We have only three games of data to work off of right now, but that’s enough to make the case for some players who should be picked up in your fantasy baseball league. Here are four who are worth your attention.
Steven Kwan, OF, Cleveland Guardians
Was there any relatively unknown player who showed out more during Opening Weekend than Kwan? He entered the year as Cleveland’s No. 15 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, and batting seventh in the Opening Day lineup. By the end of the weekend, he was batting second because he just didn’t stop hitting. Overall, Kwan went 8-for-10 with four runs scored and reached base safely 12 times. That’s two more times than any other player in their first three MLB games since 1901. (Note: As I was writing this, Kwan walked in his first plate appearance Monday. He has reached base in nine consecutive PAs.) Kwan will provide average, on-base percentage, runs and steal some bases. Get in on this hot start and ride it for as long as it lasts.
Hunter Greene, SP, Cincinnati Reds
Greene, the Reds’ No. 1 prospect, had pitched only about 100 innings in the Minor Leagues since the end of the 2018 season due to injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, his 2021 year was good, but not outstanding for someone who has Greene’s kind of stuff. Still, a big Spring Training earned him a spot on Cincy’s Opening Day roster. Greene has been breathlessly hyped since he was a teenager, but he absolutely lived up to the hype during his MLB debut on Sunday against the Braves. The overall line doesn’t stand out too much — five innings, four hits, three runs, two walks and seven K’s — but Greene’s fastball was as advertised. Twenty of Greene’s 92 pitches reached 100 mph. His fastball averaged 99.7 mph. No starter threw harder last year, and only two relievers had a higher average four-seamer velocity. Greene also got lots of swings and misses on his slider, too. He’s just a two-pitch starter, but his No. 1 is good overpowering, Greene will have stretches where he simply overpowers MLB hitters. He did so at times against a high-quality Braves lineup. Can’t wait to see how he performs against the Dodgers in L.A. this coming weekend.
Tylor Megill, SP, New York Mets
Jacob deGrom was supposed to be the Mets’ Opening Day. But as he was felled by a shoulder injury, Megill took the mound on Thursday and did his best deGrom impression. He pitched five shutout innings with no walks, three hits and six strikeouts. After averaging 94.6 mph on his fastball last year, Megill averaged 96.1 versus the Nats and topped out at 99 mph. There are a couple of caveats here: The Nats’ offense is weak beyond Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz; Megill’s next outing versus the Phillies won’t be a cakewalk. And Megill has only two effective pitches — his fastball and slider. But the second-year righty has clearly made some changes to increase his velocity and spin rates, and his slider looks early like a great finishing pitch.
Jeremy Pena, SS, Houston Astros
People in Astros camp said throughout Spring Training that the rookie Pena is the real deal. Through four games, Carlos Correa’s replacement has made those statements look prescient. Pena has six hits, including three for extra bases, through the first four games of his MLB career. He will probably strike out too much to post a really strong average, but 20 HRs and double-digit steals seem very much on the table for the 24-year-old who has an everyday spot in Houston’s potent lineup.