Dallas Keuchel: Early returns are encouraging after Keuchel was one of the most disappointing fantasy players in 2016, as he’s posted a 0.86 ERA and 0.62 WHIP over three starts. He has a .113 BABIP (the fourth lowest in MLB), but a low hit rate is obviously to be expected with such a low ERA. Keuchel’s Hard% is the second lowest in all of baseball at 14.6 (behind only Max Scherzer), so it’s not like this is all luck. Keuchel’s SwStr% is a career-high 10.4, even higher than the year in which he won the Cy Young, and his current 73.1 GB% is first among pitchers by a wide margin (next closest is Clayton Richard at 69.2%). He sure looks like a bargain for those who bought low on draft day.
Raisel Iglesias: There was speculation the Reds would employ a full-blown committee to close games this season, and Iglesias remains a health risk, but he’s the clear leader to work the ninth in Cincinnati right now, and he’s yet to allow a run over 5.2 innings while recording six strikeouts. He has dominant stuff, as his 16.7 SwStr% is elite, and Drew Storen hasn’t exactly impressed so far with a 1.80 WHIP. Iglesias has the upside to be a top-10 fantasy closer.
Lucas Duda: He’s hitting .286/.390/.686 in the early going with four homers over 35 at-bats. Duda is owned in just 15 percent of Yahoo leagues, and yet he’s been a top-80 player in 2017. He owns a career .836 OPS when facing right-handed batters.
Manuel Margot: He’s been a top-30 player so far, and while the three homers may be something of a fluke, Margot is locked into the leadoff role in San Diego, and far more steals are sure to come. Petco Park is a much more neutral park these days, and Margot is looking like a steal based on where he went during March.
Zack Cozart: He leads MLB with a .467 batting average. This probably isn’t going to last, but Cozart is owned in just 12 percent of Yahoo leagues. He combined for 20 homers/steals last year while playing in 121 games, and he’s batting in one of the best hitter’s parks in all of baseball.
Zack Greinke: His fastball velocity is his lowest since 2005, as spring training worries have carried into the season. Early returns on a bounce back haven’t exactly been encouraging. Pitching in Chase Field is obviously a problem, and Greinke might go down as one of the worst free agent signings in recent memory.
Josh Bell: I picked Bell to win the Rookie of the Year Award this season, but so far, he’s been a disaster, hitting .138/.219/.207. PNC Park has decreased homers for right-handed batters by 24 percent over the past three years, which is the highest in major league baseball.
Pablo Sandoval: He has two homers already, but Sandoval is hitting .143/.205/.343 still. He’s struck out nine times in 35 at-bats. I’m a Sandoval fan, as he once hit three homers in a World Series game for my Giants, yet he hasn’t eclipsed 10 bombs since 2014.
Victor Martinez: Hopefully it’s just a slow start while dealing with a small sample, but “V-Mart” has a .433 OPS with 10 strikeouts over 34 at bats to start the season. He’s 38 years old and currently holds the highest K% of his career (which started in 2002).
Jordan Zimmermann: There was hope Zimmermann’s first year in Detroit was an anomaly, but he’s off to another poor start in 2017. He has a 5.06 ERA but even worse, he sports a 6:6 K:BB ratio over 10.2 innings. That ERA is the worst of his career. Zimmermann is currently owned in nearly half of Yahoo leagues, but he looks like a lost cause right now.