Fantasy Baseball: Chad Kuhl shuts out the Dodgers (really)

Chad Kuhl beat the Dodgers on Monday?

I suppose that was always possible.

Wait, he pitched a complete game? Hang on, a shutout? Check that, a shutout in Coors Field?

What the heck’s going on out here?

Kuhl could have been an interesting fantasy case before the season had he landed anywhere but Colorado. Kuhl, you see, was leaving Pittsburgh, and that’s become the fantasy baseball equivalent of escaping Adam Gase. Check what Joe Musgrove, Gerritt Cole and Charlie Morton have done with Pittsburgh in the rear-view mirror. Tyler Glasnow would also fit this profile, at least when he’s healthy.

Kuhl’s 2022 splits don’t make a lot of sense. He’s carrying a 2.48 ERA at Coors Field, and a 4.39 ERA on the road. His control has been Maddux-esque at home (just six walks), but he’s Ozzy Osborne on the road (23 walks). Four of Kuhl’s five worst turns have come out of the suitcase.

If you feel like a brief streaming lap with Kuhl, the schedule does line up accordingly. His next two turns are against Arizona’s lousy offense. The Snakes are 27th in runs, 29th in average, 27th in OBP. They don’t do anything well. Kuhl’s next turn start is at Coors, the second one in the desert.

Kuhl for pitching cats? He’s waiting for you in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues. I don’t have the nerve for this move, but maybe your situation dictates otherwise.

Starting pitcher Chad Kuhl #41 of the Colorado Rockies had a huge fantasy performance on Monday
Chad Kuhl shocked the fantasy community with his shutout on Monday night. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

We should also note that with the complete game, Kuhl grabs a share of the MLB lead in that category — with one. It’s a subtle reminder that optimization often brings collateral damage. To be fair, baseball’s reliever parade is more of the problem here, not the lack of pitchers going nine innings, but the toothpaste is out of the tube. I’m not confident this genie ever returns to the bottle.

Kenley Jansen placed on injured list

It’s never fun to write about injuries, and there have been plenty of big names hurt in recent days. Hope to see you later this summer, Bryce Harper. Baseball isn’t the same without you, Mookie Betts.

But things are especially unsettling when a player’s long-term health comes into question. With that, we acknowledge the Kenley Jansen situation.

Jansen’s dealt with heart issues at times in his career, and it’s become an issue again. Tuesday the Braves placed their closer on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to June 27, due to an irregular heartbeat.

First and foremost, we’re human beings here. We want Jansen to be fine. We want him to have a normal quality of life. That shouldn’t need to be said, but every so often you have to show your empathy.

It’s awkward to speculate on how Atlanta will handle the ninth inning without Jansen, but that’s part of our job here. There’s no shortage of reasonable candidates. Lefty A.J. Minter (1.69 ERA, 0.81 WHIP) and righty Collin McHugh (3.38/1.13) have been reliable this year. Will Smith, another lefty, has closing experience (and two saves this year), though his 3.41 ERA belies a 4.92 FIP.

This could easily turn into a committee. This could also be a situation where the first guy to get a save or two runs with the job. Maybe Atlanta will enter the trade market and add an established reliever.

Hang in there, Kenley.

New kid on Kansas City block

The Royals have one of baseball’s thinnest lineups, but at least we can focus on some young players. Bobby Witt Jr. has come along nicely after a slow start, and Monday the Royals welcomed another notable prospect, Vinny Pasquantino.

Let’s make it clear, Pasquantino is not another Witt — not another blue-chip, can’t-miss kid. Pasquantino is 24 and never made anyone’s Top 100 prospect list. But he was slashing .280/.372/.576 at Triple-A Omaha, with 18 homers in 69 games, and the Royals traded Carlos Santana to Seattle, opening up a spot.

Pasquantino didn’t get into Monday’s game, but it was probably a day for him to catch his breath. You have to assume Kansas City will give him a shot to play. Corner depth is fairly shallow in fantasy baseball these days, which is why Pasquantino quickly chased up to 23-percent Yahoo rostered over the past day. There’s plausible upside here.