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Is He The Juan?

There have been a lot of questions regarding pitchers who had successful springs and are getting the chance to start out of the gate.  We went over Aaron Sanchez yesterday, Alex Wood starts today,...

There have been a lot of questions regarding pitchers who had successful springs and are getting the chance to start out of the gate.  We went over Aaron Sanchez yesterday, Alex Wood starts today, and Juan Nicasio got his time on the hill last night where he performed to the tune of 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Baby that’s beautiful.  I took some time to watch his outing and I saw a few things.  First, his velocity fell from 96/97 down to 93/94 as he progressed through the game, and he relies on it heavily to make batters sweat.  The Cardinals couldn’t catch up to it and his was commanding it much better than he has in the past.  He only has one other pitch, a Slider that gets the job done but isn’t a devastating offering.  What does it all mean?  Well, I was impressed with the command Nicasio featured, and like Sanchez you should ride this one out until is comes back to Earth.  I like him a hair more than Sanchez at the moment for two reasons A) easier schedule in the NL B) I trust his command slightly more. That said, feel free to go with your gut if they are both out there and let’s ride this train together until the inevitable derailment.

 Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Aaron Nola – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Hot damn that’s a pretty line.  It’s nice facing the Reds and all, and his high 80s/low 90s heater isn’t going to dominate every time out there, but Nola is a mature pitcher whose floor gives him opportunities to have nights like this every so often.  Hard not to love him at the end of your staff. 

Sonny Gray – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Gray finally got some action on the hill after sitting out with food poisoning and it was more or less a boring performance.  I mean, you’re super happy with a 1.00 WHIP and a 1.29 ERA.  I’m just uneasy seeing a 5:4 K/BB ratio and if he allows, say, a pair more hits and another run you’re questioning the evening from you top 70 pick.  It turns into a Gray area, if you will.

Brandon Finnegan – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Let’s get one thing out of the way – the Phils are not a good offense.  Little depth and only one hitter that is in the fantasy Top 200.  That being said, Finnegan’s fastball look like fire at times yesterday and while there are still consistency issues with his slide piece, it was flat out nasty at times.  He’s a great deeper league play and a solid streamer choice.  Too bad he gets the Cubs next.

Kenta Maeda – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Throw in a solo shot from the Japanese import and you have quite a night for the rookie.  What I saw was an average Fastball with good command, mediocre Changups/Curveballs but a solid Slider that he’s going to hinge on through the season.  No flyouts either and a ton of groundballs makes him a good high floor guy that you want to roster, but not the upside of Iwakuma.

Yovani Gallardo – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Nope.  Not going to fall for this.  I mean, fine he doesn’t have the dramatic floor of his former brew crew counterparts, but I would hate relying on him constantly in Baltimore.

Carlos Rodon – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks.  I’m impressed with the lone walk.  Now do it against a team not based in Oakland.

Stephen Strasburg – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks.  You want better than this against the weak Hotlanta lineup, and that 1.50 WHIP is uncomfortable with just four strikeouts.  If Strasburg is already looking iffy, I’m starting to think he may have a certain formula in place: take a month or two to get his bearings with flashes of brilliance but not too much consistency – miss a start or two due to some weird injury – come back and dominante like WHOA through the end of the year.  I mean, this is all fun speculation, but this weak offering out the gate does raise some eyebrows.  Which I hope is just two, because if you have three eyebrows that would be awesome and I don’t feel like being jealous this early in the morning.  

Tyler Chatwood – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. I want to apologize to our readers for my previous two nights of Colorado Rockies pitcher blurbs.  Don’t know what I was thinking.  Chatwood has limited upside, pitches his home games at Coors Field, and doesn’t deserve a spot on your team. This should be the blurb for every Colorado starter. 

Bud Norris – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Nud Borris suddenly has a job as the #2 guy in Atlanta and it’s pretty entertaining.  Well, if seeing how poorly the Braves will do in 2016 is entertaining.  Which it is.

Taylor Jungmann – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. The lanky Jungmann has more upside than this start will dictate as he held an impressive 8.07 K/9 across 21 starts last season, but you’ll take this against the Giants.  I see Taylor being rather serviceable in 14 teamers and later.

J.A. Happ – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I tuned in for Happ to see if he’s still throwing darts like he did under Searage’s wing, and he looked he pretty good.  Good command of his Cutter and breaking ball while not making many mistakes with his Fastball.  He isn’t overpowering though, and he’s a finesse guy all the way, which makes him more of an above average spot starter instead of a reliable starter.  There’s certainly value in that, though.

