(Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire)
As a fantasy baseball writer, our job is to be out in front of trends, streaks, the next man up in a save situation, etc. We do our best to forecast breakouts, regression, and the next big thing in fantasy in general. In the preseason, we do our best to arm ourselves with the information that will help you succeed. And sometimes, a seemingly random name has a big night early in the season. Like, 3 HR big night. And sometimes, you dismiss the guy because he wasn’t on your radar before the season or ever for that matter. And sometimes…you’re just straight up wrong.
Faithful readers. I was wrong about Christian Villanueva. I sat here a few weeks ago telling you to ignore his 3 HR night and move along. He’s done nothing but prove me wrong since then. Last night’s 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI line from the San Diego 3rd baseman was just another great game for him as he’s been red hot this year. He now has a 4-game hit streak and 3 multi-hit efforts over that stretch. He’s currently 3rd in the National League, and the power I thought was fluky in the PCL last year has translated quite well to the big leagues. It’s one thing to be wrong, but it’s another to admit you were wrong. I was wrong. Go pick up Christian Villanueva. If it’s not too late.
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:
Asdrubal Cabrera (SS, NYM) – 4-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. The New York Mets have been one of the biggest surprises of the year so far with their best start in franchise history. Old names like Cabrera and Todd Frazier have been swinging hot bats, and last night was no exception for the seasoned veteran. He’s currently top 10 in the National League in runs scored and homeruns, but be wary of that .370 BABIP. Regression is coming, but enjoy this while it lasts!
Mallex Smith (CF, TB) – 4-4, R, 2B. I’m really feeling Mallex Smith especially now that he will be locked into the lineup with Kevin Kiermaier on the mend for literally forever. He has 25 SB upside, and I’m encouraged by the 10% K rate he’s posted on the season so far. He still needs to put it all together for a sustained period of time before I’m full out trusting him, but he will have ample opportunity to do so.
Adam Duvall (LF, CIN) – 3-5, R, 2 2B, RBI. The entire Reds’ offense has been lethargic thus far, but they broke out with a season-high 14 hits last night. Duvall is on pace to join the 25/25 club. That, of course, would be the vaunted 25 HR/25% strikeout rate club.
Wilson Ramos (C, TB) – 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI. Ramos had literally just 1 single RBI coming into this one, so I guess you could call this his “breakout” game. It’s been a slow start for the backstop, but there’s double-digit homerun power just waiting to be woken up in 2018. The groundball rate has also been astronomically high, so be patient here, folks.
Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) – 3-4, R, 3 RBI, BB. Another day, another big stat line from Gary Sanchez. He continues to heat up on the young season, and over the last 4 games, he has a stat line of 8-18, 5 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 3 2B. Before this 4-game stretch, he had just 2 hits on the season. He’s locked in.
Miguel Andujar (3B, NYY) – 2-4, R, 2 2B, RBI, BB. He’s currently penciled in as the Yankees’ starting 3rd baseman, and that’s how it should stay. He provides far more upside than Ronald Torreyes or Jace Peterson at the hot corner, and I don’t think it will take much for him to wrestle more reps away from Brandon Drury. This was his best offensive game of the season, but I expect many, many more. As long as he gets the playing time…
Tyler Austin (1B, NYY) – 2-4, R, 2 2B, RBI, BB. It was an offensive explosion all around for the Bronx Bombers as they mauled the sacrificial lamb that is the 2018 Miami Marlins. He now has a 5-game hit streak, but that streak has been spread out thanks to his sporadic playing time. Doesn’t help his case when he fights people and gets suspended. Like his teammate Andujar, playing time is a question moving forward.
Charlie Blackmon (CF, COL) – 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. He seems to be picking up right where he left off last year as he is now top 10 in runs scored, homeruns, and RBI this season. To top that off, he’s rocking a 12% walk rate, which we pray he can maintain or stay close to all season long. This is now his 3rd straight game with a bomb.
Didi Gregorius (SS, NYY) – 2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB. Not only is he Babe Ruth, but he’s currently got an 18% walk rate as well! Didi is off to a blistering start with a .327/.446/.796 triple slash, and he’s now in the top 10 in runs scored, homeruns, and RBI in the American League.
