Patience or Panic: Ronald Acuña Jr., Nolan Arenado, Luis Castillo

What should we do with these struggling players?

The season just started. The season just started. The season JUST STARTED.

Make that your mantra through at least the end of April as you scan your roster and slowly start to lament some of your decisions. It can be difficult to see the forest through the trees when dealing with a struggling player right out of the gate. A midseason slump? That’s nothing. In those cases, you can at least look back on the good old days when home runs, hits and heists were flowing from your favorite draft target. When a player crashes right out of the gate, it can truly feel like the end times. Remind yourself to be patient in these early weeks. But also learn not to get too attached. Know when it’s time to cut and run.


Ronald Acuña Jr., OF, Atlanta Braves


Should we panic??

Short answer: no.

Long answer: Are you crazy? Of course not.

Longer answer: Acuña will likely only make one appearance in this column. Surprisingly, there are managers out there who are starting to feel the pressure of a slow start for the player who likely was their No. 1 overall pick. Being drafted in that slot comes with a certain level of expectations and there’s no doubt that Acuña has fallen short. Despite having a “break out” game Tuesday night (2-for-3, 3 runs, 3 SB), Acuña is still searching for his first home run. He also is striking out at a career-high 31% rate with a dismal .291 wOBA. Heading into Tuesday’s game, Acuña did not have a single barrel and a ground ball rate north of 60%. To say that Acuña is struggling to see the ball is a bit of an understatement.

Verdict: Patience. We’re talking about one of the best young hitters of his generation. There are very few sweeping declarations that I will be able to make in this column, but if there is one thing I can say for certain, it’s that Ronald Freaking Acuña Jr. (Yes, that’s actually his middle name. No, you don’t need to look it up.) is going to be awesome. Tuesday’s game is a step in the right direction. After stealing 73 bases last season, Acuña worryingly had just one so far this year. Suddenly he’s up to four. The power won’t be far behind.


Nolan Arenado, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals


Arenado is another who hasn’t quite found his eye at the plate. Through 12 games, the veteran third baseman is slashing .245/.269/.306 with 3 runs and 4 RBI. He is still searching for his first home run and he has just three extra-base hits. He drew his first walk Tuesday night. Outside of three strikeouts on Monday, he hasn’t had much swing-and-miss to his game either. Arenado has looked a little gun-shy—unwilling to attack the ball with his usual zeal. Compare his contact rates and first pitch swing rate from a year ago:


Ryan Loren

Ryan Loren is a baseball writer for Pitcher List and a Detroit sports fan struggling to remember what it's like to root for winning teams.

4 responses to “Patience or Panic: Ronald Acuña Jr., Nolan Arenado, Luis Castillo”

  1. Winson vs. Timson says:

    Can we please have some players that are more fringe in 12 teamers ?

    Vinnie Pasquantino
    Kerry Carpenter
    Edouard Julien
    Tanner Scott


    • Ryan Loren says:

      This early in the season, you should have patience with all but the most very fringe players. The only reason you should panic on anybody at this point is if their slow start is going to lead to a loss in playing time. Fantasy managers have a tendency to overreact inside of the first 25 games of the season and it’s important to have reminders to stay calm first and foremost but also know what warning signs to look out for.

  2. D says:

    So… you’re saying the three players you chose were a total waste of time and effort?

  3. Timson vs Winson says:

    I guess my point is that this is Pitcher List…a typical reader here knows that. Whereas fringe guys like the ones I listed are who a legit GM might be walking about. Just my 2 cents

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