Tier 1 – Studs
Noah Syndergaard, the Mets’ top prospect, made his MLB debut Tuesday against the Cubs. Syndergaard was in the top 10 of many prospect lists this offseason, and that praise was well-warranted. He averaged almost 98 mph with his fastball against Chicago, and he has a quality changeup with a sharp-biting curveball that got four strikeouts in seven at-bats against the Cubs. Syndergaard only went 5.1 innings Tuesday, allowing three earned runs, four walks and inducing six strikeouts.
Joc Pederson is surely surpassing all expectations even the most homerific Dodgers fans had for him coming into the season. The freshly turned 23-year-old leads all rookies in Wins Above Replacement as of May 8. He also leads in home runs, runs and walk rate. Pederson’s performance to date is mostly unexpected, but it’s not too far off his minor league numbers.
Below I’ve ranked 27 first basemen in five tiers. These are the guys I think will provide the most value going forward. Most of these guys play primarily at first base with the exception of Buster Posey and Stephen Vogt. I didn’t want to list any other catchers because a) most haven’t been good enough, and b) I think it’d be very rare that you’d be playing any of them at first base.
Tier 1: Studs
It’s a special moment in a fantasy baseball draft when you land a player you’ve been targeting for a while – whether it’s been throughout the offseason in your draft prep or just for several minutes in the draft room. Fortunately this year in my long-time keeper league I landed Chris Archer. Through the pure amazingness of MLB.tv I’ve been able to watch a lot of Archer’s innings this year, and I wanted to take a deep dive into his success. So come along with me why don’t you? [Read more…]
Toronto’s Devon Travis has been a huge factor for the Blue Jays this season, showing the pop that they lacked last year from their second basemen. This is Travis’s first season in the Toronto system after coming over from Detroit in a trade for Anthony Gose this offseason. The 24-year-old is only 5’9″, but he’s shown a ton of power through the first half-month of the season. Travis is leading all rookies in isolated power (.327) and RBI (15), and he’s tied for the rookie lead in home runs with four.
All stats listed as of 8:00 p.m. central time Thursday.
Archie Bradley made his first Major League start Saturday against the Dodgers, and it was nothing short of a success. The 22-year-old pitched six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and four walks while allowing only one hit. Overall it was a very good debut for a rookie, especially against a very good team. He even made his pitching counterpart Clayton Kershaw look like Joe Schmo – and that’s not easy.
This will be a short edition of the Rookie Report due to the young state of the season and the limited number of games and appearances.
Chris Heston made his second Major League start Wednesday, picking up a win over Arizona in six innings. He struck out five and walked two, while allowing zero earned runs (two unearned). Both runs actually scored due to Heston miscues, including a wild pick-off throw and a wild pitch. But he pitched reasonably well filling in for the disabled Matt Cain. Heston doesn’t have gaudy minor-league numbers, but he looks like he might be able to have some value in deep mixed leagues. According to Giants’ beat writer Andrew Baggarly, Heston is scheduled to start the Giants’ home opener Monday. I wouldn’t pick him up, but he’s someone to keep an eye on especially with both Cain and Jake Peavy injured. [Read more…]
Seattle was fairly active this offseason, acquiring one impact bat and several complementary pieces that could help the Mariners win the American League West for the first time since 2001. The major addition was Nelson Cruz, he of 40 home runs in Baltimore last year. Cruz will try to continue his six-year stretch with at least 22 home runs. The team also traded for Seth Smith, who will be on the heavy side of a right-field platoon. Rounding out the major additions is J.A. Happ, who will look to take advantage of Safeco Field’s 18th-ranked home run park factor compared to Toronto’s sixth-ranked factor, according to Fangraphs. [Read more…]