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Hey hey! We have actual, stat-accruing baseball happening now through November. Finally, the calendar feels like it’s real, and not some Sophon-induced San-ti delusion. Wait, is that the countdown to the end of my season flashing through my head? No worries — we’ve got 6 months!

My role in 2024 has shifted away from pitching and is now focused on hitting. I’ll cover pitchers as well as their stats become more interesting down the line. But we are in serious small sample size territory right now.

Pop quiz hotshot — how long does it take for some of the predictive elements of baseball stats to become reliable? Answer: 200+ plate appearances and 50+ IP. This is also why I hate leagues with “minors” AB/IP restrictions. We can’t say anything definite about 3ish games played. We can barely say anything definite about 10ish games played, other than, “Yep, they were played.” We can say things more confidently for veterans, but those rookies or newish players? It’s all a crapshoot.

From a stat perspective, everything here is very tenuous. That means, it’s pure DFS-mind speculation, informed by observations about how the market acts. There’s nothing predictive to say today, but rather observations about how players could be added/moved around to help better position your team for the upcoming weeks.

Generally speaking, anybody drafted in the top 100 should remain on your team unless they’ve got a season-ending injury. Outside of the top 100, don’t get too attached — feel free to start streaming / swapping at any time. Personally, I really don’t touch my starting roster until the third or fourth week of the season. You do you, though.

Here are my thoughts on some early season play. I’m writing on Sunday morning, so obviously any stats from Sunday won’t be included.


Orlando Arcia (ATL, SS, 29% rostered): 6 hits in 10 PA with 3 doubles. Woot! Had to use a passé phrase because it’s the same old game. Arcia has nearly 2800 PA worth of offensive blah in his career and he’s not suddenly the next Grady Sizemore. I like that he’s swinging away in a loaded lineup, which is a bit of a change from his previous schema of “strikeout at 20% rate.” His xwOBA — which is an acronym meaning “X Files with Orange Banana Apple Smoothie” — of .325 is sitting right in line with his career norms of low .300ish production. That’s pedestrian work. Of course, I would always love a player who can make contact batting in that Atlanta lineup. A guy could hit .240 in the 8 spot and still end up with 70+ RBI. I’d take a flier on Arcia if you did the shortstop freefall and ended up with somebody like Thairo Estrada. Don’t get too attached to Arcia. If he resumes his usual “glove first, veteran bench presence second, offense third” style of play, move on.

Oswaldo Cabrera (NYY, OF, 0% rostered): Gentlemen and three ladies and one NB readers, I present you with your #3 hitter on the Player Rater, Oswaldo Cabrera! Reminds me of the time when Alec Mills topped the Pitcher Player Rater. Who is Alec Mills, you shout at your phone screen. Calm down, Bruce. This is the great lesson of small sample size. Mills threw a curveball that was like 60 MPH and his fastball was weaker than most high schoolers. Yet he had a streak of Win luck and somehow managed a no hitter and was a top pitcher for a time in 2020. Enter Oswaldo Cabrera, the lowest rung on the Yankees’ roster ladder. Cabrera is filling in at 3B while DJ LaMahieu works through a foot [reads notes] fracture. Huh. On the plus side, Cabrera could wind up with a great “3B/OF” eligibility if he keeps playing. That’s cool. On the downside, Cabrera has struck out 30% of the time to start the season while taking zero walks. I mean, if I’m getting my shot at a big league job, I’m swinging the damn bat too. Last time I checked, your fantasy league probably scores more for hits than for walks, so take a shot on Cabrera — LeMahieu could miss extended time, and you could do worse than a multi-position guy in the Yankees lineup.

Michael Conforto (SFG, OF, 4% rostered): Every Razzball reader’s infatuation from 2019 is back! And whiffing at a 40% rate while not walking at all. Conforto’s also topping the Player Rater charts, powered by two doubles and two homers in three games. That’s kind of the norm for Conforto — streaky player who ends up with reasonable fantasy value but always teases top performance. I’m surprised Conforto is 4% rostered — the name alone should at least garner some interest. At the very least, every major prediction system shows Conforto producing fantasy average value over the course of the season. Conforto is #92 on Grey’s Top 100 Outfielders, which is good for best ball or 15 team leagues. 12 teamers probably don’t want to add him at this time, but add him to a watch list and see what happens.

Quick Hits:

Anthony Volpe (NYY, SS, 100% rostered): Guy who’s biggest problem was striking out too much and not walking is now walking at a nearly 30% rate and cut his K rate by 10%. Small sample size and all, but those are great trends to see early in the season. Consider acquiring by trade.

J.D. Davis (OAK, 3B, 3% rostered): Kind of the same story as above. We know exactly what Davis is — blah — but he’s going to rack up plate appearances for an anemic Athletics team. He’s a possibility to get 1B/3B eligibility early in the season, which makes him a bit more attractive in best ball or deeper leagues.

Starling Marte (NYM, OF, 100% rostered): Marte’s entering the Curtis Granderson/Andrew McCutcheon/Charlie Blackmon phase of his career where fantasy players always say, “He’s still playing? Sure, I’ll take an OK player, and I’m not talking the website.” Marte’s got a hot start and nice projections over the course of the season, but for absurdity reasons, people already have him 100% rostered. I suppose you could go get Michael Conforto instead. But if you’re in trade mode and can sneak in a Marte addition for “free,” I wouldn’t be angry. I’d be like, “I eat at Dennys because I like consistent hashbrowns.”


Let’s keep it simple this week, folx. Don’t do anything drastic with your rosters. Let them play out. Mookie Betts is on pace for 128 homers and 300 RBI right now. Just as we all predicted! Drop your questions down in the comments and I’ll see you next week.

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Jolt In Flow
Jolt In Flow
11 days ago

EWB! I know it’s just about the earliest possible check-in on the standings, but is that you in first place in the Razzslam?!

Just took a quick look last night and that name looked familiar in 1st place.

BTW, traded Volpe 2 years ago to get a piece to win a league. This is the time I cry I don’t have him anymore.

Thanks for the write up as always.

Jolt

Papasmurf
Papasmurf
11 days ago

Yep I am one of the lucky ones with arcia as starting ss…

Deep keeper league.

Lost wander boy last yr and lost mclain this year…

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
11 days ago

Hi Blair, so great to see byline. your pitching advice helped me finish first. I was so helpful.

my pitching staff is very good at Burnes, Wheeler, GreyRod, Nola, Ragans, Stukal and Puk.

I would like your feedback on my hitter.

c: Gabriel Moreno with S Murphy on IL
1b: Spencer Torkelson
2B Marcus Siemen
SS: Thaimo Estrado
3B: Nolan Gorman
lF Loudes Gurnal
cF: Cedric Mullins
rF: Jorge Soler
dH: Katel Marte

bench
Rhys Hoskins
Jackson Merrill
Brandon Nimo
jarren Duran
Chas MCCormick

any thoughts on areas for improvement would be much appreciated:

Eugenio Suarez is available for 3B is also on the wire
Orlando Arica is available at SS on the wire

looking forward to your views! So glad you’re still helping.

Martin

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
Reply to  everywhereblair
11 days ago

Really appreciate the feedback!

Have a great season!!

Huffin Gas
Huffin Gas
12 days ago

I have some concerns about Casas. Watched the Red Sox broadcasts of the Mariners series. The Sox broadcast team pointed out that the M’s have the early season blueprint on how to pitch Casas- nothing but breaking pitches. He wasn’t getting any fastballs. The Red Sox knew what was coming, Casas knew what was coming, but he couldn’t make any quality contact. Any breaking pitch he did make contact with, he rolled over it. The result: 1 for 15. After I heard the Sox broadcast team break this down, I benched him and haven’t looked back (yet). I suspect more early season struggles until he can consistently adjust. If he can’t in six weeks, uh-oh…