Miguel Andujar picked up his first hit of the 2018 campaign on Saturday against the Orioles. In the wake of Brandon Drury landing on the DL, the 23 year-old should see regular time at third for the Yankees over the next week or so. Although his minor league stats don't jump off the page at you, he is a highly regarded prospect (the #3 third baseman, according to MLB.com) and has put together some interesting numbers in the minors. In 2017, he posted a .312 average in 272 AA at-bats before batting .317 in 250 AAA at-bats while hitting a total of 16 homers and driving in 82 runs (and stealing a handful of bags). He doesn't strike out much (14% in AAA last year) nor walk a ton (6.8% in AAA last year). Scouts like his quick hands and strong pitch recognition skills for his age, as well as that he makes a lot of contact. If you've got a roster slot to use on a lottery ticket, Andujar has potential to be solid now.
Kyle Seager hit his first home run of the 2018 season on Saturday against the Twins, finishing 2-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored. He's had a slow start to the season, as he is hitting only .192 after Saturday's effort, so he might be a guy that you can trade for at a bargain rate. Moreover, expectations for him may have already been lower coming into the season since he is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2017 campaign in which he hit only .249 (career average of .263), in large part because of a .262 BABIP (career BABIP of .285). Seager is a solid buy-low candidate, as he consistently hits for decent power (at least 20 home runs in every season since 2012), strikes out at a modest rate (5 times this year, never at a rate greater than 17.9% since he arrived in the majors), and posts a solid hard-hit rate (35.7% in 2017, with a career rate of 33.8%).
Trevor Bauer was a tough-luck loser in Saturday's game between the Indians and Royals, as he gave up just one run on three hits and two walks while striking out seven over eight innings of work. The lone run allowed came on a Lucas Duda solo home run. The 27 year-old right-hander now has a 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 14 strikeouts over 13 innings so far this season. While this is certainly a small sample size, his start to the 2018 campaign is very much a continuation of success that he enjoyed during the second half of his 2017 season in which he posted a 3.01 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, and 10.0 K/9. A popular breakout pick entering this season, Bauer is fulfilling expectations so far. Just be wary of his propensity for walking batters, as he has given up five walks so far this year; one of his keys to success after the All-Star break last year was cutting his BB/9 from 3.3 to 2.8 (3.69 BB/9 over his career).
Michael Fulmer picked up the win against the White Sox on Saturday, allowing no runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four over 5.1 innings. The outing lowered Fulmer's ERA on the young season to a miniscule 0.68 and raised his WHIP to 1.13. Although a small sample size, Fulmer's performance to date in 2018 continues his career trend of low strikeout rates (his 6.23 K/9 in 2017 was significantly lower than his 7.47 in 2016), although the five walked batters so far (perhaps due to cold weather conditions) is unusual for him (2.28 BB/9). While last year's regression in K/9 is concerning, he did reduce his BB/9 (from 2.38 in 2016 to 2.19 in 2017) as well as cut his HR/9 (to 0.71 in 2017 from 0.91 in 2016). Fulmer is clearly a mid-rotation guy for fantasy purposes rather than an ace, but he's just 25 so there is the possibility that he takes a step forward this year by missing more bats.
Marcus Stroman pitched 4.2 innings on Saturday night against the Rangers, allowing five runs on six hits and five walks while striking out three. This comes on the heels of a meh outing against the Yankees in which he gave up four runs in five innings on three hits and three walks while striking out eight batters. Stroman threw only 44 of his 95 pitches for strikes against Texas, and the Rangers did some damage when he did find the zone. Stroman continues to be an extreme groundball pitcher, but his control issues out of the gate in 2018, although extreme, point to a growing issue. Since his debut in 2014, in which he posted an excellent 1.93 BB/9, that number has grown every year, reaching 2.78 last year. Similarly, his HR/FB has also trended upward each of the last few years, rising from 14.3% in 2015 to 16.5% in 2016, and to 17.8% in 2017. So, although the Rangers hit none out of the park on Saturday, there is reason to be concerned about Stroman going forward.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3