There’s still another month of baseball to be played before 2016 is officially put in the books, but the cold winter months are feeling closer than ever. The mornings feel brisk, leaves are falling from trees and 20 of MLB’s 30 teams will soon be forced to watch the postseason from their respective couches.
Instead of focusing more on young players who took a huge step back this season, we’ll shift to those who used 2016 to show the tremendous progress in their development. The following five ballplayers put together the type of performance that will make their respective teams depend on them heavily to either repeat or continue growing in 2017.
DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Colorado Rockies
It’s been amazing to watch this transformation over the past three seasons. In 2014, LeMahieu won a Gold Glove award, but his offense mostly revolved around hitting singles. His average jumped in 2015 along with a slight bump in power, but he’s come into his own as a 27-year-old this season.
Now, he’s in command of the National League batting race with a few games to go and is slugging nearly .500. Check out the three-year progression in his triple slash:
Below you can find the two start pitchers for week five (5/2-5/8) and their match-ups. If you have any questions or comments about this article or fantasy baseball, please Tweet me @dynasty_digest. If you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog for more updates!
- Matt Harvey (vs. ATL/ @ SD)
- Dallas Keuchel (vs. MIN/ vs. SEA)
Jake Arrieta (@ PIT/ vs. WAS)
Johnny Cueto (@ CIN/ vs. COL)
Gerrit Cole (vs. CHC/ @ STL)
To see the rest of the rankings, click the link below:
P- Jon Gray (vs. San Diego Padres): $7,900. This is a pretty risky play on Monday, but many factors point towards Gray having a big game. Gray struggled in his first two starts this season, but they have been against two very tough teams, the Pirates and Dodgers, and they were played at Coors Field. Coors Field has not been kind to Gray in his 7 career starts at home. In those starts, he has thrown 29.1 innings, with a 9.20 ERA, 52 hits against, 9 walks, and 29 strikeouts. In 4 career starts on the road, he has thrown 20 innings, with a 2.70 ERA, 16 hits, 8 walks, and 25 strikeouts. Luckily, Gray will be on the road on Monday. Not only will he be on the road, but he is pitching at a pitcher’s park in San Diego against a mediocre offense. In his only career start versus the Padres, he threw 5 innings, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Gray’s impressive career strikeout rate (9.5 strikeouts per 9 innings), success on the road, and favorable matchup all point to a great performance on Monday.
P- Johnny Cueto (vs. Cincinnati Reds): $10,800. This start is going to be an emotional one for Cueto. He will be returning to Cincinnati for the first time since he was traded. He played 8 years in Cincinnati, so the fans will be behind him and I’m sure he wants to put on a show. Not only will his emotions play a factor, but he is facing one of the worst offenses in Major League Baseball. The Reds are ranked as the 28th overall offense, which is clearly a huge advantage for Cueto. In Cueto’s first 5 starts in 2016, he is 4-1, with a 2.65 ERA, 33 strikeouts, and only 5 walks. In his 98 career starts at Cincinnati’s home stadium, he has a 48-22 record, and a 2.91 ERA. All signs point to a huge day for Cueto on Monday. He is averaging 25 points per game on Draft Kings this season.
To see the rest of the picks, click the link below: