Desk of the Editor: Things To Watch in the 2021 Season
The sun is out, the snow is melting, and spring training games are on in the background while I work. The 2021 baseball season is upon us! This is new series here at the Dynasty Guru and every two weeks, I’ll be coming at you with just some thoughts about baseball; what I’ve watched or read, things to which I’ve reacted, things I wish would happen, and so forth. So without further ado, here are a few individual things I’ll be keeping my eye on this season.
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Can Chris Paddack get his spin back?
After bursting onto the scene in 2019 and being the Padres 2020 Opening Day starter, The Sheriff fell back to Earth and he is barely hanging on to a rotation spot in Slam Diego. So what the hell happened? Paddack worked on adding another pitch and the change drastically changed his arm slot, which in turn messed with the amount of spin and movement on his fastball. He just wasn’t able to blow it by guys, as he did in 2019. This is a new season and a new Chris Paddack. He has added about 10-15 pounds of muscle in the off-season and began to look more at analytics and he ‘saw’ for the first time what happened to his fastball in 2020. Now that he knows what the problem is, I think his competitiveness will get him close if not all the way back to his dominant 2019 self.
Will the Giants singing “Good Times” with Tony Disco?
As a Red Sox fan, I was upset that Anthony DeSclafani did not sign with my favorite team, but landing in San Francisco might be the best thing for Disco’s career. Not only will he be getting out of Great American Smallpark but he will also be landing in a situation with plus defense. The Giants, in recent years, have been able to get the most out of some of the free-agent pitching pick-ups, like Kevin Gausman and Drew Smyly. We saw DeSclafani’s strikeout steadily increase during his time with the Reds, so if he can get those home runs in check, we could be looking at an excellent number three starter with a chance to pick up a few wins.
What position will Oneil Cruz play?
At 6’7”, it is amazing that Oneil Cruz has been able to stick at shortstop for as long as has. However, due to his height, I feel that his future home will be in a corner, most likely right field with his arm. The Pirates have said they still view Cruz as a shortstop but he has played some center field in spring training. Once the Triple-A season begins, you can bet I will be looking at the Indianapolis roster every night to see where he is playing the most. There is still work for him to do, especially when it comes to his plate approach but if it all clicks there could be 35+ home run potential in that bat.
Which underperforming prospect rebounds the most?
With the craziness of the 2020 season, many young players, like Ke’Bryan Hayes and Sixto Sanchez made the debut and performed exceedingly well. This was not the case for all of the highly ranked prospects. Evan White and Dylan Carlson fell flat on their face but look like they will have a starting job once the season begins this season. We’ve all heard the saying “Prospect Growth is not linear,” which is especially true in White and Carlson’s cases. Evan White signed a long-term deal with the Mariners and was the starting first baseman from Day 1. It was a huge jump as he spent most of his 2019 season in Double-A. During college and his minor league career, White posted great averages and began to show off some power in 2019 but only displayed his power once he made it to the majors. I still believe in his past performances and you could easily buy-low on him in dynasty and pick him up in the later rounds of drafts.