Going Around the League to help you gain Fantasy advantages
Tuesday’s start by Shohei Ohtani is one that I’m keeping an especially close eye on. Not just because he’s a must-watch player – but because of the weather Sunday, he’s making his first non-Sunday start of the season. Now, why does this matter? Well, Sunday is typically the day that teams run out their non-everyday lineups to give their guys a rest with afternoon games after a night game.
To Ohtani’s credit, both A’s lineups that he faced had primarily their starters in there, and he simply dominated the lineups both time. If the Angels were looking to start him once every six games, he was likely to continue to start on Sundays going forward. But now, he gets the loaded Red Sox lineup, which will certainly be playing their starters Tuesday, instead of the below-average Royals lineup Sunday.
If Ohtani struggles, get ready for some overreaction. But don’t believe that he’s going to regress to his spring self if he does. I mean, it’s the Red Sox! Show me a pitcher that won’t struggle against them on any given night. If he dominates them in similar fashion that he did against Oakland, he may just solidify himself as being a Top 20 pitcher going forward.
Here’s what else is catching my eye around the league.
DeJong and the Restless
Paul DeJong’s power shouldn’t be questioned. It’s the one elite skill that he has, and so far, he’s showed it off with four homers on the season. Despite the four home runs on the season, DeJong is the 25th shortstop in Yahoo! points leagues. Why? Well, it’s the 25 strikeouts he has. His 41 percent K% is fourth only behind Miguel Sano, Ian Happ and Yoan Moncada.
If you can sell DeJong, you should be doing it. He’s a rich man’s Ryan Schimpf. The strikeouts and infield fly balls are too much to deal with to trade for his power, even at a shallower position like shortstop.
Samsonite … I Was Way Off
Dansby Swanson is off to an interesting start so far for Fantasy players. He’s the sixth-ranked shortstop in points leagues, and the 10th ranked shortstop in roto leagues. Swanson was a guy that we wrote off too soon after he struggled in his first full season last year. But is he now a bonafide starter for Fantasy players? Not so fast.
Swanson has a .357/.390/.571 slash, with one home run and 10 RBI. Not too bad, Dansby. But here’s the thing – Swanson is going to be a better real-life player than Fantasy option over the course of his career. While it’s early to put all of our eggs into the peripheral bucket, Swanson has a .442 BABIP, which is eighth in baseball and .150 more than his BABIP last year.
What’s more, his 22.7 percent hard-hit rate is 173rd among hitters this year, which doesn’t quite align with his 15th overall 30.2 percent line-drive rate.
Swanson is going to be a useful middle infield option, but if someone is buying him as a true post-hype breakout candidate and Fantasy mainstay, you need to look to sell now.
— Zesty Braves News (@zesty_braves) April 17, 2018
Havvvvve You Met Jed
Quick, without cheating, who leads baseball in hits? Ha, you thought it was Jed Lowrie, didn’t you? In fact, it’s Jose Pirela, but Lowrie was second, as of Monday afternoon. Lowrie entered the season as being undervalued in points leagues, as all he does is hit, including some extra-base and power punch, as well as a respectable walk rate.
Lowrie is fine in head-to-head and roto leagues, too, as he ranks third at the position. Still, he’s owned in just 59 percent of Yahoo! leagues. He needs to be owned in far more leagues, regardless of the format.
Brandon Nimmo getting sent down to Triple-A was the most Mets move ever. Thankfully, he’s back, and when Monday’s lineup was released, he was hitting leadoff. It was also announced that Jay Bruce was dealing with recurring plantar fasciitis, which tends to linger. The outfield is crowded in New York, but talent typically tends to win out. Expect the same to happen with Nimmo, who needs to be owned in 12-team leagues where you start five outfielders. The Mets can also use Bruce at first base to get Nimmo into the lineup more often.
Nick at Night
Ronald Acuna has been the prospect we’ve been watching since Spring Training to see when he’ll get the call-up to the big leagues. But another top prospect should be up sooner rather than later too, as Nick Senzel should find his way to Cincinnati in the coming days. There were thoughts that Senzel – and Acuna – would debut over the weekend, but they were nowhere to be found.
Right now, the Reds would gain an extra year of service from Senzel if they called him up now, but if they wait until the summer, they’ll gain an extra year of service time. Regardless of when Senzel gets the call, he should be owned in every league right now. Every year, there’s an impact bat that comes off the waiver wire. Senzel is going to be that guy this year. He’s an Alex Bregman clone, and even when Eugenio Suarez returns from his injury, Senzel will be an everyday contributor for Fantasy owners. Even Bryan Price can’t mess this up.
A lot is made – and it should be – of the power that Aaron Judge possesses. It’s also known that he strikes out a lot, as his 30.7 rate was the fourth-highest rate last season. What’s underrated about his game, though, is his walk rate, which makes him even more valuable in OBP leagues. His 18.7 walk rate was second only to Joey Votto last year, and he’s doing it again this year, too, with his 18.2 walk rate entering play Monday. The power and strikeouts will always be part of his game, but the walks will be, too.
Brandon Nimmo featured image: (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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