It’s the MLB Game Day Recap Day 22, which means it’s time for me to vent about extra innings again. It seems like it was just last week that I was venting up a storm about how ‘modern’ extra innings are absolutely awful. Turns out I was able to hold in my complaining for more than two weeks. I’m also fully aware that the new extra innings rule is far more likely to remain forever than ever disappear. It doesn’t mean it will blow less over time. Tonight’s Mets/Cubs game was excellent until we got bonus baseball. Pete hit another bomb. There was a classic mixture of ineptitude on both sides, neither team finding a way to win the game the old fashion way. Then extras. For the blurbs, this is a nice fun little highlight, but for those watching, the path to this highlight was abysmal.
Entering the season, Ryan Weathers was nowhere to be found on the Padres April depth chart. Now? He looks like the shoo-in 5th starter for at least another month. Dinelson Lamet went back on the IL with I am always chronically injured disease. Adrian Morejon is done for the year after getting Tommy John. Mike Clevinger has been done for the year since November. Since it’s baseball, an obscenely deep pitching staff has suddenly become thin. In steps Ryan Weathers. The former first-round pick has been slowly building up arm strength while providing elite pitching when he’s in the game. Tonight was his third straight scoreless start, and in LA no less. He won’t end the season with a 0.00 ERA, but he should end the year on your roster.
Alex Cobb got sent to the moon in Houston tonight. 9 baserunners across 2.2 innings is never a recipe for success. His 4 strikeouts were his tepid attempt at saving managers from the ratio bomb he just detonated. Entering tonight’s game, Cobb had two 4 something ERA starters with K/9s above 10.00. He kept that K/9 up, but the secondary stats went from acceptable to horrific. Quietly an add for me in nearly all formats before tonight, Cobb still holds strong long-term playability. He’s going to strike hitters out, and he’s rarely going to have these bombs go off. If you have anchors for your ratios, you can handle this type of volatility. At letdown today, but not on the full season
David Peralta had a night to remember. The 33-year-old converted pitcher went 5 for 6 with 2 runs scored, 1 dinger, and 7 RBIs in the Diamondbacks 14 to 11 win over Cincinnati. For the entirety of his career, Peralta has been under the radar. Perhaps it’s because he plays in Arizona or maybe it’s because he’s never had intimidating power, but no one seems to notice how above-average David has been. His entire career has been one long above-average sequence. .289/.345/.472 with a 113 OPS+ is pure quality. Now that he’s in the back half of his career, he’s not much of a fantasy asset, so treat this paragraph as a homage to his career as opposed to a sales pitch. Appreciate Peralta, but don’t roster him.
Victor Robles has been invisible this entire season. Entering tonight’s contest where he went 0 for 2 with no counting stats, Robles has scored 4 runs with 0 homers, 1 RBI, and 1 stolen base while hitting .204 on the season. That’s an awful start that can be overlooked if it wasn’t also an extension of his 2020. At age 24, there is a clear upside that exists, but also in his 5th season, it feels like the ability to reach that potential is slipping. In standard leagues, he’s a cut. In dynasty leagues, he’s a sell if you can find a buyer. The only way he’s going to make it beyond the ‘on a hot streak so add’ radar in standard leagues this year is if he has a month-long stretch of elite production. It’s unlikely.
The Emilio Bonifacio Award
Adam Frazier is the NL version of Luis Arraez, a contact machine that does not hit for power. One could have also said an extremely underrated, multi-position eligible, fantasy asset. Frazier went 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored and a stolen base in Detroit. As you’ll see in the next paragraph, Jose Urena was extremely effect. It’s just Jose Urena cannot stop a hitter like Adam Frazier. Forever underwhelming because he won’t hit for power, Frazier belongs on far more fantasy rosters than he ever is. If you’re looking to win your league, you’ll find a way to get him involved. I say it every week, it’s not like 2B is deep. Click add. Reap the profits. Thank me.
The James Shields Award
Surprisingly, there were only two Shields winners on the slate today. Jose Urena sliced up the notoriously bad Pittsburgh Pirates after starting the game cold and in a 0-2 hole. Urena is the definition of a pitcher who eats innings and provides no fantasy value. This is his high-end production, and even his 7.2 innings of 2.57 ERA and 0.86 WHIP comes with only 2 Ks. It’s a nice game, but it’s a game that doesn’t lead to an add. Walker Buehler stifled the Padres line-pup with ease outside of Trent Grisham. Big boy Trent nearly hit one out of the stadium for a solo dong after Machado singled in Tatis Jr. in the fourth. Walker only allowed 2 other hits in the game and struck out 9, and is every part of the fantasy ace that he was drafted as.
The Brad Lidge Award
Emilio Pagan entered tonight with a 1.13 ERA and 1.00 WHIP across 9 games and 8.0 innings. His only problem? It was a solo long ball by Justin Turner. Tonight? It was a solo long ball by both AJ Pollock and Sheldon Neuse. That full-season ERA is going to triple while the number is a 54.00 tonight. Pagan was a popular sleeper to steal saves out of this bullpen, but his inability to keep the ball in the stadium simply means he won’t see those chances. There are strong parallels between Pagan and Yimi Garcia, just the team situations could not vary more. Pagan is one of many elite arms. Garcia is the only elite arm. If situations were reversed, so would the values. Instead, Pagan belongs on the waiver wire while Garcia is universally rostered.
The MLB Game Day Recap is all about baseball. Extra Innings have always been part of baseball. Now that it is 2021 and we are ‘back to normal’, extra innings need to get ‘back to normal’. Instead of heightened drama for every baserunner, we get the opposite effect. Drama falls apart once the away team fails to score. Then when the bottom half of the inning starts, it’s a forgone conclusion as to what will happen. The base runner finds his way to third, the bases become loaded adding force outs, and then a bloop hit lands with the infield is in. A rare result that happens only a few times per season is now seen weekly. It’s awful, it’s not drama. It’s bad baseball. Please MLB change your extra innings rule. I’ll sacrifice a robot strike zone to get it done. The rule is that bad.