It was a light day of action Monday. Oddly enough Lucas Giolito looked like Danny Duffy while Duffy looked like Giolito. In a standard CBS H2H points league, Giolito wound up with -17 Fantasy points in the Patriots Day game against the Red Sox. On the other hand, Duffy continued to impressed with eight strikeouts over six innings. His fastball velocity this season is similar to his 2016, when Duffy owned a 3.51 ERA. You can find more on both below!
Since it was a light day of games, we spent time on the podcast looking at early-season statistical trends. Entering Monday, the league batting average was .233 with a 24.6% strikeout rate. The lowest batting average in a season ever was .237 back in 1968. We're making history, folks! I do expect BABIP to rise as the weather warms up but the strikeouts might be here to stay. We covered it more extensively on the pod, hitting on some trends regarding power and steals as well.
Lamet will finally make his debut
Padres SP Dinelson Lamet is one of the most exciting pitchers in the MLB purely from a stuff standpoint, but injuries have played a key role in his early career. Lamet hasn't started a game yet in 2021, but he will finally make his debut either today or on Wednesday against the Brewers. If the Padres decide to go with Lamet today, it could turn into a two-start week, with the second start coming on Sunday against the Dodgers.
Lamet has been brought along slowly this spring after an elbow/biceps issue shut him down in 2020, but let's not forget how dominant he was last season. In 2020, Lamet has 96 strikeouts in just 69 innings of work with a 2.09 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP.
More news and notes
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman said 1B Luke Voit is expected back around mid-May. He's returning from surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus.
- Marlins OF Starling Marte will in fact be placed on the 10-day IL after an MRI revealed a fractured rib. He'll be re-evaluated in 5-7 days so hopefully this isn't a long-term thing.
- Braves OF Ronald Acuña is considered day-to-day after an MRI revealed a mild abdominal strain. Scott suggested to not bench him unless you're in the shallowest of leagues.
- The Twins' latest round of COVID-19 tests all came back negative. Looks like their scheduled doubleheader with the A's on Tuesday will be good to go.
- Reds OF Nick Castellanos' appeal for his two-game suspension was denied. He will miss Tuesday and Wednesday against the D-Backs. That means it's Tyler Naquin time again. Naquin has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball and is worth starting in Castellanos' absence. Scott just wants a resolution to the Naquin saga, but Chris feels like this is a problem that will solve itself in time -- with Naquin falling off.
- Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martín Maldonado and Robel García are tentatively expected to rejoin the Astros on Tuesday in Colorado. Jose Altuve was not mentioned so likely needs more time. Alvarez probably won't play in the National League park, right?
- Astros SP Lance McCullers will not make his scheduled start Tuesday against the Rockies as he's dealing with a non-COVID-related illness.
- The Phillies are now dealing with a COVID situation of their own. Three players (Jose Alvarado, Matt Moore, and Ronald Torreyes) were placed on the COVID IL. Five coaches were also placed in the protocol.
- SS Didi Gregorious was out of the lineup Monday for the Phillies, not COVID related. He's dealing with an elbow issue.
- Brewers 2B Kolten Wong, dealing with an oblique strain, is expected to be activated from the injured list for Milwaukee's weekend series versus the Cubs.
- Royals SS Adalberto Mondesi still has yet to be cleared to swing a bat. He's dealing with an oblique strain.
- Padres manager Jayce Tingler said that C Austin Nola, returning from a fractured finger, should resume playing in games at the team's alternate training site in the "next two or three days." We could see him back within the next week or so.
- SP Spencer Turnbull will make his season debut for the Tigers against the Pirates this Wednesday. Turnbull, who was in the COVID protocol to this point, is 11% rostered. Both Scott and Chris are not looking to add him in anything but a deep AL-only league.
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OMGG players from Monday
Chris Towers' pick: White Sox SP Lucas Giolito
Giolito threw 55 pitches, recorded three outs and got five whiffs. Chicago's ace allowed eight runs (seven earned) in the first inning. He was brought back out for the second inning before allowing a solo home run to J.D. Martinez and a walk to Rafael Devers, then he was pulled. Today's disaster led to his ERA jumping from 2.55 to 5.79. As Chris made clear, there is nothing to worry about here. In fact, if it's possible to buy low in a trade from a panicked manager, this is a great opportunity. Scott brought up that this is the one game of the year that starts at 11 a.m. and could've also played a role in the odd outing for Giolito. From everything we hear, Giolito is not a morning person.
Scott White's pick: Royals SP Danny Duffy
He had 18 whiffs and 10 of those came on his fastball. He averaged 94 mph in his last outing -- as hard as he's thrown since 2016. It was down one mph on Monday but it's still back to what he averaged during his better days as a starter. Maybe he's rediscovered something because he's been pretty dominant so far and he has a history of being a successful pitcher when his velocity is up. It's time to take a flier on him in your league.
Scott stole my guy!
Deep-league players on waivers to consider
- Giants OF Austin Slater (12% rostered). Slater had a .282 batting average with five home runs and eight steals in just 31 games in 2020. He now has seven hits in his last 18 at bats and he stole another base (to go along with two hits) on Monday. He has started four of the last five games. Scott is impressed -- adding that he reached base at a .408 clip last year and showed similar plus plate discipline this spring. Scott likes the power, speed and on base skills -- specifically in category leagues. He's somebody to look into if you're chasing upside in Roto leagues.
- Rays SP Josh Fleming (34%). On Monday, Fleming pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings with the following stat line: 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 9 whiffs on 65 pitches. His career stat line in the minors: 3.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP. Fleming pitches to contact and had a 65% GB rate entering Monday so the strikeout upside is limited.
- Brewers 2B Luis Urias (13%). Urias homered for Milwaukee in his return to San Diego -- a revenge game for the former top prospect! He has exactly one hit in five of his last six games and that includes two home runs. He's playing everyday and has 2B/3B/SS eligibility, and while he exited Monday's game early, the team later said he was just dealing with a cramp.
- Rangers OF Adolis Garcia (4%). Garcia went 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBI in Monday's win over the Angels. He's been with the Rangers since December 2019 after coming over from Cuba. He has a power/speed profile and batted .253 with 32 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 2019 in the PCL.
Rangers SP Kohei Arihara (19%). Arihara is not a big strikeout pitcher but allowed just two hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings on Monday to help the Rangers secure a 6-4 win over the Angeles. Arihara added seven whiffs on 77 pitches, allowed just four combined hits and walks on Monday and has allowed zero earned runs over his last two starts.
- Indians SP Aaron Civale as a Dynasty sell high: Scott is highly skeptical of Civale actually reinventing himself. The numbers under the hood don't look all that different. He's not getting enough whiffs, he's not getting enough groundballs and that leads me to believe his ERA will jump from where it is now.
- Rockies SS Trevor Story as a Dynasty buy low: Scott thinks that after Story's slow start, and with rumors that he could be traded at any time and leave Coors Field, you might be able to scoop him cheaper now than at any time over the last several seasons.
- Angels 1B Jared Walsh as a Dynasty buy low: Scott also likes the idea of throwing trade offers out there for Walsh in Dynasty leagues because there is still enough lingering skepticism on him despite a lot of reason to be optimistic about his future. At just 27 years old, with the first opportunity to play every single day, he might just be entering his prime.
- Cubs 3B Kris Bryant as a buy ... high? Chris is not worried about his Statcast numbers not jumping off the page because they never do, and he's still hitting better so far than most expected. The consensus likely thinks of him as a sell-high, but Chris thinks you can take advantage of that -- essentially making him a nice buy-low candidate.