We get a lot of questions from our listeners and readers, and at this point in the Fantasy Baseball season, they tend to come in one of two forms:

"What's wrong with [Underperforming Superstar Player Y]?????"

Or … 

"Is [Surprise Early-Season Breakout Player Y] for real???????"

The former is easier to answer, and it usually goes something like, "Probably nothing." That's not to say, of course, that superstar players never fall off a cliff or have down seasons; it's just to say that guys like Manny Machado and Aaron Nola have earned the benefit of the doubt to not worry about them after just a few weeks, even if their data might be a bit wonky.

The second category of questions is trickier to handle. Sometimes, guys just run into a string of almost impossibly good fortune in a small sample size, like Bryson Stott, who is hitting .365 but with underlying metrics that suggest he's more like a .275 hitter with little power to note. He's making a decent amount of contact and spraying a bunch of line drives all over the field, but he's also sporting a .400 batting average on ground balls, an unsustainable string of good luck even in a post-shift landscape, where the league as a whole is hitting just .239 on grounders.

Those are the easier calls. The tougher ones are the likes of Matt Chapman or Yandy Diaz, whose production so far isn't a fluke. Diaz is still hitting the ball incredibly hard, as he did last season, but now he's elevating the ball consistently, with an average launch angle of 14.8 degrees, more than double last year's. 

Diaz always had strong bat-to-ball skills and has often shown elite quality-of-contact skills, but Diaz has been a pretty middling Fantasy option for much of his career because he was doing more damage to the work of the infield grounds crew than to opposing pitchers'. That's changed this season, and it has Diaz looking like an absolute superstar – in fact, his already impressive .422 wOBA actually trails his .467 expected mark. 

Chapman's apparent breakout is fueled by similarly straightforward changes: He's just absolutely whalloping the ball right now. He ranks in the 100th percentile in average exit velocity (97.0 mph) and hard-hit rate (65.4%), while cutting his strikeout rate to what would be a career-low mark. Chapman already hit the ball plenty hard last season, with a 92.2 mph average exit velocity and 51.2% hard-hit rate, but he struck out 27.4% of the time and was too prone to weak fly outs to truly maximize his skill set. 

Which is all to say, if Diaz and Chapman were breaking out, this is exactly what it would look like. There's nothing flukey about what they've done so far – they've been arguably the two best hitters in baseball so far, and they've earned what they've produced and then some. 

And I've moved them way up in my rankings to reflect that, though not all the way to where their play so far would deserve. Because, the thing about all those metrics showing that they've earned their performance so far is those stats only hold so much predictive value. They are snapshots of what has happened so far, and while they may end up being sustainable, it's also possible that both players are just hot right now, in the traditional sense of the word. They are locked in right now, but that doesn't mean they will remain so moving forward.

Chapman has played 18 games, while Diaz is up to 17 entering Thursday, which is a very small sample size. Heck, back in 2020, Eric Hosmer looked like he might be experiencing a similar breakout to Diaz's, cutting his groundball rate to 46.2% and putting together a .287/.333/.517 line over 38 games, double the sample here; he hit just .269/.337/.395 with a 55.5% groundball rate in 2021. If you used some of these same metrics, you might have been inclined to buy Hosmer, and that would have been a mistake.

That's not to say Diaz and Chapman (or any other player with similar apparent jumps in skill set) aren't worth buying. Breakouts happen every year, and again, this is exactly what a breakout would look like for both players! If they can sustain this, they'll be awesome and you'll look like a genius for buying in. 

But we're still dealing with small enough sample sizes that you should train a skeptical eye toward everything you see. Even when the underlying metrics back it up; perhaps even especially when the underlying metrics back it up, because that can lead some to a false sense of certainty about what we're seeing. It's a long season, and players' apparent skill sets fluctuate as well as their performance, and a player being locked in or hot early on doesn't necessarily mean they'll sustain it.

