Depth Chart Review: Ryan Weathers, Deivi García, Luis Patiño (2021 Fantasy Baseball)
In this week’s Depth Chart Review, we have several young prospects either making their 2021 debut or earning some playing time due to injuries and other transactions. What a fun Padres-Dodgers series over the weekend, where Fernando Tatis Jr. hit five home runs over the weekend.
Then on Sunday, veteran Madison Bumgarner tossed a seven-inning no-hit shutout against the Braves in the second game of their doubleheader. Even Jake Odorizzi left his start after 0.1 innings, and some guy named Kent Emanuel (Google this pitcher right now) finished the rest of the game in his major league debut. Say what? Outside of Alex Kiriloff, most of the notable transactions involve either minor leaguers or younger players in Ryan Weathers stepping up.
Depth Chart Review for Standard (10-12 Teamers)
Gavin Lux (2B – LAD)
The Dodgers activated Gavin Lux on Monday after dealing with a wrist injury. In 45 plate appearances, Gavin Lux hit .220 with zero home runs, four runs, five RBI, and one steal. Although it hadn’t translated into much fantasy production, Lux made a ton of contact in the zone, evidenced by a 92.7% Z-Contact% with solid plate discipline metrics across the board. Continue holding onto Lux in 10-12 team leagues, or grab him as a bench stash if he’s hanging on waivers. On Monday, the Dodgers immediately slotted him back into the lineup batting seventh.
Zach McKinstry (2B/OF – LAD)
Over the weekend, the Dodgers placed Zach McKinstry on the injured list with an oblique injury. That’s a tough blow for the Dodgers and fantasy managers since McKinstry played in the infield and outfield. Through 58 plate appearances, McKinstry had three home runs, seven runs, and 14 RBI with a .296 batting average. Although he’s not lighting up the Baseball Savant data, McKinstry boasts a 93.8% Z-Contact% and 80.4% Contact%, both much better than the league average. As one of the more underrated hitters, hopefully, McKinstry returns soon. Think Jake Cronenworth of 2020 as McKinstry could look like a waiver wire wonder throughout the season.
Who Replaces Dinelson Lamet?
Padres pitcher Dinelson Lamet made his 2021 debut last week, then left the game with forearm tightness. Within a day, the Padres placed Lamet on the 10-day injured list with a confusing note that Lamet will not head for an MRI since he underwent imaging several times. So, who replaces Lamet?
Ryan Weathers (SP – SD)
As of now, it looks like Ryan Weathers is the likely replacement after his six strikeout performance against the Dodgers. Weathers went 5.2 scoreless innings with one hit, one walk, and six punchouts. Anytime a pitcher performs well against the Dodgers, we take notice. Weathers primarily uses a four-seam and slider mix. During his start against the Dodgers, he elicited a 38% whiff rate on his slider and a 41% called strike plus whiff rate (CSW%) on his four-seamer.
For now, Weathers extended his leash in the Padres rotation and should provide relevance and production in 15-team leagues. In 15.1 innings, Weathers has a 0.59 ERA, 0.59 WHIP, 29.6% strikeout rate, and 9.3% walk rate. When looking at his 2019 season at Single-A, Weathers’ strikeout rate and walk rate increased in 2021. Although the whiff rates don’t scream high strikeouts, it’s likely due to the small sample of innings and pitches. Pick up Weathers in 15-team leagues if he’s hanging around on waivers.
Update: Padres manager Jayce Tingler noted that Ryan Weathers will stay in the starting rotation for now. Good news for the young lefty.
Jake Odorizzi (SP – HOU)
On Saturday, Jake Odorizzi left the game with an injury. According to Angels beat writer Jack Harris, he noted that Odorizzi might have injured his arm. Later reports indicated Odorizzi left with right forearm tightness. Then on Monday, the Astros placed him on the 10-day injured list. It sounds like the Astros don’t think it’s a long-term issue, but keep an eye on this situation.
Before exiting on Saturday, Odorizzi only threw five pitches. After some excitement when Odorizzi signed late with the Astros, he hasn’t pitched well with a 10.13 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, and 11 strikeouts in eight innings so far in 2021. It’s a small sample, so maybe the late ramp-up or injury contributed to the struggles. Or possibly both. In 10-12 team leagues with no injured list spots, you could consider cutting Odorizzi if there’s a streaming pitcher or two you like on waivers.
Some pitcher many hadn’t heard of (including myself) in Kent Emanuel finished the rest of the game for the Astros. Emanuel made his MLB debut on Saturday and casually finished with five hits, two earned runs, zero walks, and five strikeouts in 8.2 innings. He almost threw a complete game in his first appearance in the majors. That’s pretty wild. Emanuel used a three-pitch mix with a sinker, changeup, and slider. The changeup and slider elicited a decent whiff and called strike plus whiff rate (CSW%). Emanuel’s changeup resulted in a 29% whiff rate and 29% CSW%. Meanwhile, the slider finished with a 30% whiff rate and 33% CSW%.
