Joe Must Grow

I remember the night Joe Musgrove made his MLB debut last season, showcasing his One-Seam Fastball across 4.1 innings of shutout ball against the Blue Jays. With Colin McHugh’s injury, he’s had...

I remember the night Joe Musgrove made his MLB debut last season, showcasing his One-Seam Fastball across 4.1 innings of shutout ball against the Blue Jays. With Colin McHugh’s injury, he’s had a secure role in the rotation and I was hoping he could use his good movement and command to return solid 12 teamer value. After today’s disappointing line of 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks against the Rays, it’s time to assess what to do with the kid. On the plus side, he’s been inducing 25% soft contact with nearly identical hard contact, suggesting his .333 BABIP entering today was a bit skewed against him. Still, he’s getting very few whiffs from his Slider, and while his Changeup is looking impressive (near 25% whiff rate thus far), batters have been teeing off the heater…which is a little odd given his good command of the pitch on the outside corner down and away to right-handers. I guess I’m not fully convinced he’s going to be a lackluster option through 2017, but I don’t think you should be holding on tight for his breakout at this point. Let him go if you have any sort of decent streaming options in a 12 teamer and wait to see if his Slider starts being the effective pitch it can be.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Eduardo Rodriguez – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. Why Eduardo, why do you need add a cloud of haze with five walks? To be fair, he walked the bases loaded in the six inning as he was clearly losing steam, but still we need that coal pumping in your veins. That sweet luscious coal. I want to believe that he’s turned a corner, but until I see a nice smooth line I’m going to be cautious with Edu. Also, the Orioles enjoy striking out like my 22-year-old self me at bars.

Mike Foltynewicz – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Go ahead Folty, get more strikeouts in one game than you’ve had all season long. Good to see just two walks as well as that has been an issue in his starts thus far. Now, am I going to put much stock in an evening with the Phils? No, and I feel like I’ve been asking that exact question a ton lately. Blame it on the Phillies.

Marcus Stroman – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Nothing like coming back from a 6 ER clunker to give your second CG of the season in four starts. The problem here is that Stroman is playing the BABIP game, as he’s totaled just 18 Ks in four games now. It’s not a full on Three-Fists Compromise but when he’s not going a CG every-other game, it’s going to be hard to feel all too confident throwing him out there consistently – if there’s little to salvage when it doesn’t go well, is the risk worth the reward? For now, yes, but something to think about if the Ks don’t show up.

Yu Darvish – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Great to see that walk rate down, but why would he ever consider walking a Royals hitter?

Max Scherzer – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. A pair of HRs kept this from being a truly stud start, but that WHIP and Ks grant him the AGA label.

Ivan Nova – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. And Nova just keeps cruising. He pretty much doubled his season strikeouts today, now totally 15 on the year. That’s under four per start and he has yet to face an offense that I’d normally give hesitation to…and he won’t get that until June? Wow. Nova may have the best schedule of any starter around, which certainly warrants a boost as he’s displayed the ability to handle weaker offenses. It’s weird since I don’t think Nova has the repertoire nor skill to be a Top 40 guy, but that schedule could help him look like one in the first half. Weird.

Zach Eflin – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. I remember last year calling Eflin a mediocre streaming choice and to avoid him against Top 20 offenses. The Braves are not a Top 20 offense. Still wouldn’t have thrown Eflin out here for this one, but now it’ll make me at least consider him.

Michael Fulmer – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. At least one of the Power Quads is still killing it. That’s a Quality Start in each of his first four starts as he makes a strong case for 200 innings. Let’s do it you ball of magic.

Yovani Gallardo – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. In today’s edition of our Kevin Garnett feature, Gallardo reminds us that anything is possible.

Kyle Freeland – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Guys, the Giants are really bad and Freeland is not going to sustain this at all.

Derek Holland – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Holland got it together and gave us a gem against the Indians. Like I can expect that happening again…

Bronson Arroyo – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. How are Weaver and Arroyo doing this? Alright, I’m down to wager who will do better for 2017: Arroyo or Weaver. It’s the Geezer Quality Start Battle 2.0. Winner goes to the one with the most QS to their name by the end of September. So far it’s 3-1 Weaver, but there’s so much time left. Peers into the future…Okay it’s 5-3 Weaver….

Brandon McCarthy – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s four starts of 2 ER or fewer from McCarthy to begin the year, and that includes the Cubs + dbacks twice. I’m happy to see him lower his walks after 3 in each of the last two games and I’m all for his next start against the Phils.

Daniel Wright – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I’m kinda upset that I can’t call Daniel “The Wrong Wright” anymore since they are both wrong. One wrong Wright made a right tonight, but the two Wrights aren’t right Wrights, aight?

Mike Leake – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Some are buying Leake saying that he’s found the command and proper pitch mix to finally be a consistent starter for the Cardinals. That’s a really tough argument to buy and while it’s possible, I’m labeling Leake as a proper sell high. Too much history of blips of success to make me think this is going to last despite the hot start. Just so we’re clear, obviously keep running with Leake, but if someone’s buying I’d be selling. Just looking at May, he has a few starts ahead that could be good, but then he’s expected to have a stretch of Boston, LAD, Coors, Cubs. Yikes.

Jordan Montgomery – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. A 3.00 ERA, but a 1.50 WHIP and the Loss? Ehhh five strikeouts so I think I get this one. Streamer Record 9.5-6-2. I don’t think Monty is anything more than a streamer, though it is possible he gets into a better groove as the season continues. Just don’t think he’s overpowering enough and lacks the polish at the moment to think that he’s a good enough finesse arm to be a consistent benefit to your squad.

Tom Koehler – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Don’t start thinking Koehler can get you close to 7 Ks per night. Do you dare.

