(Photo by Jeff Chevrier/Icon Sportswire)
Yesterday afternoon, amidst the rain and freezing cold temperatures and general unpleasantness at Yankee Stadium, the Bronx faithful booed newly acquired slugger Giancarlo Stanton after a 5K performance. That’s pretty shady even for the Bronx, but maybe they were just cold and angry. You know who didn’t get booed? Didi Gregorius, who played out of his mind yesterday with an astounding line of 4-4, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 R, 2B, 1 BB. Holy smokes! Gian-WHO? See, this is the scariness of the Yankees lineup in 2018. If one man falls or slumps for a night or a week, someone will be there to pick the rest of the squad up. Anyways, Didi provides tons of fantasy intrigue this year especially if he gets more at-bats in the 4 spot of that lineup like he did yesterday. And while I’m excited about Didi, I am aware that there are so many red flags in the underlying numbers that seemingly contradict the 2-year power breakout. For a much less clunky (and far more thorough) explanation of Didi and his transformation into a power threat, check out Dave Cherman’s terrific article!
Here’s what else caught my eye yesterday:
Carlos Correa (SS, HOU) – 2-2, 3 R, 3 RBI, HR, BB. Well, it looks like the bruised toe from the last few days affected him…oh…not at all. Case in point: he hit an inside the park homerun in this one. Everything is fine for the Houston superstar, and I desperately wish I had grabbed at least one share.
Josh Reddick (OF, HOU) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI. Reddick went yard not once but twice in this one with the second being a game-clinching grand salami in the 7th inning. Although this may have been his best game of the year, I still think there’s some fantasy intrigue here. They’ve batted him all over the lineup so far this year, but if he can get regular at-bats in the 5-hole, then I’m going to be VERY intrigued. Like multiple chin-strokes intrigued.
Bryce Harper (OF, WAS) 1-3, HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, BB. Ho-hum. Another day in 2018, another homerun for Bryce Harper. That makes 3 straight games with a homerun and 4 in the last 3 games. Dare we say this is the year we’ve all been waiting for? It’s certainly a great start, BUT keep in mind he has faced the Reds and Braves pitching staffs (staves?) so far this season.
Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL) – 3-5, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2B. Hitting in front of Freddie Freeman has its perks, doesn’t it? He’s still yet to get the wheels going this season with 0 SB, but they’ll come in due time. The 75-80 runs scored prediction I called for in the pre-season may feel conservative by July.
Freddie Freeman (1B, ATL) – 2-3, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 BB, HR. I am very upset that I cannot find my Freddie Freeman jersey. It’s somewhere in this apartment! I just know it. UGH. Anyways, my favorite player is currently hitting .400 this season with an OBP of .600. Yes, yes, tiny sample size and all that, but it’s fun to look at those things with just a handful of at-bats in the books. Note that Freeman now has 2 3-walk games this year and one 2 walk game. He walks the line. Because you’re mine.
Preston Tucker (OF, ATL) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI. One scoring fest in Washington will not have me racing to the wire for Tucker…just yet. However, this was his 3rd multi-hit game of the season. Add that to the fact that Tucker has been the Braves 5 or 6 hole hitter in every game so far, and you’ve got me stroking my chin, sir! Oh, and for what it’s worth, he has a higher average exit velocity than the guy mentioned right above him so far in 2018. Stay tuned.
Andrew Benintendi (OF, BOS) – 2-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB, SB. An Aaron Rodgers quote comes to mind here as everyone freaking out about Benny Baseball just needs to “R-E-L-A-X.” See? He’s just fine. 1st hit of the season two nights ago. 1st steal last night. 1st HR tonight?
Hanley Ramirez (1B/DH, BOS) – 2-6, 2 RBI, 2B. Hanley just continues to produce from that sexy 3-hole (there’s a joke in there somewhere), and this now makes 3 multi-hit efforts in the last 4 games. I knew he was an interesting name to snag in the latter parts of my drafts, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it after being burned recently. Please note that Hanley has as many stolen bases as Dee Gordon.
Brian Anderson (3B, MIA) – 1-4, 2 R, 2 BB. I really didn’t think I’d be touting the fantasy relevance of a Miami Marlin at this point in the season, but here we are. The youngster is currently hitting .320 this season, and that’s mainly due to him hitting safely in every single game so far. There’s been absolutely nothing of note in the counting stats because #TheMarlins, but Anderson could be a nice play for average and OBP this season.
