After watching the first week of Major League Baseball, I have a few observations that I have made. Here they are:
- [the_ad id=”567″]Philadelphia Phillies’ closer – The Philadelphia Phillies need to make a change at closer, pronto! Righty Jeanmar Gomez blew a three-run lead in the 9th inning yesterday, but he got the win when the Phillies got a walk-off win in the bottom of the 9th inning. He has pitched in 3 games (0 starts) so far this year and he is 1-0 with 1 save, a 15.00 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP. This comes on the heels of his disaster late in the 2016 season. In September and October of 2016, Gomez pitched in 12 games (0 starts) in which he was 0-3 with 3 saves, a 19.13 ERA, and a 3.25 WHIP! I was stunned that the Phillies went into this season with Gomez as the closer. I think 27-year old righty Hector Neris should be given a shot to close. Neris has the arsenal to close as he has a solid fastball and a disappearing out of this world split-fingered fastball that has a big dive to it! Neris has pitched in 3 games (0 starts) so far this year for the Phillies and he is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.60 WHIP. He was excellent in his first full year in the show for the Phillies in 2016. He worked in 79 games (0 starts) for the Phillies last year and he was 4-4 with 2 saves, a 2.58 ERA, and a 1.11 WHIP. Not only would I remove Gomez from the role of closer, but I would make him a mop-up man until he gets back on the right track. Look for veterans Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek to handle the setup duties moving forward.
- Texas Rangers’ closer – The Texas Rangers seem to have a problem finding a closer that can have more than one good year as of late. Last year, Shawn Tolleson imploded opening a shot for 28-year old righty Sam Dyson. Dyson took the job and ran with it working in 73 games (0 starts) in which he was 3-2 with 38 saves, a 2.43 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP. But, he has been an utter disaster so far this year for the Rangers. He has pitched in 3 games (0 starts) so far this year and he is 0-2 with a 36.00 ERA and a 5.00 WHIP! Dyson has given up 7 hits (1 homer) and he has walked 3 batters while whiffing only 1 in his first 2 innings this year! The Rangers have a couple of guys with live arms that could replace Dyson if he doesn’t turn things around soon. 31-year old righty Matt Bush was a rock solid set-up man in his rookie year for the Rangers in 2016, working in 58 games (0 starts) in which he was 7-2 with 1 save, a 2.48 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. The Rangers traded for 29-year old righty reliever Jeremy Jeffress last July. He pitched in 59 games (0 starts) for the Brewers and Rangers last year in which he was 3-2 with 27 saves, a 2.33 ERA, and a 1.26 WHIP. But, both Bush (0-0, 4.91 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) and Jeffress (0-0, 7.71 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) are also off to rough starts in 2017 for the Rangers.
- [the_ad id=”693″]Byron Buxton – 23-year old righty swinging outfielder Byron Buxton got everyone excited with his fast finish in 2016! In September and October of last year, Buxton played in 29 games for the Twins in which he was 29 of 101 (.287 avg., 1.011 OPS) with 24 runs scored, 9 homers, 22 RBI and 1 stolen base! But, it’s always hard to trust numbers when rosters expand in September, as it appears that Buxton ran up those numbers against younger pitchers. He has played in 6 games so far this year and he is only 2 for 26 (.077 avg., .226 OPS) with 0 runs scored, 0 homers, RBI or steals! He has whiffed 14 times against only 1 walk so far this year, as he has been completely overmatched at the dish so far this year. If you take out his stats from last September and October, Buxton has played in 115 games for the Twins in which he is only 67 of 352 (.190 Avg.) with 36 runs scored, 3 homers, 22 RBI and 11 stolen bases to go along with 138 whiffs.
- Yasiel Puig – 26-year old righty swinging outfielder Yasiel Puig seems to have his act together so far in 2017. He has played in 7 games for the Dodgers so far this year and he is 7 for 27 (.259 avg., 1.061 OPS) with 5 runs scored, 3 homers, 5 RBI and 1 stolen base. Puig is locked in at the plate right now as he has walked more times (5) than he has whiffed (4). Puig has been in the Dodgers’ doghouse the last couple of years and he was even sent to the minors last year for a little bit. It seems as if his minor league stint has woken him up. Now maybe he can get back to being the player he was in his first two years with the Dodgers in 2013 and 2014. Puig played in 252 games in 2013 and 2014 for the Dodgers in which he was a combined 287 of 940 (.305 avg., .888 OPS) with 158 runs scored, 35 homers, 111 RBI, and 22 stolen bases.
- Ervin Santana – I’ve always had a soft spot for 34-year old righty starting pitcher Ervin Santana in American League-only fantasy leagues. Santana has been dominating in his first two starts this year for the Twins. He is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.62 WHIP for the Twins so far this year. He has now pitched in 49 games (all starts) in his first three years with the Twins and he is 16-16 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. I have a feeling that Santana could win 15 or more games this year for the Twins if he can stay healthy and get cooperation from the offense, defense, and the bullpen.
- Masahiro Tanaka – 28-year old righty starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has been gutting it out his first few years in the show with a bum right elbow. It looks to me like he’s hurting again and trying to pitch through it without much success. He has started 2 games for the Yankees so far this year and he is 0-1 with an 11.74 ERA and a 2.61 WHIP. He has given up 14 hits (2 homers) and 6 walks while whiffing 8 batters in his first 7 2/3 innings for the Yankees this year……so he is getting hit hard. I was at his Opening Day start at Tropicana Field and Rays’ batters were running up to the plate to get a few swings at him! Tanaka doesn’t look like the same pitcher he was in his first three years with the Yankees. From 2014-2016, Tanaka pitched in 75 games (all starts) in which he was 39-16 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
- Joey Gallo – Sure, 23-year old lefty swinging 3B/OF Joey Gallo has a lot of holes in his swing, but boy can he hit the ball far when a pitcher makes a mistake! He has played in 6 games so far this year for the Rangers and he is 4 for 20 (.200 avg., .804 OPS) with 4 runs scored, 2 homers and 7 RBI. That’s the good news! The bad news is that he has whiffed 9 times already this year. Gallo will get moved off of 3B in the near future, as Adrian Beltre is nearing a return from the D.L. in the near future (he has a calf injury). With 1B locked up (Mike Napoli) and DH locked up (Shin-Soo Choo), the only spot really open for Gallo to play is left field. Jurickson Profar, Delino DeShields, and Ryan Rua are a combined 2 for 23 (.087 Avg.) with 5 runs scored, 0 homers, 0 RBI and 1 stolen base. Gallo has nothing left to prove in the minors, as he has hit 152 homers in his five years there. Just be warned, if Gallo continues to get regular at-bats for the Rangers, he will drain your average while providing big time power numbers…..as long as pitchers keep hitting his bat.