Power Rankings 6/10

Power rankings are back. You fellas have no idea how deep the formulas ran this time. Injury predictions, weather-based matrices, palm reading, the whole nine. Any flaw you find is a reflection of you and not the system. Please direct all complaints to @NolteyFresh on the website Twitter.

12. Tim (Prev:  12)

 Thinking about getting mack into cigars...

Thinking about getting mack into cigars...

Lord knows where I'd be without Mookie Betts' contributions in all five categories. (Even after missing the last 12 games, he's still comfortably #1 on the player rater.)

Hitting: Vlad isn't coming up this year. 

Pitching: Not even my genius sits can pull me above league average. 

11. Bayz (Prev: 9 🢃 )

 Ross Stripling is blazing hot right now.

Ross Stripling is blazing hot right now.

Not much has changed for Bayz since our last Power Rankings, except the passage of time. He's nearly doubled his lead in saves (he's ahead by 18 now) despite $14 million disaster Greg Holland contributing nothing thus far. Bayz is bottom two in the other seven counting-stat categories, and somehow bottom two in ERA and WHIP despite a reliever-heavy rotation. A long road lies ahead.

Hitting: The bad injury luck continues. Nine games after trading Eric Hosmer for the Bay-area breakout Brandon Belt, Belt's appendix burst in the dugout. (This is dramatic and unconfirmed but also probably true.) He'll miss at least three weeks total. 

After finally returning from a broken wrist in mid-May, Justin Turner finds himself in and out of the lineup with lingering pain. Elvis Andrus can't come back soon enough.  

Pitching: Ross Stripling is the lone starting bright spot at the moment, but even his breakout won't be enough to move the needle. Bayz and Nolan are bringing it up the rear in terms of games started, but Nolan has eight starters compared to Bayz's six. If each of those six takes the hill 16 times the rest of the way (not a guarantee for Stripling), Bayz will finish with 155 total starts, 25 short of our limit. It will be nearly impossible to compete in K's and wins if that trend holds, and waiver wire spot starts in September will be tough to come by. 

10. Nolan (Prev: 5 🢃)

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It's been a breathtaking fall for Nolan. In a little more than two weeks, he's dropped nearly 20 points from 4th place. The Boppers still bop, but not all of them: Ozzie Albies and Rafael Devers have combined for one RBI in their last 100 at-bats. Four key hitters and three key pitchers have ghastly PR15's and the ownership percentage streets run red with Burgundy's blood. But things can turn around quickly! Lol

Hitting: There's a lot to like here. Adam Eaton is back after a two-month absence, and Trevor Story is hitting bombs at a nice clip. The aforementioned bums will surely turn things around. But what sticks out like a sore thumb is the performance of Adam Duvall. The Reds outfielder doesn't start every day, but he's played as many games as anyone on Nolan's roster despite hitting .185. Nolan is in a deep average hole already, and he may have to make some tough decisions in that area before its too late. 

Pitching: With the fewest starts in the league, Nolan stands to gain points in strikeouts and wins with his army of starters. But this situation isn't as rosy as it seems.

The league average number of strikeouts per start is 8.80, but Nolan sits in 11th with just 7.59. (This number includes strikeouts from all pitchers.) With no high-K relief pitchers and just one big strikeout pitcher, Nolan may find it difficult to climb out of that deep punchout hole.

9. Matt & Casey (Prev: 8 🢃)

 Frodo and Sting.

Frodo and Sting.

Matt and Casey are solid almost across the board, with borderline great pitching. For the most part, they've avoided injury disaster, and have stumbled onto some great free agent pickups. They've done nothing to warrant this downgrade.

But that's kind of the point: They've done nothing. My complex proprietary matrices call for them to finish higher than ninth, but I'm forced to give the edge to more experienced owners who have demonstrated a willingness to take risks and ability to address crises quickly. The Matt and Casey train is humming along nicely for now, but what happens when Benintendi hits his July swoon? (They'll probably be fine.)

Hitting: Trout and Benintendi jump off the page here, with old reliable Jose Abreu anchoring the RBI. The rest of the hitters leave a lot to be desired, so even with those stars it's probably a league-average offense. When DeJong and Cespedes get healthy, Matt and Casey would probably be wise to make use of at least one bench spot to stay afloat on offense. 

Pitching: They may need to find another closer somewhere, but right now Matt and Casey's starters are rock solid. If Robby Ray returns to form in a few weeks well then we might be looking at the best starting staff in the biz. 

8. Mitch (Prev: 11 🢁)

 Max Scherzer remains a double-digit strikeout machine and fearsome hitter.