Luis Perdomo – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. This is as blegh as blegh gets. It’s not a week killer, but man you don’t want that anywhere near you.

Matt Andriese – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I think it’s time to let Andriese go completely unless you are in deeper leagues. Streams and all.

Zack Wheeler – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. What a painful first inning. Wheeler barely hits the first batter, then an infield single on what would normally be a double-play ball (albeit, Rendon running), a groundball through the hole into left field, then a Daniel Murphy grand slam on a pitch down in the zone at 96mph. He got one out in the meantime, but essentially this start is 6.2 IP, 1 Hit, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I think Wheeler is closer than you think on becoming a solid #5 for your team.

Danny Salazar – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. A high WHIP/ERA but good Ks? Salazar, I know you were one of the first Cherry Bomb players but we thought you grew out of that a bit. It’s hard to put him inside the Top 30 when he’s acting like this.

Jimmy Nelson – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, Nelson isn’t good, Anderson is the only Brewers starter to consider these days.

Jason Hammel – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Look at this, Hammel getting pulled early in the game and Maddon isn’t even his coach. I have little faith this will turn around his favor anytime soon.

John Lackey – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Sure hasn’t been the smooth season you were hoping for from Lackey as he allowed at least 3 ER for the third game of four. However, this is his third 7+ K outing and he’s walking few with the Cubs on his side. I think this is a solid buy low opportunity.

Shelby Miller – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. I was just starting to consider myself curious about Miller, but then he walks five and is all kinds of bad. Welp, back to the end of The List for you.

Kevin Gausman – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Uggggggh. I mean, he gave up 4 ER in the first did settle down for his credit and I did say I wasn’t starting him at all here…you just want something a little more encouraging, you know? Maybe not three walks PLEASE.

Andrew Triggs – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I’ve been calling Triggs a good arm against weaker teams but not someone I trust a lot against good teams. He surprised us with the Rangers outing, but this is the floor you’re dealing with here. He’s a Maybe for the Astros next and I wouldn’t be exercising him unless I felt I needed the extra start badly in a H2H league.

Jeff Samardzija – 5.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. So Shark had to go to Coors. That’s fine, I’m not starting most in there. I guess I’ll be a little easy this time. Fine.

Kyle Gibson – 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Cutaway this Gibson if you have anything to do with him.

Today’s Streamer

Brett Anderson vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I would consider Miguel Gonzalez against the Royals if I were truly desperate in a deep league, but Anderson is the better choice as he could steal an easy Win to start your week.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Wei-Yin Chen vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I don’t want this one. I don’t believe in Chen to be a consistent starter, even against the Phils, but man there are no other options today. Maybe Jesse Hahn against the Angels? Whatever, these aren’t going against the streaming record.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

JC Ramirez vs. Oakland Athletics – On a day with essentially zero acceptable options, I’m going with the guy that has an exceptional heater and flashed good breaking stuff in the previous outing. Don’t love him, but I’ll go with the upside pick. Half point please.

Game of the Day

Chris Archer vs. Baltimore Orioles – Sure it’s Ubaldo on the other side, but watching Archer try to dice up the birds should be a fun affair.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar James says:

    Thoughts on the wheeler start?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I’m an idiot. He’s there now!

      “What a painful first inning. Wheeler barely hits the first batter, then an infield single on what would normally be a double-play ball (albeit, Rendon running), a groundball through the hole into left field, then a Daniel Murphy grand slam on a pitch down in the zone at 96mph. He got one out in the meantime, but essentially this start is 6.2 IP, 1 Hit, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I think Wheeler is closer than you think on becoming a solid #5 for your team.”

  • Avatar wuvius says:

    No blurb for Mccarthy?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Weird, that one got deleted somehow. Here it is:

      “That’s four starts of 2 ER or fewer from McCarthy to begin the year, and that includes the Cubs + dbacks twice. I’m happy to see him lower his walks after 3 in each of the last two games and I’m all for his next start against the Phils.”

  • Avatar Manley Ramirez says:

    Why not RYU as a streamer today?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Yeah, I’m thinking he’s right in line with Anderson if not a little moreso. I do worry about how shaky he has been thus far, but Ryu is getting his first weak opponent of the season.

      I’m fine with it.

  • Avatar Mad Max says:

    No Scherzer?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Whoops, my bad! He’s there now:

      “Aces gonna ace. A pair of HRs kept this from being a truly stud start, but that WHIP and Ks grant him the AGA label.”

  • Avatar Beauford says:

    Nova blurb got cut off. I’m dying to know what kind of offense he’s yet to face…

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Looks like the article is showing an earlier version of the post. I think I’ve caught all the cut-offs now, thanks for the heads up!

      Here’s what that blurb reads:

      “And Nova just keeps cruising. He pretty much doubled his season strikeouts today, now totally 15 on the year. That’s under four per start and he has yet to face an offense that I’d normally give hesitation to…and he won’t get that until June? Wow. Nova may have the best schedule of any starter around, which certainly warrants a boost as he’s displayed the ability to handle weaker offenses. It’s weird since I don’t think Nova has the repertoire nor skill to be a Top 40 guy, but that schedule could help him look like one in the first half. Weird.”

  • Avatar Brian says:

    Interesting that you didn’t have Corbin as a streamer for tomorrow. He looked pretty good against the Pads in the last one. He’s not great, but on a day with not much available, he’s sufficient I think.

  • Avatar shudd1 says:

    Any consolation on Musgrove’s start in that he gave up all 4 runs in the first and then appeared to settle down after that? That was also on the heels of a mechanical tweak he made during the week.

    I have Sonny Gray coming off the DL soon. If Musgrove doesn’t look much different in his next couple of starts, would you feel comfortable dropping Musgrove for Gray?

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