Carlos Martinez (SP) STL - Martinez showed why he could be a surprise Cy Young candidate in 2017, shutting out the Cubs on Opening Day for 7 1/3 innings on 6 hits and 0 walks, striking out 10. A 3-run blast by Wilson Contreras in the 9th off of Seung-Hwan Oh cost him the win, but there's no denying the stuff. There were 3 pitchers last season with GB% over 50 and above-average BB and K rates: Cueto, Thor, and Martinez. The kid is still just 25, and appears to still be improving, as evidenced by both last night's performance and his work in the WBC. I view him as clear #1, which definitely makes me higher on him than the average.
AJ Pollock (OF) ARI - It's one game, but A.J. Pollock looked like he's ready to resume his position in the top-tier of outfielders, going 3-5 with a homer against MadBum and the Giants on Opening Day. It's perhaps an over-utilized comparative, but Pollock was Mookie Betts before Betts, and he's not viewed nearly as positively at this moment. I'm no doctor, but what I read from experts that I respect amounts to this: once a fracture is deemed healed, it's healed. Re-injury risk is the same as the initial risk of injury, unlike muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Therefore, I see no reason to discount his value from where he was heading into last year. As such, I'd bet he is a bargain in most formats right now....his ADP was round 4 for standard-sized leagues, and I'd have no problem drafting him a round ahead of that at least. For the majority of you that have already drafted, he's a great acquisition target, as I expect him to be a clear top-10 OF at season's end.
Aledmys Diaz (SS) STL - Diaz had a single and a double on Opening Day against Jon Lester and the Cubs. He also swiped two bases, but since it was against Jon Lester we'll just leave that with an asterisk. What I'd really like to talk about is how he is the 13th SS by ADP this spring. Diaz hit 315/380/536 with 13 HR, 57 R, and 48 RBI in the first half. He played a few more weeks, was hit on the hand by a pitch, missed 5 weeks, and just wasn't the same hitter upon his return. Regression, or injury-related? I'd bank on more of the latter than the former, although there's likely a bit of that mixed in as well. Still, his contact rate is pushing 85%, so let's assume he hits something like .285/18/5 with 90 R and 75 RBI. There are 12 SS better than that? Doubtful. I think he remains underrated, and he's still just 26.
Justin Turner (3B) LAD - At the risk of focusing too much on one game, Justin Turner looks like an easy choice for me as the best value on DK at 3B on Monday's slate. Priced at just $3500, he's facing the aforementioned Jhoulys Chacin, and unlike most hitters, Turner is a clear reverse-split batter, hitting 305/356/563 against RHP last season and 298/359/473 for his career. He's an easy choice to save $500-1500 for another spot.
Christian Yelich (OF) MIA - Yelich is one of my favorite players in the game, although I am disappointed that the speed seems to be declining right when he's beginning to tap into his potentially excellent power. Despite a mere 20% FB rate last season, Yelich managed 21 HR and 98 RBI on the strength of the 6th highest total of balls hit over 100 mph. His hard contact rate continues to increase, his chase rate is negligible at 23%, and he just turned 25. There are a ton of positives here.....if the light suddenly clicks about adding some loft to the swing, 30-35 HR are easily attainable, and they'll likely come with an excellent average as well. There is still significant upside here, if not of the 25/25 variety that we might have hoped for a year or two ago.
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