Max Scherzer remains a double-digit strikeout machine and fearsome hitter.

In the mix for a peak inside the room of the top five, Mitch is enjoying his greatest wave of success since 2015, when he finished seventh. Mitch has the best starting pitcher and a top-flight hitter. He puts his guys in and has avoided a laughingstock trade so far (...by avoiding trades completely). If he finishes eighth or higher, I suspect he will be pleased with that performance, for what makes Mitch a fun hang also prevents him from hoisting the title belt (lack of a killer instinct).

Hitting: This is fine. And not like the cartoon dog sitting in the firey room. It's just, fine. Mitch has plenty of power, and an abundance of average (right now, four of his hitters are hitting better than .315), but is lagging behind in steals. Former Tiger J.D. Martinez and current Tiger Nick Castellanos hold down the fort until Carlos Correa returns. 

Pitching: Dropping Fernando Rodney may prove to be one of the costliest non-trade transactions of the year. Not because the old man's 11 saves would make Mitch competitive in the category, but because the move probably forces him to punt saves altogether. The trade market for closers is apparently frozen, and Mitch would need a chunk of luck for any of his current relievers to work their way into the closer role of their respective teams.

Mitch has a few good starters, but the bad from the bad ones is almost enough to wipe out the good from the good. Max Scherzer is as set-it-and-forget-it as it gets in fantasy baseball. Unfortunately Mitch also sets-and-forgets Luis Castillo. 

7. Pat (Prev: 6 🢃)

 Gleyber Torres, whose forearms are bigger than my thighs, has been a $1 godsend for Pat.

Gleyber Torres, whose forearms are bigger than my thighs, has been a $1 godsend for Pat.

Truth be told, I settled on these power rankings two days ago, when Paul Goldschmidt had a measly eight home runs. Now that Goldy and Altuve are both surging, you could make the case for bumping Pat back up to 6th ... if your rankings were based on gut feel and not elaborately constructed algorithms so complicated they'd give Carl Friedrich Gauss a splitting headache if that coward didn't die a hundred and fifty years ago.

Hitting: Gleyber Torres, not any members of my own personal minor league parade, has been the most valuable prospect pickup so far. Though he's cooled considerably, Torres is a viable keeper option at a premium position. 

The two-catcher strategy is also notable. Catcher is laughably thin this year, and backstops (baseball slang for catchers) seem to sit more frequently than they did five or ten years ago. Zunino should provide power when Cervelli has days off, but with so many injuries and fewer daily pickups, both guys end up playing most days anyway. Is Zunino worth owning if he serves as a replacement for Cervelli in the C slot only once every two weeks? I don't know, haven't run the numbers. I do know that I like non-traditional strategies. Except Bryson DeChambeau, I can't stand that idiot. 

Pitching: These fellas have had a rough go of it lately. Yu Darvish had a nice start before heading to the DL with elbow inflammation. [Misplaced Hector Neris joke redacted.] Jake Junis may never win another game, and Seunghwan Oh is still here. Sonny Gray is heating up (shoulda kept him Maloof...). Hopefully J.A. Happ finds his way back to the National League so I can massively overpay for him and recapture that 2009 magic. That. Just. Happened!

6. Maloof (Prev: 10 🢁)

 Jake Handley?

Jake Handley?

The recent Ohtani news no doubt leaves a pit in Maloof's stomach (they're like conjoined twins). Tommy John surgery is on the table, and my guess is the Angels will want to get it out of the way this year rather than cross their fingers every time he takes the mound.

But what about the batter's box? If Ohtani avoids surgery, will he be able to hit while rehabbing his throwing arm? Just another thing no one has thought about for a hundred years.

Anyway, Maloof made a big jump in the rankings this month, despite making no major roster moves. So congrats to them. 

Hitting: $17 Daniel Murphy inches toward his season debut, and it couldn't come at a better time for Zach and James. Five full-time hitters have averages lower than .200 over the last two weeks, and Murphy's steady bat is needed to prevent a complete freefall in that category.

While they have nothing to be worried about when it comes to runs and power, one wonders if Maloof could be in trouble on the basepaths. Ronald Acuna swiped 46 bags last season (baseball term for steals) in 162 games, but this year he's on pace for, like, seven. Will the overhyped Braves outfielder turn on the burners (slang for run fast) when he returns from a knee injury this month maybe? Probably won't matter -- someone will fall for a Maloof Domingo Santana trap and gift them the steals they need to stay competitive.

