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Fantasy Baseball Breakout Hitters Watch and Underachievers, Overachievers (Week 2)

Jarren Duran - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Prospects News

As I often do heading into the weekend, I like to take a look around the league and see who is showing signs of some meaningful trends. In this case, we're just one week into the season, so the "trends" should probably be considered weak by statistical standards.

But checking in on who's hot can reveal some surprising names. Those names then become potential waiver wire targets or sneaky DFS plays until the rest of the fantasy community catches on.

Below, we'll check in on players with the longest hits streaks, most stolen bases, regression candidates, and more. Note that totals are designated by the number in parentheses next to the player's name.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:

 

Hit Streak Leaders

Michael A. Taylor (7), J.D. Davis, Ty FranceElly De La CruzAlex Kirilloff (6)

Taylor is tied atop the leaderboard with the Astros' Jose Altuve at seven games. The 33-year-old came into Thursday's action on a six-game streak and two multi-hit efforts, then added a three-hit performance to keep the streak alive. He has yet to hit a home run in 2024, but three of his 12 hits have been doubles and he's tallied six RBI, seven runs, as well as a stolen base. He hit 21 home runs and stole 13 bases in 2023 in just 355 AB, so expect the power to come even when the hit streak ends.

Surely that kind of production can be used for fantasy, but the veteran is just 8% owned in Yahoo leagues. Scoop him up while you can.

 

Hits Leaders

There are three Dodgers at the top of the leaderboard (Mookie Betts - 16, Will Smith - 13, Freddie Freeman - 12), but after that? Surprisingly, it's a couple of catchers.

Luis Campusano (12)

Campusano's name had been touted here as a player to target late in drafts and as a sleeper, and those prognostications are seemingly coming true. At a position relatively thin in offensive production, Campusano hit .319 in limited action last year with an 83.7% Contact% and had an xBA of .305 with a .364 wOBA. He's off to the races this year, hitting .400 through seven games including a home run, seven RBI, five runs scored, and just one strikeout in 30 AB. The 25-year-old is still available in almost 40% of Yahoo leagues.

Yainer Diaz (12)

Like Campusano, Diaz is a catcher that is producing so far in 2024. The backstop hit .282 in 2023 and sent 23 balls over the wall. He's got 12 hits, hitting .462 through seven games, and has already gone deep twice. He's also walked more than he's struck out, with a 3:2 BB:K. Diaz is already rostered in 96% of Yahoo leagues, but he could be a plug-and-play option for DFS if the price is right.

 

Stolen Base Leaders

Brice Turang (6)

Turang isn't getting everyday playing time, but he's making the most of the time he's getting. The 24-year-old has played in just five games and logged 18 PA, but he's tied for the league lead in stolen bases with six. This did not come out of nowhere, either. The lefty swiped 26 bases last season in 448 PA and seven more this spring in 52 PA.

The downside here is that he won't hit .438 all season, as last year he hit just .218 and his xBA so far this year is .280. On the positive side, he's eligible at both 2B and SS and is rostered in just 42% of Yahoo leagues. He'll be cheap for DFS, too, and has two multi-steal games under his belt, which makes him a useful fill-in.

Jarren Duran (6)

Duran is tied with Turang, but he is not only stealing bases, he's also hitting leadoff and getting regular playing time for the Red Sox. The 27-year-old got off to a slow start, going 2-for-18 (.111) over his first four games, but over the last three, he is 9-for-14 (.643). The speedster stole 24 bases in 362 PA last season, and it appears he'll surpass that total this season.

 

xBA Underachievers

Below are the hitters who have the biggest difference between their current batting average and their expected batting average, or xBA. There isn't a lot of data to go off yet with just a week's worth of games having been played, but we'll take a look nonetheless.

Brandon Nimmo

Brandon Nimmo is having a horrendous start to 2024 and surely he's one of the many reasons why the Mets have just one win on the season. Nimmo is just 1-for-21 (.048) to begin the year. There are a couple of bright spots, however. For one, his xBA coming into Thursday was .245. Not great, but not as bad as his BA would suggest. The other positive trend is that he's still getting on base. In 10 plate appearances Thursday, the 31-year-old drew five walks. Look for him to turn it around soon.

Evan Carter

Carter has yet to collect a hit in 2024 through five games and 15 AB. After a fantastic 2023 that saw him hit the ground running after his call-up and straight on through the World Series, the 21-year-old was considered a 2024 Rookie of the Year contender. There is still plenty of time, and like Nimmo, he's at least still getting on base, collecting six walks to just two strikeouts. Carter's xBA suggests he should have picked up a hit by now, with an xBA of .176. Look for the youngster to turn it around soon, too.

 

xBA Overachievers

We'll quickly touch on one hitter who is probably going to come back to Earth soon. In this case, the BA is much higher than the xBA, and some regression should be expected.

Orlando Arcia

Arcia had a great year in 2023 that saw him earn his first All-Star selection, and he's off to a hot start in 2024. The shortstop is hitting .450 (9-for-20), but his xBA is .214. Looking at some of the other stats, it seems to back up his xBA, as the 29-year-old has just one barreled ball out of all nine of his hits, with an average exit velocity of just 87.2. Of course, he won't hit for a .450 season, so calling for regression here isn't exactly going out on a limb.



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