The last week saw the first major league starts for three big time pitching prospects: The Athletic’s Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson and the Tiger’s Rick Porcello. Let’s take a look at each.
By now, everyone knows that Emilio Bonifacio is tearing it up as the Marlin’s leadoff man and that Adam Lind is raking in Toronto. Chances are, if your league is competitive at all, they’re dead and gone. But there’s still a few guys available out there who can provide some lightning in a bottle or at least provide some value while your regular position players bust out of slumps.
And you shouldn’t either.
Zack Greinke, arguably the Royals ace, goes up against the Chicago White Sox in a battle between AL Central teams today. According to Yahoo! the hurler is 0-6 with a 7.78 ERA at U.S. Cellular Field. With a 3-8 overall record against the team and an ERA hovering right around 5.00, he’s a risky play at best.
Of course, Greinke will now pitch a no hitter and you’ll all want my head on a platter. I’ll try to get some other pitcher predictions up by this afternoon.
A guy with only 11 major league innings under his belt is going to have a short, short leash. I’m looking for Jason Motte to have one more opportunity to prove that he can close out games before Tony LaRussa turns to Ryan Franklin or goes for a closer-by-committee.
Franklin didn’t do well in the job last year, but he wasn’t disastrous. If the Motte Experiment fails, I foresee him giving the job to someone with experience and Franklin fits that bill better than anyone else on the team. There’s also a very good chance that LaRussa will simply play the matchups and use Franklin/Josh Kinney against righties and Denys Reyes/Trever Miller against lefties.
Either way, it’s not going to be pretty. This is a situation to monitor.
Cleveland at Texas – Kevin Millwood pitched seven extremely strong innings at home, limiting the Indians to only one run and five hits. Millwood also pitched well last April so keep an eye out as he is a former All Star and can still have some value. Cliff Lee, on the other hand, got his ass handed to him, surrendering seven runs through just five full innings. Lee usually struggles in Spring Training (0-3, 12.63 ERA through six starts this offseason) so maybe he’s just nurturing some lingering control issues. Also, Texas shortstop and sleeper prospect Elvis Andrus scored his first major league run.
New York at Baltimore – Jeremy Guthrie limited the Yanks to three runs through six innings, while CC Sabathia struggled mightily. The big lefthander was shown on the Yes Network with a heat pack on his abdomen, a condition that has ailed him before. Yankee’s rookie Brett Gardner looked good in the box and in the field, going 1-3 with an outfield assist. Gardner could be a real asset in leagues this year if he can get on base, scores some runs, and steal some bags. Baltimore brought my speculated closer-in-wings Chris Ray out in the seventh where he promptly gave up a two run jack to Hideki Matsui.
Detroit at Toronto – Travis Snider, one of my top 5 prospects, smashed his first homer of the year off Justin Verlander. Adam Lind, the perennial breakout candidate, drove in six. Verlander’s stuff was almost there yesterday, but he struggled to control his change up and Toronto capitalized to the tune of eight runs in 3.2 innings. Yuck. One more bad outing and people are going to be looking to move the struggling ace.
Seattle at Minnesota – Felix Hernandez pitched eight strong innings, striking out six. Miguel Batista came in to pitch a scoreless ninth. Obviously he’s not going to take Brandon Morrow’s place at closer, but he could be Ken Wakamatsu’s next-in-line. Francisco Liriano, in his first Opening Day start, pitched seven solid innings, allowing four runs on four hits.
Oakland at Los Angeles – Oakland did not have the bats working, clocking only three hits off four different Angel’s pitchers. Brian Fuentes pitched a perfect ninth, a marked difference from his miserable spring.
I’m about to walk out the door to head to my softball game and the last thing I’m going to see on my Yahoo! Stattracker is Pittsburgh’s Nate McLouth versus St. Louis’ Jason Motte, my star outfielder against my up-and-coming closer.
I forgot what this felt like.