Hot Starts for Veterans: Should we buy them?
Juan Soto was 2-4 with an HR (8), 1 R, and 1 RBI in the loss to the Mets. Through 33 GP, Soto is hitting .264 with 8 HR, 23 R, 11 RBI, and 3 SB. Overall it’s not a terrible line but not what owners were expecting drafting him in the top five overall. The good news is that the continues to have elite plate skills (18% BB and 17% K) to go along with the excellent quality of contract metrics (14% Barrel, 47% Hardhit, and 113.2 mph maxEV). His .270 BABIP is driving down his batting average and much lower than his career .326 BABIP. Soto is going to be just fine and the only part of his game that is concerning is RBIs because the Nationals lineup has struggled.
Mark Canha was 3-4 with an HR (2), 2 R, and 3 RBI in the Mets win. Canha is hitting .313 with 2 HR, 10 R, 12 RBI, and 0 SB. He is showing good plate skills (8% BB and 23% K) but the quality of contact has been poor (2% Barrels and 27% Hardhit). His average is being driven by a .393 BABIP and not the quality of contact. Serious regression is likely coming for Canha in terms of batting average so he will need to start running to make up for it. Canha doesn’t have much name value but if you could sell high now would be the time.
Paul Goldschmidt was 1-4 with a stolen base in the loss to the Orioles. Goldschmidt is hitting .292 with 2 HR, 16 R, 14 RBI, and 3 SB through 30 GP. He is displaying very strong plate skills (21% K and 13% BB) but the power has been down. This coincides with a lower barrel rate (8%). He is also chasing out of the zone more than ever (35% O-swing). This is concerning because if it continues it will mean that his batting average will come tumbling down. Swinging at better pitches is going to help him maintain a plus abetting average and improve his power. This is something to keep an eye on as we finish off this month.
Taijuan Walker went 7 IP and gave up 0 ER on 3 H, 1 BB, and 1 K against the Nationals. Walker has now made four starts and has a 3.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. The skills behind his success are not great. He is struggling to miss bats (15% K). His swinging-strike rate (13% SwStr) suggests more strikeouts could come but his overall rate is still going to below-average. This makes him extremely dependent on batted ball luck to maintain decent ratios. His 4.50 SIERA is more of an indication of his skills and potential the rest of the way. Walker is still viable in NL-only leagues but is nothing more than a streamer in a good matchup in mixed leagues.
Jorge Mateo was 1-4 with 1 R and 1 RBI against the Cardinals. Mateo is hitting .243 with 2 HR, 12 R, 8 RBI, and 9 SB. The stolen bases make him fantasy relevant because outside of them he has not provided much value. His plate approach is risky (4% BB and 27% K) which will lead to a low batting average and fewer times on base to steal. The good news is that the Orioles are committed to playing him every day which will keep him fantasy relevant.
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