Atlanta RHP Bryce Elder brings the magic like he stole some old wizard’s wand. His name is fitting in that he pitches like a wily vet and I feel like he has a lot to teach me. He was the first man off my faab run in week 1 of the Highlander Dynasty Invitational. Took Yonny Hernandez with the last claim spot. The raw math of the settings suggested Yonny was the better piece as a newly molted Diamondback in Arizona. I was more afraid to miss him, I guess, is what it comes down to. If Yonny comes up and takes that third base job, he’s an instant stolen base source with big upside. I realize I’m just making excuses here now. Sorry about that. Also, I was traveling. On the road all weekend. Sparse internet signal. Funny thing is, I had sort-of binge-watched some Elder starts last week, and I really liked him. He’s not a shallow league piece, probably, at least not in the short term, but he can manage a game. April can be a kind month to the game managers of the pitching world.
The aforementioned Arizona 3B Yonny Hernandez is in the lineup today. I don’t see much competition for playing time on the roster, and if he settles into a role, Yonny could rock our socks off in the stolen base department . . . at the cost of every other category . . . but still! SAGNOF!
Another young snake worth watching is C/OF Cooper Hummel, a tank of a ballplayer at 5’10” 198 lbs who went bonkers after the club acquired him from Milwaukee last summer, producing a .353/.429/.575 slash line in 46 games. Those stats don’t matter much given the offense-friendly environment that birthed them, but his 63/61 BB/K plate skills (in 92 AAA games) will play anywhere.
The Fangraphs blurb for San Francisco OF Heliot Ramos says “a well-rounded corner outfielder,” and I can’t tell if that’s a pun, but bravo if so, and either way really. Ramos isn’t overweight, but his body shape fits that blurb, is all I’m saying. I feel like he’s on the roster to fill a short-term need, but I can understand some optimism for a guy who does a little bit of everything. I’ve never been a big believer, for what it’s Wuertz.
Boston LHP Brandon Walter is something of a must-add in deepish leagues until proven otherwise. He’s deploying three plus pitches right now with his fastball, slider and changeup, and he’s able to command all three. Sure, he’s a 25-year-old in AA, but he’ll only be there for another few starts if he keeps rolling like he has been. He produced a 30.4% K-BB rate in A+ last year and has a 43.8% K-BB rate after five innings in AA this year.
Tampa RHP Tommy Romero was uncharacteristically wild in his major league debut, walking five Oakland hitters. That’s understandable, I suppose. We were all a little wilder in our youth. The Rays are shorthanded in the rotation at the moment, so I think Romero will get another turn or two. He dominated AA as a 23-year-old last year and even carried a 0.96 WHIP across 62.1 innings in AAA, so one tough night is no reason to panic-drop him. I landed him for $5 in the CBS AL Only just before he was called up and rushed him into my lineup this week, so that’s fun.
San Diego LHP MacKenzie Gore is with the club right now and lined up to step in for injured slapdick Blake Snell. I watched his AAA opener, and the outcomes were great: 5 IP, 2 H, 7 K, 0 R, 0 BB. Given his electric stuff from the left side, he doesn’t need pinpoint command to succeed, which is good because he does not have it. I’d still be more likely to trade him away today than trade for him.
Texas LHP Brock Burke looked like his old self in recording five strikeouts over two scoreless innings to pick up his first win as a big leaguer. My Highlander and Razz30 and SGL (20 teams) dynasty leagues all hope it’s the first of many. Burke is nearing Thairo Estrada levels of my pet fascination with his ability to actualize at the highest level, which looks like a fairly positive bullet point for him at the moment.
Maybe you missed it, and judging by the attendance records, you probably did, Oakland 2B Sheldon Neuse is raking. He looks good in the box, too. Even manager Mark Kotsay has praised him for looking more athletic than the last time Oakland had him. Which is to say he’s bounced around, but the Dodgers were the ones who scooped him up last time he was available, so that’s a good thing, right? I think it is, at least for now, at least on this team where anyone with a pulse should find his way onto the field.
Speaking of raking, Cleveland 1B Owen Miller is out in the yard like it’s October in the Midwest, taking the tongs to every leaf in sight. Always tricky to play the prediction game with Cleveland’s playing time, but if you’re starting Bobby Bradley at first base in any kind of format, A) I’m sorry for you that it’s come to this, and B) you should start seeking alternatives because Miller is a much better baseball player.
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