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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I asked my wife to help me think of a title using the name Xander Bogaerts and she said his name sounds like a character that Joey would play on Friends and I agree, that’s pretty apt.  Xander is one of my favorite Bogaerts, even if he spells it a bit differently than the others.  First there’s badass Humphrey; Casablanca owns, still holds up today, still is eminently quotable, and if you disagree you haven’t watched it (so go do so, right after you finish reading this post).

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Since it was an afternoon game, Ted and I settled in to watch Max Scherzer vs. the Marlins.  First inning and the slider was working.  2nd, 3rd, 4th innings and the Marlins had no chance.  5th inning and Ted demanded I take him out and play catch with him.

115 degrees in the shade and we’re back in for the 6th inning, and Scherzer hasn’t missed a beat while missing the bats.  Everyone knows everything there is to know about Scherzer.  He is at least the 3rd best starter in baseball, and likely second best, though who’s first?  Sale?  Then Kershaw and Scherzer?  I don’t know, Kershaw’s looked pretty human at times this year.  Sale, Scherzer then Kershaw?  Sounds about right, but need to search for other things to talk about with him.  Hmm…Well, there’s always his android eyes.

Now back for the 7th inning and it’s more no-hitter, and, Jesus Christopher Ramirez, the Nats announcers are a bore.  Let’s go mute for the 8th inning, and Dietrich gets, uh, diet rich of sliders.  Now, Ellis and goodbye no-hitter.  Of course, that was the point Dusty should’ve lifted Scherzer since even the announcers said Scherzer says he doesn’t want to ever throw past 120 pitches.  You guessed it, he went past 120 pitches, and lost the lead, but, once again, a dazzler — 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners (2 hits), 11 Ks, ERA at 2.09.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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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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Holy cow! Somebody call Phil Rizzuto because scooter pies are on this week’s menu. I’ve never even seen one of these, let alone eaten one, but from what I gather they are very similar to moon pies. Can anyone confirm said statement? Personally I was more of a Devil Dog, Ring Ding and Yodels kind of guy. I was a staunch supporter of Drake’s Cakes back in the day. I used to love collecting the baseball cards on the back of the boxes when they ran that promotion. I still have a bunch of them buried in some box in my baseball. I’ll have to dig them suckers up one of these days.

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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.

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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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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).

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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