Hello and welcome!  We’re going to take a look at the AL and NL league leaders in each standard rotisserie category after the first full week of baseball and discuss, analyze, and Razz it up! (90’s phrasing!) My favorite in the group is ONLY available when there is a tie in a category. Waiting in the weeds is a pitcher or hitter that is not currently leading the category, but could find their way into the lead soon…

Note: Roto Leaders as of Sunday April 8th, 2018.

 Standard ROTO Categories
  Batting   Pitching
Runs Scored (R) Wins (W)
Home Runs (HR) Saves (SV)
Runs Batted In (RBI) Strikeouts (K)
Stolen Bases (SB) Earned Run Average (ERA)
Batting Average (AVG) Walks plus Hits Per Inning Pitched (WHIP)

W

AL – CLE Carlos Carrasco/HOU Charlie Morton/BOS Rick Porcello/SEA Mike Leake/OAK Chris Hatcher/NYY Luis Severino/BAL Richard Bleier/LAA Shohei Ohtani (2)

Seems a bit silly to think about wins leaders this early into the season, but for Pete’s sake! let’s do it anyways.  It’s understandable that this category has so many pitchers tied, but as the season plays out, you can easily remove some of these names for future planning.  Oh Hey Shohei looks to be the real deal, which hurts my “Ohtani bust” pick during spring training. His luck could change as teams get more film on his repertoire and tendencies, but for now the 100 mph heat mixed with a knee-buckling breaking ball is pretttttty prettttty fun to watch.  The Yankees have been boom or bust so far this season at 5 boom and 5 bust but Severino has been has back-to-back seven K games, including his opener allowing just one hit. Charlie Morton of the Astros breaks out to me with his mix of pitches and being backed up by that ridiculous offense in Houston.  Morton’s best pitch is a 96 mph sinker/two-seam which produces a lot of swing and misses or ground balls and mixes in a slow knuckle-curve

    Favorite in the Group –  HOU Charlie Morton

    Waiting in the Weeds –  HOU Justin Verlander

NL – ATL Brandon McCarthy/COL Adam Ottavino/CHC Pedro Strop/PIT Jameson Taillon/ARI Patrick Corbin/ARI Robbie Ray/NYM Jacob deGrom/PIT Trevor Williams/MIA Odrisamer Despaigne/PIT Steven Brault (2)

It’s understandable that this category has so many pitchers tied, but as the season plays out, you can easily remove some of these names for future planning.  For example, let’s fade out anyone that is not a regular starter like RP Adam Ottavino and RP Pedro Strop. The Wins category can be deceiving for RP’s because it doesn’t always represent solid pitching.  Strop blew a save and the Cubs made a comeback to win. So that leaves us with McCarthy, Taillon, Corbin, Ray, deGrom, Williams, Despaigne, and Brault. ATL (6-3) and ARI (7-2) and PIT (7-2) all had a solid first week.  Ray’s next start is set for Wednesday, April 11th in the pitcher friendly AT&T Park in San Francisco. deGrom is due to face the Derek Jeter puppet show in Miami on Tuesday, April 10th, poor Starlin Castro. As the leaders dwindle down, we’ll go more in depth on the leader.

    Favorite in the Group – NYM Jacob deGrom

    Waiting in the Weeds – WSH Max Scherzer

 

SV

AL – TOR Roberto Osuna (4)

According to Razzball’s own 2018 Fantasy Baseball Projections, Rankings, Auction Values, Osuna projected to be third in the saves in the AL behind only Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman.  Last year, Osuna was tied for fourth in all of baseball in SV’s and has continued that tear this year.  He may not have that swing and miss stuff like some other closers, but against so far in April, he has recorded a BABIP of .143, and produced a mostly ground ball outs.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – SEA Edwin Diaz

NL – COL Wade Davis/ARI Brad Boxberger/NYM Jeurys Familia (4)

Wade Davis finished 10th in SV’s in 2017 and converted 27 straight without a blown save.  In 2016, Familia led the majors with 51 SV’s and finished third in 2015 with 43. Boxberger this season has produced mostly soft contact and relies mainly on a lower velocity 4-seam fastball (91 mph) and changeup (79 mph).

