by Ray Kuhn
Well, Wednesday brought us another postponement due to weather; the Cardinals and Cubs in Chicago, but that didn’t mean we were without a full day of baseball action. The Twins pulled out the victory in San Juan over Cleveland in 16 innings, and after digging themselves into an early hole, we saw Oakland emerge victorious against the White Sox in the bottom of the 14th. Let’s take a look at some of the individual performances that stood out:
1) Frazier Sets the Table
With Josh Harrison sidelined, the initial thought is that Adam Frazier would be the main beneficiary of the available playing time at second base. While that remains the case, the utility man actually got the start in right field on Wednesday. Batting lead-off, which also helps his fantasy value, Frazier went 3 for 5 (all singles), while scoring twice and driving in one run. In 38 at bats, Frazier is hitting a respectable .263 with minimal power; one home run and three RBI. Frazier is really just a replacement level addition, but in some leagues that is all you are going to find, and you can certainly do worse.
2) Faria Bounces Back With a Strong Start
Hopefully, you decided to wait one more start before sending Jacob Faria to the waiver wire. Granted, he was facing a Rangers lineup that doesn’t offer much in the way of resistance, but this is the Faria we were expecting to see at the start of the season. The right-hander picked up his first victory of the season with six innings of one run ball, the lone blemish being a Shin-Soo Choo solo homer. Overall, Faria held Texas to five hits and one walk in six innings of work while striking out six and bringing his ERA down to 5.82. Despite going just four innings in his first start of the season and 5.1 inning in his most recent start, Faria actually hasn’t been as bad as his numbers suggest; he allowed just one run in each of those starts. The big thing on Wednesday, was that Faria was able to be more efficient and get deeper into the game. It will still be another few starts before his ERA ultimately recovers from the eight runs he allowed in 1.2 innings of work to the Red Sox in what was a disastrous visit to Fenway Park.
3) Davies Gets Back to His Winning Ways
After being an asset last season with 17 wins, it took Zach Davies four starts to pick up his first victory of 2018. It came with relative ease on Wednesday against the Reds as the right-hander threw 6.1 innings out shutout baseball. Davis limited Cincinnati to just three hits and two walks, but he also only struck out two batters. The lack of strikeouts shouldn’t be surprised, as that is an issue fantasy owners had to deal with last season as well. Overall though this season, Davies does have 20 strikeouts in 22.1 innings, so he hasn’t exactly been a liability in that department. The same cannot be said for his 4.84 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, but despite the success last season, Davies really isn’t much more than a very good streaming option you have to handle with some care.
4) A Big Day for Olson
If their player is going good, and that is a big if, fantasy owners certainly are fans of extra inning games. Matt Olson owners benefited from that on Wednesday even if the slugging first baseman didn’t go deep. Instead, Olson just went 4 for 6 six with two walks as all it took was one extended game to make his batting average look a whole lot more appealing. Olson entered the game batting .239, and after his walk-off RBI single in the 14th inning, the first baseman ended the day batting .274. If you are one of those people that equates doubles to home run potential, I am partially on board with some of that correlation, Olson picked up his first two doubles of the season while also driving in three runs to bring his RBI total for the season to nine.
5) I’m Here, You Can’t Make Me Leave
After being recalled from Triple-A when Josh Donaldson went on the DL with a shoulder injury, that will require more than the minimum stay, Teoscar Hernandez is making his case to stay. To be honest, the eight home runs and 20 RBI Hernandez picked up in 26 games with Toronto last season was thought to have made that case, but he still started the season in the minor leagues. Through four games so far this season, yesterday being a large part of that, it appears that Hernandez has picked up where he left off and is on his way to earning regular playing time. Batting second, against a right-hander as well, Hernandez went 4 for 6 and was a double away from hitting for the cycle. The outfielder also drove in four runs while scoring twice and bringing his average up to .421. If he keeps this up through the weekend, Hernandez will be a popular FAAB target; that is if he wasn’t added last weekend.
6) Having Nothing to Show for it is Alright
I you are Jose Berrios, or an owner of the Twins’ right-hander, you certainly wanted to leave Wednesday with a victory. However, there is also no harm in how the game transpired. In his return home, Berrios continued to show why he is one of the best young pitchers in baseball as he shut the Indians down over the first seven innings of the game. All Cleveland was able to muster off Berrios was three hits and no walks while he struck out five batters to lower his ERA to 1.63 on the season. This success shouldn’t be a total shock, as while he showed flashes last year and had a 3.89 ERA overall, Berrios has always had ace potential. While he is certainly the beneficiary of a .209 BABIP, Berrios’ FIP of 1.70 and 2.49 xFIP shows that we can believe in his success. The right-hander has also increased his ground ball rate from 39% to 43.2% so far this season while walking just 0.33 batters per nine innings.
7) Will This Get Him on Track
While Yoenis Cespedes has started the season off healthy, played essentially everyday, and come through with a few big hits, he has yet to be a truly impact player. On Wednesday, with the game getting close to being out of hand, Cespedes made sure of that with an eighth inning grand slam. It was the fourth home run of the season for Cespedes, and brought his RBI total up to 17, so you really can’t complain about the outfielder’s production from a fantasy perspective. You drafted him for his power and to drive in runs, and so far this season, that is exactly what he is doing. The problem, is that after his two hits last night, Cespedes is still batting just .217 on the season. He was battling the flu last week, and the cold weather in the northeast to start the season also can’t be helping, but his grand slam was a good thing to take into this weekend’s series in Atlanta. All it takes is a few more two hit games for Cespedes, and his batting average will look a lot better very quickly.
8) Moreland Takes Advantage of the Start
With a lot of the focus on the resurgence of Hanley Ramirez and the addition of J.D. Martinez, Mitch Moreland has almost been the forgotten man in Boston. On Wednesday, Moreland got the start at first base and batted fifth against southpaw Tyler Skaggs. And Moreland certainly took advantage of the opportunity. In his 13th game of the season, not all of them starts as he has just 31 at bats, Moreland went 3 for 4 with a walk while raising his batting average to .355 on the season. After singling twice earlier in the game, the first baseman added his first home run of the season in the ninth inning, off Kenyon Middleton, for good measure. The four runs Moreland drove in gave him six RBI on the season, and while it was an impressive effort, Moreland’s value still remains to be in just deeper and AL-Only leagues.
9) Ride the Cole Train
After spoiling us to start the season, Gerrit Cole did not have his best stuff on Wednesday night. It didn’t matter though, as the right-hander did just fine “making due” with what he had. The velocity was still there, but the command on Cole’s breaking pitches were a little off so he had to work a little harder and Seattle’s hitters had a slight chance at making contact. Ultimately, Cole went seven innings for his second victory of the season as he limited the Mariners to just one unearned run on five hits and two walks. Cole only struck out five batters, but after his latest successful start, his ERA now sits at a microscopic 0.96. The move to Houston has clearly agreed with Cole through his first four starts of the season.
10) Seager Drives in Four
Early in the off-season, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Corey Seager, and rightfully so. He is an exciting young shortstop, and by round three or four, he was coming off the board. Then some skeptics began to emerge and there was also an elbow issue to deal with. So far this season, Seager has appeared to be healthy, but the shortstop has also been quiet from a production standpoint. On Wednesday though, Seager appeared to break out as he went 4 for 5 with a walk as the Dodgers scored 13 runs in San Diego. Seager doubled twice, giving him just three on the season, while also driving in four runs. That was the most explosive game of the season for the shortstop as he has just one home run and seven RBI overall, but he is too talented, and it is still too early to panic.
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