Eugenio Suarez (3B) CIN - Suarez homered, stole a base, and walked three times on Monday against the Pirates. For whatever reason, Suarez is one of those guys that I sort of forget is still on the good side of the age curve, as he doesn't turn 26 until July. A closer look at his 2016 makes me wonder why he was the 31st 3B via ADP this spring, as his AVG was depressed by a .304 BABIP despite a 21.6% LD rate. He managed a hard contact rate of just under 35%, helping him to 21 HRs despite slightly below average distance figures. Add in the 11 steals and the improved walk rate last year and, like I said, his value appears depressed for some reason. 3B is pretty deep right now, but I could make a case for Suarez over at least the 15 guys directly in front of him in ADP, which makes him a reasonable CI choice in most formats. If you can acquire him cheaply, and judging from the value he seems to carry you should be able to, he could be a great value proposition.
Jay Bruce (OF) NYM - A lot of hitting indicators don't really stabilize until 100 PAs or so, so beware of anyone trying to sell you too hard on performance until late April at the earliest. That being said, Jay Bruce is locked in right now, posting an excellent chase rate and contact rate for his first 29 PAs. He was most of the Met offense Monday, hitting two homers in the 4-3 win over Philly. I'll be curious to get the distance data on those tomorrow, as the second one was an absolute bomb....Bruce hit 33 last year with a slightly higher than average distance, and I think he's a reasonable bet for something close to that number again this year, especially with his stated desire to hit the ball in the air as much as possible this year. His hard contact rate last season was the best of his career, signaling to me that perhaps the injury woes of 2014-15 are finally in his rearview mirror. He's still a bit of a one-trick pony as a power-only OF bat, but just because there are more guys hitting 30 HRs than there have been in years doesn't mean they have zero value. On Tuesday, Bruce faces off against Clay Buchholz, a pitcher whose velocity was the lowest of his career in his first outing of the season. Priced at just $3700 on Draftkings, he should provide some nice value-based production on another day where the Rockies are at home.
Brandon Belt (1B) SF - Belt reverted to the home version in the home opener, walking twice in 4 trips to the plate. On the road for the first four games, Belt homered 3 times with an avg HR distance of over 421 feet, tops in the majors for multi-HR guys so far. Belt has more than twice as many homers on the road than at home during his career, but with his swing speed I wouldn't expect the difference to be so pronounced, despite the difficulty for LHB in SF. The underlying stats have suggested that there is more production likely for Belt for a few years now, yet we've been disappointed. I like to gamble on players like this, but either way, he should be treated as a 1B with a fairly high floor and reasonable upside for a soon-to-be 29 year old. I still view him as a 1B starter in all but the most shallow of formats.
Jameson Taillon (SP) PIT - I like Taillon on Tuesday, although as the 4th-highest priced SP at $8400 there's a bit more risk there than I had hoped to see. I wanted to touch on Taillon because he's making a conscious effort to throw more 2-seam fastballs this year, something that could continue to push his GB rate into the stratosphere. The holy grail of pitching is basically the GB/K guy, and Taillon is showing some indication that he could be that kind of special arm. I like him against a middling Cincy offense Tuesday, and I like him even more to take a step forward into the SP2 conversation for the season.
Jerad Eickhoff (SP) PHI - Eickhoff had his second straight quality start Monday, holding the Mets to 3 hits and 2 runs over 7 innings, walking 4 and fanning 7 in the 4-3 loss. Eickhoff has continued to expand the use of his curveball at the expense of his slider this year, a change that has seen him now allow 3 ER or fewer in 10 consecutive starts since the change in approach. I think it is very possible that he can provide #4, possibly even #3 SP value this season, although as we've seen through the first two outings, getting a win with that offense is often difficult.
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