Mostly MLB Notes: Talking Danny Salazar and a look around the league
I’ve always been a huge Danny Salazar fan, but we are now dealing with a pitcher who’s not only one of the more injury-prone arms in baseball but also one who currently sports a 1.49 WHIP. Salazar’s average fastball velocity (95.0 mph) is as good as ever (and ranks top-10 among all starters in baseball), and his SwStr% (16.6) ranks first. To give perspective, Max Scherzer led all starters last season with a 15.3 SwStr%. Salazar has no doubt been unlucky with a .385 BABIP (his career mark is .308), and while that’s sure to regress, it’s worth pointing out Cleveland’s defense has the fourth-worst UZR (-8.1) right now. It’s probably just noise in a small sample, as the Indians were a very good defensive team last season. Put differently, Salazar’s hit rate is the second highest in MLB (Adam Wainwright has an insane .446 BABIP right now), and that’s somehow occurred while producing a bunch of pop outs (16.1 IFFB%) and a lot of weak contact (28.1 Hard%). Salazar remains a health risk, but only Chris Sale has a higher K% than his 32.9, so if you’re looking for a buy-low candidate with the upside of being a top-10 fantasy pitcher from here on out, he’s your target.
In case you missed it, here’s my MLB Stock Watch column.
Quick Hits: I’ll predict Aaron Judge finishes with 45 homers. His current 2.2 WAR is the second highest among hitters in all of baseball. The rookie record for homers is Mark McGwire with 49…I recently spent about 30 percent of my FAAB on Brad Brach in a high stakes league, as it sure seems like Zach Britton may be out a significant amount of time. Hitters are batting .138 against Brach this season, and he could easily be a top-10 type fantasy closer moving forward. He’s still available in a quarter of Yahoo leagues…The Cubs and Yankees combined for an MLB-record 48 strikeouts during their game Sunday…After walking 30 batters over 53.0 innings last season, there was some concern Craig Kimbrel was in the decline phase (myself included), but he’s arguably been the most dominant pitcher so far in 2017. He’s allowed seven baserunners in 14.0 innings, when he’s produced a silly 52.0 K% and 22.1 SwStr%.
TV Talk: I love “Better Call Saul,” which had the tough task of being a prequel. It’s my favorite show right now, and you all should be watching it…”American Crime” was terrific, and that’s not easy to say with shows on regular network TV these days…”The Leftovers” is so good. Episode two in which they used this intro and then called back the Mark Linn-Baker story was incredible. I loved “Perfect Strangers” as a kid…I binged “13 Reasons Why” and really liked it but have no idea why they are now making a second season. That won’t work…Good to hear David Milch is joining the team for season three of “True Detective,” as “Deadwood” is easily one of my favorite shows of all time…I’m really into “Fargo” too. Bizarre recent episode but this too is a must watch.
Headlines of the Week: Hungry Man Divorces Wife For Sharing Food On Snapchat…Flying Catfish Lands In Florida Man’s Swimming Pool...Meet The Baseball Fan Who’s Been Flushing His Buddy’s Ashes Down Ballpark Toilets…Woman Eats Life Savings To Spite Cheating Husband…Ukraine Bans Steven Seagal As Threat To National Security.
Quick Hits Part Deux: If Kimbrel hasn’t been the best pitcher this year, it’s because that’s been his teammate Chris Sale, who currently leads MLB in WAR (2.4). He recently became one of four pitchers in baseball history with multiple 6+ game streaks with 10+ Ks. He’s sporting a 1.92 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP while pitching in Fenway Park and the AL East. Can you imagine if Sale pitched in the NL West? Would he have a negative ERA?…The Nationals have scored 194 runs this season. The Royals (who have a DH) have scored 82…Marcell Ozuna is 26 years old and has a .975 OPS. He was clearly playing injured over the second half of last season. He’s a budding star and should be treated as such…Speaking of budding stars, Miguel Sano has bounced back from a disappointing 2016 campaign, as he’s hitting .300/.431/.640. The BA will come down, but the power is legit. He’s going to hit 40 homers this year.
Police Blotter: Chinese Groom Arrested Over Fake Wedding Guests…Oregon Cops Issue “Verbal Warning” To Armed Cat In A Tree…Man Kept Stolen Brain Beneath Porch, Used It To Get High, Police Say…Parents Charged With Trying To Sell Their Baby On Craigslist.
Song of the Week: Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night
Longread of the Week: Why I Gave My Kidney To A Stranger – And Why You Should Consider Doing It Too
Quick Hits Part Tres: Over his first 64 at bats, Brett Gardner had zero RBI. He has 10 over his next 35 ABs…Justin Turner is batting .377 with just one home run this season. He’s done so without hitting a single pop out while producing one of the lowest GB% (31.5) in all of baseball. An odd start to Turner’s year for sure…Billy Hamilton is on pace to steal 99 bases with a .307 OBP…Dee Gordon had four steals over his first 98 at bats. He has five over his next 25 ABs...Buster Posey is batting .356 (with a .434 OBP), yet he’s on pace to finish with 10 homers and 25 RBI…Speaking of catchers, a usually thin position has been as weak as ever, with Gary Sanchez getting injured and Kyle Schwarber batting .198. There’s just one catcher who ranks inside the top-230 fantasy players so far, and that’s Brian McCann (No. 136). Ugly stuff. Alex Avila has 50 at bats this year, and he ranks 130 spots ahead of Posey…What a dismantling by Canelo Alvarez over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (12 rounds to none on all judges’ cards), and as boring as that fight was (and not worth the PPV), it does set up the most anticipated match in a long time with him finally facing GGG in September. I can’t wait…LeBron James now has 11 sweeps in the postseason. No other player in history has more than nine (and round one used to be five games).