Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you enjoyed that opening day as much as I did as a New York Mets fan. I know it’s early and I know the Mets are great on opening day only to let their fans down later, but I’m going to enjoy this now! New additions to the roster came up in big spots and surprise opening day starter Tylor McGill actually looked very promising in a win against the Washington Nationals. Don’t take it from just me either. Frank Stampfl made McGill his Oh My Goodness Gracious Player of the Day. McGill pitched five shutout innings allowing three hits, no walks and generated 10 swinging strikes on 68 pitches. His fastball velocity was up 1.5 MPH to 96 MPH. Frank advised to add him over any of Casey Mize, German Marquez, Patrick Corbin (all three of which are over 60% rostered on CBS), and I’m right there with him! LGM!
We also had 25-year-old super sleeper with the most fun name to throw out at the end of your live auction or snake drafts with your buddies, Seth Beer, send a bottom-ninth hanging curve out of the park for a walk-off three-run homer run to propel the Arizona Diamondbacks to an upset win over the San Diego Padres.
We’ll dive more into those storylines, Scott’s pitching targets who performed well, and all of the pitchers and hitters who defined Major League Baseball’s Opening Day 2022.
But before we do all that, here’s what I’m most looking forward to on today’s Friday slate:
- Tampa Rays SP Shane McClanahan was my second-most drafted starting pitcher this draft season and also a Frank Stampfl favorite breakout pick. In 25 starts last season, he went 10-6 with a 3.43 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 123 1/3 innings. He draws the Baltimore Orioles today — a team he went 4-0 against with a 2.74 ERA last season. I can’t think of a better way to get a breakout season started.
And here’s the complete schedule for today in Eastern time:
- Yankees vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m. (originally scheduled for Thursday)
- Tigers vs. White Sox, 1:10 p.m.
- Phillies vs. Athletics, 3:05 p.m.
- Rays vs. Orioles, 3:10 p.m.
- Twins vs. Mariners, 4:10 p.m. (originally scheduled for Thursday)
- Rockies vs. Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
- Giants vs. Marlins, 4:35 p.m.
- Blue Jays vs. Rangers, 7:07 p.m.
And of course, as always, you can follow to make sure you get the latest episodes of Fantasy Baseball Today right when they drop on Apple and Spotify.
On the surface box-score line, things didn’t look all that bad for Cleveland Guardians SP Shane Bieber in his 2022 debut. That’s until you look beyond the box score where he averaged just 90.6 MPH on his fastball, his lowest in any career start. (*keep in mind: it was very cold, rainy and windy at times. He averaged 94.1 MPH in 2020 and 92.8 MPH last season. The velocity was at a career low and the swinging strikes weren’t much better. Bieber generated just 10 swinging strikes (13.8%). He threw just 72 pitches (but this was expected after his spring) with the following stat line: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K.
Who else was cold
- Corbin Burnes, SP, Brewers vs. Cubs: It was also cold and windy in Chicago and it just seemed like Burnes was off, so I’m giving him a pass. But he was cold in his 2022 debut. Burnes got through five innings, allowed four hits, three walks, three earned runs and generated just 11 swinging strikes on 83 pitches (13.3%) with four strikeouts.
- Max Fried, SP, Braves vs: Reds: Fried was drafted as a high-end SP2 for most of draft season and a target for many including myself. He didn’t look all that great in his first start against a Reds lineup that was without three of its best hitters from the 2021 season. Fried went 5 2/3 innings and allowed eight hits, five earned runs, one walk and racked up five strikeouts. The good news is that his velocity was up 1.3 MPH to 95.3 MPH on his fastball and also up 2 MPH on his slider.
- Aaron Ashby, RP, Brewers vs. Cubs: Ashby was a popular sleeper pick for Fantasy Baseballers this draft season, myself included, specifically in points leagues because he qualifies as a relief pitcher (SPARP). It wasn’t a great debut for Ashby, who worked out of the bullpen to begin with. He went 1 2/3 and allowed three hits, one walk, one earned run and struck out one.
Triston McKenzie, SP, Guardians vs. Royals: McKenzie working out of the bullpen? That’s most likely temporary and he’s expected back in the rotation, but he didn’t look great on opening day out of the pen. McKenzie went three innings and allowed two hits, two earned runs, two walks and struck out one batter. The Guardians don’t need a fifth starter until April 12 and that’s when he’ll likely rejoin the rotation.
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Who else was hot
Several of Scott’s favorite starting pitching targets from draft season got off to an excellent start, and that’s always fun. Good for the brand, I say!
