Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Last week we asked fantasy owners a handful of questions about some players’ early-season performances. Throughout the week we received a whole bunch of responses, crunched the numbers, and now you get to see the results! Here are some insights from our week 7 survey.If you want to take part of next week’s survey…Click here to take the Week 8 survey!Now on to Week 7′s results!1) Which surprise pitcher is most likely to keep it going all season?There have been a number of surprise starts in the pitching department so we asked you to pick the one you liked most:Quick recap: This was somewhat of a two man race between Patrick Corbin 56% and Kyle Kendrick 32%. On the other hand, for Kevin Slowey 8% and Jeremy Guthrie 4%, it’s been nice, but they have not converted fantasy players into believers.My take: Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you win leagues. Pick up a player like Corbin who has an unexpected and incredibly hot start, and trade him at the height of his value. I know he has been great so far, but can we really expect this to continue? Naah. Think about it this way, which strike out and walk rate combination would you rather own?Ok, it’s a trick question and I clearly set you up to pick Player A. Well, that’s Corbin’s 2012 when he had a finished with a 4.54 ERA and Player B is Corbin’s 2013, in which he has a 1.52 ERA. Despite dips in performance for two metrics most under his control, why such a big difference in his ERA outcome. Well, three stats help tell the story:All of these suggest he is getting lucky and they will regress, so I am confident that there is no change in Corbin’s fundamental skill set. He is throwing his slider more often and his changeup less often than last year, which for some reason may make him harder to hit, but I am not buying it given the underlying K and BB rates. My suggestion is to sell sell sell.Now to a guy I do believe in — Kendrick has been a bit lucky with his strand rate, but his control has improved dramatically, while his other stats are in line with career rates. He appears to be pitching off his fast ball much more than last year, which may be making his changeup more effective.  He won’t be overpowering but, unlike Corbin, I am actually buying this start to the season with a slight regression.2) Which power speed outfielder would you rather own for the rest of the year?We were interested in knowing how far the hate has gone on Matt Kemp. We gave you a list of power speed guys, including Kemp, and asked which one you would prefer to own going forward. Here are the results:Quick Recap: Of all the responses, 44% still believe Kemp will be the best of the bunch, but the much hotter hitting Carlos Gomez is knocking on the door with 32%. Fantasy owners see a clear difference between the top two and Starling Marte 12%, Jacoby Ellsbury 8%, and Carl Crawford 4%.My take: Fantasy owners are giving Kemp too much credit. The days of those salivatingly great seasons seem further and further into the past with each and every passing day of the 2013 season. I am not completely jumping off the ship and still believe in his future, but I have serious concerns that his surgically repaired shoulder is nowhere close to 100% and this may be a lost year.I want to believe his ridiculously low 2.6% HR/FB rate will climb, and it will, but not at a pace that will get him over 20 HR for the season. Kemp may not always hit fly balls, but when he does he hits like the girliest boy in the world. According to Fangraphs, in 2012 he led all of baseball with an average fly ball distance of 313 ft. This year it is all the way down to 266 ft! Due to his past results, this may seem like a good player to buy low on, but he just doesn’t seem to be at full strength so I am avoiding that urge unless I can get him at a clearance price.As for the others in the group, my first choice would be Gomez, who I really think can go 20/40, followed by Ellsbury who is off to a slow start from a power and BA perspective, but has been elite on the base paths and is scoring runs at a nice clip.3) Just how good is Manny Machado?We all know how good he has been, but where will he end up?Quick recap: According to ESPN’s player rater Manny Machado is currently the 3rd most valuable 3B on the year. However, only 4% in our survey think he has this kind of ability. Though some people (28%) think top 5 is a real possibility, a majority of fantasy players (56%) are worried this hot start is a fluke and see him as only a top 10 option. Surprising, 12% are completely shocked by his early season pace and see him falling outside even the top 10 third basemen.My take: MAN-ny has been brilliant so far, a true star blossoming in front of our eyes, a mini A-Rod in the making! This guy is going to have an amazing career. The pedigree of this previous 1st-round MLB draft pick is undeniable. Baseball America ranked him 11th among all prospects before getting called up last year and so far in this 20-year-old’s first season he is proving all the scouts right.I admit, I didn’t see him being this good this soon, so I am in agreement with those that see him outside the top 3 (for this year), but I think he is going fight for that 5-7 range among the likes of Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley. Although, his average is at an unsustainable point given the inflated BABIP, the rest of his game is the real deal and he will continue to be a guy who stuffs the stat sheet in all fantasy hitting categories.4) Best buy low option if you fishing ONLY for power?We asked you to pick your favorite struggling slugger.Quick recap: Jay Bruce ran away with this one with 64% of the vote despite hitting 9 HR less than Josh Hamilton (24% of the vote) and only 2 more HR than Ike Davis (8%) in 2012. Adrian Gonzalez was even further behind with only 4% of the vote, which makes sense given he was the only player in the group who hit less than 20 HR last year.My take: This was a bit of a layup for Bruce, despite only having 4 HR on the 2013 season. He may not get to the 40 HR we thought he could, but owners know (and I agree) that he will be just fine and should clearly be the most valuable player of this group. Clearly, fantasy owners have no faith in Davis getting his act together. Davis followed a similar path last year and still finished the season as an elite power option, however on the heels of Mets brass commenting that Davis is a serious candidate for demotion he may not get the chance to right the ship. As a Davis owner, I penciled him in for 30 HR and I am panicking at an all-time high.Hamilton actually has one more home run than Bruce so far in 2013, but I am sure his owners aren’t pleased. And what is this explanation that allergies are to blame all about? I wasn’t aware that one of the side effects of allergies was striking out more than 25% of the time. What a joke…get this guy some Claritin.5) Lightening Round! – Buy or SellQuick recap: Fantasy owners are torn on Josh Donaldson, but are all out buying Hisashi Iwakuma and Andrew Cashner, while staying the course with Craig Kimbrel. Meanwhile, they are selling Yuniesky Betancourt (big time), Mark Reynolds, Ervin Santana, Heath Bell, and Junichi Tazawa.My take: I agree with our readers on all accounts. I am particularly high on Cashner who is somehow only owned in 8% of ESPN leagues and 32% of Yahoo! leagues. Since moving to the rotation on April 20th, Cashner has a fine 2.51 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The strike outs are down considerably, but if he is trading a few Ks for durability and lengthier outings I’m all for it. Pitching in spacious Petco and for an underrated Padres team that actually had better than a .500 record from July 1 2012 on last year, I think there are enough attractive reasons to own Cashner in all 12-team leagues.
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