Fantasy Baseball Six-Pack: Bryce Miller is dealing, and more success is likely to come
Look, if I had all the answers, I would not be buried in third place in my NL-only league, watching Braxton Garrett get pummeled every five days. It's a struggle out here. Still, perhaps I can provide you with a few nuggets to help you find your way.
Here's a six-pack of stats to help us navigate the MLB landscape, beginning with a ridiculous K total from a dominant pitching prospect ...
60: Reds prospect Andrew Abbott has struck out 60 batters in his 30 2/3 innings over six starts in the high minors, which is, of course, outrageous. Some of you might recall him doing this sort of thing at the collegiate level at Virginia, where he struck out 327 in 215 career innings.
Abbott is an artist:
Andrew Abbott knows how to make an impression!
The @Reds' No. 11 prospect fans the first 9 batters he faces of the season for the @ChattLookouts. pic.twitter.com/Z7uKOqXuCt
— Minor League Baseball (@MiLB) April 7, 2023
He's not a flamethrower by the standards of this era, though we all would've been impressed enough by his velocity 20 years ago. Abbott has a four-pitch arsenal with disgusting breaking stuff, and he seems to have made gains in control. Whenever he reaches Cincinnati, he'll be a must-add starter (currently rostered in 3% of Yahoo leagues).
19: Collectively, the Cleveland Guardians have hit just 19 home runs in 35 games, the lowest total in MLB (and already 11 behind the team that's next-to-last in the American League). They also rank last in team slugging (.329) and OPS (.629) by wide margins. Eighteen teams have at least doubled Cleveland's home run total, and three have tripled it, so that's not ideal. The organization's top hitting prospect, George Valera, has been sidelined by a wrist injury since the spring, so there are few easy fixes for the team's power issues.
4: Carlos Santana, who is verifiably not fast, has swiped four bags in as many attempts over 33 games so far this year. More than any other team, the Pirates have taken advantage of the rule changes that favor stolen bases, leading MLB with 48. Six Bucs have already swiped at least four. Santana finds himself on pace for 19 on the year, which would shatter his previous single-season high of 11. That man is unquestionably loving the new rules, as he was also the most shifted-against batter last season when hitting left-handed.
1.156: Christopher Morel, who should have been with the Cubs since Opening Day, has been crushing the ball at Triple-A, producing a 1.156 OPS with 11 homers over 134 plate appearances. He has four steals, 22 extra-base hits and a .330 average. He was finally recalled to Chicago on May 8. Morel arrives with 2B/3B/SS/OF eligibility, so he's an extremely useful piece for your fantasy bench. He isn't a lock to hit for average, but his power/speed potential is well-established. He's currently available in 74% of Yahoo leagues.
1: Bryce Miller has thrown 117 four-seam fastballs so far in two starts for Seattle, and attempts to hit those heaters have resulted in exactly one base hit, a single. Miller has simply been phenomenal.
Bryce Miller. ⛽️⛽️⛽️ pic.twitter.com/CdHR98Fufk
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 7, 2023
Maybe you were skeptical after his 10-K outing against Oakland, given the low degree of difficulty, but Sunday's 6.0 scoreless, two-hit innings against Houston should've made you a believer. In his next turn, Miller will face the Tigers, the squad with the lowest team OBP in the game (.298).
.208: Kyle Schwarber entered the week with a BABIP of .208, one of the lowest in the game and well below his career rate of .265. He has been a drag on your fantasy roster's batting average, no doubt, but note that his average exit velocity (92.3) remains near the top of the leaderboard, and his various other batted-ball rates are in line with expectations as well. He has cleared the fence eight times this season, too. Power is definitely not an issue:
Kyle Schwarber takes a trip to the upper tank. 😤 pic.twitter.com/znaBtX4vva
— MLB (@MLB) May 7, 2023
Basically, all the usual Schwarbering is happening this year, but with a touch of bad luck on balls in play. No obvious reason for concern, despite the .188/.307.406 slash.