Having a big bank account certainly helps the Dodgers, but it’s guys like Zach McKinstry and Luke Raley who make them a juggernaut. You might’ve familiarized yourself with McKinstry at this point, but one thing to mention here is that he’s outfield eligible in most leagues now, even Fantrax’s Util purgatory, making him a nice option in leagues of all sizes. Second base eligibility should come next. He’s got six games there already.
Side note: my Perts league team is thick with second basemen (DJ, Whit, Villar, France), so it’ll be special for the group when McKinstry earns that badge. Whit just got his. Ty France is in the waiting room with eight games at 2B as of today. Big Perts party incoming for team Itch. Michael Brantley finally added OF this morning. Woohoo for positions!
Back to Luke Raley, who started on Thursday and again Friday when he went yard against the Padres, likely earning himself a few more chances on a team that likes to play the hot hand. Los Angeles clearly liked Raley, having taken him out of tiny Lake Erie College in the 7th round of the 2016 draft. He wound up with Minnesota as part of the Brian Dozier trade, but Los Angeles got him back about a year later in the Kenta Maeda deal. On the field, Raley is a plus runner who’s stolen 21 bases and been caught five times across his minor league career. In 2019, he stole four bases in 33 games without getting caught. While he’s not going to carry anyone in the category, he’s a sneaky source for deep league speed, and one that comes equipped with plus power. He has never posted a below average offensive season according to wRC+, living mostly in the 125 range, or 25 percent better than the league average hitter. All this is to say: while his name probably rings hollow for the average fantasy player on first reference, Raley has serious upside if he can minimize the strikeouts. If anyone can get the most out of his rotisserie skills, it’s the Dodgers.
Milwaukee LHP Angel Perdomo looks incredible. He’s a 6’8” lefty throwing high nineties heat he hides well behind his head just before uncoiling for release. Worth a watch. All it takes is a couple random video clips on statcast these days if you’re up for a quick and context-free glance at the general looks a reliever presents. Perdomo’s look is that of a long-term, high-leverage big league bullpen arm. The only question is his control, and he’s got it working for him at the moment. He struck out 35.1 percent of the AAA hitters he saw even with his control coming and going (15.5 percent BB%), so the idea of a Perdomo living in the strike zone is a little bit terrifying.
Toronto RHP Anthony Castro cut his teeth as a starter but struggled to clear a path for himself partly because he lost the feel for his delivery in AA and walked 5.72 batters per nine innings. He always featured relief-only mechanics, and a 14.8 percent walk rate doesn’t look so crazy in the bullpen, but I’d expect him to command the ball much better in short relief, leaning on a sweeping bender and a four-seamer in and/or up. Looks like he’ll be extremely tough on righties. I think he’ll move up in the embattled bullpen’s pecking order quickly in Toronto.
The San Francisco Giants’ bullpen has been great this season, but they’re a little short on righties. Enter RHP Camilo Doval, a super-talented A-ball closer who hadn’t reached AA before his promotion. I have a feeling this timing is not accidental–that the Giants have run the service-time math and suspect they can keep Doval up all year if he’s good enough to stick. I’m excited to see him. If he struggles, they’ll just send him back to the alternate site and give him half a season or more in the minors, but he’s a sharp pickup right now in deep Saves/Holds leagues.
Arizona OF Nick Heath was acquired from Kansas City on Saturday in exchange for RHP Eduardo Herrera. Tim LoCastro got banged up attempting to steal third on Saturday. If he misses time, maybe Heath slides into a few stolen bases.
Kansas City LHP Jake Brentz throws hard, averaging 97 on his four-seamer and 91.2 on his change. Seems like everyone is bumping up against 100 miles per hour these days, but the preponderance of high velocity relievers is not making those fastballs any easier to hit. Or maybe it is and we just wouldn’t be able to chart such a thing. Cesar Valdez might count as evidence that the extreme velocities are opening avenues for crafty junk ballers, but it’s not like hitters are growing accustomed to triple digits in ways that gives them an edge in the late innings. Sorry for the tangent there. It’s just interesting to watch the game transform. In the recent past, a guy like Brentz would be immediately ticketed for the back end of a bullpen thanks to his elite heat, but these days with pens stacked up, he’s a middle reliever for the time being. Manager Mike Matheny has been creative with his bullpen the past couple years, so if Brentz continues to be effective, he’ll become a high-leverage factor soon.
St. Louis OF Justin Williams hit an opposite field home run on Friday, the first of his MLB career. This team has demonstrated a flawed approach to outfield construction for quite a while now, in my opinion, so certainly nothing is guaranteed here, but Williams looks like the best of the non-Carlson bunch to me, at least at the plate, at least for the moment. Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader should be off the IL soon enough to undercut Williams’ chances of a real breakthrough, but neither has proven himself an everyday big leaguer despite the club’s unwavering loyalty to them.
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