Welcome to official start of the 2014 season! Hopefully by the time you’re reading this it is the afternoon, because you slept in after waking up at 4 am to watch a baseball game. That’s the behavior of a normal person, right?
On the agenda:
1. Bruce Rondon to have Tommy John surgery
2. Tanner Scheppers continues to impress
3. More injuries for the Cincinnati Reds
Bruce Rondon to have Tommy John surgery
Projected setup man — or at least high leverage middle reliever — Bruce Rondon will miss the 2014 season by undergoing Tommy John surgery. Rondon battled elbow issues last year, but this year the pain came back suddenly. Last year Rondon was a candidate to be named closer, though with the addition of Joe Nathan, Rondon’s spot was solidified as a setup role. The Tigers haven’t been known for their bullpen strength in recent seasons and the loss of Rondon thins out a bullpen already full of questions. If one happens to play in a holds league, then Al Alburquerque is an okay candidate if you can handle his walk rate.
Tanner Scheppers continues to impress
You’ve read it dozens of time already, but it is worth reiterating: spring training stats don’t matter much. With that out of the way, let’s look at some spring training stats! I’m kidding. Just know the Texas Rangers have question marks about their rotation and bullpen, and it seems as though Scheppers is a good answer to both questions. Not at the same time mind you, but compartmentalized, Scheppers is a good answer. Yes, his strikeout rate fell last year, his swinging strikeout rate jumped from 8.7% in 2012 to 10% last season. His first strike rate also spiked from 53.3% to over 60% in 2013. On top of that, Scheppers even induced more swings out of the strike zone last year, again showing an increase from 2012 to last season at 26.5% and 37.9% respectively. Those rates all came with Scheppers coming out of the bullpen, however he has posted strong numbers in a starter’s role this spring. Regardless of where he lands in real life, Scheppers will be on as many of my fantasy teams as possible. He is currently available in over 90% of ESPN and CBS leagues and 85% of Yahoo! formats.
More injuries for the Cincinnati Reds
On top of losing closer Aroldis Chapman to a come-back line drive, the Reds have also most likely lost starter Mat Latos to the disabled list to begin the season. This isn’t shocking news, as the club had been grooming Alfredo Simon for some time to be stretched out as a starter. Even with the foresight and preparations made for this it is still bad news for the a Reds club that is being ravaged by injuries.
At this point I’m waiting for the fire marshal to shut down the Reds training room; it has to be at max capacity. On top of injuries to Chapman and Latos as well as lingering issues with Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall, add Devin Mesoraco to the list of injured players. Mesoraco left yesterday’s game with a strained left oblique. He tweaked it several days ago in the batting cage and though it doesn’t seem serious, however the club won’t know more for another day or two.
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