Major League Baseball is about to watch the calendar flip from April to May and that means everyone is gearing up for a look at the new monthly fantasy baseball rankings. If you’re in a fantasy baseball points league, rankings can be tough to adjust since everything depends on your scoring, but if you play in a fantasy baseball head-to-head league with categories or just a straight rotisserie format, you’re probably eager to see the movement. The thing is, and this is just to brace you for the possibility of less movement than you may think, this early part of the season has been dramatically affected by the truncated spring training. There have been plenty of cold starts which probably means you’re all in a “buy low fantasy baseball trade” state of mind, but so are a ton of others. Especially when there aren’t many legitimate sell high candidates to dish off to your competition. Navigating these waters is going to be tricky but those who are patient and don’t overreact will be the ones to come out on top.

Look for a buy low, sell high fantasy baseball trade article from me this weekend and maybe the picture will be clearer. In the meantime, let’s stay focused on what happened in MLB and fantasy baseball over the past 24 hours.



Fantasy Baseball Highlights


Nolan Arenado and Pete Alonso Get Heated in Mets/Cardinals Bench Clearing Brawl



OK, so the title may be a little inflammatory here as there weren’t any punches thrown, but for the second time this season, the bench of New York Mets emptied as players continue to get hit by pitches. In fact, the Mets have been hit a league-high 18 times this season and to cap it off, they didn’t even start the fight. Well, sort of. Things have been bubbling over between the two clubs and watching Pete Alonso get hit in the helmet with a pitch two days ago was, legitimately, the final straw. So, when J.D. Davis was plunked on the ankle and forced to leave the game, new Mets reliever Yoan López tried to ingratiate himself with his new teammates by throwing up and in on Arenado. The third baseman took exception and, ultimately the benches cleared. There was a lot of pushing and shoving as Alonso sought retribution for the previous day’s events, but nothing terrible happened. Arenado was ejected, but it seems unlikely any suspensions will be doled out.

What is the fantasy baseball angle here? On the surface, not much, but if you’ve listened to discussions between me and both Jim Bowden and Adam Ronis, we’re looking at potential fantasy adjustments, not because of the hit batsmen, but because of the reasoning behind it – the inconsistency of the baseball. If you didn’t catch Mets pitcher Chris Bassitt’s rant the other day, click here to check it out. Basically, he is accusing MLB of not just deadening the ball, but also using a variety of different types of baseball. Seams are raised more on some, for example, which not only affects a pitcher’s ability to control it, but the drag on the ball so it travels differently off the bat. As a result, we’ve been talking about raising the value of premium power hitters, guys who can hit bombs in any park, while lowering our expectations on those late-round power guys who hover around the 20-homer mark. We’ve also discussed the possibility of streaming more mediocre pitchers, depending on their match-ups. If the ball is being deadened and we are seeing less power and scoring, the mediocre hitters fall and the mediocre pitchers rise. Not a huge swing, mind you, but enough to really think about which power guys you may be trading away or even thinking about acquiring. Additional research is necessary and being done as we speak, but we want to get you ready and properly prepared for the next five months of the regular season.

José Ramírez Already Looks Like Fantasy Baseball MVP Candidate



Few people talk about taking the Cleveland Guardians third baseman with a top-five overall pick in fantasy baseball drafts, yet he always seems to not only find his way into that top group, but also prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that we should be talking about him more. Through 18 games and 77 plate appearances, Ramirez is slashing a robust .353/.416/.735 with six home runs and a league-leading 25 RBI. Even though he was on the losing side of things, Ramirez’ two-homer game against the Angels was something we’ve actually grown to expect, especially as he had gone seven games without a long ball. You just knew he was going to break out with a big game and Shohei Ohtani was his latest victim. We can patiently wait for him to start stealing bases as those will come in time, but so long as he continues to rake like this, we have zero complaints.  

Should We Sell High on Los Angeles Angels OF Taylor Ward?



Yes, I said we would address this stuff more over the weekend, but after Ward went 3-for-4 and was a single short of hitting for the cycle, he probably jumps off the page for many. He’s enjoyed a strong start to the year, batting .395 with four home runs, nine RBI and 13 runs scored, but at 28-years-old, we have to determine if he is a late bloomer or if this is just a hot start you want to extract more trade value from. He’s never been able to garner a full-time job with the Angels and while things do look promising, you have to understand that the Angels still want to give Jo Adell an opportunity to take the outfield job and run with it. Until he gets hot, Ward should see some decent playing time, but it’s borrowed playing time, in my opinion. Ride the wave while you can right now, but be careful of who you drop if you see him sitting on your fantasy baseball waiver wire. People in shallow leagues need to be careful of giving up too soon on a player for a flavor of the month like Ward.

