It’s been revealed that Fenway Park, Citi Field and T-Mobile Park might have all very quietly installed humidors before the season. This is questionable for numerous reasons, with the obvious being why do this at places that are sea level and in literally the two parks that have decreased run scoring the most in the American League (Seattle) and the National League (New York) over the last three seasons? Of greater concern is the secrecy, as hiding this kind of information from the public brings up all kinds of issues (most importantly, for fantasy managers).
Chase Field has quickly transformed from one of baseball’s best hitter’s parks to a neutral one (that actually suppresses homers) since installing a humidor two seasons ago, so this isn’t a small deal (and could help push Jacob deGrom ahead of Gerrit Cole, albeit as fantasy baseball’s No. 2 starter behind Dylan Bundy of course). Any sample this small can’t be taken too seriously (although it does lend an excuse for the slow starts from Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi), but if it’s true these stadiums installed humidors during the offseason, then all Red Sox, Mariners and Mets players need to have their expectations adjusted accordingly moving forward.
Offense down and juiced balls
Early indications suggest the ball isn’t as juiced this season, with average exit velocity down nearly a mile per hour (although there’s also been some concern regarding Hawk-Eye’s accuracy). There are many other possible reasons for offense being down, including batters facing starting pitchers less often than ever, and a ball with far greater variation. Whatever the explanation, league-wide BABIP is down 20+ points so far this season.
Aaron Judge goes deep again
Judge connected on his MLB-leading ninth homer over 17 games, as those who shied away (raises hand) thanks to injury concerns continue to regret it. It doesn’t matter to fantasy managers, but Judge’s splits are becoming comical at this point. He owns a career 1.097 OPS at home compared to .827 on the road, and this season in Yankee Stadium, he has six homers over 22 at bats. On the road this season, Judge has a 14:0 K:BB ratio and .286 OBP. The Yankees play their next eight games at home, so enjoy the ride (and take note in DFS).
Pick up Touki Toussaint
Already available in 90% of leagues and likely more now after getting hit hard Tuesday night, Toussaint currently sits with an ugly 7.27 ERA. But Tuesday’s outing was a tough assignment in Yankee Stadium against a lineup that leads baseball in wRC+, and that unsightly ERA also comes with a 1.21 WHIP and a 23:5 K:BB ratio over 17.1 innings. The Braves have been quick to pull starters from their rotation early on, but they are running out of arms, and Toussaint has some seriously intriguing deeper stats; he entered Tuesday ranked top-12 among starters (minimum 100 pitches) in CSW (35.0%) and pCRA (2.96) this year, so TT’s future looks much brighter than his ERA might suggest. He’s likely lined up for a highly favorable start in Miami next.
Zac Gallen is legit
Not that we needed any more evidence he’s the real deal, but Gallen was terrific yet again Tuesday in a no-decision in Colorado. After a shaky first outing, Gallen has posted a 22:2 K:BB ratio with a 1.05 WHIP over three starts against the Dodgers, Astros and in Coors Field. Gallen entered Tuesday’s outing top-20 in CSW and looks ready to make the leap into elite starter territory … Jairo Diaz should remain Colorado’s closer for now, especially after the Rockies still won Tuesday’s game, but his season WHIP is up to 1.86 after a rough appearance that saw him pulled. Diaz entered ranked outside the top-300 relievers in CSW, so he’s been anything but dominant, and Daniel Bard is now on the fantasy radar after picking up Tuesday’s save and sitting with a 12:0 K:BB ratio during his first MLB action remarkably since 2013.
Blue Jays finally have home opener
The Blue Jays had their first game at Sahlen Field, which remains to be seen how it will play. Tuesday’s game was one out away from being 4-1 but ended up hitting the over (8.5 runs) with Toronto winning in extras thanks to an Anthony Bass blown save. Expectations are that Buffalo will be relatively hitter-friendly, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hasn’t been able to hit regardless of venue in 2020. Now down to sixth in Toronto’s order, Vlad is sporting a .222/.276/.352 line on the young season, when he’s produced 28 ground balls compared to 12 fly balls. It feels silly analyzing anyone after barely 50 ABs, but Guerrero is going to have a hard time producing power unless he dramatically changes his launch angle. I’m still a full believer in Vlad Jr’s bat long-term, but he’s been a massive disappointment, and the move to first base (and DH) hasn’t helped.