Side note: Gary Sanchez is below the Mendoza line and still seventh on the catcher Player Rater. What a dreadful position!

Pitching: A okay starting pitching situation took a turn for the worse in recent weeks. First, they dropped Sonny Gray, who is good now. Then came Ohtani's injury, and Alex Reyes' season-ending surgery. Alex Wood is hurting like he got in a minor car crash. Their stellar releivers will keep them afloat, but it will be interesting to see how replacement starters affect their standing.

5. AB (Prev: 4 🢃)

 AB picked up Blake Snell and Michael Brantley the morning after the draft and has been reaping rewards ever since. 

AB picked up Blake Snell and Michael Brantley the morning after the draft and has been reaping rewards ever since. 

Mr. Blockbuster is dead. Long live Mr. Blockbuster.

By this point in the season, AB has usually pantsed an owner or two with breathtaking trades. Not the case this year. In fact, he's only made three piddly-ass deals all season. Look at thee bums:

AB traded: Chad Green, Matt Chapman, $16 FAAB
AB received: Danny Duffy, Gregory Polanco, Mike Clevinger

[Pusha T voice] YYYYUUUUUCCK!

Hitting: Scooter Gennett had me fooled. I dropped him after 16 games because his counting stats just weren't adding up. Seyf dropped him after 19 for goddamn CC Sabathia. Then AB picked him up and he hasn't stopped hitting for a month. Like a dang landscaper out there with all that raking (baseball term for puttin' a hurt on the ball). 

That said, AB's offense isn't all rosy. The hot-starting Didi Gregorious has one home run since April 27, Billy Hamilton and Byron Buxton (RIP) aren't getting on base enough to rack up steals, and Gregory Polanco has seen his playing time erode with the arrival of Austin Meadows. Freddie Freeman and Kris Bryant may need back surgery after the season if you know what I mean.

Pitching: From the May 9 Power Rankings: "The injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Noah Syndergaard (hasn't happened yet, but obviously the Mets will bungle something) are scar..."

Kershaw made one start in late May before heading back to the DL for a different injury, and wouldn't you know it, "Thor" hit the DL a few days prior with an owie on his finger. Add Jeurys Familia and Masahiro Tanaka to the bloody mix and AB is looking down a grim barrel in the short term. Also Hector Neris' WHIP the last few weeks looks like my senior year GPA. (Had this under Pat's section for some reason sorry fellas.)

AB will probably fall from fourth place in the coming weeks, but the long-term outlook is still pretty good, especially if he saddles up and swindles somebody like the old days. Mr. Blockbuster? More like Mr. Movies! Haha thanks.*

*They're both out of business so what does it matter anyway.

4. Kyle (Prev: 2 🢃)

 35-year-old Justin Verlander is having the best season of his career in Houston, along with a few other starters on the wrong side of 30. Hmm... (cheating)

35-year-old Justin Verlander is having the best season of his career in Houston, along with a few other starters on the wrong side of 30. Hmm... (cheating)

The disparity between Kyle's current standing and his placement in these power rankings is greater than that of any other owner. He was in 11th place yesterday, and he hasn't touched 70 points since May 3. 

Yet I am seduced by the names. Harper, Machado, Judge, Verlander, Strasburg, Cruz. A roster this loaded couldn't possibly finish in the bottom half. Could it?

Hitting: You know what the big boys do. So what about the supporting cast? The perinnially underrated Lorenzo Cain is off to a strong start in Milwaukee. Mitch Hanigar has cooled some, but is still second on the team in RBI behind only Machado. Ian Happ's leash seems long but let the guy have his Cubs I say. Wade could fall into a coma tomorrow and still finish the season with a top-three offense. The question is, will he make another move for an ace?

Pitching: Justin Verlander!

That's about it. Strasburg just hit the disabled list, and we know what that means. Burgie (I call him Burgie) hasn't stayed healthy for a full season since 2014. Zack Godley has been nothing short of an abomination for Kyle, though he did just have a solid outing in Denver. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot to get excited about. At the moment, a great offense is dragged down by a lackluster pitching staff.

3. Mil (Prev: 3)

 Last time I saw Mil he had a little beard going. In a week or two he could have something resembling the mess above. Just be sure to use balm and some oil bud.

Last time I saw Mil he had a little beard going. In a week or two he could have something resembling the mess above. Just be sure to use balm and some oil bud.

Remember all those nice things I said about Mil in this spot last time? About the good trade offers and stuff? Well the other day he offered me Brad Brach for David Price and then dropped Brach two hours later. So yeah we're back to square one.

