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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Okay, full disclosure. This post was planned for last week, but after Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Quintana‘s sh!t shows of a performance I decided I’d rather chug beers and yell racial slurs at online images of those two bastards. I was actually planning to title this post Smoak and Mirrors, but in Saturday’s Hey Batter³ Contest post Larry Chip 10 picked Smoak ‘n Mirrors as one of his three batters. Once that happened I realized I was going to have to either shift gears or throw him a footnote. It didn’t help that Mike Maher titled his most recent Top-100 Hitters post Full Bour Or Smoak And Mirrors? So here we have a slightly modified title for today’s points league post.

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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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The title is referring to 24.  I never saw 24.  Well, I’ve seen the number.  I never saw the show.  No interest really.  Not my sorta thing.  I do have a Kiefer Sutherland story though.  I think I recapped it in my book, Who Is Grey Albright?  Long story short, at my first job ever in Boston (and really only job ever where I collected a weekly paycheck), I was working in a film production office and someone called for the producer and I asked them who they were.  “Tell him, it’s Kiefer,” and I was like, “Kiefer?  Kiefer who?”  “It’s Kiefer Sutherland, you jackass!”  I wasn’t made for answering phones, apparently.  Y’all gotta admit; you hear the name Kiefer out of context and it’s a bizarre name.  Though, it wasn’t fully out of context, I suppose, since it was a film office.  Any hoo!  Whatever Trevor Bauer did prior to yesterday’s game, do it again!  Was it the pre-game chucking of a softball three-quarters of hectare?  Then do that!  Yesterday, he went 7 IP, 3 ER, 8 baserunners with 14 Ks.  Well, hello, there.  Can you stay a while?  Maybe I can make you a Cuba Libre and some Brazilian cheesy bread?  His peripherals are gorge too — 11.5 K/9, 3 BB/9 and a 3.03 xFIP.  Of course, his opponent, Sonny Gray went 4 2/3 IP, 7 ER, and thus illuminates the problem.  Gray was solid too, a game ago, and now look at him.  I’d grab Bauer for some Ks, but the risk is enormous.  He doesn’t just happen to have a 6.00 ERA even after yesterday’s game.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I hope everyone’s Memorial Day was filled with hot dogs, hamburgers, Coorses (Coorii?), fireworks that were meant to be saved until July 4th but were blown off yesterday so close to your ear that you still have a ringing, and all the other red-white-blue American things one hears backstage at a Larry The Cable Guy concert.  My Memorial Day was filled with eating and burping and farting and wearing an American flag t-shirt, but that’s every Monday.  Eat a D, ISIS!  Someone whose Memorial Day was less than ideal is Mike Trout.  He was diagnosed with a ligament tear of his thumb, and will opt for surgery.  This will knock him to the DL for the first time in his career, and it will be a two month stay.  Just like that, he went from GOAT to goatse.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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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Okay, this is weird, but Sonny Gray and I are complete opposites.  Sonny Gray is in Bay Area, and it’s Grey Albright in Los Angeles.  Weather you like it or not, that’s weird!  Pun noted too!  Grey Albright plays fantasy baseball; Sonny Gray plays reality baseball!  It’s freaking me out!  Grey Albright’s face is mustachioed; Sonny Gray’s is not.  Sonny Gray is athletic; I am not.  He works for a newspaper called Ballrazz, which is super-terse and serious.  It’s uncanny!  Yesterday, Gray (him) went 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 baserunners, 11 Ks, lowering his ERA to 3.34.  Okay, time to take a new look.  I did like him at one point in his career, before everything went sideways.  His velocity and two-seam fastball are back.  Right now, his two-seam is his best pitch, however, his curve is not back to where it was in 2015.  Watching some video on him showed a guy that can get swings and misses, but had a bit of a favorable strike zone yesterday.  I’d be careful in shallower leagues, but he looks closer to his breakout from two years ago than he has in a while.  Now, if he’s married to a younger woman, I’m gonna plotz over all of our opposites.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Hopefully everyone had a great Mother’s Day and if you were under a rock, this is your reminder to at least squeeze in a belated wish to all the Mother’s in your life.  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the aforementioned DFS Mourners Day.  Why am I referring to it as DFS Mourners Day?  Well to put it bluntly, today’s pitching slate is probably the worst set of starting pitchers that I’ve had the displeasure of writing about.  It’s comically bad.   I want to apologize ahead of time for the subpar schedule, but I’m really going to try and stay positive considering our limited options.   Unfortunately, my original lede, Carlos Carrasco is not in the mix tonight because of his early 6:10 PM start.  Note to the DFS and MLB schedulers: can you work together so we don’t run into these types of situations?  I mean, Mondays already suck enough as is.  At least with a decent DFS schedule and my stellar writing, we typically have something to look forward to, am I right?  With tonight’s starting pitching peaking at “questionable” (if that), we’re going to have to really dig into the offensive side of the game tonight.  The upside of having the highest priced pitcher – Brandon McCarthy – maxing out a pedestrian $17,700, meaning we’ll have a bunch of offensive cash to throw around.  Side note, I know he’s facing the Giants in SF tonight, but this is McCarthy’s first start off the DL and yet he’s still the highest priced pitcher?  That is the definition of slim pickins everyone.  It’s only the Best of the Worst for our Inaugural DFS Mourners Day.  Without further ado, I would like to announce the two SP’s Headlining our Mediocre Monday…….  I give you, Jesse Chavez, $15,000 vs the White Sox and Chase Anderson, $13,500 at the Padres.  Now please give me a minute or ten to collect my thoughts.  *Steps away from computer, goes down stairs to watch Derek Jeter’s number retirement ceremony, sits back at computer, reloads the rosters for today, triple checks (just in case there were some makeup games that possibly could have been missed), shakes head in defeat and continues post.*  Yay!  Chavez and Chase are going to dominate tonight!  These two studs…I mean, duds are going to kill it.  They’re both pitching in favorable pitcher parks against less than favorable offenses.  On DFS Mourners Day, we really couldn’t ask for a better pair of pitchers to roster if we tried.  Now that the worst is over, let’s figure out how to spend all this extra money on the offensive side…EDITOR’S NOTE: speaking of extra money, you got $5?  Yeah?  Wanna spend it on a better pitching slate than what we’ve got today?  Well hop into the Razzball Listener’s League tomorrow night and play against your most favorite and least favorite of your Razzball friends and frenemies.  Now back with the progrizzle…

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Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?

Please, blog, may I have some more?