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“Alluhring Strategy” Opening Day Roster: NL Rookie Pitchers’ Impact

Opening Day Rookie Pitchers: NL Style

So the season is just over a week and a half old. Small sample size, galore! Last week, we took a look at the rookie pitchers from the American League that made their team’s Opening Day roster. There was some good value there as well as some deep league gems, especially for leagues that reward relief pitchers beyond saves. This week we look at the National League rookie pitchers and their potential impact for their team as well as your fantasy teams. There are few more starting pitchers in this group and a several worth looking at in any format. Without wasting anymore time, let’s break it down…


NYM — Robert Gsellman, RHP, Josh Smoker, LHP

Gsellman was vying for the 5th spot in the rotation but if the Mets big 5 were healthy he would be in the bullpen. As it turns out, Wheeler is healthy but Matz is down. His first start was decent as he just missed a quality start after pitching 5 innings, 3 runs, 2 walks and 7 Ks. He should remain in the rotation while Matz is out for the month of April. This rotation tends to miss time throughout the season and he could get a lot of work this season. He probably doesn’t maintain his double digit K/9 but he won’t hurt you in any category and is worth rostering at this point in all leagues of 14 teams or more.

Smoker has the potential to be the primary Left-handed setup man in the Mets bullpen this year. He has a plus fastball and developing slider that could make him a huge weapon this year and give fantasy owners in deeper leagues some nice middle reliever stats and ratios. Keep an eye out for Smoker.


WAS — Koda Glover, RHP

This flamethrower nearly won the Closer’s job out of camp. The Nationals settled on Blake Treinen (the right decision, IMO), but Koda could have a major setup role as the season progresses. He definitely has a Closer’s mentality with a plus-plus fastball and plus slider. He throws it out there and dares you to hit it. Despite a slow start to the season, he is the type of reliever you want in deeper leagues as he can get you Ks, holds and potentially saves.



CINAmir Garrett, LHP, Robert Stephenson, RHP, Rookie Davis, RHP, Nick Travieso, RHP*, Austin Brice, RHP

Last Summer during a Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show, we had a caller that was interested on my take on which of the young, talented Reds’ pitching prospects I like the best. The list to choose from was long and there were some things to like about all of them. However, I felt that Amir Garrett was going to be the best of the bunch. Stephenson, Reed, Lorenzen, Cingrani…they all have electric stuff. Less than a year later, the four of these guys are all in the bullpen and Garrett makes his Major League debut in the rotation. He may be the only one of that group that has a third pitch which sets him apart. I was a little surprised that he made the Opening Day roster because he struggled with his command during his time in AAA last season over 11 starts. He did show decent control at every level prior to that and they saw enough of him during camp to give him a rotation spot. I thought for sure they would start him up in AAA and get him up mid-season. He rewarded their faith with two fantastic starts to begin the season. 12.2 INN pitched with 9 Ks and 2 BB and two Wins.

Stephenson could also develop a third pitch but can’t find the strikes zone and probably ends up a high leverage reliever. For now, he is risky with 3.2 INN and 7 BB and 8 Ks.

Rookie Davis was a huge surprise to me. He has struggled with injury in recent years. He isn’t going to blow you away, but with a decent fastball and his command, he beat out Tim Adelman for a spot on the Opening Day Roster. He could have held down the fort while Bailey and DeSclafani are on the bend, but he is now on the shelf after two starts. His command deserted him during this short stint and I can’t recommend him for any fantasy team even if he does get another shot at the rotation once healthy.

Nick Travieso and Austin Brice technically made the roster but on the disabled list. Nick is on the 60 day and will likely be sent down once activated as he has never pitched above AA. Brice has already been sent back to AA although he has seen action in the Majors. Neither will offer any significant impact for fantasy teams this season.


PIT –Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Trevor Williams, RHP

Glasnow beat out Drew Hutchison for the final rotation spot this Spring and is the number #1 pitching prospect in baseball after Alex Reyes goes down for the season with TJ surgery. He has a nasty 70 grade fastball with a plus slider and is the potential Ace of the Pittsburgh staff. The Pirates are drooling over the thought of the top of the rotation featuring Glasnow, Cole and Taillon (and Mitch Keller as early as 2018). Unfortunately, he didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning in his first start of 2017. He gave up 5 runs, 4 hits and 5 walks in 1.2 innings. He will get another chance this Saturday against the Cubs in Wrigley. If you have him, you might consider sitting him for this game. I do think he will be a stud, but it may not be this year and likely won’t’ be this start.

Williams was also fighting for that last rotation spot. He had a strong Spring and made the team as a result. If Glasnow has a few more rough starts, they may stretch him back out to a starter. If this transpires, he is worth a look as a spot starter if you stream pitchers.


STLAlex Reyes, RHP*, John Gant, RHP*

Reyes will miss the season after surgery and is on the roster and designated to the MLB disabled list in order to clear a spot on the 40 Man roster for someone else. Hopefully he will be back next season and pick up where he left off as one of the hottest pitching prospects in the game.

Ironically John Gant is also on the disabled list. Gant however doesn’t expect to spend that much time there as his groin heals. He is about as average a pitcher as you could get, but he could spot start or pitch out of the bullpen. This gives St. Louis some valuable flexibility. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any value to fantasy owners.



COLGerman Marquez, RHP, Kyle Freeland, LHP, Antonio Senzatela, RHP

Marquez is the best prospect of the three Colorado rookie pitchers to make the Opening Day roster. I expected him to make it over these other two. What I didn’t expect to happen was all three make it and Marquez is the only one of three in the bullpen. With three MLB quality pitches and history of command, he still maybe the best long term impact, but he never made an appearance out of the Rockies ‘pen before being optioned back to AAA to take a spot back in the rotation. I would expect Jeff Hoffman to get the call before Marquez, but there is a great chance that both their top pitching prospects are in the rotation by the end of the season.

Damn I did not see it coming the both Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela make the rotation to start the season. With Chad Bettis battling cancer and the clear lack of trust in Hoffman and Marquez being ready, next guys up are Freeland and Senzatela. If you are not familiar with these guys, Freeland was a high 1st round draft pick in 2014 and progressed quickly through the Rockies’ system. He throws four pitches but only two are Major League pitches. His fastball and slider could be plus pitches and his changeup still has potential to be a solid third. His real appeal to Colorado is his command and his ability to produce ground balls. His fastball sinks, his slider cuts and his changeup drops. He will likely never be a top of the rotation guy, but he could be a very effective pitcher in Denver and be a nice “innings-eater” that won’t hurt any of your categories or ratios. He has had mixed results in his first two starts and should have some rope to determine if he can stick it out for the long-term this season. Keep an eye out for waiver-wire help.

Senzatela is probably less known despite 5 years of pro ball experience. He is another prospect that the Rockies like due to his consistency and command. His fastball plays as plus due to movement and control but he must develop his slider and changeup to have a real shot at a lengthy career as a Starter. So far so good, he has had two good starts to begin his Major League career. 12 innings, 2 runs, 4 walks and 11 Ks. He has a chance to stick in the rotation and is another to keep an eye out on the waiver wire to spot start or in deeper leagues for rotation depth. The future’s looking brighter on the mound in Denver.


LAD — Brock Stewart, RHP*

Stewart had a fine debut last fall, but was unlikely to earn a spot in a deep rotation. He is another technical recipient of the Opening Day roster because they were able to designate him to the Major League disabled list to begin the season to shoulder tendonitis. He likely gets optioned to AAA when he’s healthy. Kershaw, Maeda, Hill, Kazmir, McCarthy, Wood, Ryu and likely Urias are all ahead of him when they are healthy. He has strikeout potential with command but due to this extreme depth, could be trade bait come Summer time when the Dodgers are positioning themselves for a deep playoff run. Wait and see how this shakes out before wasting a roster spot unless you are in a dynasty league.


SD — Jose Torres, LHP

Already with 5 appearances on the season, Torres appears to have a major role in the middle of the Padres bullpen. He is not likely to get a ton of high leverage situations but he could be a nice boost to your ratios. He has started off the year with 10 Ks in 7 innings with 0 walks.


SF — Ty Blach, LHP

Blach was a dark horse candidate to steal the 5th spot in the rotation. Unfortunately he didn’t make the most of the Spring and the Giants handed the spot as a loyalty gift to Matt Cain. Instead he makes the team as the only left-handed reliever on the roster and he has Steven Okert and Josh Osich on his heels. He has not pitched well in his first three appearances and may have a short leash this time around. Long term he projects as a back of the rotation starter with his only plus tool his command. He is not worth rostering at this point except in the deepest of leagues.



Bryan Luhrs

Major League Fantasy Sports
Writer & Contributor
Real Deal Dynasty Sports
Owner, League Developer & Executive Commissioner



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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 9th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #82 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Craig Mish, and Professor Mark Rush. Mark is the Chief Editor for MLFS, a writer, and occasional guest on our shows. Craig Mish is the host of a fantasy baseball show on Sirius Satelitte Radio along with Jim Bowden from 9-11am EST Monday through Friday. Craig is also the host for a show on Sirius every Sunday morning with FSWA Hall of Famer Lenny Melnick from 7-10am EST.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”


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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 16th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #83 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Lenny Melnick and Kyle Klinker. Kyle is an MLFB champion and a veteran of MLFS leagues. Lenny is an FSWA Hall of Famer, the co-host of the Sunday morning fantasy sports show from 7-10am EST with Craig Mish on Sirius, and the owner of Check his shows out on his site every morning through out the week at 9am EST.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

Faith, Family and Fantasy Sports.These are the three words that best describe me. I am a faithful husband and father of 6 amazing children. I work to earn a living, but I live for every precious moment I can spend with my family and a passion for sports.

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #134, 8/26/2018 Host Brian Roach, Jr, Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Bryan Luhrs

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