Smoak is having his best season—but how much fire is behind his new success?
The Buyer’s Guide is a weekly column designed to help fantasy owners assess a player who sees an increased level of interest during a given week. This column will focus on players who generally have lower than 40 percent ownership rates across various leagues.
It’s possible you’re in a position where you’re looking for a first baseman to plug into your fantasy lineup. Freddie Freeman owners are in that camp. There’s also a small list of players at the position who should either shortly return from injuries or are dealing with nagging aches and pains (Eric Thames, Greg Bird and Yonder Alonso). If you find yourself in the market for a first baseman, is Justin Smoak a player you should look to invest in?
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The Three True Outcomes podcast is back to chat about the state of the podcast, the state of the game, and how both impact (or don't impact) Scoresheet.
The Three True Outcomes podcast is back to chat about the state of the podcast, the state of the game, and how both impact (or don’t impact) Scoresheet. From MLB roster construction to the run scoring environment, we spend some time talking about how the trends in MLB might impact Scoresheet strategy and suggest a few updates and alterations to improve Scoresheet in response to these trends.
Notes on Victor Robles, Michael Kopech, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Francisco Mejia, Kyle Funkhouser, and more.
Prospect of the Weekend:
Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals (High-A, Potomac): 8-16, 2 R, 2 3B, HR, 5 RBI, K
My boy! Two years ago I nearly gave Craig Goldstein a heart attack when he looked at my scouting report on Robles; tossing around a 7 hit, 4 power, 7 run, 6 glove, 7 arm profile like it was nothing. I wouldn’t back off that report one bit today. In fact, the only thing I would question was whether or not I will ultimately appear light on the power. Robles is a star in the making and I’m optimistic I’ll get a chance to see him in Double-A before the year is done.
Balls hit in the air are one of the big stories of the 2017 season. A record number of them are going over the fence, but the larger narrative has been about how players are seeking to hit more balls in the air—elevate is the term of choice—with improved results. Ryan Zimmerman—nearly stick-a-fork-in-him done last year, MVP contender this year—is the poster child, but greater launch angles have been a theme throughout the game.
Mike Trout remains the best in baseball, Chris Sale puts his stamp on the history books again, Mike Clevinger tries his hand at a no-hitter, and Rio Ruiz clubs his first home run.
The Weekend Takeaway
The only way we know how to pay homage to the best player in baseball is by evoking the legends of the past. Mike Trout’s career has been Ruthian—the 49.7 WARP and .354 TAv, his Rookie of the Year decoration and, somehow, only two MVP distinctions—and now he’s incurring a level of fear from opposing managers and players that was most recently evident with Barry Bonds.
A second-generation impaler continues to impale, a first-round pick continues to confound in the Cal League, and more.
Eric Lauer, LHP, San Diego Padres (High-A Lake Elsinore)
The last of San Diego’s three first-rounders last June, Lauer wore the tag of polished, “safe” collegiate southpaw heading into the draft, and he’s acquitted himself accordingly in the first calendar year of his professional career. He’s got good size, and while his is not a quick-twitch athleticism, he is classically “pitcher athletic”: he’s extremely fluid and consistent in his delivery, with strong balance and quality timing. The arm swing is not traditional, with a stab and mild wrist wrap at the back of a deep, closed-off turn. But while he’s long to is higher three-quarter slot as a result, he’s also quite loose, and the result is a clean, flowing delivery that he repeats very well.
Teams have smartened up about sacrifice bunts, but every once in a while managers just can't help themselves.
We don’t really do this kind of thing very much anymore. Saber-slanted baseball writing used to consist largely of criticizing poor strategic choices made by teams, either within games or over the course of a season. We won that war, though. Teams are so much smarter these days that kvetching about a bad sacrifice bunt or intentional walk here or there feels a bit like hosting a Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure.
Here’s the thing: it is good to be reminded, now and then, that rabies is still out there. If you pretend the disease has been permanently eliminated, or that it doesn’t pose a real public danger, you end up with anti-vaxxer movements among people who call themselves “dog parents." With that in mind, I want to talk about two bunts laid down last Tuesday night, why they were misguided, and why it matters.
Kevin Pillar's suspension led to Anthony Alford's debut.
The Situation: With backup outfielder Darrell Ceciliani on the disabled list with a shoulder injury and starting center fielder Kevin Pillar suspended by the team, the Blue Jays have need of an outfielder for a few days. They’ll be using this as an opportunity to get their best outfield prospect’s feet wet in the majors.
The Background: Anthony Alford was taken by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Petal High School in Mississippi. He was expected to go higher, but signability concerns attached to his NCAA football commitment dropped him to Day 2. The Jays gave him $750,000 as part of a two-sport deal that also allowed him to play football at Southern Mississippi. He began focusing on baseball full time in 2015 and immediately broke out at the plate, smashing both A-ball levels to the tune of .298/.398/.421 and breaking onto top 100 lists. His 2016 return to Dunedin was marred by a concussion and leg injuries, but a healthy Alford has resumed mashing the baseball this season, posting an .866 OPS in 33 games in the Eastern League.
Tommy Pham has legs. Do you know Yanio Perez? What's Max Scherzer's trade value?
The Dynasty Guru Experts League is a 20-team (40-man roster) 5x5 rotisserie dynasty league founded by BP managing editor Bret Sayre in 2014. It is intended to satisfy the deep-league needs of all, down to just the right amount of Alexi Amarista. We roster 23 starters (C/1B/2B/3B/SS/MI/CI, along with two additional utility hitters, five outfielders and nine pitchers). We also roster seven bench slots and have 10 spots designated for minor leaguers, although a quick scan of the league finds that most teams utilize most of their bench spots for additional prospects. That means that there are an additional 100-120 prospects that are rostered above the 200 spots reserved for them.
These write-ups are intended to pair nicely with Mike Gianella’s Expert FAAB Review, as we will look at each week’s TDGX free-agent acquisitions, as well as include thoughts on every major trade that occurs during the season. The yearly budget for free-agent transactions is $100, with $0 bids allowed for major leaguers and prospects.