April is drawing to a close and almost an entire month’s worth of MLB gameplay data is almost behind us. Big news hit this week with the levying of an 80-day suspension on Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte for use of PEDs; due to his lack of availability, he has been flat-out dropped from the List at least for the foreseeable future. Perhaps in the deepest leagues will folks elect to hang on to him with a bench spot, but his utility in the short- and medium-terms is rendered moot by the suspension so we’ll just move on from ranking him for the time being. Some other breakout performances have been rewarded with hefty promotions, while struggling stragglers are either being dropped substantially or shown the door. Time on the DL continues to throw expectations for select stars into chaotic uncertainty, and we address some of that below in the appended notes.
Lett’s review the Top 150 hitters in fantasy baseball:
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- Josh Donaldson and Adrian Beltre are expected to miss extended time with no word as to ETA back on the active roster or whether a rehab assignment will be necessary between now and then. They’re seeing some demotion based on the prognoses, but they are no-brainer stashes in your DL spot and you’ll just have to get by otherwise until their value is restored.
- With no significant word on how long David Dahl’s rehab assignment will be as he recovers from a March rib injury, we have contingently removed him from the rankings. He will re-enter them as we deem it appropriate with more accurate and time-critical fantasy projections of his value. Meanwhile, Lucas Duda has gone on record saying he expects to be back from a hyperextended elbow as soon as he is eligible to come off the DL, but he’s still been tentatively demoted.
- Trea Turner, Jason Kipnis, Matt Kemp and Jackie Bradley, Jr. are all back from the DL and enjoying varied levels of success in their returns. Especially with the latter three’s rankings, expect them to be some of the most volatile and flexible on the List in May since we have so little recent sample data on which to go. Turner is still an elite fantasy option and will be treated as such until we have reason to believe otherwise.
- Jean Segura is to rejoin Seattle today. He’s been preemptively promoted back to a level commensurate with expectation for what he can do for the Ms but, as was the case with Kipnis, he’ll be penalized for ineffectual performance next week as necessary.
- Ian Desmond took batting practice yesterday, so the end of your wait is almost near. Similarly, J.D. Martinez is almost recovered from his right foot sprain and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him reactivated very soon as well. Gary Sanchez is also recovering quickly from a strained biceps.
- We’re showing previous rankings along the far right now, so you can see that some of the biggest risers due to outstanding work on the field were Eric Thames, David Peralta, Adam Duvall, Mitch Haniger, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathan Schoop, Steven Souza, Jr., Addison Russell, Michael Brantley, Yasmany Tomas, Cesar Hernandez and Eugenio Suarez.
- Some of the noteworthy players still on the decline were Joey Bautista, Jose Abreu, Todd Frazier, Victor Martinez, Melky Cabrera, Jonathan Lucroy, Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Hosmer, Kole Calhoun, Dustin Pedroia, Mark Trumbo and Anthony Rendon.
- Falling out of the Top 150—with their previously held rank in parentheses—are the previously discussed Starling Marte (19), David Dahl (129) and Logan Forsythe (147), along with Greg Bird (127), Stephen Vogt (137), Neil Walker (138), Javier Baez (139) and Tim Anderson (142).
- Making their first appearances on the Hitter List are Ryan Zimmerman (130), Travis Shaw (136), Zack Cozart (137), Kevin Pillar (139), Jason Heyward (147), Max Kepler (148), David Freese (149) and Joe Panik (150).