I wonder, how do you feel about Jameson Taillon? I certainly did my fair share of endorsing him in the preseason, seeing an arm that could turn into the Aaron Nola mold of success with his new slider, and push his strikeout rate to 25% or so with stellar ratios. Well, so far so bad after tonight’s 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks line pushes his marks to a 4.06 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 19% strikeout rate. Yeeeesh. I need a shower after that K rate. So what’s wrong with him? A couple things. First, I expected his curveball to take a large role as a strikeout option, earning a 45% strikeout rate in his career prior and having a new pitch to feature inside the zone, allowing the curveball to get featured as a chase pitch. Entering this start, the pitch held a 6.7% strikeout rate, with a horrid 5.2% swinging-strike rate. Not ideal, very small sample of 58 pitches, but still not the path we’re hoping for. Tonight was a little better – 4/16 whiffs – though half came on Zack Greinke swings. I’ll say this. Be patient. Velocity is still there for the most part (a slight drop, under a tick), the slider is performing well, and we’re dealing with small samples. I think there’s still plenty of growth left in this arm and I can’t imagine that the market for Taillon right now makes it worth your while to sell. No, he won’t turn into a Toby. Maybe not prime Nola, but he’s going produce through the full year. Just stick with it.
Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:
Luis Castillo – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. We are oh-so-close to that AGA label. He really does deserve it, I just would really hate to have to remove it from him after all we’ve been through…and this start wasn’t your typical Casty outing. Whiffs? Just 9 in 101 pitches, en route to an…18% CSW. What. That’s stupid low. His slider wasn’t great, his changeup earned whiffs, but not the crazy amount we’re used to and…breathe. 97+ mph fastball for the first time this year, batters simply put the ball in play more this time round. Everything is good, if not better with that velocity, and Casty will get that label soon enough.
Zack Greinke – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Another 0 ER performance from Greinke as he’s trying to beat Castillo to that AGA label. Castillo deserves it way more! Sure, but Greinke has two straight years of an AGA label that he’s trying to reclaim. Big difference. I’m not the only one that feels Greinke gets a little shafted, am I? Yes, his stuff isn’t as overwhelming as the man above him, but despite the velocity he lacks, the Zack Attack is packed with a knack to attack the black with tact, forcing the man in back to yak and yak as batters hack and hack without a SMACK. That’s a fact.
Marco Gonzales – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Hot dang, that’s a lovely start from Gonzo. 38/98 CSW is fantastic, though I was a bit surprised at his cutter’s lack of effectiveness while watching this one. He made up for it with his changeup and keeping his sinker elevated + curveballs for called strikes + but to think this wasn’t even peak Gonzo…huh. Did you realize that he hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER in a single game all season? Maybe we’ll never get there – that’s a true Toby, the one and only Spider-Man.
Ross Stripling – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Baseball is the ultimate sport of drama. You may think of the days in October where innate tension is built into the game, dozens of seconds giving breath to every pitch, the hypotheticals, the possibilities of success and failure. The ball is thrown and the tension returns. It’s wonderful and torturous, it’s our desired purgatory placed in the hands of a man standing on dirt. There’s also these days of the regular season, laced with the soap opera contained inside one word: Dodgeritis. Despite Stripling look plenty better here and in his recent outings, off the bullpen he goes with the season debut of Rich Hill coming round the corner. In deep leagues, I understand holding onto Stripling as he could be back in a few weeks when the next inevitable charade occurs in Los Angeles. In 12-teamers, though, I’d imagine there’s something you want off the wire. Go and make the swap as that roster spot can be oh-so-valuable.
Trevor Bauer – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 3 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Just three strikeouts and six walks aren’t what we wanted, but the WHIP is still fine, the ERA is lovely, and we’ll sleep easy.
Jon Lester – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I labeled this a Still ILL against the Dodgers and I’m pleasantly surprised that he gave you five strong innings. Nothing all too special here, pitchers were a bit too middle-middle for my liking overall, but I’d say this is fine. Start Lester as your Spider-Man contender until further notice.
Aaron Nola – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure. It inherently looks like I should be thrilled to see Nola allowing just 1 ER, but he wasn’t at his sharpest against the Marlins. Yeah, that Marlins. Better two-seamers glove side running back to the corner, but just 3 whiffs on 30 curveballs is not the man we know. Nola, Easy A, BUDDY. I want to live every day like it’s your day. GIVE ME THE DAY TO LIVE FOR. I do think this was a step forward, though, and keep the faith while buying low where you can.
Caleb Smith – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. YOU CAN’T STOP THIS MAN. Sure, he allowed another longball via an elevated slider, but 19 whiffs, 35/102 CSW, and still getting through six innings despite a 16-pitch at-bat in the first inning is fantastic inside Citizens Bank Park. That’s a 34% K rate and just a 6.5% walk rate in 29 frames now, for those counting at home. Why wouldn’t we be counting at home.
Trevor Cahill – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Bleeeeegh. If Cahill can’t handle the injured Yankees, he can’t handle your roster. Streaming Record: 15-12. It’s ony because I had to choose someone! There was no correct answer today.
Gerrit Cole – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Are you worried about Cole? Don’t be worried about Cole. Gallows Pole with 22 whiffs today + 99 mph on his final pitch of the night. Mmmm MMM.
Masahiro Tanaka – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Well this isn’t good. At all. The 3.60 ERA for Tanaka looks about right, but the 1.28 WHIP and 21% K rate? Yeah that’s not right. It’s speaking the language of a Toby and, well, Tanaka isn’t that. Is he? No, he isn’t. The splitter’s whiffs are way down and the cause of all of this. The most inconsistent pitch in baseball n all. It’s a pitch that fluctuates, I can’t imagine it’ll stay as a 12% swinging-strike rate pitch for long, moving closer to the 20% mark and lifting his strikeouts with it.
Rick Porcello – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The Tigers aren’t much to deal with, but Porcello isn’t much to handle either. The result is a PQS, which we can all nod our heads to as we forget this start ever happened.
Julio Teheran – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. A PQS with 7 Ks from Teheran? Ehhhhh, it was a disappointment last time against the Indians and I wanted a little better than this as a rebound. Y’all know my thoughts on Julio – not worth it in 12-teamers – but I’m always rooting for pitchers to do well. Do I think Teheran will over the year? No. Do I want him to become a fantasy asset? Definitely. Maybe in a few weeks.
Taylor Hearn – 0.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. Poor guy, this isn’t to say that Hearn is mediocre and will always be a Cup of Schmo, but he had a 7/39 CSW in his MLB debut. Next time, kid. Nick, say the thing. Nah, I won’t do that to him. Not today.
Jordan Zimmermann – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Jay-Z, this isn’t the Blueprint for success.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my Streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Wade Miley vs. Cleveland Indians – I’d consider Pablo Lopez against the Phils, Kyle Gibson against the Orioles (is he an option in your league?), and even Dereck Rodriguez against the Yanks for those searching for more Sunday options. Why not, toss Zach Davies against the Mets in the pile too if you’re desperate for another.
Game of the Day
(Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)