According to the great people working at Elias sports, Joe Panik’s third solo home run over the first five games marks the first time in major league history a teams first three runs resulted from solo home runs by one player. Whether it’s Panik’s mythical Age-27 season power breakout or pushing all the chips in on the fly ball revolution, something’s afoot.


Panik hit his third home run on June eighth last year. Allow this to marinate for a moment. Yet, here we sit on April third, with Panik slugging his way to a .389 average through his first 18 at-bats with a 1.238 on-base plus slugging percentage. Newly hired hitting coach Alonzo Powell could figure in this. He’s an import from the Astros, an organization known accepting analytics along with teaching them to their players.


Why’s this important? It’s a very limited sample size, but Panik’s increased his hard hit percentage by seven points this season. Of course, health could be a contributing factor as well. But, Panik’s also increased his fly ball rates by almost nine percent this year. It’s far too early to make a determination on Panik’s eventual outcomes, but if he’s sitting on the waiver wire, kicking the tires on a player trading hard hits for contact (down six percent) yet lowering his chase rates an intriguing target.


That Just Happened


On a dreary afternoon in the Bronx, Giancarlo Stanton made his Yankees debut at home with a golden sombrero. Stealing his thunder, Sir Didi Gregorius. Prior to the post time for this column, Gregorius launched two three-run home runs against the Rays. Presently, he’s hitting .412 with an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.618, just over five hundred points higher than Stanton and more than double of Aaron Judge. Early season statistics can be fun. Update, Stanton struck out a fifth time and went to the bench to a chorus of boos. Meanwhile, Gregorius blooped a single to drive in two more runs. That’s eight RBI on the day for Sir Didi. Mercy.


Evan Longoria finally owns a batting average this season. He snapped an 0-for-17 start with the Giants by hitting his first home run in the seventh inning against Marco Gonzales.


Remember all the funny jokes about many players having more stolen bases than Dee Gordon? He stole his first base on Tuesday in San Francisco, and liked it so much, he swiped another one later in the game.


Speaking of Mariners, last year, Mitch Haniger started the season at a blistering pace. He’s back at it and moved to cleanup with Nelson Cruz landing on the disabled list. Haniger’s hitting a robust .500/.600/1.083 through his first 16 at-bats with two home runs and seven RBI.


What If?


For starters, if the Rays decide they need to continue their rebuild and need to add arms to their depleted rotation, should they trade Chris Archer? Imagine if he escaped the confines of the American League East. Archer owns a career 51 - 63 record with a 3.64 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over his 973 innings preceding his start in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

Did you know in Inter League play 132:33 K:BB rate accompanies a 2.79 ERA and 1.078 WHIP? If one takes out his numbers against his divisional foes, Archer’s career record moves to 31 - 32 with a 3.36 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 568 strikeouts in 512 innings. Los Angeles sits on the precipice of making another run built around Clayton Kershaw, an aging Rich Hill and injury prone Alex Wood. This makes too much sense. Archer in the National League on a team like the Dodgers feels like it needs to happen. Plus, they own the farm system with pitching depth to make it happen. Stay tuned.


Same team, different problem. Kenley Jansen’s drawing attention due to his slow start to the season with a blown save, two walks, zero strikeouts, an ERA of 18 and a WHIP of two. Yes, that Jansen. Working with reduced velocities on his cutter and fastball, he’s looked, well human. There’s a chance all the extra work in the post-season along with multiple inning appearances may be taking their toll on the most revered closer in baseball, but it’s something to monitor.


Exhibit A, here’s Jansen’s vertical release points over his career courtesy of Brooks Baseball:




Exhibit B, his horizontal release point suggests something’s going on:



Jansen did not show signs on this during his spring outings. He’s also on record saying his mechanics are out of whack. There’s also a report of Jansen’s hamstring bothering him in camp. Perhaps he’s playing through injury and the mechanics will return. Or, the worst case scenario, he’s hiding an injury within the lower vertical release point with the Dodgers bullpen cupboard bare. Do the Dodgers want Pedro Baez, Josh Fields or Scott Alexander closing out games? Fantasy owners do not either.


Injury Moves


After suffering a setback, Jacoby Ellsbury shut down his present rehab attempt which will set his timetable to return back. Aaron Hicks seems to be progressing, however, and may return to the team by April ninth.


Cardinals utility infielder Jedd Gyorko landed on the 10-day disabled list. This gives Kolten Wong a longer look, but he’s already ceding at-bats against left-handed pitching.


Seattle made it official placing Nelson Cruz on the disabled list recalling Taylor Motter who adds versatility to the bench. Once the Mariners leave San Francisco, Dan Vogelbach should accrue some much needed at-bats to determine his future.


In a late addition to the injury report, Arizona placed third baseman Jake Lamb on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. No bueno.


Burning Questions for Tuesday Night


Will Bryce Harper launch another home run? Who lasts longer, A.J. Cole or Julio Teheran? Will the real Cole Hamels please stand up, please stand up? Is Derek Dietrich this year’s Marwin Gonzalez? Should I send out a tweet like Dexter Fowler’s yesterday hoping to get a date? I mean, it worked and he’s already homered on in his first at-bat on Tuesday night in Milwaukee.


Last, the poll winner from yesterday, the next saves chance for the Angels goes to Keynan Middleton according to our readers. Vegas puts the odds at four to one. Trying to predict the machinations of Mike Scioscia comes with a bottle of Tums.


Last but not least, Jered Weaver named his son after fallen teammate Nick Adenhart. Please see the attached tweet, baseball always seems to come full circle.




Lots of baseball on tap Tuesday night, stop back for the Round Up on Wednesday morning on Fantasy Alarm.

Statistical Credits:

Elias Sports