Fantasy Baseball Today: Statcast’s overachievers and underachievers, early season trends and more from Monday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It was a rainy and nasty Monday as a cold front hit much of the nation including Northern Jersey where I reside — just when I thought we had turned the page to spring. The nasty weather meant a lot of MLB games were postponed to a later date — three games to be exact. The Mets, Giants, Diamondbacks, Nationals, Guardians, and White Sox were all postponed. 

However, we did get some fun action from the games that were played. Some of my favorite moments included Dodgers 1B Freddie Freeman getting a home run against his former team — though it is hard to get too excited about good news for the Dodgers .. to be honest. The Seiya Suzuki Rookie of the Year campaign continued on as well as he collected a pair of hits and a pair of runs  — yours truly may or may not have a future on him winning that award at a preseason +500. 

And one of my favorite pure hitters in the game — Yordan Alvarez — had a huge night in his first game back in the Astros lineup. Alvarez went 3-for-5 with two homers that both traveled 415-plus feet in the air and they weren’t even his hardest hits of the game! That honor belonged to a single he blasted off the bat at 109.6 MPH.

We’ll dive into all of the other action from Monday’s games, but we’re also going to take a look at the early underachievers and overachievers according to Statcast data, early trends from the 2022 season and more. But first, in case you missed it on Monday, Scott White delivered his early week waiver wire and Chris Towers looked into 10 players showing seriously positive signs in the early going.

And of course, as always, you can follow to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify

Yelich finally gets on the board

As Chris has been touting during the early going, Brewers OF Christian Yelich has been hitting the ball really hard although the results haven’t exactly been there. Well, on Monday night, he finally got on the board with his first homer of the 2022 season. It was a grand salami as well! Yelich also added a double. His grand slam was a 429-foot moon shot. Yelich is starting to feel like a potential mid-round steal.

Other standout hitters from Monday

Manny Machado, 3B, Padres: The standout third basemen homered and doubled on Monday while collecting two RBI. He’s homering, he’s adding runs, RBI and stealing bases — a true categories workhorse at arguably the second scarcest position in Fantasy Baseball. Towers was on to something when he was grabbing Machado in the early to mid-second round above ADP. 

Nick Madrigal, 2B, Cubs: Madrigal collected two more hits on Monday and now has eight hits over his past four games. He is batting second in the order for the Cubs (and has just 8.6% K rate on the season). He’s 34% rostered.

Montas makes it happen

Athletics SP Frankie Montas was a popular breakout pick among starting pitchers this offseason and on Monday night it was easy to see why. Montas allowed just one run in six otherwise unhittable innings. Montas allowed just two hits and walked two batters while striking out five Orioles. Ever since his opening day struggle, Montas has limited opposing teams to three runs over his past 12 1/3 innings.

Other standout pitchers from Monday

Rays SP Shane McClanahan was a favorite target of Frank Stampfl and me this offseason, and outside of one mistake, he was brilliant on Monday. McClanahan went six innings against the Cubs and allowed just one earned run (two runs), four hits and didn’t walk a single batter. He struck out nine to go along with zero walks and was in total command the entire outing. Buy now before the breakout is complete.

Statcast’s biggest overachievers

  • Owen Miller, 2B, Guardians .500, .327 xBA (still very good)
  • Myles Straw, OF, Guardians .333, .204 xBA
  • Seiya Suzuki, OF, Cubs .385, .268 xBA
  • Jose Ramirez, 3B, Guardians .457, .349 xBA
  • Jazz Chisholm .318, .222 xBA

Statcast’s biggest underachievers

  • Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros .121 BA, .308 xBA
  • Luis Robert, OF, White Sox .194, .342 xBA
  • Yordan Alvarez, OF, Astros .200, .331 xBA
  • Eddie Rosario, OF, Braves .034, .162 xBA
  • Jesse Winker, OF, Mariners .152, .274 xBA

An interesting early season trend

According to Derek Carty (creator of THE BAT projections), 2022 has the lowest HR rate over the past five seasons so far, and that’s adjusted for weather, park, player quality, and the universal DH:

  • 2018: 4.5%
  • 2019: 5.5%
  • 2020: 5.2%
  • 2021: 5.0%
  • 2022: 4.3%

The same thing was confirmed by Max Freeze (@FreezeStats on Twitter): HR/Barrel % is down about 9% points compared to last year — the average distance on those barrels is down 4 feet from last year as well. Power could be harder to come by than ever if this keeps up and will become more of a premium.

News and lineup notes

Every night the Fantasy Baseball Today team dives into all of the happenings around the MLB from top performers to injuries, trades and more. The podcast is a must listen for any diehard, if I do say so myself. Tune into the podcast to hear the FBT crew expand on the news and notes below.

  • Phillies OF Bryce Harper will DH all three games in their Rockies series as he’s nursing a sore right elbow. The injury doesn’t affect him when batting but apparently does when throwing.
  • The MRI on Angels OF Mike Trout’s hand confirmed he did not suffer a fracture when hit by a pitch Sunday. He remained out of the lineup Monday and is day-to-day.
  • The Braves have tentatively targeted May for OF Ronald Acuña’s season debut. He’s beginning a rehab assignment with Triple-A on Tuesday. 
  • Astros 2B Jose Altuve exited Monday’s game with a strained left hamstring. They’re calling him day-to-day.
  • Rays SS/3B Wander Franco was scratched from Monday’s game with a tight quad. They said he’s expected back Tuesday.
  • Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said that OF Byron Buxton is “very optimistic about how he’s feeling right now.”
  • Astros GM James Click said Monday that RP Ryan Pressly is “feeling great” and is expected back “very, very soon”.
  • Six Oakland A’s landed on the COVID IL Monday, which included Lou Trivino, A.J. Puk and Chad Pinder among others.
  • Rangers SP Jon Gray will be activated from the IL Tuesday to start against the Mariners.
  • Astros SP Lance McCullers was transferred to the 60-day IL because of that forearm injury he suffered last postseason.
  • Reds OF Nick Senzel was activated from the COVID IL while Tyler Naquin was sent to it.
  • Reds 2B Jonathan India won’t rejoin the lineup until at least Friday as he’s dealing with that hamstring injury. 
  • Angels 3B Anthony Rendon was scratched from Monday’s lineup with a stomach bug.