It’s been awhile since there’s been any Trevors of note. In 1986, professional boxer Trevor Berbick became the first (and only) person to fight both Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. If you’re a fan of the Castlevania series of video games, the name Trevor Belmont might ring a bell. Most fantasy baseballers are undoubtedly familiar with Trevor Hoffman’s dominance from the mid 90s through the end of his Padres days (and with apologies to Mariano Rivera, it’s hard to forget the coolest entrance in baseball history). Lately though, there haven’t been too many newsworthy Trevors out there. Perhaps Trevor Noah would qualify, but longtime fans of The Daily Show would probably insist that it’s for all of the wrong reasons. In fantasy baseball, however, there’s been no shortage of relevant Trevors in recent weeks. Let’s start off by highlighting this week’s most added player in ESPN leagues, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (69.3% owned; +32.1% over the past week). Known mostly for his extreme training techniques and inconsistency throughout his MLB career, Bauer had been notoriously unreliable from a fantasy perspective entering the 2016 season. Since making his MLB debut with the Diamondbacks in 2012, Bauer has posted solid strikeout numbers (8.45 K/9) but has been a ratio killer along the way (4.50 ERA, 1.38 WHIP entering this season). These poor ratios have been largely a result of shaky control (4.2 BB/9) and an inability to consistently keep the ball in the park (1.1 HR/9). This season, Bauer ditched his mediocre slider in favor of a cutter, and reduced his reliance on his fourseam fastball while leaning more heavily on his sinker, terrific curveball, and vastly improved changeup. The results have been impressive. Bauer has managed to maintain his solid K-rate (8.37 K/9) while drastically cutting down on his walks (2.99 BB/9) and homers (0.7 HR/9) allowed. His new pitch mix has resulted in a career high 50.0% GB% as well. Over his last five starts, Bauer has been downright dominant (37.2 IP, 37/9 K/BB, 1 HR, 1.67 ERA, 0.93 WHIP). If he can maintain his newfound control, you’re looking at a top 30 starting pitcher the rest of the way.
Here are a couple of other interesting adds/drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
Trevor Rosenthal: 76.2% owned; -13.3%
Coming into this season, Trevor #2 had a profile that wasn’t all that dissimilar from Trevor #1. Hard thrower with swing and miss stuff but saddled with poor control. Unlike Bauer, however, Rosenthal was one of the more effective pitchers in baseball at keeping the ball in the park (0.38 HR/9 from 2013-2015, 2nd lowest among RPs with a minimum of 150 IP). Although his home run rate has increased this season (1.08 HR/9), that doesn’t seem to be a big concern (3 HR allowed in 25 IP). His strikeout rate (13.32 K/9) and groundball rate (57.8% GB%) would represent new career highs for him as well. So what’s the problem? Well, Rosenthal has gone in a completely different direction from Bauer in that his somewhat iffy control has been absolutely horrendous this season. His 7.56 BB/9 is the worst rate among 158 qualified relievers this season and has helped to send his ratios (5.40 ERA, 2.04 WHIP) spiraling out of control. While his .443 BABIP should certainly see some improvement as the season moves along, he’s one of only 15 of those aforementioned RPs to allow hard contact at a 40+% clip (40.8%). He’s having trouble throwing strikes, but when he does, they’re getting crushed. Even if he regains the closer role at some point later this year, let someone else bank on a comeback. TRASH.
Trevor Plouffe: 4.6% owned; -0.3%
Ok, so Plouffe isn’t technically one of the most added or dropped players over the last week, but I needed another Trevor, ya know? Plus, while he’s not the sexiest option in the world, Plouffe always seems to be underrated. He’s hit 20+ homers in two out of the past four seasons and has back-to-back 80 RBI seasons to his credit. Plus, check out his upcoming schedule. The Twins face six left-handed pitchers over the next eight days, and Plouffe has always mashed southpaws (career .804 OPS and .190 ISO vs LHP). Also, the two righties that he’s scheduled to face over that stretch are James Shields and Chi Chi Gonzalez, not exactly the toughest matchups for right-handed hitters these days. Need a corner infielder or utility bat over the next week and a half that’ll provide some cheap pop? Plouffe’s a solid option. TREASURE.