Cameron Maybin (OF, MIA) – 3-5, 1 RBI, 2B, SB. I refuse to fall for this same Maybin song and dance! Every year he lures us in with his speed just sitting out there on the waiver wire. He appears to be fantasy relevant for about a month or two and inevitably gets injured. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Avisail Garcia (OF, CHW) – 3-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, HR. Seemingly always on the verge of a massive breakout, he finally put together a decent line last year with an 18 HR season to go with his triple slash of .330/.380/.506. This makes 2 straight games with a homerun, and it’s worth noting that his average exit velocity this season has been off-the-charts. 25 HR upside, but 18 is more likely.
Tim Anderson (SS, CHW) – 3-4, 3 R, 1 RBI, HR, 2 SB. His plate discipline is the stuff nightmares are made of, but there is no denying the power-speed combo he brings to the table. So far this season, his 3 HR/3 SB fall right in line with that. For every night like this, there will be 4 with 3 Ks and nary a walk.
Josh Donaldson (3B, TOR) – 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB, HR. The second game in a row with a homer. He didn’t have a good opening series against the Yankees, but he is really “bringing the rain” against the White Sox. I hope you bought him at the slight discount he came at this season.
Tommy Pham (OF, STL) – 3-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2B, HR, SB. The hallowed combo meal for all my ESPN podcast fans and now a 4-game hitting streak to boot. The concerns about his eye may have been overblown, and nights like these make me think he’s going to be worth the high draft day cost.
Marcell Ozuna (OF, STL) – 1-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, HR. Ozuna finally dongs for the first time in his new digs, and it couldn’t come soon enough for his owners. Beware of this prime candidate for regression after an outlier 37 HR season last year. Also, did you know “The Big Bear” is his nickname? Can you imagine Kolten Wong just sauntering up to Ozuna in the clubhouse and shouting, “hey, BIG BEAR!” and slapping his rear-end? Me too.
Christian Yelich (OF, MIL) – 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR. Hit his first homerun in a Milwaukee uniform off of Dominic Leone, which made Cardinals fans be like “how soon until it’s Holland time?” Yelich has a great average exit velocity so far this year, which bodes well for his home ballpark. Now, we just need to get him running.
Dee Gordon (2B, SEA) 3-5, 1 R, 1 SB. Finally caught up to Hanley Ramirez in steals this season. Thank goodness! If Hanley ends April with as many or more steals than Dee, I’ll eat my hat.
Joe Panik (2B, SF) – 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR. Joe “Babe Ruth” Panik slugged his 3rd dong of the season last night, but this one wasn’t off Clayton Kershaw. It is interesting/sad to note that all 3 of his homers have been solo shots this year. Get on base, Giants! Panik is now hitting .421 in his hot start to the 2018 campaign.
Jonathan Schoop (2B, BAL) – 3-5, 3 R, 1 RBI, 2B, HR. After a slow first week, it’s good to see him get going. This was his first HR of the year, but it won’t be his last. Or so all the Orioles fans who write for this blog hope. Wouldn’t THAT be something?
David Peralta (OF, ARI) – 2-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, HR. Health and not talent has been the reason why Peralta hasn’t been more relevant the last few years. He now has a 4-game hitting streak going and has hit safely in all but one of the Snakes’ games this season. The triple slash is at .304/.385/.435 on the young season, and I give him two chin strokes of intrigue.
Chad Pinder (2B, OAK) – 2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2B, HR. Chad Pinder quietly hit 15 HR last season, and if he keeps slotting in at the 2-hole this year, I could be into this. Oakland isn’t as void of talent as perception might have you believe, but I think lineup position will be everything to his value.
Shohei Ohtani (DH, LAA) – 3-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR. It was the first HR of Ohtani’s young Major League career as the Angels just teed off on poor Josh Tomlin last night. Wait…why was he hitting out of the 8 hole?! I love this stat line, but I do NOT love that lineup position.
Christian Villanueva (3B, SD) – 3-4, 4 R, 5 RBI, 3 HR. Villanueva will surely be the waiver wire favorite of lazy owners who sort by ESPN’s Player Rater rankings when looking for additions. This will most undoubtedly be the best night of his
career season, and there is absolutely no reason to buy into this performance. But you know that already. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading things like Pitcher List.