Fantasy baseball analyst Dalton Del Don examines Thursday night's MLB action and highlights some interesting performances.
The Rays have another fantasy ace
Shane McClanahan picked up his second win of the season during another strong performance Thursday, pitching into the sixth inning before running into trouble against a Seattle offense that’s been among the best lineups so far this season. McClanahan entered ranked No. 3 in K-BB percentage, just ahead of Corbin Burnes and Max Scherzer. More wins would be nice, but McClanahan is up to 47 strikeouts over 32.1 innings with a 0.99 WHIP. He’s quickly developed into a true ace and looks like a top-five fantasy starter moving forward.
Are we witnessing the Yelich comeback?
Christian Yelich went deep and stole a base Thursday, and he’s raised his OPS more than 100 points over the last two games. While he still hits a lot of grounders, Yelich’s FB% this year is back to his 2019 range, when he finished with 44 homers. His Hard Hit% is in the top 4% of the league, and he’s somehow batting just .226 against righties (compared to .296 versus lefties).
Moreover, the ball is carrying in Milwaukee better than any park in baseball so far, leading MLB in HR/Barrel while easily being the most favorable place for homers early in 2022. Yelich may soon go on a tear.
Maybe there's still hope for Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers finally homered for the first time this season Thursday, and he’s available in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues thanks to a dreadful start to the season. His .149/.216/.239 line is among the very worst in the league, but Rodgers is a former top-three pick with a strong minor league history who calls Colorado home. While the rest of baseball is batting .232 collectively this season, the league batting average in Coors Field is .282.
More news and notes from Thursday
• Jesse Winker also hit his first home run of the season Thursday, which is a bit off last season’s pace when he had 24 HR over just 423 ABs. Everyone expected a drop in production after Winker left hitter-friendly Cincinnati for Seattle, but it’s been extreme. Still, despite his homerless April and ugly .577 OPS right now, there’s reason for optimism moving forward. Winker has walked more (18) than he’s struck out (14) this season, and his batting average (.189) is well below his expected BA (.326).
• Steven Kwan was yet another hitter who smacked his first HR of the season Thursday night, which is surprising given his 1.089 OPS over his first 51 plate appearances. He’s posted a .605 OPS since.
• Ryan Pressly blew a save during his return Thursday night but ultimately picked up a win. Returning from a knee injury, Pressly averaged 93.4 mph on his fastball; he entered averaging 95.4. Rafael Montero should be held in fantasy leagues in which saves are competitive.
• Jake McGee was roughed up again Thursday and has allowed six runs over his last two appearances (1.2 innings). He now sports an ugly 8.64 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP with a 4:4 K:BB ratio over 8.1 innings this season. McGee is behind Camilo Doval (and now maybe Tyler Rogers as well) for saves in San Francisco’s pen and looks droppable in fantasy leagues.