This is the first in what I intend to be a series of Entirely Random Articles. There is no rule besides that there are no rules. I have no idea what each article will contain, and I like it that way. It will be an assortment of items that I found interesting and/or noteworthy at the time of writing.
First up is Chris Davis. Davis is off to a blazing start this season, homering in each of the Orioles first three games, driving in a major league leading 11 runs. While he wasn’t one of Kendall’s Fantasy Crushes, “Crush” Davis was definitely a guy on my radar entering 2013.
Last season he saw his first real playing time since 2009 where he hit 21 home runs in 391 at bats, and he produced, knocking 33 out of the park, and doing so while hitting a respectable .270. Strike outs have been his weakness in the past… last year he struck out in over 32 percent of his at bats, which is basically dead on his career rate. In three games this year, he has 1 walk and 1 strike out. A positive sign, though i wouldn’t expect that it means much, as he had a 2:15 BB/K in spring training.
Strikeouts aside, throughout his minor league career, Davis owns a .318 average, all the while showing power, so its fair to dream that he could be a guy who hits .280 with 30 HR, which is crushworthy to this guy.
Next up is Roy Halladay. Boy-oh-boy, what do you make of Halladay these days. Roy is just a season detached from 5 consecutive top 5 Cy Young seasons, but in 2012 he faced decreased velocity, injury issues, and was not even a 1 WAR player. Enter 2013 and the same velocity questions and injury concerns followed him through spring training. You start to wonder if he could become Gred Maddux like, and transition away from a pitcher that could overpower guys to a pitcher that dominates with great secondary stuff and control. His spring numbers were bad though, and his 5.0 BB/9 didn’t bode well for being a control guy. He still struck out nearly a batter an inning, though, so something was still working for him. All things considered, though, there was no way I was willing to pay what would be necessary to grab him in any fantasy leagues.
Now that games count, he has one seriously weird start under his belt in 2013. If you look at the quick summary of the game, you will see that he only lasted 3.1 innings, and gave up 5 earned runs, giving him a 13.50 ERA on the season. What you see when you look at the detail is that of the 10 outs he recorded, all but 1 were via the strikeout, putting him at a 24.3 K/9. I have no idea what to make of that, but it’s damn interesting.
On to Evan Gattis. Gattis has a crazy back story that delayed his professional debut until age 23. When he did debut, though, he hit the ground running, putting up pretty good numbers every stop along the way. Even with good numbers, however, he has never been a top prospect. Debuting relatively late, he has been playing against mostly younger competition for his entire minor league career, so people find it difficult to rank him relative to other prospects. Thanks to a Brian McCann injury, Gattis got a spot on the Braves 25 man roster as the backup catcher, and it will be very interesting to see how he performs. The everyday catcher (until McCann returns) is Gerald Laird who really offers little upside offensively or defensively, so if Gattis can hit, he has a shot to steal away playing time, and give Atlanta something to think about when McCann’s contract comes to an end after this season.
Evan destroyed the ball this spring, hitting .368 with 6 home runs. He has gotten into one game this season, and he delivered a solo home run in his second at bat.
On to Julio Teheran. Teheran was Baseball America’s #5 prospect prior to 2011 and 2012, and the #4 prospect according to mlb.com prior 2012. Teheran had an awful 2012 campaign. He repeated AAA and his ERA nearly doubled from 2.55 to 5.08. His K/9 went down from 7.6 to 6.7, and his WHIP jumped up from 1.182 to 1.443. The story is that the Braves brass was not fond of Julio’s delivery and tried to change things up to make him less likely to injure himself. Well, after an extremely disappointing 2012 season they decided maybe the old way wasn’t so bad, and let him go back to his old mechanics. In the Dominican Winter League, he threw 16.2 innings, striking out 15, walking 4, and giving up only 2 hits. His dominance continued into the spring where he struck out 35 in 26 innings, registering an 1.04 ERA and a 0.615 WHIP.
Teheran earned the #5 spot in the Braves rotation, and has an opportunity to show that he belongs before Beachy returns from the disabled list. If he can pitch like it looked like he could prior to 2012, Atlanta will have a difficult decision on their hands. Teheran is scheduled to make his first start of the year on Saturday vs. the Cubs.