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10 Burning Questions: Gavin Stone, Abraham Toro, Luis Gil (Fantasy Baseball)

10 Burning Questions: Gavin Stone, Abraham Toro, Luis Gil (Fantasy Baseball)

What an eventful week for fantasy baseball! There were massive weeks from stars such as Aaron Judge and Rafael Devers. Paul Skenes‘ second start delivered a remarkable performance. Of course, questions also arose from poor performances. Read this week’s 10 Fantasy Baseball Burning Questions below for bullpen updates, struggling hitter analysis, and more.

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10 Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions

Is Gavin Stone delivering on his prospect pedigree?

In his first try at the Major Leagues, Gavin Stone struggled. This past season, he had a 9 ERA. It was surprising for a pitcher who was considered a universal top-100 prospect. He seems to have turned the corner now with four straight quality starts.

There have been two changes from this past season to this season. First, he has suppressed hits at a better rate. He has allowed fewer hits (40 compared to 46) even though he has pitched 13 more innings. Second, he has allowed only three home runs as opposed to the eight last season. The next step in his progression will be to see if he can increase his strikeouts to the rates we saw in the minor leagues. Regardless, he is a must-start pitcher at this point in the season.

What is Josh Naylor‘s ceiling?

Josh Naylor has become the least heralded star in all Major League baseball. This is already his sixth season at 26 years old. This is shaping up to be his best season yet.

Through a quarter of the season, Naylor is on pace for new career highs in every counting stat. Considering he has a sixth-percentile sprint speed, he likely will slow from his current stolen base pace (even though he managed 10 last season). New career highs in runs, home runs and RBI are all likely. He currently is batting 252, but that should continue to rise. First base is a top-heavy position, but Naylor is a top-10 option.

Does Abraham Toro have fantasy value?

It feels as if Abraham Toro is a career journeyman considering that Oakland is already his fourth team. Yet, he will play this entire season as a 27-year-old which is often when a player is coming into their prime. That may just be what is happening this season.

Toro has solidified himself as the Oakland leadoff hitter batting in that position in the last 13 games. Any leadoff hitter carries more value regardless of the lineup context. Toro is also dual-eligible at second and third base which also means he covers both middle and corner infield positions. He also is playing quite well. Since moving to leadoff, he has hit one home run and stole a base while batting a robust 316. He should be on a fantasy roster.

Can Luis Gil continue to succeed with this many walks?

Blake Snell won the National League Cy Young Award this pst season while leading the league in walks. He also led the league in ERA because he limited his hits to a measly 5.8 per 9 innings. So far this season, Luis Gil is doing his best Blake Snell impression.

Gil has issued 27 walks. To be successful with that many baserunners, you must suppress hits and home runs which is precisely what Gil has done so far. He allows even fewer hits per nine innings than Snell last season at 4.4. In regards to the home runs, he has only allowed three total. More hits will drop and a few more will go over the fence which will lead to an ERA rise. As that happens though, he’ll continue accumulating strikeouts in bunches (he had 14 on Saturday against the White Sox). This is looking like a breakout season for Gil.

Is Alexis Diaz secure as the closer for Cincinnati?

Alexis Diaz’s season began with a blowup outing-one third of an inning and three earned runs. Throughout April, he performed well enough to drop his ERA down to 2.75. The start of May has been a different story.

In May, Diaz has pitched 4.2 innings over six appearances. In those 4.2 innings, he has an ERA over 15. Suddenly, his season ERA is up to 7.02. His biggest issue has been a large increase in the walks. He was never a control pitcher with nearly five walks per nine innings the past two seasons, but this season that number has ballooned to seven walks per nine innings. Throw in a career-worst strand rate at only 57% and his issues are apparent. The Reds’ issue is that no one else in their bullpen has pitched particularly well. Fernando Cruz is the most likely candidate to replace him, but he has an ERA over 5 (his FIP is under 2). Until we hear differently, expect Diaz to receive an opportunity to work through his struggles.

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Is Edwin Diaz secure as the closer for the New York Mets?

Alexis Diaz’ more proven brother, Edwin Diaz, has had his own issues closing out games early in the season. He has proven to be one of baseball’s best closers in the past, but he is taking a temporary reprieve from the role.

Over the weekend, Mets’ manager Carlos Mendoza mentioned rebuilding Diaz’s confidence in a less stressful situation. Diaz indicated he wouldn’t be upset pitching in a lower-leverage role for now. While you shouldn’t be dropping Diaz, fantasy managers will want to know who could step in. The team turned to Reed Garrett for a two-inning save on Sunday. He has an ERA of only 0.72.

How does Javier Assad keep it going?

Shota Imanaga leads baseball in both ERA and FIP. He has been the best pitcher in all of baseball. His Cubs’ teammate, Javier Assad, has been not far behind.

Assad has a 4-0 record with a 1.49 ERA. A big part of his success has been limiting home runs as he has allowed just two all season. He’ll give home runs at a higher rate as the season progresses. He’ll also allow more baserunners to score as his 87% strand rate is unsustainable. Even when those things happen, he’ll still be a usable fantasy pitcher.

Can Xander Bogaerts‘ average rebound?

There have been seasons when Xander Bogaerts’ counting stats have lagged. Regardless, he has always been a reliable source of batting average. He has not hit below 270 since 2014. It makes his start to this season surprising.

Bogaerts’ triple slash line is 220/268/319. All of those marks would be career lows by a substantial margin. At least some of his struggles can be attributed to a 259 BABIP. That isn’t especially low, but he has consistently posted BABIPs higher than 320 with his line drive-oriented swing. The line drives haven’t gone away so expect a rebound, but not to the 290 range we’ve seen before.

Where are these strikeouts coming from with Randy Arozena?

Randy Arozarena was not drafted his average contributions, but rather what he could offer in the counting statistics. Through the first quarter of the season, he has delivered eight home runs and seven stolen bases. His average though has plummeted to new depths.

Arozarenza’s average has dropped every season of his career. This season he is currently batting 158. The strikeouts are also a concern. In his first few seasons in Tampa Bay, he was striking out 28% of the time. That number had been dropping, but early this season it is 30%. His main issue has been making contact in the zone. He is below 70% in that regard for the first time in his career. Continue playing him for the counting statistics, but the average is unlikely to help.

Can Evan Carter be dropped in fantasy baseball?

Most of the offensive rookies have been disappointments this season. Continue exercising patience in most cases, but Evan Carter may be one who can be moved on from.

It seems quite clear that the Rangers have no intention of playing Carter in any matchup with a left-handed pitcher. He has begun his career 3-37 against them. This past week, he sat out five consecutive games with back inflammation, but hopefully, that is now healed. The Rangers have in-house options in Robbie Grossman, Leody Taveras, Ezequiel Duran, and Wyatt Langford to replace Carter in the lineup. In five outfielder leagues, keep rostering Carter, but in leagues with only three outfielders you can do better than a part-time player.

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