Pirates’ Nick Kingham Getting Another Chance, Padres’ Manuel Margot Showing Signs of Life
The Latest Pitching Rotation and Batting Order Changes and Insights
Batting orders and pitching rotations are starting to change for teams, making the outlooks on some Fantasy players in MLB look more promising or not as promising as they once were. We will look at the most impactful changes in batting orders and pitching rotations in MLB.
Nick Kingham’s MLB debut
Kingham made a great first impression with the Pirates in his first MLB start. The Pirates 12th ranked prospect on MLB.com got his opportunity by dominating in Triple-A with a 30 percent strikeout rate and a 1.59 era in four starts. That opened the door for him to get a start for the Pirates, where he unexpectedly pitched 6.2 perfect innings before allowing a hit. He finished his night with a seven-inning, nine-strikeout gem. Kingham was expected to go back down to Triple-A after the start, but is now expected to receive another start this week. Kingham doesn’t have great upside long-term, as teams will start to figure him out, as he’s not an elite prospect. He added a new pitch to his arsenal this year in a slider, which was very effective for him in his first start. With teams not having an in-depth scouting report on the slider, he can use this to his advantage in his next start and beyond if he holds the spot in the rotation. I would add Kingham to my roster as a short-term solution and use him as a trade asset in a few weeks before MLB teams start to figure him out.
Another Opportunity for Walker Buehler
After two good five-inning starts for Walker Buehler, he will get another chance to impress the team with a start against the Padres. The Dodgers actually optioned him back before realizing that Rich Hill had a setback with his finger injury, but they were able to bring him back this week due to the trip to Mexico. Buehler should be able to have another good start in a favorable matchup against the Padres and has tremendous strikeout upside. He had 9.9 K/9 in his first two starts. He is worth picking up as a short-term option, as he has good upside in most matchups with his strikeout ability. He will struggle to earn a spot in the rotation once Hill comes back because they are so deep at starting pitcher. He is worth a stash with the chance that one of their pitchers struggles or suffers an injury, where his stock will skyrocket.
Jason Vargas In Mets’ Rotation
The replacement for Matt Harvey in the Mets rotation, Jason Vargas, had a debut to forget against the Padres. He went 3.2 innings and allowed nine runs on nine hits. Vargas will be better as the season goes on and will be a pitcher that can go around five to six innings for the Mets. The issue with Vargas in Fantasy is that he is not a strikeout pitcher, registering 6.7 K/9 last season and 6.0 K/9 in his career. His upside is very limited and he won’t come close to the 18 wins that he had last season.
Dan Straily Back from Injury
After dealing with a forearm injury to start the season, Straily is back and rejoined the rotation on Monday. With the Marlins averaging the fewest runs per game with 3.2, it will be a tall task for Straily to rack up wins this season. However, he is still capable of getting strikeouts, as he struck out 22 percent of the batters he faced last year, a little above MLB average. The thing that intrigues me about Straily is how consistent he has been over his last two seasons with 191 and 181 innings pitched and 162 and 170 strikeouts, respectively. The wins will be obviously a concern pitching for the Marlins, but he can be added to Fantasy teams who need depth due to injuries at the position, or he can be used as a solid streaming option on two-start weeks.
Manuel Margot’s Slow Start
Margot struggled after coming back from an injury, prompting him to be moved down toward the bottom of the order, but he has gone 4-for-10 in his last two games with two doubles and a one triple. The recent success should hopefully keep Margot at the top of the lineup for the foreseeable future, and he’s a player I would try to pick up if available. Last year, he showed some promise with 17 stolen bases and 13 home runs in 126 games. There is competition for an everyday role in the Padres outfield as they have Margot, Wil Myers, Franchy Cordero and Jose Pirela, but the Padres will most likely make Carlos Asuaje the odd man out at second base and move Pirela there to replace him. His value is at its lowest right now due to the bad start, but he’ll start producing soon, making it hard to take him out of the Padres lineup.
Lewis Brinson Disappointing
The highly-touted outfielder has not been good to start his MLB career. He has now played 47 MLB games and has just a .144 average. The issues have really come from him striking out way too much (35 percent of the time). Also, he isn’t producing nearly enough contact with the second-lowest contact rate in MLB at 64 percent. There are a lot of problems with Brinson right now, but he was a great prospect for a reason and did show a flash of upside this year with a two-homer game, and another home run in a three-game span. The struggles at the plate have moved him down in the batting order after starting the season leading off. With how bad he has been to start the season, you won’t find much in return in a trade. I would try to keep him stashed on the bench if possible.
Adam Duvall with a candidate for worst swing of the year, via Josh Hader. pic.twitter.com/4V1Brrrktb
— Brewers Farm (@BrewersFarm) May 1, 2018
Adam Duvall Moving Down Order
After batting fourth in 133 out of 156 games last year, Duvall has seen a lot less consistency in to start 2018. He has already batted past the fifth spot in the lineup eight out 27 games. This doesn’t bold well for his upside and ability to produce in those situations as the RBI and at-bats won’t be as plentiful. However, the batting numbers are still around the same for Duvall. His fly ball rate is at 47 percent, which is nearly the same as it has been over the last two seasons, when he hit 33 and 31 home runs. His hard-hit rate has actually gone up to 41 percent, which is the highest of his career. I expect Duvall to turn it around and get back to what he did the last two seasons with another .250 average and 25 to 30 home run season. When the power production comes back, Duvall will settle back into the fourth or fifth spot in the lineup, making him a good buy-low candidate if an owner is worried about him.
Logan Morrison Was Obviously a Fluke
Another hitter that has moved down in the batting order is Logan Morrison.. Morrison started the season batting fifth for the Twins, but has fallen to the seventh spot. He has been jumped by a capable hitter in Max Kepler and a below-average hitter in Robbie Grossman. Kepler has been hitting well this year, and his Fantasy production will rise from the move. Morrison has the capability of surpassing Grossman, but I think Kepler will hold him off. Morrison benefited from a fluky great season last year, and pitchers have really started to figure him out. He is shaping up to be a big bust in 2018.
Nick Kingham Featured Image: (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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