I apologize for not posting a Roto Roundup yesterday. I had a 12:00 interview in New York City, and caught an early train as I was meeting a former colleague for coffee prior to my interview.
Here are my thoughts on some roto happenings over the last few days:
Jake Arrieta tosses second no-no: Is he the best pitcher on the planet?
In one of my NL only ebuild trades this offseason, I traded Cubs ace Jake Arrieta for the #3 pick in our farm draft (I picked Nick Williams) and Alex Verdugo. I made this deal to aid in my rebuild, thinking that Williams and possibly Verdugo could help me in 2017 and beyond. A second reason why I made the trade as I thought there was no way he was going to repeat his 2015 performance. Well, I was wrong. Looking back, I probably should have kept Arrieta at $15, and either keep him for 2017 or trade him like NOW!!
Last night, Arrieta tossed his second no-hitter of his career, blanking the Reds on 4 walks and 6 strikeouts in a 16-0 blowout win. Arrieta is now 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA, 0.68 WHIP and a 26-6 strikeout to walk rate in 31 innings this season. Going back to the end of July 2015, Arrieta has given up just seven earned run over his last 16 starts with a 115-20 strikeout to walk rate over 109 innings.
Since start of 2014: Kershaw: 64 GS 39-10 1.93 ERA / Arrieta: 62 GS 36-11 1.98 ERA— Jeff Joyce (@JeffJoyce19) April 22, 2016
As he was closing in on his no-hitter last night, one person in the baseball media got all giddy and tweeted the following:
Jake Arrieta, the best pitcher on the planet, has no hitter through 8 IP for #Cubs— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 22, 2016
I find this tweet interesting, but most in the game give that title to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. I don't want to take away from Arrieta's performance, but sometimes people, including myself, get caught up in the moment, and I think Nightingale got caught up in the moment there. Do you agree?
Who is the best pitcher on the planet? (Admittedly though, I really don't like the use of "on the planet". Is there a higher level of baseball being played elsewhere in the world?)
The Padres traded first baseman Yonder Alonso to the Athletics for pitcher Drew Pomeranz in the offseason. With the way Pomeranz has pitched thus far, it looks like the Padres won this deal. On Wednesday night, Pomeranz dominated the Pirates, giving up one unearned run on 4 hits, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts in the Padres 8-2 win. The win moved his record to 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and an excellent 25-9 strikeout to walk rate in 17.2 innings. If you are looking for a pitcher who can provide strikeout and pitches in a pitchers park, go to your league waiver wire and grab Pomeranz, as he is available in about 78% of leagues right now.
Another starter who is probably available in plenty of leagues right now is Athletics starter Rich Hill. Last night, Hill dominated the Yankees, giving up one earned run on 3 hits, 4 walks and 10 strikeouts in 6 innings in the A's 7-3 win. Hill is now 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and a 29-9 strikeout to walk rate in just 19 innings. Hill has put up two disaster starts to go with his two dominating starts this season, so the WHIP ratio could be an issue until he becomes more consistent on the mound, but he will definitely help in the strikeout category. He is owned in just 12% of leagues right now. so don't be afraid to grab him if you have an underperforming starter on your roster or bench.
I think Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was over-drafted in mixed league drafts this season, as he was going in the first round in many leagues. I think he is a top five third baseman, but drafting him that early just seemed to much for my liking. Last night, Bryant had a big night at the plate, going 4-6 with two home runs, 4 runs scored and 6 RBI in the Cubs big win over the Reds. The big night moved his slash line to a more respectable .273-.333.-.500 with 4 home runs, 13 runs scored and 13 RBI. I know it is early in the season, but in his first 72 plate appearances, Bryant has reduced his strikeout rate from 31% last season to just 19% this season. If he can keep that up, drafting him in the first round may have been a very good move after all.
We are still in April, but Reds first baseman Joey Votto has struggled out of the gate to start the season. After his 0-fer in Arrieta's no hitter, Votto is now hitting just .172-.258-.241 with a home run, 5 runs scored, 7 RBI and a 14-7 strikeout to walk rate. His walk rate is down significantly, his strikeout rate is up a bit, but his BABIP sits at .205 at the moment, so a hot streak is coming. If you can deal for Votto and pay maybe .90 on the dollar for him, I would attempt to trade for him now.
The Red Sox invested $200 million in lefty ace David Price in the offseason, but the early returns have been pretty bad. Yesterday, Price was knocked around for 8 runs, on 8 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts and didn't make it out of the fourth inning in the Red Sox 12-8 loss to the Rays. Price didn't figure in the decision as the Red Sox rallied to tie the Rays before their bullpen fell apart. Price is now 2-0 with a 7.06 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and an excellent 32-6 strikeout to walk rate over 21.2 innings. If the Price owner in your league is ready to deal him, make an offer. Price's peripheral stats indicate he has pitched better than his ERA reflects at the moment.
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano isn't hitting for much average at the moment, but if he continues to hit home runs at this rate, he could eclipse 30 home runs for the first time since 2012 when he was a Yankee. Yesterday, Cano went 3-5 with a home run, 2 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Mariners 10-7 win in Cleveland. Cano is now hitting .246-.313-.590 with 6 home runs, 9 runs scored and 14 RBI. His BABIP indicates hits just aren't falling for him right now, and despite the 6 home runs, his hard hit rate is down about 10% right now, but I see these stats regressing to the norm and Cano will be right back to his usual .280 average in due time.
Twins outfielder Byron Buxton has been the best, or one of the best, prospects in the game over the last several years, and it appears the Twins may have rushed him to the big leagues. After going 1-4 with a run scored and 3 strikeouts in the Twins 10-1 win over the Brewers yesterday, Buxton is now hitting just .162-.205-.297 with 4 runs scored, 2 RBI and 2 stolen bases. His problem is he isn't making contact. He has struck out in 45% of his plate appearances thus far, and he isn't taking many free passes either. I wonder if the Twins would consider sending him down to take some pressure off of him. He has struck out in 62 of his 178 plate appearances going back to his call up last season, or 35% of the time. That's not good. Buxton had barely over 300 plate appearances in AA and AAA combined, so a demotion may be in his future if he doesn't turn things around.
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