Lucas Sims’ Changeup + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Monday’s Games

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Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. 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.

Lucas Sims’ Changeup – Sims had one of his better games of the season against the Mets yesterday, with this Changeup being a big reason why. Not only did he get plenty of ride on the pitch to earn the strikeout, but having the confidence to throw it in a full count gives us a little extra love for this pitch.

An Easy A

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Yesterday was a bittersweet day. On one hand, we saw our sweet prince Aaron Nola dominate per usual via 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. On the other, it was in all likelihood his final start of the 2017 season. The season comes to a close with a 3.54 ERA, 9.86 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, 6.2 IPS, 1.21 WHIP, 50% grounders and one stolen heart. More interesting in my mind is what he did starting June 22nd, after I kept battling the comments stating that Nola was droppable and not worth a roster spot: 3.00 ERA, 10.54 K/9, 2.54 BB/9, 6.5 IPS, 1.15 WHIP. That’s Easy A, alright. The question now becomes where he should be drafted in 2018. I wouldn’t be shocked if I found myself passing on Nola, which may come as a shock, but you know it all comes down to value. I loved Nola this season as he was being taken as the #49th SP off the board. Now I quoted yesterday a mock draft currently going on, where Nola was drafted at #76 overall and the #18th SP off the board. That may be what I want for this season, it may also be a little too expensive for me. Like last year, I see a tier forming from the late teens to the early 30s where I’d wait until the first half is off the board…including Nola. I’m not setting this in stone, but I can see it happening and already a bit sad by it. I still will live every day like it’s Nola day.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: Mock Trial With Judge Reinhold

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I have a feeling that Aaron Judge is going to end up being seriously overdrafted next year. I think people are going to look at his numbers on the season and I think they’re going to expect something similar, and I just don’t know that he’s going to do that. On Monday, Judge went 2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBI, making for four home runs in two days and breaking Mark McGwire’s rookie home run record. There is no denying Judge’s power, not even a little bit. The guy is a monstrous human being and he absolutely crushes the ball. Those 50 home runs he’s hit this year, that’s all completely legit and I think 40+ home runs every season is basically in the bag for him going forward. But what I don’t think is legit, and what I think will lead to him being drafted higher than he should be is his .283 batting average. He’s just not a batting average kind of guy. If the season ended today (and it’s almost over), Judge would have the 10th most strikeouts in a single season in baseball history, one of only 10 hitters ever to break 200 strikeouts in a season. It wouldn’t shock me if he climbs a bit higher on that ranking over the next week, and someone who strikes out that much cannot maintain a batting average that high. So why does he have that high of a batting average? That’d be thanks to BABIP. The first half of the year was awesome for Judge, he slashed .329/.448/.691, it was ridiculous, but that came along with an equally-ridiculous .426 BABIP. Then, over the second half of the year so far, Judge has been slashing .221/.379/.527 with a .259 BABIP. I think the real Aaron Judge is somewhere in between those two halves, a .250-.260 hitter who is a lock for 40+ home runs, basically what everyone kind of hoped Chris Davis would be rather than the .200 hitter with 30 home runs he is right now. When you’re drafting Judge next year, don’t expect him to be Nelson Cruz, hitting for high power and a high average, don’t overdraft him.

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:

Batter’s Box: Are You Suzukidding Me?

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It’s hard to believe, since the conventional wisdom that Tyler Flowers was the catcher to own in Atlanta has long lingered in my consciousness, but Kurt Suzuki has actually been one of the more effective second-half catchers in the entire league. Upon some deeper delving, I know I was surprised to discover that among catchers with 100 minimum AB since the break, Suzuki’s wOBA of .391 is tied for third-best in MLB. Only Willson Contreras and Welington Castillo have outdone him in this metric. His line this weekend was a tasty 4-8, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI. For further context on how sturdy Suzuki has been in fantasy since mid-July, one need only see that he’s accomplished it all with the second-lowest BABIP (.272) among the top-20-wOBA-achieving backstops in that span. It’s also worth praising his tie with Jonathan Lucroy for lowest C strikeout percentage (12.1%) in the second half. I’m digging the .340 September AVG that has produced five XBH, eight runs and eight RBI also. None of this is to disparage what Flowers brings to the table, but it’s more geared toward thinking of the Braves’ two-headed platoon atop the depth chart as being way more even than many realize. It’s so easy to consider the guy with more playing time as the alpha dog, but Suzuki has the same number of RBI and seven more HRs than Flowers in 42 fewer at-bats. He’s poised to do great things for fantasy owners this week, especially later on. Suzuki has hit just .174 against the Mets this year, albeit with three RBI and five runs scored—a .345 OBP against New York has been nicely padded by four walks despite the relative hitting inefficiency. Fast forward to Thursday at Marlins Park, though, and get ready for Suzuki to eat when he starts: he’s gone .400 with eight runs this year at the expense of Miami’s pitching staff.

