Hold/Fold: injuries and playing time

“In a sense gone, never take friendship personal
If you can’t hold yourself together
Why should I hold you now?” ~ Anberlin “Never Take Friendship Personal”

The injuries y’all… The injuries. Just as my team in a 20-team league was completing its epic climb from 5-9 to 10-9 and a shot at the playoffs (if I win this week, I’m in), my team in the 30 team league is falling apart. I’ve been in the playoff picture all year, but injuries and guys getting benched are just killing me. I will quite likely finish in the top 10 overall, yet out of the playoffs by conference draw. C’est la vie.

That said, it’s all about the injuries and playing time dilemmas this week. If they can’t hold themselves (or get themselves) together, why should we hold onto them?

Hold ‘Em

Rafael Ortega and Matt Joyce

Ortega hit a grand slam yesterday, but that really doesn’t matter here. What does matter is that Inciarte (who I said would play, and did), is now potentially done for the regular season. Nick Markakis is still a ways off from a return. Austin Riley is still weeks away from a return, and was in a dead slump before he got hurt. And Adam Duvall is currently in a death spiral at the plate.

Someone has to play alongside Acuna in the Braves outfield, and you get the impression they prefer to keep Culberson available as their only back-up infielder at the moment. Ergo, that basically leaves Ortega and Joyce. It ain’t sexy, but at-bats matter.

Stepping away from the waiver wire:

Alex Wood

I’m not saying he’s good right now. I am saying he’s not this bad. There is an enormous gap between his comical .410 wOBA and his still-bad .357 xwOBA. Plus, small sample size and all that. I have no idea if he’ll pan out for you or not, but there are at least a few reasons to suggest not pulling the plug just yet. Putting things another way – would you cut him in May if he posted these numbers in April? Probably not.

Dinelson Lamet

You should absolutely buy into the recent hot-streak. The underlying numbers say he’s still just a touch unlucky, and he really is this good.

Matt Wisler

I don’t know where his career goes. I don’t know what tweaks Seattle has made for him. I do know one very, very interesting statistic though. Since he arrived in Seattle, Wisler has pitched 13.1 innings, and he has struck out 17 – and issued ZERO walks. My friends, that is a very interesting piece of information. He walked 10 in 29 innings with San Diego before coming to Seattle. If Seattle has helped him find control, he might be a potential late-inning arm for the long haul.

Fold ‘Em

Jurickson Profar

I carried the Profar banner farther than maybe anyone, but even I can’t advocate holding onto a guy who is generally relegated to the bench. seriously? Seriously? You were the consensus best prospect in the game for several years running, and when you are finally healthy you stink so bad Corban Joseph takes your job? I don’t even know how to process Profar’s fall from grace.

Aristedes Aquino

Didn’t see that coming, did you? Listen, I’m not saying cut a guy while he’s hot. However, here is a direct wunderkind comparison:

Player A. Average Exit Velo: 92.6 mph. Average home run distance: 415. Hard Hit Percentage: 49.3.
Player B. Average Exit Velo: 86.9 mph. Average home run distance: 406. Hard Hit Percentage: 34.9

Player A is Yordan Alvarez. He’s for real. Player B is Aquino. There is an enormous gap between the two. Aquino may not even be a starting-caliber player when his hot streak ends. Below-average exit velocity and a middle of the pack hard-hit percentage are going to send his barrel percentage cratering. He may yet be good. He may not. But what he’s currently doing is no indication of a good future at all.


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Seth Bias

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I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.