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Fantasy Forward: Amir-aculous start to the season

Chasing wins ensures frustration since the category can be so volatile. Fantasy owners may be disappointed to see Amir Garrett lost his match-up at home against Ubaldo Jimenez. Yes, it’s a cruel world, despite tying a Reds rookie record by a southpaw with 12 strikeouts over seven innings of work.

Garrett is supposed to be an innings eater with budding upside according to scouting reports, but 12 whiffs in a game against the Orioles should grab one’s attention, even in a loss.

There’s plenty happening on the injury front. Trea Turner and Jean Segura seemed poised to rejoin their respective teams no later than this weekend, Carlos Correa could have played yesterday, but played it safe and should be in the lineup this afternoon. Justin Turner did not start against the Rockies, but did enter the game for defense, so his owners may exhale. Speaking of Rockies, Ian Desmond is hitting off a tee and progressing towards his rehab. Mets first baseman, Lucas Duda, left early due to a hyperextended elbow. Does not sound super serious, but gives the Michael Conforto supporters a sliver of hope.

Those hoping to see the Blue Jays mix up the rotation with two pitchers out will receive: Mat Latos and Casey Lawrence to oppose the mostly right-handed Angels lineup. Off to the recaps.

Starting pitching highs and lows

  • Dallas Keuchel moved to 3 – 0 with an efficient seven innings against the Angels with seven strikeouts. After 28 innings of work this year, his 0.96 ERA and 22 strikeouts against six walks evoke memories of 2015 for the Astros starter – which means ground balls, some strikeouts and health.
  • Since 2016, Masahiro Tanaka moved to 7 – 1 following Yankees losses in 15 starts after his win against the White Sox yesterday. His ERA in these games sits below 2.50, and New York is now 11 – 4 in them.
  • Chris Archer flashed his upside, but pitch count and inability to work deep into the game could have cost his team a win. Archer did strikeout nine over five innings of work, but allowed seven hits and two walks along with four earned runs. Luckily, bad Francisco Rodriguez coupled with a tough play on defense allowed the Rays to win.
  • Defending Cy Young winner Rick Porcello bounced back in Toronto with five strikeouts in seven innings of work. He took the loss, but did not allow an earned run of the three scored against him.
  • An off the radar pitching duel ensued between Vince Velasquez and Robert Gsellman. Velasquez blinked first, giving up a three-run home run to Jay Bruce, but did work six innings. Gsellman flashed his upside with seven strikeouts in as many innings pitched with two earned runs allowed. Neither factored into the decision.
  • Could Michael Wacha reemerge this year? He’s now 2 – 1 after his win against the Pirates with a 2.41 ERA. Talent’s been there, health has not.
  • Fantasy owners will try to discern what to do about Kyle Hendricks. He only worked five innings at home against the Brewers with four being wild. Hendricks allowed four hits, earned runs, walks and finished with four strikeouts.
  • Drafting Madison Bumgarner did not come with the warning of a complete lack of run support. During his four starts, the Giants have scored three runs with him on the mound – Bumgarner accounting for two of them. It’s a marathon, but the Giants need a spark on offense.
  • Opposing Bumgarner was Jason Vargas who struck out nine en route to a win over San Francisco. His record moved to 3 – 0 with 23 strikeouts over 20.2 innings of work this year with a 0.44 ERA. Amazing. He’s throwing his fastball slower and the change-up’s dancing. But for how long?




Bullpen musings

  • Prior to the start of the Nationals game, Blake Treinen lost the closer role and the team will now deploy both Shawn Kelley along with rookie Koda Glover in the role. Kelley will not be able to make too many consecutive appearances, but appears to be option 1A in this scenario with Glover being eased into high leverage as 1B for fantasy purposes. Plan accordingly.
  • St. Louis did not wish to use Seung-Hwan Oh for a third straight game so Trevor Rosenthal locked down the save with two strikeouts and his first since June of last year. Monitor this closely.
  • In the first save chance with Zach Britton on the disabled list, Brad Brach filled in affably with a strikeout in a clean inning. Saying a committee can be a smokescreen. Brach is their best reliever not named Britton.
  • Roberto Osuna procured his first save of the season giving up one hit with one strikeout. An early injury combined with Toronto’s struggles have capped his totals to start the season.
  • Jeurys Familia will return to the Mets on Thursday, but the team may not put him right back into the ninth inning. Addison Reed owners may get one or two more saves before Familia takes over.
  • Dodgers used Kenley Jansen for his second four-out save last night. Their bullpen still needs help in the bridge to Jansen.

Hitters delights

  • It’s difficult to call Bryce Harper a bargain in the first round, but on many sites his ADP reached the double digits. He hit two more home runs last night – including a grand slam, and it appears the 2015 version may be back. Add in a healthy shoulder on throws and, yes, Harper could be a tremendous return on investment.
  • If Mitch Haniger rakes in Seattle but no one notices, does it still happen? As of yesterday, Haniger’s slashing .323/.432/.597 in 62 at-bats with 15 runs, five doubles, four home runs, 15 RBI, two stolen bases and 11 walks. Seattle also can be encouraged by Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager getting two hits apiece in their win. If their top three can start hitting, this offense may catch fire.
  • Freddie Freeman finally made an out last night, but not until he reached base in 12 consecutive plate appearances. He also hit his sixth home run in his last 27 at-bats. When’s the power regression coming?
  • Astros George Springer has played in 202 consecutive game; Cal Ripken Jr. shrugs.
  • Another player whose power had to decline, Christian Yelich, launched his fourth home run, finished with three hits in five at-bats and his OPS sits at .805 this year. Yes, he hits too many ground balls but the power remains.
  • St. Louis can remove Dexter Fowler from the milk cartons; he showed up in 2017 with two home runs on Thursday to propel the team to a win.
  • Chicago seemed to be teetering on another loss until Addison Russell crushed a grand slam to save the day. He does have a flair for the dramatic. At some point, Albert Almora may hit his way into more games played.
  • What do fantasy owners do with Javy Baez, Dansby Swanson and Jose Bautista? Each player is struggling and may need to be on fantasy benches until further notice.
  • Corey Seager became the sixth National League player to record 100 runs, 200 hits, 50 doubles and 30 home runs in his first 100 games played. He joins David Wright and Albert Pujols on this short list.
  • Deeper league players should kick the tires on Yonder Alonso. He is slashing .275/.370/.500, hit his second home run yesterday, and has nine RBI this year playing full-time.
  • Also, it’s time to note Chase Headley‘s hitting the ball to the opposite field more, in the air more, and the results: .396/.500/.646 seem to agree it’s working.

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

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