SP Roundup qw

Difficult Move For The Big Easy


Generally through the year I don’t like to think about innings limits until August when teams start mapping out the rest of their seasons.  I’ve seen owners trade away young studs in July worried about a shutdown only to find themselves with a worse seed for the playoffs and out of it when the guy was still in the rotation.  Additionally, there are often other young arms to fill the void at the same time, such as Jose Berrios who should be called up shortly for the Twins making it an easy transition when to time comes for a shutdown.  Why bring this up?  Well, the Phillies have stated that they don’t intended to surpass last year’s 171.2 innings of Aaron Nola, who after last night’s luscious outing of 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks now has 159 innings logged in 2015.  Those fortunate owners who own the rookie should make plans – if you have a comfortable seed for the playoffs trade him or drop him for someone like Berrios – or ride out the last two starts like the musicians on the Titanic.  There is a small chance that Nola sticks around for longer, but given that the Phils are way out of contention I’d be surprised if they suddenly elected to stretch out their prized prospect.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Prospects Rankings

8/29 Edition: Top 10 Minor League Hitters to Stash


Well, it’s here. The moment of truth. One of these prospects always tells the truth, the other always lies. Depending on how tightly you are in contention, your team’s future may lie with these young players, immediate futures uncertain as they may be. Stash wisely and may force outs be with you.

Here’s the list for the minor league hitters most likely to make an impact for your fantasy team in 2015. It does not include hitters who have already hit in the majors this year.

1. Orlando Arcia (SS, Brewers) – Many of the guys on this list are high-risk, high-upside types. Arcia is not one of these. What he is, is a far safer bet to be a productive major leaguer, and possibly a star. As a 21-year-old, he just turned up the power knob with 3 homers in his past 6 games and is now hitting .301 with 8 Home Runs and 23 stolen bases. That also comes with a great 12% K rate and outstanding defense to stick at short. With such a broad base of skills, odds are good that he’ll help you in some way, and quite possibly in multiple ways. Much like an excellent show made by Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, he’s All That.

Gif Breakdown

GIF Breakdown: Analyzing Rookie John Lamb In 12 HD GIFs


On July 26th, 2015, the Cincinnati Reds dealt Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals for a package of prospects.  A trade was inevitable for the team struggling to stay relevant in the NL Central as the deadline approached rapidly.  The Reds received a solid haul of prospects in return for their ace, including John Lamb.  Lamb was in the midst of an impressive year in the minors, featuring a K/9 of 9.16 and an ERA of 2.67 in AAA for the Omaha Royals, and after a three game stint in the Reds’ affiliate, he was sent to work in the bigs.  After his first two starts, I wanted to give Lamb a dedicated watch and get a good feel for what the young hurler had to offer.  This is John Lamb‘s GIF Breakdown from his August 25th start against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As always, let’s begin by looking at his strikezone plot for the evening:



What you will quickly pick up is that Lamb focused pitching down and to his glove side.  This approach makes sense for Lamb, as his Cutter features excellent horizontal movement that can jam right-handers frequently.  His Fastball, while often avoiding the heart of the strikezone, seemed sporadic as he struggled to command it through the game.  He paired his Four-Seamer on the inside corner with a Cutter that travels a little farther inside can be deceptive and induce weak contact.  His Changeup didn’t fair too well in this start, though, as most landed square in the middle of the zone instead of nibbling near the corners and at knee height.  It’s not a poor plot, but there is much to improve upon in future starts.

Now let’s take a look at his pitches individually across the evening:

GIF night zx

Yordano Ventura’s Curveball + The Best Pitches From Thursday’s Games


Every morning we review the five best pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the “GIF of the Week”.  Did we miss your favorite pitch?  Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Yordano Ventura‘s Curveball – Ventura was straight dealing as he brought down 11 batters in just six innings of work, and his Curveball was public enemy #1.  This may seem like an unassuming strikeout from a check swing until you realize this pitch was recorded at a blistering 89.97 MPH.  Houston Astros pitcher Mike Fiers throws Fastballs slower than Ventura’s Curveball.  Just think about that.  (Thanks to Reddit user g00dn1ghtm4r3 for the tip!)

SP Roundup qw

Wrestling With Ventura


Watching Spring Training games in 2014, a young guy on Kansas City impressed me mightily as he threw in the upper 90s with a solid Changeup and a hook that made belts buckle.  I quickly endorsed the young kid, believing he’d easily be a Top 20 talent in the next two years.  Unfortunately, Yordano Ventura‘s time in the bigs has been turbulent as he’s had troubles with his control while a featuring a shockingly underwhelming strikeout rate.  However, tonight we were given a luscious taste of his upside as he went 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 11 Ks.  The main catalyst for his double digit strikeouts was an elite command of his Curveball – he was able to throw it for strikes as well as making batters chase in the dirt for the K.  He even dialed his Curveball, yes Curveball, up to 89.97 MPH.  Keep in mind, we’re often impressed seeing a Slider at that speed, let alone a bender that features much more drop and bite.  Sadly though, with all of this talent, Ventura is still a talented kid with raw ability, and I don’t believe we’ll consistently see performances like this for the rest of the season.  There’s a chance he matures in 2016, but it wouldn’t be wise to trust him implicitly moving forward.  One day kid, one day.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

the holds up

The Hold Up 8/27: Ranking The Top 25 Relievers For Holds


Things have stayed pretty steady for the last week around the MLB, with the exception of Carson Smith losing his role as closer in Seattle. The bigger news comes on the injury front, forcing two former top holds candidates off the list.

