(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
Prospect debuts are always a blast and we got ourselves a doozy from Nick Kingham today as he went 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks against the Cardinals. I watched this one and I was heavily impressed by his ability to move inside and outside with his heater while keeping his breaking ball beneath the zone often or trusting it for strikes. While he barely showcased his curveball and changeup (they were pretty meh), it didn’t feel like he needed them as he was able to use his heater all around the zone. The major risk here is that there isn’t a third option to help if he’s not so flexible with his fastball on a given day, but I’d be all about picking up now and worrying later…except we don’t really know how much he’s going to actually pitch. Maybe the Pirates give the Brault Right the boot it deserves, landing him a date with the Brewers next weekend. Not sure. If you have a free spot and nothing to lose, sure, go ahead and add Kingham. I wouldn’t call him a “must-add” but if he’s getting regular time, I’d prefer to hold and see what happens.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Matt Andriese – 3.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. It was a bullpen game for the Rays and Andriese has barely been stretched out. Let’s move on, plenty more to get through today.
Robbie Ray – 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Well this sucks. Ray seemed ready to go on the upswing after 5 total ER in his last two starts and left this one earlier with an oblique strain. Bummer.
Caleb Smith – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. What impressed me the most here were the 21 Called Strikes + Whiffs on 58 four-seamers as he dominated the zone with the pitch. His slide piece – the pitch that normally does the most damage – only had 3 whiffs, but found the zone six times across 20 pitches, including four balls in play (3 outs). I’ll take that any day. Remember, he had 10 Ks last time out and while I’m still skeptical this can last for a long time, he gets the Reds next and I don’t have a problem rolling with that. I’m not jumping out of my seat pumped about it, but I can see myself taking the risk.
Kevin Gausman – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. This could have been a lot worse, but he escaped danger in the sixth as Brad Brach came in and left the bases loaded. Can’t say I’m too pleased with this in all honesty, Gausman featured just 12 splitters in 106 pitches while failing to miss one bat with them. That’s not vintage Gausman and it makes me concerned for his next start against the A’s. Yes, the A’s.
Gio Gonzalez – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Atta babe Gio. Maybe I’m not giving Gio enough love on The List, I’ll be thinking about this one for tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s celebrate his highest K total of the year as he’s yet to allow more than 3 ER in a single start.
Tyler Mahle – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. The fastball command was there and you got yourself a luscious outing. I think he’ll get a rise tomorrow as that high risk/reward of a Cherry Bomb type deserves more attention in H2H leagues.
Brandon McCarthy – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Nothing like facing the Phillies 3 times in six starts and allowing a collective 4 ER. Good, no GREAT news here is that McCarthy will get the Giants + Fish next, meaning he may demand that roster spot for another week and change. Hate this as a longterm play, though.
CC Sabathia – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. CC has a 5.47 K/9, 1.71 BB/9, but a 1.71 ERA. It’s kinda amazing. .207 BABIP and 79.0% LOB rates with a sub 10% HR/FB all point to plenty worse days ahead (4.24 FIP) but think of him as a decent streamer and all will be okay.
Chad Bettis – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Bettis pitched against a poor offense (Marlins) outside of Coors. Yep, this had all the signs of a stream and I should have picked up on it. Don’t start Bettis unless those variables align.
Ty Blach – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Looks like we have ourselves another Blach Party. We may actually be calling it a Super Nova instead, but the point is, you got your ratios at the cost of K upside. Yay.
Zach Davies – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s pretty mediocre from Davies and I’m not expecting a whole lot more, while also expecting a whole lot less. That makes sense, right? I hope it makes sense. I don’t want you guys feeling like you’re watching the second season of True Detective.
Marco Gonzales – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Gonzales is still chugging along, though this wasn’t nearly as impressive as the two 8 K outings prior. Just 5 whiffs overall as I’m starting believe he’s fading a bit. At the same time, the only runs came on a 2-run shot in the second and was kinda lights out otherwise. I’m hesitant to buy in here as his stuff doesn’t give me that spark, that fire of excitement that makes me believe in other Spice Girls. However, the Angels, Tigers, Rangers, A’s follow and this might turn into a nice little run. Not the worst flier around.
J. A. Happ – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Happ, this is getting stupid. If you don’t know, he has now earned 45 Ks in five starts. Yes, he’s averaged 9 Ks per game for five straight starts. I wrote about the changes he’s made to do this – Spoiler Alert: elevated four-seamers – and there’s no stopping him. Hold tight, especially when other owners are going to scoff at it because of his name.
