The time has come…..
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 24, 2019
On the Agenda:
1. Vlad Jr.
2. Various News and Notes
3. Streaming Pitchers
At long last, Vladimir Guerrero Jr will make his big league debut on Friday against the Athletics.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is headed to the Major Leagues. Manager Charlie Montoyo just made the announcement. Guerrero will be at Rogers Centre Friday night vs. Oakland. The long wait is finally over. Time for the big league debut. #BlueJays
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) April 24, 2019
— Héctor Gómez (@hgomez27) April 25, 2019
This has been a long time coming as Vlad was by all accounts ready to contribute to the Blue Jays last season. He was taken around pick 50 in NFBC leagues, and will be expected to perform immediately for fantasy owners. Based on his track record of success in the minor leagues, we should all expect great things. I could go on all day about his gaudy minor league numbers, but we all know what they say by now. I’m treating him as a top-50 ish player going forward, but it could be even better depending on how things shake out.
Various News and Notes
I always like to acknowledge two-home run days, and yesterday we had two players accomplish that feat.
Ketel Marte: 2-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
From the left, from the left, from the left, from the left.
From the right, from the right, from the right, from the right.
Now hit, now hit, now hit, now hit.
Now touch 'em all Ketel, now touch 'em all Ketel. pic.twitter.com/QXYWL1Dj0o
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) April 25, 2019
Marte has hits in 7-of-his-last-10 overall, and is hitting .247/.275/.495 for the season. He hit lead off last night and is now up to six home runs and two stolen bases. His plate skills have declined a bit from years past, but his Barrel% and Launch Angle would both be career-highs if the season ended today. With that said, it’s a small sample and one game can still make a substantial change. I expect him to surpass his career-high of 14 HR that he hit in 2018. In addition, Marte is still a talented runner with plus speed. He only had nine stolen bases over the last two seasons coming into 2019, but if he can get more attempts (looks favorable right now), we could potentially see another double-digit stolen base season for the first time since 2016. Possible 15/12 ish player if things break right.
Nomar Mazara: 2-for-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 24, 2019
The two home runs give Mazara four for the season thus far. His line is now sitting at .219/.305/.452 with 15 RBI and a 16/6 K:BB. Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of Mazara coming into 2019, as I didn’t really see much upside. His Hard-Hit%, Launch Angle, Barrel%, ISO, and Exit Velocity from past seasons were all unspectacular, but have remained widely the same. He’s still only 23 and the season is super young, but he’s essentially a third or fourth outfielder for me in mixed leagues with once again, limited upside.
Speaking of the Rangers, Rougned Odor went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his first rehab game since landing on the injured list with a right knee sprain back on April 11th. He should be back sometime in the next few days. The current fill-in – Danny Santana – has been tremendous in the meantime, hitting .325/.341/.575 with 5 XBH (2 HR), 4 SB, 7 R, and 7 RBI over 42 PA. This obviously won’t last, but Santana might have done enough to carve out a role even when Odor returns. He’s a spec-add in deeper-mixed leagues, or AL-Only formats based on his speed alone.
Speaking of speculation adds in deeper leagues, Renato Nunez notched his 10th extra-base hit in 101 PA after going 2-for-4 with double and an RBI against the White Sox on Wednesday. He’s hitting clean-up for the Orioles (someone has to), and is hitting .301/.356/.538 with 6 HR, 18 RBI, and 16 R. His plate skills remain decent, and in tact from last season. What has me interested is his power metrics. All of the things I was worried about with Mazara is much better with Nunez, and no one talks about him. To be clear, Nunez doesn’t possess upper echelon power numbers (at least right now), and I’m not saying he’ll set the world on fire the rest of the season necessarily, but he deserves to be owned in more than 13% of leagues on ESPN.
Dwight Smith Jr. (owned in more leagues), also doubled yesterday, and is up to a .286/.327/.527 line with 12 XBH (5 HR), 18 RBI, 17 R, and is 3-for-3 in SB attempts. His BB% (6%) isn’t amazing, but we can live with the 19.2 K% that he currently owns. His xBA, power metrics, and xwOBA say that things will be taking a turn for the worst in the future, but he’s a worthwhile option for right now. Long term I think Nunez actually ends up with the better season outside of stolen bases.
The Rays received some bad news on Wednesday (other than getting obliterated by the Royals), as second baseman Joey Wendle was diagnosed with a right wrist fracture after getting hit by a Jake Diekman offering in the sixth inning.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 24, 2019
This is very unfortunate, as Wendle just returned from a recent stint on the IL due to a hamstring injury. Brandon Lowe should be owned everywhere, and Daniel Robertson is worthy of a speculation add as well. Lowe is definitely the superior fantasy player, but in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only formats Robertson could provide some value. Good patience/plate approach, some pop, and a little bit of speed as well. He’s been off to a rough start so he’s been off of most people’s radar.
