(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
It’s a very long season. Many days are filled with elation, most are your standard Tuesday, and there are some that make you feel sick to your stomach. Today is one of the latter as Jacob Faria went 1.2 IP, 8 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 0 Ks. I was high on Faria this off-season, expecting to see him showcase the skills he had during the early summer of 2017 and what he’s been is someone who is just so far removed. His command across the board is ghastly, without getting the movement he needs from his slider and changeup nor hitting the corners with his heater. Something is legit wrong here and even though both starts came against a solid Red Sox lineup and we’re talking about a sample of 5.2 IP, I’m okay dropping him. Yes, I’m giving him a TIARA where once I see him locked in I believe him to continue that success from that point moving forward, but there are other guys to go after in the meantime. It sucks and I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m wrong. We move on, but don’t let this stop you from chasing upside in general. It’s worth it in the end.
Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:
Mike Minor – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. So about chasing upside. This may be the one you want. I watched this entire game and while I wasn’t blown away like the stat line should indicate, seeing Minor favor his changeup over 35% of the time was encouraging, as the Jays clearly had trouble picking up the pitch. He also started favoring more sliders in the later innings, working on his ability to backdoor it and jam batters inside like a cutter. There’s a lot of potential here and while he’s not 100% there yet – I’m actually hesitant to let him fly against the Astros next time out – I can see Minor getting there. That changeup feel is improving a ton – remember, he threw it just 10% of the time last season as a reliever! – and seeing him gain more confidence with his slide piece was big. Fastball command is still a little weak and he did tire a bit in the sixth frame as he went past 75-80 pitches. I love Minor starting in May, grab him now and bench for the Astros outing. I’m probably starting him against the Rays after regardless of that one. Streaming Record: 3-4.
Gerrit Cole – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. So this is dope. Two straight games of 11 strikeouts and another Gallows Pole victory as he induced 19 swings-and-misses against the…Padres. Alright, I’m always 100% honest with you guys, I’ve learned since the early days not to say anything that I didn’t truly believe in and what I feel right now is that this the ideal sell-high opportunity. Those that are questioning that right now is why it’s a perfect sell-high. There is no question that Cole has looked unreal in these two outings. He’s also sporting a near 20% whiff rate after never holding 11% in a full season. But the breaking balls! Yep, he earned 11 whiffs on 39 thrown yesterday, totally get this. I think it will be better than previous years, but the Padres and Rangers, guys. I’m saying this telling you that Cole is going to jump into the Top 20 on Monday. People are going to value him as a Top 15 SP the rest of the way and while that very well may be true, you might as well cash him in now for a player that has less mystery for the rest of the year. Let a two-start sample earn you a much better floor.
Michael Fulmer – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I know the low strikeouts and 9 baserunners aren’t ideal – stop walking people Fulmer – but the dude clearly knows how to pitch. Seriously, he will beat his FIP/SIERA again this year. Be happy, especially in QS leagues, and enjoy life.
Ian Kennedy – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Look at this! Kennedy showing off the reason he’s on The List in a glorious start against the Indians. If you want to Vargas Rule this that’s totally cool, I don’t think this has full season potential in any stretch, but I don’t blame you for riding the wave in the short-term.
Steven Matz – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Eight strikeouts! I wonder how many…TWO WHIFFS?! TWO?! Uggggggh, this is painful Matz. I mean, sure 30 called strikes is great, but you threw 29 curveballs and didn’t get a swing-and-miss on one of them. How can I possibly buy into that?
Bryan Mitchell – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 6 BBs, 1 Ks. Okay, this is becoming a fad this year – a 5+ walk game with 2 or fewer Ks and 0 ER – and it’s about time we gave it a term. I’ll let my delirious self come up with something tonight, but meanwhile no, you shouldn’t trust Mitchell. Yes it blows my mind that this keeps happening.
Trevor Bauer – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Bauer killed it with 7 strikeouts for the second straight game, now boasting a 2.08 ERA through two. He even corrected me on Twitter, so that’s cool. While no one should expect him to be this good constantly, I don’t see a reason to deviate from him at this point.
