The biggest story of the day was the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Marlins’ locker room (and we wish all them a speed recovery), but the MLB season still pushed on. Hunter Renfroe led Tampa Bay’s 14 R barrage, going 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R. Anthony Rizzo continued his power surge, going 1-2 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 3 R (he already has 3 HR on the season). Pete Alonso launched his first home run of the season, going 1-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R. What else happened on the field that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Griffin Canning gives us a mixed bag…
Taking on the A’s he allowed 3 ER on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 7, over 4.2 IP. He did a good job generating swings and misses (15 swinging strikes), and that led to the solid strikeout total, but the rest of the underlying marks aren’t too good:
- First Pitch Strikes – 11 out of 20
- Groundballs/Flyballs – 1/6
He did allow a home run, and given the flyball rate that’s not a surprise. That was definitely a concern entering the season (37.6% groundball rate over 90.1 IP), and it could continue to plague him. He should bring strikeouts and control, but he needs to figure out how to keep the ball in the ballpark regularly.
2) Luke Weaver struggles against the Padres…
Weaver lasted just 3.1 innings against San Diego, allowing 6 ER on 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, as he needed 79 pitches to get 10 outs. He had allowed just 1 ER over the first three innings, before the wheels completely fell off. The big blow game courtesy of Fernando Tatis Jr. (2-4, 3 RBI) and it wouldn’t be shocking if his struggles continue. There was a fear of home run issues, especially pitching at home (42.0% career groundball rate), and while there should be strikeouts (though he only had 7 swinging strikes) and decent control it may not be enough. Proceed with caution.
3) Teoscar Hernandez leads a home run barrage…
The Blue Jays hit four solo home runs against Anibal Sanchez (5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K), and Hernandez contributed two of them. He finished the day going 2-5 with 2 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R, though he also struck out twice. He now has four hits in his past two games and he’s 5-17 with four extra base hits, but he’s also struck out 7 times without drawing a walk. Considering he owns a 31.9% career strikeout rate (1,207 PA), it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The question is going to be if he can make enough contact to be productive, and it’s hard to count on. There are likely better gambles to take.
4) An impressive Tyler Glasnow shouldn’t go overlooked…
Considering the offensive output against Mike Foltynewicz (3.1 IP, 6 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 3 K) and others it would be easy to overlook Glasnow’s day. That would be a mistake for fantasy owners, as while he was limited to 4.0 innings (72 pitches) they were highly impressive. He finished allowing 1 ER on 1 H and 2 BB, striking out 9. With 15 swinging strikes it was clearly an impressive performance. He only made 12 starts last season, so it makes sense that the Rays are going to be careful, but he showed all of the skills we look for:
- Strikeouts – 11.27 K/9
- Control – 2.08 BB/9
- Groundballs – 50.4%
Don’t be surprised if a full breakout comes during 2020.
5) Evan White delivers his first home run, but do we care…
It was a surprise when he signed his contract prior to the season, though it cleared the path for him to break camp with the team. While he’s gotten off to a slow start overall, he went 2-5 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R yesterday (his first career MLB HR). There are going to be struggles, even while he contributes some power, as we noted in our Draft Guide:
“There will likely be some growing pains, especially with questions about his approach (7.2% walk rate, 12.4% SwStr%), but there’s no questioning the power he brings (19.4% HR/FB).”
He’s already struck out 9 times over his first 17 AB, so thus far we’ve gotten what we expected.
6) Did Tyler Stephenson earn himself playing time…
Stephenson has been operating as the backup to Curt Casali, with Tucker Barnhart sidelined, but he had yet to get into a game. That changed when the Reds fell down early, and Stephenson made the most of is opportunity by going 2-2 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R (he also drew a walk). Considering Casali is hitting .200, you would think that Stephenson would get an opportunity to build on this performance. He’s one of the top catching prospects in the game as he showed a strong approach at Double-A last season and has a little bit of power to tap into. In two-catcher formats, don’t overlook him.
7) A fairly strong start for Adrian Houser, but are there concerns…
He went 5.0 innings and allowed 1 ER on 1 H with 4 K, while he was doing a good job of generating groundballs (7 groundballs vs. 2 flyballs). However two key numbers stick out:
- 3 BB (he threw just 37 strikes compared to 31 balls)
- 7 swinging strikes (can he maintain a usuable strikeout rate with that)
The strikeout rate was a concern entering the season, after posting a 9.6% SwStr% over 111.1 IP in the Majors last season. The control should be there and he is a strong groundball pitcher, so there is value, but with the strikeout issues he needs to rediscover his control quickly or things will go sideways.
8) Has Maikel Franco unlocked his potential in KC…
He wasn’t the only offensive start, as the Royals launched 6 HR against Michael Fulmer (2.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K) and the rest of the Detroit pitching staff. It was Franco who led the charge going 3-5 with 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R, putting him at .313 with 2 HR and 5 RBI on the season. Obviously a lot of that production came yesterday, though he is 5-9 over his past two games. The concern with Franco entering the year was in his approach, and while it’s far too small of a sample size his 16.4% SwStr% and 41.2% O-Swing% (he’s yet to walk) is going to open some eyes. Maybe he proves us wrong, but don’t get excited off this mini hot streak.
9) Can Michael Wacha build on a strong performance…
Taking on the Red Sox he posted a solid outing, allowing 1 ER on 5 H and 1 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP. We all know how flat things have gone for him in recent seasons, including a 4.76 ERA in ’19, but he brings enough control (3.11 career BB/9) and groundballs (45.9% career groundball rate). He needs to prove that he can miss enough bats, and while 9 swinging strikes isn’t going to overly excite you there still is a little bit of promise (though it would be nice if he was generating swings and misses with more than just his changeup). As a streaming starter there could be value, but until he shows us more that’s all he is.
10) Mike Foltynewicz pitches his way out of Atlanta…
After taking one on the chin against the Rays (as we mentioned earlier), Foltynewicz’ day got even worse. As if allowing 6 ER on 4 H and 4 BB, striking out 3, over 3.1 IP (and yielding 3 HR) wasn’t bad enough, after the game he was surprisingly designated for assignment. There’s no doubt that another franchise will roll the dice on him, hoping they can find some value and bolster their rotation, but don’t overlook the fact that his fastball was averaging a pedestrian 90.5 mph yesterday (down from a career average of 95.5). Throw in questions about keeping the ball in the ballpark (38.9% career groundball rate) and things could continue to be ugly. Regardless of where he lands, he’s not a pitcher worth targeting.
Sources – ESPN, Fangraphs