Let’s see where we stand.

TIER 1: Cream of the CropThis group is the cream of the crop. Ample opportunity for holds, high K-rates and low ERA’s make these guys a must own in any Holds league. 

1. Dellin Betances (Yankees)

2. Tony Watson (Pirates)

3. Wade Davis (Royals)

4. Joe Smith (Angels) 

5. Sergio Romo (Giants) +1

6. Pat Neshek (Astros) -1

7. Kevin Siegrist (Cardinals)

TIER 2: Solid PerformersAll excellent relievers, but whether it be their role or consistency, they aren’t quite on that elite level.

8. Joaquin Benoit (Padres ) +1

9. Kelvin Herrera (Royals) +1

10. Drew Storen (Nationals) -2

11. Jim Johnson (Dodgers)

12. Joakim Soria (Pirates)

13.Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays)

14. Justin Wilson (Yankees)

15. Pedro Strop (Cubs)

16. Jared Hughes (Pirates)

17. Tyler Clippard (Mets) 

18. Will Smith (Brewers)

19. Carson Smith (Mariners) UNRANKED

TIER 3: Rolling the Dice There is some potential for holds from this group, however don’t bet the farm on them being among the league leaders.

20. Mark Lowe (Blue Jays) -1

21. Keone Kela (Rangers) UNRANKED

22. Zach Duke (White Sox) 

23. Arquímedes Caminero (Pirates) 

24. Darren O’Day (Orioles)

25. Steve Geltz (Rays)

Moving On Up

– Carson Smith has lost what seems to be a cursed closers gig in Seattle. Though he hasn’t pitched great of late, rolling the dice on Smith for the remainder of the season could prove to be a wise decision.
– Rookie Keone Kela has become a favorite out of the pen for the Rangers, locking down hold after hold recently as well as striking out over a batter per inning.

Falling Down

– No news is bad news right now for Carter Capps. I have given up hope that we will be making an impact again this year.
– While there is a recent report that Jake McGee might mack it back for the final week of the regular season for the Rays, you can write him off for fantasy purposes.

Matchups of the Week 8/27: Three Pitchers you Need to Start


There is a statistical jungle in baseball, filled with so many numbers it’s easy to get lost. You’re a busy person – there’s no time for you as a fantasy owner to go out and discover the statistical gold. That’s where I come in. Every week, I’ll be out there for you, looking through stats and information databases to find the three starting pitcher matchups that stand out from the rest. They won’t always be the best pitchers and won’t always be streamers, but these are my “Matchups of the Week.”

Drew Smyly (#50 on the List) vs. Minnesota Twins (Thursday August 27th)

Some pitchers I just love to watch. Of course there are the Chris Sales and Clayton Kershaws of the world, but I do enjoy starts by pitchers who don’t have the most outstanding “stuff” in the league and still function as average-to-good pitchers such as Mike Fiers. Smyly is also one of those pitchers. He doesn’t possess a nasty Fastball or a waterfall Curveball, but what he does well is locate his pitches and keeps batters off balance with his three pitch mix. The young lefthander loves to throw his mid 80’s Cutter inside to right-handed batters and jam them when they’re expecting his tailing Fastball. As a result, he’s limited right-handed batters to a .229 batting average in a limited sample size since his return from the DL. What also makes this matchup enticing is that the Minnesota Twins aren’t exactly world-beaters on offense as well. They’ve been an average team and Smyly will have the extra benefit of playing in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field this Thursday.

GIF night zx

Felix Hernandez’s Curveball + The Best Pitches From Wednesday’s Games


Every morning we review the five best pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the “GIF of the Week”.  Did we miss your favorite pitch?  Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Felix Hernandez‘s Curveball – It’s been a roller-coaster season for Felix, but he was in prime form Wednesday night against the A’s.  He buckled Coco Crisp’s knees on this mighty hook in the fifth en route to seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

SP Roundup qw

Pining After Pineda


It’s the end of August and it’s tough not to look towards next season.  Where will Michael Pineda be ranked?  I’m imagining that many sites will place him in the mid 30s or so, and I see him being a great steal for many.  His FIP/xFIP is around 3.00 each, with an elite 20.4% K-BB%, numbers that don’t dictate a mid 30s guy.  As for this season, he’s been a disappointing after a potent start to the season, evidenced by a line of 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BB, 3 Ks yesterday against the Astros as he came off the DL.  He’s a bit too inconsistent for teams to love him entering the playoffs and he doesn’t have an easy schedule ahead, facing the Red Sox, Orioles, and Blue Jays next. There should be some recovery – you know pitchers generally underperform in their first start back – and it’s hard not to like Pineda for the long term.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

GIF night zx

Jake Arrieta’s Slider + The Best Pitches From Tuesday’s Games


Every morning we review the five best pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs.  Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the “GIF of the Week”.  Did we miss your favorite pitch?  Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we’ll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

Jake Arrieta‘s Slider –  It’s been another magical season for Arrieta, and he continued the trend on Tuesday as he allowed just a sole unearned run across six innings of work.  He started strong and generated incredible late movement on this 91 MPH Slider to Matt Duffy in the first.