2014 NFL Draft: Post-draft analysis and rankings
Now that the 2014 NFL Draft is over, it's time to update our 2014 rookie position rankings. Our fantasy football writers were all over the draft and here are a few articles addressing the fantasy impact of round 1 of the draft, the winners and losers from round 1, and our post-draft position rankings.
Yangervis Solarte: Leading the AL in hitting
I have to tell you, I had never heard of Yangervis Solarte before this season, but he is making a name for himself as he is filling in nicely at third base for the Yankees. Actually, he is hitting better than any other American League hitter right now. Solarte is hitting .336-.414-.521 with 4 home runs, 17 runs scored and 23 RBI in 140 plate appearances thus far. He is benefitting from a .353 batting average of balls in play, which is much higher than his career BABIP, so expect some regression here as he gets more and more plate appearances.
Not only does he lead the AL in hitting, but he ranks 5th with a .935 OPS and 6th with a .521 OPS, which is quite surprising. The fact that a .521 OPS ranks sixth in the American League smacks you right in the face telling you that power and run scoring are down....big time.
The question for fantasy owners is what to expect from him going forward. I don't see him continuing to hit like this going forward. As stated, his BABIP will regress from here, so the batting average and on base percentage will drop. With that said, Solarte has shown a solid eye at the plate this season, walking (12.1%) more than he has struck out (11.4%), and his line drive rate (22.6%) is at a level where he should hit for a decent average. I am thinking in the .275-.285 range.
For more about Solarte and the Yankees, check out Pinstripe Alley, SB Nation's Yankees site.
Billy Hamilton is coming around
Coming into the season, Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton was getting more love, and hype, than most hitting prospects, mainly due to his one skill: his speed. He has the speed to lead the majors in stolen bases in any season he can remain healthy.
After going 2-8 with a walk, a run scored and two stolen bases in the Reds double header split with the Padres, he is hitting .259-.300-.375 with a home run, 17 runs scored, 6 RBI, and 14 stolen bases in 19 attempts. He has struck out 19 times, while walking six time in his 112 at bats, so the walk rate could certainly improve.
Since beginning the season 2-26, Hamilton is hitting .314 (27 for 86) with a 12-6 strikeout to walk rate and 14 stolen bases, so he is quietly raising his batting average to very respectable levels. After his first week of the season, some, including moi, were wondering if he would end up getting sent back down to the minors. This just goes to show you that you should not place too much stock into early season slumps. It appears Hamilton is getting more and more comfortable at the plate, and that could trouble for opposing pitchers and catchers.
For more on Hamilton and the Reds, check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.
Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks was not ranked in our Top 25 second baseman in the preseason as Scooter Gennett was the favorite to start for the Brewers this season. Gennett has performed well this season, but Weeks has taken advantage of his at bats vs left-handed starters this season. Yesterday, Weeks went 3-4 with a double, a home run and an RBI in the Brewers 4-3 come from behind win over the Pirates. Weeks raised his slash line to .365-.421-.481 with a home run, 7 runs scored and 5 RBI in 52 at bats, and is 12-19 over his last seven games.
Hamilton's teammate Johnny Cueto has been the best pitcher in baseball this season, and that continued on Thursday afternoon. He threw his second complete game shutout of the season in the first game of the Reds double header with the Padres, limiting the Padres to just three hits and two walks while striking out eight. He moved his record to 4-2 with a 1.25 ERA, A 0.71 WHIP, and a 76-18 strikeout to walk rate in 72 innings. He has given up two runs or less in and has gone seven innings or more in all nine starts this season. He currently leads the National League in innings pitches, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and complete games.
The Twins signed former Yankee starter Phil Hughes to shore up their starting rotation this offseason, but probably went un-drafted in a lot of leagues on draft day. Well, Hughes is showing that the move to Minnesota was the right move for his career, as he is pitching very well so far in 2014. Hughes limited the Red Sox to one run on five hits, no walks and eight strikeouts in six innings in the Twins 4-3 win in extra innings. Hughes did not factor in the decision, but is now 4-1 with a 3.61 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and a Cliff-Lee-like strikeout to walk rate of 40-6 in 47.1 innings thus far. Hughes is available in more than 90% of leagues right now, so don't be afraid to grab him off the waiver wire if you need a starting pitcher.
The Yankees didn't have to worry about who their closer would be while Mariano Rivera was still wearing pinstripes as he was the best in the game. David Robertson has replaced him and pitched very well in the role, saving seven games with a 12-2 strikeout to walk rate in 10.1 innings this season. But, should he falter and lose the closer role, the Yankees might have one of the best set up men in the game right now, and his name is Dellin Betances. Betances tossed 2.1 shutout innings last night, striking out six of the seven batters he faced to earn his second win of the season. He is 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and an excellent 39-9 strikeout to walk rate in 22.1 innings this season. He has struck out 39 of the 87 hitters he has faced thus far.
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