Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST & updates at 5:45 PM EST.
8:40 PM EST. The Coors Field angle remains in play here but for information purposes, here’s some information on the starters:
LATE PITCHING CHANGE for Rockies
Jeff Hoffman starts for Jonathan Gray
Therefore the Coors Field angle dictates we play the Rockies.
Jeff Hoffman (RHP - COL) has very little market credibility. After all, he has put up an ugly 6.57 ERA and 1.56 WHIP over his first eight starts. Before you write him off, note that his skills were more solid than terrible: 9.7 K’s/9, 3.5 BB’s/9l, 34% grounders, 4.52 xERA. He was hurt by a trifecta of trouble: 36% hit rate, 60% strand rate, 18% hr/f. Hoffman has shown some promising flashes at Triple-A, a reminder of his former prospect pedigree. He'll get another rotation shot now.
At the trade deadline, the Diamondbacks acquired RHP Zac Gallen from the Miami Marlins for SS Jazz Chisholm. Most trades are intended to be win-win, but the “win” for each organization tends to look different, or at least occur on different timetables. This is a true prospect-for-prospect challenge trade. You can’t point to how well Doyle Alexander pitched down the stretch for you during John Smoltz’s Hall of Fame speech. The most recent deal of this nature was Matt Garza for Delmon Young, which illustrates the unique risk of such a trade. When it goes wrong, it’s because of bad/good evaluations of a prospect by both clubs. You can’t hedge with “well, he was going to leave in free agency so we had to get something, and prospects bust you know?” Or, “his track record was great, who knew he was going to get hurt/stop hitting/fall off a cliff?” Nope, this is “we think their guy is going to be better than our guy.”
Both the Marlins and the Diamondbacks can make their case. Jazz Chisholm was the better prospect coming into the season, ranking first in the Arizona system and 69th overall. Gallen was seventh in the Marlins system. That overstates the difference between them as prospects. It’s functionally a half-grade difference and Gallen had the less risky profile and was closer to the majors. Now, we don’t want to overreact to 100 games of baseball — especially with young, still developing players — but a few things have clearly changed.
Gallen now has a better fastball. He’s gone from around 90 to regularly hitting 94 and 95, and that matters when you are a pitch mix and command guy. Gallen has dominated Triple-A and carried over that success into his early days as a major leaguer while Chisholm has struggled badly adjusting to Double-A, the rawness of the approach muting the loud tools. But he does seem to be making adjustments, and has been better, if not great, the last six weeks or so.
This really has nothing to do with today’s game but it is fascinating, and it’s much more interesting to write or read about than your average prospects-for-established-vet deadline deal. For the front office making the call though, it’s the kind of deal that can get you fired if you end up with the Delmon Young end but that will all come with the benefit of hindsight. For now, the Marlins got another injection of a high-upside position player, while the Diamondbacks get the major-league-ready, above-average starter their system lacks. At least on August 1, it looked like a win-win. That will change.
Incidentally, Gallen, who just turned 24, was not a highly-rated prospect coming into 2019, but he's done a lot to raise his profile. His MLB sample isn't large enough yet to buy into his skill growth, and he's likely to undergo some luck regression in the short term, and yet, there's enough going on here to make him worth watching in case he truly is raising his game to another level. Dude has 49 K’s in 41 frames with an off the charts 19% swing and miss rate at this level.
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COLORADO -1½ +225 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 4.50)