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Friday 15th Dec 2017

What a fun first week: So all over the map, right?

Miguel Cabrera comes out of the box crushing, as does Adrian Gonzalez, while Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw get knocked around like batting practice cannon fodder. Good thing pitchers are dominant early in the season, no?

So, let's take a look at a few of my favorite names for the week, starting with the newest Giants starter, Chris Heston. The 27-year-old has been very workmanlike in his climb from being a 12th round pick in 2009 out of East Carolina University. As a minor leaguer, Heston has assembled a line of 46-45, 3.56 over 765 innings, with 646 strikeouts with a 1.255 WHIP. Heston went 12-9, 3.38 over 173 frames at Fresno last year prior to a brief appearance at ATT (0-0, 5.06 over 5.3 innings) but with questions in the Giants rotation, and based upon Heston's great start Tuesday, he makes a good FAAB selection.

Across the bay, Mark Canha was drafted by the Fish in 2009 (seventh round) out of U.C. Berkeley, then picked up by the Rockies as a Rule 5 pick in December, and then swapped to the Athletics for Austin House the same day (meaning Canha needs to stay on the roster all season, hit the DL, or go back to the Fish). With a .285-68-303 line in the Minors, including a strong .303-20-82 2014 with New Orleans, Canha is a perfect right-handed fit for Oakland. He gets on as the .375 OBP (232 walks to 388 whiffs). The outfielder/first baseman makes a nice addition in an AL-only for sure and should get some at-bats and give some pretty good numbers, methinks.

I am liking Tampa's Kevin Kiermaier more and more as one of those quiet producers. A 31st round pick out of Parkland College in Illinois, Kiermaier played pretty steady ball through the Rays system, hitting .305-3-13 over 34 contests last year, then off to Tropicana where he hit .263-10-35 over 108 games. The 25-year-old seems to have increasing power (.353-2-4 this year), having 12 dingers in the bigs, while he only managed 13 in the Minors since being drafted in 2010. Another play, primarily in the American League.

The Jays picked up there now starting second sacker, Devon Travis, in exchange for the Tigers Anthony Gose. Travis was a 13th round pick by Detroit in 2012. Travis had a great year at Double-A Erie in 2014, hitting ,298-10-52 with 16 steals (and seven triples with 20 doubles) while walking 37 times to 60 free passes (.358 OBP). Travis is off to a hot start (.313-1-3) and is probably lurking on the available list in most leagues.

On the flip side, Anthony Gose is similarly off to a nice start. A second-round pick out of Bellflower High School, in 2008 by the Phillies, then swapped to the Astros as part of the Roy Oswalt deal in 2010, then to the Astros for Brett Wallace the same day at the 2010 trade deadline, and then during the off-season to Detroit for Travis. Gose seems to have settled in, adjusting his sea legs to the Majors, hitting .450-1-5 with a steal for the first week. It looks like this promising youngster (he is now 24) is ready for prime time.

As noted in my DFS coverage, I might well have underestimated the skill set of Houston's Dallas Keuchel. The Houston right-hander now has two very good starts over 14 innings (a pair of runs, nine hits, three walks and seven whiffs) although truly not against the toughest opponents on the planet. Still, Keuchel's 2014 (12-9, 2.93) seems to be the real deal. As in while I am not so sure about Collin McHugh and Matt Shoemaker, I am about Keuchel. I think he will prove to be very good in a Tim Hudson kind of way.

I always wondered about DJ LeMahieu: a big guy (6'4", 215 pounds) for a second sacker. Especially, a second sacker without a lot a power (nine homers over 318 Major League games), but he seems to have gotten the hang of hitting. LeMahieu was a second rounder by the Cubs in 2009 out of LSU, who hit .321-9-210 over 378 games. LeMahieu hit ok as a full-timer last year (.267-5-42) but has come out of the blocks hot, and looks ready to step it up a la Gose.

Let's finish with another great looking Cuban import, Jose Iglesias. Originally signed by the Red Sox, Iglesias was part of the crazy three-way deal that involved Avisail Garcia and Jake Peavy among Boston, the White Sox, and Tigers. Like his team (and mates Miggy and Gose), Iglesias is off to a great start (.600-0-2 with a steal) and is a large reason why Detroit is 6-0 through the first week of the season. He too is more than worth a look as we adjust our rosters this first cycle.


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