We Need to Talk About Kevin

Ryan Boyer
Seth Trachtman looks at the week ahead, including concerns about Kevin Gausman's velocity

Week Ahead: Gausman Worries

Seth Trachtman looks at the week ahead, including concerns about Kevin Gausman's velocity

The Orioles have used a host of arms at the back-end of their rotation this season, and none of them have really worked out.

That fact has led to the club making a bold move with one of their top prospects.

The No. 4 overall pick in last year’s draft, Kevin Gausman will be called up to make his major league debut on Thursday in Toronto. Gausman has made just 13 starts as a pro, and only eight of them have come above A-ball. He’s been terrific at Double-A Bowie this season, though, putting up a 3.11 ERA and ridiculous 49/5 K/BB ratio over 46 1/3 innings.

Before the season, Baseball America ranked Gausman as the No. 26 prospect in the game. The right-hander has a fastball that can touch the upper 90s, and his changeup is a devastating pitch. Despite a very limited amount of professional experience, Gausman has tons of upside and is worth adding in all fantasy leagues.

Check out the transcript from D.J. Short’s MLB Chat on Tuesday. Also, be sure to follow @Rotoworld_BB and Ryan Boyer on Twitter.


Nationals Giving Rendon a Second Look

Anthony Rendon’s bat has been so hot at Double-A Harrisburg that the Nationals might be considering shoehorning him into their lineup at a new position.

Rendon got the start at second base for Harrisburg on Monday, and it was the fifth time he’s played the position this season. The same day Rendon was getting some work in at the keystone, Danny Espinosa was getting another day off due to his prolonged slump.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Tuesday Rendon isn’t a candidate to take over for Espinosa.  At least not yet.

“We like him – we like him a lot,” Johnson told FOXSports.com of Rendon. “But putting him at second at the major-league level, he’s not there yet. He’s not (playing second) specifically. He’s just occasionally going over there.”

Rendon was hitting a blistering .346/.482/.654 with six homers and 23 RBI in 30 games for Harrisburg entering Tuesday’s contest, while Espinosa went into Tuesday’s game sporting a hideous .163/.191/.296 line for the Nats. We might not see Rendon in the majors soon, but it will be interesting to track him over the coming weeks to see if he’s being tried out more and more at second.

Closer Carousel

There’s not much that fantasy owners hate more than unclear closer situations. They can feel free to direct their anger towards Mike Redmond and Don Mattingly.

On Monday, after Chad Qualls and not Steve Cishek was warming up while the game against the Phillies was still a save situation, Redmond said after the game that he was prepared to use “everybody” in the closer role.

“We’re going to use everybody,” he said in the Palm Beach Post. “We’re going to use Cishek. We’ll use Qualls. We haven’t had that many save opportunities. We need those guys to pitch. We need Cishek to go down there and log some innings. He’s still going to close games. Qualls might close some games. (Mike) Dunn might close some games. We need these guys to pitch we need them to stay sharp. They’re all going to contribute.”

Cishek is still the best bet for saves in Miami, but his owners would be wise to scoop up Qualls or Dunn (or both) as insurance.

Less than 24 hours after Redmond offered the vague “everybody” line when asked who he would use at closer, Mattingly offered a different line, and it was just as muddy.

"I don't know," he told MLB.com when asked before Tuesday’s game who would be his closer. "We'll see.

"I know who I want to use. But I don't know if I want to anoint anybody," said Mattingly. "I'd really like to see the bullpen get its confidence back and some semblance of order and get the guys in the roles we designed. I know where I want it to go, it just hasn't gone there. They set the roles the way they are pitching. Now it's hard to say, 'That guy deserves that inning.'"

Mattingly’s comments seem to indicate that he’d like to use Brandon League in the closer role. He’s seemed to prefer Kenley Jansen of late, though, which is no surprise given his numbers (3.63 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 31/6 K/BB ratio over 22 1/3 innings) as compared to League’s (5.51 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 8/5 K/BB ratio over 16 1/3 innings).

However, Jansen was battered for four runs in two appearances over the weekend in Atlanta, so perhaps League is now back (or remains?) at the top of the pecking order. The situation obviously remains unsettled, but it would be smart to bet on the better pitcher over the long run. That’s Jansen.

For updates on these closer situations and others, check out the Rotoworld MLB Season Pass Closer Report.

National League Quick Hits: Chase Utley was scratched from Tuesday’s game after feeling discomfort in his right side during batting practice. He’ll be re-evaluated Wednesday ... Rafael Betancourt exited Tuesday’s game with a groin injury and will undergo an MRI. Fantasy owners should pick up Rex Brothers just in case ... Brian McCann went 3-for-4 with a home run Tuesday and is now batting .282/.383/.590 with four home runs and 12 RBI in 12 games since returning from the DL ... Matt Garza fired five scoreless innings in his return from the DL on Tuesday ... Ryan Howard returned from a knee injury to go 3-for-5 with three RBI Tuesday ... Hanley Ramirez (hamstring) ran Tuesday for the first time since landing on the DL ... Aaron Hill will have his fractured left hand examined by a doctor next Monday to see if he can resume baseball activities ... Jake Westbrook (elbow) will resume throwing from a mound Wednesday ... The Cubs claimed Eduardo Sanchez off waivers from the Cardinals ... After taking IVs before the game due to the flu, Pablo Sandoval hit a mammoth, walk-off two-run homer Tuesday versus the Nationals ...

American League Quick Hits: Mike Trout became the youngest player in AL history to hit for the cycle when he did so against the Mariners Tuesday. He’s batting .343/.434/.757 with seven homers, 18 RBI and 16 runs in 19 May games ... Jered Weaver (elbow) could be activated from the disabled list after Wednesday’s extended spring training game. It could be Joe Blanton, not Jerome Williams, that’s booted from the rotation when Weaver returns. Williams tossed eight shutout innings Tuesday ... Chris Sale was scratched from Wednesday’s start with a minor shoulder injury but is expected to return next Tuesday ... Dan Straily held the Rangers scoreless over seven innings Tuesday ... Trevor Plouffe left Tuesday's game after taking a knee to the head and will be checked for a concussion ... Bud Norris tossed six scoreless innings but then had to leave Tuesday’s outing after aggravating his back injury ... Max Scherzer tossed eight frames of one-run ball Tuesday and now is 6-0 with a 3.61 ERA and 0.91 WHIP to go along with 75 strikeouts ... Kevin Youkilis (back) took three at-bats in an extended spring training game on Tuesday ... Glen Perkins blew his first save of the season Tuesday when he allowed a two-out, game-tying homer to Evan Gattis ... Nick Tepesch was scratched from Wednesday’s start due to a blister but is expected to be fine for his next outing ... Salvador Perez is day-to-day  with a deep right hip bruise ... Samuel Deduno will replace Pedro Hernandez in the Twins’ rotation ... 

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