Cleat Geeks

The MLB Hurt Locker, Week Ending July 1

Hello baseball and especially fantasy baseball fans! Once again this week I will outline the players who have both gone on the disabled list and who has returned. Every position, every team, every possibility for you, the fan, to keep up with and be smarter around that water cooler at work.

 

June 25
Player Team Position DL Type Injury
Ryan Buchter Oakland Pitcher Returning Left Shoulder
Clay Buchholz Arizona Pitcher 10 Day Left Oblique
Shelby Miller Arizona Pitcher Returning Tommy John
Mike Foltynewicz Atlanta Pitcher 10 Day Right Tricep
Luis Sardinas Baltimore INF 10 Day to 60 Day Back
Tim Beckham Baltimore INF Returning Core Muscle
Gary Sanchez New York (AL) Catcher 10 Day Groin
Edubray Ramos Philadelphia Pitcher 10 Day Right Shoulder
Jonny Venters Tampa Bay Pitcher 10 Day Right Hamstring
Brandon Kintzler Washington Pitcher Returning Flexor Strain
Image result for brandon kintzler nationals

Nationals relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler does not have eye-poping stats this season, but he owns a 4.3 career war. Photo by; the Washington Post.

 

June 26
Player Team Position DL Type Injury
Caleb Smith Miami Pitcher 10 Day Left Lat
Dylan Bundy Baltimore Pitcher 10 Day Left Ankle
Steven Wright Boston Pitcher 10 Day Retro 6/23 Left Knee
Kris Bryant Chicago (NL) 3rd Basemen 10 Day Retro 6/23 Left Shoulder
Justin Hancock Chicago (NL) Pitcher 10 Day Right Shoulder
Caleb Smith Miami Pitcher 10 Day Left Lat
Daniel Mengden Oakland Pitcher 10 Day Retro 6/23 Right Foot
Ronald Guzman Texas 1st Basemen 7 Day Concussion

 

June 27
Player Team Position DL Type Injury
Alex Avilia Arizona Catcher 10 Day Retro 6/24 Right Hamstring
Robbie Ray Arizona Pitcher Returning Right Oblique
Mike Soroka Atlanta Pitcher 10 Day to 60 Day Shoulder
Craig Gentry Baltimore Outfielder 10 Day Left Rib
Darren O’Day Baltimore Pitcher 10 Day Left Hamstring
Brandon Morrow Chicago Pitcher Returning Back
Scott Ogerg Colorado Pitcher Returning Back
Justin Grimm Kansas City Pitcher 10 Day Retro 6/24 Right Shoulder
Jake Jewell Los Angeles (AL) Pitcher 10 Day Right Fibula
John Lamb Los Angeles (AL) Pitcher 10 Day Shoulder/Elbow
AJ Schugel Pittsburgh Pitcher 10 Day to 60 Day Shoulder
Sean Rodriguez Pittsburgh INF/OF 10 Day Retro 6/25 Right Quad
Image result for robbie ray diamondbacks

If you believe in career war , then this is your guy. Robbie’s career war is 7.3. Then in his return last week he threw 6 shutout innings. Overall this season he is 3-0 with 51 strikeouts and only 19 walks. Photo by; ESPN.com

 

June 28
Player Team Position DL Type Injury
Brandon McCarthy Atlanta Pitcher 10 Day Retro 6/25 Right Knee
Ronald Acuna Atlanta Outfielder Returning ACL
Walker Buhler Los Angeles (NL) Pitcher Returning Rib
Josh Fields Los Angeles (NL) Pitcher 10 Day Retro 6/27 Right Shoulder
Zach Cozart Los Angeles (AL) 3rd Basemen 10 Day to 60 Day Torn Labrum*

 

June 29
Player Team Position DL Type Injury
Darren O’Day Baltimore Pitcher 10 Day to 60 Day Left Hamstring
Carlos Correa Houston Shortstop 10 Day Lower Back
Taylor Motter Minnesota 1st Basemen 7 Day Concussion
Chad Kuhl Pittsburgh Pitcher 10 Day Right Forearm
Nik Turley Pittsburgh Pitcher 60 Day Left Elbow
Alex Reyes St Louis Pitcher 10 Day to 60 Day Torn Tendon*
Image result for ryan zimmerman

If you have a place to stach a player don’t be scared off by the fact he was transferred to the 60 day DL. He will be back soon, more than likely right after the All-Star break. Photo by; MASNsports.com

 

June 30
Player Team Position DL Type Injury
Daven Marrero Arizona 3rd Basemen 10 Day Left Oblique
Wilmer Font Tampa Bay Pitcher 10 Day Right Lat
Ryan Tepera Toronto Pitcher 10 Day Right Elbow
Ryan Zimmerman Washington 1st Basemen 10 Day to 60 Day Right Oblique
Jeremy Hellickson Washington Pitcher Returning Shoulder

 

July 01
Player Team Position DL Type Injury
Brian Duensing Chicago (NL) Pitcher 10 Day Shoulder Fatigue
Leonys Martin Detroit Outfielder 10 Day Left Hamstring
Vince Velasquez Philadelphia Pitcher 10 Day Right Arm Contusion
Pat Neshek Philadelphia Pitcher Returning Lat
Allen Cordoba San Diego INF/OF Returning Concussion

*Out for season

 

As baseball fans in general we love seeing players make it back from injuries and to help their teams again. Fantasy baseball owners, there are some player who have come back in the past week that we should be ecstatic about. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Pat Neshek returned this week along with Jeremy Hellickson, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, rookie sensation Ronald Acuna who is patrolling the outfield for the Atlanta Braves and two pitchers for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Shelby Miller and Robbie Ray.

 

These returning stars will hopefully be fully recovered and ready to help their teams win. All these returning players this week are playing for teams who are still in playoff races and still have a chance to contend for the World Series Trophy come time for the post season.

