(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.
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 Tropeano, but he gets the Sawx and that’s too bad.
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