Put your money on Mookie Betts
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts received all kinds of love from the fantasy industry and others this offseason, and he didn't come cheap on draft day. After a slow start to the 2015 season, Betts showed off all of his skills on Monday, robbing Bryce Harper of a home run, and going 2-4 with home run, scoring two runs, driving in four and stealing two bases in the Red Sox 9-4 win over Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals.
After six games, he is now hitting .233-.294-.467 with 2 home runs, 4 runs scored, 6 RBI and 2 stolen bases. The ZiPS projection system expect him to hit .261-.328-.403 with 14 home runs, 86 runs scored, 64 RBI and 28 stolen bases this season. If he can meet those expectations, he will have earned his high draft day ADP/auction price, but there will probably be some slumps and hiccups during the season as well.
For more on Betts and the Red Sox, make sure you check out Over the Monster, SB Nation's Red Sox fan site.
Pirates near-ace Gerrit Cole took the mound on Monday afternoon to face the hottest team in the first week of the season, the Detroit Tigers. They entered the game hitting .355-.433-.550, scoring 47 runs in six games and a +30 run differential, so Cole had a tall task. One would think Cole would struggle against Miguel Cabrera and the rest of the Tigers lineup, but he had other plans.
Cole limited the Tigers to one run on 3 hits, two walks and struck out 8 to win his first game of the season. After struggling in his first start of the year, Cole bounced back against the Tigers and I think he could be a dark horse for the National League Cy Young award this season. He will have to stay healthy all season though, something he could not do last season.
Another starter who could challenge for the National League Cy Young award this season is Nationals ace Jordan Zimmermann. He has some work to do after his performance on Monday afternoon in Fenway Park, as he put up a disastrous start, giving up 8 runs, 7 of which were earned, on 9 hits, a walk and a home run to Mookie Betts in just 2.1 innings. The loss moved his record to 1-1 with a 8.64 ERA, 1.80 WHIP and a 4-1 strikeout to walk rate in 8.1 innings. After a quality start in his first start of the season, Zimmermann will have to bounce back after his blow up yesterday.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera had his worst power season of his career in 2014, and some, including me, questioned how healthy he would be to begin the season after offseason foot surgery. Well, he has silenced me and his other critics in the first week of the season. Yesterday, he showed us why he is still the best hitter in the game, going 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI in the Tigers 5-4 loss to the Pirates. On the season, Miggy is hitting .517-.576-.828 with 2 home runs, 6 runs scored and 9 RBI, with 15 hits in 29 at bats. It appears Miggy is motivated to show us that last season's power disappointment was a one year aberration.
Like Cole, Rays young starter Jake Odorizzi faced a tough task on Monday night, having to go on the road to face the Blue Jays in the Rogers Centre. Odorizzi is a fly ball pitcher and was facing a lineup that included power hitters Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson so it was probably a good idea to include a few Blue Jays in your Fan Duel lineup yesterday, but Odorizzi defied the odds, limiting the Blue Jays to one run on 2 hits, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts in 8 innings to earn his second win of the season. He induced 13 ground ball outs vs 8 fly ball outs. Odorizzi has given up just seven base runners in his first two starts of the season, going 2-0 with a 0.61 ERA and a 0.48 WHIP. He won't be this dominant all season, but he is certainly a candidate to break out thiss season.
I can't figure out Cubs manager Joe Maddon's lineups, as he has been batting shortstop Starlin Castro in the cleanup or fifth spot in the lineup, and power hitters Jorge Soler and Anthony Rizzo in the second and third spots. I assume he wants his best hitters hitting at the top of the lineup, which makes sense, but I think Castro is their best hitter. Anyway, where does he bat Kris Bryant once he is called up? By the way, Bryant has hit two home runs in his first four games in AAA.
After batting Soler in the second spot in the lineup last week, Maddon dropped him to the third spot last night and let's just say Soler seems to like it there. He went 3-5 with 2 home runs and 4 RBI vs Jon Lester and the Cubs. Soler is now hitting .304-.320-.652 with 2 home runs, 3 runs scored and 6 RBI. Soler has big time power, but little plate discipline. That said, he has the power to approach 25-30 home runs this season.
If you are looking for more fantasy advice, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown for all your fantasy baseball and football needs.