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:

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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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Trey Mancini aka All Day Trey Bombz was 2-for-4 Friday night with his 11th home run. He was all like, “Na Na, Bottoms Up, let’s see that one in Slow Motion.” Those are Trey Songz songs for the unindoctrined.  Trey is the MAN-cini lately, for real, batting .423 in the past week, with four homers and 11 RBI over the past 15 days. With Chris Davis out with an oblique injury (it’s still a little unclear), Trey looks to see an everyday role in the stacked Orioles line up. He’s been especially hot in June, with a .333/.370/.647 slash and an 1.017 OPS. Mmmm. The 25-year old rook has also hit safely in his past seven games, with multi-hit games in three of his past five. So how is it he’s available in 75% of fantasy leagues? Sure, the .368 BABIP is a bit high, but if we’re going to cherry-pick nerdy stats why not enjoy that 134 wRC+ and a 37.6 hard hit percentage. Did I mention he leads the team in batting average? And is second in RBIs with 35 on the year? Let’s not leave out the multiple position eligibility to sweeten the pot even more. In Baltimore/Washington, they love everything named Trey, and they might be onto something here. Grey told you to BUY, and I’d grab Mancini anywhere I needed some offensive help. If he can do the kind of damage in a full time role that he’s done part time, there should be plenty of Trey bombz in the future.

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

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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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Okay, full disclosure. This post was planned for last week, but after Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Quintana‘s sh!t shows of a performance I decided I’d rather chug beers and yell racial slurs at online images of those two bastards. I was actually planning to title this post Smoak and Mirrors, but in Saturday’s Hey Batter³ Contest post Larry Chip 10 picked Smoak ‘n Mirrors as one of his three batters. Once that happened I realized I was going to have to either shift gears or throw him a footnote. It didn’t help that Mike Maher titled his most recent Top-100 Hitters post Full Bour Or Smoak And Mirrors? So here we have a slightly modified title for today’s points league post.

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Did the Pirates trade for Brian or James McCann?  Because every time Tony Watson pitches, I feel butt sore and shake my head questioning, “Watson McCann?”  And then I soothe the irritation with some aloe Rivero.  Before yesterday’s 2nd meltdown by Watson in two games (1 IP, 2 ER, and yet another blown save), C**nt Hurdle said Watson will remain the closer.  This is like when you have pimples in high school and you go to your dad, and he’s like, “Everyone’s got pimples at your age, I’m not paying for you to get rid of them, you’ll be fine.”  Then you go into your closet and chew on your 4-year-old baseball card gum until your mom comes into the closet and tells you she’ll take you to the doctor, using her bingo winnings she’s saved.  I don’t want a vote of confidence for Watson, I want mom to talk to C**nt!  I’d continue to hold Felipe Rivero (1 IP, 0 ER, ERA at 0.58), it’s only a matter of time.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Kinda ridiculous that Odubel Herrera is the first player to get two ledes this year, but this is because they both came on short schedule days and I’m the only one that likely knows this, so let’s just move on!  ODB’s hot like Mariah’s fire.  Mariah’s fire is the dragon breath she breathes right before her morning ritual of firing a staffer.  “Who sprinkled my slippers with gold dust?  It’s Tuesday!  Tuesday’s slippers get sprinkled with powdered sugar so the squirrels follow me like it’s a Disney movie!”  That’s Mariah TCOB.  Ooh, idea!  I’m gonna do the rest of this in acronyms.  ODB TCOB SAGNOF UB40–Ugh, I failed at that exercise.  Grey does not equal a 14-year-old girl texting.  I told you yesterday if you take nothing else from the roundup, take away that you should grab Odubel.  And that’s me reiterating me!  Seriously, he’s 8-for-13 over the last three games with two homers.  Grab him!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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If I was a betting man I would guess Chris Sale was an art major in college. Not only does he have a gift of designing uniforms he has a real craft around the plate. Scouts have labeled him a modern-day Picasso. There are some good options at the pitcher spot today however there is only one elite pitcher going. Sale looks to bounce back from a rough outing against his old team. Despite the 5 earned runs he was tagged for in that outing, he still managed to strike out 9. This is Sale’s 2nd appearance against the Orioles this year and he looks to repeat that outing. Sale already has 8 starts with 10 or more k’s including his last start against the Orioles where he had 11. The Orioles have hit lefties hard this year but they have the 5th highest K percentage against them as well. FantasyDraft is making you pay up for the best arm of the day. Expect Sale’s ownership to be high in the cash games and low in the GPP games given his price tag of $24,800.

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