Well, the season’s been as weird, wild, and worrisome as expected so far. We’ve seen some horrific starts from first round hitters, and, not as surprisingly perhaps, some ridiculously good starts from some of our under the radar deep league hitters. Assuming that major league baseball games are still being played this week, let’s look at some of those good starts, with an eye to the future and who might be able to keep it up for 2020 and perhaps beyond.
Colin Moran. I drafted the Pirates third baseman in a deep league or two because I thought he’d get more playing time than he deserved (he has), not because I thought he’d be leading the league in homers (5) as of Saturday (which he is… which I guess proves me wrong about that whole deserving playing time thing). I’ll hold tight in the leagues I own him, and hope this is a sign to come for 2021 since one of those leagues is a keeper league, but I’m not going crazy over him in standard leagues. I’ll be rooting for him, sure, but I can’t imagine he’ll have another week and a half of production this year that matches his huge start to the season.
Dansby Swanson. I was all over Dansby in NL-only this year and wish I’d bought more shares in my mixed leagues as well. I think he was undervalued in 2020, though who knew just how undervalued, since he’s been the most valuable hitter in baseball in standard 5×5 leagues through games of last Friday. Obviously he can’t keep up anything close to this pace, but the combination of power (2 homers), speed (3 steals), and just plain hitting (.382 average) suggests he’s firing on all cylinders. I think he’ll end up being useful in any size league in 2020 and I almost hope he doesn’t go TOO crazy this year so that I can still get him at a fair price in 2021.
J.P. Crawford. Another former top prospect shortstop who’s lost some luster over the last couple of years (like Swanson), I’m buying in to Crawford in all leagues in 2020 until further notice. If I’m just looking for lots of at bats and hopefully some steals — which I am — he’s providing both for now, spending lots of time at the leadoff spot for the Mariners. As for 2021, let’s see what the coming weeks and months bring and go from there.
Teoscar Hernandez. I drafted Teoscar in deep and even medium leagues this year and, unlike 2019, so far it’s paid off. He has 4 homers and is hitting over .320 early on, and while I’m sure that average number will go down as the season continues, I think the power is real. Because of everything else going on and the Blue Jays being gameless all weekend, Hernandez still feels under the radar despite his hot start, which is fine by me… if the season shuts down early, he’s already moved himself up my draft board at least a little for 2021.
Trent Grisham. I don’t own Grisham anywhere this year, but I do own him in a keeper league that’s frozen until 2021, so I’m more than happy to see him off to a .273, 3-homer start early. He was a Razzball favorite this winter/spring, so if you’re reading this his strong start probably doesn’t surprise you. I have high hopes that we’ll continue to see more of the same from him now that he’s had an important change of scenery in San Diego, and as long as we don’t see a complete crash and burn I suspect he’ll be a strong target for me going into next year.
Donovan Solano. As I write this, the 32-year old Solano leads baseball with 13 RBI and has a .448 average. He seems to have cemented himself a place in the Giants’ lineup for whatever is left of 2020 and that alone gives him some value in just about any league. I think we have to expect a serious correction in production sooner rather than later, though, so I’d be afraid of him outside of the deep league world both for the remainder of the season and in the more distant future.
JaCoby Jones. I’ve been teased by Jones before, and it does indeed feel like I’m getting teased again, as he’s started the season hitting .423 with 3 homers and 7 RBI. He’s 28 now and has well over 900 at bats to get to his atrocious career .217 average/.281 OBP, and he only has one walk this season. While the early mini power display is nice, I’m going to need to see an extended good run at the plate and perhaps some action on the base paths (no steals yet this year; he maxed out at 13 in 129 games two years ago) before I’d be excited about rostering him in 2020, let alone considering him in 2021.