The Rockies are finally headed home, ready to open Coors Field for another year. But Mark Reynolds left Milwaukee kicking and screaming (and hitting).
Reynolds is the Colorado first baseman of the moment, standing in for the injured Ian Desmond. So far, so good: Reynolds pushed off to a 7-for-15 start in Milwaukee, with two homers and six RBIs. Colorado’s next six games are at home; the Dodgers bring three decent pitchers (especially Clayton Kerhsaw on Saturday), but the Padres don’t have much to offer next week. It’s a good time to audition Reynolds on a short-term basis, see where the story goes.
If you’re looking for the best side of Reynolds life, consider last year’s splits. He slashed .310/.383/.497 at Coors, and he posted an .865 OPS against right-handed pitching. The Dodgers have two left-handed starters going for Friday and Saturday; after that, the Rockies face four straight right-handers.
Reynolds (22-percent owned) and Gerardo Parra (21-percent owned) are the cheap Rockies to consider as short-term fills. Andrew Toles (four percent) is a Dodger of interest, while Ryan Schimpf (33 percent), Manuel Margot (24 percent), Yangervis Solarte (a puzzlingly-low 20 percent) offer some value. If you are willing to go deeper on the San Diego side, Austin Hedges and Travis Jankowski are giveaways — if you’ll excuse their poor starts to the season.
Sip some coffee, look over some matchups, and we’ll have more Fantasy Baseball bulletry added shortly.
• Yasiel Puig should produce in the Colorado funhouse, but he’s sad to leave Chavez Ravine. Puig ripped three homers over the last two games, taking advantage of a rag-tag Padres pitching staff. Jered Weaver served up both Thursday homers; Weaver couldn’t get a speeding ticket on the 405 these days. But they don’t ask how on the spreadsheet, they ask “how many?”
Are you back on the Puig train? He’s been a fantasy disappointment for three straight years, and the market finally crashed this spring — Puig’s Yahoo ADP collapsed down to 217. There’s a ton of room for potential profit. He’s already walked four times this year — once intentional — after just 24 walks all of last season. He’s also stolen one base, a small step in the right direction — he had just eight the last two years. Is Puig hearing his biological clock ticking a bit? Is he finally seriously about baseball this summer? Are you holding or shopping his explosive start?
I don’t have any shares, so it’s not my fork in the road to consider. But I’m open to the idea I might have misranked him all spring. Maybe all those Puig puns and fantasy names are going to come smashing back into our lives.
• There’s no cheering in the press box, or in the home office, but I can’t help but pull for Brandon McCarthy, another LA comeback story. McCarthy worked a tidy six-innings in the San Diego win (4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K), hitting the zone on 52-of-78 pitches. There are challenging spots ahead (at Wrigley; home against Arizona), but if McCarthy’s health cooperates, mixed-league value is likely.
• For one game at least, Mets fans were able to enjoy Matt Harvey. Exhume the #HarveyDay hashtag, put #HarveyDanger on hold. Harvey allowed two Matt Kemp homers during Thursday’s win, but otherwise the Braves couldn’t touch him (6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K).
The catcher’s mitt popped, the radar gun flashed, and Harvey’s messy spring was quickly wiped from memory. Terry Collins capped Harvey at a modest 77 pitches, bringing the hook after Kemp’s second homer. Book the win.
Harvey will continue his NL East tour, and the schedule looks favorable: at Philadelphia, at Miami. Good work if you can get it. Roll downhill whenever you can.
• The Twins insist they’re going to be patient with struggling OF Byron Buxton, who’s off to a dreadful 1-for-14 start (seven strikeouts, one walk). Buxton’s power/speed profile is exciting, not to mention his overflowing box of raw tools; when you add his excellent defense to the mix, you understand why he’s projected as a future star.
I don’t like Buxton’s fit as Minnesota’s No. 3 hitter, but it was encouraging to see Paul Molitor give Buxton a vote of confidence. Molitor has reasons to hang loose, with his club ambushing the Royals (by a cumulative 21-5) in the opening week. If the Buxton owner in your league is getting antsy for a trade, it’s a good time to send a note, calibrate the level of panic. Let’s not be silly about what a three-game sample may mean.
• Friday’s final note will cover someone who pitched two days ago (and probably deserved an earlier mention). Chris Devenski was one of Houston’s best pitchers last year (2.16 ERA, 0.91 WHIP), and big things are expected for 2017. Devenski’s seasonal debut was a relief gem, four hitless innings (0 R, 1 BB, 7 K) against the Mariners. His K/BB ratio was better than 5/1 last year.
Devenski kept the ball in the park last year (three homers over 108.1 innings), a rate that’s hard to repeat. Obviously xFIP isn’t going to like this, Yogi. But if we focus on some other ERA estimators, Devenski is more than credible: 2.34 FIP, 3.32 SIERA. Devenski had three excellent pitches last year (fastball, slider, change) and could be deployed in a number of roles this year, depending on where Houston needs him. He’s owned in a modest 12 percent of Yahoo leagues.