The first week of the Fantasy Baseball season is in the books and there is already a lot to talk about. Aces have underperformed almost universally and Trevor Story is already working on his second career MVP. Injuries have wreaked havoc on some teams, as high caliber Fantasy options such as Shin-Soo Choo and Ben Revere have hit the DL.
It’s not all bad though, as we have seen pitchers who were somewhat of an afterthought in many drafts impress in their first few outings, including Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez and Matt Moore (among others). Young and intriguing players are getting a chance to show their skills, including Michael Taylor and a few other players who will be discussed in further detail below.
A final thing that has stood out in the first week and a half of the season is the amount of good Fantasy options on bad teams. Teams like the Phillies and Brewers have a lot of intriguing players on their team who don’t get the attention they deserve because their team stinks.
There aren’t a whole lot of stats and trends to cite yet, so with that, I will again caution to not overreact to early season hot or cold streaks. Most of them will even out in the next week or two. Trying to take advantage of owners who do overreact is a good way to gain an advantage for the rest of the season, so it could be worth throwing out offers for players who have underachieved such as Zack Greinke.
Here are some of the biggest ongoing stories in both real and Fantasy Baseball.
Fantasy Baseball Hot Topics
Nomar Mazara and Mallex Smith Get the Call
Nomar Mazara has lived up to the hype thus far since being called up this weekend. However, the question most pressing question is what his long-term playing time this season will look like and how it could affect other Fantasy assets on the Rangers.
Shin-Soo Choo is set to miss 4-6 weeks with a calf injury, but it certainly seems as if he should get his starting job back when he is physically capable. It’s difficult to see Ian Desmond moved out of the lineup with his power potential unless he struggles throughout early season action.
With that said, it’s going to be a crowded outfield when Choo is able to return. It is possible that Elvis Andrus gets traded and Ian Desmond moves back to shortstop, though based on Desmond’s defensive woes there last season, that seems unlikely. That leaves Mitch Moreland and Delino DeShields as the most likely to lose playing time. DeShields would present the bigger problem because of his stolen base production.
If possible, do your best to stash a speedy replacement. Jarrod Dyson could be a nice option in the event DeShields loses playing time. Of course, this is all assuming that Mazara keeps the job, which at this point I think we have to.
The situation is fairly similar in Atlanta where Mallex Smith has found his way into the lineup due to a DL stint for Ender Inciarte. He seems much more likely to lose his job than Mazara, though Hector Olivera could return to third base and bump Adonis Garcia to the bench. This would open up an outfield spot for both Smith and Inciarte.
As far as the production you can expect, Smith is a stolen base machine. He had 57 steals at Double-A and Triple-A last season and had 92 between rookie ball, High-A, and Low-A in 2014. Don’t expect those numbers, but if you are looking for steals, Smith could be a great pickup as he should be a regular in the Braves lineup for now.
What’s going on with Miguel Sano?
Miguel Sano hasn’t had an ideal start to the season as he is hitting just .136 with zero home runs through April 11. There are concerning peripherals in play, notably that he has made only 54.8-percent of contact on pitches in the strike zone and has a swinging strike rate of 18.6-percent. Even so, this could present a nice buy-low opportunity as there could be any number of things that are holding Sano back.
The first is that this is an incredibly small sample size and if he hit .136 over a 26 PA stretch in August, it would barely be talked about. Another possibility is that he is getting used to playing right field defensively and that has carried over to his performance at the plate. This is often suggested for players who slump when they switch to new positions.
Further, there is a positive spin to his peripherals cited above in that Sano is actually swinging at pitches outside the zone less, and when he is swinging outside the zone, he is making more contact. Once he begins to make more contact in the zone, which he should as the season progresses, he may actually improve on his strikeout rate from last year. Swings and misses will always be a part of Sano’s game, and a big one, but don’t panic on his start to the season.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of advice to pass on with the Adam Jones situation. He hasn’t had a plate appearance since April 6, but came into the game as a defensive replacement on April 11, which means they can no longer back date a potential DL stint to April 6. These situations are incredibly frustrating as we experienced this with Devin Mesoraco last season, and it makes little sense from a real baseball perspective.
Regardless, as Fantasy players, we must adjust. Obviously, Adam Jones can’t be cut so do your best to stay updated on his status and find a replacement for him. He has participated in warm-ups and has done some baseball activities which suggests this situation could resolve itself soon. At least we can hope.