    Favorite in the Group – COL Wade Davis

    Waiting in the Weeds – PIT Felipe Rivero

 

K

AL – TEX Cole Hamels (23)

The charitable lefty not only gave away a $9.75 million mansion to Camp Barnabas to benefit children with special needs and chronic illnesses (amazing gesture!), he also leads the American League in strikeouts…for now.  So far in 2018, Hamels has featured a cutter and a change up with the change up being his best swing and miss pitch (32.31% whiffs). It’s unlikely that he keeps pace with the rest of the field, since he has not had 200 K’s in a season since 2016

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – HOU Gerrit Cole

NL – ARI Patrick Corbin (20)

Corbin is an unexpected name for this list.  Most of you could name two pitchers on his own team that should probably have more strikeouts (Ray and Greinke).  Currently he has a 13.85 K/9, however the only time he has been above 10.00 in K/9 was for Diamondbacks A+ affiliate, Visalia Rawhide at 10.38 in 2010.  Fairly safe bet he won’t hold the lead for long.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – WSH Max Scherzer

 

ERA

AL – BOS David Price/HOU Charlie Morton/KC Jakob Junis/TB Yonny Chirinos (0.00)

Cheerios was a bit of a surprise, as many expected him to get lit up in Boston for his debut as a starter.  Even after a solid outing in relief four nights prior. Alliteration friendly Jakob Junis fared very well last season as a rookie going 9-3 and almost eclipsing 100 IP.  Price and Morton are expected to be here as they have good swing and miss stuff. So far, Price’s K/9 are lower than usual, but BABIP against him is at .189. In the majors, Price has not had an ERA above 4.00 since 2009, while Morton more often than not is above 4.00.

    Favorite in the Group – BOS David Price

    Waiting in the Weeds – DET Michael Fulmer. Hard to say because it doesn’t get better than 0.00 but for this exercise

NL – SF Johnny Cueto (0.69)

Cueto used to be more of a power pitcher where he could throw his heater and sinker in the mid-90’s.  With age, his velocity is down and he’s become more crafty, with that turn in his wind up, and the occasional freeze-frame turning his back.  He’s now down to the high-80’s for his “heat” and stays low 80’s for a slider and changeup.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – PIT Jameson Taillon

 

WHIP

AL – LAA Shohei Ohtani (0.46)

Finally, we get to talk about Oh Hey Shohei, Sho-time, Japanese Babe Ruth, the MLB Ichiro/Darvish/Nomo/Fukudome/Matsui etc. etc. etc.  He has absolutely taken the league by storm hitting like crazy, and pitching like Carlos against Gus, Richie, and Clark of the Benchwarmers pre-beer.  He has the triple digit heat and the Smoltz-like splitter. He’s the real deal.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – OAK Sean Manaea

NL – PIT Jameson Taillon (0.49)

NL player of the week Taillon has had one solid and one fantastic outing, going 5.1 IP, 4 hits, no walks, 2 ER, and 9 K’s.  His most recent outing, however, Taillon went the distance with 1 hit, two walks, 7 K’s, and the shutout. He has the repeatable delivery going for him thus far and a fastball and sinker that sit comfortable in the mid-90’s, easy cheese.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – LAD Alex Wood

 

R

AL – NYY Brett Gardner/NYY Didi Gregorius (10)

Both on the same team, it should be no surprise that I prefer the leadoff hitter for the Yanks than the clean-up hitter.  If Gardner gets on base for you, Judge or Stanton could bring him in with one swing of the bat. This decision has nothing to do with talent or ability.  Simply put, I’d rather be the hitter in front of Judge and Stanton than the one after, although from experience in 12-in. Softball, I’d be nervous standing on 3B with one of those two at the plate.

    Favorite in the Group – Brett Gardner

    Waiting in the Weeds – LAA Mike Trout

NL – PIT Josh Harrison (11)

The Pirates have started the season hot, and Harrison is a spark plug on that squad.  Generally, he has been in the leadoff or two-spot in their order, and with Gregory Polanco as one of the hottest hitters in baseball, he’s bringing him around the bases.  He already has six multi-hit games with 13 H in 38 AB. He has a great wOBA of .388 and an OBP of .409.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – ATL Freddie Freeman

 

HR

AL – MIN Brian Dozier/CHW Matt Davidson (4)

The weather sucks in Chicago, Matt Davidson hit three home runs in the first game of the season.  He was a pretty good solid HR hitter last year with 26, but has shown no consistency against major league pitching.  That outburst for three home runs on opening day is the only reason he tied for the lead in the AL. Won’t be long before someone passes him up.  Stay tuned.