H2H Points leagues Trade Values

RankPlayerEligibleValueChange From Last Week
1Aaron JudgeDH-OF52
2Jose Ramirez3B-DH46
3Ronald AcunaDH-OF45
4Mookie Betts2B-OF45
5Trea TurnerSS43
6Yordan AlvarezDH-OF41
7Julio RodriguezOF412
8Kyle TuckerOF39
9Juan SotoOF39
10Freddie Freeman1B38
11Mike TroutOF37
12Shohei OhtaniDH-SP37
13Vladimir Guerrero1B-DH37
14Fernando TatisSS37
15Rafael Devers3B36
16Gerrit ColeSP36
17Manny Machado3B36
18Corbin BurnesSP34
19Austin Riley3B33
20Paul Goldschmidt1B-DH33
21Pete Alonso1B-DH33
22Sandy AlcantaraSP32
23Max ScherzerSP32
24Bo BichetteSS31
25Nolan Arenado3B31
26Marcus Semien2B29
27Francisco LindorSS28
28Shane BieberSP28
29Shane McClanahanSP28
30Aaron NolaSP28
31Dylan CeaseSP28
32Kyle SchwarberDH-OF28
33Spencer StriderRP-SP28
34Michael HarrisOF28
35Bobby Witt3B-SS28
36Jacob deGromSP28
37Zack WheelerSP28
38J.T. RealmutoC25
39Ozzie Albies2B25
40Matt Olson1B25
41Jazz Chisholm2B-OF25
42Luis RobertOF25
43Randy ArozarenaDH-OF25
44Cedric MullinsOF24
45Kevin GausmanSP24
46Wander FrancoSS24
47George SpringerDH-OF23
48Alex Bregman3B23
49Luis CastilloSP23
50Alek ManoahSP21-1
51Emmanuel ClaseRP21
52Justin VerlanderSP21-3
53Brandon WoodruffSP21-7
54Julio UriasSP21
55Framber ValdezSP21
56Yu DarvishSP20
57Josh HaderRP20
58Eloy JimenezDH-OF20
59Bryan ReynoldsOF193
60Will SmithC-DH19
61Zac GallenSP18
62Teoscar HernandezOF18
63Daulton VarshoC-OF18
64Adolis GarciaDH-OF17
65Adley RutschmanC-DH17
66Xander BogaertsSS16
67Starling MarteOF16
68Devin WilliamsRP16
69Carlos CorreaSS15
70Steven KwanOF15
71Christian Walker1B15
72Alejandro KirkC-DH15
73Tommy Edman2B-SS15
74Byron BuxtonDH-OF15
75Clayton KershawSP15
76Logan WebbSP15
77Jordan RomanoRP15
78Joe MusgroveSP15
79Kyle WrightSP15
80Gunnar Henderson3B-SS15
81Max FriedSP15
82Ryan PresslyRP15
83Jose Abreu1B-DH15
84Pablo LopezSP152
85Corey SeagerSS151
86Vinnie Pasquantino1B-DH15
87Jose Altuve2B15
88Corbin CarrollOF15
89Willy AdamesSS15
90Andres Gimenez2B15
91Felix BautistaRP15
92Cristian JavierSP15
93Dansby SwansonSS15
94Blake SnellSP15
95Lance LynnSP151
96Carlos RodonSP15
97Salvador PerezC-DH15
98Kris BryantOF14
99Max Muncy2B-3B-DH14
