Jose Ramirez (2B) CLE - Ramirez had a single and a homer (his 4th) in the 11-4 drubbing of the Twins Tuesday. What we have in Ramirez is an excellent contact hitter with good speed that is gradually hitting the ball in the air more often each year, and with more authority as well. This is a "perfect storm" sort of a situation, where everything appears to be coming together for a player that has a genuine chance at stardom...let's remember that he doesn't even turn 25 until September. I am fully on board the bandwagon here: a contact rate in the high 80's, blossoming power (3rd highest avg HR distance thus far), a great supporting cast, and speed to boot.
Luis Severino (SP) NYY - Severino essentially made one mistake Tuesday, as I'm not counting the solo shot by Leury Garcia as a mistake since it was a fastball near the outside corner at the knees, but that mistake was enough for him to take the loss in a 4-1 defeat to the White Sox. Despite the 3 earned runs (2 more of which would be unearned if you could assume a double play), Severino was brilliant throughout the evening, throwing 96-98 consistently and touching 100 while mixing in his slider and changeup very effectively. He fanned 10 in his 8 inning stint with 17 swinging strikes in 107 pitches, and his BB:K ratio now stands at 2:27 on the season. The velocity bump and corresponding strikeout numbers are terrific, but the control improvement might be the most important thing to take away from his first three outings....the schedule has been relatively easy thus far, but he needs to be owned for the K upside alone. With the Red Sox and O's up next for him, starting him is a bit of a dicier proposition. I'd lean toward using him unless your alternatives are excellent, until he proves that he doesn't deserve the confidence.
Elvis Andrus (SS) TEX - No, Andrus isn't a power hitter now, despite what you might think after watching his SLG jump to .600 Tuesday evening. Andrus suffers a bit from the amount of time that he spent as a speedy slap hitter, so bear with me for a moment: that guy is gone. For a year and a half now, Andrus has been pulling the ball significantly more, hitting the ball on the ground less, and most importantly, increasing his exit velocity and batted ball distance. He was at essentially minimal power up until 2015, posting avg HR distances in the 370 range. That increased to the low-390's in 2015-16, and this season he's over 400 for his first 3 (small sample alert). He's done without sacrificing much of his excellent contact ability, which of course simply makes him a better player than the Andrus that we are used to. Despite his MLB tenure, he's still just 28, and I think his prime will prove to be more valuable than we expected with the increase in power.
Jose Bautista (OF) TOR - Bautista was one of two regulars (along with fellow struggler Devon Travis) to fail to record a hit in the 7 run, 12 hit outburst against Boston Tuesday, but let's set aside Bautista's early-season struggles, as they're only 13 games of data. I think it's more critical to understand what Bautista is at this point. Short of the 2014 outlier in AVG, Bautista is only an expected contributor in R, RBI, and HR at this point in his career. Last season, Bautista had the second lowest avg HR distance of all qualifiers (18 HR or more), and with Encarnacion gone and Donaldson injured, that lineup is looking more and more suspect relative to the past few years. In OBP-based formats, Bautista still carries quite a bit of value in my opinion, as his batting eye remains as solid as ever. In standard leagues however, I think it's likely that Bautista won't come anywhere near providing value for his ADP, and I would certainly be listening to (and soliciting) offers.
Mitch Moreland (1B) BOS - Moreland is easily on track to get the most PAs of his career this season, and for a guy that has perpetually been in the upper echelon in terms of hard contact, that's a very good thing. Moreland had 3 more hits (including his 10th(!) 2B) Tuesday, and he's batting 358/443/604 on the young season. He's going to strike out a decent amount and he has virtually no speed, but he definitely can provide power, and the runs and RBIs will come in that lineup. The AVG is always interesting for Moreland, as he hits the ball hard and his LD rates are typically solid, but the BABIPs are terrible almost every season. It's difficult to forecast that to improve after so many years of the same thing, so I guess the best way to put it is that I feel that we've seen his floor in 3 of the past 4 years, and that there might be a better ceiling than you would think. To sum up, more playing time this year and solid peripherals combine into a guy that is likely still undervalued right now.
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