Thursday was NFL Draft Day for the Yahoo Fantasy crew, but that doesn’t mean the baseball action went away. Here’s a collection of what went down over the last 24 hours.
• Matt Davidson clocked a couple of homers in Chicago’s win at Kansas City, upping his total to seven. While his production has been streaky — remember, he hit three homers on Opening Day — and his batting average is still just .225, I think some are missing the bigger picture here. Davidson’s almost tripled his walk rate, and his OBP (.353) and slugging (.563) are in good pockets. Right now his adjusted OPS+ is 152, and to put that in context, Justin Turner, Nelson Cruz and Marcell Ozuna were just under 150 last year.
Davidson’s strikeout profile will lead to extreme peaks and valleys, and his HR/FB rate isn’t likely to continue. But I don’t see any reason why he can’t hit 30 home runs, with an average that will be taxing but maybe not prohibitively so.
• Atlanta has a good thing going with these young players. Ozzie Albies ripped his eighth homer of the year, and Ronald Acuña hammered his first — an upper-deck shot, a no-doubter — along with two other hits. Dansby Swanson is quietly off to a .316/.363/.484 push, though he’s slotted sixth or seventh in 22 of his 23 games. There’s no room at the top of the order, and that’s a value-crusher in NL lineups.
If you were in a start-up draft today, how early would you take Albies and Acuña ? I could justify Albies in the third round for sure, and if someone took him in the second, I wouldn’t automatically assume that was wrong. Loosely, he’s the NL’s version of Didi Gregorius right now. Acuña’s value feels more speculative and inexact, but I figure at least one owner in every league will put a Top 60 tag on him, instantly.
• Billy Hamilton picked up a rare leadoff opportunity, going 0-for-3 with a walk. He eventually left for a pinch-hitter. Hamilton’s off to a .171/.276/.224 start, which might be a little overshadowed by the team’s 5-20 stench. I rarely cross players off my board on draft day, but Hamilton’s been that guy for me the last few years. At least Joey Votto homered Thursday, his third of the year.
• Ivan Nova had some interesting splits last year — he was terrific in the first half (3.21/1.09) and at home (2.80/1.22), but fell apart in the second half (5.83/1.61) and on the road (5.02/1.32). Thursday’s opportunity was a cushy one, a home start against the Tigers. And although Nova didn’t get the victory, everyone will accept his creamy-smooth eight scoreless innings (6 H, 0 BB, 5 K).
Unfortunately, Nova’s back story make him a tricky guy for Circle of Trust privileges. He starts at Washington and Milwaukee the next two weeks, teams you don’t want to mess with. He’s a preferred streamer for me, but I won’t dial him up every time out.
• Come out from hiding, Twins fans, the Yankees series is over. It’s comical how Minnesota can’t seem to beat the Yanks, no matter the strength of the Twins roster.
Fernando Rodney blew Thursday’s lead, beaten by Gary Sanchez’s walk-off homer. Rodney’s ERA is 6.75, his WHIP over two. Although Addison Reed worked the seventh inning Thursday and allowed a run himself, he’s mandatory insurance for any Rodney owners — or a good spec play on his own. I don’t expect Rodney’s tenure to last though the summer.
• The Diamondbacks have pressed Matt Koch into a couple of starts, and so far, so good. He scored a win at Philadelphia on Thursday, and his two opportunities add up to 12 solid innings (8 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 8 K). Koch is making some of his own luck with a 56.8 percent ground-ball rate, but he’s also enjoying a .194 BABIP and a strand rate over 84 percent. I added him in one crazy-deep 16-team mixer, but it’s with the lowest of expectations. The Dodgers come calling next week.