Aaron Judge (RF, NYY) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. It was a milestone game for the young slugger as he became the fastest to 60 HR in Major League history last night. BUT he’s not a one-trick pony as he now has a 12-game hit streak. Also, it’s encouraging to see JUST a 23% K rate on the young season. Maybe one of the league’s better hitters got even better?
Bryce Harper (RF, WAS) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB. Ok, he’s actually playing a video game on Beginner difficulty right now. Last night’s dong was A BROKEN BAT HOMERUN. Who does that?! He clubbed his Major League-leading 8th homerun last night, and he now leads the National League in homers, runs scored, and RBI. The walk rate is 26%, and the ISO is .463, and everything is just looking simple to him in 2018. He feels like the 2017 Giancarlo Stanton to me. We knew it was in there somewhere, but we just didn’t know when it would happen.
Billy Hamilton (CF, CIN) – 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB. He now has hits in 4 of his last 5 games, and who says he’s not an average guy?! The 12 runs scored also maintain the narrative that he’s more than just steals. Let’s see if it lasts in that horrible offense.
Howie Kendrick (LF, WAS) – 1-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, BB. He now has just 2 games without a hit this season, and he’s slashing an impressive .309/.345/.527. He’s carried some sneaky value so far hitting in the middle of a very dangerous lineup. He definitely needs to improve on the 3% walk rate, though.
Trevor Story (SS, COL) – 2-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SB. This is actually Story’s 2nd combo meal of the season, and it came on a night where the game time temperature was 27 degrees. And it was snowing. Story is most definitely sticking to the script with a 35% K rate so far. Still, you’ve gotta love the power-speed capabilities here.
Nomar Mazara (RF, TEX) – 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI. This was the youngster’s best game of the season so far, and he has now hit safely in 6 of his last 7 games. His line drive and hard contact rates are both up this year, and he looks poised to build off his solid season last year. I love him hitting in the 3 hole, which he has done each of the last 3 games.
Matt Kemp (LF, LAD) – 2-2, R, HR, 3 RBI. He’s been moving up, down, and sideways in that lineup as the Dodgers seem to just be sticking him wherever they need him. And he’s been responding! He’s now slashing .333/.391/.548 in LA, and I’m kind of buying in, I think?
Yasmani Grandal (C, LAD) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, BB. Grandal slugged a grand slam last night in the 9th, and that now makes it a 6-game hit streak for the backstop. Catcher is a dreadful position for the most part this year, but Grandal was one of many at the position with a solid line yesterday. He’s been typical Grandal with a .460 OBP and double-digit walk rate on the year so far.
Jed Lowrie (2B, OAK) – 1-4, 3 RBI, BB. This one is for you, Elvis Andrus owners. Lowrie now owns a 3-game hit streak and has gone 6-14, 2 R, HR, 6 RBI over that stretch. There are far worse options out there if you’re looking for an injury replacement.
Khris Davis (LF, OAK) – 1-4, 2B, RBI, BB. He’s been hot as of late as he now has a 6-game hit streak. He started the year off slowly, but he’s righted the ship and now finds himself in the top 10 for HR and RBI.
George Springer (RF, HOU) – 2-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. This makes it 3 multi-hit games in his last 4. This blurb is as small as the amount of offense in last night’s Paxton-Keuchel duel.
Starling Marte (LF, PIT) – 1-3, 3B, RBI, BB, SB. He’s currently tied for 2nd in the National League in steals with a few others, but he now has a 4-game hit streak to boot. There were a lot of question marks surrounding him coming into this year after last year’s suspension, but he’s looked just fine so far. I love the 12% walk rate pairing nicely with that 17% K rate.
Odubel Herrera (CF, PHI) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. I continue to be an Odubel truther despite so many potential trade partners telling me they “just aren’t big Odubel fans.” Enough of that noise! He’s been held hitless in just 2 games, and he’s now slashing .340/.397/.491 for the suddenly red-hot Phillies.
Nelson Cruz (DH, SEA) – 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. This was his first dong since returning from the DL. He’s now hit a homerun in 3 of the 5 games he’s played in this year. WHAT A PACE!