James Shields has given up a home run in 11 of 13 games this year. Outside of the first 2 games when he gave up 2 each, he’s given up at least 5 hits a game (he’s gone more than 6 once this year and that was 6.1). He’s walked someone in every single start. This is a more flavorful way of saying what you already know – Shields is terrible and won’t have his option year picked up in 2019 (that’s right, we’re going to have another year of James Shields to pick on). The other plus about this game is it’s in Texas and it’s going to be hot. Also, Shields’ splits this year are hilarious. When a left hander is in the box, he strikes them out 15.7% of the time and walks them 12% of the time (with a normal .313 BABIP), gets a ground ball 35.7% of the time and allows a home run on 23.6% of his fly balls. All of which is leads to an unfathomable 9.17 FIP and a 6.86 xFIP. Yes, loyal readers, James Shields has a FIP over 9 vs lefties. The worst FIP I can find vs lefties is Jose Lima’s 6.14, including an 8.29 in 2006 and Lima’s 8.29 was in only 7 innings. James Shields is having a legendarily bad season vs lefties (he’s actually relatively decent vs righties with 21.2% strikeouts and 8.2% walks for a 4.14 FIP and 4.73 xFIP). So given all of this information, here’s what I would do: play Texas Rangers lefties as much as physically possible, with Mazara and Gallo being the top ones, but all of them are good plays. As for the righties, they aren’t nearly as good as the lefties, first, because each Rangers righty you play is one less Rangers lefty to play if you’re going to have four Rangers, and second, a lot of the Rangers righties are expensive. That said, in a vacuum, the righties are still good plays as it’s hot, James Shields is on the mound and when he’s out of the game, the White Sox gas can of a bullpen will come in and suck. Beltre leads the righties since he hits righties pretty well over his career (113 wRC+) and has hit them well this year (.382 wOBA). Basically, play all the Rangers you can.

On to the picks once James Shields allows another home run to a lefty…

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Is it just me, or has anyone else already started worrying about which players are going to burn them the most in 2018? Grey has already mentioned how the sudden late-season production of guys like Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson will probably dupe folks into buying into them next year with a sense of false promise. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but I’m already imagining and stressing over the bad relationships I will probably enter into during my 2018 drafts and auctions, and trying to figure out if there’s anything I can do to avoid them.

The gentleman who I feel has strung me along the most, given me a handful of fun times over the last couple of seasons, but ultimately disappointed me to the point where I’ve decided it’s probably time to break up for good, is Yoenis Cespedes. Even after a spotty, injury-plagued 2016, I put a lot of eggs in his basket this year as my go-to NL power/average guy. Cut to mid-August, and dude has fewer homers than (among a million other people), Paul DeJong and Scooter Gennett (and now Ces has pitched fewer innings than Scooter to boot!) He’s been one of my biggest busts of the year, and yet, after seeing him hit 4 bombs over his last 7 games, I can feel my head starting to turn in his direction once again. I’m already wondering if he’ll be a value pick next year, and worrying that if I don’t stock up on as many shares of Cespedes as I can get my hands on, he’ll pull a 2017 Giancarlo and lead the way to 2018 victory for everyone else’s fantasy teams. Am I the naïve girl falling for the jerk who’s mistreated her before, and will again? Or the wise woman ready to give a great guy the final chance he deserves before ultimately walking off into the sunset with him?

The Razzball Commenter Leagues for Fantasy Football are now open! Take on your favorite writers and other readers of the site for a chance at prizes!

