Fantasy owners should never make drastic decisions based on just a few games. With opening week in full swing, it can be tough to adhere to that sentiment. As late-round fliers get off to poor starts, it can be tempting to cut bait for a player who has clubbed a couple home runs just a few days into the season. The point is, generally, you don’t want to give up on your guys this soon. If you have to make a move, or you’re already looking for a DL fill-in, it’s wise to try and target potential high-reward guys. You shouldn’t necessarily be picking up players based on their performances, you should consider whether you considered them to have decent upside before the season started. Tyler Flowers and Patrick Corbin are two players that fit that bill less than a week into the season.
C Tyler Flowers, Chicago White Sox
Flowers contradicts what I laid out in the opening paragraph, but bear with me here. Yes, he’s gotten off to a strong start, but he’s not doing something unexpected. Most people anticipated Flowers would hit for a decent amount of power, especially at the catcher position. The main concern was that Flowers’ batting average would sink a good portion of his value. That’s mainly based on what he’s shown in that area in the past, and his career 33.8% strikeout rate. That’s been done in a 320 plate appearance sample, though his minor-league numbers also showed these things could be problematic once he reached the bigs. Flowers may only hit .230 — or lower — but he could lead all catchers in home runs. It’s not likely, but it’s possible. We probably knew that heading into the season, too, but now it’s more tempting to pick him up now that he’s off to a strong start. There’s some upside there, and that’s all you’re looking for at this point in the season.
P Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
Corbin beat out Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado to earn the fifth starter job in Arizona. Corbin actually showed some potential with the club last season. He tossed 107 innings with the team, making 17 starts before shifting to the bullpen. His strikeout rate as a starter was just 18.2%, which is lower than most fantasy owners would like. He did show an ability to strike out more hitters in the minors, and when he pitched out of the pen, so there could be some room for improvement. He’s not going to walk many hitters, and might be able to keep the ball on the ground. Corbin’s biggest issue last season was his home run rate. Corbin had a 13.5% HR/FB rate last season. It’s going to be tough for him to remain effective if he continues to give up home runs at the same rate. This year, he’ll have to worry about both Skaggs and Delgado pitching well enough to take his spot. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll likely be pushed out of the rotation by Daniel Hudson once he returns. Corbin could have some value as a starter, especially away from his home park, and might deserve a look in NL or deeper leagues.
It’s still early, and you shouldn’t overreact to such a small sample. But if you’re looking to make a move, the best thing to do is target upside. Both Flowers and Corbin can at least provide some of that. You’re betting on what they’ve done in the past, not what they are doing this season.