Preston Tucker is on pace for 32 home runs, 129 runs batted in and a .278 batting average. I realize that the whole “on pace” argument three weeks into the season holds about as much water as a bottle with a hole in the bottom of it, but the point is that he is off to a very good start. Unexpected? I think so. After spending all of 2017 in AAA fixing flat tires for the Astros, he was traded to the Braves in the offseason where he would hopefully have the opportunity to play in the Majors. Ok, maybe he didn’t fix any flats, but he did hit 24 home runs in 569 plate appearances. Perhaps the Astros felt they were one Tucker over the limit considering they also had Preston’s younger brother Kyle in the organization. Kyle also happens to be their top hitting prospect. When the front office gave him the news I hope he said “Tucker out” as he exited the meeting.
When Preston made the club out of Spring Training I think he was mostly viewed as a placeholder for Ronald Acuña, who had an impressive spring. If service time was not a thing, he most certainly would have broken camp in Atlanta. But it is and he didn’t. Now he’s in AAA and he’s been stinking it up like Billy Butler after a chili eating contest.
In the meantime Preston has been instrumental in the Braves early success. Despite this it seems like he will ride the pine, or perhaps even be sent to the minors once Acuña gets the call. Well that pretty much blows. Now I’m not saying I’d rather have Tucker over Acuña, but he is their top outfielder year-to-date. Ender Inciarte isn’t exactly lighting it up. You mean to tell me that because they are out of minor league options, both Lane Adams and Peter Bourjos get to stick around and Preston becomes the fall guy.
Breaking news. Acuña just hit his first home of the year for Gwinnett. While he’s still batting a paltry .175, this 2 for 4 performance will likely get him promoted to Atlanta. Tucker out!
What else is going on in fantasy baseball points leagues?
C: Yadier Molina has maintained his place atop the catcher leaderboard. Despite serving a suspension, he still managed 7 hits, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs and 17 points. When Seinfeld was asked who is favorite catcher was he responded with “Yadda, Yadda, Yadda”. Creeping up on Molina (49 points) is Francisco Cervelli with 46 points. Not exactly the two names anyone would have expected to see as the top performing catchers.
1B: Despite a weak week of just 10 points, Freddie Freeman, like Molina, also repeats as the top player at his position. He’ll have to pick it up this week if he wants to keep ahead of Rhys Hoskins who is averaging 17 points per week.
2B: Ozzie Albies has shown no signs of slowing down after racking up 25 points last week. DJ LeMahieu actually outpointed him with 28 points, but he is still two points behind Albies on the season. Advantage Ozzie, but neither he nor LeMahieu should take their eye off of Jed Lowrie who is batting .343 and has averaged 24.5 points per week over the last two weeks.
3B: Ignoring Freeman’s 3B eligibility, Matt Chapman and his 5 home runs and 58 points leads all third basemen not named Freddie Freeman. Not too bad from a guy drafted in the last couple rounds. However I think next week it will be one of Kris Bryant or Asdrubal Cabrera that will be the King of 3B. Why does that sounds like the name for a shitty TV sitcom about an apartment building to me?
SS: When I told Didi Gregorius that he won my top shortstop award for a second week in a row, his response was “Did I?”. With just 11 points week 3 and wasn’t his best week. Luckily for Gregorius he has a significant lead (29 points) over Asdrubal Cabrera.
OF: The top three outfielders are Bryce Harper (93 points), Mike Trout (68) and Mookie Betts (64). That reads like a who’s who of awesome players. It almost feels scripted. Harper is averaging 1.24 points every time he steps to the plate. That’s absurd. Only five batters have a points per plate appearance greater than 1. These players are Harper, Gregorius (1.36), Shohei Ohtani (1.09), Betts (1.08) and Charlie Blackmon (1.06).
SP: Patrick Corbin just said “hey Johnny Cueto, I’ll see your 7 inning, 11 strikeout, 2 hit game and raise you a one-hit complete game shutout”. Cueto promptly folded his hand. In points league jargon that translates to “hey Cueto, I’ll see your 29 points and raise you about 45”. I said “about 45” because it depends on how many points your league gives for wins, complete games and shutouts. Over his first four games Corbin is averaging about 28 points per start. I’d still rather have Max Scherzer, but I would be playing fair if I didn’t say that so far Corbin is leading the way among pitchers.
While no one has yet to hit for the cycle this season, there are 34 players that have hit at least one single, double, triple and home run if you count all of their YTD at bats. Only 16 of those 34 have also stolen at least one base. In points leagues the top four players of those 16 are Didi Gregorius (83 points), Ozzie Albies (63) and Starling Marte (56) and Corey Dickerson (54)
My two cents.
Don’t snooze on Sean Manaea. While it’s early, he’s quietly worked his way into the top 15 starting pitchers in points league with 18.75 points per start.
Is Zack Greinke ever in a good mood?
Instead of giving Darth Hader the 9th inning role, it seems Craig Counsell has made him the 8th and 9th inning guy. Josh just converted his second two-inning save in the last week.
How does Jake like his eggs?
Of batters with at least 50 plate appearances, Elvis Andrus leads the way in walks to strikeout ratios with a 4 walks to every strikeout. But since Andrus won’t be dropping the People’s Elbow any time soon, the next up is Didi Gregorius with 3.5 walks per strikeout.
Follow me on Twitter at @malamoney