Don’t pitch to Bryce Harper on opening day. The dude keeps homering. This makes his 5th opening day with a home run. To next year’s opening day opponent of the Nats, take a hint from the Cubs of 2016 and walk this guy repeatedly.
George Springer looks like he has his homerun swing working as well. Springer hit a game winning walk off homer in the 13th inning versus the Mariners. Then, in their next game, Springer led off the first inning with another homer. Not too shabby.
Jeanmar Gomez looks terrible already – 1 IP, 2 earned runs, gave up a homerun. Pretty similar performance to how he ended up 2016. It’s not a question of if he will lose the Philly closer job, rather, it’s a question of who takes over. Hector Neris (young power arm but getting saves will likely inflate future arbitration salary) or Joaquin Benoit (39 year old relief pitcher in his 16th season with 51 career saves as much of his career has been spent as an 8th inning arm)?
Michael Lorenzen and Madison Bumgarner looking good. Bumgarner jacked two homers in his opening day start. Lorenzen gets to pinch hit homerun in the 6th inning of a game he didn’t even pitch in. Sign these two up for the Home Run Derby!
Speaking of Madison Bumgarner: He led the league in strikeouts with 11 Ks during the first week of games. Carlos Martinez, Justin Verlander, and Vince Velasquez are the only other pitchers with double digit Ks in their first starts (all three put up 10 each).
Mark Melancon keeps the curse of the San Francisco closer alive: 2/3 of an inning, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, blown save. He’s one of the most consistent closers in baseball over the past few years but he doesn’t rack up the Ks and I wonder when the magic of inducing grounders wears off. Giants hope it’s not 2017.
Kris Bryant – Last season’s MVP is off to a slow start. In the Cubs’ opening series against the Cardinals Bryant went 0-13 with 6 strikeouts in their first three games. He broke into the hit category in game four going 1 for 3. He is now 1 for 16 (.063 batting average and .273 OPS). I assume things will get better from here.
A shout out to the guys who do the Effectively Wild Podcast – They highlighted a change in how pitcher velocity is being measured this season. Prior to 2017, Pitch FX was used. It took pitcher velocity readings at approximately 10 feet from the pitcher’s release. In 2017 ballparks are now using Statcast. Statcast measures pitcher velocity at the pitcher’s release point. This doesn’t sound like a big deal but it appears that the change in where the speed of a pitch is measured has, on average, added between a half mile to a full mile per hour to a pitcher’s offering. As the podcast mentioned, there may be cause for concerns regarding players showing a significant decrease in their velocity readings (here’s looking at you, Jake Arrieta).