 

As the old saying goes, “what goes up must come down,” and in that sense when there are players returning for the disabled list, there are also big names who have gotten hurt and went on the disabled list this week. New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was one of the big names to go on the disabled list this week. Sanchez will be out at least 3-4 weeks with his groin issues. This could be a good thing for Gary. This could be the time away from the game that he needs to get his head right and get back on track. So far this season Sanchez is batting .190/.291/.433.

 

Other big names who have gone on the disabled list this week are Chicago Cubs 3rd basemen Kris Bryant, Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, and Atlanta Braves reliever Mike Flotynewicz. It seems like Correa will only be out minimal time, and as the most recent update from team doctors, it seems like he will be back in the lineup this Friday, against the Chicago White Sox. The same goes for Kris Bryant, who is likely, according to team doctors, to return to action on Tuesday when the Cubs take out the Detroit Tigers.

 

So there is your MLB Hurt Locker for this week, fans. Make sure you go out there and set your fantasy lineups for the week and continue to check in for updates on The MLB Hurt Locker, and my other article, The Call to the Majors, which will outline the call ups for the week, and potentially the big names that can help you win your fantasy league! Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter, @HandzelSports for the latest MLB news!

Fantasy Baseball “Buys and Sells” Ahead of the All-Star Break

By this time in the season, you know the outlook of your fantasy team. If you drafted Bryce Harper or Clayton Kershaw with your first-round pick, you are probably disappointed. If you invested in the Braves players (I’m talking to you Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis) your team is probably in contention.

This is the time of the year where you need to plant your flag. If you are in first-place, you are probably keeping your team as is. If you are like many teams, however, you need to make season-defining decisions that could make or break your season.

I am going to discuss a few guys you should either trade for or pick up off the waiver-wire to bolster your roster. With that said, let’s get to it.

Ketel Marte (38.4% owned in ESPN Leagues)

Marte has been heating up in the month of June. In 20 games, Marte is hitting .324/.373/.706 with five home runs (6 on the season) and 18 RBIs. He is under-owned, especially in point leagues, and if he is on the waiver wire you should pick him up. Marte is a player that is eligible for second base and shortstop and is slowly becoming an everyday player for the Diamondbacks.

Marte is only 24 years old and you should see a slump at some point during the season. Knowing that I still believe he can be a depth player who can be utilized in plus matchups for the rest of the season.

Ender Inciarte (90% owned in ESPN Leagues)

Inciarte has been a bit disappointing this season. His .252 average and .309 OBP are career lows for him. That is one of the reasons I am buying. You can convince his owner that he is having a bad season and possibly grab him for cheaper than what he is worth. He is playing on one of the most surprising yet dynamic offenses in the MLB. He will certainly figure it out either before or after the All-Star break. He is certainly a buy-low candidate, who should certainly have a better half if the Braves continue the success they have endured.

Jorge Polanco (.9% owned in ESPN Leagues)

Polanco is criminally under-owned right now. Polanco got hit with an 80-game suspension for PEDs before the season started. Prior to the suspension, Polanco was projected to be the everyday starting shortstop for the Twins. Instead, he waits until July 2nd, where he will have to see where he lands on the roster. Their current starter, Ehire Adrianza has been egregious the past 7 days, slashing a measly .167/.200/.208. Eduardo Escobar has spent some time at shortstop, but the Twins prefer to keep him at third base. This leaves a clear path for Polanco to seize that starting role, given that he spent last season there. Look to pick up Polanco before he comes back to the Majors, where his ownership will have a serious uptick.

Eloy Jimenez (7.1% owned in ESPN Leagues)

The time for a new age for the White Sox is slowly approaching. Jiminez will be a big part of that. Certainly, Jimenez should be a stash in deeper leagues, as he is still a rookie. I believe Jiminez will and should get called up before or directly after the All-Star break. Jimenez has been called up to Triple-A Charlotte, certainly for the White Sox to see if he can hit the much improved breaking balls at the Triple-A level.

While in Charlotte, Jimenez has hit 4-for-13 with three walks and a home run. Jimenez has been viewed by scouts as having one of the best swings they have ever seen and should make be an immediate impact for the White Sox. We have seen guys like Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, and Ronald Acuna make an impact for their teams and Jimenez should be no different.

Dallas Keuchel (95.1% owned in ESPN Leagues)

I am not going to lie to you and say Keuchel has looked good this season. In fact, he has been unstartable for his past couple of starts. His ERA on the season is 3.90 with a WHIP of 1.31. before his last two starts, Keuchel has given up 16 earned runs in 16 innings. Those numbers are not helping anybody, especially the Astros.

However, I think Keuchel is due for a bounce back. In his past two starts, he has given up 0 runs. I think his current owner (heck, I am one of them) is frustrated with figuring out when to start Keuchel and when to sit him. This could open the door for a potential buy-low situation.

Now that Verlander is there, people tend to forget that Keuchel was the ace in Houston before he arrived. Keuchel is going to figure it out, and sending a trade now before he wins another game gives you the best chance of landing the former star.

 

5 Players NOT to Give Up On

“What a wild first half. Hasn’t it been?” That’s what we say every year. “It’s been so wild. This year is unlike any other year.” Is it? Naw. Baseball metrics certainly are making it interesting, as batters change launch angles and pitchers adjust their approach but I suppose there’s always something that’s making player values go all over the place, and this year, is no different. 

A number of players are dealing with early struggles but can be expected to bounce back and that’s what we’re going to be talking about today! Who has looked bad but will surely get better as the season goes on.

Jose Martinez – I love this guy. He’s a ball of energy and crushes. But his power has seemed to be spotty compared to last year’s breakout. All it takes is one glance at him though, to see that his 6’ 7” frame is capable of more power. He had to change his approach in the minors because his swing simply wasn’t made for power, but he always hit for crazy strong average. In this launch angle age, he’s been pressured to hit more for power, and when he tries to, he hits bombs. He’s already started to hit for power in June crushing 5 hrs, so something tells me he’s made adjustments. I expect that to be something he’ll continue, and his batting average is too good to hurt you even when his power is low. Buy Martinez if anyone thinks he’s just a mediocre old player and doesn’t want to treat him like a top 50 player. Yup, I’d take him over Rendon, Yelich, Bregman, and maybe even one other old guy…

Joey Votto – Votto’s power has been fairly pedestrian, and if you’re getting cold feet, stop it. Votto is known for making adjustments and if he’s going to struggle as he gets older, it’s going to be with batting average (which has been as good as usual). Older players don’t have their power go before their average usually, and certainly not by this much. Expect a bounce back, and very possibly an awesome 2nd half.

 

Zack Godley – Godley is my guy. We always have those guys who you’re just extra bullish on because you talked about them before almost anyone was talking about them. Well Godley is that guy, and his first few months have been painful, but it’s simply been a matter of the league adjusting. Godley has some of the best secondary pitches, and the league has taken note. They’ve laid off his curve much more and Godley was getting frustrated. He found himself falling off the side of the mound as his mechanics got messed up. The results were a far higher walk rate going from a bb/9 of 3.09 to 4.42. Luckily he’s recently fixed his mechanics and his past 2 starts have been noticeably better. I did still see some issues, but not nearly the amount of falling to the side we were seeing earlier. He was too good last year to not make improvements as his stuff is still very good. If he’s available, this is your last chance. Pick. Him. Up.

Edwin Encarnacion – The pirate himself. You ever watch Encarnacion after he hits a homerun? Probably since he hits like 40 a year. But he’s got that pirate jog, where he holds up a parakeet on his shoulder as he jogs the bases. Don’t let this guy plunder your league without you! Every year he has a monster 2nd half. It’s always scary the older he gets, because one of these years, his slow first halves is simply going to be because he’s old, and not because he’s waiting for the 2nd half to explode. It’s not this year though. He’s still hitting for plenty of power, and it’s unlikely to slow. Usually, he shows a nice batting average boost in the 2nd half too though, so don’t expect a Joey Gallo line for the rest of the year. He should only get better going forward.

Brian Dozier – Dozier has been doing not much this first half of the season. Trust me. I know, as a dozing owner. Waiting on him to bounce back is a tiresome ordeal. If you dive a little bit deeper into the stats though, you’ll find, he’s often times is a slow starter. Historically, he almost always comes back on a tear, especially as the weather warms come late July and August time. If you can find a nervous owner, don’t be afraid to buy low. The kind of value he can offer at that 2b position is lovely, and you should grab him if you can!

That’s it for 5 guys you shouldn’t give up on. Here’s a few others if you’re looking for other names: Kris Bryant, Mike Moostakas, Scott Schebler, and Steven Matz.

Good luck this season, and you can always follow me on twitter @baseballalan

The Call to the Majors, Week Ending June 20

June 14, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Chris Bassitt Pitcher Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Carlos Ramirez Pitcher Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Nick Rumbelow Pitcher Tacoma (AAA) Seattle (MLB)
Robert Whalen Pitcher Tacoma (AAA) Seattle (MLB)

 

Image result for tyler white astros

June 15, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Corban Joseph Infielder Norfolk (AAA) Baltimore (MLB)
Tanner Scott Pitcher Norfolk (AAA) Baltimore (MLB)
Tyler White 1st Basemen Fresno (AAA) Houston (MLB)
Brandon Maurer Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Kyle Farmer C/Infielder Oklahoma (AAA) Los Angeles (NL) (MLB)
Jake Jewell Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Felix Pena Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Eduardo Paredes Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Merandy Gonzalez Pitcher Jacksonville (AA) Miami (MLB)
Taylor Motter INF/OF Rochester (AAA) Minnesota (MLB)
Jonathan Loaisiga Pitcher Trenton (AA) New York (AL) (MLB)
Luke Voit 1st Basemen Springfield (AA) St. Louis (MLB)
Jose Trevino Catcher Frisco (AA) Texas (MLB)
Brandon Mann Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)
Yohander Mendez Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)

 

 

June 16, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
John Lamb Pitcher Salt Lake (AAA) Los Angeles (AL) (MLB)
Franklin Barreto Infielder Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Yacksel Rios Pitcher Lehigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Jack Thompson Pitcher Lehigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Pierce Johnson Pitcher Sacramento (AAA) San Francisco (MLB)
Ryan Rua Outfielder Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB

 

Image result for ryan rua texas rangers

Photo by; FanRag Sports

June 17, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Luke Jackson Pitcher Gwinnett (AAA) Atlanta (MLB)
Shane Bieber Pitcher Columbus (AAA) Cleveland (MLB)
Evan Marshall Pitcher Columbus (AAA) Cleveland (MLB)
Wily Peralta Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Rosell Herrera Outfielder Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Adalberto Mondesi Infielder Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Scott Barlow Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Adrian Houser Pitcher Colorado Springs (AAA) Milwaukee (MLB)
Josh Lucas Pitcher Nashville (AAA) Oakland (MLB)
Yovani Gallardo Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)

 

 

June 18, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Rob Zastryzny Pitcher Iowa (AAA) Chicago (NL) (MLB)
Clint Frazier Outfielder Scranton/Wilkes Barre(AAA) New York (AL) (MLB)
Austin Davis Pitcher Lehigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Jose Osuna Outfielder Indianapolis (AAA) Pittsburg (MLB)
Kelby Tomlinson 2nd Basemen Sacramento (AAA) San Francisco (MLB)
Ricardo Rodriguez Pitcher Round Rock (AAA) Texas (MLB)

 

