by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There were just three games, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t numerous storylines coming out of the games. Chris Archer has been billed a bounce back candidate, and he looked the part in his first start as he defeated the Yankees allowing 2 ER on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 5, over 7.0 IP. How about Madison Bumgarner, who not only racked up 11 K but slugged a pair of home runs in an unfortunate no decision. What else happened that we need to know about? Let’s take a look:
1) Masahiro Tanaka implodes against Tampa Bay…
This wasn’t supposed to be a hard matchup, but Tanaka took one on the chin from the Rays. He last just 2.2 innings giving up 7 ER on 8 H and 2 BB, striking out 3. Among the damage was a pair of home runs, with Evan Longoria (2-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R) and Logan Morrison (3-4, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R) taking him deep. No one is about to push the panic button, let’s not forget that he did struggle with the long ball in 2015 (1.46 HR/9). It’s going to be something to keep a close eye on, especially with his next start scheduled to come in Baltimore.
2) Kevin Kiermaier makes an early impact…
Often chalked up as simply a defensive player, Kiermaier has been hyped as an under-the-radar target for 2017. Slotted in the second spot of the order on Opening Day (behind Corey Dickerson) he lived up to the billing, going 2-3 with 2 R and 1 SB. He has the potential to deliver a 20/20 campaign and if he’s surprisingly still sitting on your waiver wire, he shouldn’t be.
3) Should the concerns for Zack Greinke disappear…
There have been significant questions hovering over Greinke, after a poor 2016 campaign and talk of lost velocity this spring. He fared well in his first start, allowing 2 R on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 4, over 5.0 IP against the Giants. Is that enough to convince us, though? He needed 92 pitches to get through five innings, throwing 55 for strikes and consistently falling behind (first pitch strikes to 14 of 21 batters faced). While the results weren’t bad, it’s hardly a performance to get excited about.
4) Eduardo Nunez shows why he deserves to start…
After the Giants imported Jae-Gyun Hwang, there was reason to believe that Nunez could get shifted into a utility role. That hasn’t happened, at least not yet, as Nunez delivered out of the sixth spot in the order, going 3-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R and 2 SB. With Brandon Belt hitting second yesterday, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Nunez shifted up in the order to provide a spark if he keeps running wild like this.
5) It was a stellar start for Carlos Martinez…
While his bullpen let him down, anyone who was hesitant to use Martinez against the defending World Series champion had those concerns alleviated quickly. Tossing 7.1 shutout innings he allowed just 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 10 (including getting Kris Bryant three times). The big story is the strikeout rate, after he got off to a slower start in ’16 (7.63 K/9 in the first half). Just for good measure, Martinez also generated 5 groundball outs vs. 3 fly ball outs on the evening. He has the potential to be one of the elite in the game, and this performance is going to get the hype machine going. Hopefully you bought him on draft day, because the opportunity to “buy low” could quickly disappear.
6) Randal Grichuk played the hero for St. Louis…
Hitting eighth he delivered, going 2-4 with 1 HR, 3 RBI and 1 R (including delivering a walk-off hit). It was a great start to his season, and certainly will help the hype train. However it doesn’t eliminate the concerns we had preseason, including strikeouts (he did have 1 K). He does have power and should be a valuable backend outfield option, but don’t let this one game get you overly excited.
7) It was a bad day for closers…
It took all of one day for the moaning and groaning about closers to begin. While Alex Colome ultimately got the save, the rest of the ninth inning specialists had rough days:
- Fernando Rodney – 1.0 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 K (he did get W)
- Mark Melancon – 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 1 K
- Seung Hwan Oh – 1.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 K (he did get W)
Is this the start of things to come? It’s frustrating, as both Madison Bumgarner and Carlos Martinez lost wins, but things should quickly settle down.
Sources – MLB.com, Fangraphs, ESPN
Make sure to check out our 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|