Ozzie Albies was 2-6 with a grand slam and an RBI single in the Braves victory against the Marlins. On the year Albies is hitting .285 with 11 HR, 35 R, 29 RBI, and 4 SB. During draft season Albies was flying up the draft boards due to his potential speed and batting average combination. Those who took the plunge have been handsomely rewarded with a five-category monster in the early going. Albies is looking like a solid bet to go 20 HR/20 SB with 100+ R and a .280+ batting average. The contact skills are legit with 19% K and his batted ball profile supports a .500+ SLG which is above average especially for someone his size. The sky's the limit for the Braves second baseman with his improvements from the left side (1.339 OPS) being a natural right-handed hitter.
Caleb Smith went 5.1 IP and gave up 2 ER on 7 H, 2 BB, and 5 K's against the Braves. The 26-year old left-hander has been a pleasant surprise for both the Marlins and fantasy owners. He came into today's game with a 3.67 ERA (3.44 SIERA), 1.17 WHIP, and 34% K. The huge strikeout numbers are backed up by 12.4% swinging strike rate. He is getting whiffs from all three of his pitches: FB (12%), CH (18%), and SL (18%). The walk rate is concerning at 12% but he can mask that by continuing to miss bats at an elite rate. Smith has plus strikeout upside while pitching in the NL and in a great home park so there is a lot to like about him going forward. He isn't going to turn into a fantasy ace but you didn't have to pay anything for him at draft day so enjoy the ride.
Mike Foltynewicz went 5 IP and gave up 1 ER on 3 H, 2 BB, and 4 K's against the Marlins. Foltynewicz has a 3.21 ERA over 42 IP with a 1.31 WHIP. His strikeout rate is at a career high 27% thanks in part to the improvement in his change-up. This is important because it gives him a weapon to use against left-handed batters which had a career .859 OPS against Folty which has dropped to .705 OPS in limited action. He has done a good job of keeping the ball in the park (0.97 HR/9), which is important for someone who has a high walk rate (10%) and gives up 36% FB. The skills are there for Foltynewicz to be a league an above average fantasy starter (3.21 ERA, 3.94 SIERA), which should not be overlooked in today's landscape.
Carlos Santana was 1-4 with a three-run home run in the Phillies 6-3 victory over the Giants. Santana has had a slow start to his Phillies career with a .191 AVG with 6 HR, 24 R, 26 RBI, and 1 SB through 37 games. The underlying skills are still solid as ever for Santana with a 14% BB and 15%K. He is also hitting the ball hard with 38% Hard contact. The problem has been his BABIP at .189 which is way lower than his career .267 BABIP. His swing rates are all in line with career norms which means that he is an excellent buy-low candidate.
Nick Markakis was 2-5 with 2 runs scored against the Marlins. Markakis is off to a fantastic start to the year hitting .340 with 7 HR, 25 R, 28 RBI, and 0 SB. He has always had the ability to limit strikeouts and get on base but the increase in power has been a welcomed part of his game this year. Markakis hasn't hit 15+ HR since 2011 and has only topped 20 HR twice in his 13-year career yet he is on pace for a 30 HR season. The good news is that his plate skills are as good as ever with 8% K and 12% BB. He has lowered his GB rate from 49% to 40% by increases of 4% in his LD rate and a 5% increase in his FB rate. The increase in line drives and fly balls is back by an increase in his launch angle as well to 12.2 from 8.6 last year. Regression is inevitably going to settle in but Markakis is viable in all formats and well on his way to a nice career resurgence.
DFS Value Plays: SP-Luke Weaver (STL) DK $7,900 & SS-Trevor Story (COL) DK $4,300
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