It is three weeks into the season and players are beginning to settle in. Averages are regressing to the norm as pitchers begin to settle in. With each minute of added daylight, players inch closer to their true ability level.
Some of the shine has began to leave the new shiny toys teams have been riding in the early going like Jeremy Hazelbaker. Some guys continue to impress and perform to their projections like Nomar Mazara.
If you were first to the waiver wire and rostered a scorching hot rookie, you are in a unique position moving forward. Can you sell high on the player before he starts to cool off? Will you trade him for a proven veteran? Do you believe the playing time and production will continue? These are questions you may be weighing right about now.
Identifying who is for real and who is pretending will be important to the success of your season. The crazy high averages will all drop. The early power surges should be checked against the minor league statistics like ISO, OPS, average and home runs over a season in the minors.
Let’s try and separate the players from the pretenders in this week’s look around the league.
Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report
In the Show
Byung Ho Park, 1B, Minnesota Twins
Parks’s power stroke is starting to come around. He has hit four home runs thus far. Three of those home runs have come in the past five days and they have been to all three fields. He has two doubles to go along with his four home runs and five runs batted in.
His average is not going to be great but his on base percentage of .313 is a good sign and he is slugging .558. He was signed for his power and his numbers show he is beginning to make the necessary adjustments to major league pitching. Park makes contact with 70.6% of pitches he swings at and makes medium or hard contact on 85.1% of those hits. Park will provide good power numbers if your roster can handle the low batting average and strikeouts.
Trevor Story, SS, Colorado Rockies
Story has hit eight home runs with 14 runs batted in and thirteen runs scored. He his 20 home runs between two levels of the minor leagues last season. His batting average is .288, he hit .281 in AA and .271 in AAA. This could be the perfect time to sell high and get another more predictable piece back.
He could be held and may continue to demolish national league pitching. His ISO is .508 which will regress mightily. His BABIP is .321, lower than his AA and AAA number from 2015, so that could be sustainable for Story. Even if Reyes comes back and plays short the Rockies will need to get his bat into the lineup.
Corey seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
Seager was hot at the end of the 2015 season. The league has adjusted however, and it is now Seager’s turn to adjust back. He is batting .245 with five extra base hits, one being a home run. He has driven in seven runs in 13 games which is a good sign as a capable situational hitter.
Seager will need to make adjustments to the game planning against him while he hits at the top of the line up. He is hitting below his projections of a low .260’s batting average but with a few more hits he can easily get there. Seagers ISO in AAA was .173 which indicates decent power ability over an entire season. Seager is a top talent at a premium position. Give him some time to settle in.
Aledmys Diaz, SS, Cardinals
While Jhonny Peralta is down, Aledmys Diaz has been doing a great job filling in at shortstop. In 12 games he is hitting to the line of .389 with 11 hits, nine are for extra bases including two home runs. He has driven in eight runs and walked three times while striking out twice. Diaz has been busy in his 39 plate appearances.
In 409 plate appearances in AA Diaz hit .264 which is probably where his average will end up. He had an ISO of .157 in those at bats and hit 17 home runs over all in 2015. Diaz will not provide a ton of power or a high average most likely. His BABIP is currently .375 which is well above his career norm. He did steal eight bases in 2015 so he could provide you five to ten stolen bases.
In the shallow Shortstop swimming pool, Diaz is worth floating with for a while.
Joey Rickard, OF, Baltimore Orioles
At the top of the Orioles order Rickard has been on base at a .315 clip and is hitting .300. He has one home run, four doubles, and four runs batted in. Rickard has struck out ten times so far which is not ideal for a lead off hitter.
Rickard has never hit more than eight home runs in a season but can hit for average. He will not be counted on to be a run producer but with a good on base percentage he could score 40 to 50 runs. In a deep league or DFS play he is valuable but in shallow leagues he is a one category contributor.
Jeremy Hazelbaker, OF, St. Louis Cardinals
Hazelbaker started out like a 105 mph Aaron hicks fastball from left field. In his last 15 at bats he has fizzled into jamie Moyer change piece.
In seven minor league seasons Hazelbaker has hit above .279 twice but has decent pop but has not hit more than 11 home runs since 2013. If you have him on your roster still you can try and trade him but the window for sell high has probably closed. If you can stash him with the wait and see attitude you may be rewarded but his playing time is already decreasing and he may be back in the minors soon.
Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers
Mazara continues to be productive for the Rangers. He is slashing .414/.457/.552. Mazara only has one home run with six runs batted in, but he is putting the ball in play and scoring runs.
He hit .358 in 88 games in AAA last season with one home run so you may not get much power but he will give you a good average and score you a lot of runs. When Choo comes back Texas will have to find a place to play him if he keeps hitting.
Kenta Maeda, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Maeda has allowed one earned run in three starts. He has earned a quality start in all three and win in two of the three. His control has been good walking only four batters in three starts but strikeouts are low, 15 in 19 innings.
Maeda will not give you nine or higher strikeouts per nine but he will almost always put his team in position to win. As a third starter on your staff Maeda is money, he will improve your whip and ERA.
Steven Matz, SP, New York Mets
His first start was a dumpster fire. Matz allowed seven earned runs in 1.2 innings. The media was calling for a demotion. Start number two the complete opposite. Seven innings, nine strikeouts, zero earned runs.
What will the third start bring? If you traded for or picked him up after the first start you made a good move. If you dropped him or let him go at a discounted rate that is no bueno. Matz has the pedigree and the stuff to be a top of the rotation talent. Sit tight with him.
Jon gray, SP, Colorado Rockies
I know it is scary to see a Rockies pitching prospect coming up to the majors. Gray is the number two prospect in the Rockies organization. He will make his regular season debut Friday vs the Dodgers.
He pitched to a strikeouts per nine of 8.66 in AAA last season with a 3.23 walks per nine. In 40.2 inning in the majors last season Gray was 0-2 with a 5.53 ERA and was unlucky, allowing a .389 BABIP.
Gray has a good stuff but a bad ball park and shaky command. Not a great mix. Wait to see how his appearance goes before adding him. If you own him, I would keep him on the bench until he proves to be trustworthy and is away from Coors Field.
Now lets see who’s putting in work….
On the Farm
A.J. Reed, 1B, Houston Astros
In 11 games Reed has three home runs, four doubles, and eleven runs batted in. That is great production. Production the Astros can use. His .227 average is low, and 11 strikeouts are high but he provides more upside than Marwin Gonzalez and Luis Valbuena do. Reed does have six walks though, so hopefully he will be more like Sano’s rookie campaign than Joey Gallo’s.
Trea Turner, 2B, Washington Nationals
Trea is on fire to begin the season. He is slashing .357/.449/.548 with one home run, five runs batted in, ten runs scored and three stolen bases. Turner had a taste of the majors last season but did not impress. His numbers this season show he is ready to move on from AAA and should succeed at the major league level when given the chance to settle in.
Danny Espinosa is terrible and struggling mightily. The call up could come sooner rather than later. Be the owner to get to him first.
Tyler Glasnow, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
In Jeff locke’s last start two starts he has allowed 15 walks in 7.2 innings. He allowed 8 runs in three innings Wednesday night. There is not much upside to Locke and his is not currently helping the big league rotation. If this continues he may not keep his job for much longer.
In Glasnow’s second start he went five innings, fanning nine with zero walks. He scattered four hits, and allowed one earned run. Zero walks is a great sign, nine strikeouts is also a fantastic number.
On Tuesday Pirates G.M. Neal Huntington shared some critiques of Glasnow’s performance so far. It took 83 pitches to get through five innings in what would seem like a dominant nine strikeout performance. Huntington said, “There’s some inefficiency there,” Huntington said. “Explosive fastball at times, inconsistent at others. Explosive breaking ball at times, inconsistent at others.” He also added a lack of use of the change up during his starts with a possible change up mandate per start should Glasnow continue this trend.
Does Glasnow need to improve his control? Yes. Does Glasnow need a third pitch? If he wants to pitch past the fifth inning in a major league game the change up will be important. Glasnow has electric stuff with a No. 1 starter ceiling. My feeling is if Jeff Locke can walk seven in a game and stay in the rotation, Glasnow should be up soon walking four striking out seven in the same rotation.
The Rays top Prospect, Snell has had success in his first three starts of 2016. He has allowed four earned runs in three starts with 21 strikeouts and seven walks. He has allowed 15 hits in the three starts which is a lot for a pitcher with a high strikeout rate.
Snell may be working on location or using certain pitches in specific counts. I am not worried about the hits or the walks yet. Continue to monitor his starts.
- Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Last Call - September 23, 2016
- Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Mining for Championships - September 22, 2016
- Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report: Players Impacting Your Roster - September 16, 2016