Who replaces Jake Odorizzi? Kent Emanuel made his case on Saturday, but don’t overlook Luis Garcia, who made a couple of starts in four appearances. Although Garcia hasn’t dominated by any means, he has a 3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 22.2% strikeout rate, and 11.1% walk rate in 15 innings. Both Emanuel and Garcia seem like the most likely pitchers to take Odorizzi’s spot in the short term with the preference towards Garcia.
Mike Yastrzemski (OF – SFG)
On Sunday, Mike Yastrzemski left the game with an oblique issue. Then on Monday, he underwent an MRI that showed a mild oblique strain. It sounds like Yastrzemski likely won’t hit the injured list, but manager Gabe Kapler expects him to miss five to six games. Assuming he only misses that many games, maybe Austin Slater, Alex Dickerson, or Darin Ruf earn a few extra games in the short term.
Kapler suggests Yaz might miss 5-6 games.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) April 26, 2021
Depth Chart Review for Deeper Leagues (15+ Teams)
Alex Kiriloff (OF – MIN)
On Friday, the Twins called up Alex Kiriloff with Miguel Sano hitting the injured list. Kiriloff made a brief debut in the 2020 postseason, where he logged four plate appearances with a .250 batting average. Then in 2021, the Twins called him up as the 27th man for a doubleheader, then he was sent down. Through 18 plate appearances, Kiriloff has one hit for a .056 batting average. That’s not great, but it’s early on.
Throughout Kiriloff’s minor league career, he boasted strong OBP skills with low strikeout rates. In 2019 at Double-A, Kiriloff totaled nine home runs and seven steals with a triple slash of .283/.343/.413. Kiriloff projects as having an above-average hit tool and power, which could translate into some offensive production. Make sure to speculatively pick up Kiriloff in 15-team leagues.
Jordan Romano (RP – TOR)
Jordan Romano returned from the injured list on Saturday after dealing with an elbow injury. After Kirby Yates headed towards Tommy John surgery, some thought Romano would take over the Blue Jays’ closer job. However, Julian Merryweather earned a couple of saves for the Blue Jays, then landed on the injured list with an oblique injury. Just when we thought it’s Romano time, Romano landed on the injured list. That opened the door for Rafael Dolis to sneak in save chances, and Dolis earned back-to-back saves in their weekend series with the Rays.
The tricky piece with Dolis involves the high walk rates. Dolis has 11 strikeouts and seven walks, which isn’t a good profile for a closer. In Romano’s first appearance since returning, he allowed two walks and one earned run in 0.1 innings. Could Jordan Romano factor into some saves? Probably, but Romano finished with his career-best season in 2020 with a 1.23 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 14.2 innings. It’s tricky with relievers since it’s such a small sample. However, the Blue Jays closer situation seems fluid, so it’s difficult to nail down one specific reliever to feel confident about.
Josh Lindblom (P – MIL)
Unfortunately, Josh Lindblom landed on the 10-day injured list on Saturday with a right knee injury. He made a relief appearance on Friday, and it ended quite poorly. Brett Anderson left after 11 pitches on Friday, so Lindblom came in and allowed nine hits, eight earned runs, and three walks with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings. With Anderson leaving due to an injury, there was a chance Lindblom could slip into the rotation. However, this changes that plan or projection at this time.
Lindblom uses seven different pitches and showed some potential for landing a starting rotation job. However, let’s consider who may receive more opportunities with Lindblom and Brett Anderson’s injury. Brent Suter is a sneaky solid reliever that made starts in the past. In 2020 and 2021 so far, Suter has a 2.98 ERA, a 26.6% strikeout rate, and a 4.3% walk rate in 45.1 innings. His strikeout rate ticked up in 2020 and 2021 primarily as a reliever, but he typically and continues to limit walks.
In 15-team leagues, I would speculatively scoop up Suter. Fantasy managers could even plug him in as a reliever for innings, strikeouts, and ratios with a chance for a win. Other options for the Brewers include Eric Lauer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Zack Godley. However, I like Suter the most since we’ve seen the current and recent production.
Setback for Ke’Bryan Hayes
Unfortunately, last week, Ke’Bryan Hayes aggravated the wrist injury that sets him back a bit. With so much hype before the 2021 season (sorry, Brendan Tuma), it stings a bit that Hayes may take a bit more time to return. Hayes hit one home run with a .200 batting average in seven plate appearances to start the season. This came after his 2020 major league debut, where Hayes finished with five home runs and one steal with a .376 batting average. Initially, I held some skepticism with Hayes, yet it looks like he has more power than expected.
With the setback for Hayes, it solidifies playing time for Phillips Evans even though Evans has struggled in recent games. Through 84 plate appearances, Evans has four home runs, 12 runs, six RBI, and one steal with a .243 batting average. Unfortunately, Evans continues to see his batting average and on-base skills drop. Based on opportunity and plate appearances, Evans provides value via stat accumulation in rotisserie leagues.
