DFS PLAYBOOK PRO – An exciting offering from the Alarm is the DFS Playbook Pro. I will be doing a daily breakdown of the hitters –Hitting Coach – while Howard Bender looks into the Pitchers (Pitching Coach). You can find the link to the Hitting and Pitching articles under the DFS Playbook pro tab at the top right of the screen.


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I received a query from a follower asking me what was wrong with Nelson Cruz? My response was – did you expect him to hit 50 homers this season? Here are the facts.

  1. Cruz has 18 homers, the second most in the AL (Albert Pujols has 19).
  2. Crus is on pace for 44 homers.
  3. Cruz hit 40 homers last season. That’s the only time he’s hit 40 homers. Additionally, from 2010-13 he didn’t hit 30 homers one time. He did not.
  4. Cruz has one homer in his last 19 games.

Point #4 is freaking everyone out. But note points #1-3 above. Seriously. I never understand why people can’t be realistic about players. I mean in the case of Cruz it’s staring you right in the face. Could it be any more obvious? It’s HIGHLY probable that Cruz won’t reach 44 homers, or even 40, despite his hot start. That’s just a fact. Besides that being logical given the decade of work he’s put forth at the big league level, there are plenty of other signs.

  1. Cruz has a 1.23 GB/FB ratio. That would be the highest of his career and the first time over 1.10 since 2005 when he had seven plate appearances.
  2. Cruz has a 36.5 percent fly ball ratio. That would be a career-low. You really think he’s going to set a career best for homers in the season in which he hits the fewest fly balls?
  3. Cruz has a 27.7 percent HR/F ratio. That’s a huge number that we’re not even certain to see every year in the bigs (Jose Abreu led baseball last year with a 26.9 percent mark). Cruz owns a 17.9 percent mark for his career and has never been over 21.3 percent in a season.

Unless Cruz starts hitting more fly balls there are continued homer struggles ahead, just the way it is.


Corey Dickerson is back on the DL with plantar fasciitis. How long he’s out – no one knows. After spending a couple of weeks on the DL with the issue his return was short circuited when the injury flared up again. Truth is he could be back in two weeks. It could be four. He could end up being compromised all year, and there’s even a chance he could be shut down if things don’t improve. No one knows. For now, that means Ben Paulsen and Wilin Rosario will continue to have a role, as will Brandon Barnes. In 27 games with the Rockies Barnes has hit .293 with a .341 OBP. Solid but not great. In 880 at-bats in his young career he’s hit 17 homer and stolen 18 bases. Amazing though, he’s been caught 16 times on the base paths. Awful. Barnes is a moderate play with a bit of power and speed, and really shouldn’t excite too much in mixed leagues.


“Obviously, Carson Smith has done a nice job,” manager Lloyd McClendon said prior to Wednesday’s game… I will say this: Probably on days when Smith can not go, you might see Rodney or a combination of Rodney and somebody else… we need Fernando Rodney if we’re going to be successful this year. I think he’s well on his way back to being that pitcher that we all want him to be.”

Hopefully Rodney isn’t on your waiver-wire. If he is, consider adding him.


Jesse Chavez was excellent Wednesday striking out 11 while allowing one run over seven innings. Chavez is killing it. Through 15 outings he’s the owner of a 2.52 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, and that 8.01 K/9 mark and 2.17 BB/9 are impressive numbers as well. In fact, going back to the start of last season here are the numbers with Chavez: 3.12 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 8.25 K/9, 3.03 K/BB ratio over 224.2 innings. He’s been a fine hurler for a year and a half. He’s not a world beater but solid was created to describe him. Concern? Here are his innings pitched marks the last three seasons:

2012: 129.2 IP
2013: 87.1 IP
2014: 146 IP

He should be able to reach 180-innings, one would think, and a continuation of the levels he’s produced since the start of last season seems logical.


Maddening to own is Drew Hutchison. In 22 career wins he has a 1.63 ERA. In his 17 career loses that mark skyrockets to 8.38. Talk about hit or miss. This season Hutchison has made 14 starts with a 5.33 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. Those just aren’t acceptable numbers. The 7.76 K/9 mark he has is also well below expectations given that the mark last season was 8.97. A positive though? How about a couple. His walk rate is a half batter down per nine at 2.43 which means his 3.19 K/BB ratio is actually better than the 3.07 mark he had last season. His 40 percent ground ball rate is better than the 36 percent mark he had last year. Hutchison on a roster makes sense if you’re in a mixed league. In a 15-team league I would really like to own him. In a 12-teamer he’s right on the edge of ownership, but monitor his performance as he certainly has the arm to be successful.


When Brett Lawrie hits a line drive he’s batting .875. He’s gone 28-for-32. That mark leads baseball (two others are over .850: Chris Colabello at .853 and Kris Bryant at .852). At the other end of the spectrum here are the unluckiest guys on line drives: Jordy Mercer (.515), J.T. Realmuto (.529) and Jose Bautista (.536).


Justin Upton leads baseball with a .406 batting average on grounders. The top-3 is rounded out by Paul Goldschmidt (.380) and Yasmany Tomas (.370). Clearly they hit their ground balls really hard. The three worse: Stephen Drew (.068), Adrian Gonzalez (.103) and Chase Utley (.108). Not shocking to see those names. But, Jimmy Rollins at .136 is a surprise. Didn’t he used to be fast?


Thanks to all his homers, Bryce Harper leads baseball with a .471 batting average on 70 fly balls. One other man is over .400 (Joc Pederson at .418). The third man on the list is Colby Rasmus (.392). Eric Sogard (.051), Erick Aybar (.061) and Elvis Andrus (.066).


Dee Gordon leads baseball with nine bunt hits. He’s batting .500 on his 14 attempts. Delino DeShields is batting .500 with his six bunt hits. Compare that to Billy Hamilton who has been successful on four of 14 attempts (.286 average).


Yonder Alonso is batting .317 with a .402 OBP and .415 SLG. The power is never going to be there, but the guy can hit (think James Loney). A first baseman, note that he’s making his second start of the season at third base today. Keep an eye on your league rules and his starts at the hot corner.

Juan Lagares is hitting well the last two weeks. Really well. His wOBA is .427 and he’s hit .377 with a .389 OBP and .604 SLG in those 13 games. A fifth outfield option in mixed leagues.

Martin Prado is DL bound with his shoulder issue. The Marlins will call up Jordany Valdespin to take the roster spot while Derek Dietrich has been filling in at third. Uninspiring is the word that comes to mind.

Trevor Rosenthal (biceps) is said to have been available to pitch last night. Sounds like he will be avoiding the DL. Doesn’t’ mean that Kevin Siegrist should be on waivers though.

Pablo Sandoval is finally hitting. Really he is. The last two weeks he’s appeared in 11 games hitting .372 with a .605 OBP. Finally. The guy can rip it up. When he’s right. Seems like he is right now. 


Ray Flowers can be heard Monday through Friday at 7 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 7 PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).