On a slate during which hitters surged with multiple home run games and rumors of the ball being juiced again, Jason Heyward turned in a perfect night at the plate. Heyward not only hit two home runs, but stole two bases while reaching in all five plate appearances finishing 3-for-3 with three runs, three RBI and two walks. It’s far too early to get overly excited by this result, but Heyward has homered in back-to-back games and thrust himself into the conversation of waiver claims in 15-team mixed leagues and into the periphery of 12-team speculation with this surge. Sustainability will be the key to his season.

Not to be outdone, the Mets tied a team record hitting five home runs at Citi Field and did so for the first time since July of 2016. Usually the ball travels more as the weather heats up, but home runs continue to be recorded at a record setting pace. J.D. Davis not only hit two home runs, but owns the hardest hit one according to Statcast this year with a 114.7 MPH exit velocity. He’s also the first Met with multiple 110 MPH-plus home runs in the same game since Statcast’s inception in 2015. Not to be left out, Michael Conforto , Robinson Canó and Pete Alonso joined the home run barrage.

In order to digest the 15-game slate, the Round Up encapsulates it with key notes and observations from around the league.


Hitter Highlights: Home runs, everywhere…

Seattle’s produced at least one home run in each game this year en route to an 8 - 2 record and lead the majors with 24 so far. Jay Bruce hit two on Saturday upping his season total to five and Tim Beckham went 4-for-5 with two runs, a double, his fourth home run, and three RBI.

In two games versus the Mariners, Tim Anderson ’s 6-for-7 with two home runs and four RBI. He’s not sleepless when they’re on the schedule.

Both Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier hit their first home runs for the Royals. But, Whit Merrifield extended his hit streak to 27-games dating back to last year, with, you guessed it, his first home run of the season.

Kansas City lost after yielding a grand slam to Christin Stewart of the Tigers. Stewart entered the game with a .240 slugging percentage but a .409 expected slugging along with an expected weighted on-base average .101 above his actual number. Positive migration rewarded his patience with Stewart going 2-for-4 with a double, the salami, four RBI and a walk.

Anthony Rendon ’s hit safely in six straight games and finished 2-for-4 with his third home run, a double, a walk and an RBI. He’s racked up seven extra-base hits in this modest streak.

It feels like every year fantasy owners hope the power ticks up for Josh Bell . On Saturday, he recorded two doubles and a home run and driving in two during the Pirates win over the Reds. Joey Votto hit his first home run to tie the game in the eighth inning.

Not sure when teams will stop pitching to Mike Trout , but, while they still do, it’s glorious to watch.

Trout’s 1.476 on-base plus slugging percentage yields 23 batted ball events this year with seven barrels, a 21.9 degree average launch angle and 12 hard hits (95 MPH-plus) for a robust 52.2 hard hit rate according to Statcast. Mercy.

An injury to Franchy Cordero could start to sift out the playing time issues in the Padres outfield. Hunter Renfroe struggled in the spring but racked up two more hits on Saturday, both doubles with an RBI. He’s hitting .368 with a 1.374 on-base plus slugging percentage with seven 95 MPH-plus events of his 13 batted balls this year. Things which make you go hmmmm…

Not to be lost in the double dong barrage, Jorge Alfaro crushed two in Atlanta leading the Marlins to a win on the road. Alfaro went 3-for-4 with three RBI and far exceeding my expectations for him to this point. Aaron Judge also launched two home runs on Saturday night. It’s the eighth multiple home run game of his career, and fourth against the Orioles. Clint Frazier also hit his first major league home run since July of 2017 to propel the Yankees to the win.

While Cody Bellinger gets the early season accolades, and rightfully so, David Dahl did homer for the second straight game in a loss for the Rockies. Bellinger only went 2-for-4 with two runs, a double, a triple and an RBI.


