Gio Gonzalez: Gonzalez is coming off of an impressive 2017 season and has maintained his strong play through the first month of 2018, posting a 2.67 ERA over his first six starts. Gonzalez continued his hot start on Friday and allowed no runs and four baserunners over five innings to go along with five strikeouts. Even so, Gonzalez has a number of red flags worth watching out for. Firstly, Gonzalez's 0.7% HR rate and 2.3% HR/FB ratio are unsustainable and should rise substantially as the season continues. In addition, (though Gonzalez has done a decent job limiting hard contact) Gonzalez has struggled to induce soft contact this season and posted a paltry 11.3% soft contact percentage in April. On the bright side, Gonzalez's .344 BABIP should fall towards his .297 career average and he should still have a valuable season, but don't expect an ace-like season out of Gonzalez for the rest of the season.
Mike Foltynewicz: Folty entered the 2018 season with breakout potential if he could improve his command, and he has found success over the first month of the season. Foltynewicz was knocked around on Friday though as he allowed six runs over just five innings and took the loss against the Giants. Unfortunately, Foltynewicz's hot start to the season looks unsustainable, and more poor performances may follow Friday's weak outing. Foltynewicz's command was always one of his bigger issues, and it's only gotten worse this season as he's posted a career worst 4.2 BB/9 so far this year. In addition, Foltynewicz has been lucky as currently sports a .274 BABIP compared to his career .325 rate despite allowing a career high hard hit over the first month of the season. In addition, Folty's in play percentage of 55% should regress towards his 66% career average throughout the year. On the bright side, Foltynewicsz's velocity has been up so far this year and his improved strikeout rates look here to stay, but expect Foltynewicz to take a big step back as the season progresses.
Nick Pivetta: Pivetta has had a strong start to the 2018 season, and the 25-year-old appears to have gotten one of his biggest weaknesses under control so far this year. In his rookie season last year, Pivetta proved why he was a top prospect by posting impressive strikeout numbers, but he struggled with his command and walked nearly 4 batters per nine innings. This season, Pivetta has lowered that number to 1.9 and has maintained his solid strikeout totals, leading to a 4.86 SO/BB ratio through April. In addition, Pivetta has gotten his hard hit rate down so far this year and has posted a .322 BABIP, so his BABIP may fall as the season continues. Pivetta's 1.5% home run rate should rise as the season progresses and his walk rate will likely regress a little, but it looks like his breakout season should continue through 2018. Pivetta did get rocked on Friday to the tune of six earned runs over just one inning of work, but that type of start should be an anomaly this year.
Trevor Story: Story posted a solid .235/.321/.470 slash line in April and was solid on Friday as he hit a double and stole a base, but his performance so far has been disappointing for fans who hoped to see something closer to his sensational rookie year in 2016. Fortunately for those fans and fantasy owners, Story should improve as the season progresses. Nearly all of Story's peripheral statistics are in line with his career averages (and he still boasts an elite hard hit rate north of 40%), but his BABIP sits at just .294 compared to his .322 career average and his extra base hit rate is low compared to his career average despite continuing to hit the ball hard and putting it in the air more frequently than ever. Expect Story to see some improvements in his counting stats as the season progresses and be a valuable fantasy asset.
Ozzie Albies: Albies has been off to a great start to his rookie season and was solid again on Friday, going 1-3 with a run and an RBI. Though his .281 BABIP is mostly in line with (if not a little low for) his batted ball profile, Albies' 7% home run rate (17.2 HR/FB ratio) and 16.2% extra base hit rate are inflated considering his 29.9% hard hit rate and should fall back down to earth as the season progresses. Albies should finish the rest of the season as a valuable fantasy asset, but don't expect as much production as he's produced early in the season. Selling high (for the right price) could be a smart call at this point.
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