I’m always on the hunt to find starters that are making changes to their game to provide consistent fantasy value, and we might have that on our hands with Jake Junis who went 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks against the Rays Tuesday night. Across his last four starts (axing a relief appearance in the middle), Junis is sporting a 1.80 ERA a near 9.00 K/9, 0.36 BB/9, and well under 25% hard contact. That seems like a mini-breakout if you’ve ever seen one. As always, let’s take a look as his approach and individual pitches and see if there’s a change. What I’m seeing is Junis relying more heavily on his Slider lately – around 50% in the last two games specifically – which is easily his pitch. Just look at it. He’s added about an inch of drop on it in those two starts as well and I’m cautiously optimistic here. I think he has an elite pitch on his hands that will make him effective, it’s just the secondary pitches that give me caution. In these starts, he was able to get the strikes needed to setup the Slider without getting punished. I can’t say that it will continue like that in the future, but he’s someone I’d definitely consider with his great ROS schedule (Twins twice, ChiSox twice, Jays, road Diamondbacks). Just don’t drop another asset that’s been consistent for you over him.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Dylan Bundy – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks. Be honest. You thought I’d be leading with Bundy. I’m sure Alex Fast wanted me to – I received about 30 texts from him last night – and Bundy is a Spare Tire who I’ve been through the gauntlet with across this season, but Junis needed your attention. H’ok so we’ve talked a bunch about him over his last last four starts as he’s fanned plenty and made some adjustments and it was all there last night. Remember the dip in velocity? Nope, back up to 93.0 after sitting under 92mph in his last one. Slider had 10 whiffs on 27 thrown, heck even his heater got 7 across the 57 tossed, en route to his Gallows Pole at 22 whiffs. What’s interesting here is that I don’t actually believe we’re at the peak of Bundy. That sounds crazy, I know. Calm down Alex. Bundy’s peak is being a strong three pitch guy with his Slider, Fastball, and Changeup. The slow ball was good here, but not the dominating one we saw last year and I think there’s room to grow there. Anyway, this is glorious and wonderful and we should all be thrilled about the place Bundy is as September looms and unless we see something drastic to disrupt his rhythm, there’s no reason to stop throwing him out there each start.
Jake Arrieta – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Now Arrieta is boasting a 1.59 ERA since the start of the second half with a 6+ IPS, 8.10 K/9, and 0.97 WHIP. I don’t expect that to stick with his .228 BABIP (19.6% soft contact) and 4.16 SIERA, but his scFIP is 3.06 in August and his schedule looks pretty solid the rest of the way. Hold on tight.
Chris Sale – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Now that he’s not the #1 anymore, the pressure was off. Clearly.
Luke Weaver – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. If you don’t own Weaver and you’re in the 50% of leagues that has Weaver on the wire, change that. Now. Mike Leake was traded to the Mariners today, making Weaver’s spot in the rotation as firm as they come and his Fastball/Changeup deception as great as they come, leading to nine whiffs on the slow ball yesterday. Beautiful.
Brett Anderson – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. So Anderson is back and if you need cheap Wins, this might work out. That’s all I’ve got as there’s nothing else to chase here.
Luis Perdomo – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m still classifying Perdomo as a Young Gun as I think his breaking ball can spell more strikeouts in future seasons, but he really needs that third pitch to make it all come together. This is the ceiling in the meantime, so I’m happy for you if you rolled with him, but don’t get used to it.
Edwin Jackson – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Now that’s more like the EJax of old. Still serviceable with a 3.00 ERA and 5 Ks, but four walks leading to an atrocious 1.80 WHIP. I want to say this is a sign to quit, but he has such a good schedule the rest of the way and it’s the Nats…Stick it out.
Martin Perez – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, whatever Perez.
Erasmo Ramirez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. This was the highest strikeout total from Erasmo since September 9th, 2015. Sure, that was about 20 starts ago, but come on, this is kinda ridiculous. But Nick! 6 ER in his last four starts and 6.0 innings each! Okay, that’s a fair point, but it’s with a 4.55 xFIP due to a .212 BABIP and 6.75 K/9 even with these 7 Ks. I don’t blame you if you want to apply The Vargas Rule, but I wouldn’t do that with the Astros next.
Troy Scribner – 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. This reads like Troy scribbled some quick notes before a test. I can see where he’s going with this, but just not enough.
Alex Cobb – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Wait wait wait. The one day Cobb doesn’t give you a good ERA, he strikes out six batters? It’s The Vargas Rule as he’s still a TEEs in my mind but you shouldn’t be putting the brakes on just yet.
