As typical per April, there are going to be starters that perform much better than expected and we all wonder if we should be doing something about it. Kendall Graveman is a prime example after going 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks last night following a solid outing to start the year as well. This is what’s going on: Graveman was bumped his velocity to the mid 90s and is throwing his lively Two-Seamer a ton. Like 90.5% of the time thus far. Holy Wade Boggs’ mustache that’s not a good recipe for success unless you’re Zach Britton and we all know his deals with the man below. But Nick, if it’s working, why can’t he keep it up? Alright y’all, I know it’s just two starts but I’m going to throw data your way that I think is pretty significant. 3.89 FIP, .194 BABIP, 97.8% LOB Rate. So far so bad. But yeah, two starts that’s expected! What’s not expected is a 3.0% soft contact rate and 42.4% hard contact rate. Normally with super good two-seam Fastballs, we get great hard contact mitigation and a bunch of soft contact – the ball is moving so much that it’s tough to get a barrel on it. Think Garrett Richards and Aaron Sanchez. Seeing Graveman have essentially zero soft contact and over 40% hard contact tells me that he’s been getting suuuuper lucky in these first few starts. Now, his increased K rate is definitely interesting (25.0% thus far opposed to 14.8% career) and I would still speculatively add him, but without solid secondary options and so much luck his way it’s hard to believe this is breakout city.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Dallas Keuchel – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Well well well. Keuchel got the Royals and had his way with them. I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m not impressed with Keuchel’s early performances. I’m also not going to sit here and not tell you that it’s just two starts and a destination for the 30s/40s all season long seems the most feasible. This isn’t 2015, this isn’t Hendricks 2016 (we’ll get to that), this is solid but not elite, okay?
Jhoulys Chacin – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I mentioned last time that we’re going to be shifting to the Padres from the Twins, creating the MFRSDPSPA. Chacin is making a decent case to bump the current leader Clayton Richard. Point is, a sub 4.00 ERA will win this thing flat out, which means we don’t want to own any of these guys.
Aaron Sanchez – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Yesssss, I’ll take six Ks from Sanchez every night, too bad Biagini had to ruin his potential dub, but whatever I’m all on board for a solid Sanchez season ahead. He’s essentially the floor that you want Quintana to be, though I will say that those three walks made me act just like his Dad.
Michael Wacha – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ll admit, I’m impressed with Wacha a bit and he’ll be getting some love tomorrow. He gets the Yanks next and I’m in on it.
Zack Greinke – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Are you guys back on the Greinke train yet? Cause I am. Command is there, break is there, velocity is good enough for me, and he did this against the Indians. He’s going to get a nice little bump tomorrow.
Chris Archer – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. It was a fun matchup against Sanchez and I’m still like Archer if I drafted him in the 5th/6th as my #1.
Madison Bumgarner – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Good on Bumgarner to mess up early and tell owners “let me go 8 innings to fix my ERA and WHIP.” Thanks dude, super cool of you.
Adam Conley – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Conley was our Reluctant Call Boy yesterday (i.e. I asked for a half point instead of a full one for my personal record). Why did I only go for a half point? WHY. At least I’m back above .500! 2.5-2. I wouldn’t trust Conley much moving forward though, I don’t think his heater is all too great and his Slider is solid but not enough to bridge the gap.
Jordan Zimmermann – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I watched a bit of this and it didn’t make me any more confident in Zim than before. Sure, that’s a low ERA/WHIP and good on you if you ran with him, I’m just not confident this will continue at all as you’re making a Grave Mistake.
Yu Darvish – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Wait, Darvish has walk issues? More at 11. But this is still a good performance. Yeah, I know. And I still have him at #11.
Miguel Gonzalez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Miguel….No.
Danny Duffy – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. #DuffyVeloTracker2017 has had him at 93.7mph last night. This isn’t going to end well y’all and you best be selling them shares if you can get equivalent top 30 SP value for him. He’s not going to be when all is said and done.