    Favorite in the Group – MIN Brian Dozier

    Waiting in the Weeds – NYY Giancarlo Stanton

NL – WSH Bryce Harper (6)

Harper is hearing the boo’s all over the league.  Clearly not well liked by many fans outside of Washington, however, he really is a true man-child.  He’s big, flips his hair constantly, aggressive, and ridiculously good at baseball. Harper will often be found at or near the top of the HR list.  44.4% of the time, Harper has hit the ball on the button. When he hits a fly ball, it has left the yard 54.5% of the time. The only hitter close right now is Blackmon, who plays in Colorado with the thin air at Coors Field.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – COL Charlie Blackmon

 

RBI

AL – TOR Justin Smoak/NYY Didi Gregorius (10)

Didi “Pickles” Gregorius at the top does not surprise me one bit, and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point. He probably won a lot of people some dough on DFS sites April 3rd with his line – 4/4 with 2 HR and 8 RBI.  That game is the reason he is tied at the top of the RBI list. My issue with Gregorius sticking at the top is that his best chance to stay is through a HR, as he has spent most of the time as the clean-up hitter behind bopper Aaron Judge and strikeout connoisseur Giancarlo “Don’t call me Mike” Stanton.  Simply put, he’s batting with the bases empty minus that one game. Smoak on the other hand has spent most of his time in the three spot following Josh Donaldson who’s AVG (.237) and OBP (.341) are likely to rise. Smoak is a more established home run hitter than Gregorius, and less reliant on base runners in order to keep that RBI total high.

    Favorite in the Group – TOR Justin Smoak

    Waiting in the Weeds – LAA Justin Upton

NL – PIT Gregory Polanco (13)

Who would’ve thought the Pirates would come out this hot, especially after sending away former cornerstones Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen.  Polanco and the Pirates have surprised many and have been a lot fun to watch thus far. With the NL league leader in H ahead of him in the lineup, he has plenty of opportunities for RBI, and he has not disappointed.  

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – WSH Bryce Harper

 

SB

AL – CHW Tim Anderson (5)

Anderson has some wheels, but it’s hard to believe a White Sox player leading the league in much of anything this year as they still look to be in tank mode.  Anderson is likely the SS of the future for the south siders and will likely be passed up in just a matter of time.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – SEA Dee Gordon

NL – WSH Trea Turner (5)

He’s fast, he’s furious (RIP Paul Walker), one of my favorite players to watch, Trea Turner, not to be confused with Michael A., has the speed to hold this lead.  If he gets on base, he could take two or even three bases. Washington is the most aggressive team on the bases so far successfully stealing 14/16 bases. With how bad Turner has hit so far, it’s crazy to see that he’s leading the league. Just wait until he gets hot at the plate and Dave Martinez gives him the green light.  

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – WSH Michael A. Turner

 

AVG

AL – SEA Robinson Cano (.440)

Robbie went six consecutive seasons hitting over .300 (2009-2014).  At 35, I don’t imagine he will keep up this pace. He’ll need his mid-afternoon nap, but it’s no surprise that he’s on a hot streak.   

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – SEA Jean Segura

NL – PHI Rhys Hoskins (.440)

Rhys’s Pieces/Rhysus Christ has been on a tear to start the 2018 season, clearing any thoughts of sophomore slump.  Currently, he ranks 2nd in the NL in BABIP (.556) and SLG (.760). His wOBA is a ridonkulous .546 and hits to all fields.  Hoskins goes to right 42.1% of the time and hits the ball medium to hard 84.2% of the time. Not likely that he keeps the AVG up as we’re only a week into the season and this would break the record by almost .100 points.

    Favorite in the Group – N/A

    Waiting in the Weeds – ARI Chris Owings

 

 

  1. knucks says:
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    This is a great idea for an article. Thank you kindly, sir.

    • Ricky Olshansky

      Ricky Olshansky says:
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      @knucks: Shoutout to @Jay for the advice. So thank you! Looking forward to keeping this one going.

  2. nick the smooth dick says:
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    Not too shabby, you drop the Ricky Bobby moniker and can’t wait for Michael A Turner to pull them weeds. Potential and Jay Edit Wrong sucks. Good things to come.

    • Ricky Olshansky

      Ricky Olshansky says:
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      @nick the smooth dick: I felt after ALLLL of my posts (2), it was time to reveal!

      As the week plays out, I expect others to pass up Michael Turner, or Trea to increase that lead. He just happened to be the only one within a steal.

      • nick the smooth dick says:
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        @Jay: I bring a parasol baby!

Comments are closed.