Last week, Scott Chu introduced this year’s Batter’s Box with some hot takes from the opening series in Japan, giving us a sweet little tease of what is to come for the 2019 season. But now is the real Opening Day! A day not quite like any other, a true American holiday! These few weeks are the best time in sports. A fresh baseball season brings hope to us all, March Madness is busting our brackets, the NHL playoffs are coming into view, and some people are still watching the NBA.
Now that each team finally has a game under its belt, what else can we do but speculate rampantly about the impact this one performance will have on the remainder of the season?
There’s no man quite like speedster Trea Turner to kick start our energy for this season. Back in February, Dave Martinez presented a goal for Turner’s season. He said that he was looking for Turner to attempt around 80 steals this year. Turner attempted 52 last season and 54 in the year prior (but only in 98 games). Based on that 2017 performance, this challenge seems attainable. However, steals have become more rare. What are we to reasonably expect? Turner gave us a nice taste of things to come as he went 2-4, 3 SB facing Jacob deGrom. Now on pace for 486 steals, it is easy to see Turner has this in the bag.
Let’s see who else started the 2019 season on the right foot:
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, San Diego Padres) — 2-3. The debut was nothing special, but it’s way better than not playing. A 20-year-old getting two hits in his first three big league at bats is a great sign. It always refreshing to see these types of players come up and start performing well. Welcome to the bigs!
Robinson Cano (2B, New York Mets) — 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Another debut of its own kind, Cano did what no Met could do last year: stand beside deGrom and lift the rest of their team on their backs. He took matters into his own hands, cranking a homer in his first Met at-bat against Max Scherzer. Overlooked somewhat in drafts because of his half-year last year and age, Cano’s sweet swing can carry fantasy teams on top of the Mets.
Adalberto Mondesi (2B/SS, Kansas City Royals) — 2-4, R, 2 3B, RBI. Possibly this offseason’s most controversial player, Mondesi got to show off his speed in a less conventional way. Triples won’t get you anything close to the home runs and steals we are expecting from Mondesi, but there at least is some excitement in his bat.
Trey Mancini (1B/OF/DH, Baltimore Orioles) — 3-4, R, 2B, RBI. As brought up by our own Ryan Amore, Mancini is basically Nomar Mazara but taken more than 100 picks later. Seriously, they even have the same FB/GB and HR/FB rates. If he can elevate the ball a bit more, Mancini may be the steal of the draft.
Luke Voit (1B/DH, New York Yankees) — 1-1, R, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB. One of the positional battles we all be watching, Voit and Greg Bird both showed some power, popping a home run each. The difference however, was in their other at-bats. Voit added two walks while Bird struck out in his first three at-bats. Voit also had the honor of batting fourth behind Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Kolten Wong (2B, St. Louis Cardinals) — 2-3, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. Wong has had some quiet years since a promising 2015 campaign. On no one’s fantasy radar, Wong picked up a couple home runs to kick off the year. Sadly, those hits may soon be forgotten as he most likely will only pick up a handful more through out the year.
Harrison Bader (OF, St. Louis Cardinals) — 2-3, R, HR, RBI. Did you miss out on Ramon Laureano? Well, do I have something for you! Bader is the National League version of Laureano, a potential late-round flier with 20/20 upside.
Tim Beckham (3B/SS, Seattle Mariners) — 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. You can’t start any hotter than Beckham. I feel like I have to come up with some clever baseball phrase to compete with Bend it like Beckham. Bash it like Beckham? Bop it like Beckham? It’ll come to me. He’s already hit three homers and is 7-12.
Domingo Santana (OF, Seattle Mariners) — 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 4 RBI. What’s going on in Seattle? Make a bunch of trades and someone is destined to do something. Santana is looking to regain his 2017 form in Seattle as he may have a steady spot in the lineup. With his production so far, he’s likely to keep it too. We know what he can do with the bat. If he’s still on the wire, find some room for him.
Enrique Hernandez(1B/2B/SS/OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) — 2-3, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB. Hernandez won the starting 2B role out of spring training, as Dave Roberts stated Chris Taylor will be in the super utility role. Hernandez still has plenty versatility himself. Most importantly, he popped more than 20 homers last year while cutting his strikeout rate by more than 6%. He’s made improvements, and with a starting role, he has the opportunity to continue.
Christian Walker (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks) — 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. I’m not sure if this blurb is meant to encourage grabbing Walker or to dissuade you from considering Jake Lamb (or even both). Manager Torey Lovullo has said that he will be platooning Walker and Lamb, as Lamb has struggled against lefties. If Walker keeps hitting and the platoon proves to work, it may be difficult to own either player.
Austin Barnes (C/2B, Los Angeles Dodgers) — 3-4, 2 R, HR, RBI. With Yasmani Grandal leaving to free agency, Barnes became the clear starting catcher for Dodgers, only being spelled by Russell Martin every so often. Barnes came out strong in the first game of the year with a few hits, including a dinger. In the barren desert that is catcher, any potential consistent offense is enticing.
Elvis Andrus (SS, Texas Rangers) — 3-4, R, HR, 2 RBI. Andrus experienced a nice offensive breakout in 2017, but many questioned if he could keep up that production. Unfortunately we couldn’t see if the breakout was real as Andrus’ 2018 campaign was derailed by a broken elbow. An Opening Day homer is a great start to prove the critics wrong.
Javier Baez (2B/3B/SS, Chicago Cubs) — 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. Baez launched himself into the top tier of fantasy performers last year with his 34 homers, 21 steals, and near .300 average. Despite this, his plate discipline instills fear in many a fantasy owner. Only striking out once in his season debut, Baez clobbered two home runs. A 2:1 home run to strikeout ratio will be quite a way to ensure his repeat dominance.
Joc Pederson (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers) — 3-5, 3 R, 2 HR, 2B, 4 RBI. What year is it? 2016? Are we ready to jump on the Joc hype train again? Pederson may have easily gone undrafted in your league. He’s been a shaky presence in the Dodgers lineup for the past three years as we’ve been waiting for his breakout. If Pederson keeps hitting, he will sit nicely atop one of the most potent offenses in the league.
Jhoulys Chacin (SP, Milwaukee Brewers) — 2-2, 2 R, HR, RBI. Sure, this doesn’t matter for fantasy, but who cares? It’s Opening Day and a pitcher smacked a home run! Chacin knows how to get the W. Get a couple hits, score a couple runs, mash a tater and twirl a handful of good enough innings.
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)