Diaz has picked up right where he left off so far in 2017, slashing .278/.278/.583 through the Cardinals first eight games. The slugging percentage is what truly stands out, as Diaz hit his third home run of the young season on Tuesday, to go along with his six runs, five RBI and two steals. Right now, Diaz is a top five short stop, the question only becomes whether he can maintain this pace. The signs points in a few different directions. Diaz has an extremely bizarre batted ball profile this season, the type of profile that can only be the result of a one-week sample size. Diaz has a line drive rate of just 6.9 percent, with massive 41.4 and 51.7 percent ground ball and fly ball rates, respectively. The fly ball rate is a good sign for Diaz, as the figure is up nearly 12 percent this young season. Diaz's pull rate is also way up, a good sign that this power surge has been legitimate. On the flip side of things, Diaz has yet to walk in 2017, not a death knell by any stretch of the imagination (see: Odor, Rougned), but not a great sign either. The season is still young of course, so some of this information contains its fair share of noise. That being said, there's a lot to like from the 26-year-old Cardinals shortstop right now.
If Yoenis Cespedes was the King of Tuesday night (three long balls), Ozuna was the prince, going 2-for-3 with two home runs and six RBI. The night came as part of a red-hot start to the 2017 season for Ozuna. The 26-year-old is now slashing .423/.467/.769 with an impressive 12 RBI through just seven games. Ozuna has always seemed right on the precipice of a breakout, showing flashes here and there in his first four seasons, but never putting together a full, dominant season. So far in 2017, there are signs both ways. A troubling sign for Ozuna is that he is hitting more ground balls than in years past, even though he already had a high GB rate for his career. On the flip side, at least he's hitting the ball hard, with a mind-melting 57.9 percent hard hit ball rate before Tuesday night. Ozuna also has three walks and just five strikeouts this young season, a good sign for his plate discipline. It's too early to come to any real conclusions, but if we know one thing about Ozuna it is that he can run very hot at times. Plug him into a few upcoming daily contests and make sure he's in your year-long starting lineups while we figure out whether he has actually turned the corner or not.
Franco hit his first home run of 2017 on Tuesday, collecting two RBI as part of his 1-for-4 evening. Even with the long ball, Franco is slashing just .207/.294/.345 for the season, with three runs and four RBI. Franco is one of the most interesting cases in fantasy baseball. He is almost like a hitter version of Robbie Ray or Michael Pineda, where the most prevalent advanced stats suggest a big explosion coming, but some of the underlying advanced stats say otherwise. For Franco, his plate discipline is excellent (four walks and five strikeouts in 2017 go along with a career of success in this field) and he certainly has raw power. What Franco struggles with, however, is elevating the ball. Franco has a career 45.6 percent ground ball rate compared to just a 35.1 percent fly ball rate. In 2017 (before Tuesday), those figures were even more intense, with a 47.6 percent ground ball rate and just 19.0 percent fly ball rate. It's hard to be a 30-HR guy when you only hit fly balls a third of the time (or less). It's certainly not time to write off Franco just yet, but until he can change the angle of his swing to create more fly balls, he is always going to leave owners wanting more.
Two starts into his Rockies career, Senzatela looks pretty solid. Senzatela passed his first Coors test Tuesday, going seven innings, allowing just two runs on five hits and a walk. He struck out five and got the win, bringing his season ERA down to 1.50 in the process. Senzatela's FIP (3.47) and xFIP (3.56) aren't quite matching his ERA, but they are both highly respectable for the 22-year-old rookie. Now Senzatela did get to face off with the lowly Padres on Tuesday, but his performance was strong enough to bump him into the "stream when not at Coors Field" tier of Rockies pitchers, and just one more strong start away from a roster spot in mixed leagues. He should certainly be owned in NL-only leagues at this point, and he's worth an extended look in keeper leagues just on the basis of his first two starts. It's always scary owning a pitcher who spends half his time in a ticking time bomb, but with 95 mph heat and a plus-ground ball rate, Senzatela might just be able to maintain his current success.
Daily Fantasy Leagues
Jordan Montgomery $26
Montgomery will make his MLB debut on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays, and while MLB debuts are a dangerous game in daily leagues, Monty has a few factors going in his favor. First and foremost, he is a lefty going against a Rays lineup that has a lot of question marks against left-handers. The club lost their two best lefty-mashers in the offseason, and of their top five hitters (by wRC+) this season, four of them are left-handed. The Rays fared well their last time against a lefty, knocking Liriano out in the first, but Liriano was off his game that night. A better example of what the Rays typically do against lefties came in their season debut when they were shut out by fellow Yankee, C.C. Sabathia. For the price Montgomery is coming at, he's worth taking a chance on given the possibility that Monty is able to replicate what Sabathia did in his first start. Using so little money on Montgomery opens up the door for either Max Scherzer, or a lineup stacked full of sluggers.
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