Slight format change going forward with this column — I’m going to be leaving short term DL candidates near where they were ranked previously. It was become too hard to remember who and when players were coming back. (Yes, I do write the injury column — but I don’t write the healthy column.) This is what happened with Starling Marte — I don’t own any shares of Marte so I didn’t notice his return from DL so he was an unfortunate oversight the past few weeks in these rankings. If someone is looking like they’ll be out for a longer period of time — they might drop a bit more in the rankings or be removed entirely (as is the case with Jorge Soler and his broken foot.) Due to these new additions we’ve got a Top 110 hitters this week with guys like Josh Donaldson, Mookie Betts, Wil Myers, Yoenis Cespedes, Ronald Acuna and others making their surprise reemergence. Next week 10 of these hitters will probably work themselves off this list. Also, as a side effect to these new additions a lot of players will look like they’ve fallen really far in the rankings — again, this should normalize by next week. 

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Whew! It turns out taking a week off from ranking these guys makes for a lot of work the next time out. As you might imagine, there is a bit more moving and shaking than normal this week. Surprise surprise, we’ve also had a slew of injuries that continue to take it’s toll on the top 50. We’ve lost Stephen Strasburg, Walker Buehler, and Garrett Richards most notably, with Clayton Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard looking lost for extended periods. The aces that are left continue to dominate though, and Trevor Bauer has worked his way into the top 10. We did get Madison Bumgarner back, but he hasn’t looked very sharp and I’m wondering if he belongs in the top 20 at this point. Carlos Martinez has been killing his owners since his return from the DL himself, yet his upside makes it hard to drop him too hard just yet. On the brighter side of things, Tyler Skaggs, with whom we planted flags several weeks ago, continues to climb the list in glorious fashion. Also, I still have no idea how Ross Stripling is suddenly an ace, but he keeps shoving and I keep ranking him higher. I’d consider selling depending on what you’re getting in return, but I’m probably just enjoying the ride if I have Stripling. Let’s go in depth on a half dozen other Risers, Fallers, and Newcomers of interest this week.

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Tis that season!  Whether you are a football fan or not, and not that football fan…  Though the crew over on that football site do an amazing fantasy job.  So for the few of you that aren’t totally dizzy by my words of soccer, then let’s roll baseball into soccer and let the fantasy good times roll.  So for the next month the world, not ‘Mericas, will be casting its gaze on the beautiful game.  So while half the population is watching futbol, you can expand your bullpen horizons and deepen your reliever core.  The trade winds for relievers are already blowing and with just over a month to go before the trade deadline, grabbing the relievers that are secondary or even tertiary now (ones that won’t kill your rates) are all the rage with millennials AND baby boomers.  Situations to monitor and use to your advantage?  The Padres, Royals, and Tigers.  We all own the closer likes of Brad Hand, Kelvin Herrera, and Shane Greene.  But what are the ownership rights to Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates, Kevin McCarthy, and Joe Jimenez?  Way slimmer.  And combined like Voltron, their ownership for all four of those secondary relievers is less than one closer.  So basically free.  The key to mid-season closer acquisitions is being first.  Save that beloved FAAB kitty and be early rather than later.  So if you are looking at your roster, it was rhetorical… I know you are, get rid of that sixth SP or that bench bat that does nothing and play the reliever wait game.  Save now to help later.  Cheers!

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I can’t deny Brandon Crawford a spot on this list any longer. After a putrid April that saw the month end with his average under .200 — Crawford has turned it on more than any other player in the league. From May 1 to June 28 — a span of 34 games, 127 ABs — Crawford is hitting .425. Say whaaaatt?! Sure, 20 runs, 5 HRs, 25 RBI and 2 SBs as well — but .425 in over 30 games? That easily ranks #1 among qualified hitters over that span. The difference between Crawford and the player with the 3rd ranked average over that period (Jean Segura) is the same difference between Segura and Buster Posey — the hitter with the 20th ranked average. Included in this streak are 18 multi-hit games. Crawford is getting punches in bunches and needs to be owned in more than 65% of leagues.

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Falling:

  • Didi Gregorius, SS, NYY: As a Yankee fan, nothing made me happier than to strap a rocket to Didi’s back and have him climb through these rankings. However, we all should’ve seen this decline coming. Since seeing his batting average peak at .368 with 10 HRs on April 27th — no one has seen a steeper fall-off than Didi. In the 25 game since that date he is hitting .135 with only 1 HR in 104 ABs and just destroying your team’s offensive numbers. I still think there will some course correction in his numbers in the coming weeks. His average and HR total has risen every year over the past three years so he might just be in a prolonged slump right now.
  • Buster Posey, 1B/C, SF: Posey isn’t necessarily having a bad season — he’s still hitting close to .300 — but 3 HR and 19 RBI is definitely not what you want from someone with an ADP of 54.1. A closer look shows that Posey is still hitting the ball with authority — he has a 39% hard hit rate. However, he’s hitting a high percentage of his balls into the ground (47.9%.) If he can start getting under the ball a bit more and turning some of those hard hit grounders into line drives and fly balls — he could reach 15 HRs again. However, as of right now it’s looking like he might see a declining HR total for the 4th season in a row.

