It’s A Boyd and He’s Plain

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

There are times that I feel like I can breeze through a starter with each roundup as you know you shouldn’t owning him in a 12-teamer. Matt Boyd was one of the lucky few who had their own phrase for each start – Boyd Watching – but I feel like I need to stop for a moment to explain why I still feel this way after Boyd is boasting a 1.40 ERA through three outings. Still feel that way? Why aren’t you on board yet? Even after last night’s line of 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks I cannot buy into this. He’s holding a .132 BABIP, 98.2% LOB rate, 15.5% K rate, and a 5.27 SIERA, fuelled by a 5.9% HR/FB rate. Three starts are a small enough sample to allow weird things to happen and this is a weird thing. Don’t believe he’s Superman and overlook who’s behind the cape. It’s just some lame reporter in the end.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Jose Berrios – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I so badly want to give Berrios the AGA label, but I need to wait a little longer. His changeup is still a work in progress and while I’m impressed he was able to handle a Cleveland lineup, he struggled against the Mariners and succeeded against two weak offenses in the ChiSox and Orioles. I hope he gives me no choice soon.

Carlos Carrasco – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Glad to see Carlos healthy out of the gate and raising those strikeout numbers.

Gerrit Cole – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. It is time, even with just five strikeouts. Aces gonna ace. Welcome, Cole.

Zach Davies – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I feel like Davies is a favorite of a lot of people, which is weird for someone who hovered 4.00 ERA for two straight seasons with strikeout rates under 20%. But he had 17 Wins last year! Ahhhh there it is. This came fresh off a 5 ER clunker against the Mets, so let’s not get all starry-eyed again.

Rick Porcello – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. You can’t stop this train as Porcello lowered his BB % to 1.0%. In fact, I’m a bit upset that he even walked that one batter. How could you. He’s doing it the same way via increased sliders, though he did pull back on changeup usage a bit in this one. Whatever, it’s working and you best be rolling with this until he gives us a reason to stop.

Jacob Faria – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Faria is continuing to cruise, though if you can believe it, he’s still not completely locked in like we saw early last year. Keep trusting him as he faces the O’s next, but y’all know I’ll be watching closely.

Chad Kuhl – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. This is super mediocre for a start that actually helps a good amount. Give me that pizaz, Kuhl! The spectacle! THE MAGIC!

Brandon McCarthy – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. So McCarthy has only allowed 7 ER across his first four starts thus far, surviving both the Nats and Coors and taking down the Phils twice. I don’t see why he can’t be productive against weak teams, though I’m not at the point of being excited to own him in a 12-teamer. I think he’s an okay option to stream in Cincy next time out.

Chris Stratton – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. You know what’s weird? Stratton had his first game over 4 Ks and he did so while throwing just 22% Sliders + curveballs, each with a 11.1% rate. Yep, he threw his heater nearly 75% of the time and that doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t expect Stratton to be this good with his fastball frequently, especially against a solid offense like the Diamondbacks. I want to get on board here and I still think he’s a decent streamer, but this isn’t the “raise the banners!” call that you think it would be.

Kevin Gausman – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I will take this from Gausman as he faced the Tigers. I think we’re at the point where we can trust him as an above-average streamer. Not someone I’m blindly starting, but good for 2/3s of opponents. That’s a solid Toby.

Tyler Mahle – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Nothing says Ugggggh like a 2.20 WHIP. Sure the ERA and Ks are alright, but you’ll rarely get the all-around great time from Mahle. Unless you do it with the right people. You would know.

Robbie Ray – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. This is the life of Ray. Enjoy the strikeouts, it’s what you paid for.

Tanner Roark – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I will take this and save some for leftovers. Is he a Toby? Sure, I’m not buying the near 25% K rate thus far, but this is the NL Easy and he could probably help more than hurt. That .180 BABIP is so stupid though.

Steven Matz – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Matz was pulled after four with 74 pitches, was clearly upset and so were we. Yes, I’m still shocked he got six Ks in 12 outs with just four total swings-and-missed. I’m also amazed that he gave you a beneficial outing save for the ERA. No, I still haven’t seen what I need to see to get on board. Yes I’ll stop writing lazy sentences in the next blurb.

Vince Velasquez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Solid PQS here from VV. 11 whiffs, 8 coming with his fastball. Just 1 across 23 curveballs thrown, and that’s a problem. I know he’s looking great recently – 3 straight starts or at least 7 Ks – but I’m selling here. He can’t survive long with just that heater.

Carson Fulmer – 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Yep, that’s Fulmer alright. I wonder how much longer he’ll stay as a starter.

Cole Hamels – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Hamels took another small step back in this one, fanning just four and accuring only 7 whiffs after boasting a near 15% whiff rate in his first three starts. I’d suggest you can link those rates to specific pitches, but you can’t as his curveball and changeup usage has been all over the place. The best I have is talking about his cutter’s whiff rate – up six points from a near 8-9% mark to near 15% – which has been a major help but not quite enough to make the strikeout production consistent. I think it’s a case of Hamels being able to execute his changeup and curveball well on some days and struggle with it on others. That’s not a great review as it means he’s plenty prone to 4 ER clunkers like this one. I’d still like to own him, but I heavily question the longevity.

