Fantasy Forward: Yo, Yo, Yo three times as nice

When fantasy owners start to worry about a player’s slow start, this week should be a reminder to be patient. Personally, my head-to-head teams stunk last week, but so far this week, things have returned to expectations due to targets performing.

One such player, Yoenis Cespedes, homered three times last night in Philadelphia and should serve as a perfect example. Over the last 21 games in Citizens Bank Park, the Mets have hit 46 home runs as a team. Match-ups matter.

Due to the volume of material to be covered, here’s the full Fantasy Forward with some interesting situations brewing in bullpens.

Hitter’s delight

  • As referenced above, Yoenis Cespedes launched three home runs and a double in six at-bats for five RBI. He could hit 35 or more this year with a chance at 40, the talent’s real. Under the radar, Asdrubal Cabrera finished with four hits, including a home run to raise his average to .353 on the season. Not to be outdone, Lucas Duda hit two home runs, with four hits and could be a big factor in this lineup with health (always dicey). Last but not least, Travis d’Arnaud had three hits with a home run and three RBI as well.

  • After a hot start last year, Marcell Ozuna tailed off with some injury issues for the Marlins. However, he hit two home runs last night and according to Statcast data, owns three of the seven home runs of the franchise’s total off of pitches 97 MPH or faster. Ozuna’s hard contact rate to start the year stands at 59.1 percent. Not a typo. Could be time to try and buy him from an owner who does not believe.
  • Tigers catcher James McCann may have teased before, but his hard contact rate of 56.3 provides hope along with his three early home runs with a .381 OBP and .765 slugging. Speculate.
  • George Springer‘s power surge continued with his fourth leadoff home run in nine games, extending his major league record. Also, the team record, which he matched last year with eight seems well within reach.
  • Things returned to normal in Boston with Dustin Pedroia leading off, Andrew Benintendi hitting second and Mookie Betts third. The group finished a combined 7-for-14 with five RBI and each reached via a hit or walk during the win over Baltimore.
  • Padres rookie Manuel Margot seems to be throwing his hat into the rookie of the year conversation early. He hit his third home run of the season already, his average sits at .343 and after Coors, heads to Atlanta’s new stadium.
  • Top-five pick Jose Altuve entered Tuesday night hitting .188 with no runs scored or RBI. He finished with two hits, a double, a run scored, an RBI and stole a base. A hot streak may be coming for those who invested, be ready for the upcoming correction.

Dyson losing a hold on his role

  • All puns aside, Sam Dyson‘s 36 ERA may not last much longer as the Rangers closer. Jeremy Jefrress’ 10.13 ERA may not be much better. Could Matt Bush emerge as the closer despite being so valuable as the extinguisher? Those looking for the long view, may want to stash Keone Kela. This will not be an easy fix for Texas.
  • Once again fantasy owners muse, why use closers in non-save opportunities? Both Ken Giles and Seung-Hwan Oh allowed earned runs in relief in games which did not matter. Public service announcement, please stop. At some point, there could be a change but each reliever should be given some leeway by their respective teams.
  • Naming it a “Filthy Rodney”, a save with runs allowed. Fernando Rodney struck again in San Francisco, giving up two earned runs but recording the save. As intimated already, stash Archie Bradley and remember Rubby De La Rosa could be a factor in the bullpen within a month.
  • Raisel Iglesias finished a five out save on Tuesday with Drew Storen setting up. So plan on Mike Lorenzen getting the chance if provided on Wednesday night.

Interesting starting pitching results

  • While Matt Harvey seemed to be on his way to a win with huge run support, he left the game early due to a strained hamstring. This will need to be monitored but Harvey finished with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work. Encouraging.
  • Raise your hand if you had Wily Peralta at 2 – 0 to start the year? He defeated the Rockies at home and won in Toronto. Presently, his ERA sits at 2.45 with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings of work. Not buying yet, but starting to track.
  • Breakout candidate Robbie Ray pitched well in San Francisco for the win and lasted 6.2 innings. But he needs to cut down the walks (five last night) to keep his WHIP at a respectable level. Ray did finish with eight strikeouts.
  • Injury worries depressed the price of Drew Pomeranz this preseason but his debut went well against the Orioles. Pomeranz worked six innings with six strikeouts, four hits allowed and one walk. His fastball averaged 92.2 MPH but the velocity dipped after the second inning. With health, Pomeranz could be a sneaky fantasy stream option and even become mixed league viable.
  • After a rocky debut in 2017, Matt Boyd of Detroit bounced back in a big way. His control made him worthy of a late round flier and on Tuesday, Boyd worked six innings with one hit allowed, two walks and six strikeouts against the Twins. Take a look at him in deeper leagues. 

Injury updates

  • Buster Posey landed on the 10-day disabled list with a concussion. He did sit in the dugout on Tuesday night which causes cautious optimism, but monitor this closely. Head injuries can befall any major league hitter. Now two of the top three catcher options for fantasy sit on the disabled list. Nick Hundley hit well in the spring and could be a nice second catcher in deeper leagues to replace Posey.

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Greg Jewett

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I am a father, PE teacher & fantasy baseball writer. Using saber metrics & information to evaluate players & trends is exciting to me."Passion is the oxygen of the soul." Bill Butler