Here are five players who are off to hot starts, and five who probably wish we were still in spring training.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsSteve Mitchell
UP: JT Realmuto
What a start for the Marlins catcher. Realmuto is raking with .500/.542/.909 splits in 22 at-bats. He’s also knocked two homers and driven in six RBI. Realmuto is without question one of the game’s best young catchers and boasted a .303/.343/.428 line in 137 games in 2016. Realmuto is one of the rare catchers in baseball who won’t kill your fantasy team’s hitting stats. Obviously he won’t bat .500 for the entire season, but the early returns have been overwhelmingly positive.
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DOWN: Todd Frazier
In 158 games for the White Sox last season Frazier hit 40 homers, 98 RBI, and stole 15 bases. Gaudy numbers even though his 24.5% strikeout rate (up 4.3% from his last year in Cincinnati) is a little higher than you might like. Through the first week, Frazier is all but absent from Chicago’s offense with anemic .059/.238/.059 splits, no home runs and no RBI in 21 plate appearances. The White Sox have also had opportunities where Frazier should’ve been able to contribute (in their 11-2 victory over Detroit and 6-2 victory over Minnesota). Frazier’s career numbers (.250/.317/.646, 10 stolen bases, 18 homers per year 2011-16) indicate that he will right the ship to some extent, but fantasy owners should be on alert.
UP: Ervin Santana
The Ervin Santana reclamation in Minnesota has carried over into the early parts of 2017. Through two starts Santana is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and seven strikeouts. In addition, the Twins hurler has only surrendered one earned run and one homer. One of the most encouraging aspects of Santana’s statistical profile is that he’s been able to keep the fly balls down over the past three seasons. Despite the league-wide power surge in 2016, Santana managed to sustain a sub-10 HR/FB% -- an impressive feat in today’s MLB.
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY SportsBruce Kluckhohn
DOWN: Miguel Cabrera
Miggy might be the best hitter of his generation, but he certainly didn’t play like it last week. Cabrera has yet to register an extra base hit and has struggled to .118 batting average. Cabrera has been the picture of consistency throughout his career (played in 157 games in 10 of his 13 full seasons and hit under .300 only twice in that span). He is a career .321 hitter in April, and it only gets better in May at .332. His slump will not last long.
UP: Eduardo Nunez
Ladies and gentleman you 2017 stolen bases leader is … Eduardo Nunez! Nunez swiped four bags in his first seven games. He stole a career high 40 bases last season for Minnesota and San Francisco and has picked up right where he left off. When taking into account that his 2016 SB total is 18 higher than his second best stolen base season, it is unlikely he’ll recreate that level of production on the base paths. Yet, it sweetens the deal when he’s hitting .333/.379/.787.
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Down: Nelson Cruz
The seemingly ageless wonder is coming off his third straight season of blasting 40+ homers and driving in 90+ RBI. At age 36, some regression is to be expected, but not to this extent. Cruz is sitting at a .080/.200/.120 stat line with just two hits in 25 at-bats. He’s also struck out twice in three of his four games this season. If Cruz can turn it around, it’d be a welcome sight as Seattle recovers from their 1-6 start.
UP: Sandy Leon
Just as fantasy owners hurried to their respective free agent pools to claim Yasiel Puig last week after his big game (who was subsequently moved up to fifth in the lineup and went 0-5), Leon might get the same treatment. Leon looks to be headed in the right direction with a .438 average, an excellent .400 BABIP, one homer and five RBI. He is 7-for-16 in his last seven games and unlike Puig appears to be trending upward.
Getty ImagesAdam Glanzman
DOWN: Andrew McCutchen
Poor Andrew McCutchen. First he unwillingly shifted to right field and now he’s off to a stinky offensive start. McCutchen has flailed his way to .150/.227/.150 splits during the first week with seven strikeouts in five games. He is still just 30-years-old, but he has noticeably regressed each of the last two seasons as his batting average fell from .314 to .292 in 2015 down to .256 in 2016. What’s more concerning is that his strikeouts have also increased from 115 to 133 up to 143 in that same time frame.
UP: Daniel Murphy
“I should’ve drafted Daniel Murphy,” FOX Fantasy’s Ryan Fowler said as he pored over the morning’s fantasy baseball results. I’m sure many fantasy baseball owners feel the same way. The Murphy renaissance continues as he is currently slugging .480/.500/.720 with one homer and three doubles in 25 at-bats. There’s no reason Murphy shouldn’t be one of fantasy’s best second baseman again this season.
DOWN: Relief pitchers
Sam Dyson currently has an ERA of 36.00. Edwin Diaz gave up three earned runs in a massive Mariners collapse. Jeanmar Gomez allowed a three-run bomb Sunday which cost him his job as closer. Relievers across the league are off to a terrible start this season. All in all, there were 37 total save opportunities blown this past weekend. Ouch. If you’re playing in a 12 team league, guys like Joe Musgrove, Mike Montgomery and Carter Capps should be available to pick up based on their preseason ADPs. These guys aren't closing, but they might at least provide some relief innings for your squad.