The biggest day belong to Jorge Polanco, in a losing effort, as he hit for the cycle in Philadelphia going 5-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 1 R. Yandy Diaz had another impressive day at the plate, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. Mike Trout enjoyed a big night, going 2-4 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, helping the Angels to a victory. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Is Yoan Moncada’s
early season surge for real…
One of our favorites preseason, Moncada has impressed over the first week of the season. After going 2-4 with 4 RBI yesterday he’s now hitting .458 with 2 HR, 10 RBI and 9 R over his first 24 AB. Obviously he’s not going to maintain this type of pace, but his 4 K vs. 3 BB to open the season is highly impressive. Walks have always been part of his wheelhouse (10.8% for his career), but entering the day he had an impressive 8.6% SwStr% and also an impressive 29.4% Oppo%. There is some risk given his sudden fly ball tendency (52.9% entering the day), and a .467 BABIP? All that said, if he can continue to make contact at this type of pace the results will be impressive. He’s not this good, but he also isn’t a sell high candidate. The value and production can easily continue all year long.
2) Another impressive
outing for Nick Margevicius…
He settled for a no decision as he was actually outpitched by Jack Flaherty (5.0 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 6 K), but Margevicius was impressive. After allowing 1 ER over 5.0 innings against the Giants he followed it up with 1 ER on 1 H and 1 BB, striking out 1, over 5.0 innings against the Cardinals. He made one mistake (a home run to Paul Dejong), though the bigger question is obviously the lack of strikeouts. In fact he only generated 5 swinging strikes, matching the 5 he had in his first start. That’s not going to play well, regardless of any other skill, and if it continues he is going to quickly be exposed. He did show more strikeout stuff in the minors, though we have to remember he made the jump directly from High-A and he simply may not be ready. He’s worth grabbing to see what he can become, but don’t become infatuated quite yet.
3) Tyler Glasnow
dominates the Giants…
Granted we have to take the opponent into account, but Glasnow still tossed 6.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 1 BB while striking out 6. He’s now opened the season with a 0.82 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 11.0 IP, with 10 K vs. 2 BB. After his strong showing after the trade last season it’s easy to envision the expectations growing, but will he be able to continue to excel with regular matchups against the Yankees and Red Sox? Granted those teams are struggling now, but eventually they are going to right the ship and Glasnow owns a career 1.38 HR/9. There’s reason to believe, but you need to be cautious and know the risks.
4) Max Muncy enjoys
playing in Coors Field…
It’s notable more because he was actually in the lineup with lefty Tyler Anderson starting (who got torched for 6 ER on 9 H and 3 BB, striking out 2, over 4.0 IP), since he had been sitting over the first week of the year. Muncy made the decision to play him look wise, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R. While it has been a generally slow start for Muncy, you have to wonder if at least part of the issue is consistently finding himself on the bench. It’s not like he was showing a poor approach (entering the game he had a 7.7% SwStr% and 19.4% O-Swing%) and he was hitting the ball extremely hard (44.4% Hard%). It’s too small of a sample to draw definitive conclusions, but the one thing to watch is going to be a power-centric approach (61.1% fly ball rate). Watch closely, but don’t let the slow start deter you.
5) It was a pitcher’s
duel in Pittsburgh, and Joe Musgrove was the winner…
Both starters pitched exceptionally well in this one:
- Joe Musgrove – 7.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 8 K (Win)
- Sonny Gray – 6.2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K
Musgrove was viewed as a solid bounce back candidate heading into the year and over his first two appearances he’s backed it up. Yesterday he featured impressive swing and miss stuff, with 17 swinging strikes. This was his first start, due to off days early (he made a 2.0 inning relief appearance against the Reds) but look for him to entrench himself and get the ball every five days.
6) Is it really a
surprise that Jake Odorizzi imploded…
He got people talking with a strong 2019 debut, but it would appear that the clock has struck 12 quickly. Taking on the Phillies he couldn’t get out of the first inning, ultimately being charged with 5 R (4 earned) on 2 H and 3 BB, striking out 1, over 0.2 IP. Did anyone truly believe that he could continue to produce like he did in his ’19 debut (1 ER on 1 H with 11 K over 6.0 IP)? Obviously he’s also not this bad, but the fact is that we know what Odorizzi is at this point in his career. Consider him nothing more than a spot play with very little upside and don’t get infatuated with a strong start here or there.
7) Ketel Marte shows
off some power against the Red Sox…
There are a lot of intriguing storylines coming out of this one, including the implosion of Rick Porcello (4.2 IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 3 BB, 5 K) and the strong start from Zack Godley (5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 5 K). It is Marte who gets the nod though after finishing 2-5 with 2 HR, 5 RBI and 2 R. He’s gotten off to a solid start, hitting .306 with 3 HR and 11 RBI as he’s forced his way into the lineup regularly despite the additions of Wilmer Flores (who was expected to be the starting 2B) and Adam Jones (who went 2-3 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R last night). Marte has not yet drawn a walk in his 37 PA, which will be something to watch, though that has never been an issue before and it’s not like he’s been overly aggressive (31.1% O-Swing%). He’s always brought an intriguing blend of power and speed, so assuming he continues to be in the lineup he’s going to develop into a must add in all formats.
8) Is it time to
believe in Trent Thornton…
Shane Bieber deserves some attention in his first start of ’19, with one mistake costing him a chance at a W (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 K), but Thornton is a bit of an unknown and has impressed thus far. He allowed 2 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 5.2 IP yesterday and now has 15 K vs. 2 BB over his first 10.2 IP in the Majors. Obviously there’s still a lot to learn about him, but let’s not overlook that he had an 8.83 K/9 (courtesy of an 11.4% SwStr%) and 2.24 BB/9 over 124.1 IP for the Astros last season (despite a 4.42 ERA). Home runs could become an issue, as he had a 41.6% groundball rate last year and was burned by a long ball from Kevin Plawecki yesterday, and pitching in Toronto and the AL East that’s going to be something to monitor. While he shouldn’t be considered a must start option, he at least belongs on radars and should be considered a streaming option.
9) A sparkling debut
for Kevin Gausman…
He tossed 7.0 shutout innings allowing 2 H and 2 BB, striking out 7. After posting strong numbers after arriving in Atlanta last season (2.87 ERA, 1.14 WHIP over 59.2 IP) it’s going to be easy to envision the hype growing significantly. Of course he also benefited from a bit of luck last season (.260 BABIP despite a 40.4% Hard%), has generally struggled to keep the ball in the ballpark (1.25 HR/9 for his career) and thrived against a poor Marlins’ lineup yesterday. Is there at least a little bit of intrigue surrounding Gausman? Absolutely, but there’s far more risk and if there’s someone willing to pay a premium selling him already may be the prudent decision.
10) An absolute
debacle Jose Quintana…
It was a game that featured 23 runs and 27 hits, so there was a lot of offense (Brandon Woodruff also struggled, allowing 4 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 4.0 IP). That doesn’t give Quintana a pass, as the Brewers took him deep three times and finished allowing 8 ER on 8 H and 3 BB, striking out 3, over 3.0 IP. It was his first start of the season, after getting 3.0 innings out of the bullpen against the Rangers earlier in the year, and this was hardly what anyone wanted to see. That said, while we obviously wouldn’t expect numbers that are this bad will it be a surprise if he falls short of expectations? Quintana has often been a pitcher we considered overhyped, especially given the risk of home run issues (1.29 HR/9 last season). It’s one start and no one should write him off, but keep a close eye on him and see what happens.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs