This is the weekly Fantasy Roundtable, where the writers of Rotoworld Baseball let the readers of Rotoworld Baseball in on a quick staff discussion. It's water cooler talk ... that we've decided to publish. Look for it every Tuesday.
Drew Silva: I'm going to throw out the names of some younger, mostly-unproven players who are off to hot starts and I want you to tell me who you think is most likely to stay fantasy relevant. And who is least likely to stay fantasy relevant. Devon Travis? Jake Marisnick? Jose Iglesias? Trevor Bauer? DJ LeMahieu? Anthony DeSclafani? Carlos Martinez? Archie Bradley? If some other names come to mind for either side of this query, let's hear 'em.
Editor's Note: Think you have what it takes to beat Rotoworld expert Matthew Pouliot in one-day fantasy baseball? Compete against him for real cash tonight! Enter now for $2
D.J. Short: As for who is most likely to stay fantasy relevant, I'll take my chances with Devon Travis. I was a little uncertain about how Toronto's second base situation would shake out at the start of spring training, but the 24-year-old rookie has run away with the opportunity by hitting .359 with six home runs and 18 RBI across his first 19 games. His BABIP is pushing .380, so I wouldn't expect him to continue producing at this insanely high clip for the long haul, but he had 10 homers and 16 steals over 100 games in Double-A last season and 16 homers and 22 steals in 132 games between A-ball and High-A in 2013. Hitting near the top of Toronto's lineup in a hitter-friendly home ballpark should help his chances.
The jury is still out on a number of these guys, but I'm not sure I see the upside with Iglesias in mixed leagues. He hit .303 in 2013 and might be one of those players who sports an unusually high BABIP, but it's currently well north of .400 right now. That's just not going to hold over a full season. We know he doesn't have much power. And while he has five steals so far, he's not exactly known for his speed. I expect his ownership number to decrease as his batting average inevitably comes back down to Earth. With his excellent defense, he's a more valuable player in real life than he is in fantasy.
Ryan Boyer: I'll concur with D.J. that Travis is going to retain mixed league value all season. Some scouts had seemed skeptical of the 24-year-old, but he always hit in the minors and is in a great situation in that ballpark and with that lineup around him. Another guy you listed that I'm absolutely "holding" on is Carlos Martinez. He's really looked fantastic in his three starts so far, showing three plus pitches and improved efficiency. Martinez has had some issues with left-handed batters in the past, but his changeup looks like a real weapon right now. The only bugaboo with Martinez is that the Cardinals will be careful with his innings this season, but that's not enough to convince me to "sell" him after his hot start.
A guy who I'm a bit skeptical of right now is Archie Bradley. The stuff is obviously there, and I think in time he has a chance to develop into an ace. But, that 12/11 K/BB ratio over 18 2/3 innings is ugly and it's not as if control problems are anything new for him. The 22-year-old had a 5.3 BB/9 ratio in the minors last season and a 4.9 mark for his career on the farm. That's going to catch up to him, especially in his hitter-friendly home park. In redraft leagues I think it might be wise to see what you can get for him in a trade.
Matthew Pouliot: Give me Trevor Bauer and Carlos Martinez as keepers, though I do imagine Martinez will get some sort of break this summer to keep him from racking up 180-200 innings pitched. Bauer’s sliders have turned into big-time weapons, and the 26 strikeouts over 19 innings don’t look like any sort of fluke.
I’m not as sold on Travis as my compadres, but hitting second in a very good lineup, for however long it lasts, really adds to his cause. For a true fluke, the Rangers’ Nick Martinez stands out, with his 0.35 ERA after four starts. I didn’t think much of him last year, and his velocity has actually dipped from 91.2 mph as a rookie to 89.6 mph so far this year, according to PITCHf/x data. He’s struck out just 11 in 26 innings and he’s not even a groundball pitcher, so how he’s getting it done is one of the biggest mysteries of the season to date.
You can follow these @Rotoworld_BB writers on Twitter: @drewsilv, @djshort, @ryanpboyer, @matthewpouliot.