The theme of the Top 100 hitters this week is triumphant returns. Carlos Gomez is back from his latest trip to the disabled list and is mashing. Ab-so-lute-ly mash-ing. Keon Broxton, left for dead just a few weeks ago, is the hottest power-speed combo hunk in all the land. Even Cameron Maybin has returned to our ranks, though his return has been more gradual over the last few weeks since we lost our beloved Mike Trout.

I have not been overly kind to the newcomers since taking over this series. Perhaps that is my way of initiating them and making sure they belong among us Top 100ers. This week, though, my heart is filled with warmth. Perhaps it is because I am looking ahead to a mini 4th of July vacation, or maybe I am just getting soft in my old age :::pause here and smirk as you slowly look around the room:::.

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Yesterday, Kyle Schwarber was demoted to Triple-A to clear his head.  But Joe Buck would’ve cleared it for him!  Guess Schwarber is just one less thing for Joe Buck to plug.  Joe Buck is now the new Crying Jordan meme.  Also, yesterday, Jason Heyward was DL’d.  Right now, Joe Maddon is like, “All I need is Ian Happ.   And this chair.  All I need is Ian Happ, this chair and this remote control.  And Tommy La Stella.  All I need is Ian Happ, this chair, this remote control and Tommy La Stella.  And these Buddy Holly glasses.  Happ, chair, remote, La Stella and these glasses!  That’s all I need!”  I’m sure Schwarber will be back at some point, but, in most mixed leagues, you can move on.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Grey Albright (fake name) and Michael Halpern (real name) kick things off by discussing Brandon Funston’s split with Yahoo, and what this says about the Fantasy Baseball industry as a whole. I then get Grey’s opinion on the Francis Martes vs. Derek Fisher Twitter debate that Mike Maher started between myself, Ralph Lifshitz, and Chris Towers of CBS (Towers takes the early lead with news of Fisher’s demotion), before moving on to discuss Gleyber Torres’ season ending elbow injury, Madison Bumgarner’s current trade value, and how much you can trust AJ Pollock to remain healthy upon his return. Finally, we both get excited for the return of the Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest, so make sure to sign up and get in on the action. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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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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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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Stephen Strasburg, $24,800 is taking the mound tonight against the Braves and I for one purchased my ticket for the SS K machine back on Thursday.  The good news is, there’s still tickets available, the bad news is they’re a little pricey.  I hate to use the word underrated when it comes to Strasburg, but all you hear about is Kershaw, Mad Max, Keuchel and Greinke.  Where’s the Love for Strasburg?  His last four starts are ridiculous, 3-1 with 5 ER and 41 K’s over his last 27.2 innings.  Yes, you read that correctly, 41 K’s over his last 27.2 innings (Mic drop).  I’m matching Strasburg up with Jameson Taillon, $13,600 who’s got the Rockies fresh off the DL.  Now I typically don’t like starting guys coming off the DL due to pitch counts, but Taillon wasn’t gone due to any baseball related injury and he was hitting 97 on the radar gun in his last rehab start.  He was straight money before the sudden cancer diagnosis and I’m sure it’ll be an emotional night for the Pirates team upon his return.  I think Taillon will have a little extra juice in the tank tonight and at this price I can’t pass him up.  Now that we got our pitching locked in let’s see what offense is going to help us cash in.

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!

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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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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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So let’s just get this whole curse thing out of the way. Seems like every starter I’ve profiled since taking over this here gig has hit the DL, with lone exception being Luis Severino. Some how he’s escaped my DL wrath, which means he made a deal with the devil, or knows strong voodoo. Poor Charlie Morton, Vince Velasquez, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nate Karns, y’all never had a chance without Severino’s voodoo. Yeah, seriously, the “Ralph Curse” is that real! Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, my condolences to the owners of this week’s victim Dinelson Lamet. Let’s pray for a shared secret between he and Luis from the BX. Because DANG, he looks good. He feels like one of those prospects that’s never bad, but falls through the cracks on some lists (mine), while being higher on others (other people not named me). He’s two strong starts, and 10 innings into his major league career, and he’s scheduled to go twice this week. So he’s firmly on the fantasy baseball radar. Enough with the bollocks, let’s dig into the bangers and mash, see what we have here, and determine if he’s someone to hold in the right formats.

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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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