Each week, Kyle Glaser will take a look at the trends in major league baseball
Matt Davidson | 3B | White Sox
Remember him? The four-time BA Top 100 prospect and 2013 Futures Game MVP struggled at Triple-A in 2014 and ’15 and sustained a season-ending broken foot in his lone big league game in 2016, but is beginning to fulfill his prospect promise, belatedly, at age 26. Davidson has seized the White Sox’s starting third base job with Todd Frazier battling illness and leads American League rookies with a 1.106 OPS through 10 games, buoyed by a .742 slugging percentage. Davidson is tied for the White Sox lead in home runs (3) and RBIs (10), although his propensity to swing and miss (16 strikeouts in 33 plate appearances) remains a long-term concern.
Amir Garrett | lhp | Reds
Everyone knew the Reds’ No. 3 prospect had a fastball-slider combination to be reckoned with, but his previously below-average changeup has been a deadly pitch as well in the majors. Opponents are swinging at 47 percent of his changeups but are 0-for-34 against the pitch, per Brooks Baseball. What’s more, Garrett has gotten a swing and miss on 20.6 percent of his changeups, giving him another potent secondary offering to go with his slider and help him start the year 2-0, 1.42.
The Brewers’ young arms
The Brewers aggressively gave pitchers in their young 20s a lot of innings in previous years and took some lumps for it, but those pitchers are now excelling in their late 20s. The Brewers have the third-best ERA in the National League, behind just the Dodgers and Cubs, with 29-year-old Chase Anderson (2-0, 1.50) and 28-year-olds Wily Peralta (3-0, 2.65) and Jimmy Nelson (1-0, 1.38) leading the rotation. Righthanders Jacob Barnes, 27, and Corey Knebel, 25, each have yet to allow a run in eight appearances.
Tyler Glasnow | rhp | Pirates
The Pirates righthander continues to struggle to throw strikes, with seven walks in his first 6.2 innings and a 0-1, 12.15 mark through two starts. He is throwing only 55 percent of his pitches for strikes, per Baseball-Reference.com, eight percent worse than MLB average, and his career walks per nine innings in the majors now stands at 6.0 after a 4.43 career mark in the minors.
Yulieski Gurriel | 1b | Astros
The track record of signing Cubans older than 30 is not a good one (see: Olivera, Hector) and the 32-year-old Guerriel is not helping the cause with the Astros. After posting a .677 OPS in 36 games last year, Gurriel is off to a .243 (9-37) start this year with just one extra-base hit. His career slash line now stands at .257/.286/.359, and he has four years and $45.6 million remaining on his deal.
The Athletics’ young arms
Oakland has started a pitcher 28 years old or younger every game this season, and their starters rank 12th in American League with a 4.46 ERA. Jharel Cotton (5.40 ERA) and Sean Manaea (5.51 ERA), both 25, have taken most of the lumps. To make matters worse Oakland’s most reliable starter, 26-year-old righthander Kendall Graveman (2-0, 3.00), was just placed on the 10-day disabled list with strained right shoulder.