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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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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Happy Father’s Day to all Yu dads out there and all Yu dads that don’t know Yu are a dad. Today’s article is being brought to you by Yu Darvish ($23,400). Darvish is not the best pitcher on the board today however he comes in $2,600 cheaper than Robbie Ray. If you can afford to put Ray in your lineups today go ahead and do so. Alright, Darvish takes the mound against a struggling Mariners offense. My confidence in Darvish really stems from his outing earlier this week. He looked flawless against the Astros which is arguably the best offense if you take away the park factor. He’s going to need more than 4 k’s today if he’s going to meet his value. My only concern is that Yu is pitching at home where he sports at 3.30 ERA. DFSBot has Darvish as the 3rd best pitcher today and is projected 6.6 k’s. There have only been 2 out of 14 starts where he didn’t make it to 6 innings this season. Darvish is extremely conservative with his pitches which is why he’s successful on the mound. Get him in your lineups today and hopefully he logs 7+ k’s today.

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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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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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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If only every starter could return from the DL like Corey Kluber did yesterday — 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 10 Ks, ERA at 4.36.  Though, if every pitcher returned from the DL like that, there would never be another run scored in the major leagues because every pitcher is returning from the DL in every game, and then Orel Hershiser’s scoreless inning streak would get surpassed, and that would cause Orel Hershiser’s self-esteem to be damaged, and then to fill that hole he’d run for president.  I don’t want Orel Hershiser as our president, so I don’t want every starter to return as gracefully as Kluber.  Any hoo!  Corey Kluber has a pattern of abuse he drags his fantasy owners through.  In April, he starts Cold as Ice and you wish he were a Foreigner, that Dirty White Boy, but he turns it on as the season progresses and you’re like, “Feels Like the First Time.”  There’s some of you who read the previous sentence as a tribute to Foreigner, and some who thought of Vanilla Ice.  Which one you thought of says more about you than any Buzzfeed quiz.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Like a goat at a dog park, Gary Sanchez stands well ahead of the competition at catcher on Thursday and is one of the top plays on FanDuel at any position. While Sanchez isn’t on the same torrid pace he was last year, he enters play with a solid 113 wRC+ and is batting second in the high-powered Yankees lineup. Sanchez is facing Marco Estrada at the Rogers Centre, a launching pad for hitters, and while Estrada has been good this year, he is still giving up his fair share of homers. Estrada has a 1.18 HR/9, so Sanchez has a good shot at taking him deep. At $3,400, he’s the most expensive catcher, but far cheaper than other elite plays, making him almost impossible to pass up. Best of all, Sanchez just had a day off on Wednesday, so it’s a lock that he’ll be in the lineup Thursday – you won’t have to scramble to check lineups and find a replacement.

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!

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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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