Last week, I joined the large group of internet prognosticators and offered some thoughts on how the rest of the season might play out for a few players. This week, I’d like to do something similar, but in a more focused way. Today I’m focusing on players outperforming their preseason ranks, but doing so in ways that seem generally sustainable and within their skill sets. Omar Infante is off to a tremendous start and sitting among the fantasy elite on rankings boards, but he is not going to hit 35 homers. The following players look to generally be doing what they can be expected to do and are being rewarded for it in their season-to-date ranks.
Original Yahoo rank: 143
Current Yahoo rank: 38
Current season stats: 7/0/1/5/.316
Miami’s fantasy utility man is currently on pace for 81 steals and that is not going to happen, but broadly speaking Bonafacio is basically doing what he does. (He’s also on pace for only 16 RBI, which also won’t happen.) Coming into the season, those who were high on him thought of Bonafacio as a potential 3-category player, and a cheaper and more versatile alternative to players like Michael Bourn, Dee Gordon, and Brett Gardner. Those who acted on such a presumption are looking wise now and I suspect they will continue to appear that way at season’s end. Bonafacio may not finish the season among the top 50, but an elite stolen base total, plenty of runs, and a helpful batting average are reasonable expectations. He also walks enough to continue to justify hitting in the top of line-up—not as if a lack of that skill would matter when playing Ozzieball. I’d acquire Bonafacio with confidence. The flexibility he adds to a roster is also an undervalued commodity.
Original Yahoo rank: 90
Current Yahoo rank: 44
Current season stats: 7/0/2/7/.200
Not counting fielder’s choices, Gordon has reached base 12 times this season and attempted 8 steals. Yes, he’s mostly a one-trick-pony, but he’s really good at that trick, and performing it over and over is really all that is needed to establish upper echelon fantasy value.
Yes, I worry about his low OBP, fueled by a low AVG. And, yes, I worry about his early strikeout rates. But, luckily, I don’t really worry about Don Mattingly being Joe Maddon.
To some extent, Gordon has gotten lucky by scoring 7 times while only avoiding making an out in 12 PAs; Matt Kemp is not going to hit 80 homers and Andre Either is not going to hit .455 with runners in scoring position. But, seeing Gordon’s stat line brings to mind the first full season from Jose Reyes, who scored 99 runs despite sporting a chilling .300 OBP simply because of his ability to get himself around the bases in the all-too-rare opportunities he gave himself as a hitter.
Original Yahoo rank: 274
Current Yahoo rank: 105
Current season stats: 2/2/4/1/.323
I’m a believer in Nolan Reimold, and while he’s certainly not a .300+ hitter, I think his overall rank vicinity is generally sustainable. He will not hit for this high an average, but he’s gotten the shaft thus far, RBI-wise, so things should probably balance out over the long term.
It’s beginning to become obvious to the Orioles that they need to get Reimold’s bat in the line-up one way or another. Endy Chavez is not much of an obstacle in the outfield, nor are there many DH-threats holding him back from nearly full time ABs. And, given those ABs, Reimold will produce. Owned in only 15% of Yahoo leagues, this could be a player who can give your team outfield depth.
Reimold hit for power both throughout his Minor League years and in most of his opportunities with the O’s. He doesn’t suffer from distressing splits against righties and he should even be able to contribute 8 – 12 steals over the course of a full season. I expect him to be shallow mixed league relevant all year as a 4th or 5th OF.