100Willson ContrerasC-DH14
101Ryan HelsleyRP141
102Anthony Rizzo1B14
103Bryce HarperDH14
104Jordan Walker3B-OF14
105Luis SeverinoSP14
106Christian YelichDH-OF14
107Sean MurphyC-DH133
108Nick LodoloSP131
109Nestor CortesSP13
110Brandon Lowe2B12
111Camilo DovalRP12
112Kenley JansenRP12
113Joe RyanSP124
114Hunter GreeneSP12
115George KirbySP12
116Tyler O'NeillOF121
117Tim AndersonSS113
118Gleyber Torres2B111
119Yandy Diaz1B-3B117
120Matt Chapman3B118
121William ContrerasC-DH11
122Taylor WardOF10
123Jesus LuzardoSP10
124Nate Lowe1B101
125Freddy PeraltaSP10
126Chris SaleSP91
127Anthony SantanderDH-OF9-1
128Hunter RenfroeOF9
129Josh Bell1B-DH9
130Logan GilbertSP9
131David BednarRP9
132MJ MelendezC-DH-OF9
133Miguel Vargas1B-2B8
134Ty France1B8
135Andrew Vaughn1B-DH-OF8
136Robbie RaySP8
137Mitch HanigerOF8
138Ketel Marte2B-DH8
139Charlie MortonSP8
140Lucas GiolitoSP8
141Chris BassittSP8
142Jeremy PenaSS8
143C.J. Cron1B-DH81
144Dustin MaySP8
145Eugenio Suarez3B7
146Anthony Rendon3B7
147Seiya SuzukiOF7
148Brandon NimmoOF6
149Rowdy Tellez1B61
150J.D. MartinezDH5
151Nico Hoerner2B-SS52
152Lance McCullersSP5
153Drew RasmussenSP5
154Ryan Mountcastle1B-DH5
155Jose BerriosSP51
156Tyler StephensonC-DH5
157Jose Miranda1B-3B-DH5
158Tony GonsolinSP4
159Ian HappOF4
160Clay HolmesRP41
161Jordan MontgomerySP4
162Anthony VolpeSS4-2
163Jonathan India2B4
164Tyler GlasnowSP4
165Graham AshcraftSP3
166Nick CastellanosDH-OF3
167Grayson RodriguezSP3
168Jhoan DuranRP3
169Kris BubicSP3
170Jake Cronenworth1B-2B3-1
171Ezequiel TovarSS3
172Giancarlo StantonDH-OF3-9
173Paul SewaldRP3
174Andrew HeaneySP3
175Jarred KelenicOF3
176Jorge SolerDH-OF3
177Raisel IglesiasRP3-6
178Logan O'HoppeC3
179Luis Arraez1B-2B-DH32
180Vaughn Grissom2B-SS33
181Triston McKenzieSP31
182Amed RosarioSS3
183Jake McCarthyOF3
184Jon GraySP3
185A.J. PukRP3
186Oscar ColasOF3
187Brady SingerSP3
188Alec Bohm1B-3B32
189Reid DetmersSP3
190Jack FlahertySP2
191Kodai SengaSP2
192Jeff McNeil2B-OF2
193Jorge Polanco2B2
194Merrill KellySP2
195Miles MikolasSP2
196Joey Gallo1B-OF22
197Patrick SandovalSP2
198Alex VerdugoOF2
199Javier BaezSS2

