Happy Friday! Unless of course you had Luis Castillo in your lineup on Opening Day. Like Week 1 of the NFL season, Opening Day is going to come with its overreactions. As bad as Castillo was, I say we give him a pass. First, this was the coldest game he's ever pitched in and he doesn't fare well in cold weather. Second, his defense was awful! I fear that with Eugenio Suarez at shortstop, Reds starting pitchers could suffer all year. With that being said, please try to buy low on Castillo if anybody in your league is freaking out about him.
Opening Day was filled with action. Tyler Glasnow and Sandy Alcantara were the two best pitchers on a day filled with aces. Miguel Cabrera hit a screaming line-drive home run off Shane Bieber in a snow storm. Plus, bullpens were a disaster already! Don't you just love playing with the saves category? Nonetheless, we covered all of it on the podcast and down below.
OMGG Player of the Day
Scott White: Tyler Glasnow, SP, Rays
Scott: "It's not just because he threw six one-hit innings, but it's because he introduced his new slide/cutter hybrid in a very loud way. He didn't just sprinkle it in with his usual fastball, curveball mix, he threw it 34% of the time. It was his best swing-and-miss pitch on the day. It looked incredible. If he has another great breaking ball to go with the one he already had, he's going to be unhittable."
Stat to keep an eye on from Chris: "Glasnow threw 87% of his pitches as fastballs and his new hybrid slide/cutter and he only threw the curveball nine times."
The slider is impressive, his velocity was up to 97.9 MPH and he can mix in his third pitch at 10% or more.
Chris Towers: Sandy Alcantara, SP, Marlins
Chris: "Alcantara went 6 IP, 7 K, 2 H, 2 BB, 16 swinging strikes on 83 pitches with an 86.5 MPH exit velocity allowed. This was one of the best starts I've ever seen from Alcantara."
Six of those 16 swinging strikes came on his changeup -- this is a pitch Alcantara hasn't worked into his arsenal as often in the past.
Frank Stampfl: Luis Castillo, SP, Reds
Castillo wasn't himself in the Reds' season opener -- one that was played at 37 degrees in Cincinnati. At home against the Cardinals, here was Castillo's line: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 0 K.
If you play in CBS H2H points leagues, he got you minus-14 fantasy points. His fastball velocity was down 2.6 MPH from last year, but keep in mind he has had starts in April 2018 and 2019 where his FB velocity averaged below 95 MPH. And remember, it was 37 degrees out.
Castillo's agent Rafa Nieves responded to my tweet today and pointed out that Castillo never pitched in less than 50-degree weather. Also, Eugenio Suarez committed two errors in the first two innings of the game and their infield defense is going to likely let down Castillo all season.
FBT favorites were on fire
It's victory lap season -- and there's never a better time to take your winning lap than after Opening Day! A few Fantasy Baseball Today favorite picks had themselves a 2021 debut.
- Diamondbacks OF Ketel Marte went 4 for 5 with a home run, double, and two batted balls that were over 104 MPH exit velocity off Yu Darvish.
- Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes hit a home run, had a walk and connected on three hard-hit balls.
- Rays OF Austin Meadows hit the go-ahead home run.
- Reds OF Nick Castellanos went 3 for 5 with a home run and a double.
- Twins OF Byron Buxton went 1 for 3 with a home run that went 456 feet with a 111 MPH exit velocity. He also added two RBI, two BB and a SB while striking out twice. Buxton had just two walks in 39 games last season.
Other news and notes
- Closer update: Athletics RP Trevor Rosenthal landed on the IL with shoulder inflammation. For now, it looks like Jake Diekman will get get the save opportunities.
- Cardinals RP Alex Reyes could reportedly open the season as the Cardinals closer, according to manager Mike Shildt. "I wouldn't be surprised if you saw Alex Reyes at the back of the game," Shildt said. Scott is not as convinced that Reyes is more than just a temporary placeholder for Jordan Hicks who may only get some of the save opportunities.
- Here's how Scott would prioritize closer candidates off the waiver wire as of now: 1. Mark Melancon, Padres; 2. Hector Neris, Phillies; 3. Alex Reyes, Cardinals; 4. Jake Diekman, A's.
- Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson pulled up with a hamstring on Opening Day. Between this and the calf issues for Donaldson, things are not off to a great start.
- Twins 2B Luis Arraez moved over to 3B and went 2 for 5 with a walk. He's only 24% rostered in CBS leagues. Chris is not advising to get too excited about Arraez even if he can be one of the best bets for batting average in baseball. However, if you see he's batting at the top of the lineup and playing everyday, he can also be a big contributor in runs, and that makes him potentially worth pursuing.
- Royals 1B/OF Hunter Dozier is dealing with a right thumb contusion but could be back on Saturday.
Reds OF Nick Senzel left Thursday's game with a shoulder injury after a diving catch. The Reds are hopeful he'll be back in the lineup at some points this weekend.
Notable pitching performances
- Cleveland SP Shane Bieber: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 12 K (22 whiffs). He got off to a cold start (no pun intended in the snow game), but he ended up having one of the better pitching performances of the day with 12 K through 6 IP.
- Twins SP Kenta Maeda: 4.1 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 K. His velocity was up a tick but the Brewers really made him work in this one and he didn't make it through the fifth before getting to 88 pitches.
- Brewers SP Brandon Woodruff: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. Scott is not concerned. His fastball velocity was up and his spin rate was still up (after it improved in 2020).
- Cubs SP Kyle Hendricks: 3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K. Chris is not concerned with Hendricks getting off to a slow start because something similar happened last season and it's unlikely he'll walk this many batters again in a single game for the rest of the season.
- Braves SP Max Fried: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K. Fried had a career-high 18 swinging strikes on 93 pitches.
- Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw: 5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K. Kershaw generated only five whiffs on 77 pitches. His velocity was down a bit from where it was in 2019, but it's on the road against Colorado, where you always should and do get a pass.
- Royals SP Brad Keller: 1.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER. I hope you did not stream Keller just because he was going up against the Rangers.
Notable hitting performances
- Tigers UT Miguel Cabrera (29% rostered) went 1 for 4 with a two-run HR off Bieber. Scott is not interested in spending too much FAAB on Cabrera even if he is soon to gain 1B eligibility.
- Cleveland C Roberto Perez (6% rostered) went 1 for 2 with a two-run HR off Gregory Soto and added two walks. He should play the majority of the time for Cleveland. If you punted at catcher, Perez is going to play close to everyday and he has a little bit of pop.
- Pirates 2B Adam Frazier (16% rostered) batted leadoff and went 2 for 4 with a double, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 R, 1 SB. Chris is not as excited about Frazier in anything more than a 15-team league.
- Brewers 3B Travis Shaw (3% rostered) went 2 for 4 with a double, 3 RBI, 1 BB.
- Rockies IF Chris Owings (0% rostered) went 3 for 3 with a triple, two singles, three runs scored, two steals, an RBI and a walk, but was he only playing because of the pitching matchup?
- Padres 1B Eric Hosmer and OF Wil Myers hit back-to-back HRs.
- Cardinals 1B Paul Goldschmidt went 4 for 5 with two doubles and three runs.
- Reds OF Jesse Winker had two hits and both were over 110 MPH exit velocity.
- Tigers RP Gregory Soto came in ahead 3-0 and allowed a two-run HR but picked up the save.
- Blue Jays RP Jordan Romano faced the bottom of the Yankees lineup in a tie game. After they took the lead, Julian Merryweather (1% rostered) came in and struck out the side, picking up the save. He threw three different pitches and averaged 96.9 MPH on his fastball.
- Here's how the Twins used their bullpen: Taylor Rogers in the seventh, Hansel Robles in the eighth, and Alex Colome in the ninth. Colome blew a three-run lead in frustrating fashion: Kepler dropped a line drive that was hard hit, so you give him a pass on that, but Colome also committed a throwing error.
- Brewers RP Freddy Peralta (who supposed to be the fifth SP?) pitched in the fifth and sixth innings and retired six batters, all via the strikeout. Could he be this year's dominant Brewers reliever?
- Braves RP Will Smith was used in the ninth in a tie game and threw a perfect inning, striking out the side.
- Rockies RP Daniel Bard allowed one hit and one walk but struck out two and got the save. His velocity was up and he averaged 98.5 MPH on his fastball.
- Here's how the Padres used their bullpen: Emilio Pagan in the seventh, Drew Pomeranz in the eighth, Mark Melancon in the ninth. Melancon delivered a clean inning for the save.