Skip to main content

Whit Merrifield Among Players Getting Hot After Slow Start

If fantasy managers in your league have dropped any of these players, pick them up now.

Patience is a virtue, and it’s also a strategy.

Fantasy Baseball is a game of patience.

You’ve probably heard it said before that fantasy baseball is a marathon and not a sprint. With 162 games, there is a lot of time for players to streak hot or cold and still end up being exactly the players they were projected to be.

It just hurts more when it’s right out of the gate.

Can stud players suddenly go cold and drop off? Sure. But more often than not, the players you drafted in early rounds will bounce back to their mean if they get off to a slow start.

Where are the bats?
There has been a curious lack of offense through the first month of thiis season. Through May 16, the league as a whole is batting only .234. During the month of April, teams averaged 4.03 runs per game, down from 4.26 in March/April 2021. This is especially concerning as the addition of the DH in the NL would seem to point to more offense, not less.

So, what’s up? The weather can certainly be a factor, as balls fly easier with warmer weather. There has also been discussion as to whether or not the new ball is a factor, along with the humidors that have been installed in all 30 major league ballparks. We also can’t discount shortened spring training following the lockout. It can take a while for players to get back in the groove.

It looks like the tide may have started to turn this week. On the season, 276 games have gone under their expected run totals, while 242 have gone over. In the last week, 53 games hit the over compared to 42 hitting the under.

Here are five players that started slow but are finally starting to cook. It’s possible they may have been dropped by an impatient manager in your league, so take a look on your waiver wire.

Kansas City Royals Whit Merrifield

Whit Merrifield (2B), K.C.

Merrifield stole 40 bases last year, while contributing 97 runs, 10 home runs and a .277 batting average.

Through last Monday, Merrifield was batting a sad .135 with no home runs and only six runs scored. Managers were rightfully anxious and it’s not what they expected from their third-round draft pick.

However, in the past week, Merrifield has homered twice, scored seven runs, stolen two bases and hit .323. That’s more like it.

Yuli Gurriel (1B), HOU

Last year’s AL batting champ got off to an abysmal start, heading into last week batting .196 with zero home runs and only six runs scored. Gurriel, a career .292 hitter coming off a season hitting .319, was drastically underperforming and managers were beginning to wonder: Is the 37-year-old first baseman finally past his prime?

Then last week happened. Gurriel hit .476 with two home runs and a stolen base in 21 at-bats last week. Meanwhile, the Astros have won 12 of their last 13.

Scroll to Continue

SI Recommends

A batting champ doesn’t lose everything overnight. He may not have big power, but you can expect the batting average to return to his career numbers. Last week’s hot streak raised his season batting average to .248, which is above league average. Gurriel is still available in 40% of leagues.

Brendan Rodgers (2B), COL

During the month of April, Rodgers hit .078. No, that is not a typo. He hit under .100 with three runs scored, and a single RBI.

Well, Brendan Rodgers just had a 7-for-14 week with three doubles and a home run.

For the month of May, Rodgers is hitting .370. His home ballpark is Colorado–the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the league–and he’s now available in 40% of fantasy baseball leagues, due to managers losing patience in April.

Justin Turner (3B), LAD

Has Justin Turner finally turned the corner?

On the season, Turner is batting .205 with two homers and 23 RBIs.

One home run and 10 of those RBIs came in the last six games, while he also hit .320.

Turner can still be exactly what you drafted him for: A .275 hitter with 25 home runs.

Jorge Soler (OF), MIA

The reigning World Series MVP went into this week with a .175 batting average and four home runs.

Last week, Soler hit .261 and added another three home runs to bring his season batting average up to .188 with seven long balls.

Soler runs hot and cold, but we have seen him go on extended hot streaks before. Soler is on track to be exactly what you drafted him for–a 30-plus home run hitter that hits around .240. As the weather heats up, so will Soler.

It’s a long 162 game season, so be sure to exercise patience with your studs. Of course there is a balance between being patient and waiting too long to move on, but in the current offensive environment, I’m letting my studs have a little more grace. Marcus Semien, Joey Votto and Trevor Story are three guys that come to mind who I believe will break out of their slumps sooner than later. In the meantime, they may need to ride the pine, but think twice before you drop or trade them. At the end of the season, they could still end up being the player you expected them to be.

Patience is a virtue that will serve you well in this long, beautiful game of fantasy baseball.

More fantasy & MLB coverage: