Mike Trout Injured, Joey Loperfido, Alec Bohm & More MLB Spotlights

by Corey Pieper
Fantasy Baseball All-Stars

Unfortunately, I lead this week's MLB spotlights with Mike Trout injured... again. Next, I jump into some old dogs who are learning some new tricks, aka some older players who are starting to perform at an elite level. A couple of the names we will discuss are Alec Bohm and Erick Fedde. Then finish up with a look at some prospects that you need to know including, Joey Loperfido.

It's hard to believe that the season is already a month old. Hopefully, you're in first place in all of your leagues. Even if you're not, remember the season is still in the beginning phases. A lot can change. For example, two weeks ago Julio Rodriguez was under .200. Now, his average is back to .265. While Rodriguez is a superstar, it shows that a hot week from anyone can completely reverse their fortunes.

Helping your fantasy fortunes is what we strive to do at Fantasy Six Pack. Keep checking out all our great Fantasy Baseball content all season long. Read on in this week's MLB spotlights article, Old Dogs New Tricks and more.

Mike Trout Injured, Joey Loperfido, Alec Bohm & More MLB Spotlights

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Mike Trout Injured... Again

It was a great first month of the season for Angels' superstar Mike Trout which was fun while it lasted.

Trout already had 10 home runs. Strangely, that only came with 14 RBI as the Angels' have not been able to consistently have runners on base in front of him. What was even more surprising was the sudden return of his stolen bases.

Trout already stole six bases this season. He had a total of six stolen bases over the past four years combined. Unfortunately, we are going to be without Trout for the foreseeable future.

Trout tore the meniscus in his left knee somehow. There are no indications yet of how the injury happened or when we can expect to see Trout again. Since he has to have surgery, you have to expect it to be a few months. Don't drop Trout even in shallow leagues till we have a firmer timeline.

In his absence, the Angels likely go with an outfield of Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak, and Jo Adell. Adell will be given a chance to prove his early season start is more than a fluke, but rather a post-hype breakout.

Old Dogs, New Tricks?

Each player listed below is playing in at least their fifth season of Major League Baseball. At that point, we typically know what to expect. But with each of these players, something has changed early in the season. Read on to see if these old dogs have some new found tricks.
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Erick Fedde, SP, Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox looked to the Korean Baseball Organization to help their starting rotation this offseason. They targeted Erick Fedde who had struggled with the Washington Nationals while he was in the United States. He reinvented himself though with an entirely new pitch mix.

He eliminated his curveball and changeup from his arsenal completely. Instead, he added a sweeper and splitter. Those pitches have batting averages against of .235 and .154 respectively so the changes have worked so far.

Fedde's best two starts have come in his last two starts. He has gone 14.1 innings in those starts with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 20:0.

He has been an early draft-day steal for a pitcher whom you could draft outside the top 350 picks. If the results continue, he may finish as a Top-30 starting pitcher.

Tanner Houck, SP Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox hired Andrew Bailey to be their new pitching coach last offseason. Considering the starting rotation currently leads MLB in ERA and is second in WHIP, it is safe to say the first month has been a success.

In Tanner Houck's case, the major change he has made is to eliminate throwing his four seam fastball. Instead, he has drastically upped his split finger usage to over 20% of his pitch mix. He has been able to control his pitches much better than in the past.

The last two seasons, Houck was walking 8.9% of the batters he faced. That was slightly below league average. This season he is only walking 3% of the batters he has faced which is one of the best rates in the league.

When he does get hit, it is still rather hard. His hard-hit rate is a career high 46%. It probably means that his current 1.60 ERA will double the rest of the way. That's still a very good pitcher moving forward.

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Ranger Suarez, SP, Philadelphia Phillies

Through five starts, Ranger Suarez is the second-rated pitcher in traditional 5 x 5 rotisserie leagues behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers' Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow had a FantasyPros consensus ADP of 41. Suarez had an ADP of 313.

What's interesting is that we have seen a dominant stretch like this from Suarez. In 2021, he had a 1.36 ERA over 106 innings as he generated groundballs at a 58% rate. In the last couple of seasons, the groundball rate dropped and the ERA rose. But to start this season, it seems that both have returned with vengeance.

Right now, Suarez has an ERA of 1.32 with a league-leading WHIP of 0.63. His strikeout-to-walk ratio for the season is an astounding 40:5. He is also back to getting groundballs at a 62% rate which is the best among qualified pitchers.

Suarez is getting an absurd amount of weak contact at over 14%. The highest mark that any qualified pitcher had last season was just over 7% so expect that number to regress. As it does, his stats will regress too. Getting groundballs and limiting walks is a repeatable formula. As long as he keeps the formula going, there is no reason he shouldn't be a start for your fantasy team every time he pitches.

Alec Bohm, 1B/3B, Philadelphia Phillies

Alec Bohm has solidified himself as a steady presence in fantasy rosters, especially in leagues with a corner infield spot. He wasn't going to be a star in any category, but he also wasn't going to hurt you in any category either. The start of this season has seen Bohm's offensive production tick up across the board.

Bohm is currently second in all of MLB with 29 RBI. Last season, was his career high with 97 RBI, but he is well ahead of that pace. That's because he is currently at career-best marks in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

His average will dip as his .420 BABIP regresses. Even if it does dip some from the lofty 364 mark that it's currently at, it's still possible that we see his first .300-plus batting average since his rookie season. Right now, his expected batting average is .318. If he continues to bat cleanup in the Phillies lineup with an average like that, the RBI will follow.

Prospect Watch

Another one of the prospects from the previous edition of this article made his season debut in the past two weeks in Heston Kjerstad. So far we've hit on one in each article. We have two more prospects who could soon make their season debuts.
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Kyle Manzardo, 1B, Cleveland Guardians

Baseball's biggest surprise team has been the Cleveland Guardians in the first month of the season. The team is currently 19-9. One spot where they could look to improve is at designated hitter.

The designated hitter has been a rotating spot for the Guardians between Estevan Florial, Gabriel Arias, and David Fry. While those are all fine major league players, none offer the potential that Manzardo does.

So far this season, at Triple-A, Manzardo has hit six home runs, drove in 17 RBI, and batted .299. He has an OPS over .900 for the third time in his four professional seasons. He could rotate between first base and designated hitter to give slugger Josh Naylor some rest from playing the field.

As the Guardians look to continue their winning ways, another bat in the middle of the order can only help. Don't be surprised if we see Manzardo in the next two weeks.

Joey Loperfido, OF, Houston Astros

This one is cheating because we know that Joey Loperfido is getting the call to make his debut today. Joey Loperfido has mashed home runs in Triple-A. He currently has 13 home runs and 27 RBI. While he is playing in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, it's still impressive to see him leading all of minor league baseball in home runs. He has had an issue with strikeouts though. He has struck out 37 times in only 101 at-bats.

In the Astros' case, there are two different positions where Loperfido could make a difference to the surprisingly struggling team.

Loperfido has played 13 games in center field and five at first base in the minors. The Astros' primary first baseman is Jose Abreu. He has had a remarkable career, but it appears that it may be coming to an end. He currently has a -21 wRC+, the worst mark of any batter in MLB with at least 70 plate appearances.

Jake Meyers is the Houston Astros' primary center fielder. He has been better than Abreu with a 111 wRC+. That still isn't enough to keep Loperfido from finding playing time somewhere.

That's all of our old dogs new tricks for now. Be sure to check out some of our NFL rookie landing spots articles!

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