I remember the winter of 2018. We were all debating if Brandon Woodruff or Corbin Burnes would be the one to roster in the season ahead and Burnes quickly established himself as the wrong option. Then 2020 came rolling around without a clear path to the rotation and while he made for an interesting late-round flier, Burnes was a bit erratic out of the gate, pushed to a role piggy-backing starts and considered as a stash play in hopes for a legit spot in the rotation. I think yesterday’s 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 39% CSW against the Tigers does a lot to express the current state of things, with three straight starts of 6+ frames and a remarkable 1.99 ERA across the season. That’s a King Cole as well and something has clearly clicked.
Burnes has an intriguing repertoire. It’s as close to a true three-fastball mix as I’ve seen, with a sinker to jam right-handers endlessly, a four-seamer to surprise up in the zone, and a cut-fastball (yes, a cut-fastball and not what I’d call a cutter as it has more subtle break) that focuses inside to left-handers. It works. That sinker and cutter do most of the leg-work and they’ve combined for over a 9.0 pVal. The approach was a bit wild at the start of the season and I’d be naive to suggest that chaos has disappeared, but increased command of his slider has made the largest difference, returning 50% CSW with 9 whiffs across 24 thrown yesterday. Given its near 30% SwStr on the season (and career, for that matter), seeing his command well entrenched in the pitch-mix and hovering the zone is all you need with that sinker and cutter.
I will mention that Burnes’ erratic nature does make me question his future in 2021. There’s volatility that has been quelled as of late but hasn’t been eradicated and will show its head in time. Still, you should be starting him the rest of the way and hoping he stays in rhythm.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Trevor Bauer @ CHC (W) – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Aces gonna ace. I’m glad we’re past the little stumble and back to Bauer doing fun things again. Take us to the promised land!
Tyler Anderson vs SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Oh hey Tyler, you’re ready now to take advantage of a pretty solid schedule? He has the Mariners again + Rockie Road next and there’s a chance he can do it. That four-seamer is one the best CSW earners out there, surprisingly, and maybe the Diamondbacks just had his number. I’m not running off to get it, but I’m not ignoring it, either.
Dane Dunning @ PIT (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW. It’s good to see Dunning take advantage of an excellent date with the Pirates, though his secondary stuff was truly lacking here. I think you bench against the Twins after and if I’m not seeing his slider/curve/changeup take a step forward there, I’d hold back against the Reds after.
Danny Duffy @ CLE (W) – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 21% CSW. How dare Fast speak ill of Duffy on the podcast. Sure, that WHIP is blegh and he got super lucky with BABIP here, but he’s keeping his sliders low and hey, that fastball is kinda working. Kinda. Not his best here, but the Tigers are next and I’m cool with that.
Luis Garcia @ OAK (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW. You just asked “who?” and that’s fine. We can keep it that way as he’s a Cup of Schmo and likely not to get another turn.
Carlos Carrasco vs KC (L) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 38% CSW. Aces gonna ace. Remember when you were worried about Carrasco? That’s a 3.12 ERA now and all is right in the world. It’s funny, this is actually the story of Carrasco for as long as I can remember – he has a stretch of a few bad starts ~5 ER, then balances it with stretches like these, settling somewhere around 3.20 ERA. I’ll take it.
Kyle Cody vs LAA (ND) – 2.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 29% CSW. When we get excited for KC, it’s looking at a pitcher’s future schedule, not the pitcher going. Well, maybe if you’re streaming hitters as Cody doesn’t go long in games. Huh. KC 4 life.
Jesus Luzardo vs HOU (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 35% CSW. Really encouraging start here from Luzardo as he showcased why he deserves the AGA label. His changeup was fantastic with 48% CSW, his sinker found the edges, and while his curveball wasn’t pristine, it earned enough strikes to make it all work. He’ll likely get the Dodgers in two starts and I think this one showcased that he’s ready to fly through the end.
Deivi Garcia @ TOR (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW. A quick general announcement – let’s try as a whole to hold back a starter’s judgment until the game ends. For the second day in a row, a Yankee starter allowed a quick 2 ER and then shut out of the Jays for the next five frames. Deivi got stronger as the game went on here, with some impressive at-bats flexing 95+ mph at times (92.5 mph overall, keep in mind). It wasn’t his best secondary stuff, though, and I’m not quite at the point of “Garcia is dope and you should feel dope rostering him”, but I think we’ve seen enough here to repeat against the Jays next week.
Tanner Roark vs NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Get used to this, he gets the Yankees two more times. Blegh on a stick.