Pablo López Continues to Dominate for the Miami Marlins



Speaking of potential sell-high candidates, Lopez has fantasy owners who roster him all sorts of giddy while those who don’t are suffering from some serious FOMO. After yesterday’s stellar performance of six scoreless frames with six strikeouts, the 26-year-old righty is now on a 18.1-inning scoreless streak and has a season-long ERA of 0.39 with a 0.73 WHIP and 23 strikeouts over 23.1 innings. People are going to fall all over themselves trying to acquire him. But do we want to trade Lopez away? Adam Ronis made a good point on the latest Ante Up podcast when he talked about not having enough shares of Lopez and the reasoning behind it – the shoulder. Last season, Lopez did experience some shoulder issues, and there hasn’t been anything done to correct it, outside of rest. Is that enough of a red flag, though? For me, I would continue to hold Lopez and use him for his next few starts. Then I would look to see who is willing to pony up the biggest return. Just because there’s some concern doesn’t mean have to trade him early. You can enjoy the production and get your competition really salivating over him. And if they don’t, you do what…? That’s right. You ride that wave until it breaks. 

Additional Shout-Outs:

MacKenzie Gore looked fantastic, striking out 10 over just five innings. He’ll be tough to demote, even when Blake Snell returns.

The Twins Joe Ryan was on-point, limiting the Tigers to just one hit over seven innings. Starting to become a bigger fan of his lately.

Congratulations to New York Yankees OF Giancarlo Stanton who hit his 350th career home run. He is the fastest to 350 in the history of MLB.

Rays starter Drew Rasmussen, who has the bonus of RP and SP eligibility, fanned nine over six scoreless innings against the Mariners. He’s a fantasy baseball points league dream so far.

Zac Gallen looked sharp, limiting the Dodgers to just two hits over six scoreless innings.



MLB Injuries


Atlanta Braves Activate Ronald Acuna Jr from the 10-Day Injured List



Oh, happy day! After batting .368 with a .941 OPS over 25 plate appearances, the Braves have deemed Acuna ready for prime time and have activated him for Thursday’s game. Original expectations had Acuna missing roughly the first month of the season so we are slightly ahead of schedule and good to go. Even better is that we’ve seen Acuna steal three bases during his rehab stint, so our fears of him being held back on the basepaths because of the knee seem to be disappearing as well. If you can get him into your lineup now, we highly recommend it. If not, be sure to set that lineup Sunday night for Monday’s games.

San Francisco Giants Send Joc Pederson for an MRI



Ain’t that the way? Such a bummer as Pederson was removed from Wednesday’s game with groin tightness and now, he’s headed for an MRI. We’ll wait for the result today before throwing our hands up in the air and accuse the fantasy baseball gods of hating us, but with the start Pederson has had, he kind of seemed like that ideal sell-high candidate. Through the first 16 games, Pederson was slashing .353/.382/.745 with six home runs and while, it’s always tough to trade someone who is performing at that level, you also have to take into account the fact that he’s 30 years old and has never hit over .250 in a given season. The downfall was coming, but we were more hoping it would be at the expense of our competition and not us. He seems destined for the 10-day IL now and that is, obviously, going to make it tougher to deal him.

Other Injuries:

Marco Gonzales, SP SEA – wrist contusion, but no structural damage

Ryan Pressly, RP HOU – not ready to return from the IL, according to manager Dusty Baker

Adalberto Mondesi, SS KC – headed to the 10-day IL with structural damage found in his knee.



Thursday’s MLB Best Bets Today


Yesterday’s Best Bets: 2-0

MLB Season Best Bets: 13-4



We’re going to play it safe today with all the day-game action and that safety starts with the Brewers facing the Pirates. I’m a firm believer that Freddy Peralta will right the ship for himself and Milwaukee and he gets a fairly soft opponent in the Pittsburgh lineup. Meanwhile, José Quintana is on the bump for the Pirates and that guy gives out hits and runs like he’s Oprah on her birthday. The Brewers haven’t exactly gone off on left-handed pitching, but that starts today with Quintana.

Pick: Milwaukee Brewers Money Line (-165 on DK Sportsbook)

Pick: Milwaukee Brewers Run Line -1.5 (+105 on DK Sportsbook)



We head back to the Marlins with lefty Trevor Rogers on the mound for Miami as the Washington lineup is as punchless as can be. Outside of Juan Soto and Josh Bell on a REALLY good day, there’s little to no concern here. I’m actually surprised the juice is this low for it, but maybe someone in Vegas believes Patrick Corbin is still a good pitcher. He is not.

Pick: Miami Marlins Money Line (-140 on DK Sportsbook)



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