Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

print article archives RSS

Notes: A Dahlar Short

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


Losing Clayton Kershaw on top of everything else was the last thing the Dodgers needed, but at least rotation depth remains a team strength, even if the club didn’t go into this spring with eight starters competing for five spots like last year. Obviously, Walker Buehler has already made his presence felt, combining on a no-hitter in his third big-league start. But I’m also interested in seeing what Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart can do.

 

Stripling, as you might remember, pitched 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball in his major league debut in 2016. He was pretty mediocre as a starter the rest of that year and thus was banished to the pen by all of the Dodgers’ depth last year. He also seemed a rather unlikely candidate for starts this season, but I continued to rank him as a starter just in case and had him in my top-100 SPs even as I had him throwing just 79 innings. I think he’s a pretty solid option in mixed leagues for however long he’s starting. I don’t know that it will last, since the Dodgers do prefer him as a middle man, but he can be more than just a stopgap if left alone.

 

Stewart offers more upside and downside. He’s shown strikeout stuff in the majors, fanning 33 in 37 2/3 innings as a starter, but the exquisite walk rates he’s posted in the minors haven’t carried over. He’s also given up 12 homers in his 65 innings (including his relief work) for the Dodgers. He’s not an extreme flyball pitcher, but he is a bit below average at inducing grounders. I have some faith that he’d be a decent mixed-league starter given the chance, though he's behind Stripling in the pecking order right now. He’ll be worth a stash once his opportunity comes.

 

Editor’s Note: Fantasy Baseball season is here! With over 15,000 reviews, DRAFT is the highest rated fantasy sports app. For a limited time, DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers a FREE entry into a real money fantasy baseball draft and a Money-Back Guarantee up to $100! Here's the link

 

American League notes

 

- I just wrote about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. last week, but how can I not do it again? The 19-year-old homered twice for Double-A New Hampshire on Monday. He’s batting .500 in his last 10 games, and he’s up to a ridiculous .398/.453/.673 overall, with as many walks as strikeouts (12) in his 90 at-bats. The Jays, meanwhile, continue to get very little from Kendrys Morales, and though Josh Donaldson homered in his first two games back from the DL, he still seems a little off. I’m still not sure what the correct play is here for the Jays, but it has to be awfully tempting to give him a shot, even though it’d interfere with his development at third base. It’d probably just mean releasing Morales, but I don’t see the harm in that. Let Guerrero play third a couple of times per week and DH the rest of the time. If it doesn’t work out, the Jays would still be better off with Teoscar Hernandez and Randal Grichuk in the outfield corners and Curtis Granderson and Steve Pearce forming a DH platoon than they are worrying about Morales getting at-bats.

 

- Roberto Osuna’s status is highly uncertain after he was arrested for assault on Monday night. Given the lack of any sort of details, it’s pretty much impossible to speculate on when he might pitch again. What does have to be speculated on, given that this is a fantasy baseball column, is who might replace him in the closer’s role for Toronto. What initially looked like a weak setup corps, especially with Joe Biagini being treated as a starter, has been excellent this season, with Tyler Clippard, John Axford, Seung-hwan Oh, Danny Barnes (currently in Triple-A) and Ryan Tepera sporting ERAs ranging from 1.47 to 2.70. Purely from a performance standpoint, I like Barnes best in the group. Still, he doesn’t figure to join the saves mix right away… he’s not even in the majors at the moment. I’d rank them Tepera, Oh and then Clippard as fantasy pickups. Tepera has been working the eighth in front of Osuna, which is why I presume he has the edge. However, he has given up four homers already, including two in his last two appearances. I like Oh to outpitch Tepera. His stuff is down from two years ago, but he’s still getting strikeouts and he won’t fall victim to walks. I think he’s the more trustworthy option.

 

- Aledmys Diaz’s ankle sprain means that Lourdes Gurriel will serve as the Jays’ starting shortstop for at least the next 10 days. Not a whole lot should be expected there; Gurriel hasn’t embarrassed himself since his surprise callup, but he would benefit from some Triple-A time.

