Fantasy League Baseball: Opening day rematch for Astros & Yankees

Fantasy League Baseball: A day after the New York Yankees’ first Opening Day rainout since 2008, they will open their 2016 season at Yankee Stadium
April 5, 2016

Fantasy League Baseball

Fantasy League Baseball: A day after the New York Yankees’ first Opening Day rainout since 2008, they will open their 2016 season at Yankee Stadium Tuesday afternoon against the Houston Astros (1 p.m. ET on ESPN).

The game is a rematch, almost six months to the date, of last year’s American League wild-card game, which the Astros took from the Yankees in the Bronx. Even the starting pitchers will be the same.

Keuchel has the Yankees’ number

Dallas Keuchel held the Yankees to three hits over six innings in that game on three days’ rest. Keuchel gave the Yankees fits all of last season. He was 3-0 against them in 2015 and did not allow an earned run in 22 innings. The Yankees struck out 28 times against Keuchel and drew two walks.

Keuchel faced 16 teams last season, but the Yankees were the only one he held scoreless over the season. His 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings pitched against the Yankees was his highest strikeout rate against any team he faced at least twice.

This will be Keuchel’s second career Opening Day start. In Houston’s opener last season, he held the Cleveland Indians to three hits and no runs in seven innings. The good start was a sign of things to come for Keuchel, who went on to win the American League Cy Young Award.

After Jake Arrieta’s seven-inning, two-hit scoreless performance Monday night against the Los Angeles Angels, reigning Cy Young Award winners are 33-20 in 78 Opening Day starts, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.

The last time reigning Cy Young winners went 2-0 in their teams’ respective Opening Days was 2000, when Randy Johnson (National League) and Pedro Martinez (AL) were victorious.

Tanaka making second Opening Day start

Masahiro Tanaka will make his second career Opening Day start, just like Keuchel. Tanaka allowed five runs in four innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2015 opener.

In his only regular-season start against the Astros, Tanaka surrendered a season-high six earned runs, including home runs by Chris Carter, Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve.

In other starts, Tanaka dominated his opposition last year with his splitter. He used it the second-most frequently of any pitcher in baseball with at least 150 innings pitched, and induced 12 percent more swinging strikes with it than his other pitches. Opposing batters swung at and missed Tanaka’s splitter more than 62 percent of the time.

Other notes

Elias notes that the Yankees’ .563 win percentage on Opening Day is the fourth-best in major-league history behind that of the New York Mets (.636), Seattle Mariners (.600) and Baltimore Orioles (.591).

Correa, who won the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2015, led shortstops in home runs with 22 last season.

Correa and Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees have drawn numerous comparisons, given their position and hype before their major-league debuts.

Correa will play in his 100th regular-season game Tuesday on the same field as Rodriguez. Through 99 career games, Correa is outpacing Rodriguez in home runs (22 to 14) and runs batted in (68 to 58).

Credit ESPN

Astros’ Keuchel sets record with $7.25M pre-arbitration deal

January 17, 2016

Dallas Keuchel received his first payday of his young career on Friday.

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel reached an agreement with the Houston Astros on a one-year deal for 2016 on Friday, eliminating the need for the two sides to head to arbitration.

Keuchel and the Astros linked up on a one-year, $7.25 million deal for next season — which just so happens to be a record for players going through the arbitration process for the first time.

As the Houston Chronicle’s Evan Drellich points out, Keuchel’s pre-arbitration deal blows past the previous high for first-time eligible players. The previous high was $4.35 million, given to lefties Dontrelle Willis in 2006 and David Price in 2012.

Houston obviously wants to sign Keuchel long-term, but word recently was that the two sides were not working on terms of an extension just yet.

To that end, Drellich notes that both Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum won Cy Young Awards before their first years of arbitration eligibility – the same situation currently faced by Keuchel — so there is a bit of a precedent there. Whether the Astros are able to lock up Keuchel with an extension soon will be something worth following as the season nears.

Credit: Fox Sports