Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST.
2:10 PM EST. Note the early start time. James Shields (RHP) was an ace, then an innings-eater and has now further devolved into what, exactly? In 11 innings this year, Shields has one strikeout, a 4% swing and miss rate and he’s topping off at 88 MPH. Othewr than experience, he offers up nothing. A Strained lateral cost him most of the first half last year then he was shelved late due to bad knees. In between, skills were awful. This is a broken down pitcher that is still owed a tidy $21 million in 2018, so he'll be around. Take advantage.
Have the Rays found a starter to replace Nathan Eovaldi as part of their four-man rotation? Yonny Chirinos (RHP) certainly looked the part on April 5, getting the start and needing just 54 pitches to record 15 outs. In accordance with Tampa Bay’s plans, Chirinos has yet to face a batter a third time in a game, but across 9 frames, he has yet to give up a run and has allowed only five baserunners (four hits, one walk) while striking out seven. Indeed, Rays manager Kevin Cash admitted he was tempted to extend Chirinos’ most recent outing, saying Chirinos “made it challenging to take him out of the ball game." Chirinos, who walked only 1.4 batters per nine innings in 141 IP at AAA-Durham last season, has brought those control skills with him to the major leagues, as his 69% first-pitch strike rate will attest to. While Chirinos has not been a huge strikeout pitcher in the minors (7.7 K/9 at AAA-Durham last year), he has registered a promising 14% swing and miss rate, demonstrating some possible upside on this front as well. Chirinos’ split-finger, meanwhile, drew praise from opposing manager Alex Cora. The pitch, which Chirinos has thrown 20 percent of the time, mixing it in with a 93-mph fastball and slider, has helped him to a 50-percent ground ball rate. Yes, the sample is small on all of these fronts, but all of the indicators are also positive. This is a pitcher that can seemingly hit his spots with such ease and looks like a tremendous prospect. Buy low and buy plenty.
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