Patrick Corbin got off to a smooth start to the year, holding a 2.91 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 29% strikeout rate through his first nine games. Everything is fine, we thought. He’s the #2 SP we wanted him to be. Well, with yesterday’s 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks, Corbin has returned three games of 4+ ER, adding up to a 6.75 ERA and 1.61 WHIP, lowering his K rate to just 21%. That ain’t right. So what is going on here? The answer lies in his heater – not in its velocity, but location. Corbin’s success last season was a product of nailing the inside corner to right-handed batters, then repeating the location with a slider as it would fall out of the zone. Left-handers would be served the same locations, playing a game of “over-the-plate-nah-just-kidding” (rolls right off the tongue) with fastballs and sliders away. Things were going just fine to start the year location his fastball, but in these last five games, something is off. Way off. It’s helped return a near -8.0 pVal and I have to wonder if there is something else at play that is preventing Corbin from hitting the inside corner with consistency. I’m a little worried, but we’ve seen guys go through moments without their fastball command and reclaim it soon after. It’s the thing to watch moving forward, let’s hope he gets it back.
Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:
Ryne Stanek – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Stanek opened for Jalen Beeks‘ 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. And that’s it for the week. Y’all know I don’t like False Starters and even when one does well, it’s often not enough to justify a roster spot for a full week. Just saying.
Spencer Turnbull – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I love seeing 11/20 CSW on Turnbull’s curveball while going 4.6:1 four-seamers over sinkers. I don’t like a meh slider – 7/19 strikes – and just 3/46 whiffs on four-seamers. But hey, his heater earned outs, his curveball mixed up the royals well, and we’re cool. There’s still tinkering to be done here and I’m not sure we’ll get to the place we want him to get this season.
Trevor Bauer – 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. Okay…so Bauer threw more sliders and there were hung up a bit. His curveball was fine, his changeup was fine, everything was fine. And hey! That’s a deep start with a low ERA and six strikeouts. Now just take that step forward with curves and sliders and we’re golden. GOLDEN!
Luis Castillo – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Well ain’t this just lovely. Castillo has the lowest zone rate in the majors at 34.1%, but also the second highest whiff rate at 33% (some guy named Blake Snell is higher). And also a super low F-Strike rate at 51%. What does it mean? It means Castillo gets behind in counts, then unleashes changeups (59% swing rate despite just a 26.5% zone rate!) and everything is fine. It’s an atypical approach and is seemingly on the edge of disaster, though I don’t see it that way. I see a pitcher who has such a strong changeup that it masks when his fastball and slider aren’t there. And when those pitches are finding strikes and misses bats? It’s game over man. GAME OVER.
Dakota Hudson – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Hudson got the Marlins and gave us a lovely stream against a poor offense. Streaming Record: 46-25. Don’t let this go to your head, though. He could easily falter against the Mets next time out.
Peter Lambert – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Hey, he survived! Now he gets the Padres in Coors next week and…I’m still scared. No one survives Coors. No one. I’m okay taking the chance, but I’m a little sad it has to be this way. I really wish this kid wasn’t a Rockie. Wait, if I had a wish, I’d make Coors not so dang elevated. Yep, that’s the one wish in the world I’d make. LOCK IT IN.
John Means – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Means is cruising right now, taking advantage of an easy matchup against the Jays. Nothing like a 2.48 ERA and 4.77 SIERA built on a 7.5% HR/FB, 86% LOB rate, and .239 BABIP with just a 20% K rate. Yes it’s a TEEs, but it’s also a Vargas Rule so whatever, you ride it as long as you like.
Manny Banuelos – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Manny Banny with the uncanny meeeeeh.
Mike Fiers – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ugh, it’s so boring but that’s the life of a Toby. I guess. Whatever.
Jake Junis – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Whoa, Junis was good today! He’s definitely not going to be a lot! Hope y’all could enjoy this Birthday Party.
Jake Arrieta – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. A VVPQS for Arrieta is a good thing these days. Yep.
Darwinzon Hernandez – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. I watched a good amount of this one and I love and hate Darwinzon, the mecha Godzilla version of Charles. I love his overpowering heat and when it works, boy does it work. Solid breakers as well that are sure to miss bats. However, he’s a wild horse on the mound, going from fanning the first four batters to back-to-back walks and a poor fastball laced for a double. It has the feeling of a 2021 breakout – he’ll bounce around this year, then get his chance in 2020 as he disappoints while developing, then 2021 will showcase his breakout as he makes the necessary tweaks. We’ll see. For now, it’s a Young Gun and Cherry Bomb in one and I’m not rushing to pick him up.
Elieser Hernandez – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I watched this one as well – wild to see two different Hernandez’s make their first starts on the same night – and I’m not a big fan. His breaker was good at times and I can see him being polished with fastball location, but there isn’t enough here to suggest a consistent 7 K ceiling. But 18 whiffs! 32/96 CSW! I’m surprised at the high tally of whiffs – 11/36 on his slider – and think that will come down a bit. It’s not that amazing of a pitch. I wonder if it’ll be a tough outing when he faces the Cardinals again next time out.
