Acquire Braves’ Ozzie Albies, Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera
A deeper look at some early info and how it applies to your Fantasy outlooks
Early Season Team Trends
If you’re a Daily Fantasy player, then you care not only about who is playing well, but which teams are producing, too. The Angels, Cardinals and Athletics are three of the top four teams in home runs hit while the Braves are fourth and the Pirates fifth in team OPS. The Nationals lead the majors in stolen bases (20) and attempts (24). Price and matchup mean the most on a daily basis. Teams are formulating the trends that DFS players will come to rely on a month from now. Get ahead of the information curve and build your bankroll now.
Top of The List
I have to begin this segment with the standard caveat that it is too early to make any brash trade or release decisions about top draft picks. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be monitored and possibly benched in daily transaction and/or weekly leagues depending on matchups and alternatives. By the time owners read this article they will be approaching submit time for week five of the Fantasy season and outside of Rotisserie leagues where 60-70 at bats is a minor blip, it isn’t too early to bench a potential bust.
Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
Zero HRs - One Extra Base Hit - Five RBI - Two Runs Scored -Three Walks - .250 BA
Votto is one of the best pure hitters in baseball and a possible Hall of Fame candidate, but he has been awful. Zero home runs, one extra base hit and only three walks in 60 at bats leaves nothing to be optimistic about. If this was Fantasy Football, I would be recommending you stay the course. You start your studs. It’s too early to do anything but trot him out there in Rotisserie leagues, but if you are about to submit your Week Five lineup in head-to-head leagues, the current state of affairs matters significantly more. If you you play 22-24 weeks and have a viable alternative, then benching Votto is a justifiable move. We are almost one-fifth into the season and there are a lot of first baseman owned in less than 70% of leagues that are better alternatives for the upcoming week. Noteworthy.
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers
One HR - 10 Strikeouts - Six BBs - .200 BA
I have advocated against Seager in both Dynasty and yearly leagues because when things aren’t going well, he doesn’t have the stolen base potential to minimize the damage. There are a significant number of middle infielders that contribute enough home run power to avoid being punchless in those categories while stealing enough bases to elevate their floor when they aren’t hitting them out. I wouldn’t have drafted him and you can’t trade him, but stay tuned. Another 3-4 weeks at this pace and selling low may be a possibility. Stay tuned as Seager sits at Noteworthy while we wait to decide if its a Trend.
Robbie Ray, SP, Diamondbacks
15.2 IP - 23 SOs - 11 BBs - 5.74 ERA - 1.60 WHIP
Don’t panic. You didn’t draft him thinking he was going to match his breakout 2017 campaign, right? When you selected Ray, you knew walks and eventually earned runs are part of the deal. The strikeouts are the sizzle and he is still providing plenty of those. This bad stretch means that a really good one is only a start away. Keep putting him out there and do not sell. Owning Ray is owning a rocky road. Embrace it.
#Dbacks pitchers have allowed 13 home runs all season--8 of them by Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke.
— Jesse Friedman (@JesseNFriedman) April 14, 2018
Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves
Five HRs - One SB - 16 Runs Scored - 11 RBIs - .328 Batting Average
Prior to Draft season, I wrote an article encouraging owners in the juiced ball era to target middle infielders with plus hit tools that also steal bases. Albies is a perfect example and early on we are seeing that approach in practice. It’s early, but if you can tolerate some risk and want to acquire Albies, the time to to do it affordably is running out. We saw a glimpse of what could be late last season and he is continuing it thus far. To call it a Trend is a stretch, but it’s enough to convince me that Albies is worth the risk. Buy now, blame me later.
Hanley Ramirez, 1B, Red Sox
Three HRs - Three SBs - 10 Runs - 15 RBIs - .333 BA
There is reason for hesitation over the long haul with Ramirez because he is injury prone but the Red Sox are deep all over the diamond and they have a financial incentive to limit his at bats. The bat is hot, so owners should ride it. I would bench Votto to start Ramirez in Week Five if he is your alternative.
Jed Lowrie, 2B, Athletics
Four HRs - Eight Runs - 17 RBIs - .343 BA
Lowrie has always hit and in most leagues he qualifies at multiple positions. Don’t invest expecting he will lock it down for you for the entire season because he is going to miss games due to injury, but he is worth a roster spot and for now, a starting one. He is owned in just 65% of Yahoo leagues.