Image result for kelby tomlinson giants

Photo by; McCovey Chronicle

June 19, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Caleb Joseph Catcher Norfolk (AAA) Baltimore (MLB)
Robby Scott Pitcher Pawtucket (AAA) Boston (MLB)
Jackson Stephens Pitcher Louisville (AAA) Cincinnati (MLB)
Heath Filmyer Pitcher Omaha (AAA) Kansas City (MLB)
Freddy Peralta Pitcher Colorado Springs (AAA) Milwaukee (MLB)
Tim Peterson Pitcher Las Vegas (AAA) New York (NL) (MLB)
Pierce Johnson Pitcher Sacramento (AAA) San Francisco (MLB)
Lourdes Gurriel 2nd Basemen Buffalo (AAA) Toronto (MLB)
Jefry Rodriguez Pitcher Syracuse (AAA) Washington (MLB)

 

June 20, 2018

Player Position From Team To Team
Johnny Barbato Pitcher Toldedo (AAA) Detroit (MLB)
Mitchell Walding Pitcher Leigh Valley (AAA) Philadelphia (MLB)
Jake Barrett Pitcher Reno (AAA) Arizona (MLB)
Adam Frazier 2nd Basemen Indianapolis (AAA) Pittsburg (MLB)

As you can see by the list, most of the players that were called up to the Major Leagues in the past week have been pitchers. A lot of the time, these are just one or two day call up’s because someone in the bullpen was overworked. There were no players called up this week that were in the top 50 prospects to begin the year.

 

Notable Performances:

Jonathan Loaisiga was called up to the major leagues on June 15th for the New York Yankees. Before he was called up, he pitched in six games in AA and four games in A ball this season. In Single-A Tampa, Loaisiga had a 3-0 record posting a dominate 1.35 ERA. Loaisiga performed just as well in AA for Trenton, posting a 3-1 record with a 4.32 ERA. Loaisiga made is MLB debut on the day he was called up, and he pitched a gem of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched 5 shutout innings allowing three hits, four walks, and struck out six. In Loaisiga’s second start on June 20 against the Seattle Mariners, he pitched 3.2 innings and he allowed 3 runs, on six hits while striking out four and walking two. His season ERA sits at 3.12, in the two games that he pitched.

Image result for jonathan loaisiga yankees

Photo by; New York Post

Lourdes Gurriel was called up again to the major leagues on June 19th for the Toronto Blue Jays. During his time in the minor leagues this season, both in Triple A Buffalo and Double A New Hampshire, Gurriel played in 39 games with a triple slash line of .307/.333/.490 with an OPS of .824 and six home runs. Playing up in the majors has not fared for the young Gurriel so far. He is posting a triple slash line of .206/.229/.309 in 20 games while also posting a .537 OPS and two home runs. Gurriel has shown that he can compete in the minors, now he is trying to show that he deserves to be up in the majors, and will hopefully be a part of the Toronto Blue Jays for years to come.

Image result for lourdes gurriel toronto blue jays

Photo by SportsNet

A final notable call up for this week is another New York Yankee, and if you follow baseball you’ve heard his name before, outfielder Clint Frazier. There are rumors surrounding Frazier that he will either be a cornerstone of the Yankees outfield for years to come, or he is only being called up so he can audition for other MLB teams come the trade deadline. In 42 games in the minors this year, most of which at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Frazier has played in 42 games posting a triple slash line of .302/.387/.550 with an OPS of .937. Frazier has also added eight home runs to those eye opening numbers. With the call to the Majors, Frazier has played in 5 games this year with a triple slash line of .364/.533/.455 with an OPS of .988. Frazier has been playing well no matter where he goes. This doesn’t seem like a permanent move to Frazier, not yet at least, but sooner rather than later he will be off this list, and in the Majors for good.

Image result for clint frazier new york yankees

Photo by FanRag Sports

So that’s the Call to the Majors for this week fans. I hope you’ve enjoyed this segment, and hope you aren’t sitting by the phone waiting for your Call to the Majors, it may be a little farther out than some of the players in the Minors.

On The Bump or In The Dump

Welcoming to 2018’s first edition of “On The Bump or In The Dump”! (Cue the dancing bears, cracker jacks and pop up band theme song).

This is the article that discusses the magical art of pitching. Last year’s edition we had Berrios, Severino, Sonny Gray and Brad Hand on. Then we trashed Wade Miley and he fell apart. http://cleatgeeks.com/blog/2017/05/27/fantasy-baseball-on-the-bump-or-in-the-dump/

Hopefully you got on that Severino and Brad Hand train as they both worked some magic!

But on to 2018. 2017 is gone. In the garbage. Severino ain’t cheap and Hand is now a closer so you won’t be seeing either as an inexpensive option. So let’s take a look at what’s now and helpful.

On The Bump

Shohei Ohtani– As Christopher Walken would say “I got a fevor. And the only prescription, is more Ohtani.” Ohtani has lit the baseball world on fire, and I’m buying – for the most part. The stuff is real. There’s no denying it. He tosses 100 mph regularly and his off-speed is just filthy. I set him at #3 on my dynasty watch list last year and it’s looking like the only thing I might have gotten wrong was spelling his name (cringe, sorry Ohtani). I fully expect his talent to be there all year though. Some are skeptical because he wasn’t particularly good in spring training. What we saw in spring training is a number of things. He could have been working on stuff which many pitchers do. That’s why we always say “ignore spring training stats.” But I think another issue, and probably the larger part, was using a different baseball.

Image result for shohei ohtani angels

Photo by; Forbes.com

In Japan, their baseballs are smaller than ours. During spring training a lot of Ohtani’s issues were due to command. In Japan, he didn’t struggle with command which is what made that so odd. It’s also why I assumed he’d eventually adjust and be a solid pitcher. So far, that’s looking to be paying off. The only question mark is health. Being a two-way player is a lot to ask, particularly for a guy who throws so hard, so the reality is that with Ohtani, you’re rolling the dice. He throws a splitter that can be very hard on a young pitcher’s ligaments, particularly since he’s not used to 200 innings (Japan is closer to 160 per season). I’m going to say what I said about J.D. Martinez last year. I believe in the skills but I don’t trust the health. So milk the value early but, particularly if you’re playing in a head to head league where playoffs count, don’t be afraid to sell later in the season closer to July or August. That being said, Ohtani is still only 23 years old, so a full season is not out of the question. The track record for starting pitchers who throw 100 is not good though, so enjoy Ohtani for awhile. If someone is selling him cheap, buy. But after a couple months of what will probably be some very good stats, I’d be looking to sell if I can get some good value for him.

