Please see our player page for Nelson Cruz 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.

Atlanta Braves’ rookie flamethrower-slash-hotshot-slash-heartthrob, Spencer Strider turned in his best outing of the year Friday night, pitching five and 2/3 innings, allowing just five baserunners and punching out eight Pirates en route to his second win. Spencer finally hitting his Stride-er! He lowered his ratios to a real nice 2.35 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with the start and his 57/19 K/BB in just 38.1 innings was the exact same number I had on the vision board I made for my positive affirmations class. You just can’t find that kind of strikeout potential on the waiver wire, over-the-internet friends. He’s got a 36.8 K% and a 13.38 K/9. Mhmm. Oh my, is it hot in here? I need to calm myself down, I’m getting excited. *bites knuckles, does ice bucket challenge, thinks about baseball players* Wait! No to that last one! Spence, can I call you, Spence? No? OK, Spencer’s biggest knock is that he’s currently being stretched out after serving in somewhat of a long relief role, so he may not pitch deep enough into games initially to get you those sweet dubs, but Braves manager Snitker seems to be ramping him up quick. He threw 72 pitches in his first start, followed by 87 last week and 92 Friday night. That’s progress, y’all! The five and 2/3 innings was the longest outing of his young career, and even though it was the lowly Bucs, he produced a swinging strike rate of 34%. That’s 18 swings and misses, 11 of those on his stinky, stinky cheese, which topped out at 100+ mph multiple times. Yup, guy’s got gas to spare during a nationwide shortage. Basically, Braves have been ramping him up and he’s taking it in Stride-er. Sure, he’s had some cushy matchups so far with Arizona, Colorado and Pittsburgh, but he gets another juicy one next week versus the Nats. If you are looking to buy unfunny gag gifts, fart pills, embarrassing sex toys or lava lamps, I’d check out Spencer’s Gifts, but if you need starting pitching help with massive strikeout upside on a team that can’t seem to lose right now, I’d buy Spencer Strider. Maybe buy the fart pills, too, those sound fun. Here’s what else I saw Friday night in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

“Only thing better than three homers in a game is three World Championships in three years for three different teams.” — Joc Pederson probably. Joc Pederson is 80-grade fun. Maybe it’s the goofy paunchy body, maybe it’s the frosted hair that seems done by himself on a whim. I don’t know; he’s just so much fun. Yesterday, him and his fantasy owners had a whole lotta fun — 4-for-6, 8 RBIs and his 8th, 9th and 10th homers and his first career three-homer game. I know it’s inaccurate, but it feels like Joc Pederson hits 30 homers every year, and they’re all hit in the matter of 10 games. Think the only thing you need to know about Joc Pederson is this picture:

Joc Pederson has ice in his veins and NFTs in his crypto wallet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Woke up yesterday morning and Googled to see if there ever was a movie made called, Call Me By Your Mom with Timothee ChalaMILF, then Christian Yelich (4-for-5, 2 runs, 3 RBIs, 5th homer) hits his third cycle vs. the Reds. Could this be a coincidence or deja vu? Whenever I think of Yelich, I think of Mr. Redleg:


Excuse me! His name is Mr. Redlegs! Wait, am I talking about cojoined twins now? Co-Dick? Corey Dickerson did nothing yesterday (or all year). Yelich was an early season goof-up by yours truly. He looks markedly better than last year. I saw his sample size — hey now! — in the first two weeks and thought we were in for another long season of ground balls, but he’s actually improved. He’s hitting everything hard, and in the air again. Yelich might not be the Yelich of old — the top 10 overall Yelich — but he could easily be a low-end top 20 outfielder. Now, I’m off to see if anyone will invest in Call Me By Your Mom. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Full Nelson. One of the simplest yet most effective wrestling moves in existence. It was a move mastered by kids even before the optical nerves were blessed with the role of messaging the awesomeness of WWE to the brain. Go to hug someone from behind but, instead of sensually massaging the nipples, move the hands up to the neck then interlock the fingers. That person now looks like a pelican with a shark biting its legs. Nelson Cruz has been one of the simplest yet most effective hitters in MLB. See ball, hit ball. Far, very far. From 2014 to 2019, he hit at least 40 home runs in four of those seasons. In the two that he failed to hit the mark, he went for 39 and 37. Now at age 41, he’s struggling to start the 2022 season, posting a .157/.250/.245 slash with a .088 ISO. As a result, he was dropped in 7.2% of ESPN leagues. We know that Father Time is undefeated, so is this when we cue up the Boyz II Men?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Yesterday, Jazz Chisholm Jr. (1-for-4, 2 RBIs and his 3rd homer) was moved back to the leadoff spot. Whatever was worked out between Jazz and Don Mattingly was worked out behind closed doors. There’s no way of knowing. What happened, if I had to guess, was Jazz said to Don, “I’m sorry for drawing a mustache on all the photos of you around the clubhouse. The Rollie Fingers-curl was especially inconsiderate. I still think your machismo is being undersold clean-shaven, but I respect your opinion.” Then Don replied, “And I’m sorry I said your parents have no taste for naming you after the worst Ken Burns doc.” Then later on, Jazz heard someone named John, thought it sounded too much like Don, and said this:

