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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Happy Father’s Day to all but five of our readers.  I am not a father, but I have a dog I ignore most of the time, then play catch with after my wife tells me to, so, technically, I am a father too.  For Father’s Day, I went to see the Tupac movie, and to misquote him, “Back for a check, all respect to those who broke their neck to keep this movie in check, cause oh they made some mistakes with this movie majorly, damn, why does Jada keep paging me?”  I should’ve taken Cougs to see Wonder Woman, but I was afraid it would empower her.  One last note on Pop’s Day, MLB has pink bats for Mother’s Day, so they should have penis-shaped bats for Father’s Day.  Yesterday, Jimmy Nelson looked like he should be getting dogged by Jada Pinkett for keeping it too real — 9 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 3.39.   His peripherals are right there to match — 9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 3.52 xFIP with the velocity to back it up, and, if you throw out April, his ERA would be near 2.50 with an xFIP to match.  The major change — excuse me, not change — the curve is his major key.  Hat tip to Lance and his Jimmy Nelson fantasy.  The crux of that is you should own Nelson and stop cruxifying him, and the crux of this is I don’t know how to spell crucify.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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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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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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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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Braves rookie phenom/shortstop/TV dinner mogul Dansby Swanson was 2-for-2 last night with his fourth home run and two RBI. Daaaaaaamn, B! YES! Keep doing this. If you held onto Swanson this long (especially in a redraft leagues) you deserve what is happening to you right now. What is happening is Dansby is hitting .360 with 4 runs, 2 homers and 6 RBI in the past week! When your draft day sleeper is finally making you look smart, but most people have already forgot. Sure, he’s still hitting just .201, but these are the kind of things you ignore when you have blind faith and are looking to ride the rookie train to some fantasy fame. I attribute some of this to the cleansing therapy we’ve been taking together. It’s pretty simple, bad vibes–bad, good vibes–good. Harness the good energy, block out the bad. Pretty easy, right? Also, let’s just meditate in this sweat lodge for 12 hours and have a “vision” about how not to strike out as much. After hitting just .156 in April, Dansby is hitting .286 in May. He’s also doubled his OBP, SLG% and has drawn twice as many walks as he did last month. Dan’s be good like that! He’s available in little over half of fantasy leagues right now and if Swanson happens to be out there on waivers in your league, this might be your last chance to grab him before the hype returns. Trust me, this kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As I was rummaging through player statistics looking for some bit of data that would help both me and my eight loyal readers, for some reason I began to wonder if it would be possible to add a team to an existing points league right now using only players that went largely undrafted in the majority of leagues to fill my starting lineup. I’m defining “largely undrafted” as any player with an average draft position of 220 or greater. It escapes me as to how I arrived at the 220 number, but I think it’s safe to say that anyone drafted at that point wasn’t really a player the drafting team intended to bank its success upon. So the rules are simple, I construct a starting lineup of 16 players (10 batters, 4 starting pitchers and 2 relievers) using only players with an ADP greater than 219. These players do not need to be on the waiver wire. I am allowed to take them from their current teams. Without this clause, said exercise would be futile because, at this point, all waiver wire gems have already been snatched up.

For those of you that thought draft season was over, guess again.

Without further ado, let’s draft our expansion team…

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Eugenio Suarez is off to a blistering start in 2017, slashing 23R/7HR/22RBI/2SB in just 36 games this season. Suarez is fairly young, as he’s 25 with three years’ experience in the majors. However, he only started receiving consistent playing time beginning last season, and has been producing with his daily starts in 2017.

A consistent starter in Cincinnati, Suarez has been one of the top options at third base. While the hot streak will not continue indefinitely, he has the ability to consistently produce stats for the remainder of the 2017 season. In this article, I’ll show the reasons why I believe Suarez will continue his high contact rate and power surge.

The example I’ll provide will be using his last four years of stats, beginning with his 2014 rookie year in Detroit.  This will allow us to see the progression of his stats, along with the growth of his contact rates.

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Cincinnati Reds are squaring off vs. the measly Ty Blach of the San Francisco Giants, stacking the Reds could prove to have a good return on investment. Blach is carrying a very pedestrian 2.18 K/9. Meanwhile, the Reds are one of the hardest teams to strikeout in the MLB. He already got lit up against them last week (3 IP, 11 hits ,8 ER), so batters like Joey Votto ($4,500), Zach Cozart ($3,300), Adam Duvall ($3,700) and Eugenio Suarez ($3,300) should all be on your radar. Now lets take a look at the rest of the picks.

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The fantasy gods have smiled upon Cody, my friends. Once feared that he would be sent back down with Joc Pederson’s return, Bellinger has been gifted another opportunity to prove he belongs in the MLB with Adrian Gonzalez miraculously hitting the DL (well, not so miraculous for A-Gone owners, I guess). And prove it he shall! Cody Bellinger continued to rake going  3-for-5 with two home runs (4) and 4 RBI last night. He’s hitting .400 with eight runs, four home runs, and nine RBI in the past week. Can Joc Pederson do dat? Nuh uh. Nah didn’t think so. Need more? He’s slashing .342/.390/.737 and the Dodgers are 6-2 with him in the line up. More? The Cranberries think that you have to, you have to, you have to add Bellinger. After batting .343 with five homers, 15 RBI and 7 steals in AAA this season it is clear Cody is more than ready to make some noise in the bigs. Whoa did you say seven steals! That’s right! We haven’t even seen him flash that speed yet, and when he does, fantasy glory can be ours. Grey has been telling you to BUY Bellinger for a few weeks now, and he’s still available in about 60% of ESPN leagues. He could be the Yasiel Puig-like player that’s not Yasiel Puig-like that the Dodgers and your fantasy team so desperately needs right now.

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

Please, blog, may I have some more?