Finally! We have over a week of actual baseball in the books as the 2018 season is in full throttle. Besides players freezing their asses off and at least one postponed game a day, it’s been great! I love watching fantasy owners take this insanely long season and juxtaposed with it having define the entire year. There is no reason to trade one of your top picks who’s slumping like a Joey Votto or Trea Turner and flip them for Adam Eaton and some change, I am not treating Patrick Corbin like a top ten pitcher humidor or not, I don’t think Matt Davidson is even close to being this season’s Aaron Judge, and Kevin Pillar isn’t a steals specialist after getting three in one game against the same pitcher. Although I don’t look much into the first week, I do like to watch for the amount of playing time that is given to the younger players and who seems to have to most potential for a breakout. In keeper leagues, it’s important to always be quick on the waiver wires when these young prospects get called up because you may end up picking up your future last round pick for next season.
Remember at this time just a season ago, Aaron Judge was just starting to get some looks in a few leagues, Luis Severino looked like he might be able to steal a spot in the Yankees rotation (but nothing was guaranteed and was coming out of the bullpen), and Cody Bellinger was still in the minors waiting for an opening in the Dodgers lineup. These were three of the top keeper league players going into this years draft because they were rarely drafted last season, making their stock in keeper leagues even better. We always hear how much the first few weeks of the season in regular baseball and fantasy baseball don’t matter, but when it comes to the waiver wire it could end up being vital to your season. A lot believe Ronald Acuna is worthy of a bench spot since he’s owned in 85% of Yahoo leagues, but there are other players out there who will be coming up around the same time or already up that could end up being just as valuable.
Each week I’ll try and give updates on guys I would recommend picking up in all types of keeper leagues. Some might need some fine tuning, others could still be in the minors, but keeper leagues are about being patient and if you hold onto somebody, it can certainly pay off or you might end up just being a storage locker for someone else. This is what is so tricky about the first few weeks of fantasy baseball finding out who is for real and who’s just on a hot steak. The three players this week are not on any type of hot streak but that is why it could be worth it to grab them now before it even happens…
Willie Calhoun – With Delino Deshields out 6-8 weeks, fantasy owners are begging the Rangers to bring Calhoun up. I think (hope?) the Rangers are waiting until mid-April and he’ll be up in the next two weeks. As much as Ronald Acuna’s bat has been talked about over spring training, I believe Calhoun brings almost as much potential for fantasy owners… just maybe not right away. The Rangers have a crowded line up and it may take some injuries to have solid playing time this season unlike Acuna, who will probably play right away. Acuna was drafted in every league because he will play every day while Calhoun might not be guaranteed it, neither was Cody Bellinger last season. This year Calhoun will be a pick-up in most redraft leagues and if he does get the chance in the next few weeks, and lives up to the potential… he could be the steal of next years draft and be this years Judge or Bellinger.
Miguel Andujar – Andujar wasn’t supposed to be up this early, but a couple of injuries from Aaron Hicks and Billy McKinney are giving him an opportunity to stay up in the majors for now. I’ve seen him get picked up and dropped already in a few leagues because his playing time is already a really big question mark. It’s tough to see him getting everyday at bats this year in that crowded Yankees lineup but if he is able to get his bat going again like he did in spring training, he can be a solid fantasy contributor. Either way, Andujar is somebody to keep an eye on for now because he is the kind of player that is on over half of the fantasy teams in your league before finally breaking out a few weeks later. Andujar has a chance to be an everyday player next season even if he doesn’t get the amount of playing time you might hope for this season.
Lewis Brinson – Brinson hasn’t broken out so far in the first week, but if you’ve been watching any Miami games (I’m so sorry) he is clearly the most athletic and game changing player on the field. The Marlins are going to build around Brinson over the next few years and I think he has a chance to be fantasy stud even if the Marlins are not. He definitely can be a 20/20 guy for years to come and reminds me a lot of Starling Marte on offense and the defensive side but with more power potential. I would keep an eye on Brinson in 10-team leagues, but anything bigger I would grab him now before he does go on a nice hot streak. Even if it’s not a keeper league, Brinson is leading off for a rebuilding team that is going to let him play everyday and will hopefully keep getting better as he gets used to major league pitching.