Closing Time 7/19: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Wednesday

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With the trade deadline rapidly approaching and a seemingly aggressive market for both buyers and sellers, it does seem likely that we see more deals than usual 2 weeks from now. There was already two major move related to this list, that being the Nationals finally bolstering their bullpen by acquiring both Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. They still need one more option, preferably a legitimate closer candidate and with more than half of this list being mentioned in potential trade talks, they should be able to find one. The other deal happened late last night with the Yankees adding David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox for a package of prospects. Even with those 4 moving, Anthony Swarzak would be my top add this week for save needy fantasy owners.

TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)—Pedro Baez, Sergio Romo

2. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)—Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree

3. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)—Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes

Oh Wacha Cheese Is The Best Kind Cheese

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What on earth is going on with Michael WachaAfter a pair of 9 K starts, he now tossed a CGSHO against the Mets (lol Mets) with a total of 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Well ain’t that a beautiful thing. Last time I wrote that there wasn’t anything we could easily pinpoint about Wacha’s last two starts that dictated lengthy success. I did peak a bit into this one and man oh man was his command gorgeous. Painting the corners, working in that Cutter, mixing in Curveballs and Changeups…it was Wacha as we always wanted Wacha to be. I don’t see this as much as a change of approach but more that the kid is locked in. I’m not sold enough to tell you that you’ll want to start him without a doubt against the Diamondbacks in two weeks + he’ll be golden for your playoffs as well. However, he gets the Cubs next and you have no choice but to roll with him there. I think this is a sell high as Wacha hasn’t made an apparent change to his approach like others we’ve seen, but he clearly is in a groove. I’ll make the bet that the groove doesn’t last through the end of the year.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Felipe Rivero’s Slider + 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.

Felipe Rivero’s Slider – Rivero got the 4 out save last night using his high powered Fastball and a Slider that make hitters jump, literally. Rivero misses his spot badly here, but Travis Shaw sees an inside Fastball heading for his legs before the ball breaks over the inside corner. Nasty.

Jason And The Vargonauts

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So last week I dropped Jason Vargas ten spots after his one bad starts and I got angry comments on both sides of it. One was “after just one bad start after a season of killing it, he drops ten spots?!” and the other was “Why is he still ranked so high?! He’s such a prime regression candidate!”  ¯_(ツ)_/¯. The thought behind it was that no one in their right mind would have been dropping Vargas before the first bad start and you have to give him some benefit of the doubt that he could recover. Still, it could have been the sign of a trend and I hate dropping guys 20+ spots in one week, and I’d rather shift slightly up/down each week to prevent the mega swing of the hammer. Well, instead of rebounding, Vargas continued the free fall with a line of 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks against the Tigers. I think it’s safe to drop him. Yeah, he will have good starts ahead, but Vargas is really just a good streamer now instead of someone you want constantly. I could see him as a Toby and in some 12-teamers you still want to hold, but if there are guys on your wire like Mike Clevinger or Luis Castillo, etc. then I see zero reason to hold Vargas.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Batter’s Box: Duda Twist Just Like This

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Monday’s game made two straight games with a home run for Lucas Duda, as he went 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Duda has been a useful fantasy asset many times in the past, and he’s doing the same thing he always does this year. Duda had a brief DL stint and I think that’s why he’s so widely-available in fantasy leagues right now, but he should be owned in a lot more (he’s available in around 92% of ESPN leagues). Over the past month, Duda has been hitting .273/.377/.591, and while I think he’s more of a .250s hitter, you’ll take that streak any time. If you’re in an OBP league, I think Duda should absolutely be owned, because the guy has the ability to hit 25-30 home runs and he’s walking 13.5% of the time right now. The main thing that’s drawn people away from Duda has been the average, but if you’ve got OBP instead of average, that disadvantage goes away, as he should end the year with an OBP in the .350s, which is more than useful when coupled with his power and RBIs. If you’re in need of power, take a look at Duda, he’s probably available.

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

Batter’s Box: Forget The Tour De France, Cody Bellinger’s A True Cyclist

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A guy hitting for the cycle is always a joy to witness as his fantasy owner, but it’s especially sweet when you can do so after re-emphasizing the fact that many people legitimately had not even heard of said stud three months ago. Cody Bellinger is almost assuredly the runaway frontrunner for NL Rookie of the Year, and to say the All-Star Break did not disturb his rhythm or distract him from the task at hand is an understatement. Bellinger went 5-12, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 3 K, CS this weekend in Marlins Park, and his valiant outing during the Home Run Derby in the same venue a week ago probably made it very easy to feel comfortable at the dish during actual gameplay. The 22-year-old slugger became the first rookie in Dodger history to hit for the cycle with his 4-5 effort on Saturday, and the power shows no signs of letting up. Bellinger has 72 hits since being summoned from Triple-A on April 25, but what’s crazy is that he’s homered 26 times, doubled 16 times and tripled twice: the man has the same number of triples and homers as he does singles. As an XBH machine, he’s an elite option in both points leagues and roto leagues since the .268 average and exceptional run production amid all this power make owning him a no-brainer. In what should come as no surprise, his .632 slugging percentage ranks second among qualified hitters behind only Derby champion and presumptive AL ROY Aaron Judge. Bellinger is having a magnificent maiden voyage aboard U.S.S. Major League Baseball, and he is one of many walking, talking reasons the Dodgers are one of the favorites to reach, if not win, the World Series now.

Let’s take a look at what other notable things happened for hitters around the league this weekend:

Chris Sale’s Slider + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From This Weekend’s Games

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Every Monday we review the nastiest pitches from the previous weekends’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. 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 First Half! A Fastball thrown hard and with this amount of movement is amazing to watch. Treinen also got traded yesterday so it was an eventful weekend in real life and here at Pitcher List.

Chris Sale’s Slider – The Sale trade this offseason with the White Sox is looking like a steal right now no matter what Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech turn out to be. The Red Sox got their ace of now and the future at a cheap cost going forward. Here Gary Sanchez thinks he’s getting a Fastball in his happy zone before the ball ends up close to his back-foot. Nasty. (Thanks to Redditor TheBrimic for the tip!)

Inside The Parker

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In a year of high upside young arms, we often see guys who we don’t recognize having big strikeout games and our ears perk up. I’m s ure many will see Parker Bridwell’s line of  6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks against the Rays and wonder what the deal is. The deal is that you really don’t want to touch this guy. I can see Bridwell having some good days – his breaking ball (Pitch Info calls it a Slider, I think it’s more of a Curveball) is getting a whiff rate above 20% and zone rate of 50% in its ~50 thrown thus far while his Changeup can carry a ton of fade to make batters frustrated. However his Fastball is straight with questionable command and while it hits the zone a ton, it gets hit pretty hard. Then there’s his Cutter/Slider that is just not good. It hangs up, doesn’t have much bite and really shouldn’t exist. But he can’t set up his proper breaking ball without it and his Four-Seamer gets tatted enough that he needs a pitch like this so it gets thrown over 20% of the time. Yikes. This is just one of those good days where his mistakes didn’t often come back-to-back and he was getting a few extra whiffs on his heater. I’d keep him parked on your waiver wire in all 12-teamers.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Reviewing All Starting Pitcher Matchups For Week 15 (7/17 – 7/23): Who To Sit/Start

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Every weekend here at Pitcher List, I review all expected starting pitcher matchups for the week ahead. 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 table containing every weekend start from 7/17 – 7/23:

Analyzing Every Potential Starting Pitcher Innings Limit For 2017

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With two months of baseball already in the books, it’s getting close to the time when managers begin looking ahead to their fantasy playoffs in August and September. With so many young pitchers dominating the SP scene, it’s important to know who will still be around to provide value when you need it most.

Through the help of Pitcher List’s statistics wizard Patrick Barnhart, we’ve compiled a list of young starters and projected when they would be shutdown this season. How it works is simple: We took the total innings across the minors + majors + playoffs from last season, added a 20% boost to project a 2017 limit, then calculated how many innings they have left to throw this season. By calculating their expected Innings Per Start (based on their historical data), we can determine a rough date for when they would hit their innings limit. In the chart below you’ll see that list, followed by an overview of each pitcher involved, providing any insight and info from the organization about a possible innings limit.

There are a few things to note before we get started:

Hitters to Start and Avoid in Week 15 (7/17 – 7/23)

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Championships are won by making the right little decisions through the season and micromanaging your lineup well can be the difference maker. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at five hitting matchups you should take advantage of this week, and five hitting matchups you should avoid this week. Here are the batters you should start and avoid for Week 15 (7/17 – 7/23) of the fantasy baseball season.