 

- Everyone is trying to put Manny Machado on another team, but I’m not sure we’re any closer to a workable deal than we were in the offseason. The Orioles still have sky-high expectations even though we’re talking about a player who is now just five months away from free agency. They can and should argue that Machado is hitting like a superstar for the first time in his career, which is certainly true. But now the team that acquires him won’t even get a draft pick if he leaves in free agency. I just don’t see any of the usual suspects out there desperate enough to give up their best young talent for a rental. The most interesting scenario would be if an upstart contender decided to go for it. The Braves and Phillies shouldn’t trade for Machado now, but if things are still looking good in 6-8 weeks, maybe they go for it then. I don’t think we’ll see a resolution anytime soon anyway.

 

- The Yankees could activate Brandon Drury (migraines) at any moment, and Greg Bird (ankle) has started playing in extended spring games, putting him on track to join the team in a couple of weeks. It’s going to make for a very crowded Yankees infield. Neil Walker finally seems to be finding his stroke, but one wonders if his roster spot might be in jeopardy soon. Tyler Austin has produced, but he’ll probably be sent down anyway. Gleyber Torres is locked into a starting spot, but the Yankees do have the option of shifting him to third if Miguel Andujar continues to slump. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle things. The Yankees will only have to shed one infielder -- presumably Austin -- if they’re willing to drop down to 12 pitchers. However, in order to stick with 13 pitchers, it seems either Walker or Andujar would have to go to make room for Bird.

 

- Kole Calhoun was held out of the Angels lineup for a third straight game Tuesday and will likely sit again Wednesday against a left-hander. Already coming off a disappointing 2017, he’s hit just .167/.195/.211 with two extra-base hits and a 33/4 K/BB ratio in 118 plate appearances this year. The interesting thing is that FanGraphs has his hard-hit percentage at a career-high 39.5. His exit velocity is below average, but not as horrible as the numbers suggest. However, he’s hitting a ton of grounders, most of them pulled into the shift, and when he does get the ball in the air, he’s going the other way and he’s not strong enough to hit the ball out of the yard to left. He’s in need of a serious retooling, and it doesn’t look like much fantasy value is in store for him. The real shame of it is that he had the potential to benefit from the move to drop the fence in right more than any other Angels hitter.

 

- The Angels are about to get Keynan Middleton back from his elbow injury. I don’t know that I’d want to count on him staying healthy with the way the Angels are treating him, but it figures that he’ll regain the closer’s role in short order.

 

- Despite walking six and hitting two batters in 11 2/3 innings, Twins right-hander Fernando Romero went his first two major league starts without allowing a run. It’s hard to see why his minor league strikeout rates weren’t better given the movement on his 94-98 mph fastball and slider. That’s not to say they were bad; they just weren’t exceptional (he fanned 22% of the batters he faced in Double-A last year and 23 percent in Triple-A to begin this season). Walks are likely to remain a problem, but he should induce enough grounders and miss enough bats to make up for them. There’s quite a bit to like here, as long as the control doesn’t abandon him.

 

- Logan Morrison’s season stats are still unappealing, but he’s hit .267/.343/.517 with four homers and 11 RBI in his last 17 games, and the Twins just moved him up from seventh to first in the lineup for Tuesday’s game. I still think he’s likely to possess solid mixed-league value this year.

 

- The Rangers got Adrian Beltre back on Tuesday and could activate Rougned Odor on Friday. Unfortunately, Willie Calhoun still isn’t making much of a push for the roster -- he’s hitting .252/.319/.374 in Triple-A -- so it looks like Ronald Guzman will get a little while longer to try to establish himself at first base. One still imagines the Rangers would prefer having Joey Gallo at first base, rather than in left field, if all else is equal, and Guzman is sporting just a .194/.254/.330 line in 18 games since his callup.

 


continue story »
12
Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
Email :Matthew Pouliot



Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days



Video Center

  •  
    NASCAR Fantasy: Bristol

    NASCAR Fantasy: Bristol
  •  
    Waiver Wire: Acquire Adames

    Waiver Wire: Acquire Adames
  •  
    Must Have: Keenan Allen

    Must Have: Keenan Allen
  •  
    Must Have: Kyle Rudolph

    Must Have: Kyle Rudolph
  •  
    MLB: Hold on Gordon

    MLB: Hold on Gordon
  •  
    Must Have: Chris Hogan

    Must Have: Chris Hogan
  •  
    Must Have: Rex Burkhead

    Must Have: Rex Burkhead
  •  
    Must Have: Marvin Jones

    Must Have: Marvin Jones