2017 Rest-Of-The-Season Rankings: Regression To the Mean
Week 2 of the baseball season has now come to a close. In last weeks 2017 Rest-Of-The-Season Rankings article, we said to not take too much consideration into hot and cold starts.
Baseball is a long season, and takes the longest time out of any sport for stats to actually be trustworthy. So early on in the season you have to normally expect a player to produce like he has normally produced in his career rather than having the first few weeks be indicative of an entire season.
While there still are some exceptions, we have seen many players bounce back from cold starts or go back down to earth after starting out on fire.
However, just like we had in our previous week, there are some players who’s hot or cold starts may actually indicate their future performance going forward. Also, there are some particular stars that we are going to cover that have gone back to their usual ways.
So, before we reveal this weeks 2017 Rest-Of-The-Season Rankings, let’s go over a few players who deserve some extra attention.
2017 Rest-Of-The-Season Rankings
Daniel Murphy, 2B, Washington Nationals
After a breakout season last year, Fantasy owners still were a little cautious when drafting Daniel Murphy this season. There was reason for this as well: he was a proven .290 hitter (valuable, but not elite) who didn’t do much else. Then all of a sudden, he batted .347 on his way to a batting title, almost doubled his previous career high in home runs, and topped 100 RBI for the first time in his career when his previous career high was 78.
However, Murphy has quieted doubters early on this season. He is batting .408 through 50 plate appearances this season with two home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs scored. This should fully wipe out any doubts of Murphy’s elite Fantasy status, and that leads to a pretty decent rise in our rankings.
Yoenis Cespedes, OF, New York Mets
Yoenis Cespedes is an elite Fantasy player, there is no arguing that. He is one of the few players who can hit over 30 home runs without punting the batting average category. Fantasy owners may have been surprised to see a slow start from Cespedes, but the sample size was too little to begin to worry about. During this past week, Cespedes raked, including one game where he hit three home runs.
He now has six home runs, nine runs scored and 10 RBI through 53 plate appearances on the year. Cespedes should be able to build off of his last few great seasons with the Mets, and this week of production ensures that that first week was only a fluke.
Dee Gordon, 2B, Miami Marlins
Coming into the season, everyone knew that Dee Gordon would be one of the best sources of stolen bases out there. The question was if his batting average would be able to propel him from good to great like in years past. Last season, Gordon missed a lot of time due to injury, but his important counting stats looked on par with years past. The batting average was the stat of worry for him. In 2014 he batted .289 and in 2015 he batted .333. Both seasons he put up great run and stolen base totals on his way to huge years. Last year, other than injuries, he was held back by his pedestrian .268 batting average.
I figured that Gordon would have a bounce back year, and for that reason, I tried to grab him in as many leagues as possible. This move has rewarded me so far. After a bit of a cold start in the first week, he tore the cover off the ball in the second week, and his batting average now sits at a clean .300. If he can keep this up, he could prove to be a huge steal and one of the elite Fantasy second baseman this year.
Kenta Maeda, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Coming into the season, I thought that Kenta Maeda was extremely overrated in the Fantasy world. He had a good season last year, but I don’t think it was good enough to warrant his ADP, which hovered right around the #100 mark. He was easily not a Top 100 player for me and I made sure not to touch him in my drafts.
This has also turned out to be a good move for me. Maeda has given up 11 runs over 14 IP (three starts), giving him a 7.07 ERA to open up the year. While I expect that he should still end up being a solid pitcher this year, I seriously doubt he will live up to his ADP.
Todd Frazier, 3B, Chicago White Sox
Going into this year, I had two players that I recognized to have pretty much the exact same profile. They were both aging sluggers who had been consistent Fantasy studs on the same team before being traded to a new team last year and struggling. I thought that both would finally adjust to their new teams this season and be great value picks. One of these players was Jay Bruce, who has been playing great to start the season, making me look good and just missing the Stock Up section of this very article. The other one is Todd Frazier, and he is a different story.
Through 31 plate appearances, Frazier is batting a mere .111 with one home run, a solo shot that gave him his only RBI so far on the year. While it would be a stretch to expect this level of bad from Frazier for the rest of the year, I think it would be fair to say that last year was an accurate representation of Frazier.
2017 Rest-Of-The-Season Rankings
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