Ray’s Ramblings: Hope Springs Eternal
Can Eddie Butler find his lost talent? Is Broxton the leadoff man in Milwaukee? Who is closing in Washington? Are Keuchel, Ross and Dyson healthy?
Jake Arrieta went to the Cubs and saw his career take off. The Cubs are hoping that Eddie Butler, previously of the Rockies, will make a jump in performance now that he’s with the Cubbies. A second rounder in 2012, Butler does have a live arm hitting 95 mph on his heater and there has always been hope that he would develop into a quality big league starter. At least someone is pumping the breaks though. "It's not like you go to a different team and automatically win a Cy Young," Arrieta said. "It's not that easy.” Butler will be tasked with cleaning up his secondary stuff if he has any shot of making an impact in 2017.
Dusty Baker hasn’t named a closer yet, but he said that the team will go with one man, not a committee. You know who I think it should be. Given how the roster is currently constructed I would go with...
Josh Bell (knee surgery) is progressing so well in his recovery that he’s been cleared to run the bases. It seems that his recovery has checked off all the boxes and that he will indeed have plenty of time to prep for the start of the season. See his Player Profile.
Keon Broxton could end up hitting leadoff for the Brewers, a spot he had 26 plate appearances out of last season. In 82 big league games, the 26 year old outfielder has hit a mere .239. However, he’s walked at a 14.8 percent rate, a fantastic mark, and that has led to a .351 OBP, .112 points clear of his batting average. Getting on base should be the key for any table setter, and Broxton can do that. Keon is athletic as well, check out the 24 bases he’s swiped, so why not more bullish on Broxton? Those massive strikeout totals are scary. In 209 at-bats Buxton has struck out 89 times in the big leagues. That’s an astounding mark. In 135 games at Triple-A Broxton has posted a .356 OBP but he’s also struck out 165 times. Contact will be key for Keon in 2017.
Sam Dyson hurt his wrist in a fall this weekend, but the MRI was clean and he should be able to return to game action Thursday. "The hand strength is fine," Dyson said. As our Closer Grid points out, the Rangers would likely turn to Jeremy Jeffress, and not Matt Bush, if there was an issue that precluded Dyson from working the 9th inning.
A huge fireball was seen in the skies of Australia.
Dallas Keuchel threw batting practice last Sunday and he will do so again Wednesday. Coming back from shoulder issues last season, the Astros are taking it very easy with their former ace. The team expects that DK will be ready to take the ball the first week of the major-league season as he seeks to rebound in ’17 with health.
Brett Lawrie has a lower body issue that has kept him out of action the past few days. He is still receiving treatment. “There was never any indication that anything was wrong,” manager Rick Renteria said. “We are going to see how it continues to go. We’ll re-evaluate it.” It’s not much to get worked up about at the moment, but if he continues to struggle with health, as he often does, and Yoan Moncada impresses in the camp...
Tyson Ross (thoracic outlet syndrome) will start making long throws Wednesday in camp, and if that goes well he will move on to throwing 15 pitches off flat ground. If that goes well he hopes to return to the mound in a couple of weeks. Things have gone well to this point, but understand that there is a long way to go before he’s a viable fantasy option (the team is targeting June for a return to the majors for Ross).
I just can’t get enough of this squirrel.
Addison Russell hit a three run bomb Tuesday for the Cubs. Just 23 in January, folks sometimes fail to realize that as a 22 year old shortstop Russell hit 21 homers with 95 runs batted in in 2016. We used to understand how amazing numbers like that were for a 22 year old. With all the young talent in the game, some have forgotten that it’s simply not easy to do.
Chris Tillman had platelet-rich plasma thingie in his shoulder in December, and he’s close to getting back on the mound (this Sunday). He isn’t likely to be ready for Opening Day, but the hope is that he will miss just one, possibly two, starts. Yeah, he won 16 games last season. Same time he’s failed to reach 175-innings each of the last two seasons. He’s also kinda just a guy with career ratios of 4.13 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Don’t get too excited about those 16 wins.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 9 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).