Matt Garza – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Would you like at that. Garza is making owners feel like this.
Chad Kuhl – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Here’s a taste of the upside that Kuhl has as he is a Young Gun, though I’m not believing it for this season.
German Marquez – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Whoa! Is Marquez back? Well, he was in this one as his Curveball earned 9 whiffs en route to an overall 17.2% whiff rate for the day. The question is if he’s figured it out or if this was just a good day. Before you decide, look at The List from yesterday and you’ll see that Marquez has one of the worst remaining schedules of any starter. That makes this an easy decision to stay away in my opinion.
Sal Romano – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. A PQS for Romano and he’s trying to have some sort of consistency. Nope, not buying it.
Ervin Santana – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s a bit better than a VPQS from Santana, and I’ll take it if it comes with 7 Ks. The rule with Santana is to start him against all but the top offensive tiers and fortunately for us, he doesn’t face any down the stretch. Hallelujah!
Zack Godley – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Good to see Godley at 92.3mph with his Sinker today after dipping under 92mph a good amount lately, and while the 4 ER aren’t a welcome sight, he had to face the Dodgers in Arizona, which is far from ideal on two fronts. And great, now he heads to Coors next. But after that he has four of his five final starts looking gorgeous. I’d even be tempted to start him in Coors, which I’m sure sounds crazy and as if I’m getting emotional and biased and whatnot. And I get that. I still see Godley with the same skill set that he had whilst dominating, which means there’s a higher chance than people expect for Godley to do well in Colorado. And it’s a Sunday, so play that accordingly.
James Shields – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. I wonder who gets the axe once Lopez returns. I’m hoping it’s not Giolito and obviously not Rodon, which would mean one of Shields, Holland, or Miguel. Or a six-man rotation. But at least we can agree that Shields is really really bad.
Michael Fulmer – 6.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Fulmer was in the belly of the beast as he did his best to survive Coors…and just couldn’t do it. The rest of his schedule is pretty solid, with only his next start against Cleveland giving me caution. I think you’re good to roll with him to the end.
Matt Moore – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Our secondary Call Boy in Junis killed it and I’m stuck taking a Loss because Moore got the Padres. I guess I deserve this for believing in Moore, even for a brief moment. Streamer Record 68-52-14.
Vance Worley – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Yep, that’s Worley alright.
Rich Hill – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Nothing like going from a near perfecto to getting absolutely trounced in the first two frames. That’s baseball Suzyn.
Chris Smith – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Another day for Snowflake, another piece of evdience that you are not special. But aren’t Snowflak—THAT’S THE JOKE.
Chris Flexen – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. No beach day for Flexen today. If you’re confused, this should help.
Mike Fiers – 4.0 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Atta boy Fiers! Hold that door open for Peacock as you wait outside. What room is that? Really? It says “Starting Rotation” in golden letters. Glistening in the bright sun as Fiers is blinded and hating himself for leaving his sunglasses in the car.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Atlanta Braves – How he’s under 20% owned is beyond me after he just cruised through the Cubs.
Robert Stephenson vs. New York Mets – Not much to choose from here, so I’ll go with the guy fresh off 11 Ks facing one of the saddest lineups around.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Chris Stratton vs. St. Louis Cardinals – It’s Stratton of Joe Biagini against the Orioles, and I’m leaning Stratton who has been feeling his Fastball/Curveball combination.
Game of the Day
Chase Anderson vs. Carlos Martinez – I really want to buy into Anderson even as his ROS schedule is as atrocious as you’ll find, and maybe this game will do the convincing.
Would you choose Weaver or Taillon ROS?
Now how about Weaver or McHugh?
McHugh is the safer pick with an easier schedule and higher chance of Wins.
Can you own both?
Not Nick obviously but he did answer this exact question for me on Reddit last week – Weaver. I’d assume that holds even truer with the Leake news and Weaver being locked into a rotation spot for the foreseeable future.
Eickoff destroyed, injured. Naturally.
Worth picking up Flaherty from the Cards? QS league. Otherwise I’m relying on McHugh. Other options Quintana (I’m bitter about that phillies start), Berrios (bitter about no QS vs Chi Sox), Junis,
My season has been one big cherry bomb.
Man, talk about a painful way for Eickhoff to go after looking like a new man…
No reason to not take the gamble on Flaherty if there’s nothing else out there.
Thank you sir. Love your site!
I’m in a tight battle for first and my WHIP this year has been destroyed. Hoping the guru can guide me to the promised land!
Your list yesterday was the best piece on any site this year. Looking out for your avid followers. Kudos, homie.
Thanks man! That’s a huge compliment.