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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Kenley Jansen over his career has thrown 436.1 innings, has struck out 40.1% of batters faced, walked 7% to go with a .64 HR/9. He’s been worth 15.4 WAR over his career, which is pretty good for a reliever. His last 2 years, he’s basically done away with those walks, walking 4% and 4.4% of batters. And this year, he’s down to 0%. Yes, that’s right, he’s walked no one this year. Yes, I know he’s a reliever and he’s only thrown 27.2 innings this year, but it’s still pretty impressive. His 45% K-BB% would be the best since 1946, except Craig Kimbrel this year exists with his 49.5% K-BB%. But, the thing that makes Kenley Jansen so amazing is that unlike pretty much everyone else, he really only throws one pitch over and over again (Kimbrel throws fastball, curve). Once Jansen mostly junked his slider earlier in his career he’s thrown his cutter nearly 90% of the time, which is similar to the great Mariano Rivera. Kenley Jansen is able to get Major League hitters out throwing one pitch over and over again and is one of the main reasons why the Dodgers pen is so good. Now I know you’re saying – this is a DFS article, why is Kenley Jansen being discussed? Well, first of all, you actually can play relievers (just unclick the “Show Probable Pitchers Only” button), and there actually are some theoretical situations where you can justify it (2 or 3-game slates with a juicy Coors matchup is the most obvious one). But more importantly, with baseball (correctly) moving more and more to the “starting pitcher goes 5-6 innings, 7 innings tops, and the bullpen handles the rest”, bullpens become more and more relevant for analyzing whether or not a hitter has a good matchup. If the hitter is going to get 2 at-bats against the starter and then 2 at-bats against relievers, a batter facing a weak Dodgers starter becomes less attractive if half of his at-bats will be against Ross Stripling and Kenley “I Just Get Hitters Out With One Pitch, Man” Jansen. Meanwhile, facing the Twins becomes that much more attractive when their best reliever is Chris Gimenez. So while your main focus when analyzing a hitter’s matchup should always be on the starting pitcher, the bullpen is absolutely part of the equation so ignore it at your own peril.

On to the picks once Kenley Jansen walks a batter…

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On Thursday night, Gumby will be taking the mound for the Yankees, taking on the Athletics at the Coliseum. Gumby, of course, is rookie left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who has put together a nice season thus far, with an 8.67 K/9 and a 3.27 BB/9. This is good for a 3.55 ERA and a 3.57 FIP, and there’s nothing in Montgomery’s profile to scream regression. He’s facing a weak A’s lineup that is 23rd in wOBA against lefties at .298, and in a great pitcher’s park. At just $7,500, Gumby is a great bang for your buck.

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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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.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Some days, in my FanDuel lineups, I put my faith and my cash into a big-name pitcher and fill in the holes around him; some days I pick on pitchers and build against him. Today is one of the latter sorts of days. It feels like the slate is a mishmash of meh pitchers against good teams or good pitchers in iffy parks. I’m even a little leery of Stream-o-Nator’s top two picks: first is San Diego’s Jhoulys Chacin versus Colorado. [Sidebar: I had to look up how to pronounce “Jhoulys”. It’s You-Lease (more or less), so I should stop saying “Ghoulish”, I guess.] That is going down at Petco, but as I write this on Friday, Colorado are tied with Arizona at the top of their division; they’ve been hitting well and I’m not eager to run a pitcher up against them, even in San Diego. Second is Matt Shoemaker, pitching in LA versus Minnesota. I could go for that, but I’m not excited about the idea, a bit like Hawaiian pizza. So, I’m slapping a bandage over the pitcher slot today and playing Tyler Chatwood, the cheap, but risky (deviating from Stream-o-Nator always feels risky!), other Petco option while paying up for hitters instead; I’m focusing particularly on the Astros (versus Andrew Cashner) and Tigers (versus Miguel Gonzalez).

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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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Excuse me for one second, there’s a doorbell ringing.  *opens door*  “Luigi!  Paisan!  What are you doing here?”  To you, “This is Luigi, my tailor.  And, yes, I’m addressing you, the audience, like it’s Sesame Street.”  “Grey Liotta, as you insist I call you, I saw Michael Conforto had a huge game –  3-for-4, 4 RBIs and hit his 12th and 13th homers, now hitting .333 with a .425 OBP — and I say I have to go see my favorite customer to let out his inseam.”  “Ah, Luigi!  You know me better than anyone, except my mustachioed mother and even more stereotypical Italian barber!”  On a serious note, what Michael Conforto is doing now is why the Mets should promote Amed Rosario.  Reyes, Walker, yadda, blah, blooie are not going to lead to anything of note.  Maybe they have a good game or two, maybe a solid week, but, in the end, you have *raspberries lips* and Rosario still with no major league experience.  Not even saying Amed’s the answer like Iverson, but you have to give guys a chance over these third-rate vets that lead you nowhere.  If the Mets had given Conforto the at-bats all last year, he might’ve came out of his 1st half slump and carried them in the 2nd half and thru the playoffs.  As for those who don’t know me as well as Luigi, I’ve always said Conforto would be an All-Star at some point.  This is not out of nowhere, nor someone to sell high.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The fantasy baseball roster you could make out of the current disabled list would easily be in first place in many rotisserie leagues. If you left your draft with all of these players healthy you would probably be pretty confident of your trophy chances. Granted, if you left your draft with these players I’d question the skills of your league mates.

Fun story, I once joined a friend’s new fantasy baseball league and one of the members had never done fantasy sports before. He drafted every offensive position in order starting with catcher in round 1. This was my actual reaction when I realized what was going on in about the 3rd or 4th round… Needless to say his pitching was a disaster.

Please, blog, may I have some more?