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Fantasy Baseball Frauds? Standout Performers Through Week 2

Oswaldo Cabrera - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

Making an early move and adding the correct player off the waiver wire can help carry a fantasy manager to a championship. However, overreacting and dropping someone for a player who is off to a hot start that is unsustainable can cause issues.

This isn’t just a waiver wire problem, either. It could also be a grave mistake to overpay for a player in a trade who won’t be able to maintain their early hot streak.

Let’s dive into some Fantasy Frauds through the early part of the season and highlight why they likely won’t be able to continue their current level of success.

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Ronel Blanco, Houston Astros

Blanco has produced one of the best beginnings of the season in baseball history for a starting pitcher. In his first outing, he threw a no-hitter against the Blue Jays, striking out seven batters along the way. In his second start, he allowed just one hit over six scoreless innings against the Rangers. He did walk four batters in that outing, giving him a total of six walks over 15 innings.

Blanco is not a young prospect as he has been in the minors since 2016. What has kept him from an extended stretch in the majors is a lack of control. In 2022, he had a 10.3 percent walk rate in Triple-A. Last year, he had a 12.3 percent walk rate at the same level. During his brief time in the majors, he has produced a 12.3 percent walk rate. He’s not even assured a spot in the Astros’ starting rotation when Justin Verlander (shoulder) returns. For those who have already added him, shop him in trade discussions to see if you can get another fantasy manager to overpay for his services.

 

Tanner Houck, Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox entered the season with plenty of question marks within their starting rotation. One of them was Houck, who had a 5.01 ERA and a 4.43 FIP last season. He has done his best to provide them with a stabilizing force in the early going, throwing a total of 12 shutout innings. Not only that, but he struck out 17 batters.

Houck only had a 21.4 percent strikeout rate last season and he has a 25.4 percent strikeout rate for his career, so don’t expect him to continue to maintain this level of production in the strikeout department. He also started out the season with two great matchups against the Athletics and Angels. His third start of the season will also come against the Angels, leaving him with a favorable opportunity to produce another great stat line. If he does, it might be the best opportunity of the season to get another fantasy manager to overpay for him in a trade.

 

Oswaldo Cabrera, New York Yankees

The Yankees are off to an excellent start and Cabrera has been a key contributor along the way. He smoked the Astros in their first series of the season, totaling seven hits and two home runs across the four games. He also hit a home run Sunday against the Blue Jays, which left him with a .545 slugging percentage entering play Monday.

As good as Cabrera has looked, the Yankees were just hoping that he would make the roster as a bench player who could play multiple positions this season. They had no intentions of making him a regular starter, but they were forced to turn to him when DJ LeMahieu (foot) went down. LeMahieu took batting practice over the weekend and has started to field groundballs again. There’s a chance that he could be back before the end of April, if not shortly thereafter. When he does return, he is going to be the Yankees’ starting third baseman. Enjoy the ride with Cabrera while you can. It will likely be short-lived.



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