Fantasy Baseball: National League’s Biggest Surprises

Through two months of the 2018 season, not all has panned out as expected. Dr. Roto highlights each National League team's biggest Fantasy surprise!

Daily Dr. Roto — May 28, 2018

National League’s Biggest Surprises (Both Good and Bad) After the First Two Months of the Season

Arizona: Paul Goldschmidt — Here we are on Memorial Day and Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .201 with six HRs and 16 RBIs. Who would ever have thought this could happen to a first round pick? Even worse, is that the D’Backs have now moved him to number two in the batting order and nothing seems to be getting Goldy out of his funk. I normally would suggest trading for him because he’s too good a player to play like this, but at this point, is he really going to hit 30 HRs this season? I doubt it.

Atlanta: Ozzie Albies — I loved Albies coming into the season, but sadly I was not able to get him in any of my leagues. I originally saw him as a high batting average, good speed type of hitter, but his power thus far has been shocking (14 HRs to date). Will he finish upwards of 25 HRs? I’d be surprised, but it is possible.

Chicago: Yu Darvish — When I drafted Darvish at Tout Wars I thought I was getting a potential ace who would win me 15-18 games and get 200+ Ks. Right now, Darvish is a complete mess who is dealing with a right triceps injury. Will he ever be the same pitcher in 2018? I don’t think so. In fact, I think we might see a long DL stint from him before the year is over.

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Cincinnati: Tucker Barnhart — While I wouldn’t call him a great player, Barnhart has been surprising in that he’s solidified the Reds’ catching position. The team was even comfortable enough trading backup C Devin Mesoraco to the Mets to give Barnhart even more playing time. Barnhart is never going to be a big source of power, but he could hit .270+ with 50-60 RBIs which would be pretty special considering he was probably undrafted in most leagues.

Colorado: Trevor Story — I’d like to tell you that I’m surprised by Story, but I am not. I am surprised that more Fantasy owners did not expect that he would rebound from last season’s horrific numbers. Story is a free swinger who could easily hit 30 HRs this season (he plays half his game at Coors Field) and help in all categories outside of batting average.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Walker Buehler — When I had Ron Shandler on my radio show earlier this season, I asked him why he drafted Buehler even though Buehler was going to start the year in the minors. Shandler responded, “I like his skills and baseball is a long season, and he will be up soon enough and provide great numbers.” Ron was right. Buehler is a stud who has become the Dodgers SP2.

Miami: Lewis Brinson — I am really shocked by Brinson’s ineptitude thus far. He cannot seem to find any rhythm at the plate and is hitting .156 thus far this season. I am willing to give Brinson more time to figure himself out at the plate, but at this point, he is the epitome of why Fantasy owners should avoid overly hyped rookies.

Milwaukee: Josh Hader — Hader has been so good for the Brewers that he easily could be their top starter or closer. At this point, he is the NL’s version of a healthy Andrew Miller. I would love to see him in a more defined role as the season unfolds, but I would roster him no matter where he was on the Brewers staff.

New York Mets: Michael Conforto — In the preseason, I had no problem drafting Conforto thinking he would come back from his injury to continue his sweet-swinging ways for the Mets. But as of right now, Conforto has yet to get on a hot streak, and he has looked a bit overmatched at the plate. Perhaps he is not as good as he looked last season? I am not sure, but hopefully, he will turn it around soon.

Philadelphia: Nick Pivetta — I remember asking Adam Ronis what he thought about Pivetta at the back end of a Fantasy rotation in March. At the time, Ronis pointed to Pivetta’s strikeout numbers in 2017 as a precursor to his 2018 season. Ronis was right (as he usually is). Pivetta has become one of the top pitchers in the NL East. My only worry is whether the team will shut him down after about 185 innings.

Pittsburgh: Corey Dickerson — Admittedly, I was a bit worried when the Pirates traded Cole and McCutchen and brought in guys like Musgrove, Moran, and others. Corey Dickerson was also brought in after the Rays cut him and he’s been terrific playing every day in left field. Dickerson has proven that he can hit both RHP and LHP and is a mainstay in the middle of the team’s batting order.

San Diego: Christian Villanueva — When he was called up I saw Villanueva as little more than a stopgap until Fernando Tatis Jr. was ready for the majors. I might have been a little premature with that assessment. Villanueva has legitimate power and has played well enough to earn a significant role moving forward. I think he has a real chance at 30 HRs this season.

San Francisco: Brandon Belt — It seems like we’ve been waiting for the Brandon Belt breakout for years now. Well, it’s finally here in 2018 as Belt is hitting over .300 with 11 HRs and 31 RBIs. He’s on target to go about 30/90 this season, so long as he can stay off the DL.

St. Louis: Matt Carpenter — I was very down on Carpenter before the season thinking that his back injury was way worse than we had been hearing. As of right now, Carpenter is hitting only .206 with five HRs. I am not sure how long the Cardinals can keep his struggling bat in the lineup.

Washington: Juan Soto — I listed Soto here more for the fact that I never imagined that a 19-year-old would be this good and called up to the major leagues. This goes to show that it’s never a bad idea to take a chance late in drafts on talented rookies and hope for the best. Most of them don’t pan out, but those who do can really propel your team to a Fantasy championship.

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