2013 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report, Week 6: Grimm’s Outlook Not So Grim
Last year was a very good year for rookies. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper had obviously historic seasons, and Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish and Norichika Aoki, among many others, impressed in their first seasons in Major League Baseball. This year’s rookie crop isn’t as star-heavy, but the members of the group are doing a great job transitioning from the minors to The Show.
Tony Cingrani, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shelby Miller, Jose Fernandez and Justin Grimm have all pitched at least 20 innings and are averaging a strikeout per inning coming into Tuesday night. I’ve covered those first four in this space recently, but Texas’s Grimm has quietly pitched well in his first four starts racking up three straight quality starts with two nine-strikeout games.
Grimm gave up five runs in the first inning of his start Tuesday against the Brewers, but no runs should’ve scored – seriously. Aoki reached on a weak infield single to start the inning, and Jean Segura scorched a ball up the middle for a hit. But Ryan Braun’s fly ball should’ve been caught easily by Nelson Cruz, but Cruz thought he was in St. Louis in the World Series again and just decided not to catch it. That should’ve been out one, followed by Aramis Ramirez’s foul out and Rickie Weeks’s line out. But Carlos Gomez “doubled” on a misplay by both David Murphy and Leonys Martin driving in Segura and Braun, and then Yuniesky Betancourt continued his hot stretch by golfing a pitch for a home run out to center. So instead of getting out of the inning stranding two runners, thanks to some horrible defense and bad luck, Grimm “gave up” five runs. But don’t let that scare you off.
Unlike Cingrani and Miller, Grimm has a nice three-pitch repertoire of fastball, curve and change-up, according to Brooks Baseball. His 77-mph curveball is his out-pitch, as he throws it 33 percent of the time with two strikes against righties and 38 percent of the time with two strikes against lefties. He’s getting a swing and miss on just under 17 percent of his curveballs, and hitters have struck out 16 times in 33 at-bats ending in a curveball. Grimm’s success against Seattle in his second appearance against the Mariners and his 3.10 FIP and 3.72 xFIP, compared to his 2.28 ERA, suggest the 24-year-old righty is a positive investment.
One of the most hyped rookies coming into the season, San Diego’s Jedd Gyorko, got off to a slow start this season, hitting .210/.296/.258 through his first 17 games. But in his last 14 games “The Jerk” has hit six doubles and three homers while slashing .333/.357/.611 in 56 plate appearances. Even though Gyorko does deserve credit for hitting well recently he’s actually walking much less (3.5 percent in his last 14 games to 7.9 percent on the season) while striking out at about the same rate (19.6 percent; 20.5 percent). His last two home runs, hit off Wade LeBlanc and Ian Kennedy, were hit off hanging breaking balls up in the zone that any hitter should crush, and his first homer, off Scott Feldman, barely cleared the ivy at Wrigley Field, and according to Hit Tracker Online, wouldn’t have been a home run in any other park. Gyorko’s owned in 38 percent of ESPN leagues and 30 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so I’d suggest any of his owners try to trade him as soon as possible.
Unlike Gyorko, Colorado’s Nolan Arenado has produced from day one (OK, day two) in the bigs. In his first seven games Arenado has four multi-hit games and three home runs while hitting .323/.364/.677. He crushed a grand slam off David Price Saturday then hit another bomb off Alex Cobb Sunday. If you’re one of the lucky ones whose league-mates haven’t pounced on Arenado yet run to the waiver wire and get him. He won’t continue to hit this well, but hitting in a good lineup in Colorado will obviously help him. But his solid prospect profile and plate discipline show us good things should be coming. If he stays up for the rest of the season – he should – expect an average around .290, close to 20 homers and a bunch of doubles.
Monitoring the Minors
- Allen Webster, Boston’s No. 2 pitching prospect according to MLB.com, will make his second big-league start of the season today against the Twins after he was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace Joel Hanrahan. It’ll probably be just a short-term stay in Boston for the 23-year-old, but he’s worth a spot-start against one of the worst offensive teams in MLB. Webster started April 21 against the Royals and pitched six innings of two-run ball striking out five and walking only one.
- Everyone’s favorite speedster, Billy Hamilton, is struggling in his first taste of Triple-A. After stealing 155 bases in 132 games between High-A and Double-A last season, Hamilton’s stolen 17 bases and only been caught twice in 28 games at Triple-A Louisville. However, he’s only hitting .189/.256/.270, and with how well Shin-Soo Choo’s playing in Cincinnati it doesn’t seem like Hamilton will be rushed to the majors anytime soon.