Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds
Gennett had a career season in 2017 and many doubted it could be repeated. Gennett batted .295 with 80 runs, 27 home runs, 97 RBIs and an .874 OPS. Gennett got off to a slow start and was bothered by a sore right shoulder. Apparently, it’s fine. In the month of May, Gennett is batting .400 (18-for-45) with nine runs, five home runs and 11 RBIs. For the season, Gennett is hitting .327 with 21 runs, seven home runs, 25 RBIs and an .891 OPS. His stats are in line with last season and his hard hit rate has increased 6.7 percent to 41.1 percent.
Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
Heaney was a top prospect for the Marlins, but health has limited him the last few seasons. He pitched 105.2 innings for the Angels in 2015, six in 2016 and 21.2 innings last season. Heaney, who had Tommy John surgery, is off to a great start. He was dominant in his last outing, throwing eight innings and allowing four hits, one run, one walk and struck out ten in a win over the Astros. He allowed two earned runs in six innings at Coors Field in the previous start. Heaney has made six starts and pitched 34.1 innings. He has a 3.93 ERA, 1.19 WHIP. 27.9 percent strikeout rate and 6.4 percent walk rate. Heaney has an unlucky 29.9 percent line drive rate and looks legit. Add him if available.
C.J. Cron, Tampa Bay Rays
Cron needed a chance to play consistently. It wasn’t happening with the Angels. He never received more than 407 at-bats in a season and flashed power. The trade to the Rays made everyday at-bats possible and Cron is thriving. Cron is batting .293 with 26 runs, 11 home runs, 27 RBIs and an .877 OPS. Cron’s career high is 16 home runs and he will pass that soon.
Matt Olson, Oakland A’s
Olson has not lived up to expectations so far. They might have been unfair considering he hit 24 home runs in 59 games last season. Olson is batting .239 with 21 runs, seven home runs, 19 RBIs and a .749 OPS. Olsen’s strikeout rate is slightly up from last season to 30.7 percent, and his walk rate dropped .5 percent. Olson is hitting more line drives with a 22.8 percent mark, and the hard-hit rate is 51.5 percent. Olson has made less contact with pitches in the strike zone, but the power will come. He has homered three times in the last four games, so the buy-low window is about to close.
Michael Conforto, New York Mets
Conforto was originally supposed to return in May from shoulder surgery. His recovery went well, and he returned in early April. He homered in his first game and it has been downhill since. Conforto is batting .200 with 15 runs, three home runs, nine RBIs and a .661 OPS. Conforto had surgery to repair a tear in the posterior capsule in his left shoulder. It usually takes time for power hitters to recover from shoulder injuries and Conforto barely had a spring training. Conforto has a career hard-hit rate of 41.6 percent and is currently at 29.9 percent. It’s going to take some time for Conforto to get going.
Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs
Quintana has been terrible. He has a 5.23 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 20.2 percent strikeout rate and an 11.2 percent walk rate. After allowing a hard hit rate of 32.6 percent, he’s at 40.3 percent this season. The velocity on his fastball is down 1.1 miles per hour to 91. He has thrown first-pitch strikes 66 percent of the time for his career and 63.8 percent this season. Quintana has four starts in which he has allowed one earned run or fewer, but three starts where he has allowed at least six earned runs. Quintana struggled last season to start the year with a 5.22 ERA in the first month of the season and 5.91 in May. He had a 4.49 ERA in the first half and 3.74 in the second half. He had a nine percent walk rate in the first half and 6.1 percent in the second half. There are some concerns with Quintana, but he’s worth buying at a discount.
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