Rotisserie/Categories leagues Trade Values 

RankPlayerEligibleValueChange From Last Week
1Ronald AcunaDH-OF44
2Jose Ramirez3B-DH43
3Julio RodriguezOF43
4Trea TurnerSS43
5Aaron JudgeDH-OF43
6Mookie Betts2B-OF38
7Kyle TuckerOF35
8Yordan AlvarezDH-OF35
9Juan SotoOF35
10Mike TroutOF34
11Shohei OhtaniDH-SP34
12Fernando TatisSS32
13Vladimir Guerrero1B-DH31
14Freddie Freeman1B31
15Rafael Devers3B29
16Manny Machado3B29
17Bo BichetteSS29
18Gerrit ColeSP27
19Pete Alonso1B-DH27
20Bobby Witt3B-SS27
21Austin Riley3B27
22Corbin BurnesSP27
23Paul Goldschmidt1B-DH26
24Marcus Semien2B25
25Max ScherzerSP24
26Nolan Arenado3B24
27Francisco LindorSS24
28Sandy AlcantaraSP24
29Randy ArozarenaDH-OF24
30Luis RobertOF23
31Cedric MullinsOF23
32Aaron NolaSP22
33Spencer StriderRP-SP21
34Jazz Chisholm2B-OF21
35Jacob deGromSP21
36Shane McClanahanSP21
37Zack WheelerSP21
38Matt Olson1B21
39Kyle SchwarberDH-OF21
40Emmanuel ClaseRP20
41Shane BieberSP20
42Ozzie Albies2B20
43Luis CastilloSP182
44Brandon WoodruffSP18-1
45Justin VerlanderSP18-1
46J.T. RealmutoC18
47Kevin GausmanSP182
48Dylan CeaseSP182
49Adolis GarciaDH-OF17
50George SpringerDH-OF17
51Josh HaderRP17
52Alex Bregman3B16
53Daulton VarshoC-OF16
54Devin WilliamsRP15
55Wander FrancoSS15
56Willy AdamesSS15
57Jordan RomanoRP15
58Julio UriasSP15
59Vinnie Pasquantino1B-DH15
60Byron BuxtonDH-OF15
61Framber ValdezSP15
62Will SmithC-DH15
63Corbin CarrollOF15
64Michael HarrisOF15-2
65Alejandro KirkC-DH15
66Eloy JimenezDH-OF15
67Felix BautistaRP15
68Yu DarvishSP15
69Salvador PerezC-DH15
70Adley RutschmanC-DH15
71Joe MusgroveSP15
72Clayton KershawSP151
73Alek ManoahSP15
74Teoscar HernandezOF15
75Xander BogaertsSS15
76Gunnar Henderson3B-SS15
77Ryan PresslyRP15
78Dansby SwansonSS15
79Pablo LopezSP153
80Starling MarteOF15
81Cristian JavierSP15
82Bryan ReynoldsOF15
83Ryan HelsleyRP15
84Tommy Edman2B-SS15
85Zac GallenSP15
86Carlos CorreaSS15
87Andres Gimenez2B14-1
88Christian Walker1B14
89Logan WebbSP141
90Tyler O'NeillOF14
91Willson ContrerasC-DH14
92Steven KwanOF14
93Jordan Walker3B-OF14
94Anthony SantanderDH-OF14
95Nico Hoerner2B-SS144
96Christian YelichDH-OF14
97Camilo DovalRP14
98Brandon Lowe2B14
99Carlos RodonSP14
100Gleyber Torres2B14
101Anthony VolpeSS143
102Max Muncy2B-3B-DH143
103Jose Abreu1B-DH14-1
104Nate Lowe1B14
105MJ MelendezC-DH-OF13
106Kris BryantOF13
107Nestor CortesSP13
108Max FriedSP13
109Jake McCarthyOF13
110Bryce HarperDH131
111Nick LodoloSP13
112Lance LynnSP13
113Jesus LuzardoSP12
114Taylor WardOF12
115Hunter GreeneSP12
116Freddy PeraltaSP12
117Blake SnellSP12
118George KirbySP11
119Ty France1B11
120William ContrerasC-DH11
121Sean MurphyC-DH112
122Matt Chapman3B11
123Hunter RenfroeOF11
124Joe RyanSP114
125Corey SeagerSS11
126Logan GilbertSP11
