Apparently, Christmas comes in April for many, many people out there.
That’s right, folks. Opening Day is behind us and the 2013 MLB season has begun, which of course, signifies the return of one of the most addicting games of all time, fantasy baseball. Many owners spent their Monday afternoon scrutinizing their televisions and box scores, hoping that their players will provide some early fantasy production for them. A handful of guys went above and beyond that feat, wasting no time getting started.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals: The Bryce is right after all. Harper wasted no time proving to everyone that he is for real, going 2-4 with two home runs to lift his ball club over the Marlins. Last season, it took Harper 15 games to hit his first homer. Fast forward to 2013 and it took less than a half of one. The site was awfully reassuring for fantasy owners who reached on the 20-year old in the early rounds, but it appears his power is legit. With his rookie campaign already behind him, expect Harper to continue trending upward into a fantasy superstar.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: Are you kidding me? I mean, pitching a four-hit, seven-strikeout shutout game is outstanding by itself, but then he went ahead and absolutely launched a solo home run to give his Dodgers the lead. Kershaw is only the second pitcher since 1921 to pitch a shutout and go yard on Opening Day. Could this be the start of Kershaw making his case as the number one pitcher in all of baseball. It’s still ridiculously early, but I like his chances. Especially if he can provide run support for himself with his own bat.
Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies: If you read my work often, you know how much I love Fowler. The guy is definitely one of my favorite players in the game and is on my list of sleepers and breakout candidates. He definitely proved me right on Opening Day, going 3-5 with a game-tying home run in the 9th inning. Leading off in a lineup with terrific hitters such as Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez behind him will certainly help him in the runs department and it also appears that last season’s progression as an all around hitter was no fluke. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I’ll be writing positive things about Fowler, that’s for sure.
Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves: Another guy I’m mighty high on, upon writing this, Freeman’s opening game isn’t even finished yet, but he was certainly one of the studs today. In his first plate appearance of the season, the burgeoning power hitter wasted no time showcasing that power, hitting an absolute bomb of a two-run home run off of Cole Hamels. He then went ahead to drive in another run, giving him three through just five innings. At just 23-years old, with one of the better lineups in baseball around him, Freeman will be a threat to lead the NL in homers and could even sneak into the top five fantasy first basemen for 2013.
Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies: This is why you don’t give up on guys like Utley. Sure, age is catching up to him and injuries have slowed him down, but you wouldn’t be able to tell after watching him on Monday night. Utley finished his first game of 2013 just a double shy of the cycle with three RBI and scored two runs. Talk about a complete fantasy performance. He looked fully healthy for the first time in a few years, which is a terrific sign for fantasy owners. The Phillies’ lineup is better than people think so it’s full speed ahead for the 34-year old.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.