Week 1 is in the books. The biggest mistake fantasy owners make is overreacting to week 1 and forgetting why they drafted or avoided drafting players. We at the Alarm are here to help you stay SMART, stay on the straight and narrow and follow the Rules of Engagement. With that in mind, some key notes from the week that was.
David Freese: David Freese went 2-4 with HR and RBI Friday night. That is two dingers for Freese in week 1. Yes, the average is not where it should be yet. However, given that he hit 8 dingers in the second half last year, the power surge should be no surprise. Also, remember that after recovering from a broken finger in 2014, Freese hit .282 and was 11th in the MLB in line drive percentage in the second half. Expect solid power, a good average and good counting numbers at a bargain price in his contract year. If someone is already panicking about the bad week 1 average (or Freese is sitting out there on your wire), seize the buying opportunity.
Hector Santiago: In news that should surprise no one, Hector Santiago was mediocre Friday, giving up 3 runs and 7 baserunners over 5+ innings and took 100 pitches to do so. Santiago is what he is – good ERA, bad WHIP in each of the last three years. However, given that his fastball velocity continues to decrease, his FIP has not supported his ERA and the Angels have both Heaney and Tropeano waiting in the wings at AAA, Santiago is someone to avoid. Hopefully you did so at the draft table. Continue to do so.
Kendrys Morales: Kendrys Morales went 2-4 with a dinger Friday. Thus far in the early going, the predicted return to strong productivity is coming to pass. In week 1, Morales is hitting a cool .400 with a homer, 4 runs and 7 RBI. Given that he hit .270+ with 20+ HR in 2012 and 2013, we can give him a mulligan for 2014 where he had no spring and no ability to get ready for the season. The production is as predicted and real (though he will not hit .400 of course). Pay accordingly.
Carlos Santana: Carlos Santana went 2-3 with an RBI and added a walk Friday. Last year, the Indians shuffled Santana all over the field – catcher, 3B, 1B. Now that he is settled in at 1B, he will produce big time. I am all in here, having rostered Carlos in LABR, Tout Wars, NFBC and my home league (and many daily games where he is catcher eligible still). He is an on base machine (113 BB in 2014) so while his gaudy .481 OBP may not be sustainable, 400+ surely is. 30 HR and .400 OBP for the year seems likely to me. Sign me up!
Jose Iglesias: Jose Iglesias is on fire. Friday the supposedly glove first SS went 3-4 with an RBI and run. On the year, Iglesias is hitting .526 with two SB. Well, of course, he will not hit .500. Indeed, it would be a bonus if he hits .250 given that the only time he hit .300+ in the minors was in 40 AB at low A. That said, his wheels seem to have returned and he will score runs in that lineup so you could do a lot worse at MI in a deep league so long as you keep your expectations in check.
Nick Castellanos: Nick Castellanos finally showed some life early in 2015 going 2-4 with dinger, 2 RBI, 2 runs and a walk Friday. Fantasy players tend to overreact early. If the fan of overreaction theatre owns Nicky C in your league, pounce. Yes, Nick is hitting only .174 however he has 4BB against 6K so his plate approach is good. His early BABIP is only .176 (luck will improve) and has no infield popups (which you would expect him to have if he was really cold). As noted above, the lineup is stacked. Add that together with the facts that Castellanos now in his second year at 3B and that only one player in baseball hit more line drives last year and you have a buying opportunity. If someone is willing to sell, attend the sale and bid aggressively.
Dan Haren: Dan Haren went 6 innings in his debut giving up just four hits and one run. The only blemish is that Haren struck out only 2. While I do not love him as much as my NFBC partner Nate Ravitz (who has a huge man crush on Haren), Nate may be on to something here. After all, Haren’s WHIP has improved two years in a row, he pitches in a great pitchers park and he gets a full 1/3 of his games against the Braves, Phillies and Mets. Buy!
And now the moment you well, may or may not be waiting for, the Baron of Bottom of the Page makes his 2015 debut – Schultz says: “YAWN!!! OOF!!! (undefinable snapping sound) (creaking of bones). What's that you're hearing? Those are the sounds Schultz makes as he wakes from a winter's hibernation to learn that management has picked up his option for the 2015 baseball season and that the weather seems to be no different than when Schultz started his October slumber.
There is an old roto-adage that may possibly not exist outside Schultz' mind that states "never invest quality money or a high draft pick in any closer not named Mariano." This has been updated in recent years to include Southern Mariano, who also goes by the name of Craig Kimbrel. Outside of the Padres nee Braves roto-stud, there isn't a single other closer that doesn't have injury, consistency or trust issues and yes, that includes Aroldis Chapman, who always seems to be teetering on the edge of a visit to the disabled list. Even the historically reliable Jonathan Papelbon doesn't know where he's finishing 2015.
It took less than a week for MLB to remind every roto-player why the Mariano Maxim (see, now it has a name) should be followed. Already Jenrry Mejia (PEDs), Joe Nathan (injury), Joaquin Benoit (Kimbrel) and Brett Cecil (sorriness) have been liberated from the burden of finishing games, surely frustrating those who egregiously placed too much hope in the riskiest of all positions. Why even bother with an investment in a subpar closer when you can just wait one week and pluck the likes of Jason Grilli, Joaquin Soria or Jeurys Familia off the waiver wire. Someday people will learn.
One last note, the Houston Astros' historic opening series batting average of .096 has less to do with the Astros' bats and everything to do with how good Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer pitched. Hopefully, you invested wisely in the front of the Indians' rotation and have left room for the eventual return of Danny Salazar.”
Final Note: Welcome back Schultz! Yes, the Baron is an Indians’ homer but he is right about that staff. I would add in that T.J. House’s bad first start also presents a buying opportunity!