1B Pete Alonso, NYM
There was some doubt to what the Mets would do with Alonso. Injuries to Jed Lowrie and Todd Frazier made it easier for the Mets to keep Alonso in the majors to start the season and not worry about service time. The Mets immediately showed confidence by hitting Alonso second to open the season against Max Scherzer. Alonso hasn’t disappointed. He has a slash line of .366/.435/.878 in 41 at-bats with nine runs, five home runs, and 15 RBIs. It was expected the strikeouts would be high, and it’s at 30.4 percent, but he’s walking 10.9 percent of the time. When Alonso is making contact, he’s hitting the ball extremely hard and driving it. He will cool off, but he’s going to be one of the better values in Fantasy by the end of the season.
SP Luis Castillo, CIN
This was the Castillo many were hoping for last season when he was drafted high. Castillo is 1-1 with a 0.92 ERA, 0.66 WHIP, 35.2 percent strikeout rate and 11.3 percent walk rate. Castillo is allowing hardly any hard contact with a 13.5 percent rate, which isn’t sustainable. He has a 57.1 percent ground ball rate and has a 16.7 percent swinging strike rate. The one concern is a 53.5 percent first-pitch strike rate, well below the 61.4 percent last year. He has been able to survive it so far. Castillo has an excellent changeup, and he is using it more. While Castillo has faced good matchups in the Marlins and Pirates, he did pitch well against an excellent Brewers offense.
OF Joc Pederson, LAD
Pederson is going to sit against most left-handers, which is fine in daily formats, but can get difficult in weekly formats. Pederson has a slash line of .243/.396/.595 with ten runs, four home runs, seven RBIs and a .990 OPS. He hits a lot of fly balls and makes hard contact. The strikeout rate has declined each year going from 27.3 percent in 2016 to 19.2 percent last season and 14.6 percent this year. He has a career walk rate of 13 percent, making him more appealing in on-base percentage formats. Pederson hit 25 home runs in 395 at-bats last season.
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SP Zack Wheeler, NYM
Many were hoping for a breakout season from Wheeler after one of the best second halves in baseball. Wheeler has made two starts against the Nationals and looked terrible. He couldn’t find the strike zone Sunday, walking seven and allowing seven runs in 4.2 innings. In 9.2 innings, he has allowed ten hits, 11 earned runs, walked eight and struck out nine. There has been some bad luck with an insanely low strand rate of 42.2 percent, well below his career average of 73.6 percent. The velocity for Wheeler has increased, too. The next few starts will be critical but remain patient with Wheeler and if you can get him cheaply, now is the time to do it.
OF Yasiel Puig, CIN
The Reds were supposed to be an improved team with a good offense, and while the injury to Scooter Gennett didn’t help, the team has been awful to begin the season. Puig was going early in drafts, and it has been a nightmare start through the first two weeks of the season. Puig was suspended for Tuesday and Wednesday for his role in a brawl with the Pirates over the weekend. He has a slash line of .133/.188/.167 with no runs, no home runs, and three RBIs. He has struck out 28.1 percent of the time and has an unlucky .190 BABIP in nine games. The weather hasn’t been great with five games in Cincinnati and four in Pittsburgh. Puig had 23 home runs and 15 stolen bases last season and didn’t play every day while hitting towards the bottom of the order most of the time with the Dodgers. Puig has been hitting third, and the offense will get going. It’s one of the best parks for hitters and Puig is someone to buy low now.
1B Jesus Aguilar, MIL
Aguilar broke out last season after beginning the year without a job. He never got a chance to play full-time after putting up good numbers in the minors and once he got a chance he excelled. Aguilar had a slash line of .274/.352/.539 with 80 runs, 35 home runs, 108 RBIs and an .890 OPS. Some doubted whether he could do it again and so far they’re right. Aguilar is 4-for-36 (.111) with no home runs, three runs, and three RBIs. It seems like a slump and nothing more. The concern is if the Brewers see it different since they do have a good alternative in Eric Thames. Aguilar has an unlucky .138 BABIP, has improved the strikeout rate to 15.9 percent and has a 13.6 percent walk rate. Aguilar’s hard-hit rate has dipped, but it’s still fine at 37.9 percent. Stay patient with Aguilar and hope the Brewers don’t diminish his playing time.
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