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After homering in his fourth straight game, Matt Davidson (2-for-4, 2 runs) is halfway to Dale Long’s record of home runs in eight straight games.  A record I didn’t think would ever be matched, aside from it being matched twice previously by Ken Griffey Jr. and Don Mattingly.  Dale Long was mostly remembered for that record and getting to first base with his bat.  Good year for no-names whose last name ends in son:  Davidson, Morrison, Alonson.  The book on Davidson previously was a AAAA player, which is different than Mickey Mantle and David Wells.  That’s two AA players.  Sadly (for him), Davidson is playing so over his head that giraffes be like, “Yo, come down from there.”  In Triple-A, he was a 30% strikeout guy and is striking out at a 38% rate now, so he will hit .200 for the season and be an only-occasional home run guy.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Don’t look now, but the hottest dynasty baseball league in the game is back for another monthly update. We are the American Dream personified. A former colony of the REL, otherwise known as the Razzball Elite League, and the evil iron fist of King George JB. Much like our founding fathers, M@ and I, the league’s John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson worked hard to redraft our constitution, and bring prosperity to all those affected by King George JB’s extreme taxation. Through these wars waged by an army of rag tag farmers, a great general emerged. Who is this great general? Our George Washington, if you will. None other than the original smoothie himself, Captain of the clean gooch, one Nick The Dick. Under the courageous command of Nick, and his Captain Jaaaaaake, Razz30 has taken on all comers, and anyone looking to down our new found utopia. There is no 30 team league in the land where it’s citizen’s are better educated, better looking, or just plain better. Our gooches are hairless, but our faces are not. We trade like spice merchants in the ports of the Orient! We pillage the posts of our enemies! We chat like high school girls on social messaging apps. We’re the league you wish you played in. It’s the Razz30 Update for April in the year of our lord two thousand and seventeen. Claws Up for my Family!

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I’m with Streamonator: Carlos Carrasco is your No-Brainer O’ the Day. (Not to be confused with your Darren O’ the Day, which is a fish submarine sandwich.) The last time Carrasco faced the White Sox, at home, it was to the tune of 1 ER over 7 innings, and this matchup is in the more pitcher-friendly Sox park. (Mind you, his last start versus the Tigers was a tad more worrying — still only 2 ER, but he struggled with command.) But today on FanDuel, he’s $10,300. And at the same time, the Giants are in Coors. I’ve set myself a silly challenge: to play Carlos Carrasco AND stack as many Coors bats as possible, all while plugging the remaining holes as cheaply (and well? Ha) as I can. And you’ll see that through my own stubbornness, I’ve created possibly the most lopsided FanDuel lineup ever, one that will need complete rejigging if any one of my players doesn’t actually start. Like George Michael, I may come to be filled with regret and (totally logical consequence to cheating on someone!) never dance again, but it’s not for nothing that my mother calls me Victoria Mary Quite Contrary. So here goes!

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Jeurys Familia was given a 15-game suspension for domestic abuse charges filed against him this offseason.  One could say Jeurys was given a 15-day DL trip to Familia, but the DL in this case is Dangerous Love.  If there was anyone predestined for Family Court, it would be him.  Familia was helped by his family’s testimony to Our Commissioner Manfred.  They asked Familia be allowed to go on all Mets’ road trips.  The Mets can sure pick closers.  Let’s see:  Familia; K-Rod attacked his father-in-law and Jenrry Mejia was permanently banned from MLB.  The Mets don’t use a belt with their closer pants.  They prefer suspenders!  This is all an eerie reminder of past Mets violence when Justin Turner tried to help Ike Davis during one of his prolonged slumps.  Any hoo!  Familia will miss about six to eight saves and I’ve moved him down in my top 500 and moved up Addison Reed, his replacement.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

