The first month of the season is where championships are lost, not won. I don’t know if that’s true, but it seems reasonable. Scheduling quirks, bad luck, overreactions to small sample sizes, injuries, etc… Here are 4 guys that I will not and cannot lose faith in this season – for better or worse.
Jesse Winker OF Cincinnati Reds
Starting only one of the first three games was not ideal. Winker started the season 1-24 until a recent 4 HR – 8 game stretch. The walk rate is a bit down so far, but he hit 3rd in the Reds lineup yesterday and has started nearly every game since the first weekend. The strikeouts are fine, the BABIP is an unlucky .176 and he’s hitting the ball hard. Winker is already well on his way to the 20 HR season I expected, and the .290/.400 slashline is still quite possible. Jesse, if you’re reading this… I have faith in you.
Franmil Reyes OF San Diego Padres
But, Colin, playing time. But, Colin, Hunter Renfroe. Ha! Franmil also started slowly; just 1 for his first 19. Since then he has hit 4 HR and is hitting in a prime place in the lineup EVERY DAY. There’s also this from the great Alex Chamberlain:
With his power, opportunity, and contact…the breakout is real. Add him now!
Garrett Hampson 2B, SS, OF? Colorado Rockies
I’m a sucker for multi-eligible players. But, I dropped Hampson in a league. SHAME! It’s ok, I just picked him back up. Spotty playing time was alleviated when McMahon was placed on the IL. Oh, and Ian Desmond sucks, which has put Hampson in the outfield some. After starting 3-30, Hampson has hit over .300 since and slugged his first homer (on the road) and picked up a steal. He also has spent a few games hitting in front of Nolan Arenado in the 2 hole.
Struggling teams are sometimes a great opportunity to get max value. If Hampson can stay in the lineup and near the top, his upside is just as big as when he was a sleeper in March.
Carlos Rodon SP Chicago White Sox
Strikeouts are up, walks are normal (they’ll always be high) and he’s still in the AL Central. I think the division is what keeps me so interested here. Rodon won’t face many tough matchups and he has looked very good this season. His FIP is under 2.oo and his ERA sits at 3.27 early on. I think this is a good time to buy. Now, the velocity should be monitored; but he’s doing what we’ve wanted him to do – throw less fastballs and more sliders. In doing so, the Ks should remain viable. If he gets stronger as the weather warms up and adds a tick to his fastball, I think this is a top 40 starting pitcher. As the industry raves about Matt Boyd, I think Rodon has a chance to do similar things.
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