J. A. Happ – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Happ has a 14.3% whiff rate and 32.0% through 22 innings. What. I know he hinted at this at the start of last year as well, but this just doesn’t feel right. His O-swing is lower by 3.5 points from 2017, but batters are making contact at a super low 68.4% rate on all of his pitches. Yes the warrants me taking a much deeper look and that’s what I’ll be doing today – look for that piece tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m all for buying into this as he will most likely come with a cheap cost.

Ian Kennedy – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Kennedy gave you some strikeouts and that’s all he’s here for. Don’t be upset at a fish for not climbing a tree, you know? Are you calling me a fish? You can’t climb trees?! It’s my one weakness.

Kenta Maeda – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. The Dodgers are built for headaches. Rich Hill is now on the 10-Day DL because of finger inflammation (whatever) and they actually let Maeda loose in this one as he threw 106 pitches en route to 10 Ks. That’s absurd, coming with 19 whiffs and a Gallows Pole. What’s also absurd is that ERA/WHIP and how I’m okay dropping Maeda now. This came against the Padres (Blame!) and I question if it’s worth it to invest in these blips while suffering through the lowlights. Rid yourself of the pain.

Kyle Freeland – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I don’t know why you would even consider starting Kyle, but hey, it’s a Freeland.

Mike Leake – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m amazed Leake gave us something to salvage with seven strikeouts as he got wrecked by the Astros. I’m cool rolling with him against the ChiSox next time.

Tyler Skaggs – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Skaggs had a date with the Sawx and he reminded himself to never go to Manuel’s on a first date ever again. Their bread is always so dry.

Andrew Triggs – 1.1 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. Well this was all kinds of terrible. Triggs had an unfortunate first frame but seemed okay to rebound in the second. Spoiler alert: He didn’t rebound in the 2nd. Yoan Moncada hit a grand slam and it was a terrible day. I know everyone is upset – I am too, you know – and I think it illuminates why these players aren’t inside the Top 40. Yes, you’re probably going to drop Triggs now, that’s okay. Do I think he’ll have a repeat 6 ER in under 2 IP start next time out? Of course not. Do I think that he’ll go 6 IP with 0 ER? Not that either. It hurts, it happened and it sucks, now let’s start thinking about his next start against Texas, which I understand if you’re sitting. Still not the worst play if you can believe it. Streaming Record: 12-6.

Luis Perdomo – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. What a warm welcome back after your “suspension” that barely applies to starting pitchers as they often just get pushed back one day. He’s still a Young Gun and shouldn’t be invested in for 2018, but don’t rule out the possibility that he takes a step at some point.

Today’s Streamer

CC Sabathia vs. Toronto Blue Jays – I have to pick someone, and while this is a DLH and CC isn’t even good, he gets the Jays and I can fathom a 3 ER start where he gets a Win. I’d want to go with Nick Tropeanobut he gets the Sawx and that’s too bad.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Seattle Mariners – The M’s don’t scare me like the Astros and I think Minor can rebound. I’d also consider Sean Newcomb against the Mets if he’s available. Newcomb for strikeout upside, Minor for ratios.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Homer Bailey vs. St. Louis Cardinals – He’s shown off his ability to produce Quality Starts, maybe he can repeat it against the Cards. Not many options here given it’s ace day, I like Bailey more than Brent Suter against the Fish.

Game of the Day

Jameson Taillon vs. Jake Arrieta – Will Arrieta find his strikeouts? Will Taillon ever figure out his changeup? Let’s find out.

Nick Pollack

Founder of PitcherList.com. Rotographs and Washington Post contributor and has worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.

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Comments


Listen up

Good morning Nick, thanks for these daily articles. They help a lot!
2 questions:
1. Bench Sharky for his first start, yeah?
2. Think Devenski is in the lead to take over as HOU closer?

thanks again!

Chris

Deep OBP Keeper. Time to move Tatis Jr. for G.Cole? I am looking to compete this year, and though I hate to lose Tatis, Cole might be the only ace for sale.

Mallex P. Keaton

Nick, longtime listener, first time caller. Love the site and thanks for you and your staff for your dedication to cranking out great content on a daily basis.

12 team H2H… I cut Faria after 2 starts but I want to get back on board, especially with that tasty Baltimore matchup coming next week. I can see that you’re hesitant to crown him with the TIARA, but is he back on track to top 40 value?

Hank Chen

Thanks for another awesome article! Would you drop Maeda in a H2H league that has KBB rather than Ks?
Maeda’s struggle with command in the past two starts bothers me, but he still maintains a 4.8 KBB.

