“The Strikeout” is a column by Diego Ynzunza dedicated to all things fantasy baseball.
Welcome to Week Six of “The Strikeout.” Man is it fun to have baseball back. I’ve missed the constant checking of my fantasy teams and following my Dodgers on a daily basis. The grind is back and I love it. Still, 10 games is not enough to draw realistic conclusions from a long-term perspective.
Twins outfielder Joey Gallo is ranked third in MLB in barrels per plate appearance at 25%. It’s long been thought that Gallo could break out in a new environment that’s less stressful than New York or L.A. – Minnesota could be the place. He’s started off strong with three homers and a .278 average. It’s obviously still very early, but his pull percentage is the highest of his career. With the banning of the shift, I wonder if he’s made a conscious decision to stray away from spraying the ball to all fields and really starting to get to his pull-side power. He doesn’t lack anything in power. He is one of the handful of people in the league that I would call a true threat to hit a 500-foot homer. If he is able to keep up the production, he is someone that needs to be rostered in all leagues. When he’s going right, he’s stealing and providing power. I see him as an early trade target and someone I’d like to get on my teams.
Yankees Pitcher Jhony Brito turned in a second great start this week at Baltimore where he went five innings and only struck out two. The changeup and sinker have performed well this year, and I believe that that is a product of the Yankees’ pitching development, led by pitching coach Matt Blake. Brito could be the next in a line of pitchers he works his magic on, and I’m here for it. He didn’t get a ton of swinging strikes, but induced a lot of soft contact. I’m looking to pick up Brito in my leagues, and could see him contributing long-term.
Two-start pitchers for the week of April 10
Braves pitcher Bryce Elder lines up for a two-step this week against the Reds at home and then on the road against the Royals. Elder initially failed to crack the Braves’ starting rotation, with Atlanta instead opting to send the young righty to AAA. Elder had one start there where he went a full six innings, giving up four runs and striking out four as well. He filled in last week against the Cardinals and excelled – he went six innings, gave up two hits, walked three and struck out six. He is only rostered in 47% of CBS Leagues, so I definitely see him being someone that is attainable in deeper leagues. If he continues to perform like he did last week, he could even be someone that sticks in your lineup long-term. He features a wipeout slider that fools hitters immensely and could be a tool that keeps him in the mix for starts in the Braves rotation.
Angels pitcher José Suarez had a tough first outing against the Mariners last week. He lasted only 4.1 innings and gave up six earned runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. I’m not sure how much I trust the skills. He’s mainly throwing a fastball, slider and changeup, and he’s throwing his slider about three MPH harder than he was last year. He’s only 13% rostered in CBS Leagues, so if you really feel like you want to take the risk on some decent matchups, I’d go ahead and do it with some immense caution considering there aren’t a whole lot of good, low-rostered, two-start pitchers to go around this week. He goes against the Nationals at home and the Red Sox on the road. The Nationals have actually performed better than expected so far. While they aren’t a top-10 offensive team, they aren’t at the very bottom of the pack like most predicted, being ranked 20th in team OPS through Sunday. The Red Sox have taken advantage of favorable matchups, en route to performing decently on the offensive side. With all this in mind, I wouldn’t take the risk of starting Suarez.
Mitch Keller is 52% rostered in CBS Leagues, and I’m surprised that the number isn’t higher. Keller came out of spring training with a lot of hype and a new cutter that looked promising. The thing is, though, in his most recent start, he only threw it 21% of the time. He went seven innings with seven K’s and only one earned run. He lines up for a start at home against Houston and then at St. Louis. I like Keller long-term, and these matchups aren’t as bad as you would initially think. The Astros are in the bottom 10 in team OPS, and the Cardinals have struggled as of late. I like Keller and would pick him up to start this week.
Thanks for joining me for this week’s edition of “The Strikeout.”
“The Strikeout” runs every Monday.