Jon Gray – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. 3 BBs and 1 K? Why did I draft you? Of course the storyline will be 1 ER at home, but let’s get real. I want the strikeouts from Gray here and this is disappointing.
Kyle Hendricks – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Well well well. It’s like it’s hard replicating being a super precision based starter from year-to-year. Alright alright I’ll stop since this is just one outing and all, not to mention the Brewers are a legit offense this year.
Aaron Nola – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Easy A made me so proud last night. Sure, 3 ER aren’t ideal with two tacked on in the sixth, but 93/94mph backdoor heaters are everything that I loved about Nola and he showed them off constantly. He pitched exactly like the kid I feel for last spring and if he’s somehow still out there at any sort of discount you best be snatching him ASAP.
Robert Gsellman – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Some will drop Gsellman after this and I sure wouldn’t. He pitched better than the line looks – 7 Ks should tell you enough – and I’m on board, esepcially after the way Wheeler pitched, making Gsellman’s rotation spot a little more secure.
Felix Hernandez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Talk about getting Singled Out. Jeeeeez, Felix I want to believe in you so badly. Seriously, I love the velocity coming back a little, just figure it out, okay?
Chad Kuhl – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks. 11 Baserunners, six walks, and just 2 ER? Kuhl story bro.
Clayton Kershaw – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. I should have known he was due for a dud after allowing 1 ER to the Padres. For the first time ever, Kershaw allowed back-to-back HRs. First of all, that’s kinda amazing. Second, if there is any chance I can poach Kershaw now I would do so. Third, there’s no way that’s going to happen but a man can dream, right?
Trevor Bauer – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m amazed at the K/BB to start the year. Yeah, Bauer isn’t the worst option if you really need a strikeout arm for nada, but those walks will be bad this year and that will make him a risky play errr day. Not my kind of guy.
Masahiro Tanaka – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Hmmmm, are we valuing Tanaka too high? Nah, while I’m super tempted to put Sanchez ahead of him tomorrow, he’ll still be Top 20. It’s early guys.
Eduardo Rodriguez – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I didn’t like how Edu looked in the final tune up in spring training against the Nats and it looks like it’s still with him now. I think the upside is still there and I like that he has a secure spot in the Sox rotation above Steven Wright, but for now I’m looking elsewhere.
Adalberto Mejia – 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Mejia had 51 pitches in the second inning leading to his early exit as he didn’t look sharp at all. But we kinda expected that, right?
Kevin Gausman – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Ugggggh, another start from Gausman where he walked way too many batters. Yes, I’m a little concern with Gausman and I need that solid start to get me encouraged once again.
R.A. Dickey – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Dickey told me his middle name was Danger. It’s actually Craig. Don’t trust a knuckleballer.
Tommy Milone – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Milone Schmilone.
Bronson Arroyo – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. If you expected anything different from Arroyo, you must have been seduced by the leg kick. It’s happened to all of us before, but most of us went through that phase like ten years ago.
Jeremy Guthrie – 0.2 IP, 10 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. In today’s edition of “wait, he’s still around?” Guthrie gave us the performance we expected. Poor fella, it looks like this is the end. Good job Phils, you ruin everything.
Need A Sunday Win
Here’s a new section every Sunday where I’ll list three guys to pick up only if you desperately need one more Win in your H2H leagues:
Martin Perez vs Oakland Athletics
Edinson Volquez vs. New York Mets
Martin Perez vs. Oakland Athletics – Ohhh I hate this one but it’s hard to deny that Perez might have the best shot at stealing a win as he players for the Rangers and faces the A’s. I’m doing this whole Streaming Record thing, and I’m only going to bet .5 a point on this one.
Tyler Glasnow vs. Cincinnati Reds – Yeah, there’s risk here too, though the Reds don’t put up much of a fight and you could escape with 7+ Ks.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Lance Lynn vs. Washington Nations – Not a great day for streamers, so I’ll go with Lynn who is still somehow owned in under 25% of ESPN Leagues. Don’t love the matchup against the Nats, but so it goes.