Rookie Report, Week 3: Matt Adams, Evan Gattis and potential call-ups
Matt Adams is a big man. Matt Adams is a strong man. Matt Adams hits baseballs very, very far. His three homers in only five games and 18 at-bats this season have traveled an average of 417 feet. “The Mountain” is batting a ridiculous .611 this season with five extra-base hits. Adams’ playing time has been sporadic as the Cardinals have a logjam of quality players available in the corner outfield spots and at first base. He’s only started and finished two games, being replaced in his other two starts.
Adams started out hot last season too, being called up May 20, starting 14 of his first 16 games and hitting .294/.357/.510 with 15 hits, two homers and five doubles. In his next 11 games (nine starts), Adams hit .171/.171/.200 with only one extra-base hit, 12 strikeouts and no walks. So manager Mike Matheny knows how to approach this situation, and he’ll only plug in Adams when he believes he’ll have a chance to succeed.
For now, Adams makes a great daily-league play at DraftKings when he’s starting, which he’ll do mostly against righties whom he’s hit .337/.375/.590 with all five of his career homers against. If an injury fells one of the Cardinals’ regulars Adams will be a must-get in yearly leagues, but don’t have too big of expectations for him when/if he gets regular playing time.
Another rookie slugger, Atlanta’s Evan Gattis, has been tearing the cover off the ball, hitting three homers in his past five games. Gattis, 26, hadn’t played above Double-A before this year so the power and overall performance is definitely a surprise. He started out catching for the Braves, but he’s now playing first base after Freddie Freeman was sent to the DL. So he’ll continue to get playing time for at least the next few weeks at first or behind the plate until Brian McCann comes back, and we’re still unsure when he’ll return.
But Gattis’s performance early in the season isn’t fluky. He’s walking a good amount and not striking out too much. His average on balls in play is under .300 so we don’t need to worry about regression there. He (probably) won’t keep hitting homers almost every other game, but batting cleanup for the near future in a loaded lineup will present him with plenty of opportunities for RBIs and runs. He’s not a top-five catcher by price at DraftKings, but his 11.4 points per game is tied for second among backstops. So keep riding him in daily leagues, and pick him up if he’s available in your league because he could qualify at two spots and he’ll continue to see plenty of at-bats for at least the short term.
Monitoring the Minors
- Archie Bradley, one of Arizona’s best prospects, won the California League’s Pitcher of the Week award for last week after he pitched 11.2 innings of shutout ball. Bradley struck out 19 while only walking three, which is a good sign because he struggled with his command last year. Many evaluators believe the 20-year-old Bradley has top-of-the-rotation potential so keep an eye on him for a late-season call-up, like the D-backs did last year with Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs.
- Wil Myers has yet to homer in nine games, but he’s hitting for average (.294) and his plate discipline is as good as ever (7:10 BB:K, .395 OBP). Tampa Bay’s left fielders, right fielders and DHs have cumulative OPSs of .582, .565 and .317, respectively. In other words, the players in the positions Myers could be playing in the bigs aren’t producing at all, and it’s hurting the Rays severely. They’re last in the AL East, and their -19 run differential is tied for second worst in the AL. Myers could honestly be up any day now, so he should be owned in almost every league.
- Tony Cingrani has been getting a lot of buzz lately mostly due to his performance but especially now that Johnny Cueto is going to miss some time. He had a very good 2012 at High-A and Double-A, and he also pitched five innings for the Reds late in the season. He’s been even better this year, striking out 26 in only 14.1 innings and walking only two. While the hype certainly is warranted due to his past and most recent performances, Cingrani’s only been ranked as a back-end top 100 prospect by multiple outlets and doesn’t project as a top starter in the majors. Don’t drop any established starter for him, but if you’re of the streaming sort and have Chad Billingsley or Jhoulys Chacin on your team go ahead and drop one of those guys for Cingrani and see how he does.