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Thursday 30th Mar 2017

As we wind down the 2015 season, I always like to finish off with two lists (because we all love lists, don't we?).

The first is players whom I am shying away from in the coming season, and this week I will touch on them. But, as I reviewed my lists and stats and players, I was surprised to see how few players there were who made me nervous. A good example is Yunel Escobar, the Nationals third sacker who is hitting .321-9-46, surprisingly hot for a hitter who has been a steady, but hardly overambitious fantasy player over the past decade. However, Escobar has had some fine years (.299-14-76 in 2009) but was never really a double-digit cost factor. In fact, this year, in NL LABR, Eric Karabell paid a reasonable $9 for Escobar, so it isn't like any owners had unreasonable expectations, and I would suspect Escobar's 2016 price tag will be right around the same. 

So, who do I think might have a gap next year between dollar value and actual production? Well, I hate to feel like I am ragging on a player but I just don't see the success of Taylor Jungmann continuing.

Jungmann has comported himself beyond belief since his call-up, going 9-6, 3.05 over 116.3 innings with a 1.193 WHIP, light years beyond his minor league 4.05 ERA and 1.358 WHIP across 505.3 frames. Over his last two starts for the Brewers, Jungmann is 0-1, 9.31 in 9.6 innings, so I believe the correction has already begun. I would trade him before the season began if I owned Jungmann in a keeper league, and let another owner take the risk next season. And I promise to either admit I was wrong if Jungmann wins 12 games next year, or not say "I told you so" if there is a meltdown.

At 28, Gerardo Parra is going into his prime years and he certainly has had a prime season, going .295-14-45 with 11 steals and 76 runs scored. Parra has flirted with such a line before, going .292-8-46 over a similar complement of games in 2011 for Arizona, but that is the apex of his skill set and I would both not expect Parra to ever top that and then figure he will settle back next year to the .273-7-36 he hit in 2012. He is .196-0-4 over the past couple of weeks, by the way.

This is a hard one to wrirte, but Jeff Samardzija has regressed. The wildness that plagued the Shark early in his career has returned such that over his last four starts, he is 1-3, 6.66 (now there is the anti-ERA, no?) with a 1.684 WHIP and his season totals are now 9-12, 4.89, with a 1.303 WHIP. If he goes for $12 in an auction next year, I would consider that a gamble, not a bargain at this point.

No one loved the ascent of the Giants' Chris Heston more than me. I actually picked Heston up as a reserve player in NL LABR and he was obviously a free boost to my team and his 11-10, 3.55 season with a 1.265 WHIP has been great. But, Heston is not overpowering, with 120 whiffs over 159.6 innings and his recent ineffectiveness prompted a demotion to Triple-A Fresno. Heston is back, but over his last three starts, he is 0-3, 5.79 with a 1.786 WHIP and like Jungmann, I fear the league has caught up with the San Franciscan. I do like him better than Jungmann, however, as a gamble next year, but sadly, that is not a ringing endorsement.

So, let's change our focus to some of the DFS picks who might be fun in the coming week. The Cubs are so full of great prospects, we all know, but how about journeyman Chris Coghlan, who has been smoking hot the past week, going .400-1-4, playing all six games, and hitting safely in eight of his last ten games with 13 hits (.342), 11 runs, and five knocks. Coghlan qualifies at first, second, third, and the outfield (left and right), depending upon rules, and could be a fun and cheap DFS play.

Anthony DeSclafani has been a trooper, logging 169 innings. DeSclafani was originally drafted by the Jays, then traded to the Fish, and hit the Reds by virtue of the Mat Latos swap last year. He was knocked around at first--kind of the opposite of Jungmann--but has really got it together the last months, dropping his ERA to 3.67 and his WHIP to 1.314 for the season, and over his last four starts, the righty is 2-1, 2.08, with an 0.962 WHIP and 29 strikeouts over 26 innings. 

DeSclafani's AL counterpart might be Roenis Elias, who has a 5-8, 4.07 mark for the year over 101.6 innings, but the Mariner has been hot over his last three starts, going 1-1, 3.38, with a 1.250 WHIP and 18 whiffs over 16 innings. Elias pitches in a nice environment for hurlers and is also a potential cheap DFS play, depending upon the match-up.

DFS Watch: OK, Mastersball is dedicated to covering the fun market of Daily Games. In fact, you know we play FantasyScore and participate in the FanDuel Tout Wars contest (you play against all the Touts every Tuesday at the Tout Wars Challenge), so let's add to our daily MastersDaily coverage and simply pick a couple of series/games/starts this week that look good.

Pitching to Watch: We are talking about tonight but I have to take Clayton Kershaw at home against the Rockies and Jon Gray. Kershaw by himself can deliver enough points (in the 20-25 range) on a regular basis that you can live with the likes of Jordy Mercer filling up the cheap gaps. Kershaw takes on the tougher Pirates over the weekend but again it is at Dodger Stadium, and Kershaw is so good this time of year, it is hard to ignore him.

Hitting to Watch: Boston and Toronto get it on at Rogers this coming weekend, and that could be a fun series to stack some hitters, especially this coming Saturday when Rick Porcello (5.06 ERA) faces Marcus Stroman (5.40 ERA). True, Porcello pitched well his last start, and Stroman is just getting back into a post-surgical groove, but next Saturday, I am not sure the hitters on either side of the bench will care.

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