Please see our player page for Manny Machado 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.

If he wanted to, Eloy Jimenez could’ve hit home runs in any of the White Sox first 11 games. He chose to delay the gratification for one reason: he’s a diva. Eloy waited patiently as the team traveled from Kansas City, to Cleveland, to Chicago, where he played in front of dozens of fans in each city. Finally, on April 12th, 2019, the White Sox arrived in New York City. The stage had been set and Mount Eloy would wait no longer; he erupted with a monstrous 3-for-4 night including 3 RBIs and his 1st AND 2nd career home runs bringing his average up to .319.

There were people asking about dropping Eloy in the comments this week (I assume these were all bots). The answer was always: DO NOT DROP ELOY!! I had Eloy ranked 40th overall in the preseason and he slotted in as my #15 outfielder, I’m standing by those rankings.Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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It’s the most glorious weekend of the year — Wrestlemania weekend! You know what that means: wrestling themed blurbs!

On the Double Turn…

Two players in my pre-season top-5 are trending in opposite directions, but I don’t start freaking out too much until tax day. A lot of experts were calling for Jose Ramirez and Christian Yelich to regress from their MVP-caliber seasons last year. Well Yelich came out swinging an angry stick hitting a homerun in four straight games to start the season leaving him ranked third on the Razzball Player Rater so far. He’s reached base successfully in every game so far and is on his way to competing for the MVP again in 2019. Jose Ramirez? Not so much. For some players we like to point out how they’re “continuing their hot hitting from the end of 2018.” Ramirez is doing the opposite. He ended 2018 with a 40 game slump hitting .166 with a .597 OPS. He also only hit .231/.646 in the minors. His BABIP is currently sitting at .150, he only has 3 strikeouts to 2 walks and he’s hitting a higher percentage of fly balls from 2018 (small sample size) so maybe he’s just getting a bit unlucky in the early going. However, it’s enough to make me flip these two in the rankings.

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There was a time when I thought Freddy Peralta (8 IP, 0 ER, 1 hit, zero walks, 11 Ks) was merely a starter.  A guy who took the ball every fifth day, stared in at the catcher, shook off a sign or two and scratched his balls.  Not like a Gaylord.  Perry, not, um, yeah, Perry.  Yesterday, we (me) gained a newfound appreciation for FP Saintdamnvelo.  His command was gorge, and I’m engorged.  In fact, I’m not typing this with my fingers.  It’s whether he can replicate that command going forward like he’s a replicate in one of those sci-fi movies with replicates.  I don’t know sci-fi, so you have to figure out your own analogy.  Sci-fi is for nerds!  That’s why I play fantasy baseball.  Either way, you have to pick up Freddy Peralta after yesterday’s start to see if he can build off it.  If Peralta continues that no-walk command, he’s a potential breakout.  Speaking of breakouts (can you believe the ease of that segue), Matthew Boyd dropped the ew, dunked 13 Ks on the Yankees and that’s straight Matth.  Like his most famous fantasy baseball owner would say, “Yeah, Boyd!”  Damn right, Flavor Flav!  Matthew Boyd (6 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 13 Ks, ERA at 3.18) leads the majors in Ks.  El oh cmon.  He’s the first Tigers starter to start the season with back-to-back 10+ K games.  This wasn’t the A lineup for the Yankees, but more “a Yankees lineup.”  Still, I’m buying partly because of FOMO, and since he had 26 swinging strikes, i.e., he was fooling them real good.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’m not going to overreact to 20 at-bats. I will not do it. That being said, if you’re in a league with me — every one of my players is a bum and is on the block. Starting next week we’ll start to see some moving and shaking, but this list is mostly a refresher from the pre-season. There are really only six “fallers” this week and they’re all injury related. I’ll be writing more about them in my injury column which drops on Wednesday, but here’s who slipping, tumbling, sinking, fumbling:

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Redraft leagues are the standard of the fantasy sports industry. Each year you get a fresh start at remembering you shouldn’t draft A.J. Pollock. Ever. You can draft whoever you want at your draft position or spend as much as your budget on whoever you want. But for me there is nothing more fun than a good long-term keeper league. Smart owners get to flex on their leaguemates by keeping players they selected deep in their drafts or picked up on a hunch. Keeper leagues are a great intermediate option between full-on redraft leagues and the craziness of a dynasty league. 

