Megadeth is one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. The group, which was formed and fronted by lead vocalist/guitarist (and Metallica castoff) Dave Mustaine, quickly made it’s mark on the thrash metal scene in the mid-80s and became one of the most influential bands of the genre. What does this have to do with this week’s most added player, Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar (51.6% owned; +28.4% over the last seven days)? I’m certainly not implying that Profar is into, uh, “pharmaceuticals” like Mustaine was in those days. He either wouldn’t be able to walk onto the field or would quickly pack thirty pounds of muscle onto his frame if that were the case, depending on the substance in question. This is more about their respective career arcs. Megadeth’s third studio album, the conveniently titled So Far, So Good… So What!, was a solid offering. Low budget, raw, and not widely considered to be among their best work, but it was, and is, a bit of an underrated gem. It’s kind of where Profar is at this stage of his career. Young, raw, talented. A player on the rise. The 23-year-old has long been considered one of the top prospects in the game, but injuries and a crowded Texas infield (Odor, Andrus, Beltre) pushed him to the back burner entering this season. However, Odor’s suspension following his recent Floyd Mayweather impression against the Blue Jays opened the door for some unexpected playing time for Profar, and he’s taken advantage of his opportunity. Through 73 plate appearances since May 27th, Profar has produced 13 runs, 2 homers, 4 RBI, and a .343/.370/.514 slash line. However, as good as he’s looked thus far, his batted ball profile (22.2 IFFB%, 25.9% Soft%) suggests that his current .393 BABIP is likely to drop significantly in the coming weeks. That would make him more of a .275ish hitter than a .300+ one. His power is still developing, and when factoring in his lack of steals (2 career MLB steals; 5 steals over the last two seasons across all levels) and mediocre on-base skills (4.1% BB%), the breakout might have to wait. Megadeth reached their peak with their fourth studio album (the brilliant Rust In Peace), and I believe that Profar is likely a year or two away from reaching his peak as well. In other words, he should be able to help your team in it’s darkest hour, but he’s not quite ready to set the world afire just yet.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
Tyler Chatwood: 44.3% owned; +10.7%
All of a sudden, Chatwood seems to have morphed into the most fantasy-relevant Rockies pitcher since… Mike Hampton, maybe? Well, Ubaldo did have that impressive 2-3 year stretch out there a few years ago, so we’ll go with him. Of course, Ubaldo was cranking it up into the high 90s on a regular basis back then, which is not in Chatwood’s repertoire. Chatwood does feature a solid fourseam/sinker/slider combination that is very effective at keeping the ball on the ground (58.7% GB% – 2nd highest among MLB starting pitchers), which is imperative for success in the extremely hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. His current 2.89 ERA and 1.17 WHIP are impressive ratios in any environment, but even moreso considering his circumstances. Those stats have been aided by an extreme amount of luck on the road, however, as his 0.65 ERA and 0.84 WHIP away from home have been supported by a .209 BABIP along with an 89.2% strand rate. Chatwood’s 5.46 K/9 is the sixth lowest rate among 98 qualified starting pitchers as well. His 3.83 FIP and 4.11 xFIP are still somewhat respectable numbers, but they suggest that regression is coming. In 12 team mixed leagues, it would be wise to explore other options. TRASH.
Ian Kennedy: 49.8% owned; (-10%)
Sweet, I get to talk about Kennedy again! Excitement! Just like I wrote about him during the offseason, Kennedy is effective when he is able to keep the ball in the park. That’s the biggest reason why I was optimistic about him after joining the Royals. The pitcher-friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium combined with the elite outfield defense of his new team boded well for a fly ball pitcher like Kennedy. The long ball could come back to hurt him in less friendly pitching environments on the road, however. Second verse, same as the first. In eight road starts, Kennedy has allowed 13 home runs in just 46.1 innings (2.53 HR/9), which has led to an inflated road ERA (5.44). In four home starts, he’s allowed just 1 home run in 24.2 innings (0.36 ERA), resulting in a much more palatable 1.46 ERA. The strikeouts (8.37 K/9) and swings and misses (10.1% SwStr%) make him appealing from a fantasy perspective. Two out of his next three starts are at home, and the other is in New York against the struggling Mets offense. If he was cut loose in your league, Kennedy would make a fine pickup. TREASURE.