So, the Jazz drama’s prolly not done yet. I’ll admit to maybe being too reactionary about Jazz being a Sell in the 1st week because he was hitting 9th, and I’m glad Don came to his senses. Also, in this game, Jesus Sanchez (2-for-3, 3 runs and his 3rd homer), hit his third homer, and looks every bit of the sleeper I called him to be in the preseason. Speaking of sleepers, Rudy tells me the title means P = Pablo, Js = Jesus and Jazz. Mmmkay, and the Pablo Lopez (7 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 0.52) I was very worried about in the preseason looked as good as the Rodon and Kershaw, who I was equally worried about. It’s a long season though, and it’s not exactly actionable to say Pab-Lo will just get hurt, but, well, that was the concern with his shoulder. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Max Fried went into the House That Sandy Koufax Built, during Passover, and hid the Afikoman from the Dodgers for 7 innings. For you gentiles who don’t know what an Afikoman is, imagine I was accidentally misspelling the rapper Afroman’s name and you were playing hide and seek with him. That’s an Afikoman. *stares at the ceiling* Damn, I thought balloons would fall if I made the first mention ever of a Afikoman on a fantasy sports site. No luck there, I guess the Hebrews didn’t pay for the balloons! Rarely do I make two straight ledes from the same series. From Freeman to Fried, man. From a guy who looks like he has teeth made of wax to Max. From a guy who abandoned his Atlanta roots to a guy who hears often, “Why don’t you call more?” Max Fried went 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, zero walks, 8 Ks, ERA down to 3.50. I suppose it’s harder to hit an unleavened ball. Nice to see Fried bounce back from his last two meh outings, but this is why I keep telling you to be patient. We really have no idea about anyone yet. Even Max Fried was able to go from meh to mensch. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Five ladies and gentlemen, it’s…HELIO STUDWAGON!

And I can’t fight this rookie nookie anymore,
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for (which stinks because we’re roughly 72 hours into the season),
It’s time to bring this shizz into the shore and onto my team,
And throw away the either/or’s forever.

Baby, I can’t hold Steven Matz anymore, but how about this Heliot Ramos fella!
He looks great, or as they say in San Fran “hella,”
I need him on my team, er,
His projections are insane from Steamer!

So, Heliot Ramos (2-for-3, 1 RBI) was called up. Prospect Itch said, “Ramos didn’t graduate AA so much as he aged into AAA, where he was still 5.7 years younger than the average player. Across the full season (116 games), he slashed .254/.323/.416 with 14 HR and 15 SB. Not bad. Not ideal. The hope is that he settles in at AAA and soaks up some coaching, applies that across his opportunities and takes the slow road to becoming a fantasy factor. I doubt the club will rush him to the majors in any needs-based scenario. This is good news for Ramos and us, as it gives the 6’1” 188 lb, 2017 first-rounder time to grow into his skillset, and I’d like to hit Grey with a skillet.” Not cool. So, the Giants seemed to disagree with how much time Ramos needed in the minors. His projections at the Prospectonator are fire under a helium balloon. Some of the best projections I’ve seen for a rookie. Oh, just your mundane, ho-hum 20+ HRs and 10 steals. Will the Giants still start guys like Steven Duggar over him? Oh, absolutely. Have you not been paying attention to the Giants for the last year-plus? Still, I’d grab Heliot Ramos in all leagues where I need an injection of sexy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The time has come to get our final preseason notes in order so there’s no time like the present to dive into the rankings and see who rises and falls in points leagues. For example, Bo Bichette falls all the way out of the top 10 because the total base numbers just aren’t there. Mind you it’s not far out of the top 10 but it does illustrate the difference. Another guy who takes a tumble in points rankings is Luis Robert, who drops down around 30. In both cases these guys are young and have to upside to beat their projections but you might not get quite the value you were hoping for. Remember that for hitters, total bases are king. Obviously home runs are great but I like to look for the guys with doubles power. I love triples but they just aren’t reliable enough to bank on. For starting pitchers I focus on innings and strikeouts, especially later in the draft when the sure things are gone. Now that I’ve rambled on that points leagues are just different and you need to focus on different stats, lets get on to some guys to target in drafts if your league waited. Either way, these are guys I like better in points league formats.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

