In case you missed, it baseball season started last week, which means, obviously, that fantasy baseball season is underway.
This thing is a marathon, so it isn’t the end of the world if you fall behind early due to underperforming stars, injuries or anything else.
However, MLB Soup doesn’t like it when you fall behind. That’s why we’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
Read on for a few guys whose stock is trending up, and a few guys on the downswing to start the year.
Kyle Drabek, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
The 23-year-old phenom dazzled in his first-ever big league start Sunday, throwing seven one-hit innings while striking out seven in a win over the Minnesota Twins.
With that great start following an equally great spring, it seems increasingly unlikely that Drabek will be the one to lose out on his spot in the rotation upon the return of Brandon Morrow.
Drabek will undoubtedly struggle at times pitching as a rookie in the loaded AL East, but the potential for dominance is evident. At this point, there’s no reason not to add him to your roster.
Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs
Soriano isn’t the fantasy baseball dynamo that he once was, but he’s gotten off to a strong start early this season.
Through the first five games, Soriano has hit two home runs and knocked in four runs. If he’s healthy, there’s no reason to expect that he won’t hit at least 25 home runs playing at Wrigley.
His base stealing days appear to be over, but there’s always room for power.
Freddy Sanchez, 2B, San Francisco Giants
Sanchez has recorded at least one hit in four of the first five games for the Giants this season, and has been on base nine times in 19 at-bats.
If he continues to get on base with regularity, he should be able to score tons of runs with the meat of the Giants’ lineup hitting behind him.
Sanchez likely won’t do a whole lot for you, but guys like him do hold some value.
Russell Martin, C, New York Yankees
Martin appears to have replaced Jorge Posada as the Yankees’ full-time catcher, which means tons of plate appearances in hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium.
He battled injuries throughout most of 2010 while with the Dodgers, so he’s been fairly under-the-radar to this point. However, he’s just four years removed from a season in which he belted 19 home runs and knocked in 87 while stealing 21 bases, as well.
If he can stay healthy, Martin could be in for a resurgent season.
Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta Braves
The key for Jones over the past few seasons has been staying healthy. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had great success in that department.
He’s missed extended periods of time in five of his last six seasons, but, by all accounts, he came into spring training in tremendous shape and hitting as well as he ever has.
He’s off to a decent start (.300 BA, 2 RBI), and should be able to take advantage of a very strong Braves lineup. He likely won’t be hitting 30 home runs, but it’s reasonable to expect 20 HR and 80 RBI if he can stay healthy.
John Lackey, SP, Boston Red Sox
Lackey was a disappointment in his first season with the Red Sox last season, and he isn’t off to a much better start his second time around.
He allowed nine runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings Saturday night, and allowed a pair of home runs, including a grand slam against the Rangers.
Lackey has been a workhorse throughout his career, so this isn’t necessarily time to panic, by any means. Still, though, until he looks to be getting things back together, steer clear.
Ryan Raburn, OF, Detroit Tigers
Raburn won the starting job in left field out of spring training, but Jim Leyland has already has already replaced him with Brennan Boesch twice this season.
Raburn is a guy that can get you between 15 and 20 home runs when he’s playing enough, but if he’s in-and-out of the lineup like this, his impact will be limited.
Keep an eye on this situation.
Brandon Lyon, CP, Houston Astros
Lyon melted down on opening day against the Phillies, giving up six hits and three runs in just 1/3 of an inning on his way to blowing a save.
He hasn’t been afforded a save situation since then, but did strike out one in a perfect ninth Tuesday evening against the Reds.
Lyon has been a closer in the past, so there’s a chance he’ll be fine. However, the team really likes what Wilton Lopez brings to the table, so if Lyon struggles some more, look out for Lopez.
Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
Freeman has gotten off to a rough start in his first season starting at the Major League level, having gone just 2-15 with one RBI through the first five games.
Some have tabbed Freeman as a potential breakout star this season, so the talent is there. Considering he’s still the full-time starter at first base, dropping him would be extremely ill-advised at this point.
Just keep him on your bench until he starts to show some signs of life. If nothing improves after an extended period of time, then feel free to dispose of him however you please.
Ian Stewart, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Stewart has been slowed by some hamstring cramping of late, and it’s affected his performance at the plate.
He’s hitless in his first five at-bats of the season, and, while he’s never been great in terms of batting average, he can still put up some impressive power numbers.
The third base job is his once healthy, though, so don’t fret over the poor start. Once healthy, Stewart should be back to his normal, productive self.