(Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)
We get these all the time, the arms no one drafted but suddenly has a brilliant start and now we wonder if we can pull a fast one over our leaguemates to get a steal off the waiver wire. Matt Wisler is the new hot topic (Spencers?) after he went 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks against the Mets Thursday night. I watched this one, and…I don’t really see much of a difference from last year as he pitched 19 of 20 games as a reliever. Wisler is a fastball/slider guy with the occasional (and bad) changeup and curveball. His slide piece will miss bats and hint at a possible strikeout day, but it’s not so good to consistently bring success. A given night relies heavily on hitting the corners with his heater and I’ll give him credit, he did that better than I expected, but there were also plenty of times that Mets batters missed pitches right in the heart of the plate (Todd Frazier did finally punish Wisler for one of those). You’d think someone with 8 Ks would dominate more than 11 whiffs in 102 pitches, and I just don’t see a pitcher that I think “yeah, I think he can do this often.” I think it’s still a good move to grab him for his next start against the Reds (if he does get assigned it), but this isn’t the secret weapon that will win you your league. I guess this makes me a Wisler-Blower.
Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:
Jake Arrieta – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. For those that are saying this is 2015 Arrieta, you’re wrong and right. Right in that the stat line is gorgeous, but he threw 4 sliders in 97 pitches. That’s not the old Arrieta. What’s exciting here is how effective he was despite not featuring his former weapon of destruction, with his sinker combining for 29 Called Strikes + Whiffs across 70 thrown. That’s called getting it done. Having a strong feel for his sinker is the #1 key to success for Arrieta, as its wild movement will flummox hitters constantly. Think if Aaron Sanchez ever found out how to properly command his fastball. To emphasize the point, his changeup didn’t do well and his curveball was fine in this one. Pretty lame actually (4 CS + W in 23 pitches). I question if that fastball command will be there again next time, but there’s also room for improvement in his secondary pitches and I think that balances it out. We’ll see.
Aaron Sanchez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It was a VPQS from Sanchez and you’ll take it as he faced the Yanks in the Bronx. Yeah, the two strikeouts are super unappealing, but at least only two walks, right?
Marco Gonzales – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. So Marco finally got it together, against the Astros of all teams (is it just me, or is Houston constantly allowing great starts from mediocre pitchers, but hammering solid ones?). I watched some of this one and while he threw some nice curveballs, nothing really stuck out. It seemed more like a One Night Bland than a suggestion for better times ahead.
Jon Lester – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Lester was on cruise control in this one, and suddenly he has a 3.10 ERA across the season despite that horrid opener. I’m still a bit worried here and I question if this is the time to sell high. I could have missed something, but I didn’t see anything here that makes me say “oh, he made that adjustment!” and his floor still remains much lower than you want it to.
Charlie Morton – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. This is getting stupid and I’m Torn like the head of MIB. On one hand, Morton has increased his velocity once again, is earning a 16% whiff rate in 25 frames, has allowed just 2 ER, is inducing a 60.3% groundball rate, and inducing more soft contact than hard. It’s unbelievably good, like a stud of stud island. Is that the— Shhhhh. But when regression hits, how sustainable will this be? Pretty sustainable, actually, and I expect Morton to pitch a sub 3.50 ERA the rest of way as everything is simply working and it’s wonderful. The biggest problem is injury history. I mention that a decent amount with pitchers, but Morton comes with one of the most apparent inevitable injury risks out there, accruing over 150 IP just twice since his 2008 debut, and those seasons were 157.1 IP in 2014, and 171.2 IP in 2011. That’s what we’re dealing with. It’s going to happen and I’m not exactly sure how you should handle that. I imagine the best solution is just to ride this out for as long as he’ll give it to you as you certainly are getting value based on his draft stock. It’s a game of chicken and you may as well just close your eyes and press on the gas pedal. That sounds like advice you should never give again. Yeah, you’re definitely right.
