Sean Newcomb, Atlanta Braves
Newcomb was a late-round draft pick in deeper formats with a concern that he wouldn’t take a step up without cutting down on the walks. The walk rate is still too high, but he’s improving. He showed the strikeout prowess last season in 100 innings with a 23.7 percent strikeout rate and that has increased to 29 percent. Newcomb, a 24-year old left-hander, had his best start of the season Wednesday against the Mets, going seven scoreless innings allowing two hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He has a 3.38 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 28.4 percent hard hit rate and an 11.5 percent swinging strike rate. After throwing first-pitch strikes 58.6 percent of the time last season, Newcomb is at 64.8 percent this season. Newcomb can be even better if he can trim the 10.3 percent walk rate.
Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals
Soler is a name flying under the radar. He’s not putting up eye-popping stats and the Royals get little publicity. Soler has been quietly producing and this may be the last time to get him cheaply. Soler is batting .312 with 12 runs four home runs, 10 RBIs and has a .435 on-base percentage in 93 at-bats. Soler is hitting the ball hard, has cut down on the strikeouts and is drawing walks. Soler lost weight in the off-season and changed his diet. He’s 26 and is beginning to put it together.
Tyson Ross, San Diego Padres
Ross is one of the biggest surprises after one month. He made one start in 2016 due to shoulder issues and had thoracic outlet syndrome surgery late in the season and we have seen how Matt Harvey and others have struggled to return from that injury. Ross had a 7.71 ERA in 49 innings with the Rangers last season. In his fourth start of the season, Ross took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and lost it on a ball that Statcast said would have been caught 99 percent of the time. Ross threw 127 pitches in that game and with his next start at Coors Field, most people benched him and he wasn’t good. He bounced back with a strong performance with nine strikeouts, and one run in six innings. Ross is 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 27 percent strikeout rate, 8.8 percent walk rate and has the slider working. There’s always a health concern, but he’s pitching well at the moment.
Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
Gardner is ice cold. He has five hits in his last 47 at-bats (.106) with seven runs, no home runs and three RBIs. Gardner is striking out more than usual with a 23.4 percent mark and has walked more with a 14.1 percent rate. Despite the slow start, Gardner has scored 24 runs in 28 games. Gardner is in a slump and as long as he continues to hit at the top of this excellent lineup, he will be fine.
Carlos Santana, Philadelphia Phillies
Santana has struggled with his new team. He has eight hits in his last 45 at-bats (.178) with no home runs and one RBI. He is batting .151 with 18 runs, two home runs, 11 RBIs and a .569 OPS. Santana usually gets off to slow starts early in the season and acclimating to a new team can also be a factor. Santana is walking often as usual with a 16.7 percent walk rate, has a 37.5 percent hard hit rate and a .163 BABIP, well below his career average of .267. Santana will be fine and is a good buy low.
Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals
It’s difficult to have confidence in Duffy. He’s on a bad team where wins will be difficult to get and he’s not the same pitcher as two years ago. He is 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 19.9 percent strikeout rate and 8.8 percent walk rate. Duffy has a hard hit rate of 41 percent, a fly ball rate of 45.5 percent and a 9.3 percent swinging strike rate, down from 12.9 percent in 2016. He is averaging 92.5 miles per hour with his fastball after it was 94.8 two years ago. His first-pitch strike percentage is down 5.6 percent to 59.1 percent compared to last season. Duffy has topped 150 innings once.
Looking for some MLB DFS advice? Check out our packages where members are DOMINATING day in and day out! Two of our experts just grabbed live final seats in FanDuel’s third qualifier of the season! Members are winning their subscription costs back in one night and the Optimizer has been straight up fire! And of course, special contributions from Dr. Roto, Adam Ronis and Shawn Childs! So what are you waiting for? Sign up today!