Starting Pitcher Breakdowns: Skaggs, not Boz, leads the way

While Steven Matz and Patrick Corbin dueled in New York before the bullpens imploded, Tyler Skaggs recorded the highest swinging strike and called strike total of the day with 36 against the Rangers. Skaggs only generated 10 swinging strikes, five with his curve, but recorded the win giving up only five hits, one earned runs and a walk with five strikeouts. Matz struck out eight National hitters in five innings but the four walks limited him to five innings of work. Corbin finished with nine strikeouts but also allowed three earned runs on six hits and a walk. Here’s the best of the rest from Saturday:

  • Carlos Carrasco , Cleveland - 90 pitches, 10 swinging strikes, 24 called. Carrasco notched 12 strikeouts in only five innings en route to his first win of the season. He held Toronto to six hits, one earned run and a walk.

  • Michael Pineda , Minnesota - 80 pitches, nine swinging strikes, 11 called. Winning in Philadelphia should impress Pineda owners. He worked five innings giving up four hits, two earned runs and a walk with five strikeouts.

  • Michael Wacha , St. Louis - 112 pitches, 13 swinging strikes, 16 called. Such a sideways outing with Wacha walking (8) more batters than he struck out (7) yet, he only yielded three hits and an earned run. Not sure if it’s rust or just lack of faith in his stuff.

  • Cole Hamels , Chicago Cubs - 111 pitches, 15 swinging strikes, 18 called. Huge outing in Milwaukee for the Cubs. Hamels only allowed six hits and two earned runs while striking out five on the road.

  • Corbin Burnes , Milwaukee - 93 pitches, 16 swinging strikes, 11 called. There will be better days ahead for Burnes, but he did give up three home runs for the second straight start. But, he also generated the highest swinging strike total of any starter on Saturday. The seven earned runs hurt, but be patient with him as he learns his craft on the fly.

  • Wade Miley , Houston - 95 pitches, 14 swinging strikes, 14 called. Miley fired 5.2 shutout innings against the A’s yielding four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.


Bullpen Notes: Continued Chaos

Remember the scene in Rocky III when they asked Clubber Lang his prediction about the fight, his response? “Pain.” Well, this could be applicable to trying to find or predict saves this year in fantasy free agent markets. Performance, along with fluid approaches, will make it very difficult to mine saves on the open market. Yet, we forge ahead.

Those who threw a late round dart at Shane Greene continue to reap the rewards. Greene tied a major league record notching his sixth save within Detroit’s first nine games, tying a record since the start of recognizing saves as a category. His counterpart from the Royals, well, Kevin McCarthy lasted one-third of an inning giving up three hits and three earned runs. Wily Peralta gets the blown save serving up the grand slam to Christin Stewart .

It’s tough to believe, but the Nationals and Cubs bullpens still struggled. Raisel Iglesias owners continue to scratch their heads at his usage patterns and will Seranthony Domínguez be the next reliever ticketed to Triple-A? Here are the rest of the highlights from high leverage yesterday:

  • Edwin Díaz locked down save number four during a clean ninth with a strikeout.

  • San Diego closer Kirby Yates worked around a hit with a strikeout en route to his fifth save this season.

  • There’s something wrong with Andrew Miller . He allowed two home runs on Saturday and of his 12 batted ball events against this year, six rate as hard hits, including both homers in this outing.

  • Will Smith closed out his third save allowing a hit.

  • Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman recorded his second save with two strikeouts. He averaged 96.9 MPH with his fastball, topping out at 98.6 MPH.

  • Sergio Romo garnered the win in relief with a clean 1.1 innings on 14 pitches. Adam Conley then notched his first save, entering the game to face Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis . Conley did give up a hit and a walk but held on.

  • Greg Holland did his best to disprove spring statistics, as he got his first win when Arizona walked off against Boston.

  • Appearing in Coors Field, Kenley Jansen closed out his fourth save working 1.1 innings with two strikeouts. An encouraging sign with his past issues both mentally and physically in this park.


What To Watch For Sunday

While most will focus on Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler ’s potential pitcher duel in New York, keep tabs on José Berríos facing Zach Eflin in Philadelphia.

Anthony DeSclafani will face off with Chris Archer in Pittsburgh in what sets up as another potential low scoring day for each team.

Will power and runs continue to pour in Miller Park? Shaking the magic eight ball, signs point to yes.

Who works more innings in St. Louis? Matt Strahm or Adam Wainwright ? Place your bets!

Opener be damned, the Rays will start Yonny Chirinos in San Francisco and everyone will be watching to see if home runs continue to dominate the conversation at the onset of the season.

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