It’s. All. Happening. Baseball is back and as glorious as ever. For a fleeting moment last week Madison Bumgarner led MLB in taters, Miguel Cabrera was 0-2017, and Ervin Santana was 3rd on the ESPN Player Rater. Um, what? It’s the opinion of the writer that the only ironclad inferences we can gather from the events of Opening Week are Brandon Finnegan and Kendall Graveman winning their respective league’s CY Young awards…Right?? Take me to Vegas baby! Here’s how Week 1 in The Pitcher List Staff League wrapped up.
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Max Eddy (12 Years a Save) vs Ben Palmer (Team Name Pending):
The gaps in the Hitting and Strikeout categories masks the relative closeness of this matchup. No one wants to tie, and going into the weekend I was up by a Win and Palmer was up one in Steals. After streaming Stephen Vogt for a tater earlier in the week I cut him for Jarrod Dyson hoping to make a late run at Steals. Fail. Dyson went 0/2 from the 9th spot on Saturday, and rode the pine on Sunday. He’s struggled out of the gate and the lower he hits in the order the less own-able he is for the long term. However, few options are better for streaming steals, and I’ll definitely go back to the well on Dyson. I attempted to pad my lead in Wins streaming Tyler Anderson (vsLAD) on Sunday. Sigh…Fail. Anderson was actually better at Coors last year posting a 3.00/4.71 ERA split, and the Dodgers have carried over their woes against LHP, (72 wRC+ in ’16). Needless to say Anderson was smoked. Luckily, streamer Ervin Santana came through with a W against the White Sox. He’s on the roster for this week with another tilt at home against the Pale Hose, but nothing special enough to protect for the long term.
Very pleased to see Paul Goldschmidt both running and homering in his first week. There was some concern in the offseason that new D-Backs manager Torey Luvullo would curtail the run game given his track record in the minors, but all signs thus far are positive. Palmer has to be excited to see Eduardo Nunez finish the week with 4 Steals. AT&T park may keep him from repeating the 16 homers from last year, but he could well be on his way to another 40 steals.
Hitters – (Stephen Vogt & Jerrod Dyson)
3/14, 1R, 1HR, 1RBI
18IP, 2W, 9H, 6ER, 8BB, 10K
Hitters – N/A
Pitchers – (Tyler Glasnow)
Christopher Edmunds (Stunning Bunts) vs Nic Gardiner (Ze German):
Gardiner’s bats were paced by the aptly named Brandon Belt and some dude named after a fish. They combined for a 14/53, 9R, 5HR, 14RBI, 1SB line of baseball goodness. Belt whacked three taters, right on cue for his yearly habit of teasing us with a power breakout. I’m always interested in Belt given his skills for producing good outcomes on batted, but AT&T has the worst park factor for homers in baseball. With the Giants on the road this past week the real surprise will be seeing Belts pop translate at home. Jay Bruce, fromerly a member of the Stunning Bunts, managed a solid line (see below) that wouldn’t have been enough to move the needle in this matchup, but still has to sting.
Remember Nolan Arenado’s slump during the WBC? Ya, me neither. Arenado was typically, almost boringly, productive last week to the tune of a 8/26, 6R, 2HR, 4RBI line. Yawn. Edmunds other stud bat this week? You guessed it…Sandy Leon. With a non-catcher eligible Kyle Schwarber Edmunds will likely mix and match at Catcher for most of the year, but ya’ll, Sandy Leon is not the long term answer. No matter how popular he is on reddit.
The oft maligned Jeremy SHellickson may have been this week’s MVP. His solid line (See below) combined with a pair of Saves from Cam Bedrosian was enough to eek out ERA and tie in Saves. Bedrosian looks fantastic thus far, but we’ve been down this road with SHellickson, plus he’s hurt.
8/37, 5R, 2HR, 6RBI
P – (Steven Wright)
6.2IP, 7H, 4ER, 3BB, 4K
H – (Jay Bruce)
4/9, 3R, 2HR, 2RBI
P – (Jeremy Hellickson)
10IP, W, 7H, 1ER, 2BB, 3K
Max Posner vs Nick Pollack:
Our fearless leader Nick Pollack had to be quaking in his boots Sunday afternoon after Freddie Freeman’s monstrous 4/5, 3R, 2HR, 2RBI, 1SB put Posner’s squad in position to carry the week. Alas, for Posner his fate was sealed when stat cast darling Domingo Santana nearly sent this pitch into orbit tying up the homer tally in the matchup. Gotta hate losing from a tied category, but an impressive 8/25, 4R, 2HR, 4RBI, 1SB debut week from Manuel Margot and a 3 Steal week from Brian Dozier take some of the pain out of…oh wait. Gary Sanchez went on the DL. Woof.
