Look to the AL West for early-season fantasy surprises

Yahoo Fantasy analysts Scott Pianowski and Dalton Del Don identify some fantasy surprises and flop after a quarter of the MLB season.

Video Transcript


SCOTT PIANOWSKI: We're into June. We're over a quarter of the way through the fantasy baseball season. The standings have merit. The statistics have meaning. And we need to try to figure out what's going on. Dalton Del Don, who's one of the biggest surprises so far of the fantasy baseball season?

DALTON DEL DON: Well, my guy Taylor Ward. Been banged up a little bit lately, but he's easily been the biggest surprise for me. He went undrafted in most Yahoo-- or all Yahoo leagues. His ADP was outside 700 in the deeper NFBC formats. He's been a top-25 fantasy player this season, and some players have like 70 more at-bats than him among the leaderboard too.

His OPS is almost 100 points higher than the next most. He even has the ability to add some steals moving forward. Ward is not this good, Hall of Fame level, but I'm also not quite rushing to trade him. He's been the biggest fantasy surprise to open this season.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Yeah, my fantasy surprise is going to be Julio Rodríguez in Seattle. We knew they had a couple of hot prospects there in Rodríguez and Kelenic. Kelenic hasn't done a thing right. He's been sent down to the minors. Rodríguez leads the league in steals. He's showing power.

He actually has a decent average, although umpires have given him almost no respect. It's a joke some of the strikes that they've called against Rodríguez. I think he could be a first or second round player as early as next season. He's somebody I wish I had on all of my fantasy rosters. I have him on none of my fantasy rosters.

I also will give honorable mention to LA Dodgers' rotation. The cheaper options have been better than the stars. Buehler and Urias have been a mild disappointment. Guys like Gonsolin and Anderson have been really nice additions. And if you believed in Martín Pérez, man, he's been unbelievable. He's doing it with soft stuff. He's doing with a fastball that couldn't get stopped for speeding in a school zone. But he's been a big surprise through the first quarter of the season.

Who's been disappointing us, Dalton? Give us one of your fantasy fades for the first quarter, somebody who's been breaking your heart.

DALTON DEL DON: First off, I have Julio Rodríguez as a top-10 pick in next year's drafts. Book it now. I think it's going to happen. Marcus Semien is my biggest flop to open the season, a third or fourth round fantasy pick in most leagues. Had 45 homers last season. It took him almost 45 games to hit his first homer this year.

Coming off a career year at his age, then signing a huge offseason contract in which he saw a big downgrade in home parks, it's not exactly a shock that Semien isn't living up to his ADP. But, man, even his biggest detractors couldn't have seen a .500 OPS coming. He will get better. He's started to show signs of life at the plate recently. But Marcus Semien has been an absolute flop so far.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Man, I need him to come back. He's on a bunch of my teams. My feeling was that the ADP price was putting in too much regression, and it's almost like he's forgotten how to play baseball now. At least the contract will keep him at the top of the lineup. He's still running. I don't know that the power is going to come back. But I'm worried that may take a big ADP bath on Semien this year.

My disappointment is Teoscar Hernández, but it really could be several of the Blue Jays. Vlad Jr. has been a disappointment. Springer's been OK. Bo Bichette's been a little bit of a disappointment. But I'm focusing Hernández, right around the Mendoza Line, only a couple of home runs. He's not running. Maybe these guys, they pine for Buffalo or they pine for the Florida park they were in for a while. Maybe just being in Toronto all year has been an adjustment period.

Dalton, are things going to get better in Toronto? Or is it time to get really nervous about some of these guys? Again, Teoscar is my guy, but we know Vlad Jr. has been a disappointment and Bichette as well. What's your take on the Toronto situation?

DALTON DEL DON: Oh, too much talent. Bound to bounce back. The summer months will heat up. The offensive stats will come. Yes, a slight downgrade of home parks based off last year, but Toronto's still a nice place to hit. They'll get it going.

SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Hey, still have three quarters of the season to get going in fantasy baseball. Make some good trades. Make some good pickups. And it's a marathon, not a sprint. You've heard that before. We'll be with you all summer.