The Angels have decided to pull Cody Allen from the closer role for the time being.
Cody Allen is not the #Angels closer right now, Brad Ausmus said. They are going to use some other guys while they try to get him back pitching well.
— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) April 24, 2019
Ty Buttery is the seemingly best candidate to take the role moving forward, but he was put into a tough situation in the seventh inning last night against the Yankees. The bases were loaded and the score was 5-3 in favor of the Angels. Buttrey allowed one of the runs to score, but did his job of limiting the damage. In the eighth inning he struck out two-of-the-three hitters he faced and generated a groundout in the other AB. The ninth inning looked like it was going smoothly – as he got the first two hitters out via strikeout and flyout. Unfortunately, Buttrey allowed a single, a stolen base, and another game-tying single to the next two hitters, cementing a blown save. Hansel Robles came in after, but this is seemingly Buttrey’s job for now. His skills are stellar and they’ve trusted him in high-leverage situations.
Staying with Angels news, Tyler Skaggs will be activated from the injured list on Friday to start against the Royals. He’s been sidelined with a sprained ankle, and will likely be on a pitch count. He’s worth a pick-up based on the opponent though.
Michael Chavis received another start at second base against the Tigers on Wednesday, and proceeded to go 0-for-1 with three walks and two runs scored while going 1-for-2 on stolen base opportunities. The Red Sox have Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt, and Dustin Pedroia all trying to make their way back from their respective injuries, but if Chavis performs (.214/.421/.500 line with 2 XBH, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 1 SB, 4/4 K:BB in 19 PA) they’ll have a tough decision to make. Owners who put a bid on him last week have to feel good with what they’ve seen so far, but there’s still a decent shot that he gets sent down once Nunez and/or Holt come back.
According to Mandy Bell of MLB.com, Carlos Carrasco’s MRI on his knee came back negative and he’s expected to make his next scheduled start. Whew, thank goodness.
Daniel Murphy went 1-for-4 with a run in his return to the Rockies lineup yesterday. Make sure you activate him in all your leagues. While this is obviously welcomed news to all Murphy owners, Garrett Hampson was once again relegated to the bench, with Ryan McMahon manning second base. This will likely once again be a situation where Hampson is playing mostly against LHP. In similar Rockies news, Ian Desmond was benched yesterday in favor of the hot-hitting Raimel Tapia. Desmond is currently hitting .177/.205/.291 with one home run, 10 RBI, and zero SB attempts. As you recall, Desmond hit .154/.212/.297 last April but that at least came with three home runs and three stolen bases. Tapia went 2-for-4 with two doubles, three RBI, and a walk – bringing his triple-slash to .281/.328/596 with 9 XBH (3 HR) and 10 RBI spanning 61 PA. He’s 0-for-2 on stolen base attempts, but he’s still rocking the a top-40 sprint speed mark. When you factor in that he’s had a hit in 8-of-his-last-10 starts, playing time could start to become an issue for Desmond. Regardless, Tapia is worth adding, and all fantasy owners need to monitor this.
After opting out of his deal with the Yankees, Gio Gonzalez signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Brewers yesterday. He had a 6.00 ERA in Triple-A, but he’s still serviceable enough to be starting on a major league team. He’ll likely be a part of the Brewers rotation fairly soon. Roster Resource already has him slotted in the rotation.
Gary Sanchez went 0-for4 with four strikeouts in his return to the Yankees lineup yesterday. We’re just happy he’s back….
Quick-hit Yankee injury news: Giancarlo Stanton is recovered from his biceps injury but is now healing from a cortisone shot. Miguel Andujar could play third base at extended Spring Training this weekend according to Aaron Boone. Also, according to the Yankees skipper, Clint Frazier will be heading to the IL due to an ankle issue he suffered on Tuesday. Mike Tauchman is looking better and better by the day.
Streaming Pitchers (Less than 50% owned)
A Pitcher for Today: None
High-Risk Option: Umm yeah, I don’t think we have any viable candidates.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Matt Strahm at WAS
The Nationals have been league-average at home thus far and Strahm has allowed 2 ER in his last 3 GS overall (11/2 K:BB in 18 IP). Would like to see more swing-and-miss, but with the options available, he’s about as good as it gets from a streaming perspective.
High-Risk Option: Jerad Eickhoff vs MIA
Allowed 4 ER in a Coors start his last time out. This time he gets the lowly Marlins offense. Love his double-digit SwStr% and nice K% thus far. The walks could be an issue, but this is a really nice spot despite Citizens Bank Park being a much friendlier hitting environment than most.
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.