Nick Markakis, OF, ATL
Markakis has opened the 2018 season on pace for his best season yet, as he is hitting .332 with 7 HR's and 38 RBI through the season's first two months. He hasn't hit .300 or reached 20 HR's since 2008, nor has he reached 90 RBI since 2009. To his credit, his 9.4% K% would be a career best, although his .349 BABIP would also be a career-high and is not likely sustainable. The power is a bit more surprising as he only averaged 8 HR per season in his first 3 seasons with the Braves, and his FB% and Hard% are pretty much in line with recent seasons. Alas, Markakis has now gone 20 games without a HR and perhaps this is a signal that the early season power surge was more of a fluke than a new trend. He should continue to hit for a good average like he usually does, but it's hard to envision that he finishes as a top-50 overall player which is where he is situated right now.
Brandon Nimmo, OF, NYM
Nimmo went 2-4 with 2 RBI against the Braves on Wednesday, and seems to be wuite comfortable hitting out of the leadoff spot for the Mets. Over his last 9 games, he is hitting .364 (12-33) with 8 XBH's, including 3 HR's, 9 runs scored, 6 RBI, and 2 SB's. And while the sample size is small, he only has 4 K's in 40 PA's during this stretch, which is a nice improvement from his 21.4% K% for the season. His FB% has jumped 15% from last year and has resulted in an increase in power, and batting every day in the leadoff spot will continue to help his counting stats. What the Mets will do once Yoenis Cespedes returns from the DL is unclear, but right now Nimmo is producing and deserves consideration in most fantasy settings.
Alex Reyes, SP, STL
In his anticipated 2018 Cardinals debut, Reyes pitched 4 scoreless innings, throwing 73 pitches and striking out 2. While he didn't allow a run in the outing, Reyes' velocity dipped as the game went along to the point that trainers came out to the mound in the 4th inning due to concern, and he was ultimately pulled after that inning. After striking out 44 in 23 shutout innings across 4 rehab starts, it was somewhat of a disappointment that he only notched two strikeouts, and none after the first inning, while throwing just 42 of his 73 pitches for strikes (57.5%). He still needs to be owned in all leagues right now, but his velocity and health will be closely monitored when he makes his upcoming starts.
Scott Schebler, OF, CIN
Even in the age of increased power, any player who has a good shot at 30 HR's can be considered a fantasy asset, especially if they have a reasonable strikeout rate. After hitting 30 dingers in his first full big league season in 2017, Schebler seemed like a good bet to continue providing power this season, especially considering his age (27) and home park. Yet his HR on Wednesday was just his 6th of the season and his 1st in 14 games. His FB% has dropped from 38.2% last season to 25.5% this year, which of course explains the drop in power. On the bright side, he has lowered his K% to 17.6%, but his BA remains depressed due to a .262 BABIP which isn't far off from his career .270 mark and won't necessarily see much improvement. Schebler need not be owned in mixed leagues right now, at least until he starts putting more balls in the air.
Jordan Lyles, SP, SD
Lyles struggled in his last outing, but overall he has had success since joining the Padres rotation with a 3.97 ERA and 24:8 K:BB through 22.2 IP across 4 starts. He has a great matchup against the Marlins at home on Thursday; Lyles has struggled a bit with the long ball this season, but that shouldn't be as much of a problem against a Marlins team that is last in the league in HR's by a sizable margin. DraftKings Value Play Salary $7,100.
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