Image result for gerrit cole astros

Photo by; Zimbio

Gerrit Cole– Cole has been quite good thus far. I believe I’d be safe to say the best start to a season he’s ever had. But I’ve been hearing some analysts caution Cole… whispering *sell high*… *He can’t be this good*… *He’s probably made some strides but this is too much*… *squeeze-its are an underrated kids juice drink that were destroyed by the Freemasons*… Well, I’m here to say don’t listen to those voices. He won’t return to Earth – err not enough that I’d sell at least. Cole has been with the Pirates for his entire career and it’s always been assumed that the pirates have a great pitching coach, so he couldn’t possibly be learning anything new with his new club, the Astros. Well, Houston also has a pretty good set of pitchers, and I’d be willing to bet he’s gaining some new insights. One particular subject up for dissection is his fastball. He used to rely on it more as it can blow by many hitters. The problem is it’s a fairly straight pitch. Now, further into his career, he’s developed his off-speed stuff more and it can get outs. When a pitcher has multiple pitches it makes that hitter off balance and guessing which, is important for that heater as they can’t guess fastball as much. Plus, let’s not forget who also had a resurgence last year. Justin Verlander. What kind of pitcher was Verlander when he was younger? A hard throwing fastball tosser who relied on his hard stuff. He’d retooled himself in Detroit, but since going to Houston he’s become… well otherworldly again. I’m sure some of what works for Verlander may just be helping out a hard throwing Cole.

In The Dump

Image result for joey lucchesi padres

Photo by; San Diego Union Tribune

Joey Lucchesi- Lucchesi is an interesting pitcher as he’s got a nice little curve/change thinga-ma-jig (that’s the technical name) that is confusing players all over the place. The only thing is his fastball, which isn’t particularly good. For that reason, hitters are liable to sit fastball and let it fly when they get it rather than chase the off speed stuff. He’s having some success now but if you can sell for a legit pitcher or a decent bat, I’d do it. You might be able to sell the Petco Park aspects, but long term, I wouldn’t bet on him.

MLB Fantasy Forecast; Who Are The 25 Best Starting Pitchers?

This is a look at top 25 for Starting Pitchers(Ranks will change throughout the season, use this as a guide)

 

25) David Price(Bos)

Price had a good outing against the Rays. This could be the comeback player of the year if he is able to stay consistent. Remember last year Price was relegated to bullpen duties for the later part of the season. So far so good for Price if he’s first outing is any indication of what to expect.

24) Lance McCullers(Hou)

McCullers is a relatively young pitcher with dominant stuff. He really came into his own in the postseason for the Stros. He continues to be able to implement his curveball which is arguably turning into his best pitch. A full season could give numbers close to 20 wins, era around 3.00….

Image result for masahiro tanaka pitching

Photo by; SI.com

23) Masahiro Tanaka(NYY)

Tannaka plays on the Yankees so a chance at a victory is always in his favor. Their were some struggles last season but he has the capability to be a dominant starter every time he toes the rubber.

22) Jon Lester(CHIC)

Lester is a very nice safe option. Playing on the Cubbies is helpful as well.

21) Shohei Ohtani(LAA)

This one is very difficult to rank because we haven’t seen much unless we count the limited spring training outings. Make sure to take notes as Ohtani is set to start for the Angels against the A’s this weekend. Expectations are very high as we have heard about comparisons to the great Babe Ruth already.

Image result for gerrit cole astros

Photo by; Houston Chronicle

20) Gerrit Cole(Hou)

The move to the World Champion Astros will certainly improve Cole from an environmental perspective. He was injured as well over a good portion of last season so I like a rebound type season out of cole.

19) Jose Quintana(CHIC)

Look for an era right around three. Quintana has a very deceiving repertoire of pitches, won’t overwhelm hitters with heaters but will use that rope a dope type stuff. He has a great way of outsmarting the opponent.

18) James Paxton(SEA)

Paxton is really showing that he can be a dominant pitcher. He has an explosive set of pitches that can be at time the best in the Majors. If he can learn to manage his heater for the duration of the season, this could be a really great selection.Image result for aaron nola phillies

17) Dallas Keuchel(HOU)

Keuchel is very similar to Jon Lester, not just because they are both lefties but because they are both students of the game who can both give you innings and stability. Nice safe pick here for sure.

16) Aaron Nola(PHI)

Nola really showed us last season that he is for real. The Phillies are a much better team and will give him run support and a chance at the very minimum a w every time he takes the mound.

15) Carlos Martinez(STL)

This is another pitcher who has a very high ceiling in terms of up-side. The question is, can he produce over a full season.

 

14) Robbie Ray(ARI)

Everyone is really high this year on Diamondback pitchers. With half of their starts at Chase field, how could you not like them. With the humidor being installed pitchers may have an edge so why not grab one or two or maybe even three starters from Arizona.

13) Chris Archer(TB)

It seems to be always an issue in regards to filling out the win column, having stated that Archer is always good for lots of strikeouts and other good preferable numbers.

12) Yu Darvish(CHIC)

A bounce back is in order after a less than stellar postseason. In terms of the last 10 seasons it has been stated that Darvish has arguably the best arsenal in all of baseball. Don’t let last years playoff deter you away from Darvish, this is still a really good pitcher.

11) Luis Severino(NYY)

Image result for justin verlander astros

Photo by; Zimbio

The Yankees are finally confident in that they want the young stud used in the rotation rather than out of the pen.

