2013 Fantasy Baseball: Week 1 Who’s Hot, Who’s Not
Who's Hot, Who's Not
Week one of the fantasy baseball season goes in the books with a Sunday night matchup between the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers. The first week of the season turned out to be a microcosm of what we should expect over the course of the full season. The runs (4.2) and home run (one) per game totals were ironically almost identical to what they were over the span of 162 games last year.
Since the steroid era has cooled down, we have seen a transition back to a pitching dominant league. The league batting average peaked around .270 near the turn of the century but has been steady at .255 over the past two seasons. Pitching is not only the foundation for a successful MLB franchise but has become the staple of fantasy baseball as well. Assembling a lockdown staff is the surefire way to build an elite team. There are a few top players at every position but after that position players are a dime a dozen. Unexpected names surface every season so it’s essential to be on top of the free agent wire and the promotion of top prospects.
The baseball Gods work in mysterious ways as we have witnessed blistering hot starts from several unlikely sources while some of the biggest names look lost at the plate. Streaks are common in baseball and most players fail to keep up their early paces. However, new stars emerge every year and fantasy baseball is all about picking out the up-and-coming players.
We will now look at who has come out of the gates hot and who has disappointed through the first two series.
Hot: Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore Orioles
Chris Davis got off to a historic star, jumping out to 17 RBIs in the team’s first five games. He also launched four bombs in as many games including a game-winning grand slam. Davis was better than many realized last season which is evident by the fact that he was drafted 21st among first baseman in this year’s drafts. Nobody can keep up this pace for an entire season but Davis has proven early that he has the potential to reach 40 homers and 115 RBIs. Davis should be owned and starting in all fantasy settings.
Hot: Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
Even more under the radar is Todd Frazier whose name gets lost among a stacked Cincinnati Reds lineup. He didn’t amaze anybody with a .273/19/67 line last season but he’s off to a tremendous start. With 11 hits in 22 at-bats, Frazier is leading the NL with a .500 average and is showing some pop with three homers already. Frazier is a solid pickup in all formats and should be started while he remains hot.
Hot: Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland Indians
Carlos Santana's main appeal used to be that he shared the name of a famous musician. However, this guy is beginning to build a reputation as one of the top catchers in baseball. He was already off to a solid start before going five for five at the plate on Sunday including a homer and three RBIs. A career .249 hitter, Santana’s average is sitting at a lofty .500 after six games. Santana is a top-five catcher especially when he’s playing this well.
Hot: Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Everybody knows how good this guy is but he’s been filthy even by his own standards. Clayton Kershaw has allowed just seven runners to reach base in 16 innings thus far. He’s striking out one per inning and has already notched two wins. If that’s not enough, Kershaw hit the game-winning home run in his complete game shutout on opening day. Kershaw is making a case to be called the best pitcher in baseball.
Cold: Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins
When Giancarlo Stanton isn’t hitting, the Miami Marlins don’t stand much of a chance. Hardly coincidentally, Stanton is hitting .182 with 10 Ks in 22 at-bats and Miami is off to a 1-5 start. Owners that felt good about taking Stanton as their top hitter are suddenly feeling some doubt in the back of their mind. He’s not happy about the current situation in Miami and he strikes out a ton. He plays in a humongous ballpark but Stanton’s power will come around. If he remains in Miami for the duration of the season, he probably won’t reach the 37 homers that he posted last year because he has no protection in one of the league’s weakest lineups. He’s still one of the top outfielders in the game but he may not justify his high average draft position when all is said and done.
Cold: Josh Hamilton, OF, Los Angeles Angels
Josh Hamilton is catching a ton of heat early in his first season with the Los Angeles Angels. He’s hitting a horrific .048 so far with just one hit and 10 strikeouts in 20 at-bats. Albert Pujols experienced a pedestrian season in his first year with the Angels but this start for Hamilton is ridiculous. He will pick up the pace and for his sake we hope it occurs before he buries himself a deep hole. Once Hamilton gets acquainted with things at his new club, his stats should pick up. He’s an elite fantasy player but owners need to keep him on the pine until he turns things around.
Cold: Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta Braves
Jason Heyward has experienced similar struggles to the previously mentioned outfielders. The Atlanta Braves have won five out of their first six games but it is not due to the play of Heyward. He’s hitting just .100 with just one extra base hit and seven strikeouts in 20 at-bats. People are expecting big things from Heyward after his breakout 2012 campaign. The slow start is inconvenient for fantasy owners but he’ll be hitting again soon. Feel free to temporarily bench Heyward if there are better options on the bench.
Cold: Cole Hamels, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels was lights out in Spring Training but he couldn’t have been much worse over his first two starts of the season. He’s taken two losses while giving up 13 runs over 10.2 innings. Hamels gives up his share of home runs but four over two games is a terrible pace. With Roy Halladay going through adversity on the mound, the Philadelphia Phillies are in desperate need of quality from Hamels. He’s faced two tough lineups and is one of the top lefties in the game so Hamels is fully expected to rebound soon.
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