(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
I didn’t want to do another Dylan Bundy lede, but here we are after his line last night of 0.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. This included four homeruns – three back-to-back – en route to a 10 run frame for the Royals and Bundy’s hook after 28 pitches without recording an out. I talk about Bundy’s fastball being his biggest weakness, with its velocity needing to be above 91.5mph to be effective, while its command can waver through the year. It was great in his first five, his last two not so much. Here? 90.5mph (ouch) and nothing you would remotely call good command. It’s three straight starts of it now and while I truly do believe that Bundy isn’t donezo for the season, you can go ahead and drop him. I imagine he’ll be a leper on the wire for a bit so you can monitor if he does improve from afar and take your chances again in the future. For now, grab some popcorn and chase some upside play.
Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:
Jon Gray – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Since the roundup where I questioned why we actually own Gray, he’s been on a mission to shut me up, with just 1 ER and a 25/3 K per walk across his last three starts – hosting SDP and LAA while heading to Wrigley as well. His slider has woken up and earned 6 of the 14 overall whiffs in this one, and if you don’t remember, it’s the pitch that put Gray on the map. We need to still be conscious of the matchups for Gray, but considering he’s hosting the Brewers next, then @SFG and hosting the Reds, I’m very cool with this.
Jeremy Hellickson – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. I see you now, running to the wire to see if Hellickson is available. 2.28 ERA! 8 Strikeouts! 0 Walks in two straight starts! I promise you, PROMISE, this man is evil. He excelled against the Padres – Blame it on the Padres – and this is not going to end well. I won’t even say that you should Vargas Rule it, I’m willing to wager one of his next two starts are atrocious and you’ll hate everything in your soul. THAT’S WHAT HE DOES.
Wade Miley – 0.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. He left after 19 pitches with a strained right oblique. I’m so sorry for the 1% of you that owned him in your NL-Only league.
Sean Newcomb – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. We featured Newcomb in the OTC Podcast last night before he started with our consensus landing that Newcomb isn’t this good. You know what really shocked me here though? Over 30% changeups. WHAT. And they weren’t all too bad, rarely landing inside the zone and instead hovering the edges, earning 6 whiffs in 35 thrown. I’m still a little hesitant to think the pitch is good enough to continue pumping out these results, but I’m not a blind man. Keep holding for now.
James Paxton – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace as Paxton threw a no-hitter in his homeland of Canada. Dude was spitting 100mph on his second-to-last pitch of the game and it was glorious. It’s good to remember what love feels like.
Danny Duffy – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Changeup and sliders stayed low, four-seamers stayed up, and two-seamers found the zone to induce outs and get called strikes. That’s the recipe for success, even if Duffy isn’t sporting consistent 94+ heat anymore. 14 Whiffs overall and this is as good as you’ll see the Duff-man as he faced the Rangers. I need to see this kind of command again for me to start believing in him longterm, but this is a nice first step.
Aaron Nola – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I wore my Live Every Day Like It’s Nola Day shirt for this one and Nola repaid me with 26 whiffs en route to a Gallows Pole. THAT’S WHAT’S UP.
Jake Odorizzi – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He threw one curveball and had 25 CSW across 93 pitches. Ehhh, I’m not buying here.
Blake Snell – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Snell faced the hot Braves offense and he didn’t care, returning yet another stellar outing. Even the HR allowed to Acuna was a 3-2 slider at the bottom of the zone and well executed. I really don’t see a reason for Snell to take a downturn at this point as he raised his breaking ball usage from last week’s 25% to 36/105 in this one and all is right in the world of baseball. I love when Fast says that in his casts.
Luis Castillo – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Anyone watching this will tell you that the command on his heaters was much better than what we’ve seen prior, though it does hurt to see an average 94.8mph heater in this one. Maybe he’s dialing it back slightly to be more precise? I’m still not ready to full get on board, but I’m still letting him go out there against the Dodgers as he held a near 20% overall whiff rate once again. Oh, and getting pulled with 81 pitches in the sixth with one out to go is so frustrating. Amir Garrett then walked two straight to add another ER to Castillo’s name and he just didn’t deserve this. Hell, the sole ER prior was a HR that hit the top of the wall and bounced over.
Mike Fiers – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Only you can prevent yourself from starting Fiers. Seriously, don’t do it.
Andrew Heaney – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Heaney was in Coors and there was no way I could endorse this one. He looked…fine. I’ll take it if you had to throw him out there, and I’d feel good rolling with him against the Twins, Rays, Jays, Tigers, and Rangers next.
Carlos Martinez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Aces gonna make you almost susceptible to recency bias but then you catch yourself and whisper “CarMart is dope…CarMart is dope…”
Lance McCullers – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhhh I’ll take this is as we knew a McCullers dud was coming – he sprinkles them in like my grandmother reminding me to find a wife – and you should feel lucky it came with just 2 ER. That WHIP with just 3 Ks is bad though. Sorry.
Drew Pomeranz – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Kids look! It’s The Dirty Cheerleader! Pomeranz, you deserve that title after this start that his your ceiling so much your head isn’t even touching it, your neck is. This came against the pinstripes as well, with two solo shots from Giancarlo Stanton removing you from shutout frames. I’m not ready to expect this often, though, and a lot of blegh outings are to come. But this is why you should still consider him as an option.
Luis Severino – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He allowed an infield single to start the seventh, who obviously came around to score, which means I need to award him even more points. Severino is absurd.
Derek Holland – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. A 5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP with just 3 Ks? That’s the Dutch Invasion alright.
Corey Kluber – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Klubs, buddy, did you hear us talking about how you weren’t going to leapfrog Chris Sale and it’s getting to your head? I thought nothing gets in your head.
Clayton Richard – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! What if I told you that this is the second-highest strikeout total of any Clayton this season. Yeah, it’s been a weird year. Oh, and no, you don’t want Richard. He’s allowed fewer than 3 ERs just once this season in 8 starts.
Jen-Ho Tseng – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. With Yu Darvish missing this one with the flu, Tseng got the call. It’s as Cup of Schmo as you’ll ever find.
Jose Urena – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. If you put faith in Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.
Lucas Giolito – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Five curveballs here, none in play or called strikes or whiffs. Fastball was above 92mph, though, a decent sign given the stable 91mph we’ve seen prior. Just 14 sliders in 98 pitches and I want to see the breaker more as a way to pitch backwards. I’m not ready to jump aboard, but I’m watching closely.
Zack Godley – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. It was his fourth start in seven games against the Dodgers. It’s annoying. He only got 4 whiffs in this one and it’s easy to get super worried about Godley. But when more than half your games come against the same team, man it can get really hard to deceive often. I’m willing to let him off easy here and label him a solid buy low.
Sean Manaea – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. I watched this one and I noticed that Manaea struggled to get his fastball along the inside corner to right-handers here – something he normally executes often. He still toughed it out against the Astros and didn’t hurt too badly, but it’s something to be aware of moving forward. Keep throwing him out there.
Jason Vargas – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. I find it a little entertaining that we’ll most likely never use the Vargas Rule with Vargas again.
Rich Hill – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It was a DLH situation as it had been a near month since Hill got his time on the field. I can’t really feel any different following this out given that we didn’t want to start him anyway, but…Nah you can’t. I think you roll with Hill moving forward until the injury that makes us roll our eyes again and throw our hands up in frustration because we’re holding grocery bags or anything and you’re a free man.
Mike Minor – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. What I liked in this one – battling through two tough frames to go five scoreless after, using both sides of the plate, elevated fastballs, and confidence with slider for strikes. What I didn’t like – elevated changeups and just one whiff on 40 sliders thrown. I’ve been saying that post-May 15th is when you want to own Minor and he has one more start to tune up before JUDGEMENT DAY. I actually do think he’s pretty close, but for now I need to take the L. Streaming Record: 22-12.
Ivan Nova – 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Nova made a Grave Mistake in this one as he faced the weak ChiSox offense. That’s the risk you play with Nova.
Marcus Stroman – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. We talked about Stroman focusing more on Cutters in his last start and the usage was actually similar with a near 30% mark here, but the results…yeah not so good. Let him sit on the wire some more.
Chris Stratton vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I know he had that terrible start, but it looks more like the outlier instead of a frequent occurrence.
Tyler Mahle vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – Not my favorite but I recognize that Mahle can be super good when his fastball command is rolling, which is more often than not.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Andrew Suarez vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – He’s been pitching well in his first three starts of the year and it could carry over against the Pirates.
Game of the Day
Masahiro Tanaka vs. Rick Porcello – Both have been cruising right now with a lot on the line as the Yanks and Sawx are tied for the best record in the bigs. This is going to be fun.
