Roto Riteup: April 18, 2019

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On the Agenda:
1. Pivetta sent down
2. Various News and Notes
3. Streaming Pitchers


Pivetta sent down
According to multiple reports, the Phillies have optioned struggling right hander Nick Pivetta to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Woof. One of the pre-season darlings in many pundits’ eyes has certainly earned his demotion. After compiling a 4.77 ERA (3.53 xERA), 1.30 WHIP, and 10.3 K/9 over 164 IP in 2018, it was logical to think that the 26-year old could possibly be in a position to take the next step in 2019. So far things have not gone well. He’s yet to make it out of the sixth inning in any of his 4 GS, allowing 17 ER (5 HR) over 18.1 IP. His command has wavered – as seen by his dip in F-Strike% and BB% — and his propensity to give up the long ball has been extrapolated in a limited sample this year as well. Sure, this is an extremely small sample, but with the amount of Hard-Contact he’s allowing (44%, also bottom-7% in Barrel% allowed per Baseball Savant) one has to wonder if this is a mechanical or mental issue. When looking at his pitch mix, he’s essentially dropped his two-seamer and went exclusively to a FB/SL/CB combo. His FB and SL have never been particularly stellar offerings, but his CB earned a 7.2 Pitch Value according to Fangraphs last season, and is sitting at -2.5 right now. His whiffs have gone way down on the pitch (down 12% from ’18), resulting in a .349 wOBA (.219 in ’18) despite an increase in spin rate. Based on watching him, my best guess is teams are spitting on the curve unless it’s a meatball (13% BB against CB) and hammering what is already an average-to-below-average fastball. His Swing-Str% and O-Swing% are down, telling me that this all adds up to Pivetta just flat-out not being able to fool batters as much thus far. There’s no timetable for how long he’ll be down in the minors, but fantasy owners in 15-team leagues probably have to cut bait and find a replacement. Jerad Eickhoff will take his place in the rotation, and is certainly worth a flier in most formats (I drafted him with one of my last picks in TGFBI). He has a very similar repertoire to Pivetta, and as long as he gets ahead of hitters, can be very successful. He held the Mets to three hits over 4 IP on Tuesday, with 6 K and 0 BB. He may have to shake some rust off after dealing with a severe lat injury last season that cost him the majority of the year, but there’s some real upside here that may not be seen by the naked eye of other fantasy owners in your league.


Various News and Notes
The Braves will be without Arodys Vizcaino for the remainder of the season, as the closer is set to undergo surgery on his right shoulder.

Ring ring. You hear that? That’s the Braves calling Craig Kimbrel repeatedly hoping he picks up. Maybe I’m just wishing that since I have him in multiple leagues. Maybe I have A.J. Minter in a couple leagues as well and hope he keeps the job for a long period of time? Either way, this is a troublesome development for Vizcaino, as he’s always had an issue with staying healthy. Hopefully he’s able to come back ready to pitch in 2020. As for the current situation, it will likely be the aforementioned Minter who gets the ball in the ninth for the foreseeable future. Minter is still finding his bearings, so keep Chad Sobotka on your radar in case things start to take a negative turn. Deeper formats should take a stab at Sobotka in FAAB bidding this weekend just in case.

Tim Anderson hit a no-doubter against the Royals on Wednesday and it was quite majestic.

Apparently, Brad Keller had an issue with the way Tim Anderson handled himself on that home run.

The homer was Anderson’s fourth of the season, and he’s now hitting .424/.443/.678 with 12 R, 12 RBI, and 6 SB. His 12/1 K:BB ratio isn’t inspiring – and he’ll never be an asset in OBP formats – but Anderson offers a nice blend of power and speed despite hitting a ton of balls on the ground and not making a ton of hard contact. I’d say this is a good time to sell high, but I think he’s a 20 HR/25 SB player again.

In the same game, Lucas Giolito had fired 2.2 IP of no-hit ball, with 5 K and 1 BB before departing with hamstring tightness.

He’s currently day-to-day. There’s a few interesting adjustments that he’s made thus far that could manifest into something positive (FINALLY). We have to take things slowly from a fantasy perspective here, but keep your eye on him.

After hitting his second homerun of the season off of Zack Wheeler in the fifth inning on Wednesday, Scott Kingery upped his line to .480/.536/.880.

Odubel Herrera was injured in this game, and Jean Segura is currently sidelined as well. Kingery should get an ample amount of playing time moving forward and should be owned in most formats.

Joey Votto had a wacky career-first against the Dodgers on Wednesday.

Kinda crazy when you think about it. In a small sample Votto is hitting .228/.323/.386 with 7 XBH (1 HR), 3 RBI, and a 17/7 K:BB ratio. I’m hoping he’s not the late career version of Joe Mauer at this point.

While Brandon Drury hits under the Mendoza line with the Blue Jays, Vladimir Guerrero Jr is doing things like this in Triple-A:

He’s hitting .344/.432/.594 with 4 BB, 2 K, 4 XBH (2 HR), 7 RBI, and 1 SB in 32 AB between High-A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo. It’s just a matter of time ladies and gentlemen. A matter of days (hopefully). Maybe hours? Maybe today? Please be today?

Corbin Burnes was lit up for the second time against the Cardinals this season, giving him a 10.70 ERA and 2.15 WHIP over his first 4 GS. I said this on twitter during the game:

He’s obviously giving up way too much hard contact and extra-base hits, but he added yet another 10 swings-and-misses on 74 pitches (13% Swing-Str) and 3 K in 3.1 IP. His SIERA prior to Wednesday’s tilt was 3.56 (3.49 last year) and he’s getting ahead of hitters even more, despite an elevated BB%. His FB/SL combo is still one of my favorites in the game, and I truly think this can be solved somewhat soon. I advise to bench him until he shows something positive, but if he’s free or costs nothing, go get him. He could be a true difference maker if things start to settle down.

Streaming Pitchers (Less than 50% owned)
A Pitcher for Today: None

High-Risk Options: Clay Buchholz at MIN
Cletus was pretty good in his first start of the season in spite of the lack of strikeouts. Don’t know that I want to trust him quite yet, but he is worth taking a shot on in deeper formats.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Caleb Smith vs WAS
Smith has been stellar this season and gets the added benefit of pitching in Marlins Park. Oddly enough, this will also be the first time he’s faced the Nationals as well.

High-Risk Option: Anibal Sanchez at MIA, Jordan Lyles vs SF
It’s the Marlins at Marlins Park, almost enough said. His command has been extremely off thus far, but if things get back on track he could be in for a very strong outing. Lyles has allowed 1 ER in 2 GS and gets the lowly Giants at home in the comfy confines of PNC Park. The Giants typically do better on the road, but Lyles has made some strides from a skills perspective.

Fantasy Baseball and Tampa Bay Rays enthusiast. Restaurant manager by day, fantasy analyst by night. Contributor to Rotographs, Baseball HQ, Fantasy Pros, and co-owner of Friends with Fantasy Benefits. Follow me @MikeWernerFWFB.

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3 years ago

Id like to be in on Burnes with you, but I just dont see how he improves to rosterable levels as a two-pitch pitcher with a bad fastball.

3 years ago
Reply to  KJL

It’s certainly not an advertisement for spin rate in a vacuum… Burnes has ultra-elite spin rates but this season he has also been doing a lot of spinning around on the rubber watching the ball sail over the fence.

NL Rulesmember
3 years ago
Reply to  KJL

Seems like he may go back to the pen for now