It always just seemed like a matter for time before Vladimir Guerrero Jr. figured it out. This offseason he took exception to the fact that he was not considered among the young elite studs like Ronald Acuña Jr. and Juan Soto. Guerrero whipped himself up into better shape and has hit fewer ground balls than ever this season. Voila, your recipe for success. You can read more about him below and listen to the podcast, but the kid looks like an absolute stud.
Tuesday was all over the place with action but something else we focused on during the podcast was struggling hitters. Specifically, what do you do if you have an entire team of them? While it's harder to sit tight in H2H leagues, we're only in Week 5 of 27. It's easier said than done but the prudent move is to remain patient. For most of the big names who are struggling (looking at you, Francisco Lindor and Gleyber Torres), there is a track record there. It's easier said than done, but stay the course. Better days are ahead!
Vlad Jr. ascends to a new level
If you drafted Blue Jays 1B Vlad Gurerrero Jr. in the middle rounds, you're one happy manager. Guerrero went bonkers on Tuesday night with his first career three home run game. In hitting three home runs in one game at just 22 years old, Vlad Jr. accomplished something his Hall of Fame father never did. He drove in seven runs and is now up to seven home runs, 19 RBI and a 1.177 OPS this season.
I'm willing to throw in the towel and say I was wrong about not advising to draft many shares of Vlad. Scott is also buying into the changes Vlad has made and does not consider him a sell-high candidate. Hang on to Vlad if you got him. His groundball rate is well below 50% this year and he seems to have the launch angle figured out. He's always had the contact rate and the hard hit balls down. Now that he is no longer hitting groundballs as frequently, it seems pretty clear the breakthrough is here.
Vlad also has more walks than strikeouts this year, so the plate discipline is a cherry on top.
OMGG player from Tuesday
My pick: Twins SP Kenta Maeda
Maeda has simply not been the SP managers drafted him to be -- or anywhere close to what his ADP would've suggested he should be. He got hit hard again on Tuesday night and only made it 5 2/3 innings while allowing eight hits and five earned runs with only three strikeouts. It happened against Cleveland, which is supposed to be a dream matchup.
The biggest issue for Maeda is a scary one because it has been consistent for him. That issue is the hard hit balls -- Maeda allowed 11 of them on Tuesday -- including three home runs. His ERA is now 6.56 on the season and his hard contact rate is all the way up at 44% after it was down at 24% in 2020. If this rate doesn't improve, there is no bounceback for Maeda in 2021.
Maeda is a two-start pitcher next week, which makes the situation more complicated. In a H2H points league, that wrinkle is enough for Scott to say you have to keep him in your lineup for next week. However, there are issues we need to consider with Maeda that could cloud his outlook moving forward. Scott would prefer to sit him until he shows signs of turning it around.
Scott White's pick: Yankees SP Corey Kluber
Kluber finally looked a bit more like the old Corey Kluber in his start on Tuesday for the Yankees, going 6 2/3 innings and allowing just one run in the victory. The caveat is that he faced the Orioles lineup. However, his 17 swinging strikes were impressive and potentially a sign of things to come as his velocity was also up one mph on the night. He still has a great secondary arsenal of pitches so Scott is left encouraged by this start. He's not quite ready to put him back in starting lineups just yet. If he delivers another start like this one -- with solid overall and underlying numbers -- he's worth starting again.
Kluber threw his cutter as his main pitch in this game and leaning more on all of his breaking pitches combined. He is also typically a slow starter and we're getting closer to May.
More news and notes
- Marlins 2B Jazz Chisholm left Tuesday's game after a hard slide into second base on his seventh steal of the season. He was diagnosed with a left hamstring strain. As we know with all hamstring and soft tissue injuries, they can be very tricky. The early expectation is that this will lead to an IL stint.
- Astros SP Framber Valdez is set to face hitters and is "way ahead of schedule," according to pitching coach Brent Strom. Valdez is 57% rostered and averaged 16 FPPG last season, T-17th among starting pitchers. In other words, if he's still not rostered in your league -- and there's a solid chance he'll be back before May -- he's an excellent player to roster while you still can.
- As soon as I give in and talk up Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, he was out of the lineup Tuesday with a right biceps injury. He's day-to-day.
- Cardinals C Yadier Molina was placed on the IL with a strained tendon in his right foot. He dealt with it over the weekend and then returned to the lineup Monday.
- Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez started in left field Tuesday, which gives him five games in the outfield this season, so congrats to any managers wanting to move him into their outfield moving forward.
- White Sox SP Lance Lynn will officially start Saturday against Cleveland.
- Blue Jay SP Hyun-Jin Ryu is not expected to miss his start this week after leaving early Sunday.
- Blue Jays SP Nate Pearson built up to 51 pitches over the weekend and will throw 3-to-4 rehab innings at the alternate site Thursday. Like Valdez, Pearson is 57% rostered. As Scott said, if you have a spot on your bench, it's never bad to stash upside plays and Pearson qualifies.
- Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg has increased his throwing to 150 feet as he rehabs his shoulder.
- Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes should start swinging a bat this week. He suffered a setback with his wrist injury last week.
- For the D-Backs, 1B Christian Walker is taking swings and RP Joakim Soria is throwing at the alternate training site. There's no reason right now to think Soria will take over as the closer.
- Reds 3B Mike Moustakas was reinstated from the IL and batted fourth against the Dodgers Tuesday.
- Padres C Austin Nola could be activated for the Padres this weekend.
- Padres SP Dinelson Lamet is scheduled to throw live batting practice Wednesday. He was placed on the IL last week with a forearm strain.
- Dodgers 1B/OF Cody Bellinger is nearing live at-bats.
- Braves SP Mike Soroka is unlikely to debut before June with his shoulder injury.
- Twins OF Byron Buxton was back in the lineup on Tuesday.
- Blue Jays OF George Springer was not activated on Tuesday as was expected. The hope is for Wednesday or Thursday.
- Twins RP Alex Colome is moving to a lower leverage role for the Twins after his struggles. Taylor Rogers seems to be the next man up for saves although it wouldn't be crazy to see Hansel Robles get a chance here or there. Rogers is 43% rostered; that number should be a lot higher.
- White Sox OF Luis Robert was placed on the IL with flu-like symptoms, though if he clears protocols he could be back within the next few days.
- Mets OF Brandon Nimmo has a mild right hip impingement and was out of the lineup Tuesday
- Yadiel Hernandez, a 33-year-old OF for the Nationals, could stick around with the team even after Juan Soto returns. I'm not really sure what that looks like with Kyle Schwarber and Victor Robles there too, but Hernandez hit another home run Tuesday and hit 33 home runs in the minors in 2019. He might be worth a stash in deep five-OF leagues.
- Phillies OF Andrew McCutchen was out of the lineup for a second straight game. He might be on the short side of a platoon with Brad Miller in left field.
- Twins OF Max Kepler could return from the COVID IL this weekend.
- The Yankees traded OF Mike Tauchman to the Giants for RP Wandy Peralta.
- More Yankees news: Miguel Andujar will get reps at first base at the team's alternate training site and could play the position in the majors while Luke Voit recovers from knee surgery. Voit is expected to rejoin the Yankees at some point in mid-to-late May.
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Waiver wire SPs in deeper leagues
- Royals SP Jake Junis (30% rostered) delivered against the Pirates with the following stat line: 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 K and 13 swinging strikes on 84 pitches. He has a two-start week next week and one of them is against the struggling Cleveland lineup. The other is against the White Sox.
- Red Sox SP Garrett Richards (10%) looked like a post, post, post-hype sleeper on Tuesday against the Mets with the following stat line: 7 IP, 1 ER, 10 K, 0 BB with 19 swinging strikes on 93 pitches. He gets the Orioles next week.
- Cubs SP Trevor Williams (25%) has allowed 2 runs or less in four of five starts. He was excellent on Tuesday with the following stat line against the Braves: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K with 15 swinging strikes on 86 pitches. He is throwing his curveball more than ever before and has five different pitches overall. He draws the Pirates next week.
- Cardinals SP Carlos Martinez (36%) was strong against the Phillies on Tuesday with the following stat line: 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 K. He's now had consecutive quality starts. He draws the Mets and Rockies next week.
- Rays SP Michael Wacha delivered the following stat line against the A's: 5 IP, 1 ER, 2 K. He draws the A's again next week.
To stream or not to stream
Those pitchers in bold are the top-three pitchers we would look to stream.
- Braves SP Huascar Ynoa vs. CHC
- Padres SP Ryan Weathers at ARI
- Royals SP Mike Minor at PIT
- Giants SP Alex Wood vs. COL
- Angels SP Alex Cobb at TEX
- Yankees SP Domingo German at BAL