127Rowdy Tellez1B10
128Jeremy PenaSS10
129Jose Altuve2B10
130Ketel Marte2B-DH10
131Kenley JansenRP10
132Kyle WrightSP9
133Charlie MortonSP9
134Kodai SengaSP9
135Seiya SuzukiOF9
136Ian HappOF9
137Josh Bell1B-DH9
138David BednarRP9-1
139Amed RosarioSS9
140C.J. Cron1B-DH9
141Anthony Rizzo1B9
142Clay HolmesRP9
143Andrew Vaughn1B-DH-OF9
144Yandy Diaz1B-3B96
145Nick CastellanosDH-OF9
146Robbie RaySP8
147Tim AndersonSS8-3
148Chris BassittSP8
149Tyler StephensonC-DH8-1
150Chris SaleSP8-1
151Jonathan India2B7
152Reid DetmersSP7
153Dustin MaySP7
154Alec Bohm1B-3B7
155Tyler GlasnowSP7
156Eugenio Suarez3B7
157Jeff McNeil2B-OF7
158Patrick SandovalSP7
159Brandon NimmoOF7
160Jake Cronenworth1B-2B7-1
161Ryan Mountcastle1B-DH7
162Luis Arraez1B-2B-DH7
163Lars NootbaarOF7-1
164Miguel Vargas1B-2B7
165Luis SeverinoSP7
166Anthony Rendon3B6
167Raisel IglesiasRP6-3
168Logan O'HoppeC6
169Jorge Polanco2B6
170Ezequiel TovarSS6-2
171Jorge SolerDH-OF62
172Alexis DiazRP6
173Thairo Estrada2B-SS6
174Mitch HanigerOF6
175Ke'Bryan Hayes3B6
176Jhoan DuranRP6
177Lucas GiolitoSP6
178J.D. MartinezDH6-1
179Grayson RodriguezSP6
180Alex VerdugoOF6
181Spencer Steer3B65
182Jose Miranda1B-3B-DH6
183Ryan McMahon2B-3B61
184Riley GreeneOF6-3
185Peter FairbanksRP6
186Brady SingerSP6
187Vaughn Grissom2B-SS65
188Jordan MontgomerySP6
189Luis GarciaSP6
190Paul SewaldRP6
191Javier BaezSS6
192Giancarlo StantonDH-OF6-7
193Brandon Drury1B-2B-3B-DH5
194Ramon LaureanoOF5
195Drew RasmussenSP5
196Oscar ColasOF5
197Gabriel MorenoC5
198Josh Jung3B5
199Jean Segura2B-3B5-1
200Whit Merrifield2B-OF5
201Andres MunozRP5
202Tony GonsolinSP5
203Lance McCullersSP4-1
204Jose BerriosSP4
205Keibert RuizC4
206Josh Naylor1B-DH4
207Cal RaleighC4
208Joey Gallo1B-OF4#N/A
209Masataka YoshidaOF4-2
210Alex CobbSP4
211Oscar GonzalezOF4
212Triston McKenzieSP4
213Bryson Stott2B-SS4#N/A
214Merrill KellySP4
215Lourdes GurrielDH-OF4
216Jorge MateoSS4#N/A
217Joc PedersonDH-OF4
218Francisco AlvarezC4-2
219Andrew BenintendiOF4
220Graham AshcraftSP4
221Danny JansenC4
222Jon GraySP4
223Triston Casas1B4
224Jose LeclercRP3
225Gregory SotoRP3
226C.J. AbramsSS3
227Joey Meneses1B-DH-OF3-1
228Aroldis ChapmanRP3#N/A
229Josh Rojas2B-3B3-1
230Austin HaysOF3
231Michael ConfortoOF3
232Trevor Story2B3
233Reynaldo LopezRP3
234Seranthony DominguezRP3
235Trevor RogersSP3
236Jarred KelenicOF3
237Nathan EovaldiSP3
238Matt Mervis1B3
239Bryan De La CruzOF3
240David RobertsonRP3
241Travis d'ArnaudC3
242Charlie BlackmonDH-OF3
243Brendan Donovan2B-3B-OF3
244Miles MikolasSP3
245Kyle FinneganRP3
246Jon Berti2B-3B-SS3
247A.J. PukRP3
248Andrew HeaneySP2
249Sonny GraySP2-1
250Edward CabreraSP2
251Jameson TaillonSP2-1
252Jake FraleyDH-OF2
253Marcus StromanSP2
254Tyler AndersonSP2
255Martin PerezSP2
256Eric HaaseC2