- Farnsworth on Franco
- Daily DFS – Erasmo, Koehler
- Tomorrow’s Targets – Gray, Gonzalez, Reynolds, Gose
- Factor Grid
1. Farnsworth on Franco
If you study Maikel Franco’s career, you’ll notice that he’s taken time to adjust to each step up the organizational ladder. In one sense, this is a good thing. A young player who can make adjustments is a great indicator for a long career. On the other hand, it also means that his talent level isn’t comparable to that of a Kris Bryant or Carlos Correa.
In 240 plate appearances, Franco is hitting a robust .284/.338/.491 with 10 home runs. There are some flaws in his pull-happy plate approach, but these are the kinds of things that can be adjusted. Meanwhile, I asked my colleague Dan Farnsworth to provide his impression of Franco’s swing. Here goes…
I love Franco’s swing. There’s not much to dislike. Some of the cosmetic stuff might turn people off: his hands ride up a little high and he has a tendency for his hips to drift. I don’t really mind either as long as they stay the way they are now. His hands do hike up quite a bit, but they don’t get tight or do it so late that he has to rush them back to the ball. The drift happens without him getting off his back side prematurely, and when he is drifting, his head and his hips stay right on top of each other, so he’s well-balanced throughout. That helps to keep his exceptional hands working from a consistent base.
I think those are the kinds of things that smooth out as a young power hitter matures and understands that he doesn’t have to be extreme with his effort to hit the ball with authority. With his contact skills and his strength, coupled with how advanced his swing is, I don’t think there’s a reason to doubt any possibilities for him results-wise. I can see him sitting at or above his current rate perennially. The only real knock on him is his propensity to chase pitches out of the zone, but if there’s a type of guy you can forgive for that weakness, it’s this one. If you have above average contact ability and power, why should you settle for pitches only in the strike zone? If a guy like that sees a pitch he likes, he should swing at it.
Farnsworth and I are in agreement when it comes to Franco. He might be getting a bit lucky based on his current batted ball data, but we both expect a healthy growth spurt as he settles into the league.
2. Daily DFS – Erasmo, Koehler
Early: The early group includes four games headlined by a Clayton Kershaw start. With a $12,800 price tag on FanDuel, I’ll leave it up to you to go with Kershaw or spend half as much ($6,700) on Erasmo Ramirez. If you think Hisashi Iwakuma, R.A. Dickey, or Doug Fister make for a great stacking opportunity, go for a cheap hurler. Otherwise, pay for the king.
Late: We talked about Tom Koehler yesterday. His matchup with the Phillies is desirable. A $7,000 price tag on FanDuel seems a little high, but it’s also one of the cheapest of the time slot. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the pitching options tonight. Sure, David Price and Corey Kluber are great hurlers, but the price is wrong. Jon Lester might be the ace to use. He’s opposed by the Braves.
3. Tomorrow’s Targets – Grady, Gonzalez, Reynolds, Gose
Pitchers to Start: The Jon Gray hype train is finally pulling out of the station. While I’ve chosen to write about him as a guy to start, I’m not sure the statistical profile supports using him. From a scouting perspective, the 23-year-old has all the ingredients of a viable major league starter. However, he projects to offer around 7.50 K/9 and 3.50 BB/9. Expect something like a 4.30 ERA. At least he won’t kick off his major league career at Coors – tomorrow’s game is at Petco Park.
Every once and awhile, a guy with plus stuff will take a big step forward upon reaching the majors. My theory is that major league preparation and catchers can unlock optimal pitch usage habits (among other things). It’s this breakout potential that makes Gray a meaningful pick up.
Pitchers to Exploit: Fly ball pitcher Miguel Gonzalez is allowing the worst HR/FB ratio of his career. He’s always been extra homer prone, but he’s up to 1.64 HR/9. The Tigers may be down one Miguel Cabrera. Meanwhile, J.D. Martinez has stepped up, and Victor Martinez looks healthy again. As for Tigers you can actually use, Anthony Gose, Alex Avila, and Jose Iglesias could benefit from the power of others.
Hitters (power): Somehow, the Cardinals have not suffered from using Mark Reynolds. He’s hitting .224/.293/.388 with eight home runs in 263 plate appearances. His plate discipline is slightly better against southpaws. A matchup against Jon Niese makes Reynolds a league average hitter.
Hitters (speed): Assuming Gose starts, he should be in line for slightly better than normal expectations. Gonzalez is a pitch-to-contact hurler. Gose’s biggest weakness is a high strikeout rate. He should put several balls in play. As a ground ball hitter, he could sting the ball against a fly ball pitcher.
4. The Factor Grid
The table below indicates which stadiums have the best conditions for hitters today. The color coding is a classic stoplight where green equals go for hitters. The weather conditions are from SI Weather’s home run app. A 10/10 means great atmospheric conditions for home runs. A 1/10 means lousy atmospheric conditions.
We have a few weather risks, but they’re mostly short term. Philadelphia might be an exception. You’ll have to check again closer to game time. As far as home run conditions, there certainly are an awful lot of 10s.
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