*takes long inhale* You smell that? It’s the glorious smell of actual baseball trades mixed with the mold in your mother’s basement! So, the Twins have more irons in the fire than Tigers Woods’s chimney. Since the Sonny Gray deal was self-contained, let’s start there. Sonny Gray was traded to the Twins. Reds have been rebuilding since their last playoff series win in 1995. “This mean Greene?” asks me and Dr. Seuss. First off (after that negging of the Reds), good on the Twins. Gray (him not me) was at the bottom of his perceived value last year after an unlucky year, and, well, you can read about all that at the top 60 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball. All that was standing between him and an uptick in value was less homers allowed, so what better place than the Hubert H. Homerfree Dome? Kinda bummed I haven’t drafted Gray in multiple leagues already. Where’s the self-love?! As for Hunter Greene, moved him up in top 100 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball, and updated the pitchers pairings tool. Didn’t change his projections because still don’t know how many innings he can throw, but he’s in good shape to see the rotation in the landmark case of sooner vs. later.

Then the busy Twins, sent Mitch Garver to the Rangers for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, more on him in a few. The Rangers just need to make deals, whether they’re good for them or not. During the lockout, the Rangers were pulling on their collar, sweating, screaming, “I need to make a deal, man!” They’re like Pookie from New Jack City and their crack pipe is MLB roster moves. Someone needs an intervention, and that someone’s name is Texas Rangers. Not to mention, I understand Israeli Diner-Falafel is less than desirable for fantasy, but he actually made sense on the Rangers. Have the Rangers heard they lost Josh Jung? The Rangers are like a team that doesn’t draft a 3rd baseman for 15 rounds, saying, “3rd base is deep.” At least if the Rangers were going to send away Israeli Diner-Falafel, they could’ve got back Elijah Colavito-Tabouli. With the trade for Mitch Garver, the Rangers realized Jonah Heim was Superbad. Jonah Heim was removed from the 2022 fantasy baseball rankings — Hey, Jonah Heim, Don’t Look Up your name in the rankings! The top 20 catchers for 2022 fantasy baseball was updated for Mitch Garver (due to a better lineup and worse catcher behind him). That rankings post was also briefly updated for Ryan Jeffers, but the Twins weren’t done.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Finding draft day bargains is the best way to break out of the starting gates. Well, I guess the best way is to have a solid core of keepers, but in a redraft league, everything starts with the draft. Or does it start with the draft prep? So like Jesus Jones sang, does it start right here, right now? I think it might. Maybe not with this exact post, but somewhere here on Razzball. With every draft day bargain, you gain on your league mates. If you need a refresher on what a draft day bargain is, I will tell you. A draft day bargain is when you draft a player later than his actual value. For simplicity’s sake, drafting Juan Soto in the second round would be a prime example. Soto is an easy top five pick, so drafting him with the 12th pick means you’ve gotten Soto with a draft pick in which he shouldn’t have been available.

Determining a player’s actual value in points league can be tricky as player rankings will vary based on the league’s scoring system. You all know how much I’ve stressed the importance of knowing a league’s scoring system when trying to compare players. The other confusing data point is average draft position (ADP). ADP can be misleading because it most certainly does not represent a player’s true value, just his current market value as it represents where a player is being drafted by the masses. The problem is that ADP is contagious. What this means is that when someone is trying to determine who to draft with their next pick, they often refer to the remaining players’ ADP to see who they should be picking before someone else selects the player. So if Aaron Judge has an ADP of 23, he’s not going to be available when you pick at 40. This is true even if Judge’s actual value is the 45th best player in your league. Unfortunately, there is always going to be at least one person in your league that will draft based on ADP.

Let’s look at some players that have an ADP greater than their actual value.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Athletics starter Sean Manaea ($9,200) has been solid this year with a 3.70 FIP and exceeded expectations with a 25.8% K-rate. Normally he would be a starter to avoid when facing the Astros, but Houston just clinched the division last night. They’re probably going to use their “hangover lineup” tonight, meaning most of their starters will rest. Therefore, Manaea may fall off the radar for many of your opponents who automatically fade him against the Astros. The biggest edge on tonight’s slate is identifying which teams are still in the hunt and which ones will be phoning it in with nothing on the line to play for.

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Please, blog, may I have some more?