Below you’ll find my keeper rankings for 2019. I’ve included each player’s age, position eligibility for the start of the 2019 season and any concerns I have about each player. Here’s what you’ll also see: I’m not high on starting pitchers. Too likely to suffer an injury and miss a large chunk of time. I’m not high on guys with less than two seasons of experience. I’ve seen sophomore slumps and prospect busts far too often. There are exceptions like Ronald Acuna who seem like a sure thing — but when it comes to Vlad Guerrero Jr. I prefer the wait and see approach. Plus, we really don’t know when he’ll even debut. Players over the age of 31 worry me — especially players whose value is speed dependent. I don’t want to keep a player whose decline is starting to begin. Injury prone players: duh. I’m not going to keep someone who can’t take the field.

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At one point in Sunday’s draft, Andy Behrens said to me, “I can’t believe you went to $3 on Peter O’Brien.  That’s not on brand for you.”  You know what; he’s right.  Shame on me for briefly going off brand. Even if it was for a millisecond between bids $2 and $3 on the 35-year-old rookie, Peter O’Brien, who has more holes in his swing than Swiss cheese at a shooting range.  Maybe the, um, spirit of drafting on St. Patty’s Day overcame me.  Maybe I was hoping O’Brien could make me some hurricanes while I waded in my kiddie pool this summer.  It’s Andy Behrens’s brand to draft terrible players.  That’s not my brand.  I realized that soon enough, Dear Reader.  Andy went to $4 and I let him have O’Brien.  I suppose if things break right, O’Brien will retire at some point this summer and look kindly on Behrens for drafting him, then offer his services as a babysitter.  I don’t need a babysitter; my wife is like a decade older than me!  Okay, I’m about to drop on you one of the sexiest NL-Only teams. You might want to place an extra-wide condom over your head, before I impregnate your eyes.  Anyway, here’s my Tout Wars 12-team, NL-Only draft recap:

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Every off-season I like to target players who are flying under the radar because they were busts the year before but had quality performances the season prior. Their lack of excellence could have been caused by injury, changing teams and cities, or maybe they celebrated their career year a little too hard and showed up to spring training out of shape and never recovered. Typically, we’re targeting guys in the 6th through 12th rounds that could return top 20 value. I’ve identified 12 players that meet the criteria of having proven success in 2017 but failed to live up to expectations for various reasons in 2018.

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Donkey Teeth is back with some new wheels for a full show this week. In this episode, the Ditka Dudes profile promising young third baseman Rafael Devers. They also touch on early round stud Eugenio Suarez along with late round mystery man, Joey Wendle.

Encased in this week’s sausage links you’ll also find some discussion about the on going TGFBI (The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational) industry drafts.

The full Ditka Pod fantasy third base rankings are dissected during the show and can be found below. The season is coming, put some sausage in your ears before it’s too late!

Want to take me on in the RCLs? Join now, free to play!

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NL WestNL Central | NL East || AL West | AL Central | AL East

I don’t pay much attention to Spring Training Statistics.  You never know who the statistics are coming against.  Baseball-Reference did, however, have an amazing tool last year that attempted to quantify the quality of opposing pitchers or batters faced during spring training games on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being MLB talent and 1-3 being high A to low A level.  This tool is great, but it averages all the Plate Appearances or batters faced.  You would still need a deeper dive to see if your stud prospect smacked a donger off of Chris Sale or off of your kid’s future pony league baseball coach.  So what should we watch for in March when we’re starved for the crack of the bat?  Ignore “best shape of their life” stories and Spring Training statistical leaderboards.  Pay attention to injuries and lineup construction and position battles!  Also pay attention to where Bryce Harper signs… Note that signing can instantly eliminate a position battle detailed herein (although it sounds like only NL teams are involved right now).

Please, blog, may I have some more?