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Can you be less than two weeks into the baseball season and already feel you were dead wrong about a player's fantasy value?
That's how I'm feeling about Mookie Betts, 2B/OF, BOS. I had him ranked 15th among 2Bs in the preseason. Though I admitted at that point I might be undervaluing him, what I mostly saw was a guy who wouldn't play second much with veteran Dustin Pedroia locked into that position in Boston, and someone who was maybe the fourth or fifth man in the outfield for the Red Sox.
Betts is not by a long shot the best fantasy value overall in the early going, but his two HRs, six RBI and two SBs make him the third- or fourth-ranked 2B in many leagues. So, anyone who bet on Betts appears to have gotten a bargain.
Contrast Betts' performance thus far with another middle infielder I was much more excited about: Ian Desmond, SS, WAS. At last check, he had zero HRs, one lonely RBI and zero SBs, while opening the season 3-for-26. I had him ranked as my No. 1 SS, and for good reason. He has excelled the last two years as a power hitter with speed, at a position that is very shallow in fantasy value.
And this is the part where I say, or we all should say, that it's still so early in the season. The fact is that almost all of Betts' offensive production came in just two games, and it will be interesting to see what happens as he approaches 200 at-bats, a figure he didn't reach last year. Meanwhile, hitters like Desmond often warm up with the weather. In six seasons, his OPS marks for April and May were lower than for the rest of the season.
It's tough to be patient as a fantasy team owner when your squad starts the season with a couple of very poor weeks, but fantasy baseball is a long game. We don't know how bad or good we are just yet.
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade sizes up the fast start of Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD. Gonzalez is a guy I've never been terribly excited about even though he's always among the top six or seven at his position. He's been at times too streaky for my tastes, and despite his reputation as a power hitter, he has rarely surpassed the 30 HR mark - 1B is a position where for fantasy purposes you want to see at least 30 HRs. Still, he has five HRs already, and it's the second season in a row he has started off quickly in the power department.
* Sporting News has some advice on how to be a trend-spotter. It's one of the most basic things you need to do to field an above-average fantasy baseball team, but not everyone does it, even though the numbers are right there in front of us all. If you study the numbers, and take note of who's on a hot streak, the biggest question becomes when to act.
* CBSSports.com has a bit on the new came-out-of-nowhere fantasy find, Mark Canha, OF, OAK. Canha was not even slated to get much playing time, but has already earned 30 at-bats by hitting .367 with one HR and seven RBI. So, a trend-spotter might say there's every reason to take a chance on Canha right now. Yes, it's early, but he's already hit his way into a bigger opportunity.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.
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