Week Ahead: Greinke Worries

Seth Trachtman
Rotoworld
Ryan Boyer previews the two Wild Card Games in Tuesday's Postseason Dose

Postseason Dose: Going Wild

Ryan Boyer previews the two Wild Card Games in Tuesday's Postseason Dose

Does Spring Training matter? It depends on who you ask and what you’re evaluating. There have been studies, such as that of former Baseball Prospectus contributor and current Houston Astros Director of Research and Development Mike Fast saying that pitcher velocity changes can matter during Spring Training.

We’re still looking at an extremely small sample size, but it’s not a sign Zack Greinke owners will find encouraging. Greinke’s fastball has reportedly been sitting at 88-89 mph this spring, according to Diamondbacks beat writer Nick Piecoro. That’s worrisome for a pitcher whose fastball velocity average has been above 91.0 mph in recent seasons.

The lack of velocity could be reflected in Greinke’s 5.06 ERA and only five strikeouts in 10.2 innings this spring, though it’s worth cautioning again that it’s an extremely small sample size. Still, Greinke is already coming off one of the worst seasons of his career (4.37 ERA in 158.2 innings), and he’s not off on the right foot.

The discounts in expert auctions were well underway last weekend when Greinke went for only $12 in the 15-team Tout Wars mixed league and the identical price in the NL-only league. Just one year ago we would have considered those prices less than half of what Greinke was worth.

If you own Greinke, it’s too early to panic, but he could be worth sitting in the early going as we see if he can build up his velocity.

Editor’s Note: Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Baseball: Get in the game and create or join a league today.

-Speaking of spring results, Lance McCullers struggled with a 7.31 ERA in 16 innings, but he had a tremendous 24/4 K/BB. That’s a good sign for a pitcher who had issues with his control last season. Even better is the fact that he seems healthy going into the season.

-There’s not much to make of San Diego starting Jhoulys Chacin on Opening Day, other than their rotation is really bad. Chacin had a 4.81 ERA between Atlanta and the Angels last season, but his ERA indicators (4.01 FIP, 4.38 SIERA) and a slight velocity rebound do show some upside for NL-only leagues.

-Justin Verlander will be starting on Opening Day for the ninth time in 10 seasons for the Tigers. If you’re wondering, he has a career 4.73 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over his previous eight Opening Day starts, though Verlander does have a strong 45/16 K/BB in 45.2 innings.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

 

Yu Darvish: CLE, OAK

Jose Quintana: DET, MIN

Corey Kluber: @TEX, @ARI

Masahiro Tanaka: @TB, @BAL

Chris Archer: NYY, TOR

Rick Porcello: PIT, @DET

Justin Verlander: @CWS, BOS

Lance McCullers: SEA, KC

Danny Duffy: @MIN, @HOU

Ervin Santana: KC, @CHW

 

Decent Plays

 

Kevin Gausman: TOR, NYY

Dallas Keuchel: SEA, KC

Matt Shoemaker: @OAK, SEA

Sean Manaea: LAA, @TEX

Marco Estrada: @BAL, @TB

Jake Odorizzi: NYY, TOR

Felix Hernandez: @HOU, @LAA

Hisashi Iwakuma: @HOU, @LAA

 

At Your Own Risk

 

Kendall Graveman: LAA, @TEX

Ricky Nolasco: @OAK, SEA

CC Sabathia: @TB, @BAL

Martin Perez: CLE, OAK

 

National League

Note: Some two-start pitchers for Diamondbacks and Rockies to be determined.

Strong Plays

 

Noah Syndergaard: ATL, MIA

Stephen Strasburg: MIA, @PHI

Madison Bumgarner: @ARI, @SD

Johnny Cueto: @ARI, @SD

Jon Lester: @STL, @MIL

Clayton Kershaw: SD, @COL

Julio Teheran: @NYM, @PIT

Carlos Martinez: CHC, CIN

 

Decent Plays

 

Gerrit Cole: @BOS, ATL

Zack Greinke: SF, CLE

Jon Gray: @MIL, LAD

Kenta Maeda: SD, @COL

Zach Davies: COL, CHC

 

At Your Own Risk

 

Jeremy Hellickson: @CIN, WAS

Junior Guerra: COL, CHC

Scott Feldman: PHI, @STL

Edinson Volquez: @WAS, @NYM

Jhoulys Chacin: @LAD, SF

Clayton Richard: @LAD, SF

Streamer City

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

American League

Wednesday, April 5: Charlie Morton vs. SEA

Already one of baseball’s top groundball pitchers, Morton showed an uptick in velocity last season in four starts before tearing his hamstring. The velocity has continued this spring, with a 1.04 ERA in five starts the result.

Thursday, April 6: Joe Musgrove vs. SEA

Musgrove is getting at least one start with Collin McHugh starting the year on the DL. The control artist had a 2.46 ERA in 22 innings this spring after posting a 4.06 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 62 innings during his major league debut last season.

Thursday, April 6: Jason Hammel @ MIN

The Twins didn’t fare particular well at Target Field last season, with a .736 OPS, ranking as the 11th worst OPS in MLB at home last season.

National League

Day TBD: Tyler Chatwood @ MIL

Chatwood was one of baseball’s best pitchers on the road last season, posting a 1.69 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 13 starts. He’s very useful outside of Coors Field.

Friday, April 7: Patrick Corbin vs. CLE

It seems like an odd fit to stream a pitcher who struggled last season vs. the defending AL pennant winners, but Cleveland ranked in the middle of the pick vs. LHP last season and could sit Carlos Santana without the DH. For what it’s worth, Corbin is coming off a nice spring with a 3.44 ERA and 17/3 K/BB in 18.1 innings.

Total Games

American League

5: BAL

6: BOS, CHW, CLE, DET, KC, MIN, NYY, TEX, TOR

7: HOU, LAA, OAK, SEA, TB

National League

6: ATL, CHC, CIN, MIA, NYM, PHI, PIT, STL, WAS

7: ARI, COL, LAD, MIL, SD, SF

The Infirmary

You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page but here's the latest on a few prominent players who will start the year on the DL.

Anthony DeSclafani: Out indefinitely (elbow)

David Dahl: Could return in late April (ribs)

Ian Desmond: Hoping to return in late April (hand)

Sonny Gray: Could return in late April (lat)

Didi Gregorius: Could return in May (shoulder)

Jason Kipnis: Could return in May (shoulder)

J.D. Martinez: Could return in May (foot)

Steven Matz: Hoping to return in May (elbow)

Drew Pomeranz: Aiming to make his start April 9 (triceps)

David Price: Out indefinitely (elbow)

Carlos Rodon: Hoping to return in early May (biceps)

Chris Tillman: Could return in late April (shoulder)

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