You know things are going wrong in the Fantasy Baseball world when Scott White is freaking out and yours truly is the voice of reason. Such was the case Tuesday, particularly when discussing Zach Plesac, who has now allowed 12 earned runs over his last two starts. You can read more about both Plesac and Luis Castillo below but each has some warning signs.
We need to remind ourselves that we're still just 10% into the baseball season. While some may be freaking out about slow starts for Mets hitters, Gleyber Torres, and Zack Wheeler, you shouldn't. Not yet at least. Maybe we revisit this in another month and it turns out those players are still underperforming. Then we can start to hit the panic button. The reason I say that for the players mentioned above is because they're proven and I have confidence in them. The same cannot be said about Dylan Moore and Keston Hiura, who both continue to strike out at astronomical levels. While I'd still hold Hiura a tad longer because of his prospect pedigree, I'm OK dropping Moore in points leagues or shallower category leagues.
OMGG players from Tuesday
My pick: Reds SP Luis Castillo
Castillo didn't exactly have his best stuff on Tuesday night -- a theme that is becoming more common this year than those who invested an early-round pick on him would like. Castillo's game was suspended due to snow, but that wasn't until after he labored through four innings while allowing three runs, but he was lucky that two were unearned. Castillo loaded the bases in the third and fourth innings before the game was suspended. He got out of those jams, but he was all the way up to 89 pitches by the end of the fourth inning.
Here was Castillo's final stat line: 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K with 11 whiffs on 89 pitches. However, the underlying numbers weren't bad for Castillo. He only allowed four hard hit balls the entire game. He also averaged 96.1 mph on his sinker. It's also important to note Castillo is a notoriously slow starter. He had a 4.10 ERA over his first seven starts in 2020 and 4.53 ERA over his career in the month of April.
This isn't the first time Castillo has had a rough stretch, and Chris says he seems to do this too often for someone we should consider a locked-in top-15 starting pitcher. Scott is a bit concerned too because the whiffs aren't coming and he has a really bad defense behind him that isn't changing. One of the best things about Castillo is that he has a high groundball rate, but relying on this Reds defense has not been working. Keep an eye on whether Castillo can get his whiff rate back up, because if he is missing bats, there's no reason to panic. There are some concerning signs here, though.
I asked Scott if he would trade Marlins SP Sandy Alcantara or Padres SP Joe Musgrove to buy low on Castillo right now, and the answer was yes on Alcantara but no on Musgrove. I think I can get on board with that plan of attack.
Scott White's pick: Indians SP Zach Plesac
Plesac was a popular mid-round value target for some this offseason after his dominant 2020 season, but that momentum was slowed down a bit after he went through a rough spring. Still, he never fell into the later rounds and his ADP never took a major dip even after the spring. So far in 2021, he hasn't looked anything like his 2020 self.
This stat sums up Plesac in 2021 best. He has allowed as many earned runs in 2021 as he did the entire 2020 season:
- 2020: 14 ERs, 55.1 innings
- 2021: 14 ERs, 18.2 innings
On Tuesday, here was Plesac's final stat line: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 4 K with 12 whiffs on 92 pitches.
He has allowed 12 earned runs in his last two starts, and the underlying numbers are even more alarming. Plesac, who had just a 6.6 K/9 entering Tuesday, has allowed lots of hard contact in every start and owns a 4.74 xERA.
Scott was encouraged by Plesac's pitch selection so it's not exactly like he is straining to find anything good to say about Plesac's start, but he has to continue to go down that path if he wants to bounce back. Plesac is not typically a pitcher who gives up home runs or a high flyball rate. It's worth noting that his two quality starts have come against the Tigers this year and his two poor outings came against the White Sox.
Scott's not ready to say it but I would ultimately drop Plesac for Nathan Eovaldi in shallower leagues. I'm buying into Eovaldi's changes.
More news and notes
- The hits keep on coming. Nationals OF Juan Soto was placed on the 10-day IL with a left shoulder strain. Andrew Stevenson started in right field and led off Tuesday over popular offseason Roto league target Victor Robles. Things have not gone well for Robles after his hot spring and he is no longer batting leadoff every game.
- OF Mookie Betts was not in the lineup for the Dodgers. He got hit on the forearm with a pitch late on Monday night. He's day-to-day.
