Not like there is anything wrong it, but I feel like a broken record so far this season. And I know that I am not alone in that feeling. Pitching is bad, home runs are up, and there are a great deal of disapointing performances so far this season. That much we know, but we need to do, is adjust. When it comes to adjust, I don’t mean to over correct either, just be aware of the new climate around baseball. It’s not going to be smooth this season, but keep in mind, that eveyrone is working under the same circumstances.
With that being said, lets take a look at some performance from a busy Thursday that stood out:
1) Weaver Picks up a Victory
The good news, when it comes with Luke Weaver, is that he has seen an improvement in each start so far this season. And for that reason, he deserves some attention, because Christian Walker hitting another home run has become pretty standard. After an ugly 2018 season, 4.95 ERA and 1.50 WHIP, the right-hander didn’t receive much attention on draft day. In his first start of the season, Weaver gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks wehile getting through just 4.1 innings. Weaver then proceeded to allow four and three earned runs respectively in his next two starts entering play on Thursday. Facing the Braves, Weaver threw five shutout innings while scattering four hits and a walk to go along with nine strikeouts. Perhaps Weaver might not get back to his 2017 season ERA of 3.88, but he could very easily be a solid option for the rest of this season. The one major concern though, is that he has one start of 6.1 innings this season and then no more than five starts in his other three outings.
2) Feels Like the First Time in Washington
As far as pitchers go, especially aces, things have gone pretty well for Patrick Corbin so far this season. Granted we are grading on a curve here, but the beginning of Corbin’s career with the Nationals has gone pretty well. In reality, while the victory was just a formality, it was a welcome development. Corbin took advantage of a weak hitting San Francisco team with 7.2 innings of one run ball. The southpaw limited the Giants to just two hits and a walk while striking out nine. With a 2.36 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in four starts with 33 strikeouts in 26.2 innings, it’s hard to argue with Corbin being a top starting pitcher option so far this season and that last year was not a fluke.
3) Greiner Drives Two
As far as exciting goes, this is certainly not it. No offense to him, but to say that Grayson Greiner is going to generate any type of excitement whould be quite a big stretch. However, for as bad as the pitchers have been so far this season, the catching position has been even worse. The thing though, is that we didn’t invest in catchers on draft day, even if their production counts just the same. I’m not saying that we should invest in the position, but you have to fill out your roster just the same, even if it requires a bit of low end, discount shopping. And that brings us to Grayson Greiner who went 3 for 4 with two RBI on Thursday. Greiner bats in the bottom of the order, is hitting .220 so far this season in 50 at bats with just three RBI and four runs scored. The key there though, is that he does have those 50 at bats, and playing time counts for something. At the same time though, if he is going to hit .220 with no power and minimal run production, is Greiner even going to provide positive value to your fantasy team?
4) Grichuk Goes Deep
Let’s just deal with and accept the fact that Randal Grichuk is going to strikeout about 25% of the time. And it’s not truly responsible building a team and planning for him to hit much better than his current batting average of .239. At the same time though, Grichuk consistently can be found batting third for Toronto on a daily basis and after his contract extension, the Blue Jays are committed to him. On Thursday, we got exactly what we are looking for out of Grichuk as he went deep for the fourth time this season. Grichuk, who also singled and scored twice, has yet to get on board as a run producer so far this season, as he has just seven RBI. But there is something to the fact that we know what to expect from him.
5) Are We Serious?
Is this even a world we want to live in? And by that, I mean a world in which Homer Bailey has two victories as a starting pitcher so far this season. I’m not even going to get into listing the pitchers who have less victories than Bailey, as that would just be absurd. Forget about the $20 million remaining on the right-hander’s contract for this season, because after a successful 2014 season, he hasn’t even been worth the league minimum. But does that mean we should the success he is having so far this season? I hate to say it, but maybe we just proceed cautiously with a low level of investment? Bailey picked up the victory on Thursday with six innings of one run ball on the road against the Yankees while scattering three hits and a walk to go along with six strikeouts. Through four starts, Bailey has a 4.30 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 27 strikeouts in 23 innings. This could blow up very quickly, but why not roll in the dice in the right right situation?
6) Urias Dominates in Milwaukee
One starting pitcher who we have to feel good about, is Julio Urias. Health doesn’t appear to be an issue for Urias, but after 27.1 innings combined over the last two years at the major league level, we know the Dodgers are going to be careful with him this season. For that reason, you want to be careful when investing in Urias on the trade market in re-draft leagues, but it’s clear the left-hander has fully recovered. On Thursday, Urias picked up his first victory of the season with shutout innings of work in Milwaukee. He limited the Brewers to just one hit and two walks in six innings of work while striking out nine batters. Through four starts, Urias has a 3.66 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. In fact, the next step for Urias after last night’s start, is in fact a trip to the bullpen. With the health issues of the Dodgers’ rotation, who knows how long that will truly last, but regardless, he still will have some value based on his skill set.
7) Three More Hits for Mancini
Trey Mancini didn’t drive in a run on Thursday, but he continued to build on his strong start to the 2019 season. He reached base four times last night, going 3 for 5 with a walk and a run scored, and Mancini is already up to seven doubles on the season. Despite the fact that the Orioles are just not a very good team and their lineup is probably one of the worst in the league, it has not stopped Mancini from being a four category contributor so far this season. He is hitting .338 so far this season, his BABIP is .382 and he is a career .272 hitters so it wouldn’t surprise me to see dip a little, but even more surprising, is the fact that he has already scored 19 runs on the season. That along with six home runs and 12 RBI has made those who drafted Mancini quite pleased to start the season.
8) McMahon Makes His Presence Felt
We know that the Rockies don’t exactly have the best history when it comes giving their young players a chance at consistent, or really any at all, playing time. For that reason, it certainly was a positive development that upon his return from the Injured List last night, Ryan McMahon was promptly inserted right back in Colorado’s lineup at first base at batting fifth. McMahon didn’t disappoint as he went 3 for 5 with five RBI and two runs scored. He is now hitting .276 on the season, but what really matters, is the fact that he hit his first two home runs of the season on Thursday. Essentially, it was an entire year’s worth of production from McMahon as after hitting three and two run homers, he now has six RBI on the season in 29 at bats. Let’s just hope that his playing time continues.
9) Navarez Continues to Produce
So far this season, the acquisition of Omar Navarez by the Mariners is proving to be a solid, under the radar addition. Last season, with the White Sox, Navarez hit for average (.275) with solid power production (nine home runs and 30 RBI) in 280 at bats. Following last night’s 3 for 4 effort, Navarez is clearly on pace to surpass those totals as he has 4 four home runs and 11 RBI in 64 at bats. Navarez hit a big three run homer last night, and it is clear that he is the number for Seattle, so a clear path to playing time along with a respectable batting average (right now it is more than respectable at .297), actually makes him a borderline top-10 option at this position.
10) Just What he Was Brought in to Do
The night began for Cincinnati with something we’ve never seen before, a Joey Votto lead-off home run, and ended with a perfect ninth inning from Rasiel Iglesias who struck out the side for his third save of the season. In between, Tanner Roark picked up his first victory for the Reds with a solid outing. It wasn’t anything spectacular, 5.1 innings of one run ball in which Roark scattered four hits and two walks while striking out five, but it certainly did the job. With a 3.60 ERA in four starts, the right-hander is showing that he can, at the very least, be a reliable rotation option. And these days, that is all you can ask for.