Notes: All pitching matchups mentioned here are based off of projections as of this writing. It is entirely possible that the actual matchups could change either because of injury, weather, or anything else. Keep in mind, this article is geared toward middle-of-the-road players, meaning you should be starting top of the line bats regardless of the matchup. Always start your studs. 

START

Pittsburgh Pirates hitters – The nice thing about the Pirates schedule this week is that they get to play a full seven games, with three those games being in Coors Field against the Rockies. Plus, they’ll have four games at home against the Brewers, and aside from a matchup against Jimmy Nelson, none of the pitchers they’re slated to go against look intimidating at all. Not only that, they’ll be facing at least five righties (one Brewers pitcher is still TBD as of this writing, so it could be six), which means Josh Bell should definitely be started, and in deeper leagues, so should Adam Frazier. And if you’ve been concerned about Gregory Polanco, don’t worry, I think this could be a good week for him.

Corbinge Watching

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I find it weird that I need to do this, but today we’re going to go in depth on Patrick Corbin after his 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks start against the Braves. Over his last six starts prior to this one, Corbin held a 10.54 K/9, 2.57 BB/9, 3.34 ERA, 2.40 FIP, and a 54.9% groundball rate. Solid numbers, though the only tough team of the bunch were the Dodgers…where he lasted just 4.2 IP and allowed 3 ERs with a near 2.00 WHIP. So of course, as always, we ask the question: Has there been a significant change that can make us believe this is real? Here’s what I’ve seen: Corbin was getting whiffs on his Slider and Changeup at rates of 20.19% and 5.83% prior to this run. After? Changeup whiff rate doubled to 12.50%, Slider to 26.42%. That’s good. He got six more on his Slider today for a 20% rate today…and 0/14 on his Changeup. Welp, can’t win em all. There isn’t much else telling about these outings and while it’s possible Corbin has figured out his command significantly, I’m going to attribute this moreso with the competition he’s faced. Still, not the worst flier for a 12-teamer – especially if you need the strikeouts – but don’t let this give you the brass to start him against the Nationals. That’s a terrible idea.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Crunched Berrios

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WHAT IS HAPPENING. I have to say, I’ve felt a bit naked this past week – not because I don’t wear pants when I work but because I’ve missed watching games and talking about them here. But tonight was everything I could hope for, some studs killing it, others faltering in a big way, and questionable arms forcing me to explain their lack of overall relevancy. What a dream. Taking this back to reality (oh there goes gravity) Jose Berrios got hit with a smack of real life as he faced the Astros, giving us a line of 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. as he was pulled with 59 pitches and 7 Runs total. Jeeeez, this is really terrible. I put out my sit/start of the weekend Friday morning and I admit I had Berrios initially as a Start without realizing it was the Astros and changed it to a Maybe after some of you pointed it out. I would have still thrown him out there – even with the lack of domination lately – and if you guys watched this, his 2nd inning was just such a struggle. Strikeout, walk, error that should have been a double-play. That should have been it. Then a single to right, scores a run, a double off the wall on a hanging 1-2 Curveball (he deserved this one), the worst kind of infield single you’ll ever see on a check swing, a walk to load the bases, a sacrifice fly, and a groundball single up the middle. Berrios gets pulled because his pitch count is too high and the first batter hits a 3-Run HR off Hughes. Ugggggh. This was terrible but I don’t think Berrios pitched that badly. If someone is looking at his last three starts and thinking regression is here and will be here the rest of the way, awesome, give him to me. Better yet, Berrios has two questionable starts next – Yanks and Dodgers – and has a super easy schedule rest of the way. Maybe wait until that July 25th game to pull the trigger, but regardless I want Berrios for my playoffs.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Reviewing All Starting Pitcher Matchups For Week 15 (7/14 – 7/23): Who To Sit/Start PART 1

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Every weekend here at Pitcher List, I review all expected starting pitcher matchups for the week ahead. 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.

MAJOR NOTE: This week is a little different as plenty of teams haven’t revealed their full rotations out of the break just yet. Additionally, we have a 10-day week as opposed to a 7-day week, making it more difficult to predict the proper matchups. Because there are so many shakeups, I will be doing just these weekend games today and will have a Monday-Sunday table come out Sunday evening as well. Sorry for the disarray, but it’s the best method to avoid confusion for all.

Here’s the table containing every weekend start from 7/14 – 7/16: