- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is beginning his first full week in MLB. We know he's a star in the making, but how much can fantasy owners count on him right now?
A weekend into Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s career, the hype has hardly died down. Sharing a name with his Hall of Fame father and the consistent buzz as baseball’s top prospect for more than a year will do that for a player. His towering blasts in the minor leagues and the anticipation of him joining Canada’s only MLB club only added to the hoopla.
It’s almost a given that Vladito has been picked up in nearly every fantasy league, but how much immediate value should owners expect from Baseball’s Modern Savior? We’ll break down what to expect from Jr. this week, as well as some of the other players to keep an eye as April turns to May.
PITCHERS TO WATCH
James Paxton, Yankees
After his dreadful first few starts as a Yankee, Paxton began seeing a sports psychologist to help him adjust to playing in New York. Someone give that doctor a raise! Paxton’s fourth start of the season was his most pressure-packed outing, the Yankees’ first game against Red Sox in 2019, and he absolutely dazzled—eight shutout innings and 12 strikeouts. Now, as his first month in Pinstripes comes to an end, Big Maple is 3-2 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. His next start will be against the Twins on Friday.
Max Scherzer, Nationals
So Mad Max hasn’t been as ruthlessly dominant in fantasy leagues as anyone expected (1-3, 4.12 ERA), but all signs indicate that he will be just fine. Despite his lone win and over-four ERA, Scherzer leads MLB with a 1.5 fWAR and his 12.36 K/9 ranks second in the NL behind Jacob deGrom. He’ll face the Cardinals at Nationals Park on Wednesday.
Luke Weaver, Diamondbacks
Weaver came over from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade, so his acquisition obviously was overshadowed by the MVP candidate who was leaving Arizona. But Weaver has been impressive in five starts this season—2-1 with a 3.33 ERA and 31 strikeouts, through play Saturday. He will take the mound Sunday at Wrigley Field in the Diamondbacks’ series finale against the Cubs.
HITTERS TO WATCH
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
Guerrero Jr. looks unfazed so far by the MLB spotlight; his impressive piece of two-strike hitting on the ninth-inning double in his debut proved that. And already, we’ve seen he’s not going to be swinging at any pitch thrown in the timezone of home plate like Vladimir Guerrero Sr., something that should help keep his strikeout rate down in today’s whiff-heavy game. And when he makes contact, we’ve all seen the viral videos of what kind of damage he can do. He’s ready, he’s here and he’s dangerous.
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals
Remember when St. Louis fans were livid about Ozuna’s slow start at the plate and the baseball world was laughing at his failed attempt to rob a home run? Those days are over. The Cardinals’ leftfielder has ripped 10 homers and is slashing .270/.356/.663 with 26 RBIs as the cleanup hitter behind Matt Carpenter, Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong. Sounds like a lot more RBIs are in his future.
Buster Posey, Giants
If you haven’t given up on Posey yet, you should probably hold on for at least a little longer. After a rough start to the season that saw him batting below the Mendoza line, the Giants’ catcher started heating up. In his last nine games, Posey is 9-for-25 (.360) with a home run and seven RBIs.
PITCHERS SCHEDULED TO MAKE TWO STARTS THIS WEEK (ALPHABETICAL ORDER BY TEAM)
Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves
Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
David Hess, Baltimore Orioles
Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox
Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox
Ivan Nova, Chicago White Sox
Tanner Roark, Cincinnati Reds
Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds
Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians
German Marquez, Colorado Rockies
Justin Verlander, Houston Astros
Brad Keller, Kansas City Royals
Jacob Junis, Kansas City Royals
Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jhoulys Chacin, Milwaukee Brewers
Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers
Jake Odorizzi, Minnesota Twins
Michael Pineda, Minnesota Twins
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets
Jason Vargas, New York Mets
Frankie Montas, Oakland Athletics
Nick Margevicius, San Diego Padres
Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres
Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
Adrian Sampson, Texas Rangers
Clay Buchholz, Toronto Blue Jays
Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals
Anibal Sanchez, Washington Nationals
Teams playing seven games: Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Mets, Nationals, Padres, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox
Teams playing six games: Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles
Teams playing five games: Angels, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Yankees