Is Captain Jack Suwinski for Real? – June 20, 2022
Jack Suwinski (OF-PIT) had a massive day at the dish as he went 3-3 with a walk and a trio of solo shots against the Giants on Sunday. The rookie has pretty much delivered what was expected of him after his arrival in the majors, logging a low average (.230) with some pop (11 homers) across 162 plate appearances. His performance to date in Pittsburgh largely reflects his minor-league track record, which featured some homers, unimpressive averages, and bunches of strikeouts (30% in the majors this season, mostly between 25% and 30% at each minor-league stop). Statcast shows that his hard-hit rate has been pretty average at 38% while he actually hasn’t been awful at the plate in terms of discipline, chasing at a 28% clip while swinging-and missing 11% of the time and making contact at a 75% clip. He did leap from Double-A to the majors and is just 23 years of age, so he might be worth keeping an eye on. But should you rush to add him? I’m not.
Nick Castellanos (OF-PHI) went 0-3 with a strikeout and a walk against the Nationals on Sunday afternoon. The 30 year-old hasn’t exactly delivered big after getting paid to play in Philadelphia, as he now has a .253 average, 7 homers, 36 RBI, and 2 steals across 282 plate appearances as he’s hit cleanup for the Phillies. Statcast shows that his had-hit rate is down significantly – to 37% from over 46% the last two seasons – while his groundball rate is up a bit to 41% (36% career) and his liner rate is down slightly to 23% (over 26% the last two years). He is also chasing pitches outside of the zone just a bit more often than usual (42%, up from 40% in 2021 and 38% in 2019) while his z-contact% is down a little (81% in 2022, 83% in 2021, 84% in 2020). It’s a bit too early to say that he’s declining, as he’s just now 30 and is coming off his single best big-league season (.309 average, 34 homers, 100 RBI over 585 PA).
Nick Pivetta (SP-BOS) earned the W against the Cardinals on Sunday, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 4 walks while racking up 10 punchouts over 7 innings of work. The 29 year-old righty threw 65 of his 108 pitches for strikes in the contest. It’s shaping up to be Pivetta’s strongest season yet, as he now owns a 3.31 ERA, 9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, and a 3.98 xFIP through 14 starts (81.2 innings). Sure, the xFIP points to a .250 BABIP (.307 career), 76% strand rate (70% career), and 8% HR/FB suppressing his ERA (HR/FB is 16% for his career, by the way), but his walk rate is the second-lowest of his career while he’s limited opposing hitters to a career-low 30% hard-hit rate. His 10% swinging-strike rate isn’t anything great, but Pivetta has become more effective at throwing quality strikes. He lines up for a turn in Cleveland this week and he’s pretty much an auto-start by now, no?
Ian Anderson (SP-ATL) put together a strong outing against the Cubs on Sunday, firing 6.2 shutout innings in which he allowed 3 hits, walked a pair, and struck out 6. The 24 year-old righty threw 59 of his 99 offerings in the outing. On the heels of a disappointing 2021 campaign (3.58 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 3.96 xFIP across 128.1 innings), Anderson has been worse so far in 2022, as he’s recorded a 4.35 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, and 4.23 xFIP through 12 starts (70.1 innings). In addition to further regressing in both the strikeout and walk departments, opposing hitters are making more hard contact against him (42% per Statcast) and hitting fewer groundballs (48%) while making more contact against him (75%). His pitch usage (48% heater, 32% change, 21% curve) is nearly identical to what he did in 2020 and 2021, but it’s worth noting that his average fastball velocity is down about a tick (to just under 94mph) from last season. Overall, it’s not been an encouraging season for Anderson, who faces a home turn against the Dodgers this week.
Esteury Ruiz (OF-SD) has continued to rake since getting promoted to Triple-A earlier this month, as he was hitting .450 with 4 homers, 8 RBI, 14 runs scored, and 9 steals across 50 plate appearances entering Saturday’s action. The 23 year-old batted .344 with 9 dingers, 37 RBI, 54 runs scored, and 37 steals over 232 PA at Double-A before moving up a level. Ruiz has continued to show strong skills at the plate in Triple-A, logging an identical 14% walk rate with a strikeout rate that climbed from 17% to 20%. He’s vastly outperforming his below-average hit tool grade and the power has been a pleasant surprise given his average grade in that department, but the speed has been no surprise based on his plus-plus grade in that department. There is obviously no way that he continues to hit for absurd averages based on his very high BABIPs (.398 in Double-A and a ridiculous .538 in Triple-A), but his performance to date so far in 2022 should have him on fantasy players’ radars. Be ready to make the add in the event that he gets the call to the show; consider making the speculative add now if you have a flexible roster spot for stashing a prospect.
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