Zach Davies vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 33% CSW. It was Rockie Road and Davies’ changeup was doing its wonderous thang once again, here with 12/45 whiffs and setting up his sinker. Vargas Rule this all you want, I understand those starting him even against the Dodgers next. I think that can be bad, but I get it. Definitely in for Seattle after.
Yu Darvish vs CIN (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Aces gonna ace. A PQS with just five baserunners is a bit of bad luck, but man is he cruising. It’s just so wonderful.
Clayton Kershaw @ ARI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 30% CSW. It wasn’t prime Kershaw, but it was enough for TATIAGA. Great to see an average of 92 mph still.
Taylor Clarke vs LAD (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Clarke Kent make it work in his favor. I don’t think there’s enough there but if he’s able to command that slider with consistency + focus that 94 mph four-seamer up…then we can talk. He’s not there yet and that changeup is bleegggghtastic.
Antonio Senzatela @ SD (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW. The Padres are good and Senz-a isn’t. That slider wasn’t anything like the good days we’ve seen this year – 3/24 CSW – and he won’t get a start we’re okay with until the final weekend of the year at Arizona. Drop drop drop.
Jorge Lopez @ NYM (ND) – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW. JorLo got the start and I could feel shoulders across the world lift and drop together. The Earth’s spin changed 0.05 percent that day.
Julio Teheran @ TEX (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW. I wonder if we’ll ever get to a point again when we see Teheran and think “yeah, I’m cool with that.”
Rick Porcello vs BAL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Oh hey, it’s Porcello giving us one of those ugh-why-would-I-ever-think-this-would-work starts. Don’t forget, it still could work and he’s better than those random names that’ll get a start and go few than five frames with nothing to help you (See: JorLo), but only resort to that if you desperately need a QS and have nothing else.
JT Brubaker vs CWS (L) – 5.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW. We kinda like Brubaker, but not against the White Sox and this was a clear avoid. Not the worst option against the Reds next, but that’s more of a deep stream than a “you want him for that start.” Really cool pitch separation with sinkers/sliders and scattered four-seamers up.
Nick Margevicius @ SF (L) – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Yeaaaaaah, I can’t say I’m shocked. That hurts to type and I feel for my fellow Nick, but we are realists. It’s the Giants again and NOPE.
Matthew Boyd vs MIL (L) – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Oh no. It’s a terrible situation, of course, especially with a fantastic schedule ahead – KCR, CLE, KCR. His changeup was masterful in the last three and flat out terrible here with just 2/19 CSW, his fastball was all over the place, and his slider wasn’t consistent enough to get him out of it. So Boyd is as Cherry Bomb as it gets – keep that into consideration, just as he was doing poorly then suddenly gave you a stretch of three outings, it’s not out of the question he returns next week. Do what you need for your team.
Pablo Lopez @ ATL (L) – 1.2 IP, 7 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 20% CSW. Well this was a game. His changeup wasn’t there and he tried to do it all with heaters. It just didn’t work. I’ll say this, we were a little hesitant but still gung-ho starting PabLo here, but we were definitely for his next two games against the Phillies and Nationals. I don’t think this start changes that. Remember his 10 ER start last year against the Mets? He followed that with 0 ER across 7 IP with seven strikeouts. I think you’re okay starting him against the Phillies next week, as crazy as that sounds. It was the plan all along. Oh and a quick memorial for Jordan Yamamoto being hung out to dry for 13 runs after. Ho boy, what a night.
Tommy Milone vs MIA (ND) – 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW. So that’s a terrible line and he still won the Gallows Pole. What is 2020. I don’t think he pitched too terrible, the problem was that the Marlins would look in just one location and walloped those pitches down-and-arm-side. Welp, it’s the Orioles next and I’m not going for that one save for dire straits, nor the Sawx or Mets after. It’s been real, Milone.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Brady Singer vs. Cleveland Indians – So it’s really only Singer or Skubal vs. the Cardinals (no way I’m trusting Arrieta vs. Miami) and I guess I’ll go with Singer’s stuff messing around with the Indians after five straight tough matchups against the Twins and White Sox.
Alex Young vs. Seattle Mariners – There isn’t a start that grabs me here and I’d stream Yusei Kikuchi or Dakota Hudson if I could. I can’t. I CAN. Yusei Kikuchi vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – He’s too good not to start here. I’m grabbing everywhere I can.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Justus Sheffield vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – He’s hovering the 20% mark and has decent enough stuff to make this work against a poor Arizona offense. Few options otherwise, with Trevor Williams against the Royals as the only other clear choice (blegh).
Game of the Day
Sandy Alcantara vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Alcantara is an exciting one to watch and I want to see him define himself as a legit target for 2021.
(Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire)