Last week, we discussed what to do about a few big-name players who were off to slow starts. This time around, let’s take a closer look at some less-established players who have come flying out of the gate.
Diaz defected from Cuba in 2013, and due to a dispute over his date of birth, MLB prevented him from signing with a team for six months. By the time he began playing in the Cardinals’ minor league system, he hadn’t participated in competitive baseball in over a year. Then he got hurt and didn’t play well when he was healthy, to the point where he was exposed to waivers last July. Nobody claimed him, and Diaz has set about making every team in baseball regret that ever since. He started tearing up the minors last summer and has an absurd .403/.439/.727 line with five homers in his first 24 big-league games. Those numbers won’t hold up, but Diaz is a high contact hitter who hits the ball hard and has some speed. That should help him maintain a healthy batting average going forward. He’s also a good bet for double-digit home runs and steals. That’s good production from a middle infielder. HOLD/BUY
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A utility player to this point in his career, Nunez is hitting a robust .371/.420/.484 with five stolen bases so far. He carries both third base and shortstop eligibility on all the major platforms, though his lack of power makes him a poor fit at the hot corner on fantasy rosters. That’s where he’s gotten the bulk of his playing time this year thanks to an injury to regular Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Nunez has made the most of his opportunity, but his production isn’t supported by any significant change in his profile, approach, or peripherals. Instead, it’s almost solely the product of luck – his .431 BABIP is the fifth-highest in baseball and 130 points above his career mark. Plouffe is also nearing a return, which could make playing time difficult to come by. SELL
Part of the offseason trade that sent Ken Giles to Houston, there was some doubt as to whether Velasquez would ultimately find himself in the rotation or at the back of the bullpen. He won the Phillies’ fifth starter job out of camp and has been a revelation, posting a 1.44 ERA and 0.89 WHIP through his first five turns. You probably saw highlights of his shutout of the Padres, in which he allowed only three baserunners and recorded 16 strikeouts. Velasquez’s stuff is filthy, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to keep dominating like this. Phillies brass has also said he’ll be on an innings limit this season. It makes sense, given that he’s never thrown more than 125 frames in a season and Philly isn’t looking to contend. HOLD in dynasty and keeper leagues, SELL in redrafts.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and Fantasy Baseball Rankings are your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.