve actually taken the time to legitimately rank your players, your presence (or lack there of) at our draft annoys me. And if you end up with two or more catchers or a handful of middle relievers/closers I’m talking about you.

Of all the drafts/auctions I participated in the one I’d like to discuss is the experts points league auction for the league known as The Points League. I’ve accepted that points leagues are the red-headed step child of fantasy baseball, but the bottom line is that many do play the format. Despite this fact most “experts” refuse to give points leagues much, if any, attention. And if they are in a points leagues, they generally don’t publicize as much. I bet the number of closet points league players is staggering. It’s 2017 people, you can come out of the closet.

A few weeks back I decided I was going to attempt to organize an experts points leagues by inviting some very smart, and mostly respected, fantasy baseball analysts/writers from across the online world of fantasy baseball. When all was said and done, and the league was filled, here are the fierce competitors vying to be the champion of The Points League:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Holy Shizz!  I can’t believe Opening Day is already here, it seems like a couple weeks ago I was opening up the 2016 season with Mad Max.  I hope you all had a great off season, but now it’s time to get back into the swing of things and started building that DFS account.  Practically every ace is going today, so I know you’re asking yourself, why Danny Duffy, $16,800?  Although I maybe a little rusty with my picks, I can assure you The Duffman won’t be showing any signs of rust as he’s already in mid May form.  I’m sure you all followed the WBC this year, dude was absolutely lights out grabbing 2 W’s, 8 K’s, and 1 ER in 8 innings of work.  He has a solid matchup versus the Twins and I think he’s stretched out enough to give us a solid 6 innings.  Granted, it’s early so dumping all your money on top arms isn’t the best strategy, so I’m really feeling the mid level guys like Duffy, Kendall Graveman at $11,200 and Jon Gray at $15,200.  Just a quick update on the DFS format.  We’ve changed gears this year and I think you guys are really going to enjoy the format with FantasyDraft Sunday thru Tuesday.  It’s still a two pitcher roster, but you have three IF, three OF and two Utility spots, so the positions don’t matter.  That means no more catchers; Woo Hoo!  There’s still catchers available to roster, but you won’t hear much from me about them.  I’m really excited about the new format as it allows for a lot more flexibility.  Anyways, on to the picks!

New to FantasyDraft? 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?