It’s the end of the year, so I finally get to talk a lot about aces as there aren’t future starts to talk about. So hey, Shane Bieber is super dope. After yesterday’s final showcase of 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 32% CSW, Bieber holds a 1.63 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 41% strikeout rate. Insane.
His curveball kept its ridiculous 24% SwStr as he featured it outside the zone more than ever, dropping to just a 23% zone rate and keeping its 50% swing rate. Fastballs gained a tick of velocity, helping it earn more whiffs and drop its O-Contact dropped 15 points, and he shifted from a stupid high whiff rate slider to throwing a new cutter that dominated the zone 62% of the time and held a ridiculous 17% SwStr along the way. That’s a pitch you can’t hit and if you don’t swing, it’s a strike. Unreal.
Did I mention he also had a changeup that returned a 20% SwStr rate? Like, why man. Why are you so good.
And finally, here’s a fun note. Bieber’s 17.1% SwStr for the entire 2020 season ranks fourth among all starters, with fellow Wednesday starters Giolito and Maeda ranking above him. Bieber’s 17.1% clip would have been the highest mark of the entire decade. Short season, schmort schmeason, that’s stupid impressive.
So yeah, he’s my Al Cy Young. There’s little sign of him slowing down and with the Indians allowing him to go deep often, I don’t see why he’s not in the top tier of SP next year. #1? Well, deGrom had a 21%+ SwStr rate this year and increased his velocity, so I don’t think so. But close.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Nathan Eovaldi vs BAL (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Hot dang! Eovaldi actually got whiffs on his four-seamer with 6/33 this time around as his cutter did work as well. Splitters? Why not, you get 5/18 whiffs too. And hey, here’s curveballs for strikes inside the zone. This was the best I’ve seen Eovaldi in a long time and, oh no, there isn’t another game left. Soooo do I hold onto this for 2021? I can’t, right? Right?! What are you doing to me Eovaldi.
Nick Margevicius vs HOU (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Yep, totally expected this to be the start where Marge figures it out. And when I mean figure it out, I mean stay in the top third of zone at 88 mph for 71% of your pitches. I don’t think this is sustainable without a major secondary offering down – his curveball/slider/changeup aren’t enough for me – so like all the many rejections I’ve received in my day, I’m sorry Nick.
Robbie Ray vs NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Honestly, I’m totally cool with this. Really good pitch separation but too many fastballs out of the zone, while his slider was phenomenal. 12/40 whiffs and 45% CSW allowed Ray to avoid damage against a strong Yankee offense, but he’s still inefficient. I don’t think that goes away in 2021 – it could and the fact that he’s tinkering with his mechanics makes me a little more encouraged than others that the switch can be flipped – and I’m willing to throw him in the “HIPSTERS” bucket. That sounds way more aggressive than I mean it to be.
Mike Clevinger vs LAA (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 42% CSW. We got an inning. A glorious inning, but that was it as he felt the same problem in his biceps and was pulled. Blegh. He’ll obviously drop in draft value next year given the injury history and it’ll be a shrug of a debate in the off-season. Many will say it’s not worth the risk and I understand leaning that way.
Logan Webb vs COL (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Webb was opened for in this game and finally returned that Toby line we’ve hoped he could pull off against a Rockie Road squad missing Nolan Arenado. Sure, it was a HAISTFMFWT?! and a blegh WHIP, but let’s be happy for him, you know?
Trevor Bauer vs MIL (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 38% CSW. Aces gonna ace. Okay, we legit need to consider Bauer as a Cy Young candidate, especially if he goes three-days rest a second time for Sunday’s start. He’s the only pitcher in consideration from yesterday to get another game (I don’t believe there is a Monday regular season game scheduled…? Maybe a play-in game somewhere?) and let’s cross our fingers he gets it. It has a feeling of CC Sabathia and I love it.
Danny Duffy vs STL (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Atta boy Duffy, I’m glad you had one more start to showcase that you’re not as bad as your last one. He really went BSB here, even pushing 93 mph, which we like to see. The end result for 2020 was a volatile streamer at a 24% strikeout rate and hey, that’s something to remember for next year.
