Fantasy Forward: As the Rangers bullpen turns along with Statcast heroes home runs

Trying to stay cognizant on the East coast while trying to track the Texas Rangers bullpen situation proves tiresome. But, things may be even more unsettled regarding who to add for saves this weekend on the waiver wire.

Suffice it to say, do not speculate on Jeremy Jeffress who pitched in the seventh inning despite Sam Dyson being on code orange to lose the ninth inning job. In the eighth inning, Jose LeClerc took over in a high leverage spot with the team leading by three. He retired Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in succession with Tony Barnette warming up in the bullpen.

Due to Rougned Odor’s two run double in the top of the ninth, Barnette did not enter the game and LeClerc recorded the save for the Rangers. Since this may be so volatile, not burning FAAB money seems wise unless more clarity arises in terms of roles prior to the weekend. However, it feels as though this could be a situation which takes time to develop with the shoulder woes of Matt Bush, Sam Dyson’s inflated ERA and the young guns trying to move into high leverage. Stay tuned.

Here’s the recap of last night’s action in the rest of the major leagues:

Hitter’s delight with two bombs by Stanton

  • Statcast loves Giancarlo Stanton because of his powerful exit velocity statistics and the translation to power. Add in Stanton’s owning of Jaime Garcia during his career and two home runs resulted on Wednesday night. Both home runs surpassed an exit velocity of 110 MPH with one at 115.3 last night. It has never been about Stanton not being talented or his ability to destroy a baseball, rather, it’s all about staying on the field to amass 550 at-bats – a feat he has yet to accomplish.
  • Stanton’s doppelgänger in New York, Aaron Judge, also homered during the day. Judge owns three of the top six exit velocities to start the year: 117.2 MPH, 116.5 MPH and 115.9 MPH. He cut down his leg kick and swing in the off-season to try and create more contact. It’s early, but so far so good for the Yankees young right fielder. His average will regress, but his power and favorable home ballpark make him a worthy fantasy target for power.
  • Brian Dozier made some history with his 20th leadoff home run as a Twin to tie Jacque Jones for the franchise record. Dozier is off to a slow start, but recall he did last year as well. Patience.
  • Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi struck out for the third time last night, in 37 plate appearances. His third swing and miss occurred during the game. Impressive swing proficiency from the rookie who still maintains a .351 OBP during his recent backslide in production.
  •  Most people drafted Elvis Andrus for the power upside, right? All kidding aside, Andrus launched his third home run of the season and carries a 71.4 pull percentage, 33.3 home run per fly ball percentage and 39.3 hard contact rate to start the year. Hard to buy into a power breakout, but he is 28 years old and double-digit home runs could be in reach. Will be fun to track.
  • Speaking of surprising power, Ender Inciarte hit two home runs in Miami, one off of Tom Koehler and one against Yunichi Tazawa. Inciarte finished the second half with a flurry last year, but add him for runs and stolen base upside.
  • Wil Myers may not want to leave Coors; he is hitting .400 as he arrives in Atlanta’s new ballpark. His breakout may have been for real; Myers started fast in 2016 as well.
  • Deep league alerts: Trey Mancini homered twice yesterday and has five home runs in his last 10 games over 29 plate appearances. Andrew Romine is 6-for-11 (.545) to start the year with five runs, a home run and four RBI in a limited role. American League only players should take note.
  • When the Mets announced Curtis Granderson would not play and Michael Conforto would replace him atop the lineup, their twitter fan base jumped for joy. Conforto rewarded the fans and those who used him in DFS with two hits, which included a home run, a walk, three runs and an RBI. It’s hard to believe the Mets cannot find this kid more playing time. Stay tuned and stash in leagues with deep benches.
  • One lineup note: Houston hit Josh Reddick second against a right-handed pitcher last night. Reddick responded with two hits in three at-bats, a walk, three runs and two RBIs. Alex Bregman shifted to sixth as a result. Monitor this moving forward. By the way, those worried about Jose Altuve, he finished with three hits in as many at-bats to raise his average to .275 at the end of the night. Breathe.




Mound musings

  • In spite of losing, Max Scherzer recorded at least 10 strikeouts for the 45th time since 2011 which leads the majors. Next in merit, Clayton Kershaw with 43 similar starts.
  • On the other mound, Mike Leake held the Nationals to four hits over seven innings with seven strikeouts. After two starts, Leake’s 24.5 strikeout percentage hints at upside, but time will tell. For now, Leake has struck out 13 in 15 innings of work this year.
  • Zack Wheeler won his first game since 2014 in Philadelphia on Wednesday. His 7.45 ERA does not warm the heart, but focus on his 3.29 FIP along with his fastball averaging 94.7 MPH generating four swinging strikes. His slider produced six swings and misses as well.
  • Zach Lee, Jered Weaver and Jarred Cosart pitched 15.1 innings in Coors Field with a combined two earned runs allowed. Let this sink in.
  • In a battle between promising young southpaws in the Bronx, neither could reach the fifth inning. Blake Snell allowed two unearned runs, but walked three more than he struck out (one). His 5.19 xFIP needs to be accounted for moving forward, although upside still resides in his arm. Jordan Montgomery came as advertised with seven strikeouts in his 4.2 innings of work. Scouts liked him this spring, so those in deeper formats may want to invest in the rookie.
  • Another rookie southpaw impressed in Pittsburgh. Amir Garrett won his second game in as many starts with two runs allowed over 6.2 innings and five strikeouts. His ERA stands at 1.42 with a 3.3 FIP. Impressive.
  • Chase Anderson does not move the needle in terms of excitement, but he’s allowed one run through 13 innings of work at home against the Rockies and in Toronto. Not exactly pitcher friendly environments. Over his last 87 innings of work, Anderson’s ERA stands at 2.90 in 17 starts.
  • Marcus Stroman took the hard luck loss in a complete game against the Brewers. Stroman finished with four strikeouts and his ERA after two starts, 1.76.
  • Rookie Andrew Triggs won his second game of the year in Kansas City. He finished with three strikeouts. Take note of his 3.33 FIP and 5.20 xFIP in case correction comes calling his next time out.
  • Veteran alert: Matt Cain won at home against the Diamondbacks with six strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work.

Bullpen highlights

  • Aroldis Chapman, Jim Johnson and David Robertson netted their first saves last night. Patience. Also, Alex Wilson worked two innings for Detroit and his first save of 2017, and perhaps the last. Enjoy.
  • Both Neftali Feliz and Addison Reed recorded their third saves of the year. Reed owners, Jeurys Familia can return after seven more games on his suspension.
  • Arodys Vizcaino and Corey Knebel have started strong this year. Those speculating for saves later in the season may want to stash either in leagues with deep rosters.

Statistical Credits: MLB.com and Statcast, BaseballSavant.com, Fangraphs.com

 

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Greg Jewett
I am a father, PE teacher & fantasy baseball writer. Using saber metrics & information to evaluate players & trends is exciting to me."Passion is the oxygen of the soul." Bill Butler