Pollack wasn’t spared from the injury bug either as Garrett Richards gave his owners some heart trouble this week. But his staff got a necessary boost from an uneven week of work from Sean Manaea. His 22 swinging strikes on Sunday against the Rangers led to 10Ks, which ultimately proved decisive in this matchup, but he finished the week with a 7.15 ERA. Manaea’s showing excellent skills early on and if the poor ratios have an owner in your league turned off, turn on.
H – (Francisco Cervelli)
P – (Jason Grilli)
2.2IP, SV, 2H, 1ER, 1BB, 4K
H – N/A
P – (Zach Wheeler & Hishashi Iwakuma)
10IP, 8H, 6ER, 4BB, 6K
Alex Fast vs Rick Graham:
Alex’s rotation was on an Earned Run fast last week…That’s right. I made that joke. Unfortunately for Fast Julio Teheran’s sparkling 7IP, 6H, 0ER, 1BB, 4K Sunday line against the Bucs went unsupported by his comrades. The tie in Wins proved fatal, and with such a huge disparity in the pitching ratios a weekend streamer or two could’ve helped turn the tide in Fast’s favor. A huge chunk of his offense came off the bat of Francisco Lindor and his 7/24, 5H, 3HR, 7RBI, 1SB. As more Stat Cast data comes out it’ll be interesting to see how Lindor’s performing. All of his homers were ideally struck, and if we’re seeing more volume from him in those areas he could become a foundational fantasy player.
Graham’s squad was serving up Earnies at every meal last week. Sam Dyson’s horrific 2IP, 7H, 8ER, 3BB, 1K sticks out, and may have long term effects on his value if he loses the closers role. Matt Bush was added in our league and it’s a situation worth monitoring given the potential Saves at stake for a team like Texas. They’re were a few bright notes hidden in the overall morass of sadness that was Graham’s rate stats. Team namesake Greg Holland put up an Opus like 4IP, 4SV 0H, 0ER, 1BB, 6K line and streamer Alex Cobb showed enough to consider keeping with a 5.2IP, 1W, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 4K against the Yankees. A re-established Cobb could mean a lot for owners like Graham who front loaded their drafts with top bats.
H – (Brandon Drury)
4/8, 4R, 3RBI
P – N/A
H – (Rajai Davis)
4/27, 2R, 3RBI
22IP, W, 25H, 13 ER, 8BB, 16K
Andrew Todd-Smith vs William Wright:
Rougned Odor and Salvador Perez led the way for ATS’s squad this week combining for a 14/46, 9H, 7HR, 10RBI line. It’s way too early to be looking for deep meaning in the numbers but, given the fact that swing metrics stabilize a bit earlier than other stats, it’s worth pointing out what to watch with on Odor. He’s got a typically high %44.8 O-Swing, but the Hard contact is through the roof at 53.3%. Selling out to whack the ball as hard as possible is what Odor does, and as long as he makes contact, and it’s hard, he’ll have value. Right now he’s at a %75.0 contact rate, down roughly three ticks from last year, in a microscopic sample. But as the sample grows Odor won’t be able to afford more of a dip in that area. Keep your eyes peeled and prepare to sell high.
Wright’s squad got an outstanding 11/22, 6R, 2HR, 6RBI effort out JT Realmuto, and some of the best pitching of the week. Both Dallas Keuchel and Zach Grienke combined for an 18:5 K/BB rate across 25.2IP. The improved control is a welcome site, particularly for Keuchel. If both these guys can rebound their owners should reap a nice profit given their sunken ADPs.
H – (Brandon Crawford)
9/24, 4R, 1HR, 3RBI
9IP, SV, 7H, 4ER, 2BB, 7K
H – (Jedd Gyorko)
P – (Adam Wainwright & Martin Perez)
10.1, W, 9H, 2ER, 5BB, 12K
Ben Pernick vs Ian Post:
Leaving production on your bench is always hard to swallow, particularly in H2H. Pernick got terrific, and promising, work from his staff’s core of Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, and Lance McCullers (more on him later). Nonetheless Brandon Finnegan’s gem against the Phillies went for naught on his bench and the W could have ultimately sealed the week in his favor. But McCullers…man, oh man. 17:2 K/BB ratio. If he’s suddenly reached a new level with his control he could easily provide elite level performance on a weekly basis. Consistency will be key, but despite the L tie for the week Pernick can hang his hat on…that.
For Ian, Marcell Ozuna picked up right where he left off, prior to his wrist injury last year. He went 9/21, 3H, 1HR, 6RBI on the week, and if he’s able to put together a healthy season will likely be at the top of draft boards next year. There’s a fair amount of swing and miss on Post’s roster with the likes of Randal Grichuk and Keon Broxton, who seems to have dodged a serious injury after failing to dodge an incoming fastball to the face. Average may be tough to carry each week, but the speed is tremendous and if Kris Bryant finds more opportunities to run (2SBs last week) he’ll make a run at Fantasy MVP.
H – N/A
P – N/A
10/56, 7R, 2HR, 8RBI, 1SB
1.2IP, 4H, 2ER, 2BB, 4K