Sweet Dreams or Bitter Nightmare?

July 24, 2020

Opening day has come and gone. Let the fantasy season begin. Here are a few sleepers to add and a few guys who can turn into nightmares. 

Sleeper: Jay Bruce, OF, Philadelphia Phillies

I’m going to sound like a baseball hipster, but I’ve known about Jay Bruce before I ever even knew his real name. Playing MLB 2K8 I always would trade for a AA prospect name James Bales and as it turns out he was modeled after Jay Bruce. So since Jay Bruce was a AA minor leaguer back in 2008, I was shocked to learn that he is only 33 years old. Bruce was 88th in average exit velocity and 99th in barrel rate according to Baseball Savant. To put it in perspective, this was the highest barrel rate Bruce has had in his great career that includes the two seasons he was an MVP candidate. Now the traditional numbers show he only hit .216 with 26 home runs which can lead you to believe it’s been either feast or famine for an aging slugger. However, Bruce batting average of balls in play (BABIP) was .200 last season which league average for BABIP is always around .300. Bruce was just tremendously unlucky last year.   

Nightmare: Every pitcher in the Giants’ bullpen, RP, San Francisco Giants

Gabe Kapler is back and he’s going to Gabe Kapler all over this thing. Kapler is smarter than you and he’s going to get fired a second time to prove it. Tony Watson should be the clear closer out of the pen, but hey why not have a closer by committee that makes no sense. Roster-Resource projects Watson to finish the year with seven saves. Tyler Rogers is projected to get three saves, Trevor Gott to get two saves and Sam Coonrod to get a save. Rogers already has been blown up in the opener, but this whole group smells like Barney Rubble and that means trouble. 

Sleeper: Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Atlanta Braves 

Mike Foltynewicz was sent down last year after starting the season with a 6.37 ERA through 11 starts and allowed 16 home runs in 59 1/3 innings. He was a 2018 All-Star, where he had a 2.85 ERA and an eighth-place finish in Cy Young Award voting. The truth about Folty lies somewhere in the middle. After he came back from the minors Foltynewicz downsized his ERA from 6.37 to 4.54 during his final 10 games. The most runs he gave up during his final 10 outings was four runs, and he held opponents to two runs or less during seven of his final 10 games. With the emergence of Mike Soroka, Foltynewicz will likely be unable to reclaim his ace status, but take a flyer on Folty and you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find. 

Nightmare: Brady Singer, SP, Kansas City Royals 

Brady Singer will probably be a solid pro someday. However, everyone is going to be fighting to get him since he’s the first prospect to really have a status change to start the 2020 season. Singer is a solid all-around pitcher, but this team is going to lose 40 games and Singer is going to take his lumps while it happens. I could see him being worth an addition if he had electric stuff, but he’s more grit feel and command over velocity and I don’t think he will put up the strikeout numbers to offset the lack of support around him.