Now, for some notes on several other hitters’ outings this past weekend:

Jeurys Familia’s Fastball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From This Weekend’s Games

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Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. 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.

Congrats to Blake Treinen’s Fastball for winning Nastiest Pitching GIF of the Week! Treinen packs a ton of movement at 97+ mph and we can all agree that it’s simply not fair.

Jeurys Familia’s Fastball – Familia got his chance to close again for the Mets and took advantage of the opportunity, getting the strikeout in a tough jam. He used his classic Sinker that is still riding plenty as it fell from the inside corner into Michael Taylor’s thighs.

Reviewing All Starting Pitcher Matchups For Week 26 (9/25 – 10/1): Who To Sit/Start

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It’s the final week of the season and you have to plan out who you want to start. There are three labels: StartMaybe, and Sit. Outings marked with a Maybe are circumstantial and dependent on your needs in a 12-teamer, while the other two are self-explanatory. Feel free to question my designations in the comments and we’ll dive into it together.

Here’s the massive table containing every Week 26 start from 9/25 – 10/1:

Missing The Target

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I’ll be releasing my super-early edition of The List next Monday and I’m not sure where I’ll be putting Chris Archerwho continued his disappointing 2017 with 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks, raising his ERA to a ghastly 4.18 and WHIP to 1.27. This hurts your team a ton, though the 243 strikeouts go a long way to making the pain go away. Now, I don’t expect that ERA to show up again, but those looking at his 3.32 xFIP and 3.43 FIP shouldn’t get wide-eyed either. His scFIP sits at 3.63 (3.87 bbFIP), which I think is a bit closer to the real Archer. Let’s say he goes 3.70 ERA next season with a 2.75 BB/9, 10+ K/9 and 1.20 WHIP. That’s good, but is that worth a Top 15 SP pick in the first 60 picks? Definitely not to me. He has a ton of name value and will get plenty of the “regression is coming and if he could only…” talk that will characterize him as a Top 10 play that doesn’t cost the pretty penny. I see plenty of other arms that can give me the same production going much later that I’d just wait for. Archer just isn’t worth the investment.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Refuse The Gerritocracy

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I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t love Gerrit ColeHe has the stuff that makes you swoon in the mirror, but he simply doesn’t execute the way it should. After last night’s 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks, Cole holds a 4.23 ERA, 8.61 K/9, 2.46 BB/9, and 4.16 FIP. That’s pretty terrible. It’s replaceable through streaming for the most part, but more realistically his spot in your staff would have been better off chasing upside arms like Godley, Corbin, Bauer, Castillo, etc. But for next year, I am willing to bet he will be in the consensus Top 35. His HR/FB rate was 16.1% after a career under 10%! His velocity increased! He could be like 2015 again! Yep, I’ve heard it all and I don’t want to do it again. 2015 looks like an anomaly with every other year since 2014 holding a 3.60 ERA + 1.20 WHIP or worse. At what point do we stop buying into a guy “turning it on” and realize that he’s just not going to have everything go right for a full season again? I don’t blame you if you want to chase it, it might be worth the value in your draft. I simply doubt that I’ll be the one ready to pull the trigger before “the guy that loves Cole” snatches him. Because every league will have that guy. Don’t be that guy.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

The Nastiest Pitching GIFs Of Week 25 – Which Pitch Gets Your Vote?

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Every week we review the nastiest pitches from the previous week in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest, which will be live in November. 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.

Chaz Roe’s Slider – He won last week’s “Best Pitch” and he’s already putting in another contender with this Slider that has way more bend than it has any right to have. You can’t lay off this pitch, but you sure can’t hit it either.

Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 26 (9/25 – 10/1)

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Welcome to the FINAL hitter matchups article of the season. This is the last week of championships in most leagues, though I know in some championships ended this past week. This article is for those of you who are looking for some matchups to take advantage of during your championship week.