CC Sabathia – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. This isn’t a loss as nothing here hurt you. Sure, you want more than one K and he didn’t get a win, but a 0.00 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP helps your week. I feel weird about it – tell me if I’m wrong – but I’m taking a win here. Streaming Record: 13-6. I can see a scenario where someone has to buy into CC in a very deep 12-teamer, but he’s just a streamer to me.
Zack Greinke – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Aces gonna ace. After holding a career high 12.4% whiff rate in 2017, Greinke’s mark actually fell in this one, but still holds a 13.5% mark. With just a 2.1% walk rate. Now, his velocity was still hovering 89, which is far from ideal, but he’s clearly making it work. Don’t worry about this one.
Ty Blach – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. That 1.50 WHIP, lack of strikeouts and an L to his name hurt, but a 3.00 ERA is okay. I guess.
Eduardo Rodriguez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Edu already has three starts under his belt and is carrying a whopping 15% whiff rate after earning a Gallows Pole with 20 to his name against the Angels. 3.44 SIERA, identical 23.1% soft/hard contact, and a 30.3% K rate are making you feel great about stashing him at the end of your draft. What was exciting about this start in particular was his changeup taking over after not being a major player in his last outing. We’re talking 13 whiffs on 26 thrown and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s his best pitch and pairing it with a cutter he trusts, this could be a solid breakout year. I’m buying everywhere I can.
Chase Anderson – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I was hoping for a little more from Anderson against the Fish, but Lewis Brinson just had to have a day and swat a pair of tates. Anderson’s velocity rose a little here to 92.8 on his Four-Seamer, and I think you should keep the course if you own him.
Dillon Peters – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. If you want to invest in Peters, I guess do your thing. I have no interest in it and it’s not a hill I want to Di-llon.
Jordan Zimmermann – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Do you own Zimmermann? Why?
Alex Cobb – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. You just ate a hamburger, a few wings, a hotdog with relish and beans, and topped it off with some potato salad. There’s no reason to get Cobb, too.
Jameson Taillon – 1.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. He cruised through the first before a solo shot and walk led off the second, then an HBP, then a bunt single, and he was one strike away from getting out of it after fanning two batters before a single to right-center returned three runs. Just one of those days, but I think whatever price he had before has just dropped massively. Maybe so much that he could even be a buy low now – that would be fantastic – so I’d see what the market is like. He’s currently at #27 on The List and will fall out of the Top 30 with a few names jumping up, but nothing too dramatic. Those were all so close anyway.
Nick Tropeano – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He faced the Sawx. We knew he wasn’t someone you want to throw out there against the Sawx. Don’t Betts against the house and you’ll be fine streaming Trop. Houston too, so sit this one until Baltimore in May.
Matt Harvey – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. This revival isn’t going to happen, just like we all don’t really want to see a return of Zubaz. Okay fine, maybe a little Zubaz, but not a full revival, you know? The Mets are even considering skipping him in the next turn of the rotation.
Luke Weaver – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Speaking of which, Weaver has to take some hit from this despite getting Singled Out in the 2nd frame. He actually didn’t pitch that badly, he even earned 11 whiffs in 85 pitches – weird for a guy that has been hovering 10% overall. I’m not going to put so much stock in this one either.
Mike Minor vs. Seattle Mariners – The M’s don’t scare me like the Astros and I think Minor can rebound. I’d also consider Sean Newcomb against the Mets if he’s available. Newcomb for strikeout upside, Minor for ratios.
Homer Bailey vs. St. Louis Cardinals – He’s shown off his ability to produce Quality Starts, maybe he can repeat it against the Cards. Not many options here given it’s ace day, I like Bailey more than Brent Suter against the Fish.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Junior Guerra vs. Miami Marlins – I’d consider Zack Wheeler against the Braves as well, but Guerra is owned in plenty fewer leagues and I figured that should give him the nod. Sure don’t love him, but love facing the Marlins more.
Game of the Day