Jorge Polanco (MIN-SS)
Polanco completed the first Cycle of 2019 going 5-5 and finishing it off with a double in the 7th inning. As the rest of the Twins offense generally slumped his only RBI and run scored came on his HR. It continues a strong start to the season for Polanco who entered play with an .851 OPS, but also missed the first half of 2018 due to a PED suspension. This the 6th season Polanco will be on a big-league roster although he has only managed 100+ games 1 time - 2017. He finished with a .256 Avg with 13 home runs and 13 steals - numbers it appears he would have matched if he played a full season in 2018. Throughout his career Polanco has always generally had good plate discipline evidenced by a career 6.2% Swinging Strike rate to go along with an 8.3% BB and 16.4% K rate. Interestingly his hot start to 2019 may due to him being slightly more aggressive - he had a 11.5% Swinging Strike Rate entering play Friday and while his strikeout rate was at 25% his cycle gives him already 6 extra base hits in just 28 plate appearances.
Carlos Santana (1B-CLE)
Santana hit his first home run of 2019, a walk off shot vs the Blue Jays Friday night. Santana has had an interesting past year as he signed with the Phillies last year as a free agent and put together a .229/.352/.414 line with 24 home runs but was then traded to Seattle and then back to Cleveland within a 10-day period, where he spent 8 years of his career. He is off to a blistering start in 2019 (.417/.481/.583) which is much needed for a Cleveland offense that has many key offensive pieces out due to injury. Santana's hitting profile is well known - he usually hits for a good average checking in with a .266 clip and holds a career 15.3% BB rate and 16.5% K rate including a 2018 season that saw him draw more walks (110) than strikeouts (93). He does this all while maintaining a 7.3 Swinging Strike Rate. The 2019 hot start can be attributed to a 95.8 mph exit velocity and 55.6% hard hit rate - numbers that owners should expect to normalize to still average to above average league numbers.
Yoan Moncada (3B-CWS)
Moncada continued his hot start to 2019 going 2-4 with 4 RBIs. He could have had an even bigger day had Mallex Smith not robbed him of a 1st inning Grand Slam that only ended up being a 2-run double. He now boasts a ridiculous .458/.518/.875 through 6 games with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 10 RBIs. He is among the early league leaders in exit velocity (96.1 mph), woba (.582) and hard hit % (52.9%). Perhaps most impressively is he has vastly improved his plate discipline. He entered this year with a 33% K rate but has struck out only 4 times this year (14%) while posting an 11% BB rate. We are still just a week into the season but its hard not to get excited about 2019 as the year that Moncada taps into his potential that had made him one of the top prospects in the game.
Shane Bieber (SP-CLE)
Bieber made his first start of 2019 allowing 2 runs on 2 hits over 6 innings while walking 2 and striking out 9. Other than a 2-run homer to Freddy Galvis, Bieber shut down the Blue Jays offense while inducing 19 swinging strikes, as he looks to improve upon his 11.8% Swinging Strike rate from last year. He has made one appearance out of the bullpen earlier but should slot into the rotation every 5th day as the early season schedules normalizes. Despite posting a 4.55 ERA last season over 114 IP, the underlying metrics were much kinder as he pitched to a 3.23 FIP and posted a 9.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. He followed his debut up with a strong spring, pitching to a 2.25 ERA, .75 WHIP and picking up 29 Ks over 24 innings while only walking 4. He is the 5th starter in the Cleveland rotation but that should not deter fantasy owners from rostering him as he has the makings a top of the rotation arm.
Daniel Vogelbach (1B-SEA)
Vogelbach started at Designated Hitter and went 2-4 with his 2nd home run of the season while hitting 8th Friday afternoon. Vogelbach has been seeking an opportunity for regular at bats for several seasons it seems like and has been taking of advantage of that with another home run. The 26-year-old hasn't really impressed in short stints in the majors over the past 4 seasons slashing a career .201/.314/.343 in 156 Plate appearances and a career 28% K rate. In addition, he has been completely shielded from lefties in his career, and for good reason as he is a career .077 hitter (2/30) vs them. He did hit 4 home runs in just over 100 plate appearances last year and did compile a 12% BB rate, a number that also carried over in the spring as he walked 33% of the time and compiled more walks (13) than strikeouts (8). In very limited 2019 action he has looked good hitting .364 while posting a 2:4 BB:K ratio.
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