Pirates’ Gregory Polanco is Mashing, Cubs’ Ian Happ is Crashing
Pirates' Gregory Polanco is Mashing, Cubs' Ian Happ is Crashing
Sure, this is a Who’s Hot and Who’s Not list, but by that doesn’t mean you should be rushing to acquire a “hot” player or looking to dump a “not” player. Fantasy Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. Some players may get off to a slow start because they don’t heat up until the weather does. The reverse is also true. Some players, namely pitchers, may have an advantage pitching in miserable weather. Cold and wet weather is not ideal for hitting. The bottom line is, think before you act. Make sure the move you are contemplating is the best for the long haul and not an overreaction to what isn’t even a week’s worth of games.
- Matt Harvey, New York Mets: It’s absolutely true that Harvey is no longer the “Dark Knight” and is unlikely to ever reach those heights again. All that should mean for Fantasy owners is that you didn’t want to select him during the early part of your draft. It didn’t mean that you should’ve ignored him altogether. He can still be a useful Fantasy starter, just not one at the top of your staff. Harvey is not a stud anymore, but he’s not a scrub either and there is some upside here. While it’s true that pitching Tuesday night in brutal weather likely helped him, it’s also true that his fastball was in the 92-93 MPH range. This range should increase as the weather warms up.
- Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers: How the mighty have fallen when it comes to Miggy. Last season and for about the prior decade he was a first round pick in Fantasy drafts. After battling injuries for most of 2017 and batting .249 with only 16 HRs, he fell out of the Top 10 1B and could’ve been drafted for a song. So far so good as Miggy has looked good at the plate and could have a better than expected return on your draft investment.
- Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees: There may come a time where we have to put Gregorius in the same category as a Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa. He hit 20 HRs with 70 RBIs and a .276 AVG in 2016. He improved upon those numbers last year, 25/87/287. This year in just five games he already has two bombs, nine RBIs, and is batting .444. Forget Giancarlo Stanton, acquiring Gregorius back in 2015 may go down as the best trade that general manager Brian Cashman has ever made.
- Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates: Could this be this be the year that Polanco finally reaches his potential? It would be a very good thing for Pittsburgh as they will need to replace the offense lost by the trade of Andrew McCutchen. Polanco has been a disappointment since being called up the MLB in 2014. Expectations were certainly too high for him and patience is required. Not every player comes up from Triple-A and is an All Star from day one. Even Mike Trout struggled in his first shot in the majors. Polanco may just be a late bloomer.
- Starlin Castro, Miami Marlins: Castro was lucky to be in the Top 20 2B on cheat sheets at draft time. Why? Will his power take a dip going from New York to Miami? Sure, but that’s not why you were drafting him anyway. His AVG will still be valuable and us Fantasy owners need that to offset the guys who have much more power but will also hit under .250. Sure, he looks a little off and does some strange things on the field at times, but he’s still valuable as at least a MI.
- Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs: The season couldn’t have started any better for Happ who hit the first pitch of the season out of the ballpark for a HR. The problem is he hasn’t done anything since. What’s even more concerning than the strikeouts, which are accumulating at an alarming rate, is that manager Joe Maddon has been resting him liberally. Fantasy owners have to worry that he won’t play regularly at all this season. Maddon may want to get all of his players into the lineup on a semi-regular basis, which could limit playing time for everyone not named Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo
- Kendrys Morales, Toronto Blue Jays: Morales is not on this list because of anything he has or hasn’t done but because he could lose out on playing time if Josh Donaldson needs any more rest for his shoulder. The Jays still want Donaldson’s bat in the lineup even if he can’t play the field which only leaves Morales’ DH spot. Morales is unlikely to play 1B in this scenario as Justin Smoak occupies that position and he may be the second most important bat for Toronto after Donaldson. Hopefully, none of this comes to fruition and Donaldson is indeed just going through a dead arm period, but it’s a situation worth monitoring.
- Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers: Speaking of dead arm, Fantasy owners and the Dodgers are hoping that is all that is wrong with Jansen. In his first outing, his velocity was in the high 80s, and it was low 90s in his second outing. That is well off his career norms and he has been getting crushed seemingly because of his lack of velocity. Should you panic? No, what are you going to do, release him? Of course not, but if you have a dead spot on your roster, you may want to pick up Josh Fields (on the paternity list) just in case this does end up being more than just a dead arm.
- Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins: Seeing Buxton bat in the bottom third of the lineup and pinch hit for during the first week of the season has raised quite a few alarm bells. This was supposed to be a showcase season for Buxton after he finally seemed to figure it out last year, but right now that doesn’t seem to be the case. It’s fair to wonder if he’s completely healthy. He is running, though, and that’s what quite a few Fantasy owners want from him. Patience with his AVG is going to be needed here.
- Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles: Fantasy owners can’t be happy about Davis batting leadoff so far this season. This is a surprise as it’s not like he has ever had a great OBP. Let’s face it, if you drafted Davis you know the low AVG is coming, all you want are the HRs and RBIs that come with it and batting leadoff reduces the chances of getting those RBIs. It’s unlikely that this lineup lasts long, however, as manager Buck Showalter may just be searching for the right guy to lead off or he’s hoping for a quick 1-0 lead.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Gregory Polanco Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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