At the Angels-Giants game last weekend I saw something I haven’t seen before. Not in the game, but in the crowd. First off, let me say I am not a fan of the beach balls that I’ve seen way too often at Angels and Dodgers games. This isn’t an outdoor concert. With that being said, baseball can be boring (who knew?) and it keeps the kids entertained and not jumping around ruining my experience, so be it.
Anyway, there’s a Giants fan (and there were a lot of Giants fans at Angels Stadium) sitting a section over by himself, a middle-aged guy in a Posey jersey and backwards hat (when does it become too old to wear a backwards ball cap? 25? 30? Never?); the only thing he was missing was his glove. So the beach ball gets to him, and he just rips it in half and throws it in the aisle. He did it with meaning too. After that, he points two middle fingers up in the air. It drew glares from everyone around him and was truly surreal.
A few minutes later an usher comes and talks to him; I didn’t hear what was said, but they didn’t kick him out (and if they did I would hope it would be for the double middle fingers, because who cares about the beach ball). Then, the next inning, he removes the Posey jersey and hat and meekly leaves. Everything about the experience was hilarious and I won’t judge him much; the beach balls suck and him going full heel was great. So if that guy is reading, first off, way to provide some entertainment; and secondly, be cool, man, it’s only a game.
Now let’s get to our April OPS All-Stars, stinkers and surprises! (All stats & ownership through Wednesday, April 25th)
All-Star: Rhys Hoskins, PHI; he’s really tearing it up and with the OF eligibility to boot with a line of 16/4/19/3/1.107. He’s great (duh) and I’d trade a lot for him.
Underperformer (aka guy to trade for): Anthony Rizzo, CHC. He went on the DL for the first time in his career, has a terrible line thus far, but does qualify at 2B in some formats and will get to his 100/30/100 numbers by season end.
Lesser owned help: Yonder Alonso, CLE (25% owned in Yahoo!, 42% ESPN, 82% in RCL) He started out super-cold (along with the weather) but has a line of 5/3/8/.823 over the past two weeks. I’d rather have him than Pujols or Gurriel, for example.
All-Star: Jed Lowrie, OAK. First surprise. I’ve always been a big fan of Jed in deep leagues but he’s been ridiculous so far. A line of 13/6/24/1.038 is cash money in the bank (there is no cash money in banks anymore though, and that should worry us all, but I don’t want to go Chicken Little on ya so I’ll stop there). All us Jed owners are riding him until he stinks, then back to the waiver wire he goes.
Underperformer: Jose Altuve, HOU. After striking out against Ohtani three times the other night Altuve is down in the dumps, with a line of 13/0/10/1/.770. See if his owner in your league is fed up and willing to move him.
Lesser owned help: Ian Happ, CHC. A popular pre-season sleeper, Happ hasn’t started as well as we’d all like, and as such his ownership is down to 65% in Yahoo! and 60% ESPN leagues. Could be his line of 6/3/7/2/.754, which isn’t horrible, but not super-exciting either. He’s batting toward the bottom of the order currently, so approach with caution.
All-Star: Didi Gregorius, NYY. I drafted him in an ottoneu league years ago and something interesting/unique/frustrating was that they didn’t use nicknames at that time, so I drafted Didi for a buck because he was listed under his actual name, Mariekson, which actually I like better than Didi. Also, he speaks four languages, three of which I’ve heard of (English, Dutch and Spanish) along with Papiamentu, which is a “Porteguese-based creole language spoken in the Dutch West Indies.” Cool. (Honorable mention: Javier Baez, CHC)
Underperformer: Alex Bregman, HOU. He’s started slowly and he did the same last year. A popular pick based more on his World Series performance than his stats last season. This year’s line of 9/1/7/2/.686 isn’t cutting it. Yet. With third base eligibility in many formats his owners may be getting bored with him; now is the time to pounce.
Lesser owned help: Marcus Semien, OAK. Known to OPSers for years. Yahoo ownership at 54%, ESPN 42%, RCL 79% means he might be out there in your league. He’s hitting in the leadoff or second spot in the order so good for some Runs (especially with guys like Lowrie, Khris Davis, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman hitting behind him).
All-Star: Christian Villanueva, SD. His line thus far: 13/7/16/1/1.218. Why is he still owned in only 74% of Yahoo! leagues? It sucks he’s dealing with a hamstring injury while in Colorado but he’ll play there again this season, and the Padres have little to no reason not to play him. (Honorable mention: Manny Machado, BAL. The window to acquire him on the cheap was two weeks. Now good luck).
Underperformer: Jake Lamb, ARI. He’s soon to come off the DL and maybe his owner has already moved on but he can be very useful in OPS leagues (just not against lefties!).
Lesser owned help: Todd Frazier, NYM. Knew he was still playing, did not recall what team. Of course he’s on the Mets. With a line of 14/3/14/2/.875; he’s hitting fifth in the lineup between Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez (which would make me feel better if this was five years ago). Owned in 67% of Yahoo leagues, 60% ESPN, 89% RCL, he’s worth a look if you’re dealing with injuries.
Also OPS Leaguers Unite! favroite Ryon Healy is coming back from the DL soon; he’s been swinging a good bat in the minors and qualifies at first as well.
All-Stars: Mike Trout, Bryce Harber, Aaron Judge, and Mookie Betts. Not listing their teams as they are the cornerstones of any fantasy team and if you don’t know what team they’re on just click on their names (same could be said for any other guy on this list but I digress).
Underperformer: Marcell Ozuna, STL. Maybe he’s getting used to the Lou and has started slowly to the tune of 8/2/11/.582. Dang though, .582 is terrible. His owners should agree, which you should play up in your offer. “He’s been terrible, but I like his name; how about so-and-so for him?”
Lesser known help: Mitch Haniger, SEA, is having a season so far with a line of 12/8/24/1/1.081. Haniger is halfway to his last season total in RBIs and homers if he can just stay healthy he’ll have his best pro season. He’s owned in 82% of Yahoo! leagues but I bet he could be acquired for a #3 SP or lower tier closer. Josh Reddick, HOU, is another good add as he’s hitting fourth in one of the best lineups in baseball and a line thus far of 15/6/15/1/.895. He’s 70% owned in Yahoo!, 86% ESPN and 74% RCL.
Now it’s time to go trade for those underperformers; since these guys were high round/expensive at the draft I don’t recommend throwing out a lowball offer; rather start with a decent offer to get the ball rolling. Personally I appreciate a fair offer to start; makes me feel we’re negotiating in good faith. If you have time, take a look at the team you’re making an offer to and look at his weaknesses, another thing that is appreciated is when a guy makes a note to the effect of “looks like you could use a Outfielder, what do you think?” Your homework is to send out some offers this weekend, but no one is checking, so we’re on the honor system. Keep it cool this weekend Razzballers and Razzballettes!