Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics
Manaea was one of the best values in Fantasy Baseball drafts. He cost nothing and was one of my targets in every draft. Manaea saw a decrease in his velocity last season due to losing 25 pounds. He was diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder (ADD) after 2016 season and was placed on medication that caused him not to eat and lose the weight. Manaea had a good first half but struggled down the stretch. Manaea is off to a fast start. He opened the season by going 7.2 innings against the Angels, allowing 7.2 innings, four hits, one run, no walks and struck out seven in a loss. He went deep into the game again against the Rangers with eight innings, three hits, one run, one walk and struck out four. Manaea has a 12.7 percent swinging strike rate, so there could be more strikeouts on the way.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates
It’s all about health, and Polanco was never healthy in 2017. He played in 108 games and had a variety of injuries. It began in March with a shoulder injury, and he landed on the disabled list three times due to a hamstring injury. After 22 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 2016, he couldn’t take it up another level. Polanco changed his off-season workout, and it’s paying dividends already. Polanco crushed a home run to centerfield on Thursday, and he’s batting .286 with five runs, two home runs, nine RBIs and a stolen base in 21 at-bats. Be happy if you drafted him. He’s going to have an excellent season.
Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
Corbin has looked dominant in his first two starts. Against the Rockies at home, he pitched 5.2 innings and allowed seven hits, two runs, one walk and struck out eight in a win. He was even better against the Dodgers, throwing 7.1 innings, allowing one hit, no runs, one walk and struck out 12. He threw his slider 54.1 percent of the time against the Dodgers and thrown 37 sliders so far and has 12 swings and misses on the pitch. He has a 17.8 percent swinging strike rate. Corbin had success before when he was an All-Star in 2013. He went 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 7.69 K/9 and a 2.33 BB/9. Corbin started to pitch better in the second half last season with a 3.26 ERA in 88.1 innings with an 8.46 K/9.
Ian Happ, Chicago Cubs
If you drafted Happ, you were popping bottles after the first pitch of the season. Happ crushed the pitch for a long homer against the Marlins. Visions of 30 home runs were running through the minds of Happ owners. Since that at-bat, Happ is 2-for-23 with 14 strikeouts. Happ has to worry about losing playing time if he struggles. He could lose playing time to Albert Almora, and the Cubs have a lot of depth. Happ batted .253 with 62 runs, 24 home runs, 68 RBIs and eight stolen bases in 364 at-bats last season, so there’s big power potential. Stay patient.
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
Hamilton was drafted early because of his ability to carry teams in stolen bases. He has at least 56 stolen bases in four consecutive seasons. Hamilton isn’t a good hitter, with a career .246 average. He is 1-for-16 with seven strikeouts and one walk and no steals. The biggest concern is he could lose playing time. The Reds are rotating four outfielders for three spots. Hamilton is a good center fielder, so that could help, but he’s also been pushed down to the bottom of the order several times already. That will drop his value since he will score fewer runs. Hamilton owners should be worried.
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
It’s been a miserable start for Ramirez. He is batting .043 (1-for-23) with one home run and two RBIs. Ramirez may still be bothered by a finger laceration he suffered late in Spring Training. He has four walks and one strikeout, so the approach hasn’t changed. Ramirez was also robbed of a home run on a great catch by Ichiro Suzuki. Don’t worry if you own Ramirez. Be patient. If there is an owner of Ramirez that is panicking, send an offer.
Join Scout Fantasy for top advice in the industry from check-cashing, proven winners! Get personal lineup and trade questions answered by Doc, Adam & Shawn. You’ll gain access to the top world-ranked players including sleepers, breakouts and busts along with advanced adp data to dominate your league!