Who’s Hot and Who’s Not? And how should you react?
Preaching patience and practicing it are two different things. It’s easy to say that you should hold onto a player and wait for him to break out of his slump, but it’s your team that is falling further and further down in the standings. It’s almost human nature to try and fix it, even if you know deep down inside that waiting is the prudent thing to do. That’s not to say you can’t churn the bottom of your roster, but don’t give up yet on players who have a proven track record.
- Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks: Corbin has been nothing short of an ace so far this season. He is throwing about as well as he has in his entire career. He has only allowed five runs in 27.3 IP this season. He has only allowed 19 baserunners (14 hits, 5 BBs). I’m not sure what else we could want from the man. The only real question is if he is a sell high candidate or someone we can rely on for the rest of the season. This is not the first season in which he has pitched well and it’s not all about the humidor either, but if you get the right offer, it might be wise to move on here.
- D.J. LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies: Second base is extremely deep this season and it’s one of the reasons why LeMahieu slipped in the draft. The other reason is that although he was a boon to your AVG, he was never a power hitter, not even in Coors Field. His career high in HRs was in 2016 when he hit 11. When you combine the power with not much speed, only six SBs last season, you can see why Fantasy owners weren’t gearing up to draft LeMahieu. Well he already has five long balls this season and perhaps a 20-plus HR season is coming. Maybe it’s just a hot streak, maybe not, but I’m buying in.
- Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals: If you’re looking to find a reason for Kennedy’s early-season success, it’s not easy. It’s not like he’s gone up against poor offenses (White Sox, Indians, Angels). Has weather played a part in his success? Probably, but that’s not the only reason. Perhaps there just is no reason. Perhaps this is just a hot streak and Kennedy will revert to the SP he was last season? He is a sell high if you can somehow find a buyer.
- Trevor Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates: It has always been my belief that hitting a baseball going 95-plus MPH with a bat and not worry about physical safety is one of the most difficult things to do in sports. Throw in trying to do this while it’s snowing out and it has to be next to impossible. This is not to say that the only reason Williams pitched so well Tuesday was because of the weather, but it was certainly a factor. Williams screams of someone you should be starting while the going is good but be prepared to move on from him sooner rather than later.
- Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox: We have been waiting for a breakout season from E-Rod since he was traded to the Sox, but he has disappointed us more than once. Boston looks like one of the best teams in MLB this year, so anyone that starts for them has value. We know he will win games with that lineup. He has 15 Ks in 9.7 IP so far this season, so the arm seems sound. The biggest worry is the knee. Can he make 25-plus more starts this year? If you believe he can, then this should be his breakout season. If you believe he can’t then you should move on when you get an offer you can live with.
- Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees: Will the real Masahiro Tanaka please identify himself? Last season was a dismal one for Tanaka until September but once the playoffs started, then he pitched like an ace one again. His first two starts this season were solid, four runs in 12.3 IP, but his last two starts have been disasters, 12 runs in 10 IP. Maybe you want to give him a pass because one of those starts came in Fenway versus the heavy-hitting Red Sox, but what’s the excuse for Tuesday’s shellacking by the Marlins? If you’re starting him this season be ready for the continuing roller coaster ride.
- Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodger: Remember when the biggest worry about Hill was when he would get injured? Now we worry that he won’t be effective even when healthy. He’s only made three starts this season, but two of those have been less than stellar and one of those came versus the light-hitting Giants. Normally this would be nothing more than just a blip on the radar, but at 38 years of age it’s fair to wonder if he’s just not the same pitcher he was for the past four years.
- Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals: What do the Nationals know about Zimmerman that they aren’t telling us? They signed Matt Adams during the offseason, seemingly as a bench player, but also someone that could play 1B against top right-handed starters. Now, they have signed Mark Reynolds. This would seem to be overkill at 1B if everything is good with Zimmerman. I’m starting to wonder if there is more going on here than just a slow start.
- Jay Bruce, New York Mets: Bruce is not in danger of losing playing time but there is little doubt that the best defensive lineup for the Mets is with Yoenis Cespedes in left, Michael Conforto in right, and either Juan Lagares or Brandon Nimmo in center. This would leave 1B as the best option for Bruce should the Mets want to go defense first in the outfield and/or his plantar fasciitis continues to flare up. The strong play of Nimmo may be forcing the team’s hand here.
- Preston Tucker, Atlanta Braves: Over his last seven games Tucker is batting .158. Why do we bring this up? He plays the same position that Ronald Acuna We all know that Acuna will be called up before long. The Braves have stated that they are just waiting for him to get hot at Triple-A. Guess who will lose his starting job when this happens?
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Patrick Corbin Faetured Image: (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)