We are through the first matchup in most head to head leagues, and I will be rolling out a weekly series where I highlight three hitters and three pitchers that performed well over the last week’s matchup. The plan is to roll these out every week or so to shine a spotlight on some players that I think have performed well. This edition is headlined by a free agent to be and an ace that is looking for a bounce-back campaign.
Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals
6 HR, 12 RBI, 10 R, 1 SB, .357/.535/1.000
The man, the myth, the future legend Bryce Harper had himself a week and a half to remember. Harper’s triple slash more than speaks for itself, as he’s hitting for average, getting on base, and hitting for power. Harper is pretty easily leading baseball in homers with 6 (insane), and for good measure, Harper has himself a stolen base just to add to his profile. Harper is on pace to exceed 2015 season in which he put up 9.3 fWAR. Let’s hope for the baseball community that this superstar stays healthy all season.
Didi Gregorius, SS, New York Yankees
3 HR, 10 RBI, 10 R, 2 SB, .357/.524/.906
The second star of the week has done a phenomenal job of carrying the New York Yankees with his phenomenal start to the season. He has 10 extra-base hits to go along with 3 homers and 2 stolen bases. The Yankee star shortstop has been the team’s most consistent player this season and he is more than deserving of the second star of the week, especially when you factor in his unreal slash line of .357/.524/.906. However, I would try to sell high on Didi. He is not going to keep playing this well all season and people tend to freak out early in the season so, from one manager to another, see what you can get for him.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
2 HR, 11 RBI, 10 R, 0 SB, 367/.558/.733
Freddie Freeman, please just stay healthy. When healthy, this is one of the most talented hitters in all of baseball. Freeman has done everything he can this year, teams have gone out of their way to not pitch to him, and despite that, he has all the stats to be more than deserving of being on my mythical list. What he has done so far is hit for a high average, rack up runs, and drive in the guys hitting in front of him. He is doing his job and when pitchers start throwing to him, watch out. The Braves superstar is hitting 367/.558/.733 with 10 runs and 11 RBIs and is on his way to an MVP caliber season and being the most valuable first baseman in all of fantasy baseball.
Gerrit Cole, SP, Houston Astros
14.0 IP, 0.64 ERA, 0.714 WHIP, 22 K, 3 BB
Gerrit Cole is back ladies and gentlemen! The UCLA alum is realizing his potential and looks very much like the Gerrit Cole we saw in 2015 in a short sample size. During his 14 innings, he has 22 punchouts and only walked 3 batters in his 2 starts for the 2017 World Series Champions. Gerrit Cole’s stuff is extremely sharp through his first two starts, the fastball is showcasing great movement and generating swings and misses as evidenced by his 18.8% swinging strike rate. The fastball was always one of his worst pitches but in the early goings of the 2018 season, it’s been one of his best and is helping his other offerings. I doubt he keeps up his 14.14 K/9, but Gerrit Cole’s stuff has been nasty and he’s clearly earned the first star of the week in my inaugural 3 stars of the week.
Patrick Corbin, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
13 IP, 1.38 ERA, 0.77, 20 K, 2 BB
Patrick Corbin is finally doing what many pitchers with one great pitch should do and that continues throwing it. For Corbin, that pitch is a dominating slider that is generating an unreal 30.7% swinging strike rate in 2018, and of the 197 total pitches he has thrown, he threw the slider 51.3% of the time. We saw the success that a starter with one great pitch can have in the postseason when Lance McCullers Jr. dominated hitters throwing his curveball. Patrick Corbin is in one of the best rotations in all of baseball, and for fantasy purposes, might be the best of the rotation with that killer slider. Unfortunately, he has been bitten by the homer bug, giving up 2 in his 13 innings but besides that Corbin has been great for someone that had an ADP of 223.4 according to Fantrax’s ADP.
Jameson Taillon, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
14.1 IP, 1.26 ERA, 0.49 WHIP, 16 K, 2 BB
Jameson Taillon is someone that has always had the talent and if his most recent outing is any indicator, he is realizing his talent. He threw a complete game shutout on Sunday in which he gave up one hit, struck out 7 and walked 2. Taillon has dealt with a lot more than the average prospect does, going from the number 2 overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft to dealing with a battle with cancer. Now he can focus on baseball and he has looked sharp to start this season, which has has been nothing short of phenomenal with 3 pitches that are generating over an 11% swinging strike rate. The mix of the pedigree of stuff has always made Taillon a desirable guy to draft in the fantasy baseball realm and it looks like he’s finally put everything together and let’s hope so for the 26-year-old. His 9 inning outing put him above a two-way phenom.
This is where I will give an additional hitter and pitcher some shine as they deserve it, and this rendition the hitter and pitcher are the same person in Shohei Ohtani. As a hitter, Shohei Ohtani is currently hitting .389/.421/.889 with 3 homers, including one of off Corey Kluber, to go along with 4 runs and 7 RBI. On the mound he has tossed 13.0 innings, striking out 18, walking 2 headlined by throwing 6 perfect innings before the Oakland A’s got to him in the 7th. The 5 pitch mix is as sharp as advertised and he has instantly become must-watch TV. How do the spring training stat truthers feel now? Ohtani is someone that according to some scouts was a single-A hitter; man, that guy must feel pretty dumb or he likes being hyperbolic. Anyways to the many of us that have Ohtani, we were sweating him and he has looked amazing. Go us!
Thank you for reading this, if you want to discuss my selections with me you can find my myspace or hit me on twitter @RhysBWhite if you have any questions. Also, make sure to listen to me on @SixManRoto, and if you have any questions don’t be afraid to send them there as me and my co-hosts can answer any questions you may have during the season.
Photo Credit: Patrick Smith