Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:15 AM EST.
10:10 PM EST. Joey Lucchesi, the San Diego Padres reigning minor league pitcher of the year, will get the call here to replace the injured Dinelson Lamet in the Padres rotation. Lucchesi had a solid spring, establishing himself as the most viable candidate to grab the first opening in the San Diego rotation.
A tall, lanky 6-foot-5 lefty, Lucchesi has a good pitcher’s build with a strong chest and broad shoulders. He features one of the more unorthodox deliveries, with a lot of pauses, lunges, and stabs, but somehow ends up in good throwing position, with a high-three-quarters, almost over-the-top finish. Lucchesi works off a well-commanded fastball that can work anywhere from 89-94 but plays up a bit due to his deception and extension. Last season, Lucchesi used his fastball mostly down in the zone, but in a brief look this spring, he had been working on elevating the pitch. His most exciting pitch is a changeup that works mostly 77-81 with excellent downward action. Like Kyle Hendricks, Lucchessi can manipulate the break and cut and fade his changeup. This pitch is Lucchesi’s only true swing and miss pitch, but it is already well above-average, and should generate plenty of whiffs and groundballs. His biggest weakness is the lack of a quality third pitch. Last season he showed a curveball that worked in the same 77-80 range, but rolled, and lack depth. This spring, it looks like the curveball still lacks sharpness, but has a bit more depth, and could at least represent a show-me pitch to steal a strike early in the count. Lucchesi has shown good command throughout the minors and put up tremendous minor-league numbers. Bettors looking to speculate on the opportunity will buy shares of Joey Lucchesi, who posted a 2.20 ERA (148/33 K/BB) over 139 IP between A+/AA last year before tossing 12 IP of two-run ball this spring and has the upside of a No. 3 starter. One never knows how a pitcher will perform in his MLB debut but as a pooch at home, we’re absolutely willing to roll the dice here against the Crew and Jhoulys Chacin.
Jhoulys Chacin is a journeyman that appeared to take a sizable step forward in 2017, but xERA and weak skills were actually a carbon-copy of 2016. The only real change is that he was much more consistent in 2017 (dominant start/disaster start split). While disaster avoidance is nice, this is a run-of-the-mill skill set that comes with some hidden peril. Chacin's low ERA during the second half of 2017 looks pretty fluky, as the soft skills were masked by a low hit rate and home run per fly ball rate. Chacin had an unsightly 6.10 ERA on the road last season and has had a real tough time with lefties lately. Chacin appears to offer far more risk than reward and like so many others, cannot and should not be road chalk in this range.
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