Ervin Santana (SP-ATL): Ervin Santana logged an impressive debut for the Braves, tossing 8 shutout innings of 3-hit, 6-strikeout baseball. The righty was quite efficient in the outing, only needing 88 pitches, inducing plenty of groundballs and working the whole night without issuing a free pass. He averaged 93.2 MPH on his fastball according to Brooks Baseball, right in line with last year's readings. While his K-rate has been hovering below average in the 17% range, Santana has a knack for inducing weak contact and maintaining below average BABIPs year-to-year. He'll have his occasional bump in the road, and yes, this start was against the Mets, but he could be the steal of the year for those who pounced on him late in drafts. He's on a 1-year deal and on a mission. Buy.
Christian Yelich (OF-MIA): Christian Yelich filled up the stat sheet last night, going 3 for 4 with 3 runs, 1 RBI, 2 walks, and 1 steal. Despite the slow start, last night's effort moved his season line to .290/.353/.419 with 8 runs, 4 RBI, and 2 steals through 7 games. With the Marlins offense looking much improved with the additions of Garret Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Casey McGehee, and a healthy Giancarlo Stanton, Yelich should score 80-90 runs. The question for him continues to be his handling of lefties (1 for 10 thus far), so keep this in mind in weekly and daily formats. Yelich is improving his contact rate in the early going and is poised to be a solid #3 OF in standard mixed leagues this season. He has the potential of a #1 OF, but he'll need time to put it all together.
Michael Morse (OF-SF): Michael Morse continued his fast start to the season, hitting his 2nd homer of the year, although it wasn't enough to overcome a rough start by Tim Lincecum. The effort boosted his early line to .385/.448/.692 with 6 runs and 8 RBI. Morse is quite the anomaly himself, able to maintain high batting averages despite below-average contact rates because of his propensity to hit line-drives at a high-rate and infield fly balls at a low-rate. The Giants have replaced him quite frequently in the later-innings to preserve his fragile body, which while frustrating to daily players, could be a blessing in disguise for yearly ones. A sneaky source of power he is in all formats. There is no try, only do. Do stay healthy, Michael.
Billy Hamilton (OF-CIN): Billy Hamilton provided his investors with a beautiful stat line, as the speedster went 3 for 4 with 2 runs, 1 walk, and 2 steals. After starting the season 0 for 13, Hamilton has looked much better at the plate during the last three games. The kid is going to be a fine Major Leaguer. Many tend to forget his .830 OPS across two MiLB levels in 2012 and the solid MLB work in his short stint from last season. He has an incredible work ethic and is working on his approach at the plate. His defense and speed will give him a long leash and he should continue to settle in for the rest of 2014. Let's just hope he doesn't face Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha every week.
Devin Mesoraco (C-CIN): Devin Mesoraco continued to impress since his return from the DL, belting his first homer of the year as part of a 2-for-4, 2-RBI, 1-run effort against the Cardinals. While Mesoraco posted a pedestrian .238/.287/.362 line in 2013 with 9 homers, 42 RBI, and 31 runs in 103 games, he showed much more than this at every stop of the minor leagues. Catchers are notoriously slow developers in the offensive department (see Wieters, Matt and Molina, Yadier) as they have a lot on their plate with handling pitching staffs. I still see top-10 catcher potential. For the rest of the season, provided he stays healthy and receives the bulk of the ABs, he should sneak into the top 15. Thankfully, for purposes of his value, Dusty Baker is no longer calling the shots.
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