The Wright Stuff – April 23, 2022 – Fantasy Baseball 2022

The Wright Stuff – April 23, 2022

Kyle Wright (SP-ATL) dominated the Marlins on Friday evening as he fired 6 scoreless innings in which he scattered 4 hits and a walk while piling up 11 punchouts. The 26 year-old righty threw 67 of his 95 pitches for strikes in the contest and allowed no extra-base hits. Wright is off to an excellent start to the season as he now owns a 1.06 ERA, 13.8 K/9, and 1.1 BB/9 across 17 innings (3 starts). His 1.63 xFIP suggests that the performance to date has been legit, as he has surrendered very little hard contact (32% per Statcast) and missed some bats (14% swinging-strike rate). The keys have been getting hitters to chase more pitches outside of the zone (35% o-swing%) while reducing the amount of contact that they have made on pitches offered at inside of the zone (81%). How? In addition to adding an extra tick to his average heater velocity (up to 95mph), Wright has also deployed both his fastball (26%) and sinker (15%) less while leaning on his curve (33%) and changeup (17%) ever than before while largely abandoning his slider (9%), which used to be his primary off-speed offering. The results have been excellent so far as he eyes a turn at home against the Cubs next week.

Luis Robert (OF-CHW) will miss the weekend series against the Twins after suffering what has been described as a mild groin strain during Thursday’s contest with Cleveland. The club is hopeful that he can avoid the IL and return to action against Kansas City on Tuesday. The 24 year-old was off to a fairly productive start to the campaign, as he was hitting .205 with a pair of homers, 3 RBI, 7 runs scored, and 5 steals across his first 45 plate appearances. While the average is low, it’s encouraging that his strikeout rate is just 13% and his .194 BABIP seems due for major correction (.343 career). A lot of it seems to be poor luck, as his 42% hard-hit rate comes in just under last season’s 44% rate per Statcast while he’s continued to rip liners at a decent 21% clip while lofting 34% flyballs and hitting 45% worm-burners. Robert’s swinging-strike rate is down to 14% (16% last season), although it’s worth noting that he has been more aggressive, with a 55% swing rate (45% last year) and is making more contact (78% in 2022, 74% last year). Bottom line is that the metrics look good but the results just aren’t there… yet.

Max Meyer (SP-MIA) entered the 2022 season as the #34 overall prospect in baseball and has so far dominated Triple-A lineups. The 23 year-old southpaw has made 3 starts in which he has compiled a 1.23 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, and 1.8 BB/9 across 14.2 innings of work. Although some regression is obviously expected here, as his xFIP sits at 2.21 for starters, Meyer is building upon his strong first professional season, when he completed 101 innings in Double-A (that’s right, he skipped the lower levels as he was drafted #3 overall in 2020) in which he logged a 2.41 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9 before moving up to Triple-A, where he finished the campaign with a 0.90 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 15.3 K/9, and 1.8 BB/9 over 10 innings. Although his relatively small frame (6′, 200 lbs.) has raised some concerns about whether he can stick as a starter, Meyer possesses an electric heater that reaches into the mid-90s, a plus slider, a developing changeup, and improving command. He’s one to immediately roster in all fantasy leagues when he gets the call.

Tommy Pham (OF-CIN) went 0-3 with 3 punchouts and a walk against the Cardinals on Friday. The 34 year-old is off to a rough start to the 2022 campaign, as he now owns a .146 average to go with a pair of homers, 3 RBI, 4 runs scored, and a steal through 47 plate appearances. Although his strikeout rate is a touch high at 25% after Friday’s hat trick, the strikeout rate is still in the ballpark of his career average (23%) while it’s encouraging to see him still be selective at the plate (13% walk rate). Also, his hard-hit rate currently sits at a healthy 48% clip per Statcast, although he’s hit hardly any liners (3%) while hitting many more flyballs than usual (45% in 2022, 28% career) and hitting about as many grounders (52% as usual). Curiously, his z-contact% is up to 96% so far this season while his o-contact% is down to 48%, which one would think would translate to more quality contact and likely a stronger average. Perhaps the issue has been batted ball location, as he’s using the center part of the field (41%) more than usual and pulling a good bit (44%), which leaves just 14% for the opposite field – probably a lot of hitting into the shift happening here.

Franmil Reyes (OF-CLE) went 1-3 with a solo shot and 3 whiffs against the Yankees on Friday. The 26 year-old has now gone deep in back-to-back games, but the ongoing strikeout issue is concerning given his 38% strikeout rate through 53 plate appearances on the young campaign. With a .196 average, those two homers representing his only extra-base hits, and 5 RBI to his name, Reyes has been a liability so far in fantasy. His hard-hit rate is still down (43% per Statcast) but starting to climb toward his career average (48%) while his BABIP is down a bit (.276 in 2022, .313 career), but obviously the biggest problem has been the lack of patience at the plate (4% walk rate) paired with his usual tendency to swing and miss (17%) while he’s swung more often at pitches inside the zone (76% in 2022, 70% in 2021) and making less contact in doing so (74% in 2022, 78% in 2021). It could be the abbreviated spring training or Reyes is pressing to do too much as Cleveland’s cleanup hitter, but the returns in this season have been underwhelming so far. His fantasy owners will have to hope that his recent power surge is a sign that he’s figuring some things out.

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