Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses the performances of four players who were trending on Twitter Tuesday night.
Bronson Arroyo, SP, Reds
Arroyo brought a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Brewers Tuesday night, but left with a no decision. He gave up three hits, one walk and three earned runs in 7.2 innings pitched. He is now 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this season. The biggest surprise from Arroyo this season is his strikeouts. He has 60 strikeouts this year compared to just 14 walks.
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
Rizzo made his debut with the Cubs Tuesday night against the Mets. He went 2-4 with one RBI and one double. In 70 games at AAA in Iowa this year, he had a .342 batting average, 23 home runs and 62 RBI. Rizzo was brought up to play first base, which moves Bryan LaHair to the outfield.
Carlos Ruiz, C, Phillies
Ruiz is having an incredible season. He went 3-4 Tuesday night with one home run, two runs and two RBI. He now has a career-high 10 home runs this season, as well as a .361 average and 41 RBI. Overall, Ruiz is providing much-needed offensive production to the Phillies lineup.
Aroldis Chapman, RP, Reds
Chapman bounced back from back-to-back blown saves Tuesday night. He had three strikeouts and one walk in one inning pitched to pick up his ninth save of the season. His numbers this year are still outstanding, especially his 64/12 K/BB ratio.
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by Eno Sarris //
There’s a new closer in the greater Los Angeles / Anaheim area. Jordan Walden is young (23) and has a nice fastball (96 MPH+), and took over the role last night. What worked with him might tell us a little something about where to look for future closers.
What was wrong in front of Jordan Walden was Fernando Rodney. The veteran pitcher had never once put in a walk rate better than league average. Lately, he’d been inducing ground balls, but that caused his strikeout rate to fall even further. Mostly, the 33-year-old is in a decline off of a questionable peak.
So, first our future closer needs opportunity. Perhaps one of the worst closers in the league is Brandon Lyon – who has a bad strikeout rate (5.86 K/9 career) and supplements it with a flyball tendency in a home-run happy ball park (8.4% home runs above average park). Ryan Franklin doesn’t really have a strikeout rate (5 K/9 career) or an elite groundball rate (around 44% the last three years, 40% is average). Recently, Francisco Cordero‘s strikeout rate has been falling and his walk rate has been rising.
Look behind these three guys and you might find a young, exciting pitcher. In Houston, Wilton Lopez doesn’t have the fastball (92+ MPH career), but he induces groundballs (56.1% career) and avoids the walk (1.32 BB/9 career). The Cardinals have Jason Motte, meaning they have a reliever with gas (95.9 MPH career on the fastball) that has fewer than 150 innings pitched in the major leagues. You’ve probably heard Aroldis Chapman.
In each of these cases, a weak veteran pitcher is in front of a young player with intriguing abilities. In each of these cases, the team would love to have a cost-controlled closer in their pen. In each of these cases, the young player should be on your team if you are looking for saves and need to get ahead of the pack.
So that the next Jordan Walden doesn’t end up already on some other team’s roster.
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by Eno Sarris //
Continuing an ongoing series here, today we will look at another prospect from Baseball America’s midseason Top 25 list who may come up and impact your fantasy league.
Just this January, Aroldis Chapman agreed to a six-year, $30.25 million contract with the Reds, amid legendary tales of velocity and dominance from the Cuban leagues. Even while signing he was described as ‘raw,’ despite being 22 years old – or roughly the age of a guy a year out of college. The team talked of refining his delivery and not rushing him, but after a good spring training, they assigned him to Triple-A and the countdown began.
True to his age, Chapman was ready for the upper levels of the minor leagues, as his 11.01 K/9 attests. But true to his unrefined label, Chapman also has had his struggles, as his 4.9 BB/9 can attest. In some ways, he fits the statistical profile of Edinson Volquez, his future partner in the Reds’ rotation. He throws gas, is a little wild, and is not a groundball pitcher (41.5% at Triple-A right now), much like Volquez.
It’s hard to see if Chapman will develop control. He had 365 strikeouts and 203 walks in 327 Cuban innings, a 5.6 BB/9 that was a harbinger of his current struggles. That sort of wildness will limit his upside for sure, but gas like he throws will allow him to persevere as well.
We might look to Brandon Morrow for a true comp.
Though he is a right-handed pitcher, Morrow posted a 4.3 BB/9 in the minor leagues, and owns a 5.14 BB/9 so far in the major leagues. It’s taken him until
this year to fully harness his arsenal (his 10.4 K/9 is helping) to the
point where he has gotten his FIP (3.28) under four for the first time. If Chapman can continue to whittle that walk rate down to the mid-fours like Morrow, he might be okay.
But there are myriad reasons to be skeptical. First, Chapman’s walk rate this year dwarfs even Morrow’s – and Morrow had a BB/9 closer to four at Triple-A before it skyrocketed in the major leagues. Second, only eight pitchers in baseball that have a BB/9 over four are currently qualifying for the ERA title. In other words, only eight pitchers have had enough stuff to overcome such a terrible walk rate to survive as full-time rotation members so far this year. The odds are stacked against Chapman becoming a dominating pitcher even now that he’s shown his strikeout ability in the States.
Morrow is a prescient comparison because Chapman is currently a reliever, much like Morrow used to be while in Seattle. The Reds converted their big Cuban asset, at least temporarily, to relief, and he’s closing in Triple-A. It may have been a move to get him on the major league roster, and with Francisco Cordero currently struggling (4.47 FIP, 5.80 BB/9), it may even mean a fantasy-relevant role will come Chapman’s way when he’s called up as roster expand Sept. 1. (One piece of good news is that his control has been better in relief, with his walk rate down to 4.15 BB/9.)
Because of his still-existent control problems, however, fantasy owners in mixed leagues should wait for concrete news on the subject before moving. Deeper league managers looking for saves could speculate with Chapman. But you’d have to think that Nick Masset (3.77 FIP, 9.6 K/9, 4.07 BB/9) is the next man in line for saves in that bullpen, especially with the Reds in prime playoff contention.
It looks like fantasy owners may have to wait another year to benefit from Chapman’s booming fastball.
For more on Aroldis Chapman and other potential pitcher pickups, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Tools.