And just like that, the first week of the baseball season is in the books. Hopefully not your whole team is on the injury list! It’s a long season. Just because you may be suffering from injuries now, do not give up. Instead, just keep reading these and listen to the pod. Hopefully we can help you climb out of it.
Wednesday was not the most eventful day on the field, and that’s how we ended up with frayed starting jugs as our prominent ones. For all three Matthew Boyd, Nathan Eovaldi and Jake Junis, they have changed something with their pitch. While we have very limited sample sizes this time of year, pitch changes are something I like to be careful about. Junis has added a cutter, Boyd has cut down his fastball use, and Eovaldi throws more of a real slider. These are the types of tangible changes that can help a pitcher get to the next level. Other than that, we have some very early Statcast trends for you and more!
Soroka closed after reaching return
Braves SP Mike Soroka was reportedly on his way to join the tournament at some point in April, and all signs were positive after he closed the spring by throwing two rounds. Soroka has recovered from an Achilles injury and the operation he had on it in August last year. However, as he built up for his debut in 2021, Soroka felt discomfort on his right shoulder as he settled on Brave’s alternative venue, according to manager Brian Snitker. Although there is no structural damage to Soroka’s shoulder, the Braves will now shut him down for another two weeks.
Marte leaves the game with apparent leg injury
Diamondbacks OF / 2B Ketel Marte, a Chris Towers favorite, hit some of the hardest balls during the spring and carried that power over to the opening day when he went 4-for-5 with home runs. On Wednesday, Marte had a stroke average of .522 with two HRs, five RBIs and five races. Unfortunately, Marte left Wednesday’s match with an apparent leg injury, probably an injury to her right hamstring. We know that soft tissue damage, especially hamstrings, can be difficult and unclear. Although we can not speculate that Marte ever misses yet, it looked like he adjusted his hoarding when he ran out a ground ball to first base. He was then helped by the training staff.
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More news and notes
- Rockies 2B Garrett Hampson, which entered 2019 as Baseball America’s No.2 prospect on the list, went 2-for-3 with three races, one RBI, three steals and two trips Wednesday night. Hampson now beats 0.300 and he is still only 26 years old. He has started everything but one game for Colorado this year, and if playing time remains consistent, he could be a threat to lead the NL in stolen bases.
- Yankees SP Jameson Taillon debuted for his new team and was impressive in his first major series start since 2019. Taillon went 4 2/3 laps with two races allowed on three hits and no trips. He added seven strikes in the no-decision against Orioles. The really good news is that Taillon set at 93.3 MPH at night with a 30% CSW (called strike plus whiffs) rate.
- Blue Jays OF George Springer, who was back to recover from his slant injury, felt tightness in the quad while driving the bases.
- Tea White Sox placed SS Tim Anderson on 10-day IL with the hoarding injury, retroactive to 5 April. Danny Mendick started at shortstop on Wednesday.
- I guess offseason yoga didn’t do the trick Yankees OF Aaron Judge. He was out of the lineup on Wednesday with general tenderness on the left side. He missed two months back in 2019 with a left oblique load. If he comes back and hits well in a week or so, switch him to leaders who have Red AV Nick Castellanos and do not buy the hot start, but think that they should sell high.
- Tea Sailors placed SP James Paxton at IL. Paxton was diagnosed with a left forearm strain. Poor guy just can not stay healthy. Is it now time to stash Logan Gilbert, the prospect of the Marines? He is only 25% listed.
- 1B Matt Olson was out of the A-lineup for the second day in a row due to a knee contusion.
- Stays with the As, assumed closer Trevor Rosenthal may need surgery for thoracic drainage syndrome.
- Dodgers OR Mookie Betts was out of line-up Wednesday with stiff lumbar stiffness.
- RP Kevin Ginkel was not used Tuesday night until Diamondbacks because he was under the weather. Chris Devenski was placed on the restricted list, but it is not COVID related. Manager Torey Lovullo also hinted that Caleb Smith will be moved to the bullpen. This means that Taylor Widener is probably a lock to remain in the rotation even when SP Zac Gallen returns.
- Tea Pirates said Wednesday it 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes makes “daily improvements”, but he does not yet swing a bat.
- Tea Red Sox optional SP Tanner Houck back to their alternative gym. It was fun. SP Eduardo Rodriguez expected back Thursday after tackling dead arm this spring.
