Just over a month into the 2017 MLB season, here’s a look at who’s worth an add and who might be worth dropping.
Mark Reynolds, Rockies, 1B
The Rockies’ plan to begin the season was to move Ian Desmond, a shortstop turned outfielder, to first base. Desmond, who had never played a big-league game at first, ended up starting the year on the DL after breaking his left hand during spring training. That opened the door for Reynolds, and he’s taken advantage.
In 31 games, he’s hitting .321/.379/.661 with 11 home runs, 27 RBIs and 20 runs. Reynolds, who has led the league in strikeouts three times in 11 seasons, has cut down his strikeout rate to a career-best 21.8 percent. Playing at Coors Field has been a big boost for the 33-year-old slugger, who has 16 home runs in 75 games there over the last two seasons.
Reynolds is available in 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 19.9 percent of ESPN leagues as of Monday afternoon. Even with Desmond back, the Rockies have been able to keep Reynolds in the lineup with outfielder David Dahl out with a rib injury. Reynolds is a must-own in all formats, at least until Dahl is back.
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers, 1B/OF
Aaron Judge is probably the most talked about new young star in baseball, but Bellinger deserves praise for his hot start as well. In a much smaller sample size, Bellinger has been equally impressive.
In 46 plate appearances since being called up from Triple A on April 25, Bellinger is slashing .357/.413/.786 with five home runs, 14 RBIs and 11 runs. The Dodgers expected this type of performance from their top-ranked prospect — he was slashing .343/.429/.627 with five home runs, 15 RBIs and 15 runs in 77 plate apperances with Oklahoma City — just not this soon. When centerfielder Joc Pederson went down with a groin injury, it opened up a spot for Bellinger. Pederson wasn’t expected to be out long, though, so it could’ve been a short stint for Bellinger. Then 14-year veteran Adrian Gonzalez landed on the 10-day disabled list on May 5, which allowed the Dodgers to activate Pederson and move the versatile Bellinger to his natural position at first base.
It’s unclear how long the struggling Gonzalez, 35, will be on the DL, but according to the Los Angeles Times, he’d been playing with an aggravated herniated disk in addition to right forearm stiffness and a left triceps strain, so it could be more than the allotted 10 days.
Bellinger is available in 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 41.5 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s a strong free-agent addition with Gonzalez out.
Trevor Cahill, Padres, SP
Fantasy owners may have been quick to dump Cahill after going 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in his first two starts, but in his last three starts, Cahill is 2-0 with a 2.89 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .214 against Cahill, and he has an impressive 11.1 K/9.
After Petco Park had its third-ever rainout since opening in 2004, Cahill had his start pushed back to Monday against the Rangers, who have a team average of just .219. That move also will give Cahill a second start this week, making him a strong streaming option. His second start would be against the White Sox, who rank 24th in runs with 121.
Cahill was available in 61 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 68.5 percent of ESPN leagues as of Monday afternoon. With the first game of the night scheduled for 7 p.m., there’s still time to get him in lineups in weekly formats before they lock.
Dansby Swanson, Braves, SS
The early contender for NL Rookie of the Year could be on his way down if his struggles continue. Swanson has a slash line of .151/.222/.217 with two home runs, seven RBIs and 10 runs in 117 plate appearances — a stark contrast with what he did after getting called up last August. He slashed .302/.361/.442 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and 20 runs in 145 plate apperances last season.
The Braves maintain their confidence in the 23-year-old, despite dropping him from second to eighth in the batting order. But until Swanson turns things around, Swanson is droppable in all but NL-only formats.
Trevor Story, Rockies, SS
Call it a sophomore slump.
Story dominated the baseball conversation in early 2016 after hitting eight home runs in his first four major-league games. Now he’s the story for all the wrong reasons.
In 104 at-bats, Story has a .173/.283/.404 slash line and leads the NL with 46 strikeouts. Much like Swanson, if Story doesn’t turn it around soon, he could be headed back to the minors too.
Story has always been a home run or bust hitter with a career 33 percent strikeout rate, but neither the Rockies nor fantasy owners can manage with him hitting below the Mendoza Line in a hitter-friendly park.
Trevor Bauer, Indians, P
Despite managing to squeak out a pair of wins in his last three starts, Bauer has been getting roughed up. He has a career-high 10.3 K/9, but that swing-and-miss stuff hasn’t been enough.
Through five starts, Bauer has a 7.67 ERA and 1.593 WHIP, and his most recent start was his first so far. He allowed seven earned runs on seven hits and five walks in four innings in the Indians’ 7-1 loss to the Tigers on May 1.
Bauer is slated to get two starts this week, with his first at Toronto on Monday and his second at home against Minnesota. The Blue Jays’ offense has struggled with Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki out, but both reportedly could be activated for Monday’s game. Bauer’s better off on the bench for that one.