April 20th, 2016

A Matter of Opinion

The season is progressing along well enough for me to be upset about some things (basically my fantasy teams) and to be excited by others. So today I’m sharing the baseball related items that are lingering on my mind.

I don’t think there’s any denying that Corey Kluber has lost velocity on his fastball. He had a breakout season and then…? He was good last season and suffered from a lack of run support. This year he seems to have regressed into a very hittable pitcher. Perhaps he has some arm/shoulder/elbow issues about which we are unaware. Perhaps he has thrown enough innings and wear and tear is taking a toll. Whatever the case, he’s getting way too much of the plate. The ball is jumping off the bats of the opposition. Granted, it’s very early, but I think there has to be some concern about Kluber. I think he’ll rebound and I hope his team scores some runs for him. But I don’t think he’ll be in the Cy conversation at all whatsoever.

I have similar negative feelings about the back end of the Indians bullpen. I think Bryan Shaw began to scuffle last year and it hasn’t changed. Cody Allen scares me every time he enters the game for a save. I do, however, like what Zach McAllister brings to the late innings. And I believe there will be back end of the bullpen place soon enough for Shawn Armstrong. The Indians bullpen arms may just fall off they’re used so much.

I wish Tony Zych was a secret heading in to my drafts. Both DVR and I discussed him on our Short Hops podcast a couple of times during draft season. Zych could become a closer sooner than later. He’s that good. A high velocity arm like his with command and control is perfect for his home park in Seattle. Watch out for Zych.

I just don’t get the Diamondbacks. I just don’t get how they make decisions. They sent out Socrates Brito. He has multiple tools, can play center field, (a position of need), and yet they are sticking with Chris Owings to spell A J Pollock. I do hope that both Brito and Peter O’Brien get traded to American League clubs.

Do you like the Dbacks road uniforms? I’m just asking?

Shelby Miller and Gabe Speier for Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one. What am I missing here? That one will haunt the Dbacks for a long, long time. Even if Shelby Miller makes the All Star team. Which I don’t think he will.

You remember when you were all over Jeremy Hazelbaker in draft season, right? You had to fight off everyone to get him, right? Are you kidding me? Where do the Cardinals keep coming up with guys? And now, he’s more than a guy. No. I didn’t know about him. No, I have never seen him play.

How bad are the Padres? Really, how bad are they? The NL West teams that think they can win the division have to beat up on the Padres every time they play them. I’m stunned at how the franchise has just turned around totally from being optimistic to being meh in the blink of one season.

I think Jose Quintana is still underrated as a quality starter. He keeps his team in most games and can really battle. Chris Sale, Quintana and Carlos Rodon are as formidable a trio of lefties as we will see in the game. And no-I’m not buying Mat Latos. Good for him that he’s thrown a couple of good games. But, he’s not my cup of tea.

What’s up with Matt Harvey? I can only hope he returns to 100% good health and that his mechanics return. But Logan Verrett has been a pleasant surprise. And Noah Syndergaard? I think he wins the NL Cy over Clayton Kershaw.

Young pitchers will tend to be inconsistent. Exhibit A and B= Steven Matz and Carlos Rodon. One great outing and one that kills your fantasy ERA and WHIP. They’ll both be terrific. Don’t panic with them.

I traded Corey Kluber even up for King Felix in an AL only league.

I really love the way the Phillies are piecing things together. Vincent Velasquez, Aaron Nola, Jered Eichoff and the other starters are so great to watch. And how about the future for Maikel Franco? We just don’t talk about him enough. He’ll be a true star for years to come. I love the new Phillies. And I’m really happy for good guys Pete Mackinin, Larry Bowa and John McLaren-fabulous coaches each.

We may actually get to see what Jarrod Dyson can do when he gets some sustained playing time on the large side of the Royals right field platoon. How many bases can he steal? I think he’ll be able to get on base with a nice, short swing and then….off to the races.

Javier Baez could have a huge year for the Cubs. With Kyle Schwarber out, Baez should see lots of at-bats from somewhere in the outfield. If Jorge Soler heats up in the summer and if Baez gets to hit, the Cubs will be able to cover for the lost Schwarber. The biggest downside in my opinion is having to use Miguel Montero more than they had planned behind the plate. Montero, David Ross and Schwarber would have split up the time in any given week. I wonder if the loss of Schwarber hastens the arrival of Willson Contreras?

I would think Collin Cowgill will be the odd outfielder out when Lonnie Chisenhal returns? Or does the Tribe farm out Tyler Naquin because he has options and they want to keep Cowgill’s defense? I’d keep Naquin at the big league level. I think a pitcher will go to make room for Michael Brantley. So an outfielder and a pitcher will get chopped for Chisenhal and Brantley IMO.

I love watching Bryce Harper hit. And play defense. And run. Can he hit 60 homers in a season? I wonder.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Jose Reyes. Jose Reyes who?

I’m glad you were all over Ross Stripling in you fantasy drafts. Are you kidding me? Another miss by…everyone.

I hope you will read my scouting reports at TodaysKnuckleball.com. I will be featuring lots of young first and second year players several times a week. I’ll be adding a scouting grade at the end of the report. I think FanRagsports.com is an outstanding sports site. Packed with good writing, interesting stories and personal opinions. I’m pleased to be a part of the organization.

After almost two weeks of illness, I’ll return to Chase Field this coming weekend. Follow me on twitter @BerniePleskoff for my take on the Dbacks and Pirates.

That’s it. I’m done. For now.