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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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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I start this week’s podcast by wondering if JB still listens to the show and/or reads the website, but based on the nugget of information Grey passes along, I’m going to assume the answer to that question is no. I also thank everyone for the awesome podcast reviews this week, while Grey is unsatisfied and unimpressed. On the fantasy baseball side of things, our main focus is middle infield, kicking things off with the surprise of Elvis Andrus being the current #1 SS in fantasy, and Zack Cozart being the current #1 SS in real life. We also talk about if Grey is coming around on Daniel Murphy, how real the Whit Merrifield breakout is, and debate Carlos Correa vs. Trea Turner in Dynasty Leagues. Finally, I get excited for the return of the Razzball Only FantasyDraft Contest today, so make sure to sign up and join in on the fun. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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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 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.

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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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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Or will he?  Dun, dun, DUNNNNNN…ok, I don’t think he will.  What, you thought I’d drop a hot beat and a fresh rhyme on you a la Grey?  Psssh, I ain’t about that life, son.  I’ll belt out some Cornell for you live and in person, but you won’t catch me getting lyrical up in this wordpress.  Ok, ok, supply and demand so here’s a hot track.  I’m not sure what the equivalent of being rick rolled is in this day and age, but consider yourself as such.  You got served!  But now that I’ve served you in a way you didn’t like, let me serve you in a way you should: JC Ramirez at $14,400 is middling in terms of price on this slate and ripe for K opportunity facing the surging Rays.  Surging, I say?  Yes, I do.  Sadly, the Rays are a weird bunch so far this year.  Though their K% against righties leads the league, they’re 2nd in the league in wRC+ against them as well.  If you want some further schism, Rays are also 1st in K% on the year but 4th in wRC+.  All this to say that Ramirez isn’t a slam dunk, but I think the Ks will give him a nice baseline.  I’ll tentatively give him the green light as an SP2 in cash, but will definitely be in on him as either a 1 or 2 for tourneys on today.

Speaking on Chris Cornell a bit more, if you’ll permit me…we’ve had some great sounds come out of Seattle and it’s a sad trend that lots of those lungs lend themselves towards ending early.  Cornell was a voice you heard above the fray, whether you wanted to or not.  He had a long and amazing career.  People who thought he sold out with Euphoria Morning and beyond have no clue what it means to be an artist who wants to challenge themselves.  The man could sing anything he wanted…and he wanted to be a lot of different artists.  You metalheads who needed the hard edge couldn’t appreciate that his love of Beatles and Otis Redding brought you Superunknown.  In kind, you all who couldn’t appreciate his time with Soundgarden who thought it was just screeching noise, don’t actually understand that soul comes in many forms.  I’m gonna drop one of those in between tunes that seemingly few heard here called Sweet Euphoria and going on with my picks for this slate…right after I drop the Razzball Listener’s League that goes down with tomorrow’s slate.  Reserve your spot now, win money tomorrow.  It’s almost like investing!

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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As I was rummaging through player statistics looking for some bit of data that would help both me and my eight loyal readers, for some reason I began to wonder if it would be possible to add a team to an existing points league right now using only players that went largely undrafted in the majority of leagues to fill my starting lineup. I’m defining “largely undrafted” as any player with an average draft position of 220 or greater. It escapes me as to how I arrived at the 220 number, but I think it’s safe to say that anyone drafted at that point wasn’t really a player the drafting team intended to bank its success upon. So the rules are simple, I construct a starting lineup of 16 players (10 batters, 4 starting pitchers and 2 relievers) using only players with an ADP greater than 219. These players do not need to be on the waiver wire. I am allowed to take them from their current teams. Without this clause, said exercise would be futile because, at this point, all waiver wire gems have already been snatched up.

For those of you that thought draft season was over, guess again.

Without further ado, let’s draft our expansion team…

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If Atlanta rapper Young Thug were to re-release his song “Texas Love” this year, he’d probably change up the hook, instead rapping “If Texas love was a drug, you’d belong to me, Nick Pivetta.” Texas love is, indeed, a drug on Thursday’s FanDuel slate, as the Rangers take on Phillies starter Nick Pivetta at home in their wonderful hitter’s park. Pivetta’s got a 6.14 ERA in his three major league starts and has already allowed five homers in his 14 2/3 innings. To give you an idea about how much Stream-o-Nator loves the Rangers today, Rougned Odor ($2,900) is the second-best hitter on the entire slate for Thursday. And that’s not even considering his price, that’s his straight up raw output that SON expects. Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, and Shin-Soo Choo are all top plays coming in at a low price. You can legitimately just stuff as many Rangers as you can into your lineup, as SON expects production out of anybody who might start (except for Pete Kozma. Sorry Pete, the robot doesn’t account for grit.) Elvis Andrus, Delino Deshields…even Jared Hoying? You name him, because if Jeff Banister pencils him in on Thursday, he’s worth a shot in your lineup. After you get your fair share of Texas love, here are some more picks worth checking out…

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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Yesterday, on the holiest of Hallmark-created holidays and celebrated most of all by Bill Hall, mothers from all different backgrounds came together to put up their feet, sip mimosas and talk about how “The Handmaid’s Tale” could totally happen now with Trump.  I’d contend that Hallmark should get a little credit for women’s rights.  Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Secretary’s Day, “Buy a card just because you love her” Day… Before this, it was, “Do you wanna make this pelt I skinned into a rug or a sweater for little Kevin?  What?  You’re tired from churning butter?  Okay, you can have the afternoon after you make beef and kidney pie.”  In honor of Mother’s Day, one of the great lovers of women (who are handcuffed to his bedpost), Aroldis Chapman was diagnosed with rotator cuff inflammation, and will be sidelined for a month.  If Dellin Betances is available in your league, can I get into your league?  If there’s an entry fee, all the better.  You pay it, and we’ll split the cash prizes.  I even grabbed Tyler Clippard in one league just in case Betances gets all Cuddle Boy on us.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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