Fantasy Baseball – Who’s Hot / Who’s Not – 2023 – Week 1
Ron Rigney shares his Who’s Hot and Who’s Not after Week 1. Check out which players he believes will turn it around and who won’t. Follow Ron on Twitter – @RonRigney
Normally known for his power production, Chapman has looked like the second coming of Tony Gwynn over his first four games. The Blue Jays’ third baseman is slashing .522/.560/.739 over that span with multiple hits in four of his first six games. He has yet to connect on a longball, but has been a doubles machine with five so far. His 16% K-rate has been a huge factor in his success, but he’s not that guy. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Quick, who’s the league leader in steals as of April 6th? Not too many people would guess Torres, but here we are. I loved this guy’s value in drafts, and so far he’s stolen five bags, homered twice, driven in six and scored five. Expecting a repeat of last year’s numbers was realistic, but he’s already halfway to his stolen base total from 2022. If he can get back to something close to 2019 form, you’ve found yourself a bargain!
Moncada was left for dead in drafts, either going super late, or not being drafted. Thus far he’s homered twice, driven in five runs and is slashing .440/.462/.840. The stats are way above expectations but make sure to look a little closer to that Fangraphs page. He’s striking out 31% of the time and carrying a .600 BABIP. Based on his career numbers, the K-rate is the one that is most likely to stick around. Moncada will be useful, but he has a career trend of posting some high BABIP’s for an entire season, while still striking out quite a bit. Maybe we will get lucky and get a year like that now. He’s also an interesting sell high candidate if you’re able to swing a deal.
Lopez was another one of my favorite values in drafts as I felt he was going way too low. So far through two starts, the new Twins ace has allowed just one earned run in 12 innings while posting a K/BB ratio of 16/4. The stuff has been on point, as he has been able to miss quite a few bats in his first two outings. He lines up as a two start pitcher for next week, but the matchups come against the White Sox and Yankees. Despite the matchups, he’s a must start in Week 2.
I’ve been in the Castillo fan club for a while now, and his first two starts illustrate why. Zero earned runs over his first two starts while striking out a batter per inning is impressive. He’s currently allowing a .115 BABIP which will obviously tick upward at some point, However, he has plenty of room for it to spike a bit and still be a consistent option in the rotation.
Bobby Witt Jr.
Nothing hurts a team more than getting zero production from those first rounders and Witt is inflicting serious pain after Week 1! He’s gone hitless in all but one game to begin the season. I don’t think he slumps for much longer as his K%(16.7% and his BB%(12.5%) are both solid. His .118 BABIP isn’t but it shows he’s been a victim of bad luck thus far. He’s never been a huge strikeout guy with a career rate that hovers around 20%. He’s far too good to stay this bad, and man oh man, if that BB-rate could stay near 10% it would be sweet!
Soto is another first rounder off to a hugely disappointing start. Like Witt, he’s also a victim of a low BABIP (.176) but has continued his career trend of walking a lot and not striking out. Despite the slow start, he has homered and driven in four runs, so the week hasn’t been a total waste in head-to-head formats. Be patient.
A 47.8% K-rate? GOOD LAWD! No, you read that right. Muncy is a strikeout machine through the first week of the season. Everyone, including myself, was expecting a bounce back (which I still feel good about) but boy has it been bad. Combine that with the fact he has already missed a game with an injury, and it’s been one of the bigger disasters to start the season. I think Muncy quit pressing at the plate to make things happen, but it’s just a matter of when it happens. I’m not ready to jump ship yet.
I get the sense most were out on Sale after his injury woes over the last four seasons. In his first start of 2023 he didn’t do much to earn the trust of fantasy owners. Sale lasted just three innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits, three of which were home runs. The lone bright spot was the six punchouts he was able to collect, but it wasn’t nearly enough to ease the pain. There’s still potential here for him to be really good, but his dominant days are behind him. I also believe it’s possible he gets moved to the bullpen if he continues to struggle.
Gallen has made two starts and has allowed nine earned runs in 10.2 innings pitched. He’s also stranded just 49% of baserunners, and opponents are hitting .289 against him thus far. Granted, his two starts came against the Padres and the Dodgers, but you still want to see your top pitchers perform as top pitchers. I still feel he will get it going and be the guy you thought you were getting in drafts, but we can’t withstand too many more blowups like these.
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