Hunter Greene Electric in MLB Debut – April 11, 2022
Hunter Greene (SP-CIN) earned the W in his big-league debut as he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks while recording 7 punchouts over 5 innings of work. The 22 year-old fireballer threw 56 of his 92 offerings for strikes and surrendered a pair of big flies in the outing. Overall, it was a microcosm of Greene’s performance in Triple-A last year, as he fanned batters (10.9 K/9 over 65.1 innings), walked some (3.4 BB/9), and allowed a bunch of homers (1.5 HR/9 with a 17% HR/FB). There’s no denying the pure stuff, but he didn’t exactly dominate Triple-A bats (4.13 ERA and 4.04 xFIP) and it would be unreasonable to expect him to be an immediate star in the majors. It was nevertheless a solid first outing and he should have a couple more opportunities to establish himself as a member of the Reds rotation while Luis Castillo and Mike Minor are out, starting with a turn in Los Angeles against the Dodgers next week.
Carlos Carrasco (SP-NYM) pitched well against the Nationals on Sunday as he allowed just 1 run on 2 hits and no walks while fanning 5 over 5.2 innings of work. The 35 year-old righty fired 50 of his 72 pitches for strikes and surrendered a homer in the contest. It was an encouraging performance for Carrasco, who logged a 6.04 ERA, 8.4 K/9, and 3 BB/9 across 12 starts (53.2 innings) for the Mets last season, although his 4.32 xFIP indicates that he ran into some bad luck (namely a 63% strand rate and uncharacteristically high 20% HR/FB. While it’s too early to proclaim that he’s back to some level of his prime 2014-2018 form, the outing makes Carrasco interesting, especially as he lines up for a home start against Arizona next week.
Tyler Naquin (OF-CIN) went 2-4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored as he batted second against Atlanta on Sunday. The 30 year-old is a lock to start at least against righties after he proved useful for fantasy at times during the 2021 campaign. Overall, he logged a .270 average, 19 homers, and 70 RBI across 454 plate appearances as he missed some time due to injury and also dealt with a more crowded Cincinnati outfield (and no DH). Naquin likely won’t be a season-long asset given his tendency to whiff (28% strikeout rate last season), but he did log a healthy 42% hard-hit rate per Statcast last season en route to logging a wRC+ of 110 last year. He’s worth rostering while hot, as he was especially productive during a couple of hot streaks last season, so keep an eye on him to see if he catches fire.
Steven Kwan (OF-CLE) went 5-5 with a 2B and 4 runs scored against the Royals on Sunday. The 24 year-old rookie batted out of the 2-hole for Cleveland and is now hitting .800 with a pair of 2B through his first 14 big-league plate appearances. Kwan posted high batting averages throughout his minor-league career, and his hit tool is rated as plus-plus. Although he possesses plus speed, he hasn’t really applied that on the basepaths, as he’s never swiped more than 11 bags over an entire minor-league season. At 5’9″ and 175 pounds, he possesses little power (he hit a career-high 12 last season across Double-A and Triple-A). So while the keen batting eye and ability to make contact are exciting, the modest power and speed limit his value in fantasy. But if he stays near the top of the Cleveland lineup, he should score some runs. At the end of the day, he is currently raking and should be added where available.
Art Warren (RP-CIN) picked up the save against Atlanta on Sunday, allowing 1 hit and walking none while fanning 1 over a scoreless inning of work. Named one of several candidates to start the season in Cincinnati, Warren locked down his first attempt in his first appearance of the season. That’s a good sign for the 29 year-old righty’s status at the back end of the Reds bullpen, as he certainly flashed closer stuff in a 21-inning stint last season, posting a 1.29 ERA, 14.6 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9, with a 2.65 xFIP confirming that he was electric, even if a 91% strand rate was unsustainable. Armed with a 95-mph heater and 86-mph slider, Warren missed lots of bats (19% swinging-strike rate) last season while utilizing his slider (58%) more frequently than his fastball (51%). Given his performance in last year’s audition and the fact that he locked down Cincinnati’s second save opportunity of the season (Tony Santillan grabbed the first one), he’s worth adding if available in your league.
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