It’s quarantine, April rain and April snow for now, but the optimism for a baseball season whispers louder and louder all the time. There’s optimism in Cincinnati no matter when the season begins. The starting pitching was buttressed by social media star, and underrated Ace, Trevor Bauer. The new look outfield will have breakout ready Nick Castellanos and the Japanese Michael Brantley Shogo Akiyama in two of the spots. The final outfielder will come down to one of Josh VanMeter or Aristides Aquino, two of the better DFS studs at different points in the 2019 season.

The Record Breaker

How could this be a competition? You may remember Aquino starring in such roles as setting the major league record for the most homers in a player’s first 27 games, with 13 last August. Along the way Aquino set the record for the most HR in the first 12 games with eight. How about a player’s first 14 games with nine. Not enough? How about a player’s first 16 games with 10. Then a player’s first 17 games with 11. Then a player’s first 22 games with 12. After Aquino’s first couple days of August he was on DFS radars. Beyond his first week in August, with six home runs, he was a must start in DFS formats. He rewarded faith in him with another four homers the second week of August. But then he became almost mortal. After a 14 homer, 33 RBI, 1.158 OPS in August, he fell to five homers, 13 RBI, .619 OPS in September. The cracks even started the last couple weeks of August. That is why this is a competition and Aquino is not the no doubt third outfielder for the Reds.

The Lingerer

Before there was Aquino’s record breaking August there were a couple of amazing weeks from Josh VanMeter in July. In a part time role he managed four homers, 7 RBI, .417 batting average and a 1.333 OPS. Especially for the two middle weeks of July he was a great cheap must start in DFS. Part of the reason Aquino got so many at bats in August and September was the fact that VanMeter dropped to around .200 with a .600 OPS in August and September. Lurking behind his numbers, however, were a .348/.429/1.097 slash line in AAA Louisville earlier in the year. For his part he managed a .400/.526/1.193 slash line in Spring Training before it halted. This guy can hit, which why he can hold up as a viable option to his record breaking fellow outfielder.

The Afterthought

Jesse Winker figures in here too, but his star has faded faster than Bernie Sanders. After his own hot start as a 23 year old in 2017 with a .298/.375/.904 slash line he lowered to .269/.357/.830 last year. Last year was his career high in at bats with 338, which is still only half a season. He says he’s fully healthy after a cervical strain with upper and lower back spasms last year, but backs don’t age like fine wine.

VanMeter can start all over the diamond, and might thanks to Eugenio Suarez coming off shoulder surgery, but while he was hitting his stride in spring training Aquino was hitting a lowly .077/.200/.277. Is this a sign of pitchers continuing to figure Aquino out, or did let his success go to his head last September and just have a bad 26 ABs in the spring? Winker has more experience than the other two but has a lot of trouble staying on the field. Nick Senzel is lurking way in the background, but a September torn labrum will keep the kid gloves on this year. Aquino will get his chance when games begin, but don’t be surprised if VanMeter takes over before the season ends.

 
  1. 183414 says:
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    Don’t see Senzel “way in the background”. Particularly if they start in Arizona with universal d.h., whic I believe they’ll try in shortened season.
    Yankees Stadium and Citifield will be ready in august, but season will be starting before then.

    • baby seal says:
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      I’ve very split on the universal DH thing. I want to be ready for it, but don’t want to rely on it.

      That’s kind of where I am right now

      • Jolt In Flow says:
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        Do me a quick solid baby seal; imagine the current NL versus an NL with DH.

        Doesn’t the NL with DH excite you? I have no technical points to provide, it just feels better.

        I truly think it would help out baseball, not having pitchers hit. Runs would be up without having to submit to an even poppier ball. Further, if a pitcher is still good enough to hit, he can do it on his off day.

        • baby seal says:
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          Well, I’ve *wanted* a DH in the NL for as long as I can remember. But I try to separate — as much as I can — between what I want and how I prepare for a fantasy season…

          This has more to do w/ how many of the “new rules” MLB actually ends up implementing.

          I think a fair amount in the fantasy community are taking them at their word–at their own peril. Not that I think it WON’T happen — but that is not how I manage risk.

          Companies always release their contingency plan / provide a conservative outlook — not their best case scenario. That’s how you setup investors for disappointment. Think that’s what happened here — gauge the public reaction and see what they can get away w/ in the worst case.

          I think the NL DH is a tough sell for a lot of people (again, not me). I am somewhat ready for it — but has not been a big part of my recent draft strategy… I’m fine using waivers to adjust harder if needed.

          Cheers

          • Jolt In Flow says:
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            Well, I’ve got my fingers crossed. The thing I really dislike about NL fantasy baseball is the lack of big hitting depth.

  2. Thomas Howland

    Thomas Howland says:
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    Universal DH before the pandemic was a complete non-starter with the Union, but who knows how far the Union is willing to go? My guess is the Union will not budge on Universal DH and the stories currently are Senzel will play in the infield if at all when and if games begin.

    • Thomas Howland

      Thomas Howland says:
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      Please hold, I meant owners, not Union. Of course Union wants the jobs, the NL owners don’t want to pay for the DH. Guessing the Owners won’t budge on Universal DH. That’s potentially another big salary going forward.

      • Jolt In Flow says:
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        I never even considered that aspect, DH costing the owners more. But I feel it would be a wash at minimum and an influx of cash at max for the owners. These DH guys are the ones who are going to crank the ball. Who do things with baseballs that the majority of pitchers could never do. Imagine if you added a guy like Miguel Cabrera, just past his prime, into your lineup without having to find a spot on the field for him. More runs means more wins. More wins means more fans, most of the time.

        • Thomas Howland

          Thomas Howland says:
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          It’s a balance. NL fans guard their game close to the vest, some/many might be offended by the DH.

  3. Big Ticket says:
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    Where are you seeing Senzel plays in IF?

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