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Fantasy Baseball Today

Breakout or fakeout? Infielders edition

By R.J. White | CBSSports.com

Jerry Jones reiterates that he will continue to be the GM. (USATSI)
Mark Trumbo has been a top offensive player in the first week, but will it continue? (USATSI)

Each team has played at least a handful of games, which makes this the perfect time to read way too much into the surprise hot performers of the season. The key to winning fantasy leagues will be separating the breakouts from the fakeouts.

Diamondbacks outfielder Mark Trumbo -- who holds down a 1B or CI spot in many leagues -- has been one of the best hitters in the game over the first week, hitting three home runs and turning in four multihit efforts in his first seven games, including the team's two in Australia. The temptation is there to sell high on Trumbo after his hot start, knowing that the average is going to come down, perhaps significantly, in the near future. However, his power is real, and the favorable home park makes him a pretty good pick to lead the league in home runs. Don't trade him away for a small perceived profit, as he has the potential to outperform preseason expectations by a large margin in what could be a breakout season. Let's move on to a few players who are less universally owned in fantasy leagues.

Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee has jumped up in ownership with a big first week that includes 10 RBI and seven hits in 16 at-bats. He does have a couple quality offensive seasons from his time with the Brewers, but those came four and five seasons ago. Two years ago he struggled at the plate while splitting time between two teams. Last year he hit .292 with 29 home runs, but that nice performance came in Japan. I remain skeptical he was able to correct his issues with a season overseas, and his fantastic first week will likely reveal itself as a fakeout before long. Expect an average around .250 and 10-15 home runs over the rest of the season. Speaking of hot Marlins ...

Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria opened the season 11 for 19 with six runs and one stolen base over his first five games. The playing time is there for Hechavarria to get every chance to contribute, but outside of the random hot streak like the one he's enjoyed thus far, he's not going to give fantasy owners much help in any categories over the long haul. You can probable add a few points onto his .227 batting average of last season, but don't expect much in the way of home runs or steals (three and 11 in 2013, respectively). He's a clear fakeout in the first week, one that I don't expect fantasy owners to buy.

Cubs utilityman Emilio Bonifacio posted his fourth multihit effort in five games on Saturday, and he's an unfathomable 13 for 24 with four stolen bases this season. While he's not going to chase the mythical .400 average, there is profit potential in fantasy leagues. Before his struggles last season, Bonifacio had shown the ability to post solid walk rates, and being able to draw walks is critical to keeping his stolen-base opportunities elevated. The Cubs certainly have the impetus to give him as much playing time as possible, as his ability to play three positions and tear up the basepaths makes him a quality trade chip, especially as the season drags on and players start to hit the disabled list. Expect him to play regularly, which makes him a first-half breakout candidate at the very least. Count on a .260 average and at least one or two steals a week, and he'll also have run potential if he can stick at the top of the lineup.

Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon won the battle for second base this spring, with Alex Guerrero beginning his stateside career at the Triple-A level. Gordon jumped out to a quick start, going 7 for 17 with three steals over his first five games. With no power to speak of, he's a player that needs an extremely high BABIP to deliver a high enough batting average to make his prodigious steal potential worth employing. So far, he's delivered just that, posting a .467 average on balls in play. That's not going to last, and with Guerrero figuring to eventually get a shot before too long, it's worth trying to shop Gordon while his numbers are shiny and he's still earning playing time. By the end of the season, his early numbers are going to be looked at as a fakeout. Wring as much value out of him now as you can.

Reds third baseman Todd Frazier has been a very useful player in the first week of the season, going 6 for 15 with two home runs and one stolen base in his first four games. His walk rate has improved over the last few years, and provided he isn't as unlucky with balls in play this season, he seems to me like a guy who can deliver enough production across the board in all five standard fantasy categories to finish as a top-10 fantasy third baseman. He has back-to-back 19-homer seasons to his credit, as well as the baserunning ability to steal 15 bases. Those numbers don't represent his ceiling either, as he can knock 25 homers with another 600 plate appearances this year. I'm calling for a breakout season for Frazier, and I'm perfectly comfortable with my pairing of him and Aramis Ramirez at the hot corner in my main league.

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