Jhoulys Chacin - SP, SD
Owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues
After a nightmarish first start in which he was ambushed by the Dodgers for nine runs over 3 1/3 innings, Chacin rebounded with a victory over the Giants on Saturday, holding San Francisco scoreless on three hits over 6 2/3 frames.
In his second start, the right-hander exhibited some of the traits that keep him on the radar as a starter worth monitoring for fantasy players. Namely, he missed bats (five strikeouts) and induced a bunch of grounders. But perhaps more important than his performance was his surrounding environment.
Chacin was shellacked in Los Angeles, but unsurprisingly looked far better on his new home mound at Petco Park. While San Diego's ballpark doesn't quite play up as the pitcher's haven it once was, it remains one baseball's more favorable locations. Making 50 percent of starts on this mound has boosted the numbers of hurlers far less talented than Chacin, who impressed the Padres enough to earn an Opening Day nod in their admittedly horrendous rotation.
The 29-year-old has better career numbers on the road than at home, owing largely to the first six seasons of his career spent in Colorado. Even with the Coors Field disadvantage, Chacin managed a 3.78 ERA over 672 innings with the Rockies. That feat at least caught the attention of many different clubs, as the righty has played with five different organizations since departing Denver following the 2014 campaign.
He signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December, and hopes to have found a place where he can stick. Chacin is a nice piece to have on deep-league staffs for those who deploy him strategically. He's typically going to be usable at home, and perhaps against weaker offense on the road.
Jimmy Nelson - SP, MIL
Owned in 2% of Yahoo leagues
After losing top starter Junior Guerra to a calf strain in the season's first game, the Brewers need others in their rotation to step up and answer the call. Nelson is among the best bets to do so, if he can make strides in a few key areas at age 27.
Nelson has a few of the attributes that are often ingredients in a recipe for consistent success on the mound. He gets a lot of ground balls and can strike people at a decent – albeit unspectacular – rate. Unfortunately, he has been unable to translate these traits into quality production over prolonged periods, mainly because of some significant control issues. Over the past two seasons, he has ranked fourth among big-leaguers in walks, and second in hit batsman. In 2016 he led the National League in both categories, as well as losses.
But through all of that, the Brewers have stuck with him, never really wavering in their commitment to the right-hander in the rotation. Clearly they see something in the former second-round pick, armed at 6-foot-6 with a power sinker and four-seamer that reaches the mid-90s. Perhaps their patience is about to be rewarded.
Nelson was quite sharp in spring training, posting a 19-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 2/3 innings, and he kept it rolling in his regular-season debut with an excellent start against a high-powered Cubs offense. In six innings, he allowed only one run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight. That's exactly what we want to see from the righty as he attempts to turn the corner and fulfill his potential.
If he does so, those who bought in early will be well rewarded.