Ian Kennedy – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. You own Kennedy for strikeouts and you got six. Today was a good day.
Hector Santiago – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Hector, buddy, pal, we know you and your screwball are kinda whack. Let’s not kid ourselves.
Tyler Skaggs – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. I’m impressed with Skaggs here. Sure, the changeup he threw 14 of – 14! For a former two-pitch pitcher! – weren’t all that great, and he held a pedestrian 17% whiff rate on his curveball, but I still find it hard to be confident in Skaggs. The deuce is solid, but I just don’t see the supporting cast helping. I want to buy into this, I really do, I just feel this was more of a great day than a normal day.
Zach Wheeler – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Our Call Boy did some work against the Padres accruing 17 whiffs – 2nd highest of the day! – as he…started throwing a split-changeup. The pitch did decently well going 4-for-18 in whiffs and acting as a good mixup from his four-seamer that earned a near 19% whiff rate across 55 thrown. That’s dope. The Padres are known for allowing career games, though, so take it with a grain of salt, but I’m okay with starting him against the Rockies and seeing how he does. I think there may be something here if that split-changeup sticks. Sliders for strikes to pair with a good heater and a split-changeup for the final blow? That should work. Streaming Record: 17-9.
Trevor Cahill – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, I’ll totally take a PQS and sub 1.00 WHIP with 5 Ks from Cahill. All day every day. He has one more decent start up next vs. the Orioles then a pair of duds (Astros + Sawx). But Nick! This was the Astros! Can’t he do it again? That’s not a bet I want to take.
Gerrit Cole – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. 3 ER though? That just ain’t gonna cut it. Just kidding, you’re leaping over Carrasco and Greinke tomorrow. Oh, and of course you win another Gallows Pole at 22 whiffs. This is ridiculous.
Daniel Norris – 2.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Whoa, the man in the van got to stand on the sand and didn’t have a plan. Damn.
Rick Porcello – 7.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Yep, I’ll certainly take this from Porcello. He’s in a groove as strong as Funkytown. Fun fact: I freakin’ love Funkytown. It’s impossible to be upset listening to that song.
Jose Berrios – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. I watched this one intently and Berrios wasn’t locked in at all. Everything was plenty flatter than previous outings and the Reds took advantage, leading to the Twins not wanting to push Berrios as he left the third with 60 pitches. This is two straight clunkers, though his last came against the mighty Yankees. I don’t think this is the apocalypse and I’m holding.
Kenta Maeda – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. On one hand, I have an apple because I’m starving. On the other, I’m amazed I’m typing this fast with one hand. There’s been plenty of debate about what to do with Maeda and this start is as uncharacteristic as they come from the fella. 14 Whiffs with just 3 Ks? Four walks? But six frames! I’m thinking you stick around with Maeda as he’s definitely getting his innings with Rich Hill hitting the DL.
Bryan Mitchell – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Things are looking too big in the wrong places, inflating numbers across the board. Yes, this is the Mitchell Report. Seriously though, Mitchell’s command is atrocious and there’s no reason to expect any better.
Martin Perez – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Perez is like the gum on your shoe. You can understand at some point you may have wanted that gum, but man you hate looking at it right now.
Luke Weaver – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Just four called strikes across 22 curveballs was part of the problem, but in reality, Weaver was killing it until four straight baserunners in the sixth, all of whom scored. I’m not giving up here and buying low. I expect a lot of questions about picking up Weaver and I’m telling you now: Yes you want Weaver.
Josh Tomlin – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Well, yeah. It’s Tomlin.
Vince Velasquez – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. This one started off terribly with Ozzie Albies swatting a HR on the first pitch of the game, ended terribly, and had terrible stuff in the middle. In short, it was terrible, if you didn’t pick up on that. VV lives and dies with his heater and it just didn’t do the work he needed it to do today. While I don’t expect him to be this poor, his floor remains low given the lack of strong secondary options.
Jhoulys Chacin vs. Cincinnati Reds – The Reds are bad and there is nothing left to choose. I don’t expect Chacin to be good, which means he’ll be good…?
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Andrew Heaney vs. Baltimore Orioles – I adore what I saw against the Yankees and he has it in him to do it again.
Game of the Day