My absolute favorite baseball moment this season happened across the ocean in Japan. Manny Ramirez’s first home run looked like a scene straight out of Mr. Baseball (one of my favorite baseball movies). Check it out below.
In case you were wondering what Mr. Baseball 2, starring Manny Ramirez, would look like, here is a possibility for the movie poster. He could be the biggest thing to hit Japan since Godzilla.
Moving on, in this very early fantasy baseball season, I am going to try to talk some of you off the ledge, give you some guys I am targeting and maybe push you towards making a move that propels you to the top of of your fantasy baseball league standings.
Guys struggling that I’m not worried about
Starlin Castro, Jason Heyward, David Price, Matt Kemp, Giancarlo Stanton, Cole Hamels, Jeremy Hellickson, Buster Posey, Jason Kipnis, Ryan Zimmerman and Dan Haren. These guys should be targeted in trades. If someone is worried about Price getting rocked, then send a trade his way. If you can get any of these guys for 75 cents on the dollar, you are getting a bargain.
Guys I’m worried about
Josh Hamilton. His O-Swing% 47.6% (highest of is career), O-Contact% 40.0% (lowest of career) and K% 32.4% (highest of career) are all a bit worrisome. Hamilton has always been a bit of a gambler when it comes to plate discipline, but I thought it would improve with the talent around him in the order. That hasn’t been the case.
R.A. Dickey. NL to AL is something that makes me nervous. Couple that with his age and pitching style and it could lead to rough, up-and-down results.
Yovani Gallardo. I don’t like when a pitcher’s fastball velocity creeps toward the 89-90 mph range. Gallardo’s velocity thus far is 90.3 mph, down from 91.7 mph last season.
Edwin Encarnacion. He makes this list because I’m a bit worried last season was a fluke. It’s still a bit early, but if his horrendous performance continues, you may want to sell early.
Matt Cain. Again, fastball velocity worries me. Cain’s velocity thus far is 90.3 mph, down from 91.1 mph last season.
Guys I’m selling as fast as possible
Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum. In my honest opinion, these guys belong on your fantasy baseball league waiver wire in 12-team mixed leagues or smaller. So, if you can get anything for either pitcher, take it in a heartbeat.
Sell high guys
Chris Davis. His stats thus far, in my opinion, just legitimize what he did last season, which was a .270/.306/.501 slash line, 33 HR, 75 R, 85 RBI, and 169 strikeouts. He’s killing it so far, but eventually Davis is going to hit a rough patch. If you can get a top 75 player, do it.
Coco Crisp. His ISO is .486 right now. Crisp’s career ISO is .136. Enough said.
Dexter Fowler. Some will argue Fowler has hit that magical prime age where what he has accomplished should be expected. Myself, I am selling as quickly as possible. His ISO of .400, SLG of .714 and 50% HR/FB rate is simply unsustainable.
Rookies to grab, prospects to watch
Jedd Gyorko. This guy is not going to be Bryce Harper, but he has been one of the bright spots on an awful Padres team. He also has six games at third base under his belt. If my third base situation has been decimated with injury, Gyorko could be a decent fill-in.
Tony Cingrani. If Mike Leake continues to struggle, Cingrani could be up sooner rather than later. He has been the talk of the minors thus far (14 K in his season debut) and should be useful for fantasy owners this season.
Jose Fernandez. No one thought Fernandez would be up this soon. Of course, no one knows what the Marlins are doing from one day to the next. Fernandez looked good against the Mets. Being so young, he could struggle throughout the season. He could also be Rookie of the Year. I would make a speculative pick-up at this point. He might be 100 percent owned if he has another solid outing.
Magical season guys
Justin Upton. In this year’s start of the year predictions, I took Joey Votto as my NL MVP like an idiot. I waivered between Votto and Upton numerous times, changing my selection at least three times. Looking back, I wish I would have taken Upton. If he stays healthy, he is going to coast to the NL MVP, and I think he hits 40 home runs this season. If I can trade any other outfielder other than Ryan Braun for Upton, I am doing that in a heartbeat.
Yu Darvish. His magical season hype got derailed a bit with the blister on his throwing hand. Nevertheless, I think he finishes as a top-five pitcher and wins the Cy Young award.
Guys I’m all-in on
Matt Harvey. He has been unreal so far, and he will definitely come down to earth a bit, but his FIP of 1.26 and xFIP of 2.69 still point to a pitcher who could be well worth his draft day value and then some. His 12.29 K/9 is just unreal.
Paul Maholm. A groundball pitcher with one of the best defenses in the majors behind him? I am definitely buying Maholm stock. The only thing that concerns me so far is his LOB% of 100% and his K/9 of 9.24 (career 5.74 K/9). So, there is definitely going to be some regression. I would still take Maholm over Lincecum and Halladay.
Jeff Samardzija. My bold prediction is that he finishes the season as a top-10 pitcher. The strikeout rate is just unreal. What has held Samardzija back is his control issues. I think he figures it out this season and takes a big step forward.
Paul Goldschmidt. First base seems to be getting old, and some of these up and comers have to eventually take the reins as elite first basemen. Goldschmidt is my choice, and he has not disappointed thus far.