Chad Bettis – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. That’s nice Chad, you know I can’t trust this in any way, right?
Yu Darvish – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. 14 whiffs here from Darvish, though I expected more from his slide piece (just 3 in 25 thrown) that had solid horizontal bend in this one. I am glad that Darvish quickly showed why he’s highly ranked after last week’s massive disappointment against the Marlins and we’re kinda back to square one. Just keep rolling.
Zach Davies – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. This is the best you’ll see of Davies. I’m not calling a party because he’ll have it more than once a year. The problem is when his fastball command isn’t this good, which happens plenty more than I’d like. A VPR darling, sure, but not someone I want to trust consistently.
Gio Gonzalez – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ll take it Gio. Yeah the WHIP is blegh, but that ERA and strikeouts make up for it. Don’t expect more and you’ll be a happy owner.
Vince Velasquez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Velasquez lives and dies with his fastball and it killed yesterday, with 16 called strikes and 7 whiffs. The problem is that everything else was super mediocre – 29 breaking balls equated to 0 whiffs and 2 called strikes – and I’m going to give out one of those lovely Blame it on the Marlins tags.
Chad Kuhl – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. 7 Ks on eight whiffs. I was so excited too, I was really hoping this was the start that Kuhl started figuring it out. He actually threw just 7 sliders across the enitre start – the pitch that needs more love. I’m not chasing this.
Mike Leake – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. 0 strikeouts? HAISTFMFWT?
Anibal Sanchez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Ha, don’t be silly. Be goofy all you like, but don’t be silly.
Chris Stratton – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhhhh this is super mediocre. 18 called strikes is a good mark, but just 16 curveballs in 88 pitches is not. He’s not there yet, and I’d let him go.
Andrew Triggs – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Triggs was the backup Call Boy and kinda killed it. I want a few more than 7 whiffs to really trust this, but as long as he’s pitching, Triggs deserves consideration in your 12-teamer.
Michael Wacha – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. That’s a rough WHIP, but I guess a 3.60 ERA isn’t bad these days and five strikeouts is about the threshold of me saying “okay, fine.” That’s generally the sentiment I have for Wacha anyway so there you go. Amazing analysis, I know.
Sonny Gray – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s a PQS with a 1.00 WHIP and 4 Ks. I know, I just read it. Yeah but there isn’t much more to say. Keep starting him.
Rich Hill – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh no. No no no no, not 4 IP Hill again! MY HEAD HURTS ENOUGH. That and just 5 whiffs make for a terrible outing. At least you got six Ks in there to make the medicine go down. Blegh.
Rick Porcello – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. This is fantastic. Should I be raising Porcello after a pair of solid starts against the Rays? Maybe? I still think he hovers a 4.00 ERA through the year and this is like 2016 where he had such a comfortable lead that the Sawx just let him roll. That and, you know, just 94 pitches thrown but it’s little of Colomé, a little of Coulombe. Just 9 whiffs here, though the winner here is 14 called strikes across 43 two-seamers. That gold, even if they came in under 90mph. I’m still selling high here, but you’ll see him around the 70s come Monday.
J. C. Ramirez – 2.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks. Sooo this is bad, but you know that. You don’t need me.
Sal Romano – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Weird to see Romano failing with just one walk, but there it is. There are better upside plays.
Jose Berrios – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. A quick reminder as to why guys like Berrios are somewhat high on the ranking despite games like this – those 7 Ks still give you value despite the crooked 5 ER. Tough to see Berrios struggle like this after his sparkling 2018 debut, but you’ll take the bad with the good.
Lucas Giolito – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Velocity is still at just 91mph, and just 2 whiffs on all his breaking stuff. Only 2 curveballs thrown and all the excitement I had for Giolito is out the door like my ex-wife. You don’t have an ex-wife. I don’t have Giolito anymore either. :(
Zack Greinke – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. That third inning was tough to watch, allowing 4 ER capped off with a Jose Martinez 3-run shot. I still love Greinke – 12 whiffs on 86 pitches here – and whatareyagonnado.
