Well, that's not going to cut it.
Danny Salazar made his not-so-triumphant return Thursday -- an event almost two years in the making -- and ... yeah, it was bad.
The line -- two earned runs with three walks and two strikeouts in four innings -- doesn't even do it justice. His average fastball velocity was nearly 10 mph lower than the last time we saw him on a major-league mound. It's a wonder he got anybody out.
Apparently, he was dealing with a groin injury that impacted his delivery, and it's true that reports of his velocity during his rehab assignment, while discouraging, weren't that bad. Still, whatever hopes you might have had for the 29-year-old, whose high strikeout rates once made him a Fantasy darling, were effectively quashed. His usefulness was always a long shot after a lengthy rehabilitation for a shoulder injury, but in this pitching environment, hopes springs eternal.
Speaking of long shots, Asher Wojciechowski himself had a discouraging start (four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings) after back-to-back brilliant ones. He was apparently dealing with a hip issue, though. I have more hope for him than Salazar since the stuff has looked pretty good during his whole stint in the majors this year, but ...
Oh, whatever. Pitching stinks. Maybe we can find some hitters to cheer us up.
Bo Bichette SS
TOR Toronto • #11 • Age: 22
What the fizzle? There's no excuse for Bo Bichette to be so available still. He's a household name-type prospect who nearly hit for the cycle in his third big-league game, has put together three consecutive multi-hit games and is batting leadoff for the Blue Jays. He might steal some bases, too. Get on it.
SD San Diego • #2 • Age: 23
OK, so he doesn't have the name value of Bichette, but Trent Grisham is a former first-round pick who clearly figured something out at Triple-A this year. He has always demonstrated an elite batting eye, is athletic enough to run a bit, and the power production speaks for itself. The Jesus Aguilar deal was the Brewers' roundabout way of getting Grisham in the big-league lineup (allowing Ryan Braun to spend some time at first base), and if it's on an everyday basis, look out.
Dustin May SP
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #85 • Age: 23
Though Dustin May's turn in the rotation Friday seems like it should be a one-and-done with Ross Stripling (stiff neck) on the mend, manager Dave Roberts left open the possibility he could stick around. The 21-year-old is the Dodgers' top pitching prospect and is deserving of the appropriate fanfare. The modest strikeout rate, especially in his five Triple-A starts, gives me pause, but command and ground balls are more his game anyway. These days, you'll pursue pitching upside wherever it shows up.
Adam Duvall LF
ATL Atlanta • #23 • Age: 32
The former Reds All-Star went yard again Thursday, giving him five homers in six games since returning to the majors and 34 in 100 games between the majors and minors. We've seen him be a 30-homer guy -- as in all of them in the majors -- twice before, and the power stroke is obviously intact. He's a bit of an all-or-nothing type but no worse than Austin Riley in that regard and is probably deserving of proportional enthusiasm.
CIN Cincinnati • #28 • Age: 30
Yeah, fine, I'll tout one pitcher from Thursday's action even though he turned in his worst start in a while. Anthony DeSclafani indeed allowed three runs on seven hits over five innings against the Braves, but it was hardly bad enough to sink an encouraging six-start stretch in which he has put together a 2.67 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 10.2 K/9. Shoot, he has a 3.17 ERA in his past nine starts. His fielding-independent-pitching rates suggest his season ERA is pretty much spot on, but if he's in the low fours with more than a strikeout per inning, that's pretty good in today's environment -- better than his ownership rate would suggest.
DET Detroit • #50 • Age: 25
Digging quite a bit deeper here, the Tigers need a new right fielder after trading away Nicholas Castellanos, and Travis Demeritte, who they acquired from the Braves at the deadline, is reportedly on his way up to the bigs. The 24-year-old has a strong track record of hitting for power in the minor leagues, so his 2019 production isn't just a product of the juiced balls at Triple-A. Exorbitant strikeout tendencies knocked him off his prospect perch a couple years ago, but he has a not-so-embarrassing 26.6 percent rate this year. In deeper five-outfielder leagues, he might be worth a flier.