Ray's Ramblings - Acuna Delayed?
Superstar in the making Ronald Acuna may not be up as early as everyone thought he would be? On the bump, Ray takes a look at a series of hurlers who may or may not be starring for you in the fantasy games this season. His hurler review covers Bailey, Boyd, Cashner, Chatwood, Yonny Chirinos, Keuchel, Martinez, McCullers, Ryu, Snell and Williams.
ACUNA ON DELAY?
Ronald Acuna would be up as soon as he cleared the deadline for service time, right? That’s what so many fantasy experts claimed. It’s why so many of you drafted Acuna so early as his ADP climbed to 101.0 in the end. Well, looks like that dream of April production from Acuna may not become reality as multiple sources, included Ken Rosenthal and Mark Bowman, are suggesting that it’s unlikely that Acuna will be promoted when first eligible. The reason is two-fold.
One, Preston Tucker has been very effective in the Braves outfield with a .848 OPS through 12 games.
Two, Acuna has started extremely slowly at Triple-A Gwinnett going 2-for-19 to start the year, and he now sits at 3-for-25 with 10 strikeouts in an absolutely terrible kickoff to his ’18 season.
This isn’t to say that Acuna won’t be a beast at some point in 2018, potentially early in the season (as it’s still possible he could be called up next week), it’s merely to point out, yet again, that counting on minor’s leaguers is fraught with danger.
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Homer Bailey has gone six innings while allowing one run in 2-of-3 outings this season. In the other outing it was five runs, four earned, over 4.2 innings. It’s been more good than bad for the former 199 strikeout arm, putting him on the streaming list in a mixed league list. Don’t get ahead of yourself though as it should be obvious to all that he’s been a huge injured mess the last three years (125.1 innings).
Matthew Boyd has a 1.38 ERA over 13 innings covering two starts. He’s looked sharp. That said, he’s only struck out five batters and his velocity is down more than two mph from his career norm. His big test is his next start against the Yankees.
Andrew Cashner has looked solid in three outings with the Orioles with his 2.50 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. However, his 4.00 BB/9 rate is terrible, and his total of four homers allowed in three outings is distressing. I’m also highly dubious of the 8.00 K/9 rate given his 4.64 mark last season and especially since his swinging strike ratio is just 7.8 percent this season. Smoke and mirrors, I’m still saying it, so you should be selling not buying Cashner.
Tyler Chatwood was on everyone’s, but my, list of hurlers to grab this year. Leaving Colorado and all. Hasn’t happened yet, of course, we’re talking two outings, but he’s walked seven batters in 11 innings leading to a 5.73 BB/9 rate a season after posting a mark of 4.69. He doesn’t have good enough stuff to succeed with a walk rate anywhere remotely close to those levels.
Who the hell is this Yonny Chirinos fella? Well, it’s a name you have to know now. To start the year the Rays’ righty has thrown 14.1 scoreless innings causing folks to take notice. Here’s what you need to know. (1) The Rays’ 23rd ranked prospect coming into the season according to Baseball America, isn’t an impressive figure with scouting grades in the 40’s suggesting that there is no true upside. He offers grounders but his arm simply doesn’t possess anything remotely resembling a dominating pitch. In fact, his stuff suggests a swingman type role in the Erasmo Ramirez mold. Yeah, not great. (2) Even though he’s made two starts, Chirinos isn’t exactly a starter per se with the Rays. He’s been starting on the days that the Rays go “bullpen days,” and it’s completely unclear if the Rays plan has Chirinos slated to take the hill 28 times as a starter. Bottom line is this – buying at a small cost is fine. Spending bit, pushing hard to acquire him, or expecting big things out of him seem like extremely risky things to do.
Dallas Keuchel has only made three starts, but there are some concerns. In 15 innings he’s had the strikeout ball rolling with 13, but that isn’t the story. DK has walked nine batters, has thrown a couple of wild pitches and most of that negative has been the last two times out (eight walks in nine innings). Dallas only threw 145.2 innings last season, and 168 the previous season, so he’s not a lock for big innings either at this point. There’s also the health concerns that accompany those past two seasons. Just something to think about as the lack of control is not something we normally see from the lefty.
Zombie Racoons are... real.
Carlos Martinez was bombed in his first outing allowing six walks and five runs (four earned) to the Mets. I received many a concerned question from folks who, showing no patience or understanding that not every outing is perfect, were uncertain if they could count on Martinez this season or if they were going to be disappointed with his work. The last two times out: 14 strikeouts and one run allowed over 14.1 innings. #ProblemSolved
Lance McCullers recorded 11 outs Wednesday against the Twins while allowing eight runs as he also issued six free passes. McCullers has hellacious stuff, but he also can struggle to locate it, and never was that more apparent than Wednesday. The outing ups his total of walks to 10 in 14 innings. Yes, he’s walking 6.43 batters per nine and has failed to last an average of five innings a start through three outings. He has 23 strikeouts, flashing the elite level stuff, but the bouts of wildness and the inability to pile up innings are simply crushing to his fantasy value at the moment.
Hyun-Jin Ryu threw six innings of shutout ball against the Athletics with one walk and eight strikeouts. He also allowed only one hit. That’s an impressive effort in any context, and a directly opposite result to what he tossed out there in his first trip to the bump (3 ER, 5 BB, 2 K in 3.2 IP). He has decent enough skills, but he’s uneven start to start and simply can’t be trusted to consistently take the bump on schedule.
Drugs in kids toys. Shame on those fellas.
Blake Snell has a big arm, everyone knows it, and we’ve seen it early on. Through three outings, Snell has struck out 17 batters over 15 innings. Alas, he’s also walked 10 batters displaying the lack of control that has been his bugaboo since joining the Rays. Just look at his last two outings as a perfect encapsulation of where we are with Snell at the moment. On April 4th he allowed two homers, three walks and only made it through 3.1 innings while allowing five runs. On April 10th he allowed just one run and had 10 strikeouts over six innings while also allowing five walks. Even when he’s “on” it’s hard to feel confident with the uneven nature of his game from inning to inning. Big arm, but still searching.
Trevor Williams improved to 3-0 Friday for the Pirates. In the effort he allowed one run to lower his ERA to 1.56. He’s walked 3.63 batters per nine innings, and his 5.19 K/9 rate is equally, if not more highly, concerning. He gets grounders, 48 percent for his career, but he doesn’t miss enough bats, or limit the walks effectively enough, to be expected to take a huge step in ‘18. Still, he could have a Zach Davies like season and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. To be truthful, Williams was on the final list of about 10 names that were considered for the potential breakout pitcher of the year before I settled on his teammate Jameson Taillon.
You can hear Ray, Monday through Friday, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Ray is on The Fantasy Drive 7-10 PM EST M/TU/TH/F and 8-10 Weds, and he’s also on the Guru Elite Show Thursday from 2-4 PM EST. You can follow Ray on Twitter at @baseballguys.