In week three of our fantasy baseball 2017 update, we will continue to notify owners about which player are hot, or cold, and whether they will continue to trend in that direction. The week one and two fantasy updates can be found at thegamehaus.com.
Eugenio Suarez, Third Base, Cincinnati Reds
- 7 for 20 with 4 runs scored, 3 home runs, and 4 RBI.
Suarez is officially breaking out in 2017. The 25-year-old has already mashed five home runs in his first 17 games this season. He is primarily batting fifth, which puts him behind All-Stars Joey Votto and Adam Duval, boding extremely well for fantasy his production. Also, he has improved his strikeout and walk rates, which displays his progressed approach. There is no reason he shouldn’t break the 30-home run and 100-RBI plateau this season.
Yasmany Tomas, Left Field, Arizona Diamondbacks
Yasmany Tomas is multi-home run machine. (Courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors)
- 8 for 25 with 5 runs scored, 3 home runs, and 8 RBI.
The Diamondbacks left fielder is picking up just where he left off in 2016. So far this season, Tomas has 10 runs scored, 13 RBI, and four home runs, two of which came in the same game against the Dodgers. He finished 2016 with 31 home runs in only 140 games, and at this pace, he is sure to break that career mark in 2017. The 26-year-old bats fifth for the Diamondbacks, who lead the league in runs scored, which gives Tomas immense fantasy value moving forward.
Michael Brantley, Left Field, Cleveland Indians
- 10 for 25 with 7 runs scored, 2 home runs, and 5 RBI.
Top-three MVP candidate in 2014, Michael Brantley, has reestablished himself as a premier player in Major League Baseball. The career .292 hitter currently has a .310 batting average with nine runs scored, three home runs, 11 RBI, and three stolen bases in 2017. The 29-year-old is sure to be a high-level producer batting third for the defending American League champion Indians. The health of Brantley’s shoulder remains discomforting, although the Indians seem to be giving him regular days off to ensure he is healthy for their presumed playoff run this season.
Austin Hedges, Catcher, San Diego Padres
Austin Hedges will be the everyday man for the Padres for years to come. (Courtesy of The San Diego Union Tribune)
- 6 for 21 with 5 runs scored, 4 home runs, and 9 RBI.
The Padres catcher had a monster week, hitting four home runs with nine RBI. Hedges began the season ice cold, as even after this successful week, he is still only batting .179. The 24-year-old is the every-day catcher and five or six-hitter for the Padres, depending on the day, making him a solid fantasy option at catcher in 2017.
Jason Vargas, Starting Pitcher, Kansas City Royals
- 1-0 allowing 4 hits, 0 walks, and 0 earned runs with 9 strikeouts in 7 innings pitched.
Vargas has been masterful in 2017, having a record of 3-0, while allowing only one earned run, with 23 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings pitched. The 34-year-old veteran has never been this dominant in his 12-year career, as he has a career ERA of 4.11, WHIP of 1.3, and K/9 of 6.0.
It would be crazy to say that Vargas will continue to find success, although I’m ballsy enough to do it.
Over the past two seasons, Vargas has pitched a total of 55 innings, as he missed essentially the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons after suffering a UCL tear in his left elbow. Since last pitching a full season in 2014, Vargas has stopped throwing a slider and cutter, and has begun exclusively throwing a fastball, curveball, and changeup. His new arsenal and approach with Kansas City are the main factors to his extreme success early in 2017.
Byron Buxton’s ice cold start continues in 2017. (Courtesy of MLB.com)
Byron Buxton, Center Field, Minnesota Twins
- 2 for 15 with 0 runs scored, 0 home runs, and 0 RBI.
Buxton’s struggles have continued in 2017, as the former second over-all pick in 2012 has only six hits in his first 17 games. The 23-year-old is striking out at a mind boggling rate of 47%. It would not surprise me to see Buxton demoted in order to develop a new approach. I would consider holding onto him in only keeper or dynasty formats, as he has plenty of time to capitalize on his immense potential, but 2017 does not look like it will be his year.
Dansby Swanson, Short Stop, Atlanta Braves
- 2 for 24 with 2 runs scored, 0 home runs, and 1 RBI.
The first-overall pick in 2015 is off to a slow start this season. In 17 games, Swanson has nine hits, only two going for extra bases, and 18 strikeouts. His career strikeout rate in the minors suggests that he is good at making adjustments and is sure to improve.
Swanson’s potential is real, as he was a three-year college player who batted .335 with 15 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 71 games as a junior. Swanson will be a legit contributor sooner rather than later.
Kevin Gausman, Starting Pitcher, Baltimore Orioles
Kevin Gausman is off to a tough start, and has an even tougher road ahead. (Courtesy of MLB.com)
- 0-1 allowing 8 hits, 3 walks, and 8 earned runs with 2 strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings pitched.
Gausman was on many fantasy radars prior the start of the 2017 season, as had struck out 174 batters in just 179 2/3 innings the previous year. The 26-year-old was named the opening day starter for the Orioles once Chris Tillman was placed on disabled list to begin the year.
Gausman has struggled mightily to begin the season, as he has allowed 15 earned runs to go along with only 13 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings pitched. He will have a tough road ahead, as he will face two tough American League East foes, the Red Sox and Yankees, in his next two starts. It will take a miracle for Gausman to get through the rest of the month unscathed.
Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher, Detroit Tigers
- 0-1 allowing 3 hits, 6 walks, and 4 earned runs with 4 strikeouts over 5 innings pitched.
The 2016 AL Cy Young runner-up has struggled in his last two starts, although I am confident he will immediately turn things around moving forward. He is currently 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA, 22 strikeouts and 11 walks in 22 1/3 innings pitched. The wily veteran has a career ERA of 3.5, K/9 of 8.5 and has pitched over 200 innings in nine of his last ten seasons. He will look to get things back on track at home against the Seattle Mariners on April 27th.
Steven Wright, Starting Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
Steven Wright’s struggles are due to his shoulder injury from 2016. (Courtesy of Boston.com)
- 1-1 allowing 18 hits, 1 walk, and 5 earned runs with 1 strikeout over 9 2/3 innings pitched.
The 2016 AL All-Star has not been the same since injuring his shoulder after sliding back into second base. The 32-year-old had a 13-6 record with a 3.33 ERA last season in 156 2/3 innings pitched. Wright has allowed a league high 33 hits in 17 2/3 innings pitching this year, which shows his knuckle ball clearly isn’t back to its previous elite form. He told ESPN, “It’s just a matter getting everything back, the muscle memory back, and getting back to where I was before the injury”. Clearly Wright is not fully recovered from his injury, and if he fails to find his release point, he will continue to relinquish hit after hit. It’s only a matter of time until David Price returns for the Red Sox, which may push Wright to a middle reliever roll for the remainder of the year.
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