Dynasty Baseball

TDG Roundtable: Hot Starts We’re Buying

The Roundtable is back, baby! Hope y’all are having a good week. May your pitchers be healthy and your hot starts continue.

Drew Klein (@aok_fan)

The first hot start I’m buying is Steven Kwan.  As I write this (April 17), Kwan is hitting .372/.395/.474 with two home runs and 18 runs scored [Ed. note: now .354/.380/.469!!].  Only Mookie Betts and Ketel Marte have scored more runs. His trademark at the plate has always been a combination of discipline and contact. His contact rate in the zone is an elite 94.5% and his overall contact rate sits at 89.8%. What I want to highlight is that so far in this young season he has increased his barrel percentage from 1% to 3% (a 200% increase, anyone matching that?) and his launch angle is up from 10.7 to 15.1. He’s hitting more fly balls, with a little more pop, and his home run to fly ball percentage is up from 3% to 9.5% (another >200% increase).  So, with no penalty to his contact rates, Kwan is adding a few home runs, maybe 12 – 15 by season’s end, he plays in a lineup that will continue to drive him in when he does get on base, and the double-digit steals will be there. I will always maintain there’s a place in a fantasy lineup for a player who gets on base at a high rate, steals some bases and scores runs, and now that Kwan looks to have added a touch of power, he’s an undervalued player. 

The next hot start I’m all in on is Taylor Ward.  After a 2022 season that was worthy of a former first-round draft choice, Ward’s 2023 season was heating up before it was cut short by a pitch to his face.  This year he’s off to a hot start and there are a few underlying stats that lead me to believe it’s sustainable.  First off, he’s swinging at more pitches in the strike zone (75%, career average 66%), while maintaining his discipline on pitches out of the strike zone (29%).  His contact rate on pitches in the zone is over 90%, and he has a career-high 15.8% barrel rate.  Naturally, he isn’t walking as much so his OBP will suffer, but I’ll gladly take the 30+ home runs I think he’ll hit this year.  And somebody in that lineup is getting on base in front of him because he’s second in the majors in RBIs. 

You know that kid in fifth grade who made a point of letting everyone know he did the extra reading and never forgot his homework?  That was me.  And in that vein, I’ve decided to add my current favorite prospect to the hot starts I’m buying, Joey Loperfido.  JOLO has started his year in Triple-A with a .260/.359/.688 slash line, ten home runs and two stolen bases. We’ve had a week of some fun call-ups, and I hope Joeylope is next on the list. Come on Houston, let Loper play! 

 

Phil Barrington (@barrington_phil)

First up: Yankees shortstop, Anthony Volpe (who I was buying all off-season). While he probably won’t hit .300, .260 is more than fine while going 20/30 in his sophomore season. The Reds Spencer Steer is a guy so easy to love for fantasy, as he qualifies at so many positions, and though he’s slumped after his insanely hot start, I still want him the rest of the way on all my Dynasty teams. Dodgers outfielder Teoscar Hernández should keep it up with lots of Runs, RBI and Homers…and may be a guy who some teams may be looking to move; if you’re competing this season he’s an easy target. Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor is top five at his position and has improved every season, this season has the best walk and K rates of his career thus far. See if his current manager is a non-believer. 

 

Brett Cook (@beautyofgrace32)

The first hot start I am buying is Daulton Varsho. He is arguably the hottest bat in baseball over the last week of play, batting over .300 with four home runs, six extra base hits, and eight runs batted in during that span. I heard around the time that the season began that he made some changes to his swing, so putting the production with this information helps to convince me this is a hot start you shouldn’t look over. I would try to trade for him once he slows down a bit – if he does!

A hot start I am also buying is Jurickson Profar. He is rostered in less than 65 percent of Fantrax leagues which means some of you just have to go and add him. Now, when I told you to pick up Profar, I assume some of you just threw up in your mouth. If that is you, go get a drink of water and a paper towel to clean up, and then come back and read this if you want to win. Profar, for some reason, plays better with the Padres than with any other organization. It just feels that way. Well, guess what? He plays for the Padres again this season. The once-upon-a-time-over-a-decade-ago top prospect in baseball shouldn’t be overlooked. As of right now he is putting it all together with an .854 OPS and is proving to be of value in different formats. Quit sleeping on the guy and just roster him. The risk is very minimal. You just have to believe!

The Author

Drew Klein

Drew Klein

Lover of all things baseball and determined to keep the fan in fantasy.

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