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/SS, Mets
Four HRs - 14 Runs - Seven RBIs - .356 BA
Cabrera’s a respectable and affordable multi-position middle infielder who is getting it done. I invested in him on Draft day and in Dynasty leagues because of the cheap cost and Fantasy owners’ aversion to owning Mets hitters. He should be an affordable trade target because of his lack of sizzle and an early-season sense that he might be a “sell high” possibility. He is owned in 76% of Yahoo leagues as well. Keep expectations limited, but he is worth having.
Christian Villanueva, 3B, Padres
Six HRs - Eight Runs - 13 RBIs - .333 BA
I am willing to bet Villanueva was not on many top rookie lists entering this season, but he has been good so far. The Padres aren’t going to start Cory Spangenberg or Chase Headley at third base as long as Villanueva is hitting. If he hits he should play. He is owned in only 52% of Yahoo leagues and his play justifies a roster spot until he proves he doesn’t.
Adam Ottavino, RP, Rockies
10.2 Innings Pitched - 22 Strikeouts - Three Holds - Three Wins
His flat-out filthy stuff should be owned in all leagues. Ottavino’s strikeouts and wins make him a valuable contributor for owners who punted saves. Don’t have any illusions though, saves are extremely unlikely to be in his future after the Rockies investment in Wade Davis.
Jose Berrios, SP, Twins
20.2 IP - 24 SOs - 2.18 ERA - 0.63 WHIP
Berrios was surging up draft boards as we got deeper into the crazy season and he is justifying the hype. The early season results are not a fluke. He has above-average raw stuff that plays up because of plus command and pitching acumen. If you can swing a trade, Berrios is worth taking on some risk to minimize the cost. He could be untouchable or unaffordable by this time next month.
The Minors Version
Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves (Triple-A)
36 At Bats - Zero HRs - 14 Strikeouts - .139 Batting Average
The Braves rank fifth in runs scored and fourth in team OPS in spite of Ender Inciarte’s .242 OBP. Because of the emergence of Preston Tucker and the respectable play of Nick Markakis the Braves can afford to be patient while Acuna struggles. That being said, when he shows the first sign that his current slump is over, there isn’t anything stopping him from full time at-bats. Keep him stashed.
Bo Bichette, 2B, Blue Jays (Double-A)
40 ABs - Zero HR - Five Walks - .350 BA - Three SBs
Bichette is swinging and hitting pretty much everything they throw at him. In a perfect prospect world the Blue Jays would provide Bichette time to develop a more patient approach, but the hot start by Toronto and Bichette’s obvious ability to make consistent contact is going to tempt them to rush him to the majors. If you can afford to spare the roster spot, it isn’t the worst idea to get ahead of the rest of your league and stash Bichette now. You may have to scurry to the waiver wire to beat the rush as the rumors brew. Rinse and repeat this same message about Vlad Guerrero Jr. The Blue Jays are going to be a fascinating team to watch when these young stars are promoted. I hear Canada has great health care too. Road trip!!
Willie Calhoun, OF/1B, Rangers (Triple-A)
49 ABs - One HR - 11 SOs - .265 BA
I was high on Calhoun early in draft season and extremely low on him after his early spring training demotion. The addition of Renato Nunez only makes things worse. I write him up here because I am hearing whispers from Fantasy followers that they may want to stash Calhoun. Don’t. He doesn’t have a path to reliable at-bats and he isn’t playing anywhere close to well enough to force the Rangers hand. The early demotion and the poor start have set his timetable back to the point where he just as easily could be Fantasy irrelevant as Fantasy viable. We will monitor the situation, but right now Nunez is more worthy of a roster spot than Calhoun.
Nick Senzel, 3B/SS, Reds (Triple-A)
43 ABs - One HR - One SB - 11 SOs - .233 BA
I don’t love the prospects of owning Senzel in Dynasty leagues because I don’t see enough ceiling in his relatively pedestrian tools that qualify him as a third baseman. However, the floor, the polish, the all-around profile and the potential to also qualify at 2B and SS makes him an intriguing rookie. Senzel hasn’t given the Reds a reason to promote him, but the Reds already have him for an extra year of team control by waiting this long, so they don’t have a reason not to promote him. In deeper leagues, he does enough to be Fantasy relevant, while being polished enough not to kill you. I lean slightly towards recommending you own him, but its a coin flip based on your potential alternatives.
Asdrubal Cabrera Featured Image: (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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