10)Justin Verlander(HOU)

Verlander is showing us that he is still a very good pitcher that found another gear in the post season and could have played some of his best baseball of his career. Expect some drop off this season but nothing too substantial. He is aiding by the fact that he plays for a superior team and is driven to succeed and to compete for another title on a team that could be even better than last season. Verlander keeps evolving each season as he nears the end of his career. The move from Detroit to Houston has been so important in prolonging his greatness. An argument could be made that Verlander would be closer to 50 then ranked where he is now if it weren’t for the move to the state of Texas.

 9) Zach Greinke

A lot of great factors have Greinke ranked nicely here. He showed last year how great he can be. Coupled with the fact that the humidor( installed in Arizona) will decrease offensive production.

8) Jacob deGrom(NYM)

Make sure to keep an eye on deGroms’ injury status all year. We know the Mets are loaded with starting pitching but there are concerns on how management has dealt with players out of the lineup in the past.

7) Carlos Carrasco(CLEV)

Carrasco and Kluber are both really great options, Cleveland should be a power house once again this season, take these guys with confidence.

6) Madison Bumgarner(SF)

Mad-Bum is injured, he is expected to be out at least a month, so tread with caution

5) Noah Syndagaard(NYM)

Thor is probably the best pitcher on a really good Mets rotation. If you have to take one, Syndagaard is your best option.

4) Stephen Strasburg(WAS)

The stock keeps rising for Strasburg, if we get a full season with no injuries the stat line should be something in the neighbourhood of 20 wins, 2.75 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 200 k’s

3) Chris Sale(BOS)

Great first start out of the southpaw, expect more of the same going forward.

2) Corey Kluber(CLE)

Cleveland looks poised to be one of the better teams in all of baseball, this is a fairly safe selection.

1A) Max Scherzer(WAS)

Image result for max scherzer

Photo by; Fox Sports 1340

No surprises here, a model of consistency, feel good if you own any of the top 5, just make sure to monitor which one has the better chance at staying healthy for the full season.

1B) Clayton Kershaw(LAD)

Arguably the best pitcher of our generation.

 

 

 

MLB Fantasy Forecast-Releif Pitchers

 Top 20 closing pitchers

Most leagues are 12 man, because the closer role is never set in stone  here are a list of 20 pitchers that you can feel comfortable in using.

20. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays)

19. Brandon Morrow/Carl Edwards jr/Pedro Strop (Chicago Cubs)

18. Kelvin Herrera (K.C.Royals)

17. Blake Treinen (Oakland A’s)

16. Brad Hand (SanDiego Padres)

For closing pitchers, this is my favourite in terms of upside/sleeper potential. Because he plays for a team that is known to be average at best, we tend to overlook the crafty lefty. Last years 5-1 strikeout to walk ratio is outstanding. Another factor that may come into play is the possibility that he could be dealt at the trade deadline, which then could relegate him into a set up role.

15. Mark Melanson/Sam Dyson (San Francisco Giants)

14. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)

Neris established himself as the primary closer for the Phillies last year. Only concern would be if Manger Gabe Kapler decides to sprinkle in Pat Neshek for closing situations. Career numbers are very good for the 4 year pro. 230 K in 196.1 innings/ 28 saves in 35 opportunities/ 2.98 ERA/ 1.18 WHIP

 

13. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)

The Pirates losing McCutchen in the off season is more of a blow to the psyche to the fan base then anything else heading into the 2018 campaign. This could be the surprise team of 2018, still lots to like on this squad, Polanco, Marte, Josh Bell, Jameson Taillon, the addition of Corey Dickerson to offset the loss of McCutchen. They are in the midst of a mini rebuild. Rivero has shown to be very reliable in the closer role with a breakout type season-1.67 ERA, 21 Saves, 88 Strikeouts in 75.1 innings spitched, 0.89 WHIP all amassed in 2017.

 

12. Fernando Rodney (Minnesota Twins)

11. Corey Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)

10. Luke Gregerson (St.Louis Cardinals)

9. Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals)

8. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)

Roberto Osuna is more then capable of being in the top 5. We can flip flop with Diaz at the 7 spot in the rankings, the Mariners are forecasted to have a better season so the chance is more likely for higher save totals for Diaz rather then Osuna. You can make an argument for either side, even with less save opportunities Osuna could capitalize at a higher rate.

7. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)

If Diaz can cut down on walks, this has the potential to be a breakout campaign. He opened his career in 2016, after some time in non-closing situations he was able to put together a nice rookie year. Last year was even better, nearly doubling his save totals, along with keeping the whip under 1.20.

 

6.Aroldis Chapman (NY Yankees)

In terms of a dominant pitching arsenal, is their anyone any better then Chapman? The Yankees are smart to give the closer role to the former Cub. He is best used in the 9th inning for three outs, where as it was a little more of a complicating situation in Chicago, he and Wade Davis seemed to share closing duties along with other great arms that manger Joe Madden had access to.

5.Wade Davis (Colorado Rockies)

(Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

Davis gets a fresh new start with the Rockies this season. This could turn into a monster year. The Rockies had a great season in 2017, the closer role has now been handed to the former World Series winner.

 

4. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)

3. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)

A fantastic season last year, it looks like more great years await the 8 year pro. A career high 3.6 wins above replacement suggests that Kimbrel has fit in very nicely since he was brought over in 2016. Kimbrel has had seasons of 46, 42, 50, 47, 39, 31, and last years’ total of 35 saves.

1. Kenley Jansen (LA Dodgers)

Jansen has turned into a dominant closing pitcher. Playing for the Dodgers is an added bonus. Lots of save opportunities await.

Make sure to check all other position rankings as we near closer to draft day for the upcoming Major League Baseball Season.

