We have reached week three of the fantasy baseball season and we are starting to see enough game action to value players for the rest of the season. Some players on your team have likely made greater contributions than expected while others have likely failed to meet their darft day expectations.
Some sell high candidates have emerged based on early season performance with the likes of Vince Velasquez , Trevor Story, Ian Kinsler, and Matt Moore immediately jumping to mind.
There are also a litany of buy-low options in what was considered to be the elite starting pitcher tier during draft season and include Chris Archer, Corey Kluber, Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom, Gerrit Cole, Adam Wainwright and Zack Greinke. These players have all been discussed adnauseam across several different fantasy outlets.
However, some hot players have gotten off to hot starts and have gotten less attention from fantasy experts. It’s time to put them under the microscope in this article, as we will take a look at Gio Gonzalez, Tyler White, and Eugenio Suarez.
Before we go any further, let’s all agree to marvel at Bryce Harper and what he’s doing this season so far. I hope all of you have him in at least one of your leagues because simply put, he is a treat to watch.
Now that that PSA is taken care of, let’s get to it
Buy-Sell These Hot Starters
Tyler White, 1B/3B, Houston Astros
I hate to rain on White’s parade, but he is a bench bat in real life baseball and will have little fantasy value in short order.
As it currently stands, White is the third-ranked first baseman and sixth-ranked third baseman on ESPN’s player rater. The problem is, he is currently striking out at a 26.5% clip. This wouldn’t be a huge problem for some players, but White succeeded in the minor leagues based on a 14% strikeout rate.
In order to be an effective fantasy option, White will need to get on base to manufacture counting stats, as his power simply isn’t great enough to rack them up otherwise.
It may be tough to swallow selling White right now based on his current elite-level production, but they are aided by a .423 BABIP and 26.7 HR/FB%. Adding to the concern for White is the fact that A.J. Reed is waiting for the call in Triple-A and has three home runs in 41 at-bats.
Some potential targets based on team need could be Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Josh Reddick, or Masahiro Tanka.
Eugenio Suarez, SS/3B, Cincinnati Reds
Eugenio Suarez is another unexpected hitter who has been crushing pitches to start the season. While his current pace cannot be expected for the entire season, he is a player I would be keeping around on my teams.
Unlike White, Suarez has been able to keep his strikeouts in check, and based on his minor league numbers, an 18% strikeout rate wouldn’t be totally unexpected. He also flashed some pop last season with a 12.1 HR/FB rate so a 20 home run season is a reasonable bet, which from a shortstop-eligible player that is very solid.
Also unlike White, he should have a hold on playing time as he is just 24 years old and the Reds will want to see what they have him in. Projecting a final stat line for Suarez looks something like .275, 20 HR, 70 RBI, and 65 R and that’s pretty useful.
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Washington Nationals
Things can’t get any better for Gio Gonzalez at the moment as he is currently sporting a .69 ERA and a .77 WHIP. If someone is willing to pay up for anything close to those numbers it goes without saying that it would be wise to sell high.
Reverting back to reality, it immediately jumps out that Gonzalez’s velocity is down on nearly all of his pitches. However, they did increase from his first start to his second, so there’s no need to panic in that regard yet. He has gotten an inordinate amount of swings and misses on his curveball, which plays a large role in his high strikeout totals, but the movement on the pitch hasn’t changed much from previous seasons.
With that said, there is no readily apparent reason for Gonzalez’s great start, though he did face two awful lineups in the Phillies and Braves.
Take these numbers with a grain of salt, but his FIP and SIERA are currently at 2.97 and 3.53 respectively, which would be usable in nearly any league. As an owner of Gio Gonzalez, I would be willing to sell high if another owner bought into his start, but I also wouldn’t sell at any cost.
Potential targets could include Jake Odorizzi, Carlos Martinez, or Patrick Corbin. On the hitting side, aim for the likes of Brandon Belt, Christian Yelich, or Hanley Ramirez based on your team needs.