Breaking The Wheel
It’s been a roller coaster of a year as a Zack Wheeler. We’ve gone through it all of “he’s back! He’s whack!” and now we’re just going to acknowledge that fine, he’s Zack. Yesterday’s 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Was super frustrating given he was tossing 100mph heaters, but he had nothing to show for it. Seriously, not a single whiff on fastballs with just 5/63 CSW between his four-seamer and sinker. That’s just not right for Wheeler as he averaged over 97 mph with the pitch. Thing is, without a strong slider – 0/8 CSW – or splitter – 4/16 CSW – batters are going to go hacking away at fastballs. He really needs a pitch to take a step forward and keep batters on their toes. 97 mph is a prerequisite for success and it’s a good foundation, now just figure out that dang slide piece. PLEASE. He’s gotten there before – he was there the entire second half last year with all three secondary pitches – and don’t ignore the chance he gets there again this year. Wheeler gets the Cubs next and that is all kinds of a stressful outing on Saturday. Play it based on your week, but recognize that it isn’t a death sentence.
Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:
Mike Fiers – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Fiers hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER since April 20th, holding a 2.70 ERA with a 5.14 SIERA in those ten games. What a TEEs, but Vargas Rule this all you want.
Derek Law – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Jackson followed the Law and the Law won. Seriously, it wasn’t even close as EJax allowed 7 ER in just two outs.
Joey Lucchesi – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Solid stuff from Lucchesi who will have these starts from time to time, ensuring that you don’t let him loose. I don’t see a fast track to the top of the ranks, but you’ll be fine with him through the year.
Miles Mikolas – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. So I believed that Mikolas could do well against the Marlins after he didn’t pitch so poorly last time out, but not this well. His slider was back up a little to 87 mph – we want 88 mph eventually – and 27% CSW is a little lacking, but this is…better. I’m not back on the train just yet, play it start by start. It’s another gamble next time out against the Angels.
Rick Porcello – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Porcello faced the mighty Twins lineup and returned a strong outing via…24/94 CSW. The Thief is at again, this time stealing championships from unsuspecting owners. But on the real, he’s a Toby and while I don’t think this will spark a fantastic stretch ahead, you’ll like continue owning him just for the Win value.
Masahiro Tanaka – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. This was the night of some exciting performances (and a few duds, of course), with Tanaka have a career game against the Rays. 23 whiffs for a gallows Pole as his splitter was much better than we’ve seen. Meanwhile, 18/43 CSW on sliders is gorgeous and 37% CSW is just…divine. This is why you stuck with Tanaka over the last few weeks, here’s to believing he figured something out with his splitter that will stick.
Tyler Beede – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. Nice going kid, don’t get cocky. Beede earned his first win – against the Dodgers, no less – though I’m not really sold as a strong add moving forward. Only 9 whiffs via a good curveball and his changeup is…fine. I’d consider him during good matchups, but this isn’t a must-add in all formats kind of arm. He gets the Diamondbacks in Arizona next and I guess that’s okay as they rank 21st in home wOBA in the majors.
Jose Berrios – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. The dude is back. HE’S BACK. Curveball returned 18/22 strikes, changeups were in full force and gave Berrios 15/19 strikes and the total was 38/105 CSW with 19 whiffs. AGAINST THE SAWX. It’s the closest I’ve seen to a Blake Snell Blueprint from Berrios as well and it’s going to be a fun ride as we’re likely at the start of one of his hot streaks.
Andrew Cashner – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Sure, whatever Cashner.
Luis Garcia – 1.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Garcia was the opener for Felix Pena who provided owners with 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, provided was a bit harsh. That’s two straight games of disappointment from Pena and those that really need his 25% strikeout rate should take inventory. This was the Jays, after all.
Elieser Hernandez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Another strong performance from Elieser, here with 34% CSW as his slider went 14/31 CSW and was featured heavily in the zone. His changeup needs plenty of work and his fastball command is…okay, which makes me a bit hesitant to trust him against the Phils next week. I don’t think this is the young sneaky play that will keep your team afloat.
Lance Lynn – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. It’s unreal. LYNN CANNOT BE STOPPED. I had to make him Top 50 this week – Lance Lynn, Top 50! – and at this rate, he’ll be Top 30 in a few weeks. Absurd. Hold on tight, I guess. I really expected this to fizzle out by now but how could we say no?
Luis Castillo – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 6 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna walk a lot of batters and stress me out against the Astros. There are clear regression signs for Castillo over the summer – .235 BABIP, 12%+ walk rate!, 85% LOB rate – but let’s say his 2.26 ERA settles at 3.00 with his 29% strikeout rate and 1.15 WHIP. That’s still Top 10 in this climate, no? I do wonder if other arms inside that second tier truly take a step forward to rid themselves of their warts as well to force me to lower Castillo. Yes, I know, y’all want Ryu at #7. Sorry, he’s going to get hurt and there’s nothing that can remove that paranoia 🙁
Jhoulys Chacin – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Remember kids, Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it.
Kenta Maeda – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s super boring, but it helps. You can do better than four strikeouts next time, right Maeda? PLEASE?!
Taylor Scott – 0.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Scotty, beam me up Tommy Milone’s line that followed you. 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s what’s up. Thanks Scotty. Streaming Record: 50-27. That’s five of his six games with at least six strikeouts for Milone and while we all want to ignore the fella, it’s time to make that pickup as he gets the Orioles next.
Yonny Chirinos – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I think I’ll take the PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and a strikeout per inning. I’m not anticipating a Top 30 surge for Chirinos – he doesn’t use the top of the zone enough + his splitter is a bit inconsistent – and performances like this are very welcome.
Wade Miley – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Nooooo, Miley finally hit a wall against the Reds, returning his worst start since April 12th. I don’t think it marks the end of us rolling with Miley – six strikeouts, after all – and he’s been solid for so long that you just have to hope he gets it back. 22/88 CSW is super blegh, though.
Mike Soroka – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. A PQS with just two strikeouts is awfully mediocre and I wonder if we’re going to be served starts like this constantly from Soroka. A commenter on Reddit made the comp of Dallas Keuchel and while I think Soroka has a slightly better strikeout ceiling, prime Keuchel = prime Soroka. Great way for people to understand my hesitation with Soroka, especially when some sort of innings limitation is on the horizon.
Danny Duffy – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Velocity was still relatively up at 92.8 mph, but I need more. MOAR.Solid 36/105 CSW as he deftly found strikes with sliders, by the way. Nothing else was all that good, but at least that was.
Mike Clevinger – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. I was so amped watching the opening frames of this one. Clevinger was pumping CHED with some filthy sliders to boot and it was just so exciting. Then a two-run shot…then a rough fifth…and that was that. Whatever, you start him next time, you start him always. You’ve waited two months for this and it is worth it, trust me.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Adrian Sampson vs. Cleveland Indians – I’ll take a shot on Sampson’s slider against the struggling Indians lineup.
Daniel Poncedeleon vs. Miami Marlins – I stared at this day’s slate for ages before settling on Poncedeleon as he gets the Marlins. There’s just nothing else.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Jose Suarez vs. Toronto Blue Jays – I think Suarez has decent stuff and could run away with a solid outing against a meh Jays lineup, Vlad Jr. + Cavan n all.
Game of the Day
Logan Allen vs. Brandon Woodruff – Often times during MLB Debuts I get bored when the opposing pitcher is going. But we have Woodruff! So this should be a blast and a half.
(Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire)