Fantasy Baseball: These 16 players aren't just off to hot starts, judging by their numbers over the last 365 days
Just how legitimate are these players' 2018 numbers? A look at the last 365 days paints a more favorable picture, according to Scott White.
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Full-season statistics count for more than partial-season statistics, right? Not only is it a larger sample, but it incorporates all of a player's peaks and valleys so you're not just seeing his best or worst over a specified period of time.
But the endpoints are still fairly arbitrary. Changes happen midseason, after all, and often times we only find out they were genuine the next season. Still, it's easy to lose sight of when exactly this newer form of a player takes root, which is why I find it helpful sometimes to change the endpoints. A 162-game period doesn't have to be confined to a calendar year, after all. Instead, I simply look at the last 365 days.
It's not a traditional form of analysis, and it's hardly the most sophisticated form of analysis. But it's straightforward, revelatory in its own way and dare I say fun.
Fun with numbers? Imagine that.
The last 365 days suggest that these players' 2018 numbers, as wild as they may seem, are more or less legitimate. And in each case, that should make Fantasy owners pretty darn happy.
2018 pace: .315 BA, 51 HR, 135 RBI, 1.023 OPS
Last 365: .310 BA, 55 HR, 133 RBI, 1.040 OPS
Yeah, he's been hot lately, if by "lately" you mean the last year. A healthy J.D. Martinez is a 50-homer guy, and the only player with a better OPS during over the last 365 days is the incomparable Mike Trout.
2018 pace: 1.24 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 231 1/3, 10.7 K/9
Last 365: 2.20 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 225 1/3, 10.4 K/9
A 1.24 ERA just isn't sustainable, and anyone expecting Justin Verlander to be that good all season is living another kind of fantasy. But the point here is to show how the Astros have transformed him back into a Scherzer-level super-ace, avoiding the early-season woes that sidetracked him so often with the Tigers. The only starting pitcher with a lower ERA over the last 365 days is Corey Kluber at 1.80.
2018 pace: .299 BA, 50 HR, 50 2B, 20 SB, 1.021 OPS
Last 365: .321 BA, 40 HR, 62 2B, 18 SB, 1.022 OPS
Of course a 100 extra base-hit pace is too good to be true ... except when it isn't. Whenever we think Jose Ramirez is performing over his head, he somehow finds a way to get better, and it's frankly getting a little scary. I'm not sure he isn't the second-best player in Fantasy at this point.
2018 pace: .276 BA, 46 HR, 119 RBI, 122 R, .963 OPS
Last 365: .272 BA, 50 HR, 114 RBI, 127 R, 1.008 OPS
The 365-day numbers are notable mostly because of Aaron Judge's post All-Star slump last year that stuck him with a .228 batting average for the second half. The fact he has fourth-best OPS even counting that stretch cements him as one of the game's elite hitters, doubters be darned.
2018 pace: .342 BA, 32 HR, 111 RBI, .948 OPS
Last 365: .315 BA, 36 HR, 120 RBI, .917 OPS
2018 pace: 2.36 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, 10.4 K/9
Last 365: 3.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 9.5 K/9
True, the 2018 Blake Snell has been a little better than the 365-day version. But both are ace-caliber, and it's clear that getting his walk rate below four per nine — well below, as a matter of fact — has made a world of difference for the left-hander.
2018 pace: .317 BA, 38 HR, 44 2B, 15 SB, .926 OPS
Last 365: .307 BA, 35 HR, 40 2B, 13 SB, .902 OPS
It became clear to me early in draft prep season that not every analyst bought into Eddie Rosario's stud turn midway through 2017, with many ranking him 20 spots lower than I did. But who's doubting it now?
2018 pace: 3.39 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 186 IP, 6.5 K/9
Last 365: 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 185 2/3 IP, 7.1 K/9
Yeah ... I'm still not buying this one. Jhoulys Chacin isn't a strikeout pitcher — or a control pitcher — or a ground-ball pitcher — so I don't know how he sustains a respectable ERA, much less a top-20 mark. Especially when he plays half his games in a hitter's park. But in fairness to this exercise, he has sustained it — with a full workload, no less — for a full calendar year now.
2018 pace: 2.77 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, 11.2 K/9
Last 365: 3.10 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, 10.0 K/9
The uptick in strikeouts for Trevor Bauer late last year was one of then-pitching coach Mickey Callaway's parting gifts. The difference in WHIP mostly has to do with BABIP luck, with this year's being a fairer estimate.
2018 pace: 2.84 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 11.3 K/9
Last 365: 3.11 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
The only question for Charlie Morton now is if he can stay healthy for six months. He threw 146 2/3 innings last season, and even over the last 365 days he's at just 162.
2018 pace: 2.99 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 209 1/3 IP, 11.7 K/9
Last 365: 3.17 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 198 2/3 IP, 10.1 K/9
A recent dip in velocity (at least on his fastball, which is a secondary pitch for him) has brought Patrick Corbin's numbers down to earth a little, but you can see his turn toward greatness actually began last year. Getting his 365-day numbers over a full season would still be a major victory.
2018 pace: .262 BA, 32 HR, 474 AB, .902 OPS
Last 365: .252 BA, 32 HR, 405 AB, .896 OPS
It was about this time last year that people started to call Kyle Schwarber a bust who the Cubs should have traded when they had the chance, but clearly he's back on track and has been for a while now. His less-than-everyday role limits his utility in Fantasy, but with that sort of OPS potential, I suspect he'll still be an early-round pick someday.
2018 pace: .309 BA, 27 HR, 402 AB, .942 OPS
Last 365: .283 BA, 21 HR, 325 AB, .874 OPS
Jesus Aguilar developed a reputation as a lefty masher last year even though he had a respectable .804 OPS against righties. A rash of injuries has gotten him plenty of at-bats vs. righties lately, and he's batting .316 with a .913 OPS against them this year. How can the Brewers bench him when Eric Thames returns?
2018 pace: .258 BA, 25 HR, 36 2B, .855 OPS
Last 365: .261 BA, 34 HR, 35 2B, .869 OPS
Justin Smoak has traded off some homers for walks this year, but by either measure, he's a player worth starting, which wasn't so obvious when he slumped to a .241 batting average in the second half last year. Obviously, that stretch forms a sizable portion of his 365-day line.
2018 pace: .305 BA, 20 HR, 34 2B, .838 OPS
Last 365: .312 BA, 18 HR, 40 2B, .863 OPS
Those who believe Odubel Herrera has played over his head this year should take note of just how bad he was early in 2017. That was the aberration, according to his 365-day line.
2018 pace: .292 BA, 28 HR, 43 2B, .842 OPS
Last 365: .293 BA, 21 HR, 39 2B, .833 OPS
I've continually expressed skepticism for Asdrubal Cabrera this year, but a lackluster May brought his 2018 line down to something that appears more sustainable. And honestly, improved RBI and run paces may be having the most say in how differently we regard him this year.
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