Detailed Fantasy observations from around the league
As a Fantasy community, we love prospects. There’s the hope and hype that they will be the next big thing. But there’s a reason that it’s typically recommended that you put offers out there to sell a prospect on the day they get called up. On that day, whatever hype has been associated with them, and the expectations that the industry has, will be at an all-time high.
See, once a prospect debuts, the hype fades, and the reality sets in. That reality is that baseball is really hard, and it typically takes time for a player to flourish.
As an owner, you should look for the players that struggle early on, be it their opening week, month, season or following year. These are known as post-hype players.
A few of those players heading into this year were Sean Newcomb and Blake Snell. They are two left-handed pitchers with exceptionally high ceilings, but failed to live up to their billing as top prospects early in their careers.
Fast-forward to this year, and both are Top 25 pitchers (ninth for Snell, 23rd for Newcomb) in Yahoo points systems. The knock on both were that the walks hurt them from reaching the next level as pitchers, and their WHIP hurt Fantasy owners. However, both have really improved in the area – Snell much more than Newcomb – allowing them to breakout this year, after being tossed to the side by a lot of the community for failing to produce early.
There’s another pitcher that just returned from the disabled list that has a lot of similarities to Snell and Newcomb, and that’s Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox.
Similar to Snell and Newcomb, Rodon is a young, left-handed pitcher who has had big expectations attached to his name, but he’s failed to live up to them after being fast-tracked through the minor-league system. Rodon, too, has struggled with control, which has stopped him from making the leap to Fantasy ace.
He made his season debut over the weekend against the Boston Red Sox, and he impressed as he walked two, struck out seven and allowed two earned runs in five innings.
Rodon’s walk rate (4.02) last year was similar to Snell’s (4.11) and lower than Newcomb’s (5.13), but can he limit the free passes to the same extent of either Snell (2.73) or Newcomb (4.26) have this year?
Well, Rodon’s walk rate was up last year from his 2.95 mark in 2016, but he showed some adjustments down the stretch.
Like Rodon, Snell and Newcomb hovered around or just above a strikeout per inning last year, but it was the high walk rate that contributed to their 4-plus ERA. Newcomb and Snell have made the adjustments with their free passes, allowing their ERAs to dip below 3.00 on the season.
I’m not saying Rodon will finish as a Top 25 pitcher, but he has the potential to be that and more. He could do exactly what Snell has this year. He’s a 25-year-old pitcher (younger than Snell), who has legitimate ace upside and is available in 68 percent of Yahoo leagues. Add him now.
A Bad Odor
For years, it’s been a bad pun when discussing Rougned Odor, but the past two years, his play really has been bad … and that’s being nice.
Odor has been unable to improve on his numbers from last year since returning from the disabled list, as he has just one home run in 151 plate appearances and nine walks. That, of course, goes along with his 25.2 K/9, which is actually down 5.6 percent from last year. However, he’s somehow hitting even more infield flyballs (17.9 IFFB%) than he was last year (15.5 IFFB%).
If he doesn’t improve soon, he might be the odd man out for the Rangers.
See, Elvis Andrus has started his rehab assignment, and though he’s teased us before, Jurickson Profar is finally performing at an OK level in the big leagues. He’s only hitting .235, but he’s walking more than Odor, striking out less and has shown more power and speed than Odor, who had the quietest 30/15 season maybe ever last year.
For those hoping that Odor would rebound and regain his value in redraft or dynasty leagues (guilty as charged), this is a pivotal week for him to maintain his spot in the Rangers’ lineup.
Entering the season, there were too many cooks in the Brewers kitchen, as the acquisitions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain made life difficult for Domingo Santana, Ryan Braun and Eric Thames owners. Things like this in baseball have a way of working themselves out, and that’s what we thought we saw when Thames went on the disabled list earlier this season.
Cain and Yelich have been good, and Braun, when healthy, has been fine, but a shell of his former self. Santana has, as predicted by many, regressed in a big way from last season, where everything just seemed to fall right for him. With Thames being activated Monday, everything should be fine now, right?
Well, Santana has lost his job, but enter Jesus Aguilar to make things complicated once again. Aguilar’s play has made the Brewers not even notice that Thames was injured, as he’s hitting .290 with 11 home runs, 37 RBIs and has a 140 wRC+.
The situation is one that’s definitely worth monitoring in Milwaukee. On paper, the easiest suggestion is to have Cain in center, Yelich in left, Braun in right and then platoon Thames and Aguilar against righties and lefties, respectively. But with the way that Aguilar is playing overall (.286 average, .362 wOBA against righties), the Brewers are going to find a way to get his bat into the lineup on most days.
It’s a great problem to have for the Brewers, but for Fantasy owners, it’s going to cause more off days for Cain, Yelich, Braun and Thames. Welcome to the same problem from the beginning of the season. This time, there’s just a new cast of characters.