On a positive note, the Baseball Savant data rates above-average for Phillip Evans. He boasts a 9.1% barrel rate, 109.6 mph maximum exit velocity, and 50.9% hard-hit rate, all quality numbers across the board. Keep holding onto Evans in 15-team leagues even if you need to bench him since the Pirates only play five games this week. Don’t discount the name of Evans as a 28-year-old hitter that burst onto the scene. In deeper leagues, one could consider Erik Gonzáles, who holds 3B/SS eligibility, but more relevant in NL-Only leagues. Through 67 plate appearances, Gonzáles has one home run, four runs, and 12 RBI with a .262 batting average.
Nate Pearson (P – TOR)
In 2020, Blue Jays pitcher Nate Pearson underwhelmed with a 6.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, a 19.8% strikeout rate, and a 16% walk rate. Although all those surface numbers look awful, it’s a small sample. Pearson pitched two to three innings in an intrasquad game on Friday after dealing with a groin injury with a plan to build Pearson up to five innings before returning.
George Springer will play centre field in an intrasquad game on Friday, per Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins. Nate Pearson will also pitch 2-3 innings in that game.
Springer’s getting close to being activated from IL. Pearson’s further off; still needs to get stretched out to 5 innings.
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) April 22, 2021
Last season, Nate Pearson used his four-seamer 50.6% and slider 36.1% of the time. It’s only a small sample, and Pearson’s slider resulted in a 14.8% swinging-strike rate and a 34.7% whiff rate in 2020. Hopefully, he’s healthy upon return because Pearson is a high upside starting pitcher that the Blue Jays desperately need, especially with their ace Hyun-Jin Ryu leaving with a glute injury that doesn’t sound serious.
Nico Hoerner (2B – CHC)
With Joc Pederson hitting the injured list, Nico Hoerner received the call, and he started on Friday. Hoerner hit well in a blowout win against the Brewers, as he went 3-for-4 with one RBI, one walk, and two doubles. He smoked three batted balls on Friday with an exit velocity of 103 mph or above on all of them. If the Cubs give Hoerner more playing time, he could help provide a solid .260-.270 batting average with a bit of some power and speed, think like 5-8 home runs and 5-8 steals. Consider picking him up in 15-team leagues.
Miguel Cabrera (1B – DET)
The Tigers activated veteran Miguel Cabrera from the injured list after dealing with a biceps injury. If he’s on waivers in a 15-team league, Cabrera is worth a pickup for teams needing power. However, Cabrera isn’t quite relevant in 10-12 team leagues given the depth at first base. In 2020, Cabrera had a 9.7% barrel rate and 49.7% hard-hit rate. Although he’s far from prime Cabrera, he can still provide some pop assuming the biceps injury doesn’t impact him too much.
Deivi García (P – NYY)
Yankees pitcher Deivi García pitched on Monday against the Orioles. García went four innings with three hits, two earned runs, three walks, and four strikeouts. He used a four-pitch mix, and his secondary pitches elicited a decent amount of whiffs and CSW%, particularly, García’s slider and curveball.
Deivi García made his major league debut in 2020 with six starts, a 4.98 ERA, and 1.19 WHIP in 34.1 innings. García made four starts where he went six-plus innings, and that’s a positive sign. He finished with a 22.6% strikeout rate and a 4.1% walk rate. However, in the minors, García typically had strikeout rates above 30%, with walk rates hovering around 11% in 2018 and 2019.
García primarily uses three pitches in the four-seam (59.6%), changeup (16.9%), and curveball (14.5%), but he also sprinkles in a slider 9% of the time. The curve and changeup grade as above-average to plus pitches, and they both elicited a decent amount of whiffs. In 2020, García’s changeup and curve both had a swinging strike rate above 14% and whiff rates above 28%. Let’s see if the low walk rate sticks because that profile can play if he shows above-average control and command. If the Yankees use a six-man rotation, García is worth picking up in 15-team leagues.
Update: On Monday night, the Yankees optioned García back to their alternate site. Just hold onto him for now if you already picked him up in case he earns another opportunity soon.
Depth Chart Review for Minor Leaguers
Luis Patiño (P – TB)
On Sunday, Luis Patiño opened for the Rays against the Blue Jays. Patiño didn’t allow a hit or an earned run with one walk and three strikeouts in 2.2 innings. He threw 42 pitches and used a four-seamer (62%), slider (26%), and changeup (12%). It’s a small sample, but the slider elicited a 75% whiff rate and 45% CSW%. He’s worth speculating on in 15-team leagues as a bench stash.
Brent Honeywell (P – TB)
On Saturday, Brent Honeywell served as an opener against the Blue Jays, with Ryan Yarbrough to follow. Honeywell labored through one inning since he allowed three hits, three earned runs, one walk, and two strikeouts. Similar to after his previous outing, the Rays optioned Honeywell to their alternate site on Saturday.
A couple of weeks back, we mentioned Honeywell in a Depth Chart Review article when he made his 2021 debut. Honeywell pitched two scoreless innings with two punchouts. It seems logical to have Honeywell in an opener-type role to give him reps while also monitoring his health and innings totals. Unfortunately, he won’t factor into wins with that role but could provide some decent ratios and strikeouts. He’s not worth adding in weekly lineup leagues given the Rays not hesitating to option Honeywell after his outings.
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