Anyway, Mil holds steady at #3 thanks to his fabulous pitching staff and timeless team name. 

Hitting: Seven years ago, Matt Kemp led the league in runs, home runs, RBI, and handfuls of Rihanna's ass cheeks. He somehow finished second in MVP voting to steroid user and fashion terrorist Ryan Braun.

Kemp's resurgence is no longer a cute little hot start. We're ten weeks into the season and he's a top-40 hitter. He's hitting .348 over the last month. He may never steal another base (40 in 2011 man he was good), but for $3 FAAB you won't hear Mil complain. 

Pitching: Must be nice, owning all these good starters and also Charlie Morton. Mil has three of the top ten strikeout pitchers on his roster at the moment, though Morton doesn't appear to have a stranglehold on tenth place. Among starters, only Dylan Bundy and Kyle Hendricks have ERAs north of 3.10, and Mil's active stats with Bundy are much better than that. Barring injury or trade, Mil isn't going anywhere in K, ERA, or WHIP. 

 

2. Seyf (Prev: 1 🢃)

  The Revenant  (2015)

The Revenant (2015)

Full disclosure: I had Seyf #1 on June 10 before I finished writing these blurbs only one person reads (hey Nolan). But Ols’ two-closers-for-a-top-15-hitter deal (essentially), combined with his continued stretching of the lead forced my hand.

Hitting: Here is some information about Javy Baez, the greatest offensive player who ever lived:

Wilbon is wrong, of course, but he has a point: Javier Baez is terrorizing NL pitching this season. He’s got 14 home runs in about half as many at-bats as it took him to send 23 deep in 2017. On top of that, he already has two more steals than he had all of last season. At $10, he’ll be a terrific 2019 keeper if he keeps this pace.

Pitching: New rankings, same story. Gerrit Cole is somehow a Cy Young contender, Patrick Corbin strikes guys out an an elite rate for a starter. “He always had three good closers.” - Seyf’s gravestone 60 years from now.

Overall, Seyf finds himself in a position similar to 2017: His roster looks like a contending one, but he remains notably risk-averse. Last year, when Seyf returned to the podium after a six-year absence, he did so without completing a trade. He’s yet to strike a deal in 2018. Now, far be it from me to lecture someone about the virtues of trading (my roster is in shambles because of it), but when you’re in the thick of the race, you’re competing with sharks like Ols, AB, and Maloof. If Ols in particular is going to keep taking coming out on top (colluding??) in deals with his pals, Seyf’s great roster might not be able to keep up.

1. Ols (Prev: 7 🢁)

 Jen Segura joke! Haha thanks

Jen Segura joke! Haha thanks

Mike’s recent trades really threw a wrench into my deep and respected analysis. First he addressed his hitting woes by acquiring George Springer, then he shipped out Starling Marte in a package that mostly improves his starting staff. Is there a method to his madness, or does Ols just get off on the plunder of his closest friends?

While the gap between Seyf and Ols in these rankings is not as wide as the current chasm in the standings, he certainly hasn’t risen this far with just smoke and mirrors. After these recent trades and the weakest link on his roster waving goodbye to the majors, Ols appears rock solid across all categories and all positions. In my view, the only way this two-time champion finishes out of the top four is with a rash of injuries or ill-advised trades.

Hitting: In one of the smelliest trades of the year, I dealt Evan Gattis to Ols for Domingo Santana before Opening Day. As is required by my personal bylaws, I dropped Santana a few weeks later, and Ols followed suit by sending Gattis packing the next day. An unsavory deal met its deserving fate.

But Ols couldn’t let go, not completely. On May 17, he re-added Gattis, and since then the former Brave has led Mike’s team in home runs with nine. With three bombs and ten RBI on Tuesday and Wednesday, Gattis is now the top catcher on the player rater. Quite a luxury to have for only $1 FAAB.

Pitching: With Morton and DeGrom on the way in exchange for Bumgarner (a bum) and Marte, Ols’ 57-point group of pitchers is set to hold steady in the short term. The heavy investment in young, unproven arms has paid off handsomely thus far, but Walker Buehler’s rib injury is a dark cloud on the horizon of these boom times. With three seemingly solid closers and a load of exciting arms to keep him slightly ahead of pace, Ols seems poised to continue exploiting the trade market at the deadline.

Also: Ohio State.

 

 

In the next update:

  • Xanga rumor mill!! Does Mil have gingivitis?
  • Nolan ranks and reviews every bottle in his cologne collection
  • We've narrowed it down to three: Which college football program will choose for Ols?
Tim