Adam Wainwright, SP, Cardinals vs. Pirates: No one had a better first start than the one starter Scott felt was the best value by far — the veteran Scott couldn’t draft enough of in these past few months — 6 shutout innings, 5 H, 0 BB, 6 K, just 4 SS on 81 pitches
Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs vs. Brewers: 5.1 IP 5 H 1 ER 3 BB (1 HBP) 7 K, 17 SS on 83 pitches (20.5%)! Thirteen of those SS came on the changeup, which was just filthy (used it 40% in this start, that was 28% last season)
Framber Valdez, SP, Astros vs. Angels: How about 6 2/3 scoreless innings retiring 16 of the last 18 batters he faced for Valdez’ 2022 debut? The momentum continues to build for the starter who quietly generated a 3.14 ERA and 1.25 WHIP across 22 starts last season.
Shohei Ohtani, SP, Angels vs. Astros: Ohtani was awesome despite being removed after 4 2/3 innings. He racked up nine strikeouts in that span, walking one batter and surrendering four hits and one earned run. He generated swinging strikes on 14 of 80 pitches and saw a velocity uptick of 2-4 MPH on all four of his pitches.
Tyler Mahle, SP, Reds vs. Braves: The most interesting thing about Mahle’s start, which included five innings of one run ball with seven strikeouts, was that he used his cut fastball 15% of the time. This is a pitch he hasn’t felt comfortable enough to use since 2019. If he has added a fourth pitch to his arsenal, Mahle is a much higher-upside starter for 2022.
Yu Darvish, SP, Padres vs. Diamondbacks: Darvish went six innings of no-hit ball to start his 2022 season.
Bobby Witt, SS, Royals: The rookie top prospect in baseball delivered a game-winning RBI double.
Seiya Suzuki, OF, Cubs: What was most impressive about Suzuki’s 1-for-2 debut with two walks was just how impressive his approach and plate discipline were despite matching up against Corbin Burnes. Suzuki was +500 to win NL Rookie of The Year, and if he’s still anywhere near those odds you should jump on it now.
More news and notes
- TRADE! The Padres and Twins actually went through with that reported trade from Wednesday night. The Padres sent Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan and a player to be named later to the Twins in exchange for Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker. It didn’t take long for Padres manager Bob Melvin to name Taylor Rogers as San Diego’s closer, so good news there. Ripple effect: You can now drop Robert Suarez.
- Apparently, the Twins will go with a six-man rotation that includes Chris Paddack.
- The other trade Thursday was much more minor: the Blue Jays acquired outfielder Bradley Zimmer from the Guardians for reliever Anthony Castro.
- The good news for Ke’Bryan Hayes is that he signed an eight-year, $70 million contract extension to begin Thursday. The bad news was that he exited Thursday’s game in the first inning. He apparently left with cramping in his left thumb and forearm, but I was all nervous because it was the left wrist he hurt last season. He’s expected to be back in the lineup Saturday.
- From one third base injury to another, the White Sox placed Yoan Moncada on the IL with an oblique strain. He’s expected to miss three weeks. Leury Garcia and Jake Burger are expected to fill in. Some 3B replacements include: Jeimer Candelario or Eugenio Suarez in shallower leagues and Jonathan Villar or Kevin Smith in deeper leagues.
- CJ Abrams officially made the Padres roster. Congrats, you’re on the bench against lefty Madison Bumgarner. Bob Melvin mentioned this would be the case and he’s sticking with it.
- The Reds are still hopeful that Luis Castillo can return in April.
- Don Mattingly said Anthony Bender is likely to get the Marlins first save opportunity. He is 25% rostered.
- Alex Cora said the Red Sox won’t have a set closer to start the season. Not great news for anyone who drafted Matt Barnes with the expectation that he would start with the job.
- Phillies outfielder Mickey Moniak was diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his right hand and will miss the next six weeks.
- Dylan Carlson led off for the Cardinals with Tommy Edman batting ninth for the Cardinals.
- Braves lineup was interesting vs. RHP Tyler Mahle: Matt Olson batted second, Ozzie Albies fifth, Dansby Swanson ninth.
- Michael Brantley still batting second for the Astros; Kyle Tucker was sixth.
- No Jake Fraley for the Reds against a LHP; Aristedes Aquino was in there batting second.
- No Jonathan Villar for the Cubs against a RHP.
- Amed Rosario started in LF for the Guardians and lost a fly ball in the wind.
- J.D. Davis was at DH and batting second against LHP Patrick Corbin… no Dominic Smith for the Mets.
- We had a Joe Maddon being Joe Maddon: Matt Duffy was the cleanup hitter against LHP Framber Valdez.