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Baseball Daily Dose

Jarred Kelenic Shows Signs of Life

by Mark Lindquist
Updated On: April 15, 2022, 10:17 am ET

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Ah, April, the fantasy manager’s biggest headache month. Is a slump just a slump? Or is it an indicator of a rotten season waiting to unfold? While it is easy to cut bait early, your humble author subscribes to a “hold steady through the first four weeks of the season” approach. Jarred Kelenic would be a perfect example of that borderline guy who makes you feel weird early. Kelenic is just 22 years old but has yet to leave much of a solid mark in the majors to this juncture of his career.

The impetus to cut bait is understandable given the lack of track record. However, you just drafted Kelenic as an upside lottery ticket less than a month ago. And it’s not even Easter yet. As difficult as it might be to simply sit back and exercise patience, consider giving your guys a long leash over the first few weeks. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, and those boom-bust guys who are struggling on your bench are going to have plenty of time to hit their upside before season’s end.

Hitters with an EDGE

Manny Machado – 5-for-6, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 R, 2 SB

Machado struck for a two-run homer against Will Smith – you make the joke, we aren’t touching that one – in the seventh inning, the most emphatic hit on a big, big day for the slugger. While he has collected hits in 6-of-8 games to date, this was just his second multi-hit showing of the campaign.

Eric Hosmer – 4-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R

That the above Machado was not the lone Padres batter to finish with four or more hits tells you all you need to know about the state of Atlanta’s pitching in this one. Hosmer has already hit five doubles in 26 at-bats. He had entered the contest fighting against an 0-for-6 over his last two games before breaking out in style on Thursday. 

Jarred Kelenic – 2-for-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB

Kelenic entered action on Thursday with just one single in 15 at-bats. He provided fantasy managers (and more importantly, himself) a moment to breathe in a win over the White Sox, here. At just 22 years old, Kelenic has plenty of room to grow and develop as the season progresses.

Daniel Vogelbach – 4-for-6, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 3 R

Vogelbach flirted with the cycle against the Nationals, falling just a triple short in the end. He opened his huge day with a leadoff home run against Joan Adon. Vogelbach had started the season with just a single in eight at-bats, but has really cooked over his last two games, going 6-for-10 combined against the Cubs and Nats.

Corey Seager – 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, BB

Seager teed off on a Brian Moran offering for a two-run tater in the fourth inning, after Shohei Ohtani was relieved of duty. The homer was his first of the season. He has recorded multi-hit efforts in 4-of-6 games to date. While Seager has gone for double-digit home runs in each of the past three seasons, he has not topped 20 dingers since the 2017 campaign.

Jonah Heim – 3-for-4, HR, 5 RBI, 3 R

Heim smashed a grand slam off Shohei Ohtani in the second inning, his second home run of the season. After hitting just .196/.239/.358 in 82 games last season, he has been blistering the ball to the tune of a .545/.615/1.091 in 11 at-bats this spring. We expect Heim to cool down, but he’s got a good thing going for him right now and fantasy managers in streaming formats wouldn’t be out of bounds to consider riding Heim’s bat while it’s smoking hot.

Will Smith – 2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI

Smith went little in the first inning via an infield RBI single before going big, big, big in the eighth inning with a three-run home run.

Pitchers with an EDGE

Joe Musgrove – 6 2/3 innings, 4 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 0 BB

Musgrove was very good in his first start of the season, limiting the Diamondbacks to two runs in six innings. He went even longer on Thursday against the Braves, to even sharper effect. In 12 2/3 innings this season, Musgrove has posted a sparkling 14/0 K/BB ratio.

Kevin Gausman - 5 2/3 innings, 6 H, 2 ER, 9 K, 0 BB

Both runs on Gausman’s line scored on RBI singles by Jose Trevino, while the nine strikeouts would have been tied for his fourth-best mark during the 2020 season. 

