Welcome back to Perception Vs. Reality where we run through the player rater and talk about players that have been outperforming their expectations from a numbers standpoint. Last week, I mentioned how poor the weather has been and it seems that we are seeing a much better outcome from mother nature going into this week so let’s hope that it continues. This week might seem like a little bit of a rerun from my post a couple of weeks ago, but there are a couple of names that are worth repeating again as they continue to crush baseballs and expectations. But I will start with a name that is new to this post in an effort to shake things up.
Christian Villanueva – Villanueva is smashing the ball on his way to being ranked 13th overall on the player rater. In fact, on a per game value, he’s actually ranked 11th. Villanueva is currently dealing with a small hamstring issue that is not believed to be serious. He’s 74% owned in ESPN leagues, but I would keep an eye on your waiver wire just in case he misses a couple more starts and an impatient owner decides that they don’t have time for that. It’s not likely to happen, but owners act weird with injuries sometimes so you never know, especially in shallow leagues with not a lot of bench spots. Okay, in all likelihood, nobody is going to drop one of the league leaders in home runs, so don’t be that person, either if you are an owner. Villanueva is obviously outperforming his projections, especially with 7 HRs and he doesn’t have the best offense around him, but it’s a wave worth riding until the bottom falls out.
Teoscar Hernandez – So I had a commenter last week who asked me if he should pick up Hernandez because he looked great in the minors and Grichuk was struggling. I should have been more bullish and flat out just said “Hell yes, don’t look back!” But, I’m trying to be careful and not give bad advice. Obviously, that was the wrong choice, I think that you guys want gut decisions if you are 50/50 on something. Hell, you all know a lot about baseball yourselves. Anyways, Teoscar is under 50% owned in ESPN leagues and he’s in the top 5 of the player rater on a per game basis. Go grab him if you can. He’s probably not a .300 hitter but he looks like a solid contributor.
Kyle Schwarber – As I am writing this, Schwarber is ranked 71st on the player rater, which is cuts his ADP in about half. He already has two home runs on Tuesday night so I’m sure he’s going to move up a few spots into the 60’s by the time this posts. The Cubs love Schwarber and so do I. My bold prediction was that he would hit 40+ home runs this season. Not that bold if he gets 550 at bats. Schwarber has multi-hit games in each of his past four starts and is now hitting over .300. This could be the year that he doesn’t hurt you in batting average. As a Cubs fan, I really wish that the National League had a DH spot.
Mitch Haniger – This is the first of our repeats for the week. He is smashing the baseball and is currently ranked #7 on the player rater. Owners will always be weary of his injury history until he proves otherwise, but when he is on the field, he is a special kind of dangerous. Coming into Tuesday, Haniger had a home run in four straight games. That dispels any notion that he was on his way to slowing down a couple of weeks ago.
Jed Lowrie– Jed Lowrie comes in at #6 on the player rater. This is more of a courtesy because I have yet to mention him in this post this season. The 34-year old is hitting .357 and his 6 home runs show pop that he hasn’t shown since he hit 15 home runs in 2013. Lowrie has never hit for 20 home runs, a .300 average, or stolen bases. Ride the wave until he starts to slow down or see if you can get a player that can be useful to you for the rest of the season from a hopeful owner. The latter might not happen, but it’s worth a shot.
Didi Gregorius – This also is a repeat from a couple of weeks ago, but his performance thus far definitely needs to be reiterated. Gregorius is leading baseball in RBIs with 25 and April still has almost a week left in it. Nobody thought that he would be in the top 3 on the Yankees in RBIs this far into the season. Right now, Didi is hitting in the middle of a very potent lineup so I wouldn’t be surprised if the counting stats continue at a decent pace. The pace will obviously slow down, but if you take a peak over at his history at the plate over the years, he is walking more, striking out less, and his batting average keeps climbing. This is a three season trend that we are talking about. Don’t count out the glorious Gregorius.