Early Statcast trends
Blue Jays 1B Vlad Guerrero Jr.
On 12 shots, Guerrero has an 18.9 average launch angle, and that was 4.6 last year. That’s a very good sign. According to Fangraphs, his prices are: 25% line, 42% ground ball, 33% air ball. The ground speed has never been below 49%, so this can be a good sign of things to come.
Twins BY Byron Buxton
Buxton has a 96.4 MPH average exit speed, already has three barrels and added two more hard-hitting balls on Wednesday. It seems like the game is slowing down for him, and he just needs to stay healthy. I moved him up to OF27 in Roto, just ahead of Jeff McNeil, Tommy Pham, Alex Verdugo and Michael Brantley.
Indians AV Franmil Reyes
Reyes has had an average launch angle of 16.5 degrees and last year it was 11.2. The year before it was 9.5. This may mean that more power is on the way for Reyes in 2021. He started this year with an outcome rate of 28%, and so far it is only 12.5%. I want to target Reyes on cheap trading in deeper leagues – especially Roto and category leagues.
What happens to Cubs hitters?
They have a .140 BABIP as a team despite a league average hard contact rate, and they also have the seventh highest strike percentage.
1B Anthony Rizzo’s the launch angle is too high.
SS Javier Baez crushes the ball at 96.5 MPH average exit velocity, but he follows it with an outcome rate of 42%.
3B Kris Bryant has a launch angle slightly higher than normal, but nothing out of the ordinary that tells about his fight.
Scott already had doubts that both Rizzo and Bryant trained in the wrong direction on the way into 2021, so for him this is not so surprising. On that note, neither Rizzo nor Bryant make a low purchase for Scott.
OMGG Player of Wednesday
Scott White’s choice: Royals SP Jake Junis
He is in only 2% of the CBS Sports leagues. Junis went 5 IPs and allowed only one hit and no race in a no decision, and needed only 58 places to get through five rounds. He added a cutter to his arsenal, and he threw it in the season debut more than he threw his old bread-and-butter pitch – his slider. He threw 16 cutters in total, and it was responsive to five of his swinging strikes. In the spring training, he allowed two hits in 7 IPs and knocked out 10. He is now in the mixed league discussion and someone to be monitored.
My choice: Tigers SP Matthew Boyd
Boyd went 7 IPs and allowed 3 ERs with 8 strikes. He had 13 whiffs in 96 places, six of which came in exchange. He threw his replays 29 times – mostly in a start since 17.9.2017. He uses the fastball less this year, and the fastball had a .643 slugging percentage compared to last year. He has not given up a home run through two starts now, and it has always been the Achilles heel.
My bonus choice: Red Sox SP Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi threw 7 laps with a running ball during Boston’s 9-2 victory on Wednesday. He has now accumulated a 1.46 ERA this season through two starts. He had 17 whiffs in 91 places, and he used his true slider for the first time since 2018. He also had a good swinging stroke rate in his first start. He’s only 68% listed right now. This may be unpopular, but I’d rather have him than Carlos Rodon right now.
Atlanta Braves: Will Smith picked up his first save of the season. Sean Newcomb picked up the save in the second of Atlanta’s double header, and he struck out the side.
Cincinnati Reds: Amir Garrett allowed a grand slam with the Reds up 11-0, and he has worn each of his first two appearances. It may not be time to panic yet, but if Lucas Sims is on your dropout line, he’s worth speculating about.
Cleveland Indians: James Karinchak eased Shane Bieber on seventh and allowed a game-bound RBI single. Emmanuel Clase struck in the 8th with a draw, and then Nick Wittgren struck in the ninth with a two-run lead and got the save. This definitely feels like a selection.
Kansas City Royals: Greg Holland allowed a two-run HR at the bottom of the 8th and he has been a disaster so far. I release him in the points league at home with a bid Rangers RP Ian Kennedy and Rays RP Diego Castillo.
Minnesota Twins: Alex Colome threw the eighth and ninth for a save with two innings. He threw 32 places, and allowed only one hit. There’s no committee here – Colome is the guy.
Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy knocked out the side for his second save and Matt Bush was again used on the eighth. This no longer feels like a selection. Kennedy is only 36% listed. Move him up the apostasy.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen blew the rescue for the Dodgers in a one-run game.