After a questionable 2016 season as far as elitedom goes, Jake Arrieta is really starting to make owners worry as he put up a line of 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks yesterday against the Red Sox. My assessment of Arrieta entering the year was that his command wasn’t going to get fixed but his stuff is good enough to give you quality outings even when he’s not dotting the plate like 2015. I’m not here to telling you that Arrieta is outside the Top 25, but I will say that I’m questioning his Top 15 ranking right now. His best pitch in 2015 was his Slutter that was just unbelievably good. It seems like his command of it has gotten even worse than his struggles from 2016 and now he’s had to focus more on Changeups and Curveballs to make up for it. That doesn’t seem like a good idea, but here is the interesting part. He’s throwing more Sinkers for strikes – that’s excellent – and he’s using his Changeup more often which has a 20.0% whiff rate and 50.0% O-Swing – that’s elite. The question is if he can use his Curveball and/or Changeup – or hell, why not his Slutter? – as a strike-getter inside of the zone. Arrieta needs that second pitch to rely on for a strike and it’s totally possible he does that. It seems he’s already moving toward changing his approach and if that means more of a Fastball/Changeup combo that Fastball/Slider, he can still be elite. So I’m conflicted. I want to say that he can rebound and adapt, on the other hand I still worry about his overall command and he clearly isn’t 2015 without that Slider. He’s a risky buy and it really depends on the risk/reward situation in your league. I’m super curious to see how this plays out rest of the year.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Marcus Stroman – 7.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. I could have led with Stroman after this sweet performance, now holding a 2.97 ERA (nearly identical FIP/xFIP). WHIP is good, not great at 1.18 but he’s getting 23.1% soft contact, which is what I care about. What about the 10 Ks?! Has he finally turned the corner??? Nah, I don’t think so. He will have these nights here and there and that’s awesome, but his K% is now exactly the same as last year’s 19.4%. He didn’t change a whole lot with his approach last night and I think we’ll see plenty more 4 K outings in the future. He’s getting a bump on Monday given the consistency thus far, though.
Kenta Maeda – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Would you look at that. All this talk of maybe giving Maeda a start off to work on his stuff was apparently stupid talk as Maeda cruised his way through the Philadelphia lineup. Problem is, his Slider and…Cutter? (Pitchf/x suddenly says he’s throwing a Cutter, which I don’t buy) were elevated a ton but worked out in Maeda’s favor. I think this is a perfect sell opportunity if you sold and something thinks Maeda still has a discount and will sneak him onto their team. He’s still outside the Top 40 for me.
Ariel Miranda – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Miranda did this against the Tribe and couldn’t handle the A’s. Because baseball is dumb. I think he’s too inconsistent and doesn’t go deep enough into games (has had more than 5.2 IP just once this year) for me to think he’s worth your trust.
Jacob deGrom – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sure you wanted just 2 ER but hot damn that WHIP and Ks are gorgeous, and against the Nationals! I’m super tempted to slot him at #5.
Carlos Carrasco – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Like deGrom, one fewer ER next time, K? Expect a rise from Carrasco on Monday.
Charlie Morton – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. It was a stupid first inning for Morton in this game and he looked absurdly good after. Now it’s the Rangers + Braves next and I’m rolling with that.
Jeff Samardzija – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. For all my hate of Loose Lips, there’s no way you’re benching him against the Padres.
Tyler Skaggs – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Man the Rangers are looking bad these days. It’s tough to buy into Skaggs just yet given his strength of schedule thus far (Rangers twice, Athletics, Blue Jays, Royals) and I’m playing this matchup by matchup. I think I hold back from starting him against the Mariners.
Ian Kennedy – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Solid stuff against from Kennedy, though he has had one of the best schedules around, facing MIN twice, LAA, OAK, and the struggling Rangers. I’m selling his 2.30 ERA and 8.04 K/9.
Lance Lynn – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Yes Lynn. Keep doing your thang and be that sturdy QS guy we want you to be.
Robbie Ray – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. It’s pretty entertaining how Ray just keeps being him. Ks are there, ERA/WHIP still bad. Amazing. To be fair, that WHIP isn’t so bad tonight but obviously there has to be some wiggle room up/down here.
Drew Pomeranz – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. The Dirty Cheerleader was great against the Cubs as his xFIP now sites at 3.15 with a 11.22 K/9. I’m buying this.
Nick Martinez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Seven Ks from Nick? How? Who was he facing, my fifth grade history teacher? Because let’s be honest, even he would put the ball in play 70% of the time against Martinez.
Kyle Freeland – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Two strikeouts in 18 outs is not a dance I want to have with a Colorado pitcher.
Jameson Taillon – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhh I want a little more from Taillon. Four Ks and just five innings? You’re better than this Taillon.
Matthew Boyd – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This isn’t enough for me to start trusting in Boyd as he faced the White Sox. I’m still Boyd Watching.
Chase Anderson – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. It was a matter of time before this Anderson party shut down, but I can’t say I expected that against the Braves. He gets the Cardinals next and I think I’m okay with that. Risky, of course.
Blake Snell – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. The command problems are still there and he really shouldn’t be owned until they is a dramatic change. Ohhhh snap. I think we have our first PEAS of the year!
Kyle Gibson – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Blegh, but would you expect any different from Gibson?
Max Scherzer – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Against the Mets? Scherzer, if you want to hold onto that #2 spot, you can’t be doing this.
Mike Pelfrey – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Pelfrey with a 2.00+ WHIP? Get out of here.
Tim Adleman – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Tim sounds like the person who you’re chatting with and then suddenly goes idle for 20 minutes and then acts like nothing happens. You’re making a terrible Adleman joke, aren’t you. I sat here for 20 minutes and that’s all I could think about. Tim banging away on the keys and then just stopping and staring at the screen while sipping some coffee. JUST SAY SOMETHING.
Jerad Eickhoff – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Yes Eickhoff isn’t the most incredible starter out there and will have starts like these. Still want to own him in all 12 teamers.
Jharel Cotton – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Man, that first inning was so painful to watch. After walking Springer, Reddick reached on catcher’s interference, then Cotton dropped the ball for a balk, and with two outs Beltran hits the weakest knob shot just past Cotton for an infield single, then a groundball up the middle followed by a lazy flyball that lands just inside the right-field foul line for a double for three earned runs total. UGH. Now, Cotton wasn’t killing it, that is he wasn’t dominating and these things are the worst luck ever, but he did not deserve this horrendous WHIP and short start. I understand if you dropped him, I think his stuff is still there and the command polish will follow. Just a matter of when we’ll see those results.
Kevin Gausman – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. There will be a time this season where Gausman puts it into gear and becomes a sturdy producer for your team. However, if you need the roster space, feel free to drop Gaus as he gets the Sawx and Nationals next. Blegh.
CC Sabathia – 5.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. But the orioles are bad against lefties! Womp womp. I still think CC has some good starts in him but at least we’ve defined the floor now, yeah?
Bartolo Colon – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The Giant Peach couldn’t handle the Brewers, who are currently 2nd in the majors in Team wOBA. Yikes.
Adam Conley – 1.2 IP, 9 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I thought Felix on the DL meant no more getting Felix’d? Man, this is terrible especially since he was my Call Boy for the night…can’t win em all :( Streamer Record 11.5-8-3.
JC Ramirez vs Texas Rangers – Yep this is a gamble, but I think the Rangers aren’t as good of an offense as we think they are and Ramirez is lighting it up right now.