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Ryan Boyer

Baseball Daily Dose

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Daily Dose: Blackmon Bashing

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


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Charlie Blackmon missed four games last week with right quad tightness. He’s trying to make up for lost time.

 

The two-time All-Star has now homered in each of his three contests since returning to action after going deep Monday in Pittsburgh. He took Tyler Glasnow deep in the Rockies’ 6-2 victory and also added a single and an RBI groundout.

 

Blackmon has homered seven times this season, a total bested only by Bryce Harper (who has 20 more plate appearances). All seven of those longballs have come on the road, although, in fairness, Blackmon has played just three games at home this season versus 10 on the road.

 

Blackmon’s power output has steadily increased since he became a regular in the big leagues, culminating a 37-homer showing in 2017. It’s obviously super early, but it’s certainly looking like “Chuck Nazty” is in for another robust home run total in 2018. Worth noting is that Blackmon entered Monday’s game with a flyball rate of 48.6 percent, which would be over 10 percentage points higher than his previous career high.

 

The center fielder will turn 32 in July and it’s looking like his running might continue to taper off. Blackmon was caught stealing on 10 of 24 attempts last season and is just 1-for-2 in stolen base attempts so far this year. While fantasy owners might not be getting the steals they used to out of Blackmon, they could wind up getting more RBI if manager Bud Black decides to keep the reigning National League batting title winner in the middle of the lineup.

 

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Kiermaier Out Three Months

 

The disabled list is becoming a little too familiar for Kevin Kiermaier.

 

Kiermaier missed two months of action in 2016 with a fractured left hand and another two months in 2017 with a fractured right hip. He’s now slated to be absent for the next three months after being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right thumb on Monday.

 

The two-time Gold Glove winner injured the thumb on a slide into second base Sunday. Initial X-rays came back negative, but Kiermaier still suspected something was amiss and an MRI confirmed his worst fears.

 

"I knew how my thumb was feeling, and the angle that it could go to that I've never felt or seen before," Kiermaier said. "I knew there was something that was extremely wrong."

 

Kiermaier balks at being labeled injury-prone, noting that each of his major injuries were freakish in nature. It’s a fair assessment on his part, but it’s of no comfort to his fantasy owners that got a .163/.250/.233 batting line out of him for 12 games before watching him go down with another ailment that will likely knock him out until after the All-Star break.

 

Kiermaier has 20/20 player written all over him if he could just stay on the field. He might have done it easily last season, as he had 15 home runs and 16 stolen bases over just 98 games. Now, he’ll obviously fall well short of those marks this season.

 

Mallex Smith is slated to see the bulk of the starts in center field while Kiermaier is on the shelf. He’s been playing regularly of late in left field but had faced the prospect of his playing time being threatened when Brad Miller (groin) returns on Friday. Now, he’ll have plenty of leash, and fantasy owners in need of speed should be interested. Smith went 4-for-4 at the dish Monday and is now hitting .409/.458/.545 over his first 49 plate appearances.

 

Smith has been caught on three on five stolen base attempts this season, but he’s swiped 34 bags in fewer than 550 career major league plate appearances. The 24-year-old stole 37 bases between the majors and minors last season and once had an 88-steal season on the farm. Smith’s batted ball data isn’t anything to write home about, and his average is due for a big drop when his BABIP normalizes, but he will run.

 

Harrison Hurting

 

The Pirates fell to the Rockies on Monday, but at 11-5 they remain one of the biggest early-season surprises. Unfortunately, they’re going to be without their leadoff hitter for a while.

 

Josh Harrison was struck on the left hand by a 96 mph Jose Urena fastball on Sunday, and on Monday it was revealed that he suffered a fractured fifth metacarpal. It’s the same injury that prematurely ended his 2017 campaign. He’s expected to be sidelined for the next six weeks.

 

Harrison was scuffling over his last five games following a red-hot start, but he’s still already scored 12 runs and has notched a home run and a stolen base. The 30-year-old is known as a versatile defender capable of playing all over the field, but the Pirates have had him stick to second base so far this season.

 

Adam Frazier is similarly versatile and got the start at second base and in the leadoff spot in Harrison’s place Monday. The left-handed hitter figures to see most of the starts against right-handers while Harrison is sidelined.

 

Frazier doesn’t stand out in any area, but he can run a little bit and is a high-contact hitter who batted a solid .283/.347/.402 over the previous two seasons for the Pirates. Those in deep leagues might find him moderately useful. Sean Rodriguez likely will start at second base versus lefties, and recent call-up Max Moroff could be in the mix, as well.

 

 

American League Quick Hits: Didi Gregorius slugged two home runs in the Yankees' victory over the Marlins on Monday … Luis Severino allowed just one hit and one walk over six shutout innings Monday, striking out eight Marlins batters … James Paxton struck out seven over six frames of one-run ball in Monday’s win over the Astros … Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the Athletics have reached out to Matt Chapman about a possible contract extension … Blake Snell limited the Rangers to one run in 6 1/3 innings and struck out nine in a victory Monday … Daniel Mengden struck out six across eight-plus frames of one-run ball in Monday’s win over the White Sox … Dallas Keuchel suffered a tough-luck loss in Seattle Monday, allowing two runs over eight innings while striking out six … Jurickson Profar will be monitored for concussion symptoms after he left Monday's game versus the Rays following a collision at second base with Mallex SmithMatt Duffy had to leave Monday’s game against the Rangers with a strained right hamstring and he could be headed to the disabled list … Nomar Mazara went 2-for-4 and hit a three-run homer against the Rays on Monday … Reynaldo Lopez struck out 10 while holding the A’s to two runs over six innings Monday …

 

National League Quick Hits: The Nationals are optimistic that Adam Eaton (ankle) will be activated from the disabled list when first eligible on Friday … Wil Myers (elbow) hopes to be activated from the disabled list on Friday in Arizona … Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in the Nationals' comeback victory over the Mets on Monday … Anthony Rizzo (back) will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday … Trevor Story went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and a stolen base Monday in Pittsburgh … Jacob deGrom struck out 12 while being charged with three runs over 7 1/3 innings Monday versus the Nationals … The Brewers would like Christian Yelich (oblique) to get in 2-3 days of full pregame activities before activating him from the disabled list … J.T. Realmuto (back) could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Tuesday … Julio Teheran struck out nine across six innings of one-run ball in Monday’s win over the Phillies … Hyun-Jin Ryu allowed two runs and struck out nine over six innings in Monday’s win over the Padres … Manny Pina (calf) was placed on the disabled list Monday … The Cardinals activated Jedd Gyorko from the DL on Monday … Tests have cleared Victor Robles of any structural damage in his injured left elbow … 



Ryan Boyer is a baseball writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.
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