Sandy Alcantara – 6 1/3 innings, 7 H, 2 ER, 5 K, 1 BB

Credit for making adjustments, here, as Alcantara walked five against the Giants in his first start of the campaign. Just one walk against the Phillies on Thursday, which allowed him to stretch out into the seventh inning after going just five last time he toes the rubber.

Logan Gilbert – 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER (0 earned), 4 K, 0 BB

Just by dint of the fact that Gilbert left the mound without an earned run on his line gets him a minor spotlight, here, but it would be nice to see him pitch beyond the fifth inning (something which he has not done in either of his starts this season).

Brandon Woodruff – 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB

Another early-season start of the “nice but not long enough” variety. Woodruff was blistered for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Cubs in his first start of the season. 

EDGE Priority Pickup

Myles Straw, OF, Cleveland Guardians – Available in 33 percent of Yahoo leagues

Straw has just one extra-base hit in 25 at-bats this season, but his appeal comes in his wheels, not his pop. With the way that Straw has been getting on base in the early going this season – batting .360 or 9-for-25 – he is worth an add as an upside source of steals. Already, his hot start has helped him to get off to the races with four stolen bases. Straw is about 25 percent of the way to topping the career-best 17 swipes he posted last season. 

Closing Time

Dany Jimenez shut the door for his first career save in Oakland’s 6-3 win over the Rays. It was an unflashy ninth which saw him throw 20 pitches (15 strikes) without recording a strikeout or walk. Lou Trivino was unavailable after pitching on back-to-back days.

Michael King, and not Aroldis Chapman, picked up the save in Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Blue Jays. That’s because Chapman was a mess, walking the first three batters he faced (with a wild pitch tossed in just for effect) before leaving King to play Houdini for the night. King did just that, too, striking out George Springer looking before inducing a soft Bo Bichette lineout double-play. King would figure to see some save chances if Chapman ever went down injured for an extended amount of time.

Gregory Soto handled the Royals in a scoreless ninth to pick up his second save of the season. He did walk one in the contest, but otherwise managed to avoid trouble. Soto saved 18 games last season and it would not be beyond the pale to see him top that mark by a good bit this summer.

Mychal Givens struck out two to preserve the Cubs’ 5-2 win over the Rockies on Thursday. Kris Bryant did manage a one-out single against the reliever, but that knock did not end up going anywhere. David Robertson will continue to work as Chicago’s primary closer.

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Friday’s Matchup of the Day

Carlos Rodon (SFG) vs. Zach Plesac (CLE)

A showdown between two starters who are coming off strong openers. Plesac allowed just three hits and no runs into the sixth inning against the Royals while Rodon struck out 12 across five innings against the Marlins. Rodon had five double-digit strikeout performances last season and he reminded last time out why he was something of a darling in fantasy drafts this spring. If Plesac and Rodon duel it out in a low-scoring affair, that would not surprise us.

 

AL Quick Hits: One day after going yard three times, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. struck out a career-high four times vs. the Yankees. … Mike Trout hit his second homer of the season. … Guardians officially signed Jose Ramirez to a seven-year, $141 million contract extension. … Mitch Haniger hit his third homer of the season. … Teoscar Hernandez hit IL with a left oblique strain. … Jordan Montgomery (knee) should be good to go vs. the Orioles. … Red Sox reportedly not in extension talks with Nathan Eovaldi. … James Kaprielian (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment Friday. … Javier Baez (thumb) was scratched for Friday.
 

NL Quick Hits: Jonathan India exited against the Dodgers due to right hamstring tightness. … Mike Clevinger (knee) struck out five over two innings in minors rehab work. … Ronald Acuña Jr. (knee) is close to starting a rehab assignment. … Mike Minor came out of his rehab start with renewed pain in his left shoulder. …  Blake Snell to the IL with a left abductor strain. … Tyler O’Neill’s arbitration hearing is reportedly set for the first week of May. … Pirates and OF Bryan Reynolds agreed to two-year, $13.5 contract to dodge arbitration.

Mark Lindquist

Mark Lindquist covers MLB, NHL and NASCAR for NBC Sports EDGE. Reach out to him at @markrlindquist on Twitter.