Each week, Collin uses his HVaC Scoring System to let you know who to start and drop in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues. This week’s must-starts:
Adding the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings to rosters in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues should be a no-brainer. The rookie is already coming in as the No. 12 shortstop for the rest of the season, yet no notice is being taken of his skills. Owings has been on a tear at home, hitting .463 at Chase Field, and many of his early-season numbers are right in line with what he put up at Class AAA. His ISO of .105 and his BABIP of .375 compare well to his .386 in the minors last year, as well.
Owings has done well when he is able to get his arms extended, as 14 of his 31 hits have come on pitches away. The more he gets jammed, the more he struggles. In fact, he has seen 133 pitches on the inner half and been able to accumulate just seven hits. While it is always a challenge to predict how a long season will wear on rookies, Owings has value within the HVaC scale. Though the run production is not in line with the positional average, he should generate more hits per week and his speed coupled with power keeps him directly in line with positional averages of 10 home runs and 16 steals the rest of the way.
Nick Markakis, Orioles (21.27)
Though he seems far removed from the 100-run, 100-RBI player that he was six years ago, Markakis has shown a bit of a resurgence in Baltimore this season. Being planted in the leadoff spot has and should continue to benefit the outfielder. With a .770 OPS and .324 BABIP well in line with historicals, Markakis should produce runs and average that will place him well above the league average.
Rick Porcello, Tigers (37.03)
While the No. 50 pitcher may not scream for a pickup, Porcello should be considered. Porcello’s FIP of 3.33 compares well to his 3.66 ERA, and he has been able to lower both numbers every year since 2010.
The only question may be the .272 BABIP, but all other numbers inclusive of strand rate indicate a pitcher who should continue along this path. He has also worked the bottom of the zone effectively, racking up 15 of his 22 strikeouts there and generating 26 swing and misses.
Mark Reynolds, Brewers (7.65)
Stating the obvious, owners need to be able to deal with an average that will put Reynolds well below positional average for third basemen. If they can, Reynolds has shown the type of power the position requires. With potential for another 24 home runs and 69 RBI, he will exceed or meet the numbers (20 and 69) of the average starter in the two most key positional categories.
Todd Frazier, Reds (6.54)
Sticking at third base, Frazier is starting to be recognized as the player many thought he would be last season. With the ability to battle throughout the count, Frazier has hit .267 with two strikes on him and has three of his five home runs in two-strike situations.
Frazier’s struggles against lefties are real, but with home run and RBI projections that should keep him in line with the average, the risk seen in his being three deviations away from the mean in average should be more than mitigated.