Need proof that paying attention late in fantasy baseball drafts pays off? Allow us to present Eric Thames.
Revered as a near-deity in Korea, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger has picked up right where he left off in America, blasting a major league-best seven home runs through Wednesday while boasting a batting average above .400. Not too bad for a guy with an average draft position of 213 in Yahoo! leagues.
But diamonds in the rough don’t grow on trees, and there are plenty of notable names whose early-season struggles continued this week. Here are six players whose stock has risen or fallen in the past few days.
Eric Thames, 1B/OF, Milwaukee Brewers. The Korean legend launched an incredible six home runs over a five-day span from Thursday to Monday and has a 1.459 OPS (!!) through 14 games. That’s obviously not sustainable through a full season (we think), but he’s also hitting .408 and has struck out just twice in his last seven games, a good sign that his power surge might not be fluke. Thames is paying off handsomely for those who rolled the dice on draft day.
Luis Severino, SP/RP, New York Yankees. Is Severino finally realizing his potential? The 23-year-old was a hot commodity on the waiver wire this week, and he delivered Tuesday with another dynamic start, allowing three runs but striking out 10 over eight innings. Walks have been an issue for Severino in the past, but he has just one in his last two outings to go along with 21 Ks. He’s owned in 64 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so get him on your squad if he’s still available.
Jason Vargas, SP, Kansas City Royals. Few pitchers in all of baseball are enjoying greater success than Vargas, who’s 3-0 and hasn’t allowed a run in two straight starts. Vargas’ track record (career 4.11 ERA) and an easy schedule (starts against San Francisco and Oakland) suggest he’s due for a regression, but the left-hander has another favorable matchup in the Chicago White Sox next time out, so keep getting while the getting’s good.
Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays need a solid year out of Bautista to fill Edwin Encarnacion’s void, and so far, they’re not getting it. The 36-year-old is hitless with five strikeouts in his last three games, dropping his average to .118 on the season with 18 whiffs. More concerning: He still hasn’t homered in 14 contests. He’ll break out of his slump eventual, but the power dip is concerning.
Blake Treinen, RP, Washington Nationals. Treinen’s run as Washington’s closer might be coming to an end. He’s allowed at least one run in half of his eight appearances this season, ballooning his ERA to 7.11 with a 2.53 WHIP. The Nationals have other options, namely Shawn Kelley and 24-year-old Koda Glover, so it might be time to pull the plug on Treinen.
Edinson Volquez, SP, Kansas City Royals. Volquez looks pretty far removed from his strong 2015 campaign. He lasted just three innings in his last outing, getting touched for four earned runs while walking four to give him 10 runs allowed in his last three starts. The veteran right-hander is showing obvious signs of decline and probably shouldn’t be on mixed-league rosters.
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