Trevor Story won the Rockies’ shortstop job with a fantastic spring training. He’s not done trying to make a good impression.
In his major league debut Monday, Story hit not one, but two home runs in the Rockies’ victory over the Diamondbacks. The first longball was an opposite-field, three-run shot off of a Zack Greinke fastball in his second plate appearance. He took Greinke deep again in his next trip to the plate, this time on a curveball, with a mammoth shot to left field.
Story is the first player in major league history to hit two home runs in a major league debut that came on Opening Day. And they both came off of the National League Cy Young runner-up.
Based on his minor league track record, Story is going to strike out a lot and probably not hit for a great average. He whiffed twice on Monday to go along with his two home runs. There’s also the matter of Jose Reyes’ presumed return at some point this season from a not-yet-handed-down suspension.
That said, Reyes’ suspension is almost surely going to be a lengthy one, so Story should get an extended opportunity to stake claim to the shortstop job. Plus, on a team unlikely to contend, they could stick with Story even when Reyes is back.
It’s one game and 50 spring training at-bats from a guy whose game isn’t exactly polished, so the usual “it’s early” (really, really early) stuff applies here. Still, a 23-year-old shortstop with power and speed who plays at Coors Field is easy to get excited about.
Editor's Note: Don't whiff on this special FanDuel offer: win your first contest or get your money back (up to $10) to keep playing. Try FanDuel now!
Hinch Goes to Gregerson
The Astros gave up a lot to get Ken Giles.
Thinking they needed a shutdown ninth-inning man, they sent a package of prospects to the Phillies headlined by Vincent Velasquez and Mark Appel in order to acquire said closer. Yet, the Astros haven’t played their first game of the season yet and their closer is... not Ken Giles.
Manager A.J. Hinch said after Monday’s game against the Yankees was rained out that Luke Gregerson would be the club’s “primary closer.” Giles, who lost hold of his presumed grip on the closer job by posting a 6.75 ERA this spring, will pitch in “in a couple of different roles, depending on what the highest-leverage situation of the game would be," according to Hinch.
"That's not to say Giles isn't going to get a lot of saves; not to say Giles isn't going to close some games,” Hinch added. “But for the purposes of getting guys prepared, it's important they know generally how they're going to be used.”
Gregerson, of course, closed for the Astros last season and fared quite well, converting 31-of-36 opportunities while posting a 3.10 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 59/10 K/BB ratio over 61 innings. Giles may eventually get the closing gig. He certainly has the more dynamic stuff with a heater that can touch triple digits. However, Gregerson has been a very good reliever for a very long time and is certainly capable of hanging on to the closer title all season.
That’s obviously rotten news for those who invested in Giles this spring, especially if you’re in an AL-only league where saves are much more difficult to acquire. The hard-thrower can still help out fantasy owners even if he doesn’t get saves, as he’s a good bet for a low ERA and over a strikeout per inning. It’s a no-brainer to hang on to the 25-year-old and hope he eventually gets the job that was originally supposed to be his.
Revere Hurt in Win
The Nationals eked out an extra-innings win over the Braves on Opening Day, but they might have lost their center fielder for a while in the process.
Ben Revere felt pain in his right rib cage area during his first plate appearance and pulled himself out of the game after his second at-bat when the pain became too much. He’ll be re-evaluated during Tuesday’s off day.
"Of course, I'm happy about the win. The first swing of the new season, a ball I hit foul, I felt something on my side. I kept playing," Revere said. "I got treated and, hopefully, I'll get this thing better. I'm a fast healer. I'll see how it feels, especially tomorrow. Luckily, we have a day off. We'll have it calm down. If I swing more and more, I'll probably make it worse."
Revere may note that he’s a quick healer, and manager Dusty Baker is calling the outfielder day-to-day for now. That doesn’t really mean anything, though. If it’s an oblique injury that Revere is dealing with, there’s a good chance he’ll wind up needing a stint on the disabled list.
If a DL stint is required for Revere, Michael Taylor would step into the center field job. Baker has already expressed his fondness for the young Taylor, and it’s hard not to be intrigued by a guy that oozes tools. Taylor was already worth owning in deeper mixed leagues even as a fourth outfielder, but he would need to be owned in all leagues if he finds himself in an everyday role.
National League Quick Hits: Although Jason Grilli got the save chance Monday, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Arodys Vizcaino is his primary option at closer. Vizcaino pitched the eighth inning with the middle of the Nationals’ order due up ... Clayton Kershaw allowed just one hit and struck out nine over seven shutout innings against the Padres on Monday ... Kershaw’s former teammate, Zack Greinke, was lit up for seven runs over four innings in his Diamondbacks debut on Monday ... Jake Arrieta struck out six over seven shutout frames versus the Angels on Monday ... Daniel Murphy homered, doubled in the go-ahead run and drew two walks on Monday versus the Braves ... The Cardinals placed Tommy Pham on the disabled list with a left oblique strain ... Denard Span homered and drove in five runs in Monday’s win over the Brewers ... Howie Kendrick (calf) is expected to take live batting practice in the next couple of days ... Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Monday that he could use "one of five guys" at closer. David Hernandez was tasked with protecting a one-run lead in the eighth inning Monday and loaded the bases without recording an out, eventually watching all three runners score ... Matt Garza (shoulder) will not make his first scheduled start Wednesday and could be headed to the disabled list ... Robert Stephenson was recalled on Monday and will make his major league debut for the Reds on Thursday ...
American League Quick Hits: Sonny Gray was scratched from Monday’s scheduled start due to food poisoning. He’s expected to make his season debut on Wednesday ... Michael Saunders doubled and had a two-run homer in Monday's win over the Rays ... Brad Boxberger played catch on Sunday for the second time since undergoing core muscle surgery ... Mark Trumbo went 4-for-5 with four singles in a win over the Twins on Monday ... Felix Doubront was placed on the disabled list Monday with an elbow injury, likely clearing the way for Jesse Hahn to rejoin the A’s rotation ... Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) threw live batting practice Monday ... Lance McCullers (shoulder) is scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training game Thursday ... Edwin Encarnacion has cut off contract extension negotiations with the Blue Jays' front office ... Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager smacked solo home runs in Monday’s loss to the Rangers ... Chris Sale recorded eight strikeouts while allowing three runs over seven frames in a win over the A’s on Monday ... Cole Hamels struck out eight batters while yielding two runs across seven innings in Monday’s victory over the Mariners ...