Imagine a time when you were able to go to your favorite restaurant. Let’s imagine a time when the wait staff didn’t wear masks, distance between tables wasn’t being measured and you could have as many people, from any state or country, gathered without thinking twice.
Now imagine you ordered a roasted chicken for the table, and that golden brown bird is sitting in the middle of the table. As the waiter or waitress begins to carve it, there’s a problem … the chicken is undercooked!
This could not only spoil your dinner, but it could possibly ruin your week (that’s a food poisoning reference without involving any graphic imagery). It has to be sent back. It needed more time in the oven.
The same can be said for young players entering the majors. No matter how good they are, if they aren’t seasoned or properly prepared, they’re going to be sent back to the minors for more time to cook. Time is needed to ensure they’re ready to have the best chance of satisfying their team (and fantasy owners) when ordered.
Before sitting Thursday with quad tightness, the Angels’ Jo Adell went 2-for-8 with one run scored in his first two big-league games. He also struck out in half of his at-bats, while failing to draw a walk.
It wasn’t exactly a memorable start for the 21-year-old, but let’s not judge Adell on two games. It is two games … during a wacky season.
Let’s also not be so quick to expect immediate success, despite entering the season as the No. 3 ranked prospect by Baseball America and No. 2 by Baseball Prospectus.
Over three seasons in the minors, he hit .298 with 35 homers, 143 RBIs, a .878 OPS and 30 stolen bases. That includes hitting .290 with 20 homers and 77 RBIs with nine stolen bases over three levels in 2018.
Over three levels last year, Adell hit .289 with 10 homers, 36 RBIs and a .834 OPS over 76 games. But that included a 27-game stint with Triple-A Salt Lake — where he hit .264, stole one base and failed to hit a home run in 121 at-bats. He also walked just 7.6 percent of the time while striking out 32.6 percent of the time. For perspective: That’s higher than Domingo Santana’s MLB-worst mark of 32.3 percent in 2019.
Adell is a five-tool player, and he should get plenty of playing time alongside Mike Trout, Brian Goodwin and Justin Upton. He also should be a fantasy force, it just might not be immediately.
A big part of the problem is this bizarre season.
Under normal circumstances, Adell would have had the chance to improve at the Triple-A level — like he did last year at Double-A.
During Adell’s 17-game stint in Double-A in 2018, he hit .238 with two homers, six RBIs, two stolen bases and a .753 OPS. In Double-A in 2019, he hit .308 with eight homers, 23 RBIs, six stolen bases, 28 runs scored and a .944 OPS. After that performance, he was deemed ready to move up to the next level.
Adell’s performance at Triple-A last year was not an indication he was ready for the bigs. But, this isn’t a normal season. Teams are playing Little League-esque seven-inning, doubleheader games during a 60-game season being played in the middle of a pandemic in front of cardboard cutouts, and teams are relying on players who may not have been on their radar until later in the season or even next year.
Spring training 1.0 and a handful of exhibition games in spring training 2.0 were not enough to prepare him for the jump. But, with no minors this year … ready or not, here he is.
Though Adell has tons of talent, and should be rostered in keeper or dynasty leagues, he shouldn’t be depended on immediately as a cornerstone for your outfield in 2020. He needed more time to marinate in the minors before being cooked up and served to the majors.
Donovan Solano, OF, Giants
Entered Friday with a 11-game hit streak, in which he averaged .476 with a home run, 13 RBIs, seven runs scored and a 1.179 OPS. He was the most added player this week in ESPN leagues.
Yu Darvish, SP, Cubs
After lasting just four innings and losing his first start, he is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA, 11 strikeouts and a .163 opponent average over his past two.
Travis d’Arnaud, C, Braves
Over his first five games, the 31-year-old is 7-for-19 (.368) with seven RBIs, a stolen base, a 1.013 OPS and a home run off former teammate Jacob deGrom.
Randy Dobnak, SP, Twins
Though he is striking out a pitiful 4.8 per nine innings, he is 2-1 with a 0.60 ERA, an (unsustainable) 92.3 percent strand rate and 68.2 ground-ball rate.
Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets
Despite walking in 14.5 percent of his at-bats, he is striking out in 32.3 percent and hasn’t homered since July 27.
Robbie Ray, SP, D’backs
Despite striking out 11.5 per nine over his first three starts, he also is walking almost 17 percent of the batters he faces, has allowed a league-worst 14 runs and opponents are hitting .273 against him.
Evan White, 1B, Mariners
Over his first 51 big-league at-bats, he has struck out a league-leading 24 times while hitting .118 with a .412 OPS.
Hansel Robles, RP, Angels
Lost his job as closer after allowing nine earned runs over his first 4 ¹/₃ innings (18.69 ERA), blowing one save, allowing three homers and allowing opponents to hit .400 against him.
- Trent Grisham, the second-most added outfielder in ESPN leagues this week, is showing he can do it all. Over his first 13 games, he hit .271 with four homers, seven RBIs, 11 runs scored, a 15.5 percent walk rate and three stolen bases.
- Shane Bieber has 35 strikeouts (14.5 per nine) over his first three starts, falling two shy of tying Nolan Ryan for the most strikeouts after three starts.
- Scrambling to find your Mike Soroka replacement? They obviously won’t be up to the Atlanta ace’s level, but Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull, Seattle’s Marco Gonzales, Houston’s Framber Valdez and Oakland’s Chris Bassitt are all available in 50 percent or more of ESPN leagues.
- Roto Rage favorite Nick Castellanos appears to be enjoying his new Cincinnati home, where is hitting .357 with four homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.295 OPS over eight games. He also hasn’t hated the road, where he’s hitting .294 with two homers, three RBIs and a 1.074 OPS in five games.
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