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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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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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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Happy Memorial Day DFSers.  Be sure to pause and give thanks today for those men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  They are the true heros.  We’ve got a nice, full early slate today and a five game late slate, a little backwards from how most days run.  It’s a pretty grey day where I live, perfect for sitting in and enjoying a full day of MLB and DFS.  I hope you’ll join me and with any luck we’ll all win a little somethin somethin to make our holiday weekend even better.

I’m almost always a fan of Carlos Carrasco (except when he’s talking about elbow issues in the preseason causing me to avoid him in drafts and end up with Danny Salazar instead…ugh) and today is no exception.  Carrasco is the 4th highest salary player ($18,000) on the early slate, but he’s the number one pitcher on the slate in my opinion.  Carrasco gets the strikeout prone A’s at home.  These A’s are 8th in the majors in Ks and Just wrapped up being struck out 34 times in 3 games at the house next to the house that Ruth built.  CC Sabathia struck out 9 A’s for crying out loud! CC!  Carrasco has looked amazing so far this season, pitching to a 9 K rate and a sub 1.00 WHIP.  His FIP (3.29) is right in line with his ERA (2.93) as well, so it’s no fluke.  Cookie will be an auto-roster for me today and I suggest you do the same

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 you do.  It’s how we know you care!

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We have our first big call-up of the major league season!!!  “Yoo-hoo!”  You want chocolate milk, Cody Bellinger?  “I was drawing attention to myself, since I was called up first.”  Oh, yeah, but you feel like you were always here.  “Oh, well, that’s nice of you to say–”  Shut up, Cody Bellinger!  Bradley Zimmer, now this is a call-up!  “I’ll be up soon!”  Shut up, Amed Rosario!  This is about Bradley Zimmer.  Zimmer is a guy who is a speed-first, power-second, average-third guy.  Actually, on base percentage second in leagues that count that sorta thing.  In Triple-A, he had five homers, nine steals and a 30% strikeout rate.  He looks like Keon Broxton who should be platooned out of the lineup against lefties.  I will call him, Right-on Broxton.  I grabbed him in all leagues where he was available, you don’t want to miss out on the first big call-up.  “Seriously, are you just ignoring me?”  Bellinger, you’re getting on my last nerve!  For 2017, I’d give Zimmer a line around 45/10/40/.235/20.  That could be the best call-up of the year.  “Seriously?!”  Shut it down, CB!  Oh, and I’m aware that Zimmer went 0-for-3 with 3 Ks out of the nine hole, but Bellinger looked lost thru a whole two starts too when he was first called up. “Keep my name out of your mouth!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The phrase is no longer “Chicks dig the longball,” it’s “Chicks dig the flyball.”

From the forgotten (Yonder Alonso) to our freshest superstars (Francisco Lindor), the want for more lift in hopes of combating infield shifts hasn’t played favorites in the style of hitter it acquires. While Alonso and Lindor lead list of qualified hitters with the largest increase in flyball percentage compared to last year, another name sits atop the list of hitters with the highest overall flyball rates in 2017.

Ryan Schimpf (63.8%).

I’m barely five months into my Razzball tenure and this is my second column about a San Diego Padres’ player (Austin Hedges was my first). Maybe my next one will be about that first basemen who has been better than Anthony Rizzo! Wil Myers who?

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All judging aside, Yankees’ right fielder, Aaron Judge, is loudly (opposite of quietly) making a name for himself. As if his 6’7″, 282 pound frame wasn’t enough to garner attention, how about a league leading twelve home runs in just 99 plate appearances. Having played in all but one game this season, Judge has granted his owners 107 fantasy points in 24 games. During that span he has 26 hits, 12 of which were long balls. That sounds like the name of a porn starring six old men. While Aaron also has 24 strikeouts, he is still sporting a .313 batting average. Personally I have a soft spot for Yankees right fielders as Big Dave Winfield is my favorite player of all time. Well it seems the Yankees have found an even bigger dude to man right field. I think Judge might project to Winfield-like stats, and considering he was a 12-time MLB All-Star, that’s a considerable comparison. He should be owned everywhere. I realize that’s a obvious Captain Obvious statement, but his ADP was greater than 200, so he was likely available for the pickings in most leagues earlier in the season.

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Man is baseball great and unexpected. We’ve got Bronson Arroyo throwing Quality Starts and getting wins versus the defending champs.. IN 2017!! Eric Thames loaded on Kimchi and Korean BBQ hits every pitch out of the ball park. One of the best pitchers in the game, Madison Bumgarner, is out for a while cuz he fell off his dirt bike. You never really know what to expect in this game. Only thing we know is that we have games every night and a chance to play the greatest game of all…Fantasy Baseball. We have a solid slate for Tuesday night, but one pitcher that really stands out to me is Micahael Wacha ($13,600) of the St. Louis Cardinals. He has been pitching well this year, 2-1 record with a 2.41 ERA. He has been striking people out at a pretty good rate as he has 17 Ks in his 18 innings of work this season, and he has a great matchup vs. the depleted Toronto Blue Jays. They currently rank 25th or worse in Runs Scored, HRs and Avg. Already down Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki due to DL stints, they are now traveling to a National League park and wont have the luxury of the DH. To add insult to injury, the Blue Jays ranked 5th in the MLB in Strikeouts, so a big strikeout potential is in the cards for Wacha.

Clayton Kershaw is also taking the mound tonight, I don’t need to tell you to pick him. He is an automatic start in DFS as long as you are willing to pay the price. He is priced at $27,600, squaring of against the San Fransisco Giants. A slugfest is expected in Coors in a matchup between Joe Ross and German Marquez. As always there will be a high own percentage in this game but it might be smart to fade Kershaw and get some bats from this game. Some solid pitching options are available on the slate tonight. Lets take a look at the picks.

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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It’s week four and The Hey Batter, Batter, Batter contest is in full swing. And since it’s week four that means it’s time to announce week two’s winner. Before I do, let’s take a look at the top batters from that week. Eric Thames is hitting the ball like a guy that just whacked the shit out of the ball in the Korean Baseball Organization. Oh wait, he did that? For the last three years Thames has done his best Mike Trout impression for the NC Dinos by averaging 41 homers, 127 RBIs, 114 runs scored, a .347 batting average and 21 stolen bases. Heck, those stats make Trout seem like a second rounder. Many did not expect his success to translate back to the MLB, but I wasn’t as skeptical. My preseason projections were higher than most as I had him as a top twenty outfielder in points leagues. His 200+ ADP allowed me to scoop him up in many of my important leagues. I can’t imagine he keeps up his current pace, but he should be opening up a lot of eyes. Unfortunately the “buy low” period was during draft season.

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