Ariel Jurado – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. A PQS with six strikeouts? Sure Ariel, sure. I know some people want me to jump more on this, but I just don’t buy consistent production here. I still don’t want to be part of this world.
Mike Leake – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Sure, whatever Leake. You’re not getting my bud light.
Chris Paddack – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Ehhhh, I’ll take it. Paddack’s Vulcan changeup isn’t as consistent as it was early in the season – Mild Shock – but he’s still well worth your time. He’ll perform better, and with the Padres pushing back some starts, he may survive a little longer in the year. I’m still selling, though.
Jose Quintana – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Come on Quintana, be the stable Toby we want you to be. Please. You don’t need to return to the stud you were for that month or so this year, but just me my guy. You know? Be my dude.
Trent Thornton – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. He’s a strikeout upside play for deep leagues, but it’s getting harder and harder to fathom him having a proper breakout.
Jason Vargas – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. This had the makings of an early exit and disaster start, but Vargas toughed it out for a VPQS as we continue applying the rule of his own name. I’m happy I have a nice easy term to encapsulate all my enraged thoughts about Vargas. So happy.
Tyler Beede – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Beede was actually okay here, but I’m not seeing enough overall for me to jump all over him. I wouldn’t be shocked if he came out guns blazing in the near future, but good luck trying to guess when that start is.
Jon Duplantier – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Yeaaaaaah, this doesn’t surprise me much at all. Duplantier is going to have his moments, then disappear in the sun that gave him strength. That doesn’t make sense. Neither does The Vargas Rule but we don’t call that out. Fair enough.
Mike Foltynewicz – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Ugggggh. His slider was so good last time and it was so meh this time, while his curveball did little to make up for it. Just 23/96 CSW is bleeeeeegh and it would have been worse if his changeup didn’t go 7/12 on whiffs and 100% strikes. I think I need to lower him on The List as this halts his steady progression up, but we’re still talking Top 50 here.
Brad Peacock – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Just three whiffs. Total. That’s it. Peacock, please be better, we want you to fly. *Suit man whispers in my ear* I KNOW PEACOCKS CAN’T FLY.
Martin Perez – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Well. Well. Well. Velocity back up to 95 mph. Cutter earning 8/29 whiffs. 31/95 CSW. Sure, the WHIP and ERA aren’t there, but the strikeouts are legit and I’m kinda back in. His cutter was placed super well and his changeup/curveball was consistently low. I think he got burned a little but this is a better pitcher than what we saw in May. I’m intrigued again.
Masahiro Tanaka – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Honestly, I think Tanaka pitched well here, but he got burned on a three-run shot from the Sultan of Sway, Jeff McNeil. 35/101 CSW, a much better Splitter than we’ve seen most of this year, and I have confidence moving forward.
Kenta Maeda – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Maeda seemed back on track, but he returned just 1/21 whiffs on sliders here and while he had a solid 32/97 CSW based on a ton of called strikes, not getting the chases hampered him and pushed his pitch count up quickly. It’s disappointing – I really wanted this to be the start that we can truly get pumped for Maeda again – but we’re not doing anything rash about it.
Zack Wheeler – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Did Wheeler pitch that poorly? Kinda, he didn’t really have a secondary pitch to trust during this one and his fastball was over the heart of the plate a little too frequently. He really needs something to stand out among his slider/splitter/curveball and having the plethora of options would make you think he’d have at least one on a given day. You’d think.
James Paxton – 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Just three whiffs on 63 pitches is so not what Paxton does as he just didn’t have his cutter working at all. His curve was far from solid either, allowing plenty of foul balls and just 1/17 CSW. It allowed Mets batters to sit heat and fight off secondary stuff and they took advantage. He’s still hurt! No no no. He’s rusty. I’d buy low here as Paxton just needs to rev up the engine as he’s accumulated under 12 frames now since coming off the IL.
Freddy Peralta – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I say Cherry, you say Bomb! Cherry! WHY WOULD I DO THIS TO MYSELF! Oh.
Chris Archer – 5.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Archer allowed five home runs in this one (four in one inning because baseball is fun like that)…none off his slider. Just throwing it out there Archer, a sub 30% usage rate on your best pitch may not be the best idea, especially what you can go 22/31 for strikes.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Cal Quantrill vs. San Francisco Giants Jose Urena vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Quantrill got pushed back so I’m going with the Vargas Rule in Urena. Anthony deSclafani against the Indians is another decent option if you need one more.
Michael Pineda vs. Seattle Mariners – Pineda’s fastball velocity was 94/95 suddenly in his first start back from the IL. There might be something to that.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Game of the Day
(Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)