Nick Pollack

I don’t trust that K/BB in this sample size, not to mention the innings per start is well below average, making his rate stats less impactful as other pitchers.

I wouldn’t flat out drop him, it’s always relative to the options on the wire. If there is something that can help you now, I’d make the swap. Otherwise, keep holding.

Hank Chen

Thanks for getting back to me! I agree that his low innings per start limit his QS as well as his impact on the overall KBB.
Samardzija is coming off DL tomorrow, so I might have to clear a spot for him if he pitches well.
I’ve been really torn between Mikolas, J.A. Happ, E Rod and Maeda, but I am leaning towards dropping Maeda now.

Mike

You don’t think it might be a little shortsighted to drop Maeda after essentially just two starts on normal rest while the dude is rocking a 15 K/9 with a 1.01 FIP, 1.97 xFIP, and 2.41 SIERA all being held down by a ridiculous .513 BABIP? Especially if Roberts is going to finally take the training wheels off and let him throw deeper into games?

Nick Pollack

It screams more of the same from 2017, a season where Maeda had a 4.22 ERA and a 5.2 IPS. Those sample size numbers don’t mention that he had a 14 day gap between his first and second start, 46.2% hard contact allowed, and 4.4 IPS.

I don’t actually believe Roberts is going to let him go free this year. This start Maeda was pulled due to pitch count and there’s no reason for us to think he can consistently go 6 IP.

Manny aka DGM

I was going to ask a question but I don’t want to take away from Gerrit Cole’s first AGA. I wish I was an Astros beat reporter so I can ask him how it feels. This is like World Series level stuff.

Ray

Hey Nick,

Starting to see a trend with your streamer picks. You really don’t rate that Jays offence, do you?

Nick Pollack

I really don’t. I don’t buy the early production of their lineup and the only player that actually scares me at the moment is Smoak.

theKraken

For as much hoopla as the game in PR got with native-son Berrios being the starter and throwing 7 shutout innings against last year’s best regular season team in baseball, I think his performance got lost. I think people were too busy talking about the pre-planned script (damn you ESPN) and didn’t really notice what happened. Did you know that Berrios did not allow a base-runner after the second inning? He retired 16 hitters in a row and then got pulled with a short pitch count. His last inning has a six pitch inning. He was getting stronger and really eating that lineup alive. I think Molitor must have gotten his ass chewed by someone after leaving Berrios in for the CG in his first start as he has been really quick to yank him ever since. As odd as it is to say, Berrios was better than what 7 shutout innings sounds like.

Berrios did not struggle against the Mariners. He was perfect through 3+, then he got a bit unlucky – I think his first base-runner rolled one that hit the bag or something like that – and then he made a mistake or two and it ended up looking like an ugly line – that can happen to anyone.To me struggling looks like not being able to execute consistently, not all of your mistakes coming in succession and ending with a HR – which leads to a bad line. I am not saying you need to call him an ace, but I’d rather have him than a few aces. Regression is inevitable after this start, but he has certainly been an ace thus far.

Matty B

Love the site, love the daily PitcherList podcast, and love the weekly. Quick question…

I’m a big lover of Patrick Corbin, glad to see he’s finally figuring it out, with that unreal slider. That said, in a 12 team dynasty, I have a pretty stacked staff, and want to get what I feel is reputable value for him.

Would you move him for someone like Javier Baez (Currently starting Dozier/Story as 2b/ss), or even straight up for someone like Manaea, or is his break out worth holding onto for rosturbation (The League reference)

My rotation is as seen:

DeGrom
Kluber
Weaver
Godley
Corbin
Wood
Duffy

(Kopech/Sixto Sanchez/E-Rod benched). Have to have 3 sps/3 pitchers (waiver wire is decent for SP’s—guys like tropeano, happ, etc are usually around depending on how they’re doing at a given time.

Thanks for what you do!

Mike

I think Matt Boyd deserves a longer look. I know SIERA and FIP and anything that uses K-rate is obviously not going to like him too much (not yet at least). But I would argue that his K-rate (currently 15.5%) will continue to climb toward the low 20’s, since his SwStr% of 10.9% is above the league average (unless he is all kinds of terrible at getting called strikes and drawing foul balls).

But the real reason to get excited is when we look at his xStats: set the minimum to 15 IP, and who is leading the league in drawing the highest % of Poorly Hit balls so far? Yep, it’s Boyd at 38% sitting ahead of Nola, Porcello, and Odorizzi. He’s also allowing the 10th lowest % of Value Hits (just behind Chris Sale). Obvious early season SSS warning here, as this is based on only 55 balls in play. While FIP and xFIP don’t like him due to the low K-rate, scFIP and bbFIP do since they are taking all his weak (and lack of hard) contact into account. I also believe his K-rate will continue to climb toward league average levels.

Let’s Play Two

Is Morton at that SP1 level yet? He’s really dialed in and is a continuation from last year. Looks for real. Would you try and move Weaver or Quintana for him yet?

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