Jeremy Hellickson: Hellickson allowed just two runs and five base runners in seven innings Saturday. Thus far on the young season, Helly has been great. I was a believer before the year based on his three straight years of swinging strike rates over 10%, and his 2016 ability to avoid hard contact (under 26% when league average is about 30%).
Kendrys Morales: Morales hit a game winning dinger Saturday, and while he has joined his Blue Jay teammates in getting off to a slow start, he actually presents a huge buying opportunity. Last year, despite playing in the far more spacious Kauffman stadium, Morales launched 30 home runs (18 on the road). Hard to see him failing to reach 35 this year. Yes, I know the Rules of Engagement say do not pay full value for a player in his first year in a new home for he is likely to press and start slow. However, if you did not buy at the draft table, the first two weeks are in the books, they are not on your books, and you have the opportunity to buy low. Do it!
Mike Moustakas: Moustakas had a big night Friday, hitting a two run dinger and scoring two runs. He then added another dinger Saturday. In this contract year, the Moose will be loose and has been so far to the tune of a .293 average, 5 dingers and an OPS of over 1,000 (as of Saturday night). Yes, he missed most of 2016 with injury but it was one that would and did heal (knee) and before his exit, he was raking: 7 dingers in just over 100 AB. Yes, I know the batting average was .240 in that 2016 period but the BABIP was also a paltry .214 so give him a mulligan on that. Bottom line: This is a young player who may still be undervalued because of that injury and depressed average. Hold tight if you were smart enough to get some Moose, fleece the Moose owner in your league if s/he thinks s/he is selling high.
Ender Inciarte: Inciarte had a big Friday night blasting a two run dinger for his third of the year (and added a fourth dinger over the weekend). Yes, the power is a surprise, but this guy just does not get the respect he deserves. After all, he is just 26 years old and already has two .290+ campaigns under his belt. Oh, and his 2016 included a post-All Star break average of .340+ with speed. There is another level for Inciarte and he is showing flashes of it in the early going. I am buying the big start and you should too.
Chris Davis: Chris “Crush” Davis is crushing to start 2017. On the year, he has posted a sweet .324 average and like Moose, an OPS over 1,000 (as of Saturday night). If you bought, good for you. If you did not, consider calling the Davis owner in your league and harping on the .221 average (and conveniently fail to mention the depressed BABIP and increased walk rate). Do not be surprised to see the 40+ dingers with a 260+ average in Davis’s stat line come October. I have a lot of shares and would be happy to add more.
Justin Smoak: Smoak smoked his third dinger of the year (weak pun I know) on Friday. This guy is really a Rodney Dangerfield type (gets no respect – look it up). If you add up his 2015 and 2016, you get a guy who hit 32 dingers and knocked in 93 runs in fewer than 600 at bats. I still regret not getting a few shares at the absurdly low cost. I will be looking at the waiver wire in my shallower leagues. You should too.
Greg Bird: Last week we wrote: “I hope Bird becomes a big time player. Maybe he will be one day but a good spring has somehow erased two critical facts. One, Bird missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury. Two, even in his successful two month stint in 2015, he struck out almost 30% of the time.” It has only gotten worse. Even with his big Sunday, Bird is hitting only .138 and has still struck out in close to 50% of his at-bats. In other words, even with Sunday, he has a long way to go to get to the Mendoza line. Ouch. I am rooting for him because he is a Yankee but other than Sunday he has looked off and has not been playing smart at all – something a professional must do when not physically performing up to standard. Saturday with the bases loaded, Bird hacked at the first two pitches from a pitcher who had already walked 6 in two innings! Do you think that it might make sense to let the pitcher continue to dig a hole? Ya! If Bird has another good game or two, consider seeing whether an owner in your league is willing to pay full price. He may hit his dingers on mistakes like he did Sunday but a bad average and a lot of K’s seem in the offing.
And now, the moment you likely have not been waiting for -- Schultz says: “Rotisserie baseball often seems to be governed by the principle of "what have you done for me lately?" It's not a terrible maxim to follow as the season progresses. Anyone who spent the latter parts of the 2016 season waiting for Trevor Story or Tyler White to swing the bat like they did in April likely suffered the consequences of living in the past. With that in mind, it’s easy to forget some players that likely vanished from the collective roto-consciousness over the course of last season.
After a breakout 2015, where he put up a .284 22 HR, 82 RBI, Mike Moustakas abruptly disappeared from the roto-landscape when he fractured his left thumb and then suffered a torn ACL in his right knee that ended his season. With the number of third basemen projected to have the elusive breakout season in 2017, it was easy to overlook Moustakas' return. Although the Royals have somewhat limped out of the gate, Moustakas has quickly regained his power stroke, slugging 5 home runs over his first 10 games back. Ignore the fact that they've practically all been solo shots (he has 6 RBIs) and focus on the .293 batting average. Since the former Royals hot-prospect disappeared from view right when he seemed to fulfilling his potential, his hot start is unlikely an outlier.
Yasiel Puig never really disappeared from roto-sight, he simply wore out his welcome. The Dodgers outfielder may possess more raw talent than the majority of the league, it just seems like he never has an interest in putting it to good use. After a banishment to the minors, Puig's name appeared in a variety of trade rumors that never panned out and, come draft day, the Cuban sensation was almost an afterthought. His .333 4 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB start is not likely a fluke and a focused. A motivated Puig could give you Troutian production at 1/8 or less of the cost.
So follow the advice of Ms. Jackson, forget the past and pay attention to what's happening lately.
Response: Well, this entry from the Carlton the Doorman of fantasy sports proves four things. One, he exists. Two, we do not compare notes beforehand as we both are on the Moustakas bandwagon. Three, Schultz sees what I saw in person at Dodger Stadium this weekend – Puig is back. Four, Schultz is getting smarter with old age. Happy birthday buddy!