Please see our player page for Cody Bellinger to see projections for today, the next 7 days and rest of season as well as stats and gamelogs designed with the fantasy baseball player in mind.

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?

I’ve been telling anyone that will listen not to be concerned about Paul’s slow start. In fact around the end of week 8, he might have been the best buy low candidate in years. Seriously. Coming into the season many were stricken with fear over the installation of a humidor in Arizona which was followed up by a pitiful start. I can’t tell you how many questions I’ve gotten in the last couple of weeks about trades people were considering in which they traded him away. Paul Goldschmidt is a stud. I could have just written that today and been done with the Paul Goldschmidt blurb, but that wouldn’t have satisfied my need to give the man a big ole bear hug. As I said two weeks ago, and repeated last week, “Excluding an injury shorted 2014 in which he was on pace for over 500 points he hasn’t scored less than 500 since 2013“. Last week Goldschmidt led all batters with 58 points. He went 16 for 25 with five singles, six doubles, a triple, four home runs and eleven RBIs.

Let see who else had a strong week eleven.

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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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And another one! After hitting two home runs on Thursday, Joc Pederson homered in his second straight game Friday night going 1-for-4, with his seventh bomb. That’s six homers in the past week while hitting .450 with nine runs, and driving in eight. Whoa, get off my Joc! Seriously, he’s mine! But he could be yours too, he was a BUY and Grey just gave you his Joc Pederson fantasy. To be fair, my Pederson fantasy involves a lot more heavy breathing, Mookie Betts and scented oils. I usually don’t like to cover a player who was just, just featured in another post, but the amount of times you see a player featured in posts in a single week directly reflects the urgency in which you need to pick him up. Joc is available in over three quarters of fantasy leagues (that’s more than half, folks!) right now and could be a 30+ home run hitter. That’s 20 home runs for your fantasy team from now until you ultimately win your league in September. Joc has historically been a good power source but typically streaky and a huge drain on batting average (career .227 hitter). Not the case this year as he’s slashing .272/.345/.523. According to Grey, “Some of my hotter buys…while wearing a thong… Joc is pretty sexy…” And that’s me completely misquoting portions of Grey out of context! You get the idea! Joc is hitting all the home runs. This is Rock’n Joc baseball at it’s finest! Somebody call Dan Cortese!

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

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Finally, the Rays took a cue from Fox, and started Jake Bauers‘ clock.  Here’s an updated 24:  FBI agent, breathlessly, into a phone, “The President is in danger!”  Assistant to the FBI director lowers the phone, speaks to the director, less breathlessly, “Have you tried Thai basil chicken?”  FBI director, “Basil in Thai dishes always make me think there should be tomato sauce.  Ya know, Italians have that basil thing already.”  FBI agent into the phone, breathlessly, “Did you hear me, the President’s in danger!”  FBI assistant, “Um, yeah, you’ve been on vacay, and we’re no longer taking matters of the President’s safety as seriously as much as we once did.”  I keed!  Don’t hit me with your political agenda.  So, Jake Bauers was called up to presumably play every day.  I mean, if the Rays waited this long to bring him up, they’re not doing it for a bench bat.  He’s a little bit of everything vs. a lot of one thing, which is less exciting in short-term, but could be something long-term.  His Steamer projections are yawnstipating 7/8/.238 (click his name to see projections), but I could see him being a bit closer to 9/16/.265/.345.  Not bad, not great.  Breathlessly, “He’s okay.”  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Coming into this season Yu Darvish owners had a lot to be excited about with his off season signing with the Chicago Cubs. With the Cubs potent offense averaging 5.07 runs per game in 2017 and Darvish’s career 3.41 ERA coming into this year, he was set to get all the run support he’d need to prosper. Unfortunately even with a career K/9 of 11.04, Darvish’s 2018 season has been a disappointment. Even though he’s still striking out at least 11 batters per nine, he’s only averaging 9.38 points per start over his eight starts. For comparison, Miles Mikolas is averaging 19.09 points per start. Darvish is currently on the disabled list with inflammation in his right triceps which I’m sure owners are hoping will explain his less than stellar start to 2018. In the meantime, let’s take a look at some other players that are not living up to our preseason expectations.

I’m going to go out on a short limb (think Jim Abbott) and say that if you were able to exit this year’s draft with the following starting lineup that you’d be awfully excited for the coming season.

