Most fantasy baseball experts (present company included) preach patience in April. This is a sound and prudent approach for most situations. However, any experienced owner can tell you that sometimes, early struggles continue well into the season. Each year, there are a handful of well-regarded, established fantasy contributors who simply don’t perform up to expectations for a variety of reasons. Today, we’ll look at a few of 2017’s early disappointment and try to determine who will rebound – and who won’t.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Cleveland Indians
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Encarnacion was fantastic as usual last season, hitting 42 home runs, scoring 99 runs, and tallying 127 RBI. That production hasn’t carried over in his first season with Cleveland. He’s hitting just .210/.270/.370 so far, with four homers. The culprit? A severely elevated strikeout rate. Encarnacion is simply putting the bat on the ball less than he ever has in his career, even going back to before his breakout with Toronto. Combined with an increased amount of weak contact, particularly on pitches high and inside, and it’s fair to wonder if his bat is slowing at age 34. Sell.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Colorado Rockies
Unlike Encarnacion, most of Gonzalez’s batted ball profile has been consistent with his previous performance. He’s not striking out more than usual, or chasing bad pitches. In fact, he’s been getting ahead in the count at a career-best rate. That hasn’t translated into results, of course, or he wouldn’t be on this list. Gonzalez has been victimized by a low batting average on balls in play and his usual tendency to start slowly. Even with his hot streak to open last season, Gonzalez’s career .781 April OPS is over 80 points lower than his .863 overall mark. The power will come. Hold.
Jose Quintana, SP, Chicago White Sox
For much of the last year, Quintana has been the subject of trade speculation. He’ll need to pitch better than he has so far in 2017 if the White Sox are to extract a prospect haul from a contender. The veteran is 1-4 with a 5.22 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, making Chicago’s current position atop the AL Central even more remarkable. The good news for Quintana owners – there’s little to suggestion these results will hold up moving forward. His elevated walk and home run rates to this point look like an aberration, since none of the underlying metrics suggest a skill decline. Buy.
Kyle Bishop is a lead MLB columnist at RotoBaller.com. His articles and Fantasy Baseball Rankingsare your secret weapon for winning fantasy leagues.