- OF Ronald Acuna was not in the Braves lineup as he continues to deal with that abdominal strain. 2B Ozzie Albies returned to the lineup.
- White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes left Tuesday's game after fouling a ball off his left foot.
- Marlins C Jorge Alfaro left his game also due to an apparent leg injury.
- Jean Segura left for the Phillies and was diagnosed with a strained right quad.
- Blue Jays RP Julian Merryweather is not expected to rejoin the Blue Jays when he's first eligible to return from the injured list.
- Giants RP Jake McGee and Logan Webb were both activated from the COVID IL.
- The Twins placed Max Kepler, Kyle Garlick, and Caleb Thielbar on the COVID IL.
- Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Martín Maldonado, and Robel García were indeed activated by the Astros on Tuesday. Bregman and Maldonado were in the lineup. Jose Altuve has not passed protocols yet.
- Reds 3B Mike Moustakas was originally in the lineup Tuesday and then was placed on the 10-day IL with a non-COVID illness. Weird situation.
- Kyle Lewis made his season debut for the Mariners Tuesday. He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout. Ty France was out of the starting lineup while dealing with a forearm injury. France has got off to a hot start and ended up pinch hitting in this game so there's nothing to worry about here.
- The Marlins recalled OF Lewis Brinson to replace Starling Marte. Brinson started in center field and batted eighth.
- The struggling Yankees are shaking things up. There was no sign of Aaron Hicks or Clint Frazier on Tuesday. Mike Tauchman and Brett Gardner played in the outfield with Mike Ford at first base.
- Braves SP Mike Soroka has yet to resume throwing following shoulder discomfort from a few weeks back.
- Orioles 2020 first-round pick Heston Kjerstad has been cleared to report to the team's alternate training site as he recovers from myocarditis. Nice to hear for anybody who has him in dynasty leagues. I'm one of you!
- Yasiel Puig signed with Veracruz of the Mexican League and he is trying to work his way back into the MLB.
Fantasy Baseball Today Newsletter
Your Cheat Code To Fantasy Baseball
You're destined to gain an edge over your friends with advice from the award-winning FBT crew.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Waivers to consider
Marlins SS Miguel Rojas (46% rostered). Rojas went 4-for-4 with a triple, RBI, and two runs on Tuesday. He reached base five times after the Marlins made the decision to move him up into the No. 2 spot in the batting order with Starling Marte on the IL. The move happened after Marte left the lineup and it's likely he will remain atop the order if he keeps hitting the ball like this. Rojas is now batting .327 on the season after hitting .304 with four home runs in 40 games in 2020 and could be a solid bet moving forward for batting average, runs and steals.
Rockies SP Jon Gray (54%). The Rockies starter has been pitching confidently and effectively thus far in 2021 and that continued on Tuesday against the Astros. Here was Gray's stat line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K with 11 whiffs on 104 pitches. Gray has now allowed three earned runs or less in all four starts, but it is important to keep in mind he is still walking a lot of batters. Gray gets a matchup-friendly draw over his next two starts and is currently projecting to pitch at SF and at ARI next week. Here is Gray's stat line through four starts in 2021: 2.42 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 21/11 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings.
Deeper league waivers to consider
Orioles SS Freddy Galvis (13%). Galvis went 2 for 3 with his second home run on Tuesday night and he is heating up. Galvis has nine hits and two home runs over his last five games.
Diamondbacks 1B Pavin Smith (7%). Smith continues to start in place of Christian Walker, who is on the IL. He went 3 for 4 with a run scored on Tuesday and has racked up six hits over his last five games. Is it possible Smith could be a late bloomer? He was a former first-round pick in 2017 and he produced in the minors in 2019 with a .291 batting average and 12 home runs in minors in 2019.
Astros RP Luis Garcia (8%). Garcia was effective in his start on Tuesday night against the Rockies while starting in place of Lance McCullers. Here was the stat line for the 24-year old starter: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K with 14 whiffs on 84 pitches. As Scott pointed out, Garcia also excelled at missing bats in the minor leagues and that makes his Fantasy profile very interesting. However, Scott can't see a clear path for Garcia remaining in the rotation and that could ultimately hold back his fantasy value.
Braves OF Guillermo Heredia (2%). The 30-year-old outfielder collected another two hits after hitting two home runs on Sunday. Heredia is starting in center field with Christian Pache on the IL and has a career .667 OPS.