Trevor Williams vs CHC (W) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 20% CSW. Well done Williams! He buried that slider down, getting whiffs and outs with it, his four-seamer stayed up (though a good amount well inside the zone) and even changeups and curveballs stayed down effectively. And yet, among all of that, it was just four strikeouts. It’s hard for me to consider chasing this in 2021 with that capped ceiling.
Kyle Hendricks @ PIT (L) – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW.It was a major back-and-forth of Hendricks and in the end, the man was the true Spider-Man, with a 2.88 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and paltry 20% strikeout rate across 81.1 IP – currently the most of any starter (Lynn and Marquez may take that crown this week). At least we know who he is and can value him appropriately in 2021.
Lucas Giolito @ CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks – 22 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Aces gonna ace. Outside of the 17%+ SwStr rate, we essentially got more of the same from Giolito in 2021. That’s definitely encouraging and makes me a little more in for 2021. I still wonder if there’s a little too much volatility and he needs a slight increase in that 93/94 mph fastball so he’s not so hyper reliant on that changeup, but it’s hard to argue against doing the same twice in a row. I’ll be thinking about this one a good amount.
Tyler Glasnow @ NYM (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Aces gonna ace. His 2020 season looks like a Cherry Bomb – 4.08 ERA but a 1.13 WHIP and 38% strikeout rate. I don’t think he’s that 4.00+ ERA guy, but it’ll be interesting to see where his ADP is next year. The Rays definitely held him on a leash as well, with just three games at 6+ frames all year. Something to think about.
Jaime Barria @ SD (ND) – 2.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 28% CSW. After producing an exceptional outing against the Rangers, Barria was allowed to only go two frames this time against the Padres. How rude.
Julio Urias vs OAK (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 Hits, 1 ER, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW. Well alright then. There was some concern if Urias would be able to stick it out one more time, but he looked excellent with his curveball at 45% CSW and despite the few changeups, they worked well. He was opened for here by relievers – sorry QS leagues – and I can’t shake the feeling that the Dodgers are going to be weird with him in 2021 as well. Pairing that with his full season of 3.27 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 20% strikeout rate (I imagine him more like a ~24% strikeout rate guy) and I don’t know how I feel about Urias. There’s a touch of HIPSTER here given Dodgeritis still being a thing, but I hope I’m wrong and Urias soars in 2021.
Max Fried vs MIA (ND) – 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 0 Whiffs, 9% CSW. Fried left this one with an ankle injury and that’s 2020. I certainly didn’t expect a 2.25 ERA or 1.09 WHIP, but the 22% strikeout rate? Yeah that sounds kinda right. I’m sure to disappoint some by not jumping all over him next year, though I get it. There’s some great stuff there that could take another step forward next year. I wonder if his ADP will be based on that ceiling and not the middle-ground it should be.
Zach Eflin @ WSH (W) – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW. It’s been a coin flip of a season for Eflin who somehow finished the season with a 30% strikeout rate despite a 10.2% SwStr rate (30% CSW is solid but not that kind of strikeout rate solid), and I’m glad he ended on a high note. There’s going to be a lot of debate about Eflin for 2021 and I’m inclined to avoid it. He’s too much of a HIPSTER for me.
Erick Fedde vs PHI (L) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW. Ayyyy, you’ll take this from Fedde if you needed to chase it. He ends his season with a 4.29 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, and 12.6% strikeout rate (5.7% overall SwStr!) in just over 50 innings. Remember kids, Don’t Trust The Feddes.
Kenta Maeda vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 43% CSW. Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden Goal to complete a phenomenal first season in Minnesota. To think you were able to draft him as your SP #4.
Sean Manaea @ LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW. The mad man did it. We doubted him across his super tough schedule (SD, HOU, Coors, LAD) and he failed to blow up once, here with a PQS. But the end result of 2020 was a 4.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIp, and 20% strikeout rate and just two starts of six frames. That’s not what you want to chase.
Alex Young vs TEX (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Ehhhhhh okay. Despite the great matchup against the Rangers, Young was a questionable play given he hadn’t displayed both his changeup and curveball in one night. Well, he did that here with 36% CSW between them and even 40% CSW on his 15 cutters as well, but his fastballs were bad. He has a chance of being a solid Toby in 2021 if given the playing time, but I don’t draft Tobys. Tuck this away for streaming options next year.
Wes Benjamin @ ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW. It’s an overall blegh from Wes and I’d be shocked if he made any sort of impact next season.
Zack Greinke @ SEA (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Blegh. That’s a 4.03 ERA as his final six games each took his ERA down a peg, allowing at least 3 ER in each of them. I think you’re going to get a sizeable discount on Greinke next year as it does seem like it’s the beginning of the end, but there is a huge part of me feels it’s an overreaction to a short season. I’m betting you’ll likely see Greinke around the late 30s or so and I’ll be down having him as my SP #4/5 next year. If it fails, that’s okay, if not, you have a rock in your lineup.
Adrian Houser @ CIN (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW. You had such an easy schedule ahead and it just wasn’t meant to be. Oddly enough, Houser turned to four-seamers over sinkers here and they were pretty dang good at 43% CSW, but nothing else was there. Here’s to hoping he can find his slider or changeup over the off-season.
Masahiro Tanaka @ TOR (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 21% CSW. Nooooo, Tanaka was one of the more underrated rocks of fantasy squads this year and I wanted one more start for him to stamp the season with a golden seal of approval. His splitter returned just 1/23 CSW as it was often fouled off put in play (rarely weakly) and his slider could only do so much. He’s a good target late in drafts next year for stability, though wherever he lands in free agency may shift his value around slightly one way or another.
Michael Wacha vs TB (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW. I mean, yeah, that’s Wacha. At least he went six frames this time.
Ryan Castellani @ SF (L) – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 20% CSW. Blegh. Maybe one day he leaves Colorado and gets a decent schedule and we can be like Hey! That’s a Toby! Cool beans! I like cool beans.
Sixto Sanchez @ ATL (ND) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 17% CSW. Welcome to the bottom of the roundup that makes Nick fill with anxiety that things didn’t go the way we wanted it to. This was a start of blegh as Sixto couldn’t throw fastballs for strikes, forcing him to lean too hard on changeups and sliders. It was the worst I’ve seen him all year and it’ll certainly depress his draft stock next year. Here’s the good news – you won’t have to spend a pretty penny to draft him. I can’t imagine him going as a Top 30 SP with just a 21% strikeout rate and 4.17 SIERA to his name. So cool, you draft 3/4 starters you can rely on and take a fun pick in Sixto around the middle rounds. That sounds great to me. Sorry about your teams this year, though. This hurts.
Casey Mize @ MIN (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 25% CSW. At least this one you definitely avoided. Mize is suuuuper interesting for next year. It has the feeling a bit of a Jose Berrios debut that settles down nicely in his sophomore year. But man, you have to get that cutter and splitter in order first. Then there’s his injury-history to be concerned about, but the draft stock has to be low, no? No one is going to depend on Mize as a legit starter, so that means he’s a late round flier you take to see where he’s at early and go from there. That sounds perfect to me. Same goes for Skubal, of course.
Dean Kremer @ BOS (L) – 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW. Nooooooooo, that’s horrible. After having an excellent cutter last time, it was atrocious in this one with 1/12 whiffs and his curveball struggled to find the plate. That meant a ton of hittable fastballs and…yeah. Ugh. He’s a late flier to consider for next year and this stinks for your squads.
Carlos Martinez @ KC (L) – 5.0 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW. Hey, it’s Nick, here to be sad with you again. There were warning signs from last time and I weighed Kansas City over them. That was clearly not the right call and man this hurt. He also physically hurt, leaving the game with a back strain, but the damage was already done by then. Like the others, he may be a late round guy next year depending on where he lands, but when would you trust him? Unless I’m seeing upper 90s velocity and solid slider/changeup command, I wouldn’t feel confident in him on a given day. So yeah, what a sad ending.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Kris Bubic vs. Detroit Tigers – He’s doing good enough that I think you’re safe here against Detroit.
Daniel Ponce de Leon vs. Milwaukee Brewers – He’s been on fire and tossing over 85 pitches per start. Hopefully he has one left in the tank.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
John Means vs. Toronto Blue Jays – He just fanned twelve batters and his changeup command was better than we’ve seen. One more time, Means, you gots this.
Game of the Day
(Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire)