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Fantasy Baseball - Unanticipated Aprils

We are just under 30 games into the MLB and Fantasy Baseball seasons but there are already tons of headlines.  The Boston Red Sox sit 2 games up on the New York Yankees for the AL East lead, while the Toronto Blue Jays are in last place.  The Los Angeles Angels are in what used to be last place in the AL West, with the Texas Rangers sitting 8 games ahead of them atop the division.  The Atlanta Braves are the only team above .500 in the NL East while San Diego Padres are the only team under .500 in the NL West.  Oh and the Oakland Athletics lead the MLB in runs scored?!  Those are just a few of the stories that will carry us into May, but lets dig deep into the Fantasy Baseball season and see who can keep up their hot starts, who we can expect to finally get going and who we will see fizzle away back to mediocrity.

Miguel CabreraChris Davis, Justin Upton, Yu Darvish, and Prince Fielder are your top 5 fantasy players based on our scoring system (see bottom).  Chris Davis is the only real surprise here and he most likely will not even finish in the top 40 or 50 come September, but we would all love for him to finally reach his potential for an entire season.  Davis can't hit .348 forever, as he is a career .263 hitter, but he could easily hit .280-.290 and finish as a top 5 first baseman.  I don't own him in any leagues, but if I did I would trade him for a massive package.

Coco Crisp finished just 2 points behind Fielder and he has been the biggest surprise of April.  Crisp already has 16 XBH and scored 24 runs!  He has been the catalyst for the Athletics offense that is leading the MLB in runs scored.  He is another guy though that you can not trust for 162 games.  Crisp has never stayed healthy and if you have him you better look to flip sooner rather than later!

Right behind Crisp is Adam Wainwright and Adam Jones who are as solid a fantasy player as there is but the two pitchers behind them are the guys who stand out.  Clay Buchholz has been unhittable while Matt Harvey is making batters swing and miss at a record setting pace.  Buchholz has been starting games for the Red Sox since 2007, but he is just 28 years old and finally figured out how to pitch in the Majors.  Buchholz didn't win a game after August 16 last season going 0-5 over 8 starts but has won each of his 5 starts this season, and last at least 7 innings in each of them.  You can expect this all season long from #11.

Matt Harvey, New York Mets, has been making batter swing and miss 35% of the time which has led to 46 strikeouts over 40.1 innings and 6 starts.  He has issued just 12 walks.  Harvey is going to continue to pitch extremely well this season, but he will most likely be shut down early as the Mets are not playoff contenders so just be careful come August/September.  You might want to turn him into something after the All-Star break.

Bryce Harper has silenced all the critics and answered the question, who is better Harper or Trout?  The Washington Nationals are struggling but Harper is still hitting .344 and hit 9 home runs in April.  Mike Trout is hitting .261 but just like all of the Los Angeles Angels hitters, the law of averages tells us that that team is going to go on some tear in the very near future.  If you can steal Trout make an attempt and if you have Harper don't let go!

Back on March 14, we wrote a Same Face, New Place post that featured fantasy players we all know who were wearing a new hat this season.  Mike Napoli was on that list and this is what we said about him:

Napoli is a .306 career hitter at Fenway Park.  Now I don't expect a guy who hit .227 last year to hit .306 this year but the point is that he takes advantage of the fields odd dimensions.  One stat that will jump is the doubles as he hit just 9 last season after hitting at least 22 in 3 straight.  The Green Monster will be Napoli's friend and while others will let him slip by you should take him as a UTIL player, or if you decide to wait a while on Catchers as your starting catcher (not a terrible idea).

If you listened to us back then, you would have his 13 April doubles on you fantasy team, alongside his 27 RBI.  Don't worry about his 40 strikeouts because its just one category.  Expect more of this now with David Ortiz back in the Boston Red Sox lineup!

Two of the Colorado Rockies outfielders sit in the Top 15 fantasy players after one month.  Obviously one is Carlos Gonzalez, but the other is NOT Michael Cuddyer.  No, it is Dexter Fowler, who is tied for 3rd in the NL with 8 home runs.  In his last 10 games, Fowler has also raised his average from .250 to over .300.  Has Fowler, now age 27, finally figured out MLB pitching?  Maybe, as made evident by his .300 average last season, but I wouldn't hold onto him for too long.

Paul Goldschmidt finished April as the 15 best fantasy player and 4th first baseman.  His stats don't jump out at you with 6 doubles 5 home runs and 18 RBI and 16 base on balls, but his teammates have picked him up and he has scored 18 times.

Robinson Cano is tied with Goldschmidt and has also scored 18 runs, but Cano has 8 doubles and 7 home runs driving in 17 runners but has walked just 9 times.

Believe it or not Josh Donaldson is just a point behind Goldy and Cano and the #2 Third Baseman only behind Miggy.  Don't buy into him, but take advantage of the hot stick while you can.  If someone asks for him, give him up!

The top Pittsburgh Pirates OF is NOT Andrew McCutchen, but yet Starling Marte.  Marte has managed to score 20 runs for the Pirates due to a .327 average.  Marte is a skilled player who will continue to get on base, but his run production, which is key to his success, depends on the guys behind him.  The Pirates are known to struggle offensively so be careful after the Pirates shipwreck.

In just 353 career ABs for the Oakland Athletics, Brandon Moss has 25 home runs and 71 RBI, yet I still can't buy into him.  Hopefully you are all smarter shoppers than I and are taking advantage of his .295 average and 19 RBI.  Nate McLouth is doing similar things in Baltimore for the Orioles and should be owned in all formats!

John Buck is still the top catcher but is slowing returning to form.  Carlos Santana and his ridiculous .389 batting average will pass him soon enough. 

The shortstop position has been ugly this season with Jed Lowrie leading the way.  Brandon Crawford and Jean Segura are in the top 5 with Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Desmond.  Lowrie is doing what he did last season before being injured.  Just remember, Lowrie has never played 100 games in a season.  Crawford is not known for his bat so don't hold onto him for too long.  Segura however is a guy you want.  Leading off the Brewers, he will soon be hitting in front of Corey Hart, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun.  Yeah, exactly.

That pretty much wraps up the early season surprises. Anything else stand out for you?  Here are the top 100 fantasy players:

Miguel CabreraDET3B161
Chris DavisBAL1B159
Justin UptonATLOF146
Yu DarvishTEXP145.4
Prince FielderDET1B144
Coco CrispOAKOF142
Adam WainwrightSTLP139.7
Adam JonesBALOF139
Clay BuchholzBOSP138.9
Matt HarveyNYMP136.2
Bryce HarperWASOF136
Mike NapoliBOS1B133
Carlos GonzálezCOLOF132
Dexter FowlerCOLOF132
Paul GoldschmidtARI1B130
Robinson CanóNYY2B130
Josh DonaldsonOAK3B129
Matt MooreTBP129
Shin-Soo ChooCINOF129
CC SabathiaNYYP128

David WrightNYM3B128
Clayton KershawLADP127.9
Félix HernándezSEAP127.4
Austin JacksonDETOF127
Jed LowrieOAKSS127
Mark ReynoldsCLE3B127
Brandon PhillipsCIN2B126
Justin MastersonCLEP125.7
Jacoby EllsburyBOSOF125
Manny MachadoBAL3B125
Mike TroutLAAOF123
Starling MartePITOF123
Alex GordonKCOF122
Ian KinslerTEX2B122
Joey VottoCIN1B122
Madison BumgarnerSFP121.4
Brandon MossOAK1B121
Chase UtleyPHI2B121
Edwin EncarnaciónTOR1B121
Michael CuddyerCOLOF121

Justin VerlanderDETP120.7
Dustin PedroiaBOS2B120
Nate McLouthBALOF119
Ryan BraunMILOF119
Troy TulowitzkiCOLSS119
Hiroki KurodaNYYP118
Jon LesterBOSP117.9
Pablo SandovalSF3B117
John BuckNYMC116
Andrew McCutchenPITOF115
Mark TrumboLAAOF114
Jordan ZimmermannWASP113.5
Hyun-Jin RyuLADP113.4
Torii HunterDETOF113
Anthony RizzoCHC1B112
Nelson CruzTEXOF112
Anibal SánchezDETP111.9
Doug FisterDETP111.5
Matt HollidaySTLOF111
Ángel PagánSFOF110

Todd FrazierCIN3B110
Ervin SantanaKCP109.5
James ShieldsKCP109.5
Carlos SantanaCLEC109
Daniel MurphyNYM2B109
Mat LatosCINP108.7
Albert PujolsLAA1B108
José AltuveHOU2B108
Álex RíosCWSOF107
Ben ZobristTBOF106
Brandon CrawfordSFSS106
Carlos GómezMILOF106
Evan LongoriaTB3B106
Jaime GarcíaSTLP106
Lance BerkmanTEX1B106
Wilin RosarioCOLC106
Hisashi IwakumaSEAP105.9
Jason HammelBALP105.9
Gerardo ParraARIOF105
Kyle SeagerSEA3B105

Lance LynnSTLP105
Seth SmithOAKOF105
Travis HafnerNYY1B105
Carl CrawfordLADOF104
Daniel NavaBOSOF104
Alex CobbTBP103.7
A.J. BurnettPITP103
Jean SeguraMILSS103
Matt CarpenterSTL2B103
Nick MarkakisBALOF103
Vernon WellsNYYOF103
Yuniesky BetancourtMIL3B102
Jake PeavyCWSP101.5
Patrick CorbinARIP101.5
Max ScherzerDETP101.2
Adrián GonzálezLAD1B101
Chris CarterHOU1B101
Kevin CorreiaMINP100.7
Brett GardnerNYYOF100
Desmond JenningsTBOF100

How are fantasy points calculated?

Singles - 1pt
Doubles - 2pts
Triples - 3pts
Homeruns - 2pts
RBI - 2pts
Runs Scored - 2pts
Walks - 1pt
Stolen Bases - 1pt
Win - 10 pts
Innings Pitched - 2 pts
Earned Runs Allowed - (1pt)
Strike Outs - .5pt