 

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What a disgusting tease of a week that was. Some people like to be teased I suppose, but in this very important fantasy baseball circumstance I’m not all about it. Just as I was all set to toss Clayton Kershaw back into the fold, he leaves his first start with back tightness and it’s back to the DL dungeon for at least a month. Same story with Alex Reyes, who I was all set to gush about this week. Sadly, he left his first start with the Cardinals after just four innings and is lost to the DL for a long, long time with a “significant” lat strain. The loss of Kenta Maeda is sad since he was pitching so well, while the loss of Jeff Samardzija is less so since he’d been horrendous. Addition by subtraction? Perhaps. We also lost Noah Syndergaard, although hopefully this will be the only week he drops from the rankings since his finger injury isn’t considered to be serious. Because of all the injuries and a general lack of blow-ups from mid-tier starters, there weren’t a lot of fallers this week. So rather than nitpick a few minor laggards, let’s look at a bunch of new entries to the Top 100, and a couple risers as well. I feel like such an optimist!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Forget about raising the Jolly Roger, let’s just salvage the poor thing.  The closer there, Felipe Vazquez, or the artist formerly known as “One Inning Willy” is struggling.  Which sucks for me personally because I tabbed him and the suspended one preseason to be the valued goods in the ranks of relievers.  Welp, you can’t predict injury, criminal activity, or attrition.  Judging that one closer is bad compared to if one is good, the eye test always wins out.  But Vazquez has been bad, and with an injury asterisk.  Blowing 4 saves in the last 10 games is just bad karma regardless of if your name is Mariano or not.  Bad luck, sure.  Injured…?  More likely, which is bad.  The propensity for him to be a every day or two out of three closer may be changing within the near future, not only to ease his pain with the stress of pitching the ninth, but to get a second look at one of the viable arms that has the look on paper of a closer.  That triumvirate of Michael Feliz, Edgar Santana and Richard Rodriguez have pitched spotty the last few times out, but should be owned in deeper leagues where saves are like the Sahara.  Cuffing yourself, even though the news on Felipe has come back clean, is the best advice I can give as a bullpen junky.  Just in case is better than a dollar short.   Other bullpen and closer bits of tid on the way.  Cheers!

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Hey, for a change we didn’t have a devastating injury this week! Huzzah! Not only that, we got ourselves a few newcomers to the list who are pretty exciting. The top 20 remains relatively unchanged, although Patrick Corbin gets a bit of a ding for the continued diminished velocity and a dip in his whiffs. Speaking of whiffs, can you Snell that Snell? Snell has a freakin’ 2.78 ERA and has had to face the Red Sox three times already. He’ll come down from that mark for sure, but he’s still really good. I didn’t write him up fully, but I trashed Zack Godley nearly 20 spots. I was as patient as I could be, but those 2017 K:BB gains have evaporated. I also believe I had Reynaldo Lopez a bit high given his lack of strikeouts, and his .218 BABIP through 10 starts is pretty absurd. Let’s check out some more of the interesting movers and shakers this week.

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I rarely like to make too many movements in the Top 20 or so players, but this week I thought it was necessary. Last week saw me drop Paul Goldschmidt from 8th down to 21st and this week he tumbles a bit further down to 24. In the 4 games since my last top 100 article Goldy has gone 2 for 16 with two measly singles. He can get hot in a minute and rocket back up to the top 10 — but right now it’s disrespectful to the other players to place him in the top 10.

Jose Altuve’s slight fall is going to make a lot of people angry, but he’s just not doing enough with the bat or on the base paths to warrant a top 10 placement. I see the average over .300 but 2 HRs and 2 SBs isn’t cutting it. Just as a heads up — if you have a frustrated owner in your league who is willing to accept your offer of Jonathan Schoop and an OF2/OF3 for Altuve — make the offer now. Altuve is an avid Razzball reader and will be out to prove me wrong!

Two little Indians jumped up in my rankings: Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez. They are ranked 6th and 5th respectively on ESPN’s Player Rater and earned their boost. A commenter last week pointed out how much better Lindor was performing than Carlos Correa and I that message was received loud and clear. Correa has been more lauded than Lindor, but I can’t deny Lindor is out-performing Correa so far this year. Ramirez on the other hand has statistics that compare favorably to fantasy baseball Gawd Mike Trout. Ramirez only has 6 less runs, the same amount of HRs, 5 more Rbi, 2 less steals and a higher average (even if only by .006.) With second and third base eligibility that screams top 10 talent to me. Soon.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Another week of pitching injuries with precious few callups, and the back end of this Top 100 is getting ugly. I ranked Carlos Martinez last week with the expectation that he would miss just a single start, but at this point he’s missing multiple turns so he’s out. Intriguing rookies Mike Soroka and Joey Lucchesi are DL’d, and Freddy Peralta really came down to earth in his second start. We’re creeping closer to June when we should expect to see a few more high profile callups…and Alex Reyes looms. His most recent start was 7.2 1-hit, shutout innings with three walks and 13 K’s. Seems ready to me! If you don’t have him stashed yet and he’s still available in your league, stop whatever you’re doing (reading, I suppose) and remedy the situation. If I were forced to rank Reyes before he makes a MLB start, I’d probably initially slot him in around SP30. Chris Archer is at SP29, and I don’t think he’s giving you anything Alex Reyes can’t.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   
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