I don’t have any new adjectives for Shohei Ohtani. “Ridiculous” will have to suffice for now.
Ohtani clubbed two homers and knocked in eight runs Tuesday against Kansas City, then threw eight scoreless innings at them Wednesday, with 13 strikeouts.
Talk about your unicorns. One of one.
Shohei Ohtani is (fill in your own superlative here)
Ohtani is split into two players in Yahoo Fantasy Baseball, of course. Ohtani the hitter is currently the No. 16 batter in banked 5x5 value, while he stands 21st on the pitcher list. He’s appointment television, no matter what he’s doing on any given day,
When the Angels initially signed Ohtani, I wondered if it were realistic for him to maintain excellence in both hitting and pitching. I suspected he’d probably be best served giving one up and specializing in the other. Obviously, that’s been proven false, with last year’s glorious MVP season as the strongest proof. But this year’s dynamic season is a nice way of reinforcing things.
It’s frustrating that the Angels can’t seem to build a legitimate contender despite enjoying the peak years of Mike Trout and Ohtani. Can the Angels even retain Ohtani? He’s eligible for free agency after the 2023 season, and comically underpaid to this point in time. Someone is going to give him all the money, and I suspect we’ll see Ohtani in another city.
Enjoy him while you have him, Orange County.
Sticking with the Angels, we have to acknowledge the strange Reid Detmers story. Back on May 10, he threw a no-hitter against Tampa, needing just 108 pitches. He only walked one batter. Given that Detmers was the 10th overall pick of the 2020 draft, it was fair to wonder if a high-pedigree arm was spreading his wings.
Alas, Detmers hasn’t done much right since. His last six turns have been batting practice — 5.67 ERA, eight homers — and the Angels finally threw in the towel. Detmers was optioned to Triple-A on Wednesday.
The strikeout rate tells much of the story, as it usually does. Detmers only had two punchouts in his no-hitter, and for the year he’s recorded 44 whiffs against 21 walks over 58 innings. Those ratios don’t feed the cat in the shape of 2022 baseball. You can’t openly invite that much contact.
Detmers is trying to get by with a low-90s fastball, which isn’t impossible but requires some guile. His Statcast profile isn’t a fun view — he’s below league average in every percentile ranking at the top of the page. Perhaps Detmers will figure some things out over the next few years — he’s just 22, this story has a long way to go — but I will not be proactive adding him if and when the Angels recall him.
Maybe an older pitcher can make us forget about Detmers. Johnny Cueto takes the ball Thursday against Baltimore, a possible stream-to-perm opportunity. The Q has a 2.95 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over six starts and 42.2 innings.
Cueto’s strikeout rate is modest (33 whiffs), but he’s also around the plate and making some of his own luck. He’s inducing plenty of soft contact, and getting chases slightly above league average. Cueto’s peripheral-suggested ERA at Baseball Savant is 3.26. That would play in any of my leagues.
The White Sox need Cueto to have staying power, especially with Lucas Giolito in a monster funk. If you can’t get in on Cueto for Thursday, perhaps you can use him next week against Minnesota. He also might face Detroit after that, depending on seasonal flow. It’s still fun to watch this guy pitch.
Now let's move to a potential catcher to add ...
You might shrug at Jorge Alfaro these days, and I get it.
He’s in a timeshare in San Diego, splitting the catcher gig with Austin Nola. Alfaro’s career has been modest to this point.
But note that Alfaro homered in Wednesday’s victory, and it came as a DH. The Padres need him in the lineup. He’s now pushed his average to .289, and he has six homers. Given how ugly fantasy catcher has been this year, the bar to relevance is awfully low.
Alfaro has started 7-of-11 games, so he’s becoming an entrenched regular. And over the last 30 days, he’s the No. 7 catcher in banked value. Sounds like somebody who should be rostered in more than 13 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Is Amed Rosario on the come-up?
Once upon a time, Amed Rosario was tabbed as a future superstar. Nobody is saying that now. But the Guardians believe in Rosario, and he’s taken off over the last month.
Terry Francona decided to slot Rosario second about a month ago, and the results have been terrific. Rosario is batting .319 over that span, with 21 runs and a couple of homers. He’s also stolen five bases.
You won’t get a lot of walks from Rosario, and his homers are fairly rare. But so long as he keeps this prime lineup real estate — and slots in front of fantasy god, Jose Ramirez — you’ll keep my interest. Rosario is still free to grab in roughly half of Yahoo leagues.