Fantasy Baseball Weekly Review: Charlie Blackmon Nears Return

Rockies Charlie Blackmon

Another week of the baseball season has flown by, and it’s time to recap what we’ve learned and how to use it for the rest of the season. As always, baseball is unique in the need to have patience and not overreact, but you have to be smart and know when the time is right to move on from players.

Injuries

Charlie Blackmon, OF – Colorado Rockies – Blackmon got off to a slow start this season, and then landed on the 15 day disabled list shortly after. He was hitting under .200 at the time of the injury, but this is a top 50 player who has the advantage of playing half of his games at Coors Field. He’s looking to start a two game rehab this week, although nothing is set in stone yet.

Carlos Carrasco, SP – Cleveland Indians – This injury happened during the writing of this article, so there is no firm update as of now. Carrasco got injured covering first base. The initial report is a hamstring injury, and Carrasco needed help getting off the field and into the clubhouse. It didn’t look good, but don’t assume based on looks. Keep tabs on this as information comes available.

Lance McCullers, SP – Houston Astros – Manager A.J. Hinch said that McCullers had a good bullpen session, and fantasy owners hope McCullers are nearing a return. The Astros as a team definitely need the help, as the starting pitchers sport a 5.27 ERA. The good news is the early injury should help limit the innings of McCullers now instead of later in the season.

 

Joy R. Absalon - USA TODAY Sports

Joy R. Absalon – USA TODAY Sports

Who’s Hot

Manny Machado, 3B/SS – Baltimore Orioles – Machado is probably the most underrated superstar in baseball. He is sporting a ridiculous .397 batting average, 1.225 OPS and only 12 strikeouts. He has been an absolute fantasy stud so far this year. He can’t continue at this pace, but he might be a top 5 player by the end of the season. His value skyrockets in formats where he is SS eligible.

George Springer, OF – Houston Astros – Springer really scuffled at the start of the year, enough that there was some concern he may regress. He does still strike out a lot, but that was part of the package going in. Springer has 12 hits his last seven games. He hit 3 home runs and collected 6 RBI. The stolen bases haven’t come yet, but they aren’t far behind if he feels comfortable at the plate.

Jake Arrieta, SP – Chicago Cubs – A no-hitter is a sure way to get you on this list, and that’s just what he did this week versus the Reds. Arrieta has been a fantasy monster, picking up right where he left off from 2015. After the no-no, he’s sporting a .87 ERA and .68 WHIP to go along with a quality start all four times out. The only slight complaint could be his pedestrian K rate so far, but that just doesn’t matter with Arrieta.

 

(Orlin Wagner/Associated Press)

(Orlin Wagner/Associated Press)

Who’s Not

Miguel Cabrera, 1B – Detroit Tigers – Miggy is only batting .210 with 1 home run and 6 RBI, and it’s 3 weeks into the season. That’s one of the most surprising story lines so far in this young season. I thought the fact he came into the year healthy would lead him to a great year. Even though it’s a small sample size, there is concern that Cabrera could be towards the end of the line. He might just be a top 10 option at 1B instead of the primary option like we’ve all grown used to.

Andrew McCutchen, OF – Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates have some very good offensive stats as a team, but McCutchen has not been part of it yet. He is only 4/26 the last 7 games, and is only batting .217 for the season. The most disturbing part is an 3/8 BB/K ratio, which is very out of character. He has been batting second in the order, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him moved back into his customary third spot if the struggles continue.

Matt Harvey, SP – New York Mets – The Mets were expected to have the best rotation in baseball, but Harvey has not held up his end through his first 4 starts. He only has 1 win to go along with a sky high ERA of 5.24 and a 1.57 WHIP. Harvey has only made it through 6 innings once, and also has a measly 14 strikeouts. It seems like nothing more than early season struggles, but it’s something to keep a close eye on.

 

Angels Hector Santiago

Tom Pennington – Getty Images

Free Agents to Add(ownerships on Yahoo)

Hector Santiago, SP (52%) – Los Angeles Angels – The veteran southpaw is off to a great start, compiling a 2.70 ERA and a .95 WHIP. He has almost double the strikeouts of Harvey with 27.  Santiago had a run of fantasy relevance in 2015, so this isn’t totally out of left field. There is a good chance Santiago can’t keep this up throughout the whole season, but you can start him until he cools off.

Odubel Herrera, OF (28%) – Philadelphia Phillies – Herrera has completely flown under the radar, and does play a crowded position. However, he is on track to better his totals in home runs, RBI and SB while still hitting over .280. The added bonus is his BB/K ratio has drastically improved so far this year. Only 24, he could easily be a waiver wire hero for the rest of 2016.

Chris Carter, 1B (22%) – Milwaukee Brewers – I know, Carter has teased owners seemingly forever with the power potential. But this year has been slightly different so far. Yes, he still carries a 33% strikeout rate, which does hurt. But he also carries a 1.020 OPS and already has 5 HR to go along with a .281 batting average. While he most likely will revert to what he always has been, you can cut ties easily if needed. Keep him in the lineup while the power and average are there.

 

Giancarlo Stanton

Trade Candidates

Giancarlo Stanton, OF – Miami Marlins – While this recommendation is less likely to happen in a keeper league, a redraft owner might be frustrated by Stanton at this point. Through 3 weeks, Stanton only is batting .193 with a .656 OPS to go along with just 3 HR. While he may never hit for a super high average, Stanton might have the best pure power in the game. It’s only a matter of time before he starts hitting moonshots.

Adam Jones, OF – Baltimore Orioles – Jones is another high profile player off to a horrific start, but has dealt with an injury through the early going. He is not a guy that will hit .200 with 1 HR and just 5 RBI for too long, and this will be the lowest you can get him at all season. The Baltimore lineup has mashed early, and it could stay that way all season.

Michael Conforto, OF – New York Mets – Completing this weeks OF trio, Conforto has started to fulfill some of the promise he showed in limited action last year. He’s batting .294 with a .920 OPS and is still growing. Very impressive for his age is his 8/12 BB/K ratio so far. Use the fact that he tends to sit versus lefties in your trade talks to give up less.

 

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