You can also follow me on twiter- @Joel_Dorcas6

 

MLB Fantasy Forecast-Outfield; Part 2

25. Billy Hamilton

Hamilton has yet to show more to his game other than the blazing speed. Over 55 stolen bases in the last three seasons. If you need stolen bases, this is your guy, but you’re not getting much else.

24. Yasiel Puig

Image result for yasiel puig

Photo by; Baseball Hot Corner

Somehow Puig was able to put a good season together after being almost forgotten in a somewhat crowded outfield. Career highs in homers and rbi’s in 2017 bode well for him to be an everyday outfielder again in 2018.

23. Andrew McCutchen

Another player who returned to form. Gone are the mvp type seasons, but .280/20hr/80rbi/80runs/10steals is a nice benchmark.

22. Ryan Braun

Braun’s numbers were down last season because of injury. The Brewers are gonna use him at first base as well as the outfield. This could be helpful in keeping him healthy for the length of the season. He may even have a few more games off to allow Domingo Santana and others get a few at bats.

21. Lorenzo Cain

Park factors might show most telling story here and for teammate Christian Yellich. For Cain, going from Kaufman to Milwaukee could add another 5-10 big flies. If he hits .300 and steals 20 plus bags, this is a great selection.

20. Nelson Cruz

Power hitting machine still hasn’t hit the decline. The move to full-time DH is only gonna help the 37-year-old slugger. All stat columns will fill up very nicely except of course stolen bases.

19. Yoenis Cespedes

Image result for yoenis cespedes mets

Photo by; WABC_TV

Another power beast very similar to Cruz, some injury concern here though, make sure to monitor his health.

18. Byron Buxton

Another season or two and it could be breakout time for the young speedster. The strikeout rate is too high so adjustments need to be made, but you can’t ignore the steady progress being made, especially in the second half of last year.

17. Khris Davis

Over 40 hrs the last 2 seasons. A safe bet for over 30 homers, 90 rbi, and 80 runs.

16. A.J. Pollock

After the very impressive 2015 campaign injury has come into play the last two seasons. He still managed 14 homers and 20 steals in 112 games last year. This can be a really good value if he can stay healthy.

15. Rhys Hoskins

Huge potential and upside but remember last year was a very small sample size. Some risk involved, but power numbers and run production should be very good.

14.Tommy Pham

This could be fantasy baseball’s most talked about player. Came out of nowhere to have a breakout year. Experts are saying it is legit, so it’s worth taking even if you have to reach because you’re getting a player that does everything well.

13. Marcell Ozuna

Image result for marcell ozuna cardinals

Photo by; www.wsj.com

A monster year with career numbers across the board for Ozuna last year. The move to St. Louis shouldn’t change much as he joins a fairly good lineup. A very high BABIP leads you to believe the average will go down to the more usual .270 range, but 30 plus homers and 100 plus rbi is well within reach.

12. Andrew Benintendi

I’m always a little bias when it comes to ranking pure hitters as a pose to power hitters, I like the fact that they are usually a little more safe in terms of reaching base which leads to more opportunities for counting stats. At .271 for the year, last years batting average was considered a disappointment, he can easily get to .300 while contributing to all other stats as well, lots of potential here.

11. Christian Yellich

Another one of my favorites, Yellich also gives you some stolen bases(15-20). What’s really to like for this year is the move to Milwaukee, this is likely going to increase the power numbers. We could be looking at .300, 20 hr, 90rbi, 90runs, 20steals.

10. Justin Upton

Seems like Upton’s been around forever, but still in his prime at age 30, coming off a very impressive 35hr/109 rbi, and has been very durable playing over 149 games in the last 7 years. This is a very smart and safe play, along with power the average will be mediocre at best(.250ish), but should produce double-digit steals.

9. Starling Marte

Stock seems to have fallen a bit since the ped suspension last year, still a very valuable player, double-digit homers with a good bating average and at least 30 steals.

8. Aaron Judge

Image result for aaron judge

Photo by; www.bigplay.com

I think it is way more likely that Judge will hit closer to .250 then .280 this year. A full season’s worth of footage will give pitchers a better understanding of how to pitch the 25 year-old slugger. Even still 40-50 homers and 100 plus rbi is probably on its way.

7. J.D.Martinez

An incredible 45 homers in 119 games last season. The move to Boston is only gonna help. Could he reach 50, even 60 homers? All power and run producing stats will be filled, along with a possible plus .300 average.

6. George Springer

Springer is really coming into his own as a hitter. His strikeout rate improved by 6% last season which led to a career high .283 bating average. Hitting a top of probably the best lineup in baseball has led to over 110 runs scored in the past 2 seasons, that should continue, along with 30 homer potential.

5. Giancarlo Stanton

How in the world are you gonna be able to deal with Stanton/Judge back to back. There is bound to be some mistake pitches and the short porch at Yankee stadium is only gonna help. The possibility for lots of homers and runs is very likely.

4. Charlie Blackmon

Image result for charlie blackmon beard

Photo by; www.MLB.com

An absolute massive breakout year led to Blackmon being the number one player in all of fantasy last year. The numbers are outstanding, most notably, 137 runs scores, over 100 rbi and a sparkling .331 average.

3. Mookie Betts

I’m really high on Betts this year. The BABIP was very unlucky(.268). This is .300 hitter with good power, and great run production, especially now that Martinez has been added to the lineup. If we get over 20 steals, this has breakout potential for sure.

2. Bryce Harper

We always tend to think injury concern here, it is warranted, but you can’t ignore that this is a triple crown threat.

1. Mike Trout

Best player in the majors, don’t even think about who to take number one overall.

MLB Fantasy Forecast; Outfield Part 1

The outfield will be broken down into two parts, ranks 50-25, and 25-1. Not all players will have write ups.

