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Fantasy Baseball Today

Rankings Review: Justin Verlander, Eugenio Suarez, Neil Ramirez and more

By Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer

Neil Ramirez has gotten looks in the ninth inning recently. (USATSI)
Neil Ramirez has gotten looks in the ninth inning recently. (USATSI)

It's that time of the week again. Let's look at the latest changes to my rankings:

  • I held out as long as I could out of respect to Joe Mauer and Buster Posey, but his two-homer game Tuesday clinched it for me: Jonathan Lucroy is the most valuable catcher in Fantasy. Yeah, his BABIP is high, which might make his batting average a little too good to be true, but he showed the makings of a high-BABIP player two years ago, when he hit .320. He's like a more powerful version of Mauer -- the good Mauer, that is -- and because Lucroy actually has the more at-bats of the two, Mauer's move first base isn't giving him such an advantage anyway.
  • Evan Gattis may still seem kind of low in the rankings given his production to date, but that's only because he sits so often. A move to left field would make him top five for sure. He's already there in Rotisserie leagues. His batting average is sure to regress when this hot streak comes to an end, but maybe not as much as most people think. And he already showed he has 40-homer potential last year.
  • I like Eugenio Suarez and think he could make an impact much like the one Brad Miller made last year, but I'm not quite ready to rank him above the class of steady-but-unspectacular shortstops like Asdrubal Cabrera, Erick Aybar, J.J. Hardy, Jhonny Peralta and Andrelton Simmons. I figure in leagues where you have to go that deep into the pool, those types are too valuable to drop even if they lack sizzle. In anything shallower, though, Suarez is the one most deserving of a flier. Another week or two of the kind of production he's offered so far will have him leapfrogging the entire group.
  • You could make a similar case for Danny Santana given the way he's performed lately, but I'm not convinced the upside is quite the same. More speed, sure, but inferior plate discipline and far less power.
  • Where I rank Brock Holt makes third base seem like a much deeper position than it is. Sorry, but I don't think he holds down an everyday job for long. He's more of a hot-hand play for the Red Sox. The same goes for Josh Harrison with the Pirates. That doesn't mean you can't play the hot hand yourself, but don't get too attached.
  • I've managed to elevate Corey Dickerson to around 60th among outfielders, which makes him must-own in leagues that use five outfield spots but waiver fodder in leagues that use only three. It's a shame because I really like the potential, but not as much as Rockies manager Walt Weiss likes his platoons.
  • I've downgraded Adam Wainwright a couple spots because of the uncertainty over his elbow, but only a couple spots. In other words, my concerns are minimal. I could say the same for Max Scherzer regarding his recent performance. The stuff is as good as always, and it's not like he can't find the strike zone. He'll bounce back.
  • Justin Verlander has been trying to bounce back for most of the last two seasons now. He did it in the playoffs last year, which is why I hold out some hope he can do it again. Don't get me wrong: I'd rather make him someone else's problem if I could still get a top-35 pitcher in return, but dumping him is not the answer. Given that he still has the 14th-hardest fastball of any starting pitcher, it's not like his skills have diminished beyond repair.
  • Phil Hughes and Tanner Roark continue to climb the rankings. Both have now achieved top-65 status in Head-to-Head points leagues, which is what I consider the must-own threshold. Ervin Santana has fallen some, but he's still must-own himself. Yeah, he's struggled of late, but in his bad years, his downfall was the long ball. For the most part, he's avoided those this year.
  • In leagues where only the top closers have value, Neil Ramirez is probably worth a stash. He may not be the Cubs' exclusive closer, but he certainly entered the mix with Hector Rondon nursing a sore elbow the last couple weeks. If he ever does overtake Rondon, he'll be the most exciting reliever anointed to the closer role since Sean Doolittle, who is obviously must-own now. Already, I'm willing to take the chance on Ramirez over more assured closers like Chad Qualls, Jenrry Mejia and LaTroy Hawkins.
 
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