In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.
If you own Edwin Encarnacion, you're probably having an awesome week. Encarnacion hit two home runs in a game in back-to-back games, he has seven home runs in his last six games, and on the year, the Blue Jays third baseman has 30 runs, 13 home runs and 38 RBI.
The immediate takeaway from Encarnacion's play lately is that he's a total beast. But the more important lesson to learn here, however, is that patience is a virtue in fantasy baseball, as exemplified by Encarnacion. Nineteen games into the season, Encarnacion was a walking, talking disaster; he had no home runs and only five RBI. In the 28 games since, Encarnacion has 13 home runs and 33 RBI.
And it's not just Encarnacion that's turned his season around. Robinson Cano had just one homer and eight RBI 20 games into the year. Ryan Braun began the year going 1-for-16 at the plate. Chris Davis only just hit his fourth home run of the year. Oh, and let's not forget Yasiel Puig, who was hitting .235 with one homer 14 games into the year and was widely being painted as an immature team cancer. And now, he's on track to be a finalist for the NL MVP.
The panic button should never be pushed in April or even early May when it comes to great players. Sure, there are the exceptions where a player's performance is so horrendous (CC Sabathia, Jim Johnson) that there's little harm in cutting them loose, even this early in the season. But for the most part, the big-buck guys in fantasy baseball tend to earn their keep sooner or later, which is why making trades and fleeing from guys like Braun and Davis and Encarnacion is almost always an awful idea.
For example: Back in April, I traded Brandon Belt, Brandon Phillips and John Axford for the then-maligned Puig in my fantasy leauge. Since that move, Belt has gone on the DL, Phillips has been awful and Axford has been removed from the closer's role. Putting faith in the star talent of Puig has paid off, and I probably could've landed Encarnacion for a similar package when he too was struggling mightily.
Can you imagine if Encarnacion, fresh off his torrent of homers, was today dealt in your league for Brandon Belt, Brandon Phillips and John Axford? Most would try to block that trade, and that's why anyone who downgrades from a superstar like Puig or Encarnacion or Davis early in the year is almost always making an extremely shortsighted decision.
For your consideration
• David Murphy went 2-for-6 with two runs, a homer and four RBI in the Indians' 13-inning victory over Detroit. The former Rangers outfielder has flourished in his first year with the Tribe, and now sports a .294 average with five homers and 30 RBI. In just 43 games, he's already only 15 RBI shy of matching his total from 2013, when he played in 142 games; and in his current seven-game hitting streak, he's produced three home runs and 11 RBI. The Indians' lineup is so nebulous that within a month, Murphy could very well be an afterthought hitting in the seven-hole, and for what it's worth, his limited power is going to keep him from being too useful in leagues; he hasn't hit more than 15 since 2009. Still, Murphy is scorching at the plate right now and is worthy of being a stream pick-up by anyone looking to ride a hot hand.
• Hitting seventh in the Phillies' lineup, Domonic Brown went 1-for-4 with his third home run of the season. A year ago, Brown was arguably the most valuable player in baseball in the month of May, but he had been ice cold this May until very recently. He has two home runs over his last four games, and he's proven that he has the talent to turn his season around on a dime. However, two nice games don't make up for his lousy .217 average and his puny home run total. If he hits another home run this weekend, that may the final sign that he's returning to his prominence from a year ago. If he doesn't, then it's a crapshoot whether or not he can redeem what's been an extremely disappointing season.
• Kyle Lohse dominated the Braves on Wednesday, holding them to a single run over eight innings while striking out eight. Lohse, who could have been purchased for a measly dollar in most preseason auction drafts, is one of many unsung pitchers having an usually awesome season. He has six wins, 54 strikeouts and a 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings; he's thrown exactly as many innings as Felix Hernandez this year, and has a lower ERA, a lower WHIP, more wins and 11 less strikeouts than Hernandez. Talk about a bargain.