1 player on every MLB team who gained more playing time | Launderer’s report
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Atlanta Braves: Spencer Strider, RHP
Had we done this a week ago, the pick here would absolutely have been William Contreras. However, the Braves have already gotten that message, as he has started each of Atlanta’s last six games and 11 of the last 15.
But the guy they obviously haven’t discovered has to start the games is Strider.
While fifth place in this rotation was a hot mess between Bryce Elder, Huascar Ynoa, Tucker Davidson and Kyle Muller, there’s Strider in the bullpen with a 2.22 ERA and 13.7 work. K/9 at 24.1 innings. And he made 21 starts in the minors last year with a 3.64 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 94.0 innings, so it’s not like he lacks experience as a starter.
If Mike Soroka (Achilles) was closer to a comeback, if Ynoa threw better in the minors, or if they at least had a winning record, I would understand. But this continued refusal to even give Strider a chance is mystifying.
Miami Marlins: Louis Head, RHP
After nearly a decade working through the minors, Head was an unexpected surprise for the Rays last season. As a 31-year-old rookie, he recorded 35.0 runs with a 2.31 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. But then they traded him to the Marlins for a PTBNL, and he’s been even better at his new home in Florida.
In 13 of his 14 appearances, he allowed zero runs, posting a 1.20 ERA. But for all his zeros, he only has one strike and one save, while several of the pitchers the Marlins have used in high-leverage situations (especially closer to Anthony Bender) are struggling. For a team that has suffered 14 of its 25 losses by exactly one inning, utilizing Head better could be a game-changer.
New York foods: Luis Guillorme, FI
The Mets signed Robinson Cano to an assignment in late April, which opened the door to more playing time for Guillorme. And he hasn’t disappointed, beating .409 so far in May.
But he only starts about 50% of New York’s games.
Yes, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Francisco Lindor and Eduardo Escobar have all four starting spots in the field pretty much locked down. But with the exception of a four-hit performance on May 23, JD Davis has struggled a lot as the main DH. And Escobar doesn’t exactly have the glove of Brooks Robinson in the hot corner, struggling with the second-worst playing percentage among third basemen who have recorded at least 850 innings since the start of last season. Leave him and Alonso’s squad at DH and get Guillorme in the lineup every day.
Philadelphia Phillies: Garrett Stubbs, C/LF
It’s understandably tough for the Phillies to find a spot for this guy. Bryce Harper is at least temporarily the permanent DH due to his UCL injury, and JT Realmuto is the go-to receiver. But Stubbs has made occasional appearances in left field the last three seasons in Houston, so there must be some way to get his .379 batting average and 1.162 OPS in the lineup more than once in a blue moon.
Thirty-three plate appearances is of course a small sample. And he was just a .182 hitter in the majors during his time with the Astros. Until he calms down, get creative to get him in.
Washington Nationals: Luis Garcia, IF
It’s the only place we go with a player who has yet to play a major league game this season, but for shouting out loud, how does Nationals 17-31 not give this 22-year-old phenomenon a shot?
Garcia has played 110 games for the big league Nats over the past two seasons, hitting .254 with eight homers. So far this season in Rochester, he’s batting .327 with eight dingers. Meanwhile, Alcides Escobar, 35, plays just about every day at shortstop and bats .220 with no home runs. Please give the fans something to cheer for.