A perusal of offseason news pieces detailing the Angels' acquisition of Dylan Bundy tell the story of a team hoping to get quantity, even at the expense of quality, from the right-hander in 2020.
Through the season's first few weeks, they've gotten plenty of both.
Bundy continued cutting through the American League West on Tuesday, firing seven shutout innings in a 6-0 defeat of the Athletics. The right-hander struck out 10 while walking one and allowing four hits, leaving him with a 1.57 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 35/3 K/BB ratio through his first four starts.
He's gone at least six innings in every start and has struck out no fewer than seven batters in each outing. If his complete-game victory over the Mariners last week, in which he allowed one run while striking out 10, was his announcement that he was ready to finally cash in on the immense promise he's showed since being the No. 4 overall pick in 2011, Tuesday's outing was affirmation -- Bundy is for real.
Of course, this isn't news. The 27-year-old has long had a very good slider and changeup but a lacking four-seam fastball that, in combination with a hitter-friendly home ballpark and a treacherous AL East stomping ground, didn't yield results on par with his ability.
“I would say in Dylan’s case he’s pitching in a ballpark that’s pretty hitter-friendly and against some notable lineups regularly,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said in the wake of the December 2019 trade that brought Bundy to the Halos. “There could be just from an environmental perspective that could lend to increased optimism. By and large, this is a guy that can miss bats and has showed an improved ability to keep the ball on the ground and throw strikes.”
A look under the hood suggests it was a pitch-mix change that has at least contributed to his early success, and adds legitimacy to the idea that the improvement is sustainable. Bundy is throwing the aforementioned slider more than ever in 2020, embracing the league-wide shift toward off-speed pitches to the tune of 29.3 percent for the slider through his first three starts. On Tuesday, Bundy threw the pitch 34 percent of the time, more than any of his four other pitches.
In discussing what a change of scenery might bring, Bundy this spring said he thought he could do more than just eat innings for the Angels.
“I like to think I’m still young,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement no matter who you are. It’s just finding out what works for you. I think the hitters will let you know.”
They have, and the early returns speak volumes.
Laureano, Cintron Suspended For Scuffle
Suspensions were handed down Tuesday in the aftermath of the benches-clearing scuffle between the A's and Astros last weekend.
A's outfielder Ramon Laureano was handed a six-game suspension for charging the Astros dugout during Sunday's game, and Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron got hammered with a 20-game suspension for instigating the dust-up. Cintron said in a statement that he will accept the suspension, but Laureano appealed and played in Tuesday's game.
"Although I never referenced Ramon’s mother, my actions were inappropriate," Cintron said in the statement. "I apologize for my part in Sunday’s unfortunate incident. As coaches, we are held to a higher standard and should be an example to the players. Hopefully, other coaches will learn from my mistake so that this never happens again in the future."
Even if Laureano's appeal is successful and his suspension is reduced, he's still likely looking at a handful of missed games in the near future. Asked Tuesday, A's manager Bob Melvin told MLB.com that Tony Kemp and Robbie Grossman were among the options to replace Laureano in the A's lineup while the center fielder is out.
In many circumstances it might not be worth talking about a short-term replacement for a suspended player, but this presents a scenario where it might. The A's have a potent lineup and Laureano bats in the No. 2 spot in the order, behind Marcus Semien and ahead of boppers Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. Melvin suggested the fill-in would slide into Laureano's spot in the lineup rather than shuffle things around, so someone like Grossman who specializes in getting on base could provide a few counting stats for fantasy players looking to churn and burn.
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Acuña Day-to-Day With Ailing Wrist
Left wrist soreness cost Ronald Acuna a game Tuesday.
The Braves are hopeful that's all they'll have to get through without their budding superstar.
Acuña was a late scratch from the lineup ahead of Tuesday's game against the Yankees after the wrist soreness popped up during batting practice. Acuña will be checked out Wednesday in New York, after which more will be known about his outlook.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said he's "not concerned until after they check him out."
“It was enough that he couldn’t play,” Snitker said after the game. “He couldn’t play today. They’ll look at him (Wednesday) morning. I don’t know 100% when it happened. I think it was diving back into a base. I wasn’t even aware of it. He felt it right before the game and they didn’t want to take any chances.”
At this point there's not much for fantasy players to do until we know more about the ailment. Keep checking Rotoworld's Player News page for the latest on Acuña's condition and everything else going on in the baseball world.
