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Fantasy Baseball Breakout Hitters Watch and Underachievers, Overachievers (Week 3)

MJ Melendez - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury 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 two weeks into the season, so the "trends" should probably be considered weak by statistical standards.

But checking in on who's hot (or not) can reveal some surprising 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 hits streaks, highest batting average and ISO, as well as some 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

(data through 4/11)

Marcell Ozuna (10)

Remember how poorly Marcell Ozuna began 2023? Let me remind you how bad it was. Ozuna went 5-for-59 (.085) over the first month of the season. Well, he's already doubled that hit total with this little streak of his and we're not even halfway through April. Do you remember how hot he got the rest of the way last season? Allow me... the veteran slugger belted 38 home runs after May 1, hitting .297 with 98 RBI and 80 runs scored.

The 33-year-old already has five home runs, 13 RBI, and eight runs after 10 games in 2024. To get as hot as he did after May 1 last year is likely not repeatable; however, he doesn't need to get that hot in order to put up a final stat line similar to last year's since he's already built himself a nice cushion by being so far ahead of last year's pace.

MJ Melendez (8)

While you might look at MJ Melendez's streak and think nine hits in an eight-game hit streak doesn't look all that impressive compared to some of the other hitters listed, think again. First of all, they aren't all singles. Of the nine hits, three are doubles and three are home runs. Secondly, Melendez has hit safely in 11 of 12 games thus far, making this streak and his start to the season all the more legit. If you want a third thing to get excited about, it's that he's eligible at catcher as well even though he's yet to play there in 2024.

Jose Caballero (6)

I've talked about Jose Caballero a few times fairly recently, including once as a waiver wire target and another time in my SB/PA analysis, but in both cases it was more so for his base-stealing ability than anything else. But here he is with a nice little six-game hit streak that includes two doubles, his first home run of 2024, and a three-hit game. Oh, and speaking of his base-stealing ability, he's one off the pace for the league lead in stolen bases with six thefts.

 

Highest Batting Average Last Seven Days

(minimum 10 PA, games through 4/10)

Omar Narvaez (.556)

Omar Narvaez is the backup catcher on the Mets, so it's not a needle-mover for season-long fantasy, but this makes him an intriguing DFS option. Some managers like to save salary at catcher in order to spend up elsewhere, so maybe Narvaez is in play for DFS when he's giving Francisco Alvarez a breather.

Blake Perkins (.455)

Yordan Alvarez is Yordan Alvarez, Elias Diaz is a little surprising but he was an All-Star last season, and Ezequiel Tovar got paid before the season started so he better be putting up numbers throughout 2024, but the last one is another intriguing DFS salary-saver. Blake Perkins is hitting, driving in runs, and scoring runs when he's in the lineup, as evidenced by the above table. He's also got two stolen bases, which adds additional appeal when trying to figure out who to put in your lineup that can save you money.

 

Highest ISO Last Seven Days

(minimum 10 PA, games through 4/10)

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? Tyler O'Neill has had four home runs over the last week, leading the majors and tying him for the overall league lead with Mike Trout at six, who is also in this list. Brent Rooker just hit the IL, but it was a nice story while it lasted. Elly De La Cruz has been doing EDLC things over the last week, including three home runs, one of which was inside the park. The name that stands out, however, is sandwiched in between all of them.

Edward Olivares (.583)

Edward Olivares was acquired by Pittsburgh in the offseason as outfield depth and a bench bat against left-handed pitching, but he's making the case for more playing time. Over the last week, the 28-year-old has hit two home runs and a double.

On the season, he's hitting .344 with three home runs, seven RBI, and eight runs scored. The right-handed hitter could be used in deep and NL-only season-long leagues. Expected to bat versus LHP, the Pirates face off with one Friday night in Philadelphia (Cristopher Sanchez), so he could very well be in play for DFS as well.

 

xBA Underachievers

(data through 4/10)

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 two weeks worth of games having been played, but we'll take a look nonetheless. For what it's worth, our two underachievers from last week (Brandon Nimmo and Evan Carter) had a bounce-back like we were expecting, while our overachiever (Orlando Arcia) just kept on hitting.

Francisco Lindor (.089 vs .246)

Francisco Lindor is off to an atrocious start, going 4-for-45 (.089) at the plate. However, his xBA of .246 suggests things could be better. The fact that he's got just one double, one home run, and zero stolen bases is certainly disappointing to fantasy managers; however, with a career batting average of .273, the 30-year-old won't hit .089 all season and regression to the mean should happen sooner rather than later.

Kyle Tucker (.259 vs .379)

Kyle Tucker isn't hitting nearly as poorly as Lindor; however, for fantasy managers who spent a top pick on the outfielder, they were definitely hoping for a hotter start. Tucker is batting .259 with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI, six runs scored, and a stolen base through the first 13 games. With an xBA of .379, and considering he's still got a Contact% of 81.4% and Barrel% of 9.1%, things could get a lot better real quick for the two-time All-Star.

Edward Olivares (.321 vs .444)

Remember that guy Edward we were talking about earlier? Well, he's near the top of this list, too. "And that's all I have to say about that." (in my best Forrest Gump voice)

 

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.

Jarred Kelenic (.462 vs .289)

Jarred Kelenic has been a nice story for the Braves to start the year, but at some point he will cool off. He's a former top prospect, though, with a pedigree that suggests he should be doing better than what he's done to this point in his career. Nevertheless, he won't hit over .400 for the entirety of the season, and probably not over .300, either.

Orlando Arcia (.385 vs .233)

As mentioned earlier, Orlando Arcia was named in this spot last week, but kept on hitting, including a three-hit performance Monday against the Mets. He was an All-Star as recently as last season, but we should still expect the average to come down a bit over the coming weeks.



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