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Just when it seemed like Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty was in the majors for good, the Cardinals went and sent him down. Oh, wait, he’s not in triple-A, he’s just facing another minor league lineup in the Marlins. After all, they’re starting guys like JT Riddle and Lewis Brinson. Miami has just a .283 wOBA versus righties this year, which is the second lowest mark in the league. Since Flaherty has already had success in the major leagues, he should put together a great start tonight, and you can get him for cheap on Draft.

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Opening a gift, “Aw, geez, Kershaw, you didn’t have to give me your arm.”  That’s Ross Stripling at the office Christmas party.  “Don’t mention it.  Hey, Tommy Lasorda, could you get off my lap, my back is starting to hurt.  Also, you’re not wearing pants.”   I forget if I ever told you — the royal you since you’re wearing that Burger King crown — but a friend of mine told me Lasorda still goes to the Dodgers’ clubhouse to use the showers and likes to walk around naked.  How’s dem visuals!  By the by, I’ve reached the age where I forget if a friend of mine told me that, I heard it on the radio or if a commenter told me.  Welcome to your 40’s, you don’t look a day older than 27.  No, really, I don’t.  Anyhoo!  Last night Stripling did what he’s done all year — 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 1.52.  The slightly bizzonkers thing is his peripherals say he’s nearly this good — 11.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 2.63 xFIP.  Don’t love he throws only 92 MPH, but he’s dominating with the curve.  He credits pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt, with his newfound success, saying he told him to throw the curve as hard as he can.  I see no velocity difference in his curve, according to the stats, but stats-schmats, Honeycutt-Schmoneycutt, whatever works.  At this point, hard to ignore the results(schmults).  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball yesterday:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

I’ll be honest, I don’t like the term sophomore slump. As with most “catch-all” phrases, there are times where use can be misleading, likely because the definition is ambiguous. We know it occurs in the second year of a player’s career, characterized by noticeable decline after success, but that’s pretty much it. Does it matter how long the player was in the league during the preceding year? What if the player began to slightly decline in his “freshman” season and it carried over into the subsequent year? How about a scenario during a player’s second season where the consensus is the lack of production is luck based? Is that technically a sophomore slump or simply poor luck?

Struggles come after success because pitchers are smart; they adjust to their opposition with exceptional haste. The never-ending game of chess – aka, baseball – requires constant adjustment and by using the phrase “sophomore slump”, we omit the complexity of this adjustment for a simpler, verbal shrug of one’s shoulders.

Cody Bellinger warrants that shrug. But while some may cite the sophomore slump, the immensely more valuable alternative is to venture under the hood.

Let’s start with how Bellinger is being pitched…

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From Fozzie Bear’s Big Book Of Side-Splitting Jokes (Please Laugh), “Why couldn’t you hear the guy who didn’t draft Michael Wacha?  He was Mike-less.  Wacha Wacha Wacha.”  “Did you see him pitch yesterday?  He was reWachable, knocking down Pirates like he was playing Wacha-Mole.  Wacha Wacha Wacha.”  “What do you get when you don’t listen to Grey’s preseason advice to draft Michael Wacha?  An unbearable fantasy baseball ‘pert giving I told you so’s.  Wacha Wacha Wacha.”  Yesterday, Michael Wacha took a no-hitter into the 8th inning, ending up with the line 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, 2 walks, 8 Ks, lowering his ERA to 2.41.  At one point in the 8th inning, he hit 97 MPH on the radar gun, which was the point when I licked my finger and touched the screen to listen for a sizzle.  Since I didn’t hear the sizzle, I tried the same with an electrical socket to make sure I was alive and not a ghost.  Turns out I’m alive, but with smoke coming out my ears.  Speaking of smoke coming out of one’s ears (taking that segue right off a cliff!), Blake Snell threw about as gemmy of a gem as you’re gonna find for someone gemming up the works — 6 IP, 0 ER, 2 baserunners (0 walks), 12 Ks, ERA at 2.36.  Of course, Snell was yet another one of my preseason sleepers, but if only we had one more of my preseason sleepers that did well on Sunday to satisfy my Rule of Three craving.  Someone who was on no one’s radar for a reason I couldn’t quite understand.  Someone who hit three homers yesterday and has 13 homers on the year.  Wait, that did happen!  Eddie Rosario (3-for-5, 4 RBIs) went Bazooka Jack times three yesterday to seal one of the greatest days in the history of my life.  Sorry, wedding day, you’re moving down the list!  If you wanna bask in my glory:  here’s the Michael Wacha sleeper you ignored, the Blake Snell sleeper you missed and the Eddie Rosario sleeper you didn’t believe.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?