National League Quick Hits: Corey Seager (back) remained out of the Dodgers' starting lineup on Tuesday. It was the fourth straight absence for Seager, who has been bothered by discomfort in his lower back. He got in a full workout on Monday but could require an IL stint if the situation doesn't improve quickly ... Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Kirby Yates was unavailable Monday due to "soreness in his body." That really narrows it down. Tingler said they didn't want to push things, so Drew Pomeranz ended up filling in for the save on Monday against the Dodgers. The good news is that Yates is expected to be back in action the next time a save chance presents itself. The Padres' closer has looked human so far this season, allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks over just 4 1/3 innings ... Charlie Blackmon extended his major league-leading hitting streak to 15 games on Tuesday in the Rockies’ 8-7 victory over the Diamondbacks. Blackmon scalded a line-drive single to right field with two outs in the opening frame to tie Giants infielder Donovan Solano for the longest active streak in the majors this season. He also reached on an infield single in the fourth and tacked on an additional RBI double in the eighth to notch his 12th multi-hit effort in 17 games. The 34-year-old veteran outfielder owns an extra-terrestrial .500/.527/.721 slash line with nine extra-base hits, 18 runs scored and 20 RBI across 74 plate appearances. With more than a quarter of the truncated 2020 campaign complete, Blackmon has a realistic shot at becoming the first batting-title qualifier to record a .400 batting average since Ted Williams accomplished the feat in 1941. It’s quickly evolving into the most compelling storyline to monitor over the final six-plus weeks of the regular season ... Pirates placed RHP Joe Musgrove on the 10-day injured list with right triceps inflammation. Musgrove was scratched from his previous turn in the Pirates' starting rotation because of right ankle soreness, but this triceps issue is more concerning in the long term. It's unclear when he might be ready to return to action. Trevor Williams is now lined up to start Thursday's series opener in Cincinnati ... Brewers activated OF/1B Ryan Braun from the 10-day injured list. Braun required a minor surgical procedure for an infection in his right index finger earlier this month, but he's feeling better now. The Brewers used Keston Hiura in the DH spot on Monday with Luis Urias back in the fold, but odds are Braun will see plenty of at-bats there. He went hitless in four at-bats Tuesday in his return ... Donovan Solano was out of the Giants' starting lineup on Tuesday due to abdominal soreness. Giants manager Gabe Kapler called it a "precautionary measure" in his pregame Zoom call with reporters. Solano extended his hitting streak to 15 games on Monday and will hopefully be ready to return to action on Wednesday ... Phillies designated OF Nick Williams for assignment. Williams has been squeezed out of playing time in recent years and hit just .151 with a .442 OPS in 67 plate appearances last year. There's always been questions about his plate discipline, but he's still just 26 years old and someone will surely take a chance on him.
American League Quick Hits: Giancarlo Stanton is dealing with a Grade 1 strain of his left hamstring. That's the least severe type of strain, which is good news. It's too soon to say when Stanton will be back, especially given his history, but the early expectation is 3-4 weeks. Clint Frazier rejoined the Yankees on Tuesday and should see at-bats along with Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford as the Yankees try to fill the void in the lineup ... George Springer (wrist) remained out of the Astros' starting lineup on Tuesday. Springer hasn't appeared in a game since suffering a minor right wrist strain last Thursday against the Diamondbacks and could need a stint on the 10-day injured list if he is absent for any longer ... Indians placed RHP Mike Clevinger on the restricted list. Zach Plesac has also been placed on the restricted list for violating health and safety protocols by going out this past weekend in Chicago. It was originally believed that Plesac was the only member of the Indians involved, but it was revealed on Monday that Clevinger went out with him as well. Clevinger was scratched from Tuesday's scheduled start and will be quarantined for 72 hours while being tested for COVID-19. Their behavior puts the Indians in a real bind ... Rafael Devers (ankle) remained out of the starting lineup for the Red Sox on Tuesday. Devers was held out of Monday's lineup with a sore left ankle and will get some rest again Tuesday. Consider him day-to-day for now ... Edwin Encarnacion (shoulder) was back in the White Sox starting lineup on Tuesday. The veteran slugger missed nearly a full week of action because of SC joint inflammation in his left shoulder, but he returned in style, homering and scoring two runs in the victory ... Tigers placed 1B C.J. Cron on the 10-day injured list with a left knee sprain. Willi Castro will take his spot on the active roster. Cron took a batted ball off his left leg while playing first base on Monday night and had to be helped off the field. There's a ligament issue with the knee, which doesn't sound ideal. His big bat will be missed in the Tigers' lineup. While he's hitting just .190, he's popped four homers to go along with an .894 OPS. Jeimer Candelario could see more time at first base in the coming days ... Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Ken Giles (forearm) is "recovering well" and "could be throwing soon." Giles went down with a flexor strain in his right forearm late last month and has apparently felt improvement following a platelet-rich plasma injection. He's set for a check-up on Wednesday, including an MRI. The Blue Jays should have a better idea at a gameplan depending on how that visit goes for the veteran closer. Anthony Bass has been filling in at closer for Toronto ... White Sox activated SS Tim Anderson from the 10-day injured list. Anderson landed on the injured list at the start of the month due to a right groin strain, but he managed to make it back as soon as he was eligible to do so. He had a single, a walk and two runs scored in Tuesday's win over the Tigers ... Yankees recalled OF Clint Frazier from their alternate training site. Frazier gets his latest shot in the big leagues with Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) sidelined. The big question remains if he'll receive enough playing time to truly get a chance to break through. It's a bit murky right now with Mike Tauchman and Mike Ford also likely to see at-bats in place of Stanton. We'd steer clear in standard mixed leagues for now ... Mitch Moreland (knee) returned to the starting lineup Tuesday against the Rays. Moreland was unavailable Monday due to an issue with his knee, but fortunately it doesn't appear to be serious. The 34-year-old has had a tremendous start to the season, slashing .324/.364/.935 with six home runs over 33 plate appearances.