2 Good, 2 Bad, 2 Ugly

Rockies Mark Reynolds

There have been a lot of over reactions in this first week of the season so I thought I would take the chance to review 2 Good, 2 Bad, 2 Ugly players and have a look at what I expect from them going forward. For the good players I have tried to pick players who are less than 50% owned (so not telling you how good Paul Goldschmidt has been). For the bad and the ugly I have tried to pick players who should be owned in the majority of leagues and maybe already had some question marks about them entering the season.

One key point here is that obviously I am assessing these guys on a very short sample size, generally less than 20PAs and either one or two starts, so there is going to be no overreaction here and I urge you not to overreact in your leagues either. Yes having a bad first week is annoying especially in a head.

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We discussed these guys in more depth on the podcast this week along with other things such as two-start and waiver wire options.

Stats were taken before the beginning of Sundays games.

Good

Mark Reynolds, 1B, COL

Reynolds has absolutely leapt at the opportunity to be a full time first baseman in the absence of Ian Desmond and is hitting over 0.400 with three home runs and eight RBI. He is a quality hitter who has had a good week with four games in Miller Park followed by a return home to Coors. Any hitter who gets to play half his games in Colorado is going to benefit but when you are a power hitter your numbers tend to look even better.

The issue here is that eventually Desmond will come back and take his spot at first base you would assume. However, Desmond has shown multi position ability having handled SS and OF in his career and if Reynolds keeps hitting like this they may want to try and find a way to keep his bat in the line-up. Even if he does lose his job to Desmond it shouldn’t be for at least another month or so and during that period he should easily be a top 10-15 first baseman. Chances are you have a droppable guy on your roster and you shouldn’t hesitate to swap him out for Reynolds because he has the ability to either win you the power category in a couple of weeks or give you a pretty decent head start in your roto league.

Manuel Margot, OF, SD

Margot is off to a dream start for his owners but perhaps not in the way we originally expected. To start the year he has two home runs, a steal and is hitting 0.304. The really positive thing here is that is hitting in the top two spots of the San Diego line-up pretty much every day and whilst that line-up isn’t great the Myers, Solarte, Renfroe combination is good enough to drive Margot in regularly to a point where he can score 90ish runs. Don’t get sucked in to the early power because I don’t expect him to be much more than a 10 home run guy but he could easily be a 20+ steal guy and that is something I am definitely looking to invest in.

Orlin Wagner - Associated Press

Orlin Wagner – Associated Press

Bad

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET

Cabrera has started the season 0/12 so far and whenever an aging player begins like this the concerns always begin to creep in. The positive here is that he has walked four times already so at least in OBP leagues he hasn’t been a complete write off in the first week. The main concern is that he has struck out six times already which compared to the zero hits is quite a striking number. The mitigating factor here is that he had a back injury during spring but again that can be interpreted in two ways.

  • He lost his final tune up time before the season and therefore he now has to get into the swing of things against live pitching in two of the colder ballparks in the majors.
  • He still has some of those back niggles and we may either see him on the DL soon or see him struggle for a few more weeks.

Personally I think he is a class hitter who is just having a slow start and should soon snap out it and get back to being the Miggy we all know and love owning. If he went 0/12 with six strikeouts in the middle of the season we would perhaps notice but it wouldn’t stand out quite like it does when it happens in the first week of the season.

Jeff Samardzija, SP, SF

It was a rough first start for Samardzija in Arizona (5.1IP, 6ER, 9K). He gave up three home runs, eight hits and walked two guys. The trouble with owning Giants pitchers not named Madison Bumgarner is that when they pitch in Colorado and Arizona there is always the risk of some ugly stat lines. That is reason this start doesn’t particularly worry me because Chase Field has been a park that Samardija’s numbers have been inflated in during his career. The big positive from this first start was the strikeout rate after having had a couple of down years in 2015 & 2016 so hopefully he can maintain the strikeouts and get into the 8-9 K/9 range like he was in his peak.

The concern here is that he is prone to being up and down throughout his career when it comes to ERA making it is impossible to judge whether this is a bad start in a good year, he had three 6ER starts in a decent season last year, or the beginning of another 4+ ERA year. This week he has two starts in San Francisco against the Diamondbacks and Rockies so how he does this week could be a good indicator of whether we are going to have good or bad Samardzija on our hands this year.

(Paul J. Bereswill)

(Paul J. Bereswill)

Ugly

Masahiro Tanaka, SP, NYY

Does a start to a season get any worse than this? In total we are looking at 7.2IP with 10ER given up whilst giving up 14 hits and walking 6 guys. The most concerning thing for me here is the control because he couldn’t really command his pitches in the Tampa start and then walked another 4 in the start in Baltimore. There are going to be some really tough starts in the AL East and you are going to get these rough outings with Tanaka but the control is a serious red flag for me. Saying that you cannot drop him right now and unless someone offers you a top 30 pitcher then you cannot really trade him either because his value will likely never be lower than now. If I own him I holding on and watching the walk numbers and if they don’t get better then I am going to wait for him to have a couple of decent starts and try and get value in a trade.

Sam Dyson, RP, TEX

Ok maybe a start to a season does get worse than Tanaka’s! I mean being a relief pitcher means rough outings are defined in a slightly different way but any time you give up 8 earned runs in two outings which essentially add up to one innings pitched then you’ve probably had the worst start to the season. It seems Dyson will keep the job for now and that will partly be because Bush and Jeffress haven’t been lights out to open the year either. Long term Dyson is not your closer but for now I think he can still get you saves and in most roto leagues you need to keep hold. However,  give me five or six good outings and I will be trying to trade him for another closer with longer term job security.

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