When it comes to the fantasy baseball calendar, Sunday is a very critical day. But it is not necessarily critical based on the action on field. Instead, it is all about FAAB and your plan for the week ahead. If that is where your focus was yesterday, don’t worry, as we have you covered. Let’s take a look at some of the noteworthy performances:
1) The Good and Bad of Mondesi
At this point, while it’s too early to really draw many conclusions, I think it is fair to say that Adalberto Mondesi is for real. And by, for real, he is going to be an explosive player who strikes out a ton, and at best, won’t be a liability in the batting average, but contributes both power and speed. Both were on display yesterday against the Yankees as Mondesi stole his seventh base of the season while going 2 for 5 with two RBI (16 overall) and a run scored. The problem though, is that in his other three at bats, Mondesi struck out each time. While he is hitting .267 on the season, Mondesi’s on base percentage is still just .298 as he has 28 strikeouts in 86 at bats.
2) Strasburg Cruises
We have certainly established that facing the Marlins is just what the doctor ordered for opposing pitchers, and that was on display Sunday with Stephen Strasburg as the beneficiary. It has been an up and down campaign so far from the right-hander, but yesterday was the perfect look at what he is capable of. In eight innings of work, scattered just two hits and two walks while he picked up his second victory of the season. Strasburg struck out 11 batters, he has 39 in 30.2 innings so far this season, as he saw his ERA drop to 4.11. With a 1.08 WHIP, Strasburg has done a good job of limiting base runners, a 2.86 xFIP does a better job of illustrating his performance so far this season.
3) Norris Does Well
I know that’s not necessarily an exciting headline, but how many people are really going to be excited about Daniel Norris? The former top prospect hasn’t done much to live up to that status so far in his career, but due to injuries and really just a lack of other options (for now at least until their prospects are ready to make the next step), Norris finds himself back in the rotation. And on Sunday, he took full advantage of the White Sox by throwing five shutout innings for his first victory of the season. Norris scattered just two hits and a walk while striking out six. With a 2.70 ERA so far this season in 13.1 innings, yesterday was his first start, Norris is going to be a match-up dependent streaming option at this point, but he is someone to keep on your radar.
4) Reynolds & Tucker Have Arrived
Injuries struck the Pirates hard this weekend, and that led to promotions for both Cole Tucker and Brian Reynolds. Tucker, a shortstop, generated a greater amount of buzz, and he found himself atop Pittsburgh’s batting order on Sunday. He went 1 for 4 against the Giants with a run scored, and Tucker is now batting .286 in his brief major league career. Both Tucker and Reynolds, who went 3 for 4, picked up their first career doubles, and as long as they produce, they will find themselves in the lineup. While both, rightfully so, have received their share of buzz and FAAB investments, I still need to see more from a fantasy perspective. Of the two, Tucker is the more valuable commodity, and that is also by virtue of his position, and he should be owned in just about all leagues.
5) Joc Has Himself a Game
Talk about establishing yourself atop the lineup and in left field. So far this season, Joc Pederson is certainly writing the book on how to do that. After going deep twice on Sunday, he is up to 10 home runs so far this season. Both were solo shots, and that brought his RBI total up to 16 to go along with a solid .270 batting average. The problem though, is that Cody Bellinger is casting quite the lofty shadow in the Los Angeles outfield on Pederson. While he only went deep once on Sunday, Bellinger is now up to 11 long balls on the season, and after driving in three runs yesterday, his RBI total now sits at 28.
6) Chatwood Actually Has Some Control
After leaving Coors Field to sign with the Cubs last off-season, the right-hander generated some fantasy buzz. Since all Chatwood did was walk opposing batters last season, his season was ultimately a bust. Now, thanks to Jon Lester’s injury, Chatwood finds himself back in the rotation. While he didn’t pick up the victory on Sunday, it was actually a pretty solid start from Chatwood. In six innings shutout innings of work, he walked just two batters, while also scattering two hits. Never to be confused with an overpowering strikeout option, Chatwood struck out just three batters and he dropped his ERA down to 3.00.
7) No Home Run, But a Good Day
So far this season, Joey Gallo is looking to show that he is more than simply a home run hitter. After going 2 for 3 on Sunday, Gallo is hitting .281 on the season which is clearly, and it’s not even close, a career high mark. While his career BABIP is just .258, Gallo’s BABIP so far this season of .313 isn’t that far off from the league average. While Gallo didn’t go deep yesterday, he does have eight home runs and a .453 ISO so far this season, power clearly is not an issue. Instead, he just tripled for the first time this season and drove in five runs to bring his RBI total to 22. I’m still not looking to Gallo as an asset in the batting average department, but it’s hard to argue with what we are seeing from him so far this season.
8) Gray Tames Coors
Jon Gray is a frustrating starting pitcher. While he is talented, the results haven’t always matched. On Sunday, Gray limited the Phillies to just one hit, although he walked four batters, to pick up his second victory of the season. The right-hander struck out five batters on the day to give him 30 strikeouts over 32.1 innings in five starts. With a combined eight walks in his other four starts, control hasn’t exactly been an issue for Gray, and his 1.08 WHIP illustrates that he has been able to keep the bases relatively clear and his 2.78 has benefited from that. The concern, is going to be when his .231 BABIP begins to correct itself that and his ERA gets closer to his 3.87 xFIP. Either way, it is a good sign that, yesterday notwithstanding, Gray has been able to limit the walks.
9) Smoak Has Himself a Day
Games like this make a lot of difference when looking at a player’s statistical profile. After going 4 for 5 on Sunday, Justin Smoak is now hitting .313 on the season. It would have been nice though for the first baseman to drive in more than two runs, both on his fifth home run of the season, but it looks like, once again, Smoak is on track to be a solid power option. With 17 RBI so far this season, he appears to be a good bet for, at minimum a 25/80 campaign. And out of your corner infield spot, that’s pretty solid production.
10) Donaldson Goes Deep, Twice
On Sunday, Josh Donaldson returned home, if you really can call it that, as the third baseman spent the last month of the 2018 season with the Indians. Donaldson, who has had a slow start to his career in Atlanta, went deep twice last night as he went 3 for 4 with a walk. He started off with a solo shot before hitting a three run homer while doubling his home run total from two to four. With just seven RBI on the season, it’s fair for Donaldson owners to be left wanting more, but it’s still early, and days like yesterday remind you what he can do. And a .270 batting average shows that he hasn’t lost any plate skills.