This isn’t my idea. (Always a rousing way to start an article!) You may read this and conclude that I’m a moron. I’m not saying that’s wrong! I’m just saying that your logic in saying so may be fallacious, if you’re basing it on the proposal here. It isn’t mine. I’m just reporting it.
Craig Wright is a prominent baseball analyst. He was the first front office sabermetrician for the Rangers, way back in 1981. During a 10-year stint with the Dodgers, he’s widely credited with promoting the abilities of 62nd-round draft pick Mike Piazza.
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Are managers too afraid to make in-game bench moves?
The Rays’ offense is in crisis. Tampa Bay lost 3-2 in Toronto on Wednesday night, continuing a pattern of ineptitude at bat that has persisted for nearly two full weeks. They’ve scored 20 runs in their last 12 games, just as some of their rivals in the Game of Porcelain Thrones that is the AL Wild Card race have gotten hot. If they can’t find their way out of this funk soon, or if they aren’t able to start pulling out some close games despite a faltering offense, they’re going to squander what looked (as recently as the trade deadline) like a great opportunity to reach the postseason.
There’s an ace up their sleeve, one they seem reticent to play. Willy Adames is hitting well at Triple-A, and he’s more than acquitted himself as a defensive shortstop. Given the dreadful production Adeiny Hechavarria has delivered recently, it’s possible that the gap between the two is wide enough to make starting Adames’ service-time clock worthwhile even for the Rays. Barring that, however, the best hope for the team might be for manager Kevin Cash to keep doing what he did on Wednesday night: using the whole roster.
Notes on Alec Hansen, Joey Wentz, Gavin Lux, Yordan Alvarez, Patrick Mazeika, and more.
Hitter of the Day:
Patrick Mazeika, C/1B, New York Mets (Double-A, Binghamton): 3-6, 2 R, 3 2B, 3 RBI, K
Mazeika has shown an ability to hit, it could be a plus tool for him. But the rest of the profile is tough; he has a below-average arm and doesn’t catch well, limiting him behind the plate. He doesn’t have a lot of over-the-fence power either, which makes first base a tougher profile than catcher. Hitters find a way, though.
Let us appreciate what Cain gives: Consistent support in every category.
It should go without saying that every professional baseball player is remarkable to watch, to listen to and to read about. One simply doesn’t get to this level of the craft without being exceptional at what they do. Of course, when they constantly are compared to their peers, some major leaguers fade into the background. That especially is true from a fantasy perspective. Oftentimes, the most under-appreciated players aren’t the ones who are left on the waiver wire while performing well, but those left in the starting lineup. The most under-appreciated can be those that we just keep in our lineup without giving much thought to the production these players give to our teams throughout the season. Many fit this bill, but one that I’ve noticed is on a couple of my teams is Lorenzo Cain.
After years of swinging at everything and frustrating everyone, Rosario may have had an epiphany.
Paul Molitor has always been a believer in Eddie Rosario’s swing. As a roving hitting instructor, Molitor worked with Rosario in the minors as far back as 2010, saying later that the left-handed hitter’s “ability to square up the ball” immediately caught his eye. Molitor replaced Ron Gardenhire as Twins manager in 2015, and during his first spring training at the helm he praised Rosario’s hitting ability on a daily basis. At the time Rosario was 23 years old and coming off a disappointing Double-A season in which he hit just .243/.286/.387 and was suspended 50 games for marijuana use, but Molitor believed.
Early that May the Twins needed outfield reinforcements and at Molitor’s urging they bypassed Aaron Hicks to call up Rosario, who was hitting just .242/.280/.379 with a 17/5 K/BB ratio in 23 games at Triple-A. For all the talk about his upside, Rosario had a sub-.700 OPS above Single-A for his career and it had been around 18 months since he was a productive hitter at any level, but as Molitor explained: “I wanted to give Eddie an opportunity to get up here. I’ve been around him enough to know that for that kid, it’s just been a matter of him learning to apply himself a little bit more consistently, and I think he’s been doing that.”
Griffin Conine, RF, Duke University (Cotuit Kettleers)
Following a strong sophomore season at Duke, Griffin Conine, the son of 17-year major league veteran Jeff Conine, entered the summer with high expectations on the Cape. On the back of a league-leading 11 home runs, Conine outperformed even the wildest of expectations and fully established himself as one of the top college prospects in the 2018 draft. Equipped with plus-plus raw power, he has incredibly quick wrists and the most impressive bat speed on the entire Cape. Despite a rather violent swing, Conine showcases remarkable balance and plus barrel control to go along with a smooth and natural hand path. The swing allows him to successfully access his power in-game and consistently produce exceptionally hard contact off the bat despite an unimposing 6-foot-1 frame. Conine has shown a propensity to work the count and a willingness to draw walks and wait for his pitch. While his strikeout rate is a bit higher than you’d expect at this level, the strikeouts are a byproduct of a hitter with plus game power that tends to work deep counts. Otherwise, Conine is a fringy runner with solid reads and an average arm in right field. While he won’t cost you games defensively in left or right field, the bat is the what you’re buying. And as a polished college bat with a future above-average hit tool, plus-plus bat speed, and plus game power, there is more than enough bat to buy to make him a legitimate top half of the first-round talent in 2018.
Scooter puts skin in the game, acquiring three of the players he discusses here. So if he's wrong, it hurts.
I acquired two of the six AL-only players and one of the six NL-only players featured in this week’s Deep League Report in my home leagues. I don’t just talk the deep-league game, I live it. If you want to know which players I picked up and what I paid for them, ask me in the comments. On with the show.
Milwaukee and St. Louis had two very different outcomes Tuesday night, but it wasn't all just luck.
Cardinals right-hander Mike Leake had only given up one run through four innings against the Red Sox on Tuesday night, but he ran into trouble in the fifth inning, in a big way. The Red Sox didn’t start launching balls over the fence, but their swings came early (even, somewhat uncharacteristically, on the first pitch) and looked confident.
Leake’s sheer stuff was fine, but his command frayed (he hit Andrew Benintendi with an 0-2 pitch), and the mounting confidence of the Boston batsmen seemed to come directly from his personal stores. It was one hard-hit single, then another, then the unlucky hit batter, then a double off the wall by Hanley Ramirez, then a dumb intentional walk, then another pair of singles, and before manager Mike Matheny could make it out there to remove his April ace, the game was gone.