Anibal Sanchez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s the A. Sanchez that people are disappointed to find out is really Anibal.  Seriously, the Aaron Sanchez hype has gotten a little crazy after Tuesday’s outing and instead of discussing the mediocrity of Anibal I’m going to discuss Aaron some more.  Yes, own him if you can right now – there’s no reason not to – but I heard people claiming he was 1b to Stromans 1a on the Jays, that he had “a solid five pitch repertoire”, and that he’ll be Top 25 this year.  Guys, come on.  His Changeup isn’t consistent yet, he had one outing of good Fastball command against the Tampa Bay Rays, and his Curveball isn’t the big strikeout pitch that will make him a huge K threat through the year.  He’s still ultra reliant on his Fastball, which makes me concerned that the command will be present through the next six months.  Keep riding it out and hey maybe it does work out.  But let’s be level headed about this.  

Jose Fernandez – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks. Man, this was a super smooth evening until 5th inning, when he allowed three of his five total hits, all of which came around to score (no thanks to his bullpen).  If you’re scared, understand that only 4 of his 17 outs weren’t strikeouts.  We’re going to have a fun year with JoFer.

Patrick Corbin – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks.  I actually liked how Corbin pitched yesterday if you can believe it.  He started the game off with a single + 2 run bomb by Story, which means he then only allowed 2 ER and 6 Hits across seven frames.  The other two runs were also solo shots and what are you gonna do.  He’s not that much of a HR liability – the Rockies are so hot right now – and I wouldn’t look to drop Corbin anywhere.

Colby Lewis – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks.  The more I think about it, the more I think that the average Colby student would be named Lewis.  Speaking of average…nah who am I kidding.  Lewis is a below average starter in fantasy.

Matt Moore – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I took a gander at this outing moreso to inspect Happ than Moore, and while this is decent when facing the Blue Jays, I don’t see Moore with the same stuff that he once had, making his ceiling not as high as you’d like.  

Wade Miley – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Everything but the ERA is pretty dang solid here, and it would have been better without a 3-run shot by Fielder in the 6th. Take that as you will, though I don’t like Miley as much as other higher upside guys for those in deep 12 teamers.

Jeff Samardzija – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks.  Loose Lips is back to sink ships.  The six Ks are nice…against the Brew Crew.  This start just screams blegh.  BLEGH.

Carlos Carrasco – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Nothing like allowing back-to-back HRs to start the 6th to ruin a perfectly fine evening.  Come to think of it, there were a lot of good pitchers allowing 3 HRs each tonight.  Weird.  Welp, I still love Carrasco and so should you.

Kyle Gibson – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks.  It was a risky start to begin with given the Orioles’ explosive offense and Gibson’s inability to exploit their weakness to strikeouts.  It was a worse pairing than Bobby Valentine and Boston.

Andrew Cashner – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks.  Cashed out.  Seriously, he hasn’t held reliable fantasy value in a long time.

Michael Pineda – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. This was a really painful start.  Correa hit a pair of longballs and George Springer hit a Grand Slam = 6 ER.  Pineda is better than this and I wouldn’t be regretting your draft picks.  It was a cold night in NYC – just look at McHugh! – and he gets Toronto nex— ho boy.  I fully understand if you want to let him breathe on your bench for that one start before giving him a go against the Mariners.

Clay Buchholz – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. And such is the life of a Buchholz owner.  I believe there is upside to be found here, but it may take longer than we hoped for it to come out.

Mike Leake – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. I’ve been a bit bearish on Leake this pre-season and this is exactly why.  Where guys like Pineda/Corbin/etc. will still give you a solid K/BB when they have a bad night, Leake doesn’t give you a single thing to salvage like going through those 100 bonus channels on cable.  There isn’t a single thing I enjoy here.

Collin McHugh – 0.1 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks.  McHugh was simply lost, walking two batters following a catcher’s interference before getting behind the next two batters leading to RBI hits.  My love for Collin has fallen since the start of last year since his Slider’s vertical movement has dropped, but even I will tell you that this outing is just one of those flukes.

Today’s Streamers

Robert Stephenson vs. Philadelphia Phillies – This is a risky play as the rookie is coming up to make a spot start for the Reds.  He’s been a high profile pitching prospect in the Cincinnati organization for a while and could be a solid play against a weak lineup.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Matt Shoemaker vs. Texas Rangers – Risky risky risky, but if you need a major impact entering the weekend, Shoemaker has the biggest upside of the pitchers that are going to hanging around the wire.

Game of the Day

Robert Stephenson vs. Philadelphia Phillies – Yeah, I’m really curious to see how he pitches today.  I’ll also take a peek at Alex Wood’s 2016 debut to see where he is after a solid spring.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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