Whit Merrifield Among Players Getting Hot After Slow Start
Patience is a virtue, and it is also a strategy.
Fantasy Baseball is a game of endurance.
You may have heard it said before that fantasy baseball is a marathon and not a sprint. With 162 games, there is plenty of time for players to streak hot or cold and still be exactly the players they planned to be.
It only hurts more when you go out the gate.
Can stud players suddenly get cold and fall? Sure. But more often than not, the players you drafted in the early stages will go back to what they meant when they were a slow start.
Where are the bats?
There was a remarkable shortage of violations in the first month of this period. As of May 16, the league overall was just .234. During the month of April, teams averaged 4.03 runs per game, up from 4.26 in March/April 2021. This is especially worrying because the addition of DH to the NL seems to focus on a number of violations, not a few. .
So, what’s up? Weather can be a factor, as balls fly easily in warmer weather. There have also been discussions over whether the new ball is a factor, with humidors being installed at all 30 major ballparks in the league. We also can’t discount the abbreviated spring training after the lockout. It may take a while for players to get back in action.
It looks like the tide is starting again this week. This season, 276 games are below their expected total run, while 242 have already passed. Last week, 53 games were over compared to 42 hit under.
Here are five players who started out slow but eventually started to cook. It’s possible they were dropped by an impatient manager in your league, so look at your waiver wire.
Whit Merrifield (2B), KC
Merrifield stole 40 bases last year, while contributing 97 runs, 10 home runs and a .277 batting average.
Last Monday, Merrifield hit a sad .135 with no home runs and only six runs to score. The managers were rightly concerned and this was not what they expected from their third-round draft pick.
However, last week, Merrifield homered twice, scored seven runs, stole two bases and hit .323. More like that.
Yuli Gurriel (1B), HOU
Last year’s AL batting champ got off to a poor start, heading into last week’s batting .196 with zero home runs and just six runs scored. Gurriel, a career .292 hitter from a season that hit .319, is underperforming and managers are starting to think: Is the 37-year-old first baseman finally past his prime?
Then last week happened. Gurriel hit .476 via two home runs and a stolen base on 21 at-bat last week. Meanwhile, the Astros have won 12 of their last 13.
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A batting champ doesn’t lose everything all night. He may not have much power, but you can expect the batting average to return to his career numbers. The hot consecutive week raised his season batting average to .248, which is above the league average. Gurriel is still in 40% of the leagues.
Brendan Rodgers (2B), COL
During the month of April, Rodgers hit .078. No, that’s not a typo. He hit under .100 with three runs earned, and an RBI.
Aw, Brendan Rodgers had a 7-for-14 week with three doubles and a home run.
For the month of May, Rodgers hit .370. His home ballpark is Colorado – the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the league – and he is now at 40% in the fantasy baseball league, due to a loss of patience from managers in April.
Justin Turner (3B), LAD
there Justin Turner finally turned the corner?
On the season, Turner averaged .205 with two homers and 23 RBIs.
A home run and 10 of those RBIs have come in the last six games, while he also hit .320.
Turner can still do exactly what you drafted for him: A .275 hitter with 25 home runs.
Jorge Soler (OF), MIA
The reigning World Series MVP came in this week with a .175 batting average and four home runs.
Last week, Soler hit .261 and added three more home runs to bring his season batting average to .188 with seven long balls.
Soler is hot and cold, but we’ve seen him continue the hot streaks in the past. Soler is on track which is exactly what you drafted for him – a 30-plus home run hitter who hits .240. As the weather gets hotter, so does Soler.
It’s a long 162 game time, so make sure your studs are patient. Of course there is a balance between patience and waiting too long to move on, but in today’s painful environment, I leave my studs with little grace. Marcus Semien, Joey Votto and Trevor Story are the three guys that pop into my mind that I believe will come out in their fall soon. In the meantime, they may need to ride the fine, but think twice before you drop or sell it. At the end of the season, they can still be the player you expected them to be.
Patience is a virtue that will serve you very well in this tall, beautiful fantasy baseball game.
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