Hi Nick! 12 Team H2H Points. How do you feel about starting Wheeler against the Reds today? I am down by a pretty significant margin since my opponent had Paxton yesterday. Reds are 20th in wRC+ against right handers, but are pretty good at walking and not striking out. I am also thinking about Romano since Cespedes is out of the lineup today. Any thoughts? Thanks a lot, I love your work.
Yeah I dropped Bundy for Hellickson! As you said.
So does Castillo and Gray get slight bumps in your next rankings ? Also what’s the take on Caleb Smith? I’m looking to drop stroman at this point and he’s your highest ranked guy available.
Now that E-Rod start has been moved up to Thursday to play the Yankees are you starting him? I felt much better about him pitching against the Jays on Friday instead.
Re: Godley – Aren’t the Dodgers one of the weakest hitting teams out there? Especially without Seager or Turner… I wish all of my arms started half their games against them!
1) Any particular reason why Kluber isn’t punching people out more often as last year?
2) Buehler or Soroka ROS in a standard, season-long roto league (K/QS/ERA/WHIP)?
I wouldn’t worry about Kluber, I think this corrects itself over time and he’s still well above a 25% K rate.
Buehler for now, I think his 100+ innings left are more valuable than whatever Soroka brings.
Hola! I’m cautiously optimistic about Castillo too. I picked him up this morning and dropped Price (who is missing tonight’s scheduled start against the Yankees to get his numb hand checked out), Please tell me his decreased top-end velocity (hopefully, a temporary thing) will be offset by better location and his always decent movement. I’m betting you move him to the high-20s on yer list by ASB!
I hope you’re right! I’ll certainly feel vindicated if Castillo kills it after that horrid April.
The off-set was there yesterday, not sure if he’ll be able to keep that balance moving forward though and the reason I loved him so much entering the year is because he had that command with 97mph velocity last season.
Do you start Buehler against AZ?
Nick, would you rather hold Y Chirinos or Danny Salazar or preemptively snag Beeks with news of Price’s issues? Or I can play down a 2B until Moncada comes back, just have a full DL and no obvious drops past that.
I don’t like any of those options, but I’m okay with Beeks over Salazar and Chirinos.
Not a huge believer in Beeks but might as well see how it plays out (if he even gets the call!).
I have Rich Hill but I’m thinking about dropping for Cahill or Soroka…what are your thoughts on this?
Well this became Soroka now that Cahill is suddenly on the DL – womp womp – and I slightly like Soroka more.
I still can’t drop Chad Bettis. But if I do, it looks like I’d do it for Minor. Which would be a nice consolation if Bettis falls apart this week, prior to 5/15 JUDGMENT DAY.
How much do you look at division when rating your top 100? I would think NL East pitchers get a bump thanks to facing the Fish 19 times per year, plus the lineup-holes-y Braves, Gnats, Phils, and Mets.
I don’t call it the NL Easy for nothing!
I do slightly, but matchups are a finicky thing and even being in an easy division can find tough matchups here and there.
I’m curious, Nick, if you think this has been a more volatile year in evaluating starting pitchers beyond the aces. Price, Castillo, Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver, Taillon, Samardzija, Chase Anderson, Fulmer are among the pitchers you highly recommended in pre-season as Top 30 arms and they have all underwhelmed.
No question this is a more volatile year as names like Manaea, Bauer, Snell, Charlie Morton, and Corbin all sitting Top 20 so far.
At the same time, of those names you listed, Ray/Price/Samardzija all got injuries – so it goes – and Fulmer is arguably still Top 30 the way he’s pitching. Taillon was ranked around #40 (relatively close to his future expectation) and Castillo is on the upswing as well. Really the only heavy disappointments thus far have been Weaver and Anderson, but that’s always going to happen.
One thing I appreciate about your list is that, unlike many fantasy writers, you make adjustments. Your pieces on Porcello and Happ took note of what they were doing differently and why they were well worth high consideration. It’s always an interesting read.
How good will Jalen Beeks be and how soon do I need to jump for him in a 12 man 34 man roster league.
My staff is:
Only 1 pickup per week so need to make them count. Thanks!
So I enjoy following your daily streaming record–but it’d be even cooler to keep their cumulative stats throughout the year. Have you thought of doing this or is it too much trouble?
This may be a question for Closing Time…but, has Jansen’s velo picked up lately? Do you see him as a top 5 closer.