Fantasy Baseball's biggest difference maker over season's first month

Talking Ryan Zimmerman’s scorching start and a look around the rest of the league (Getty Images)
Mostly MLB Notes: Talking Ryan Zimmerman and a look around the league

Ryan Zimmerman was once thought of as a surefire future superstar, but injuries and later a lack of performance made him mostly an afterthought at draft tables entering 2017. One month into the season, he’s batting .420/.458/.886. His 11 homers are tied for the MLB lead while his 29 RBI rank first by himself (the top-three leaders in RBI right now all play for the Nationals). It’s a pretty remarkable turnaround for a 32-year-old who posted a .642 OPS over 427 at bats last season. Zimmerman remains an injury risk, but it sure helps batting in the middle of a lineup that’s scored nearly 30 more runs than the second closest team in baseball.

Zimmerman’s average exit velocity ranks top-10 in MLB, so this start hasn’t been some crazy fluke (he also leads baseball in “Barrels,” if that’s your sort of thing). His ridiculous start is obviously unsustainable, but the key here is maybe Zimmerman is finally feeling healthier than he has in some time, and he’s in such a terrific situation as well. Considering his ADP, he’s easily been the biggest difference maker for fantasy owners through the first month of the season.

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Quick Hits: Scott Schebler now owns an .828 OPS with 18 homers over 315 career at bats against right-handers. He’s still available in more than half of Yahoo leagues…Tyler Glasnow no doubt still has a bright future, but it’s been ugly this season, as he has 13 walks over 14.2 innings. His WHIP (2.45) is astoundingly bad…Bryce Harper set the MLB record for runs scored in April with 32…Matt Wieters somewhat quietly sports a .934 OPS and has nearly as many walks (11) as strikeouts (13). Maybe year nine in the league is when that breakout everyone once expected finally happens. Catcher has been as big of a dumpster fire as ever this season, yet he’s still available in a quarter of Yahoo leagues…The Diamondbacks have recorded 32 stolen bases this season. The Rockies have four…Here’s a two-run sacrifice fly.

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Quick Hits Part Deux: On April 29, Caleb Joseph recorded his first RBI since September 11, 2015. He then recorded another RBI his very next game…Austin Hedges is on pace to hit 36 homers and score 54 runs…Freddie Freeman is on pace to hit 61 homers and record 95 RBI…Fernando Rodney is on pace to finish with 36 saves with a 12.60 ERA…Ryan Schimpf is on pace to hit 36 homers while batting .149…Noah Syndergaard owners were already frustrated, as he had just one win this season despite a dominant 32:2 K:BB ratio over 27.1 innings. But what a brutal blow now. Frustrating he refused to get an MRI…Ervin Santana is currently the No. 2 ranked pitcher in Yahoo leagues. Count me as one who didn’t see that coming…This Kendall Graveman unassisted double play was legitNick Castellanos has the second-highest LD% (31.4) and the highest Hard% (57.1) in MLB, so he’s something of a buy-low target right now.

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Quick Hits Part Tres: Ivan Nova has issued one walk over 36.0 innings this season, and it came against Jordan Montgomery, an American League pitcher making his first career at bat. Even with a modest K rate, Nova has to be treated as a top-20 fantasy starter moving forward…Dallas Keuchel has gone from Cy Young winner two years ago to posting a 4.55 ERA last season to currently being the No. 1 fantasy pitcher so far in 2017. Quite the roller coaster…It’s crazy Bud Norris is still available in more than 40 percent of Yahoo leagues. Go add him please…I mostly wrote off Corey Dickerson after he left Coors Field, but he’s bounced back in a big way so far this year, as he’s sporting a .326/.380/.620 line. He’s also available in around 40 percent of leagues…Joey Gallo’s strikeouts remain a major issue, but if he keeps taking walks and slugging .530, he’s going to remain in Texas’ lineup even after Adrian Beltre returns. He should produce Chris Davis type value moving forward (and he too is available in 40 percent of leagues)…If a draft were held today, I’d draft Eric Thames in the late first round.

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