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Oh my God, Drew Smyly is more like Smyly Corleone.  Every time you think you’re out, he pulls you right back in.  Fredo, you went against the family, and we can’t have that.  “Smyly, is that you?  Why do you keep calling me?”  That’s Alfredo Griffin getting annoyed with Smyly Corleone.  “I made them offer at a pitch they couldn’t refuse.”  Seriously, stop Smyly Corleone!  So, there’s always one pitcher (sometimes more than one) that befuddles and seduces, seduces and befuddles.  Justin Masterson carried the torch for a while when he was Justin Masterson:  Passive Aggressive Starter.  Now, Drew Smyly seems to be carrying that same damned if you do, damned if you don’t torch.  Yesterday, his line was 6 2/3 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners with 12 Ks.  On the year, his K-rate and walk rate are 10.3 and 2.2.  Those are ace numbers.  Unlike a lot of other big strikeout guys and actual aces, Smyly doesn’t throw very hard and seems to tire after about two starts in a row.  His ERA on the year is 4.75, but that’s absurd, as in I will absurd you while you’re on waivers.  But, ugh, that K-rate, that walk rate, it’s hard for me to resist and if he was dropped in your league, I could see giving him another chance, but I’d be wary of matchups because I just don’t see him overpowering most teams when he’s not working on ten days rest.  He just doesn’t throw hard enough.  I.e., leave the speed gun, take the cannoli.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Did I just get something from nothing?  Because Justin Upton is nothing, and I got something yesterday — 2-for-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs and a slam (4) and legs (2).  Therefore, hence, Argo the movie, vis-a-vis, I got something from nothing.  Take that all of you non-believers!  And you said he would never come around to be worth that top 25 pick.  I pfft on you.  A big fat pfft.  Come here, accept my pfft.  I got one good game from him out of 57!  Holy schnikeballs, I got only one good game from my 2nd rounder?  Please, neighbor’s cat, don’t confuse me for a ball of yarn as I curl up in a ball and sob.  Please, stop tapping me with your paw.  I am not a ball of yarn.  So, can Upton turn it around?  I believe he can.  At least moderately.  Last year, he hit two homers and .196 in June and .162 in July.  And you still drafted him this year, so apparently you don’t care about two-month slumps.  In 2014, he had a month of .226 with 3 HRs and a month of .169 with 3 HRs.  This year in April, he had a 38% strikeout percentage, 34% in May and 22% in June.  He’s already seeing the ball better.  If he finishes June with 6 homers and .259, then hit .343 in May, would you be shocked?  Well, you shouldn’t be, because those were months he did last year when he also had two sub-.200 months.  Upton gets awful for months; it’s what he does.  He also gets hot for months.  Unfortunately, the slump months came to start the season so it was more pronounced.  Pronounced specifically as:  Gäd, h? s?ks.  And, remember, it takes the Uptons a while to adjust to new leagues.  It took Melvin Upton three years and a first name change to adjust to the NL.  Hopefully, this is the start of something so Justin doesn’t have to resort to being Melvin Upton Jr. Jr.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Platoon. The word fantasy baseball owners hate and the word that makes no sense in its context to anyone outside of baseball. The word that makes you wish death upon all left handed pitchers and maybe all lefties in general. (Don’t worry, they die earlier than us pure breeds anyway. Seriously…look it up!)  (There’s also a tool for all platoon splits.)

And as we wish death to lefties, we think to ourselves… is the platoon a death sentence for your fantasy player in a shallow league? How much does it really even affect your player’s value? Well, let me do the dirty work for you.

In this write up, I show you which teams are expected to see the most lefty pitchers for their 162 game season based on the percentage of likelihood they face a lefty in any given game. It sounds like a lot, but I am the king of taking shortcuts. Instead of looking at projected starting pitchers for all 15 NL teams, I used probabilities (based on % lefties in a given teams’ rotation), to identify which platooners might be spending the most and least times on the bench.

Now if your head isn’t spinning by now, then I failed at my job. Take a look for yourself and hopefully it makes more sense:

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We are so close to the top 20 starters you can almost taste it, and it tastes like limoncello.  I wonder why that is.  From the top 20 outfielders through to this top 100 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball has been like the greatest mini-series ever.  Sorta like what I hope the O.J. Simpson show is.  By the way, don’t Google O.J. Simpson, major spoilers!  In most fantasy leagues, you won’t need to draft guys from this top 100 outfielders, and they’ll be waiver wire pickups.  A few of these guys will be drafted by people saying things like, “I’m really loving (fill-in name from this post) as a late sleeper,” then those same people will get to the middle of April and be saying things like, “I can drop (fill-in player’s name), right?”  As with other rankings posts, I go over where tiers start and stop and my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 100 outfielders for 2016 fantasy baseball:

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