Marcus Stroman – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. This actually wasn’t so bad before the fifth frame, where it all fell apart. Okay it was still pretty blegh with just 4 whiffs across 95 pitches. That’s not cool at all. Stroman is better than this, but as emphasized with Berrios before him, four strikeouts aren’t too salvageable, making this a worse overall outing. And, you know, the horrid WHIP at the cost of five walks, but you get the point.
Chris Tillman – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Say it with me. You Can’t Spell Win With Tillman. If you’re new to the site, you might not know that I’ve been saying that since 2014 and even made a shirt from it. I love this phrase that much.
Dillon Peters – 2.2 IP, 9 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I guess you could say he…Petered out. I honestly have sympathy for those that took a chance on Peters against the Phils. It’s like adding code to a website thinking it’s going to make it beautiful only to see you broke the entire thing. The world is telling you to never do that again.
Reynaldo Lopez vs. Detroit Tigers – A pretty easy one given how well he performed against the Jays last time out.
Jake Junis vs. Seattle Mariners – I loved his two-seamer last time out and the Cruz-less Mariners could make for a good outing.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Homer Bailey vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I stared at this one for a long time and I don’t like any of them. I know the Phils just scored 20 runs, but I feel like Homer Bale can pull it off.
Game of the Day
Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Let’s see how he’s feeling in his first start back from the DL. Yes, it is a DLH situation in case you were wondering.
You Are The WHERST
Mike Fiers vs. Chicago White Sox – I have such a distaste for Fiers’ mediocrity that I felt the need to take it out here.
Are you higher on Reynaldo than Giolito now? Own Giolito with Reynaldo sitting on the WW. Might make the switch if he repeats last week.
Giolito has the higher long-term upside, but given a decent start for Lopez today, yes, I’d rather have Reynaldo.
Was he showing diminished velocity in ST? If not, could this just be a cold weather thing?
Read somewhere that Giolito might be struggling because of the cold weather and should improve when it gets warmer. Think there is any truth to this?
There definitely could, though it’s super hard to tell at this point. Something else seems up.
Something about Mike Minor. His only 2 walks were in the 1st inning. I went to look at the pitch by pitch and saw that against Pierce he got robbed and should’ve got a K with Pierce looking. Then I looked at Donaldson’s walk and saw he got robbed TWICE for a K with him looking both times.
Robbed as in 3-2 pitch called BB against Pierce and 2-2 then 3-2 against Donaldson.
Looked at it backwards on both batters. He was robbed on the 0-0 pitch to start the game and then the first two pitches against Smoak(not Donaldson).
I meant to mention that! Minor definitely settled in after that opening at-bat.
It wasn’t outright robbery, but they were competitive at-bats.
*Jose Martinez 3-run shot in the third against Greinke
I know you like Mikolas, are are you still higher on him more so than Minor? I really liked what I saw from Minor last night and I’m thinking about dropping Miles. Wanted your take on it.
They are pretty close in my mind. If you need two starts, go with Mikolas this week, but they are both at Man I see excelling from May onward.
Berrios wasn’t bad yesterday at all. 5 of the 6 base-runners he allowed scored – that is really close to incredible. He retired the first 10 in order… then they got an infield hit, followed by a a nice pitch on the hands that Cano fisted over the infield, then came the real mistake to Seager after Haniger was retired. That start pretty much unraveled in a worst case scenario of runs scored, but he was more dominant than not. Just a bit of good fortune may have just as well been an addition to the scoreless streak. Its not like he was making mistakes and getting behind in the count.
I remember you being pretty high on J.C. Ramirez last year, is he still worth keeping an eye on at all?
Unfortunately not. I was high on him during his ridiculous 25 Ks in 3 game stretch. It was a blip and I don’t see that returning.
Triggs. Junis, or Minor for the last spot on my rotation? I trust your opinion here more than any other “analyst/expert”
It’s super close right now, I’m leaning Minor, Junis, Triggs, in that order.
Could change quickly after Junis’ start tomorrow.
Drop Faria for Skaggs?
I’d rather hold Faria for the next week or two than trust Skaggs. Anyone else?
Thanks Nick. Dropping Ryu for Pivetta(Skaggs as backup bid).
BTW…found you via the great work on the Sleeper pod.