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Fantasy Baseball Breakout Hitters Watch and Underachievers, Overachievers (Week 4)

kyle tucker fantasy baseball rankings MLB news draft sleepers DFS lineup picks

As you know by now, I like to take a look around MLB as we head into the weekend and see who is showing signs of some meaningful trends. We're just three weeks into the season, so the "trends" should probably be considered weak by statistical standards, but can be revealing nonetheless.

Checking in on who's hot (or not) can bring to light some notable names. Those names then become potential waiver-wire targets or sneaky DFS plays (or avoids) until the rest of the fantasy community catches on.

Below, we'll check in on players with the longest hit streaks, highest batting average, and ISO over the last seven days, as well as some regression candidates and more. Note that totals are designated by the number in parentheses next to the player's name.

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Hit Streak Leaders

(data through 4/18)

Marcell Ozuna (16)

Another week has passed and Marcell Ozuna still sits atop the leaderboard. Just when you think he can't keep this pace up, he goes out and smacks another homer. He doesn't really show signs of slowing down, as the exit velocities on his outs are even pretty high. After an off day on Thursday, Atlanta takes on the Rangers, and first up is lefty Andrew Heaney. Ozuna has never faced Heaney before, but this season and throughout his career, he's got a higher batting average against LHP, so there's a good chance the streak continues Friday.

Amed Rosario (10)

Amed Rosario came to Tampa in the offseason and it was thought he could battle Jose Caballero at shortstop until Taylor Walls returns, but Caballero has more than held his own and Walls is still nowhere in sight. As a result, Rosario has been used mostly in right field but also has a handful of starts at second base and a couple at shortstop.

Although he's had some sporadic success in his career, he's never really lived up to his highly rated prospect status. Perhaps this is the season he puts it all together. Either way, it's working for him right now, as he's hitting .339 with four doubles, a triple, two home runs, 10 RBI, six runs scored, and a stolen base. The 28-year-old has a .385 wOBA and 159 wRC+ through 17 games as well and had a walk-off hit on Tuesday that could add some additional momentum.

Rosario is rostered in just 28% of Yahoo leagues, but that number should be higher with the way he's hitting. He's eligible at three positions (2B, SS, OF), which gives fantasy managers additional flexibility.

Cedric Mullins II (9)

Over the first nine games of the season, Cedric Mullins went 4-for-28 (.143) but has now hit safely in nine straight. Not only that, he's hit three home runs in his last four games, one of them being a walk-off winner in Wednesday's game. The 29-year-old also has three stolen bases, which is a 25-stolen-base pace (assuming 550 at-bats).


Highest Batting Average Last Seven Days

(minimum 13 AB, games through 4/18)

Jordan Westburg (.423)

With so many Orioles prospects mashing in Triple-A, you start looking around to see who might be replaced if they felt the need to bring someone up. Westburg certainly fit the bill to start the season, hitting just .182 over the first seven games but .395 in the 10 games since and .423 over the last seven days. For the season, he's got a .317-4-14-11-2 line and has some additional appeal with positional eligibility at both second base and third base. He's already 82% rostered in Yahoo leagues but could be a value play in DFS.

Jesse Winker (.423)

Jesse Winker was an All-Star back in 2021 for Cincinnati but has had two underwhelming seasons since then for Seattle and Milwaukee. Now with the Nationals, Winker is off to a hot start, especially over the last seven days. Both of his home runs have come in the last week, and he's up to two stolen bases on the season, which is already a new career high. He may be more of a DFS value play, but in deeper season-long leagues, he's available in almost 80% of Yahoo leagues.


Highest ISO Last Seven Days

(minimum 13 AB, games through 4/18)

When it comes to fantasy, especially DFS, we want to see power. More big hits means more points. Big hits usually drive in more runs, which means more points. Doubles and triples put hitters in a better position to score, which means? You guessed it -- more points!

So, who are the guys hitting for extra bases? All four of Daulton Varsho's home runs have come in the last week, plus he's added a double and a stolen base, too. Heck of a week. Michael Busch and Colton Cowser continue to rake and look like bona fide big leaguers. Salvador Perez missed a couple of games due to a groin injury but came back and smacked a home run. And if you somehow had Connor Wong in your lineups, especially DFS ones, you looked like a genius. Everyone else, we'll touch on below.

Joc Pederson (.500)

Joc Pederson barely made the cut with just 14 AB, but the reason he doesn't have more is because he's got three walks, was hit by a pitch, and had a couple of sacrifice flies. In fact, he's got a hardly believable nine walks with just two strikeouts on the season, resulting in a superb .429 OBP. As for his ISO over the last seven days, three of his four extra-base hits came in the last seven days, so he's swinging the bat well at the moment. If interested, he's available in nearly all Yahoo leagues.

Kyle Tucker (.522)

Fantasy managers used a top-10 pick on Kyle Tucker, and while he didn't get off to an awful start, it wasn't what they'd hoped for. The good news, as evidenced by being listed here, is that he's heating up. Not only that, he's slugging .519 as compared to an xSLG of .619 with a batting average of .260 compared to an xBA of .343. So there's still room to catch fire even more.

Vinnie Pasquantino (.476)

Vinnie Pasquantino also made the highest batting average list, in case you didn't notice. In his last 12 hits, eight have gone for extra bases (five 2B, three HRs). He'll face Dean Kremer on Friday, who allowed six earned runs his last time out, including two home runs, so there may be a Pasquatch sighting in Kansas City this weekend.


xBA Underachievers

(data through 4/18)

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 three weeks' worth of games having been played, but we'll take a look nonetheless.

For what it's worth, of our three underachievers from last week, Francisco Lindor and Kyle Tucker both picked up the pace as expected, while Edward Olivares cooled. Although, Olivares seemed like he was playing above his head anyway, so how much higher could he have got?

Francisco Lindor (.151 vs .274)

Lindor was on here last week and we saw him pick up the pace. He got off to a brutal start, going 1-for-31 (.032) over his first eight games, but has since gone 10-for-42 (.238) over his last 10. He's still got one of the highest discrepancies in BA vs. xBA, though, so we could see him continue to heat up. Also, note that most of his struggles have come from the left side of the plate (.098) while he's doing just fine from the right (.286). His career splits are .265 vs. RHP and .289 vs. LHP, so there isn't normally such a wide gap.

Jonathan India (.159 vs .280)

Poor Jonathan India is enduring an 0-for-22 stretch after starting the season 10-for-41 (.244). On the positive side, he does have 13 walks thus far (17 K), and his xBA suggests his average should be better. Since winning Rookie of the Year in 2021, he hasn't been nearly as productive, but hopefully, he can shake this brutal slump and get on a roll. He'll likely be avoided in DFS, so if you think he's about to bounce back, this may be the time to use him in tournaments.


xBA Overachievers

We'll touch on a couple of hitters who will probably come back to Earth soon. In this case, the BA is much higher than the xBA, and some regression should be expected. Note that the players who've shown up on this list so far this season have continued to hit well, so don't expect them to go ice cold. Rather, it's more of a gradual decline.

Orlando Arcia (.377 vs .237)

Arcia has been on here a couple of times now but he hasn't slowed down. There's no chance his .377 average holds for the season, but after earning his first All-Star selection last year, perhaps he's on his way to another.

Jake Fraley (.395 vs .285)

Jake Fraley always seems to be a great DFS pick. The 28-year-old has seven multi-hit games in his first 14 and has even chipped in five stolen bases. As a career .245 hitter, don't expect the .395 average to hold long, but even if he regressed to his xBA, that would still be a good season.

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