It’s important to remember something this week: I’m going off of pitching projections as of this writing (which is Saturday). Being that this is the last week of the season, some of these starters might get moved around (i.e. if someone like Yu Darvish got his start skipped, that wouldn’t shock me). So pay close attention to who’s getting skipped and who isn’t this week when picking your hitters. And as always, this is for more middle-of-the-road players, always start your studs.

START

Colorado Rockies hitters – Lucky for those of you who own Rockies hitters this week, the Rockies play all six of their games at home in Coors Field. Unfortunately, however, they’ll be facing the Los Angeles Dodger and potentially both Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish. Now, like I mentioned earlier, it’s entirely possible that Kershaw and Darvish’s starts get skipped to preserve them for the postseason, and that would be awesome news for your Rockies. Regardless, start them, and if you’re in a daily league, avoid the Kershaw and Darvish matchup if they happen. Since 2012, the Rockies have slashed .322/.372/.518 in the month of September at Coors.

A Bag Of Riches

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You know that I adore Garrett RichardsIt’s been a struggle waiting for him to return after getting me all excited in the 4.2 innings we got in April, and the torture of watching him get pulled early in each of his September starts have been excruciating. It made me want to sit out last night’s start against the Astros – he tallied 85 pitches in total – but it was glorious to the tune of 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Now he gets the ChiSox where I imagine the reigns will be lifted and I’m pumped to see some Richards magic. The big question, though, is what we should do in the 2018 draft. Clearly, Richards has massive upside, with a Two-Seamer, Cutter, Slider combination at high velocities that make it incredibly tough for batters to square the bat on the ball. He’s lowered walk rates, gets grounders, etc. If you told me he would be getting 200 frames next season, I’d heavily consider him Top 25 if not Top 20. That’s the talent we’re dealing with. But obviously, the injury risk forces us to take a major step back. Where do we draft players like Richards? I’ll most likely have him around #35 as he’s worth the innings he’ll give you as your #4, with the potential to give plenty more than the price you pay. If it doesn’t pan out, you won’t take such a big hit as well. I’m sure we’ll be talking about this a good amount over the winter.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: The Linds of Change

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What Cleveland SS Francisco Lindor is accomplishing right now during this second half is simply incredible. Not only has he reached safely in all but two September games (a BB in two of his four hitless games this month), but he’s got the eighth-best slugging percentage league-wide since the All-Star break. His 1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 2 K line in Anaheim yesterday provided the cushion the Indians would need to pull off the sweep and cap off their 27th win in 28 games. He’s emerged as arguably the most valuable fantasy switch hitter this year. His 93 runs and 86 RBI have been instrumental to the Indians enjoying the success they’ve had this year. Surprisingly, he has more RBI in 54 games at leadoff than he does from the 2-spot he’s played from in 93 games this year. The average splits also favor him atop the order (.293 versus .272).

Elsewhere in the league, we had some other notable hitting performances:

Reviewing Every Two-Start Pitcher For Week 26 (9/25 – 10/1)

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Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and detail my thoughts about rolling with them on your roster. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. Definitely Start features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by Probably Start with pitchers that look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players labeled as Questionable are for deeper leagues or have one-of-two outings that should be skipped. Pitchers under Bench should be avoided despite their two starts in the week ahead.

Note: Since this is the final week of the season, it’s likely that many of these pitchers’ schedules change last minute and don’t get their second starts of the week. Monitor each situation through the week!

Definitely Start

Chris Sale? (TOR, HOU)

Zack Godley (SFG, @KCR)

Carlos Martinez (CHC, MIL)

Jake Arrieta (@STL, CIN)

R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Thursday’s Games

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Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day’s games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the Second Half Contest. 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.

R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball – We haven’t had too many mind-blowing Knucklers from Dickey this year, but this one is certain to get you excited. This pitch changes direction multiple times on its way to the plate, leaving Jayson Werth with just air as he swings at a pitch right down the middle.

On The Corner Podcast Episode 51 – Reviewing All Weekend Streamers

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Nick Pollack is back to talk all things Starting Pitching in Fantasy Baseball in Episode 51 of On The Corner. This week, he reviews all streaming options for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, diving into each matchup to help you get the best chance of winning your fantasy league.

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Timestamps