How are we feeling three weeks into the season? Tell me who has you tilting and I’ll talk you off the ledge. Trends are starting to emerge even if most stats haven’t stabilized yet. It’s a long season but you gotta get wins when you can. Don’t be afraid to grab a hot bat and plug them in until they cool off. So what am I seeing out there? Here are some players who caught my eye with their early season heroics.
Ronald Acuna Jr is a special player. He can do it all and right now he is doing it all. He’s the top hitter so far and I don’t expect him to slow down.
Matt Chapman is off to a scorching hot start that I did not see coming. The power has been impressive, with 5 home runs and 9 doubles. That’s not new, he’s flashed it before. What is new is that he’s not striking out nearly as much as past seasons, only 15 in 65 at bats. As long as he’s being smart with what he swings at and driving the ball he’s legit even if we can’t count on him to bat over .400. He leads the league in OPS so he is locked in at the plate. If you drafted him enjoy the value.
Adley Rutschman has come out on fire and not just for a catcher. Early power numbers have been very encouraging and he’s well on his way to besting last season’s total. We knew he had the potential to be something special but it’s great to see him delivering.
Jorge Mateo wants to be known as more than just Adley’s teammate. As a speed first guy who couldn’t hit (career average .234) he was off my radar for points leagues. Well, something has changed for him this year because not only is he batting over .360 (yes I know the sample size is still small) but he’s already smashed 3 home runs. Keep in mind his previous high in that category was 13. With the new rules and bases, he has a chance to swipe enough bags to make him interesting in points leagues, especially if he can get to 20+ home runs. If he’s still available in your league you need to change that. As I type this he is dealing with some right hip discomfort and a limp. Reports are that he avoided a serious injury so ideally we’ll only be looking a couple day absence.
Yandy Diaz is likely long gone in your league, especially if you’ve been reading here. I am all in on his power breakout and wish I had more shares of him. His career high is 14 and he already has 6. You do the math, he is aiming to blow way past that. The Rays lineup figures to be really good this season and Yandy has cemented his place at the top of it. This is likely your last chance to get him.
Nico Hoerner was a guy I’ve had my eye on throughout draft season and boy is he rewarding my faith in him. He’s been getting on base, stealing bags, and scoring runs. Power hasn’t really been there, only 4 doubles and no big flies yet. That’s not a huge part of his game but he should continue to have the green light and batting leadoff should lead to him crossing home plate frequently given the surrounding lineup. No reason to think he won’t be a solid contributor all season.
Patrick Wisdom really shot up the leader boards this past week thanks to his 5 home runs. That brings him to 8 on the season. Looks like he’ll be a streaky player who could launch 40 bombs but struggle to hit above .220. With the potentially dire situation of the hot corner this season, he can still be a valuable part of your team. Depending on your league he might also have first base eligibility as well. Strikeouts have been a problem in the past and he does have 21 this year so that issue isn’t entirely going away but he is fairing better in that department so far. The problem with rostering him will be not knowing when he’s about to go on a power binge. As soon as you bench him he’ll smack 5 bombs but you’ll have to live with the down weeks to reap the rewards.
Nolan Gorman has been showing off his power in the early going and I’m here for it. I was in on him last season and he was fine but maybe not anything special. He doesn’t have a set position for the Cards with games at second, third and DH but he is seeing regular at bats and that’s really all we care about for fantasy. Playing time is the only thing that can hold him back from sustained success because let’s face it, the Cards are stacked offensively. Most likely he is only eligible at second and he probably won’t pick up any additional eligibility until much later in the season. This is only his second year in the big leagues and he only played in 89 games last season so he’ll blow past those numbers. Don’t be surprised if he makes it to 30 bombs.
Juan Soto hasn’t dominated coming out of the gate but he’s still one of the best hitters in baseball on a strong offense, he’ll be fine. Apparently, some people are getting nervous about him but that’s just silly. I have every confidence that he’ll get things going at the plate and finish the year as one of the top hitters. Might be worth checking in to see if his manager is tilting.
Thairo Estrada has rapidly become one of my favorite players. He had a bit of a breakout last season and so far he’s been even better. He’s got the leadoff spot locked up and can hit for decent power. Need help at middle infield, he can slot in at either position.
Brandon Marsh should not be widely available but it seems that he is wildly undervalued. Wrote him up before and he’s done nothing but continue to hit. Yes, the strikeouts are there too but he’s putting up points.
J.D. Davis has a hot bat right now. Power and batting average have both looked great. However, I’m most encouraged by the fact that he is playing almost every day. Who knows what Gabe Kapler will decide to do with his platoons and it should shock no one if suddenly Davis rides the pine because of analytics. For now, though he’s getting at bats and driving the ball. Watch him in shallow leagues and snap him up in deeper ones.
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