Opening Day has come and gone. We have learned a lot and overreacted a ton more. Remember that many people often overreact at the beginning of the season, but fantasy baseball is not fantasy football. It is a marathon, not a sprint. If you put in the prep work to get ready for the season, then trust the process. For the most part, you should only be reacting to big news (i.e. closer changes, call-ups, and injuries) for the first couple of weeks. That being said, let’s have some fun...

Fun with Pace Numbers

Mike Trout is on pace to strike out 162 times, which would be the most since 2014. Not bad, but he is also on pace to have zero home runs and zero stolen bases. TIME TO PANIC! If you are going to drop Mike Trout, then go pick up Matt Davidson, who is on pace to hit 486 home runs this year. You might even be able to get Jake Lamb in a trade for Trout. He’s on pace to knock in 648 runs this year! You could even pick up Chase Utley who is on pace to steal 162 bases this year!  Ty Blach is on pace to set the MLB record for wins this year. Edwin Diaz is on pace to record a league record 162 saves, he is also pacing to hit over 300 batters, which would be excessive, even for him.

Bullpen Pandemonium

Greg Holland signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals worth $14 million. This screws a lot of fantasy owners (including the author of this piece) who invested in different options within the Cardinals bullpen. If you are one of these unlucky owners that bought in on Luke Gregerson, Dominic Leone, or Tyler Lyons, DO NOT cut bait yet. The deal is pending a physical and it should be noted that Holland has a long history of health issues. Considering this and the fact he didn’t have a traditional spring training, Holland may get inserted into less stressful situations at the beginning of the season before manning the ninth inning role.

Mark Melancon was placed on the DL after dealing with continued arm issues. While many believed Sam Dyson would be the first man up, manager Bruce Bochy proclaimed Hunter Strickland would be the interim closer. Strickland did not disappoint in his first save opportunity, as he shut the door on the National League champs. Strickland has the best stuff in the Giants bullpen and could easily hold the role until Melancon returns. To be even more optimistic, there is a chance that Strickland could be the guy for a long time, if Holland’s arm issues persist.

Keone Kela was announced as the Rangers closer by manager Jeff Bannister. This is interesting news considering that Kela has not been very healthy and fell out of favor of the team last year. He has great skills and could be fantastic in the role, but the Rangers changed their closer a the drop of a hat last year, so I wouldn’t get too invested in the situation.

Things That Make You Go “Hmmmm…”

Aaron Nola was cruising through 5.1 innings when he was pulled by manager Gabe Kapler after giving up a double to start the inning. Nola was only at 68 pitches at the time and would be charged with a run after Hoby Milner (who?!?) gave up a two-run shot to Freddie Freeman in the next at bat. While this didn’t necessarily cost the Phillies the game, it is a bit concerning that Kapler would give Nola such a quick hook. It is something to monitor because if Kapler is going to pull his starters early, then it could severely alter their bottom line in fantasy. Let’s not jump to conclusions after one game, but keep an eye on this. This wasn’t the only interesting coaching decision by Kapler either. Both Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery were not in the Opening Day lineup. Herrera would come in as a defensive replacement later in the game, but Kingery spent his first Opening Day riding the pine.

The Diamondbacks beat the Rockies 8-2 in Chase Field. This is the first year that the Diamondbacks have used a humidor for the baseballs in order to help suppress the long ball and offense in their park. It didn’t seem to have much of an effect in game one, but this is something to monitor as we start to get more of a sample. One game doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but once we start getting through 8-10 games at Chase, we should start to really see some trends.

Kevin Plawecki got the start on Opening Day instead of Travis D’Arnaud and responded with a 2-for-3 day, including an RBI and two runs scored to go along with two walks. Plawecki is coming off a spring training in which he hit .270/.341/.405 and the Mets may finally have tired of D’Arnaud and his unfulfilled promise. In deeper formats where you may have lost catchers like Salvador Perez and JT Realmuto, Plawecki may be worth the gamble.

The Orioles had Chris Davis leading off for them and started Craig Gentry and Pedro Alvarez over Anthony Santander and Colby Rasmus. I don’t even know what to say.

What We’re Watching Today

Masahiro Tanaka vs Aaron Sanchez. Both are coming off of disappointing seasons, but have great upsides. I am heavily invested in Sanchez, but not so much in Tanaka.

Alex Wood’s velocity. He faded down the second half last year. Was he tired after not pitching a lot of innings in the previous two years or was it something more?

Robbie Ray. If the humidor has the intended effect, Ray should be a huge beneficiary. Let’s see those exit velocities tomorrow.

The Nationals’ and Pirates’ lineups. A lot of new faces in Pittsburgh, so it will be interesting to see the construction of the lineup opening day as they faces the Tigers. The Nationals are down Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman has been ailing. They get back Adam Eaton, so it will be interesting to see how the lineup is constructed and what effect that may have on seasonal and DFS fantasy.

Baseball. Lots of baseball.