Fantasy baseball Hitting Report: Redrafting the first round
How's the fantasy baseball season treating you? Poorly? I'm with you, my friend. And that's exactly why I thought it would be an interesting exercise to, well, pretend the first two months of the season never happened. That's right -- forget all those Tommy John surgeries! What disappointing rookies?
This first-round redraft should be mildly controversial, as we're no longer looking at potential spring stats. We're looking at players that have already proven something to us over the first eight weeks of the season. That's one-third of the season behind us, giving us a great idea of what's ahead in the next two-thirds.
2014 First Round Redraft
This redraft is for Rotisserie leagues for the last four months of the regular season.
1.01 Mike Trout, OF, L.A. Angels: Let the controversies begin! It's true that Trout has played like anything but a No. 1 overall draft pick, but this draft is for the next four months, not the previous two. His OPS is down considerably, and his 57 strikeouts are the fifth-most in the majors. But the 22-year-old is special, and he hasn't been bad enough to make me even consider a different player at this spot.
1.02 Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami: We all expected the power to be there, but he has remained injury-free, and he's batting over .300, which is surprising. Also, he has just one fewer steal (four) than Trout so far. The Marlins are the fourth-highest scoring team in the month of May, and Stanton's supporting cast has provided him RBI opportunities. Inexplicably, the Marlins are the second-best scoring team at home behind Colorado, in pitcher-friendly Marlins Park.
1.03 Miguel Cabrera, 1B/3B, Detroit: Sure, the power isn't what we're used to seeing from him, but he's still just 31 years old, on a team that has changed a lot offensively. Much like Trout, he hasn't been bad enough to make us think the next four months will be the same. His 27 RBI in the month of May leads the majors.
1.04 Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado: This one's so dangerous, it actually hurts to put him here. But consider that Tulo is putting together a season for the ages. While his .375 batting average is certain to drop, he's still on pace for over 40 homers, 110 RBI and 130 runs. An injury always seems to be around the corner with Tulo, but he only has to stay healthy for four more months now, rather than six. If he stays healthy, he will be the first middle infielder to hit over 40 home runs in a season since Alex Rodriguez did it in 2003 -- for Texas!
1.05 Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona: His walk rate is down a bit, but he still ranks among the leaders in several categories, and he's a first baseman with some speed. He's a 125-RBI guy that has good months ahead of him.
1.06 Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto: He's the oldest guy in our first round, at 33 years old, but he's on pace for a 38-HR, 110-RBI season, and he's not showing any issues from past injuries.
1.07 Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh: "Cutch" hasn't flexed much of a power stroke so far this season, but he's relatively healthy, he's still fast, and he's still hitting over .300. The home runs will come, and he's a good candidate for a breakout soon.
1.08 Carlos Gomez, OF, Milwaukee: I've admittedly been slow to come around on Gomez, but he's a proven power-speed guy and now he's batting over .300.
1.09 Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/3B, Toronto: Another player making me look bad after calling him a bust candidate. Obviously, his offseason wrist surgery is no longer affecting him, and his 11 home runs May leads the majors. He also leads all fantasy hitters over the past three weeks in head-to-head points.
1.10 Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado: The Rockies are just too strong offensively when both Tulowitzki and Cargo are healthy, which they are now. He's a .300 hitter that's batting .270, which means he's in for a good final four months.
1.11 Yasiel Puig, OF, L.A. Dodgers: He stopped swinging exclusively at first pitches and bad pitches, and his patience is paying off in his second season. His batting average will certainly dip back, but he is a candidate to league the NL in RBI. Granted, his .492 BABIP in May also leads the league, but he's still hitting the cover off the ball. Only two players have more RBI in the month of May than Puig's 23.
1.12 Dee Gordon, SS, L.A. Dodgers: While Gordon doesn't have the same appeal in most head-to-head formats, his 30 stolen bases still have him on pace (97 SBs) to become the first player to steal more than 90 bases in a quarter century. The fact he's a shortstop puts him into our first round redraft.
A few players conspicuously absent: Jose Abreu, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis, Josh Donaldson, Brian Dozier, Freddie Freeman, Adam Jones, Clayton Kershaw, Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton and David Wright.
Hitters of the Week
Nelson Cruz, OF, Baltimore -- Stats this week: .455 BA, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 9 Runs scored, 0 SB
Can it be true that Cruz's performance-enhancing drugs were actually impeding his ability!?! Probably not, but his .317 ISO does rank among the best in the majors behind just Tulowitzki and Abreu.
Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland -- .375 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 7 Runs, 3 SB
Brantley was one of those guys you didn't target in your draft, but when you got him, you couldn't wait to spout off about how under-appreciated he is. The Indians rank seventh in runs scored this season, and Brantley leads the team in just about everything, including batting average (.302), home runs (nine), RBI (38), OBP (.370) and stolen bases (seven). Proponents of the "Age-27" breakout theory would like to point out that Brantley was born 27 years ago last week.
Chris Davis, 1B, Baltimore -- .421 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 7 Runs, 0 SB
The only thing that can stop Crush Davis is having a baby! Actually, it's his wife that's having their first baby, and Davis is on paternity leave until Tuesday's game in Milwaukee. After a quiet first six weeks of the season, Davis obviously stepped it up this week, which hopefully means there's more of that to come.
Hitters of the Weak
Buster Posey, C, San Francisco -- Stats this week: .100 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 Run scored, 0 Steals
A back injury has Posey playing less than 100 percent, and he already has 37 games played at catchers. It seems like he should see some more games at first base until his back feels better, but the Giants don't seem convinced. He started at first just once in the past four games. Posey still ranks third in head-to-head scoring, just behind Jonathan Lucroy and Yadier Molina.
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, N.Y. Yankees -- .154 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 Runs, 2 SB
The Yankees center fielder just hasn't had a great month of May, and I only blame myself. I picked him as the best leadoff hitter in fantasy baseball after April, remarking that he was one of the very few free-agent hitters to actually have success in his new jersey in Year 1. But now he's hitting .200 with two homers, six RBI, 10 runs and three steals in May.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado -- .118 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 Runs, 0 SB
Another player to have a smoking hot April to a cooling off May, Blackmon has a .279 on-base percentage this month, compared to the ridiculous .434 OBP he posted in the first month. While he still flashed power (four homers for 15 RBI compared to five homers and 18 RBI in April), his attempts to steal bases have dropped from nine to three.
Buy! Sell! Hold!
Buy: Mark Teixeira, 1B, N.Y. Yankees
If you act now, you might be able to sneak up on someone using Teixeira as a corner infielder willing to give him up for some of your depth at another position. For those that play daily fantasy baseball games, Teixeira is still relatively cheap, and he has had just four games all season with negative points in many formats. He's a steady point producer at first base once again.
Sell: Victor Martinez, 1B, Detroit
Look at it like this -- you got him relatively cheap on Draft Day, he has proven he's healthy, and he has gained position eligibility at first base. With 12 homers, he's almost halfway to his career-high of 25, set in 2007. He's on pace for a career season, with over 200 hits, 40 homers and 100 RBI. It's time to sell because we all know those stats aren't going to happen.
Hold: Pablo Sandoval, 3B, San Francisco
After a truly ugly first month of the season, Sandoval is finally heating up. Over the past three weeks, only Miggy, Adrian Beltre and Josh Donaldson are hitting better than Sandoval (.324, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 11 Runs) among third basemen.
Rookie Hitter Spotlight
George Springer, OF, Houston: When you hit four home runs in the three days preceding this column, you usually find yourself in my spotlight. He's still striking out a lot, with 25 Ks over the past three weeks, second-most to Danny Espinosa's 28. But his .415 ISO over the past two weeks is sixth-best in the majors, so he's crushing the ball when he does connect -- exactly what we all expected.
By the Numbers
In this section, I'll share some interesting numbers I've come across over the past week.
85 -- Percent of leagues on CBSSports.com where Mets OF Juan Lagares is still available. He's batting .289 with 16 runs scored in 35 games.
61 -- Rangers' success rate for stolen bases this season (35 steals out of 57 attempts), which is the worst in the majors. Their 22 caught-stealing attempts leads the majors by four.
37.5 -- Jose Abreu's HR/fly ball rate, which leads the majors in the first two months.
18 -- Runs scored from Astros SS Jonathan Villar, proving to be the best hitter in the ninth spot in the majors. He's also the youngest player (23) in the Astros' lineup.
8 -- NL teams among the 10 lowest-scoring teams in the majors this season (Kansas City and Houston are the only two AL teams in the bottom 10).
.511 -- ISO number for Brandon Moss over the past two weeks, which leads the majors.
.452 -- Tulowitzki's batting average with runners in scoring position, which leads the major leagues. Casey McGehee is second, with a .423 BA with RISP.
.329 -- Batting average of Puig over the past calendar year -- second in the majors behind V-Mart's .333.
David Gonos is a fantasy sports veteran of over 20 years and over 100 fantasy leagues. You can also follow him @davidgonos on Twitter.