by Ray Kuhn
There wasn’t much offense yesterday as only two teams managed eight runs and 15 teams scored two runs or less. Good pitching outings were commonplace, but that also doesn’t mean that we were without some individual offensive games worthy of some attention. Let’s take at some of those performances.
1) Adam Wainwright Dominates
Hopefully for Wainwright owners, you have yet to give up on the right-hander. To say the least, it has been a difficult start to the season for Wainwright, but last night he handled the Rockies (away from Coors Field) with relative ease. In 6.2 innings of work, Wainwright kept Colorado off the scoreboard while scattering six hits and one walk and striking out give. The fact that Wainwright’s ERA only dropped to 5.92 illustrates how bad his struggles have been. By no means is Wainwright out of the woods as that was just his fifth quality start and only appearance this season where he has allowed less than three runs. Perhaps though, Wainwright and his 61.6% strand rate have hit rock bottom? Read more
by Ray Kuhn
Despite losing one game due to the weather, Boston at Kansas City, there wasn’t a lack of offense among the other eight games. There weren’t many pitchers who returned positive value last night, and prolific run totals were the rule instead of the exception. Let’s take a look at some of the performances that stood out from Monday night’s action.
1) Yan Gomes Drives in Four
Cleveland exploded for 15 runs off John Lamb and the Reds less that stellar bullpen, and it was a team effort. Only two of the Indians’ nine starters didn’t drive in a run, and Gomes was the RBI leader driving in four. For the struggling Gomes, that was certainly a welcome development, but he hasn’t been as bad as you might initially think. Now there is no true way to get around a batting average that now sits at .179 after he went 2 for 4 last night, but .178 BABIP certainly deserves some blame. Despite the inability to hit for average, the power is still there as Gomes’ four RBI gave him 20 on the season while he went deep for sixth time this season on Monday. Read more
Are you following @Rotoprofessor on Twitter? If not you should be, as we Tweet out all the important bullpen notes every morning from the previous day’s games. Who is in jeopardy of losing their job? Who is worth the speculative add? Here are this morning tweets (Please note we won’t be posting these on the website every day, so make sure you follow @Rotoprofessor to ensure you don’t miss a thing):
by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The biggest question facing Vincent Velasquez is where his role ultimately lies. Is he going to be able to stick in the rotation? Is his long-term role at the back of the bullpen? Time will tell, but the Phillies are clearly giving him an opportunity and will open the year with him as part of their rotation. It makes sense, given his upside, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s going to thrive.
Acquired from the Astros as part of the Ken Giles trade, Velasquez showed swing and miss stuff with Houston last season (10.5% SwStr%). He utilizes four pitches, though it’s clear which he prefers to use:
- Fastball – 68.5%
- Curveball – 18.7%
- Changeup – 7.5%
- Slider – 5.7%
That coincides with the scouting report Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 posted prior to 2015:
“Velasquez has a four pitch arsenal that features a fastball that sits 92-95 MPH with plenty of 6’s. His best secondary pitch is his hard curve ball that sits 78-80 MPH with a nice 11 to 5 break. His changeup, while inconsistent, shows a lot of potential and could eventually be an above-average, if not more pitch. He also throws a slider that is well behind the other three pitches.” Read more
by Ray Kuhn
At this point there really is no such thing as a true “sleeper” (especially as the definition has evolved and become less than crystal clear). Knowledge is readily available and consumed and sleepers have become players that people are high on and expect good things from in the coming season, compared to their prior year performance.
With that mind, instead of listing a sleeper from each team I am going to focus on a playerwho I feel has a good chance to exceed their draft day price. These are not necessarily exciting players, but options to keep an eye on. It is possible that they could go undrafted in some, if not all leagues, but the potential is there while the risk is not.
Let’s take a look at the NL West:
Socrates Brito – Arizona Diamondbacks – OF
As we get closer to the season and have a larger body of Spring Training numbers to evaluate, we have to reduce the urge to overreact. At the same time Brito is certainly trending in the right direction after his first 12 games this spring saw him hit .378 in 39 plate appearances with a home run and RBI. A large factor in Brito’s playing time had been the health issues surrounding Yasmany Tomas, who struggled through his MLB debut last season. Tomas does appear to be ready for the start of the season, but the Diamondbacks have already stated that Brito is line for substantial playing time. Read more
by Ray Kuhn
Andrelton Simmons is known for his defense. It’s why the Braves locked him up to a long term deal and the same reason why the Angels traded for the Gold Glove shortstop this winter. While his glove does insure that he will be in the lineup, his defense doesn’t provide us with a fantasy benefit. So what can we expect with the bat? Is there any value beyond that of a middle infielder in most leagues?
In 2013 he hit 17 HR, but after combining for just 11 over the past two seasons that is ancient history. He had a 39% fly ball rate in ’13, turning 8% of those into home runs. Both of those numbers have fallen off a cliff, including hitting a fly ball just 22% of the time with 4% of those being long balls last season. If you look at his Power Index, per Baseball HQ, that follows the same trend over the past three seasons (Power dropping from 86 to 47 and Expected Power falling from 89 to 61).
Simmons is still just 26-years old so there is room for a turnaround, but to me this also signals a philosophical change as the fly balls turned into ground balls. With the gap between his Power and Expected Power, there is some room for growth, but anything more than 10 HR would be surprising, although it is clearly possible. Read more