50. Corey Dickerson

49. Bradley Zimmer

Image result for Bradley Zimmer

Photo by; The San Diego Union Tribune

Exciting player with power and speed, is an injury concern, bating average could be a weak spot

48. Randall Grichuk

Big time power threat at the Rogers Center/big time sleeper potential

47. Avisail Garcia

46. Michael Conforto

45. Kyle Shwarber

Image result for kyle schwarber weight loss

Photo by; BleedCubbieBlue.com

A cheap gamble, lots of power, lots of k’s

44. Michael Brantley

This guy will hit .310 in his sleep, double-digit steals and homers, huge knock here is the almost certain injury

43. Kevin Keirmaier

If he stays healthy he can get around 20 steals, double-digit homers and hit around .260

42. Odubel Herrera

41. Manuel Margot

He was projected to be better than the 17 steals and 13 homers of last season. Could be a good value play.

40. Ian Happ

39. Steven Souza

38. Adam Duvall

37. Joey Gallo

Image result for joey gallo

Photo by; LoneStarBall.com

You just can’t ignore the power, 41 homers last year, but that bating average is destined to hurt ya pretty bad.

36. Brett Gardiner

Always around the 90 run mark, with decent power and speed, this year should see an increase in those numbers, especially if he hits at the top of the very powerful Yankee lineup.

35. Jay Bruce

34. Nick Castellanos

It seems like this guy is always on the breakout or sleeper potential list. Keeps trending up, but more people know about this guy, a mini breakout last season could lead to an even better 2018.

33. Adam Eaton

32. Gregory Polanco

Somewhat disappointing so far, the upside is still their, this could be a telling year, we know he has power and can run, we just haven’t seen enough of it

31. Nomar Mazara

Image result for nomar mazara

Photo by; WCCO

Already two seasons in the books for the 23-year-old. In almost the same amount of at bats as his rookie season, Mazara put up 101 RBIs compared to the 64 he had in 2016. This year has breakout potential written all over it.

30. Eddie Rosario

29. Ian Desmond

28. Domingo Santana

Playing time is the biggest issue here, all outfield spots seem to be taken, if he can DH and platoon to get to 400 plus at bats he’ll provide power and a decent average.

27. Ender Inciarte

26. Adam Jones

25. Billy Hamilton

Image result for billy hamilton

Because steals are so scarce Hamilton gets a major boost in the rankings. Don’t expect much else though.

 

 

 

MLB Fantasy Forecast-3rd Base

A lot to like in the top 12. After that it starts to get a little murky. No shortage of power in this list.

12. Rafael Devers

Image result for rafael devers 2018

Photo by; BostonSportsExtra.com

Hopefully Devers has shown the Sox enough to keep him up with the big club. He has an abundance of potential, but if he struggles at all they will be quick to send him down for more seasoning in the minors. Now that JD Martinez is slotted in the lineup there will be less pressure for guys like Devers to perform. Still a .280, 25 homer season is well within reach.

11. Travis Shaw

Image result for travis shaw brewers

Photo by; Journal Times

The move to Milwaukee increased power production in a big way. If he can eclipse 500 plate appearances, 30 homers and 100 rbi isn’t out of the question.

10. Kyle Seager

Image result for kyle seager mariners

Photo by Zimbio

This is as close to automatic as it gets. Over the last 4 seasons, Seager is at or above these numbers: 154 games,25 hrs,74 rbi. The bating average took an unusual hit which led to the .249 mark. A career average of .264 suggests that it will bounce back to more respectable levels.

9. Miguel Sano

Image result for miguel sano 2018

Photo by; Last Word On Baseball

In 3 separate seasons, Sano has yet to reach 120 games played. At only 25 years of age we have yet to see what he can do in a full slate. If he could play more, he has the capability to hit 40 homers and drive in over 100 runs.

8. Adrian Beltre

Image result for adrian beltre rangers

Photo by; AXS.com

Beltre is creeping up on 40, but has only regressed slightly. The power has dropped a little but the soon to be hall of famer is still a nice option at third. He will be around .300 with 20 hrs and close to 90 runs and rbi if he can avoid injury.

7. Anthony Rendon

Image result for anthony rendon

Photo by; DistrictonDeck

A big time cut down in strikeouts(117-82) led to a career year for Rendon, .403 on base, 301 avg, with 25 homers and 100 rbi. If he continues the great approach at the plate he could even better those numbers for his age 28 season.

6. Justin Turner

Image result for justin turner dodgers

Photo by; Dodgers Way

A career .300 hitter with a great eye at the plate. Reduced to just 130 games led to lower totals in homers(21) and rbi(70). Hitting in a very potent lineup should see the run production go up providing he can stay on the field.

5. Alex Bregman

Image result for alex bregman astros

Photo by; NY Daily News

We could have a very exciting player on our hands here. The breakout potential is high, as Bregman turned it on in the second half, and then went on to have a great post season. He has a rare combination at the position of power and speed, along with a great strikeout to walk rate. He could be the complete player and you may have to overpay to get him.

4. Josh Donaldson

Image result for josh donaldson blue jays

Photo by; Jeff Fannell

The injury bug limited Donaldson to just 113 games last season. He still managed 33 homers. But the strikeouts rates went up, which led to the .267 bating average. Playing for a new contract could elevate his play closer to his MVP type level of just two seasons ago.

3. Manny Machado

Image result for manny machado 2017

Photo by; SBNation.com

A really slow start contributed to the career low .259 bating avg. The other numbers were fairly consistent with what we are used to out of the 26-year-old. I can almost guarantee an uptick in bating average and good to great numbers across the board as he is in his prime years and playing for a new contract.

2. Kris Bryant

Image result for kris bryant cubs

Photo by; UPI.com

Bryant had a better year last year then the 73 rbi suggests. All other counting stats were really good. He can get around 100 rbi along with every other stat category filled with the exception of stolen bases, which might get close to double digits.

1. Nolan Arenado

Image result for nolan arenado 2017

Photo by; Fansided.com

A rbi and homer machine that hits around .300, this is far and away the best option at third.

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