(Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)
Fantasy baseball is all about the hype. The fun when you see a guy perform to his best ability when you know he has it inside himself. You have your guys and you just want them to do their best. Entering 2018, I saw Luis Castillo as a budding star, ready to showcase his 97mph heaters, unreal changeup, and solid slider paired with fantastic command on both sides of the plates. However, 2018 has had different plans and after last night’s 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks line against the Cardinals, I’m forced to take a step back and firmly reassess what to expect. After a promising outing against the Brewers, Castillo’s velocity dipped once again, this time to just 94.1 on his two-seamer. His command itself wasn’t so detrimental, but being unable to blow pitches by batters confidently is a major concern and a huge part of what made him successful in 2017. I have to question if there is some injury involved and I have no choice but to drop Castillo significantly today. A DL stint may be a good thing – it would at least be an explanation for his struggles – but for now, we have to sit-and-wait. I wouldn’t flat out drop as I can see the velocity ramping up over time, but he’s far from the auto-start he used to be. Bummer.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Johnny Cueto – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Is Cueto back? Like back back to the point of sounding like Chris Berman? The good news is his changeup is moving just like the old days and missing bats once again. The bad news is that I have little faith in his health. Still, I feel like that with about 25% of starters and if you own Cueto, you may as way hold with this one. He’s currently at #46 and will get more love as he’s produced two great starts back from the DL – probably around the mid-30s – but if you’re getting legit value back from someone that thinks he can be a Top 20-25 arm the rest of the way, you take that and run. There’s still too much haze hanging over him. Maybe that’s because of Friday. No, definitely not.
Junior Guerra – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Well look at that, one of the two shutout performances came from our Call Boy as Guerra produced across the board in five frames. Sadly, he gets the Cubs next and I have no faith in that one, so it’s back to the wire but that’s what the salmon life is all about – riding the stream. Streaming Record: 14-7.
Reynaldo Lopez – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. I benched Lopez against the Astros and he returned a pretty meh outing, giving us some help only in the ER department while a 1.60 WHIP and just 2 Ks do more harm than good. That’s fine, I still love the kid and see great things ahead against the Royals, Twins, and Pirates. Let’s do this.
Lance McCullers – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. McCullers got Singled Out, giving you a 1.50 WHIP and…three strikeouts? Seriously? Isn’t that the only reason I have you on my team? I guess we have to brush this off like eraser dust and do it all over again.
Daniel Mengden – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I know I know, Ben Palmer had a great piece out about Mengden on Saturday and you’re inclined to believe in this. I’m not saying don’t – Vargas Rule this all you want – but I for one am not confident against the Astros next time and after a possible blegh outing, will you want to start him against the O’s? Maybe? I think save the pickup now and see how the chips fall after the Astros start.
Miles Mikolas – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Are you a Mikolas believer now? Sure, this was the Reds, but he was pumping 94 up to 97 paired with a curveball he confidently threw for strikes – 10 of 19 were called strikes! – and a slider piece to keep hitters off-balance. He’ll be inside the Top 50 on The List and I don’t think he’s going to leave it through the season.
Luis Severino – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He cruised through this one and only had a pair of strikeouts in his final five frames. Dude is dope.
Yonny Chirinos – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Look at Yonny, rebounding against the Twins after he Monday start decimated your weeks. While he officially has the #4 SP spot on the Rays, he’s still getting capped pitch count wise, accruing just 83 in this one. He’s not worth your time in QS leagues and worth a pass everywhere this week as he faces the Sawx. I’m cool with the Jays, O’s, and Royals after, though.
Patrick Corbin – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. This is getting stupid and it’s hard not to love it. He’s faced some easy opponents – Padres here – but it’s a 39.3% K rate and just 4.9% BB rate thus far – good for a 1.87 SIERA – boasting an 18.1% whiff rate and 53.7% GB rate. Just a 4.32 H/9 and that’s dumb. His slider’s whiff rate (32.3%) is higher than its zone rate (29.0%). I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. These next few weeks are the true litmus test, though, as he faces tough offenses in the Nationals, Dodgers twice, and Brewers. My gut says you’ll want to buy when he stumbles then and hold through it if you own him, and I think we can truly assess his talent when the gauntlet is over. And yes, those 19 whiffs earned yet another Gallows Pole.
Phil Hughes – 3.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Hey, Hughes is back! Hey, you don’t care! Good. I’m glad you don’t care.
Caleb Smith – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. This is a fun one. No, I would not have told anyone to start Smith here. Yes, I’ve been saying something like this could happen, while I realize that has absolutely zero value whatsoever. Sorry. It’s interesting to see Smith actually showcase that ceiling for once, though, especially when he earned 30 Called Strikes + Whiffs on just 76 pitches. That’s lovely. He’s way too volatile for you to go after this, but if you’re in a deep league and have nothing to lose it’s possible he turned a massive corner with locating his heater – 20 CS + W on 44 thrown! – but for 12-14 teamers, I’m not taking the chance.
Martin Perez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, whatever Perez. Enjoy your throne in the town of Whocaresville.
Nick Pivetta – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Over 30% breakings balls as Pivetta earned a 29% whiff with them. That’s the Pivetta we know and love. He’s moving up plenty today, even with the Braves and Nationals ahead.
Trevor Williams – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 7 Ks. You probably want me to endorse Williams, but everything screams trap. 12.9% walk rate. 5.18 SIERA. .228 BABIP, 82.8% LOB rate, 6.3% whiff rate, it’s all signs of a guy that is a TEEs. AHA! I haven’t been able to use that one yet this year, thanks Trevor.
Alex Wood – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m pretty impressed that Wood is able to still be productive without the velocity – 89.3mph in this one. I do feel it’s a ticking time bomb, though.
Jeremy Hellickson – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. At least I don’t have to call him The Devil anymore because y’all know that he isn’t worth the add…right? Please tell me you know that.
Corey Kluber – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Kinda. Not really. Well a great WHIP and a QS but the ERA is meh and just 4 Ks from Kluber against the O’s is weird. I actually saw some of this and his breaking stuff didn’t have the same pizzaz as we’ve seen in the past. The jazz hands equivalent of filth. And he still didn’t kill your ratios. Atta boy Kluber.
Francisco Liriano – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Liriano has been so as absolutely horrible as expected, but those walks are creeping in like a toxic gas after you swore you used enough duct tape. There’s never enough duct tape.
Andrew Cashner – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Nothing like 7 Ks on 6 whiffs. That’s sustainable alright.
Jaime Garcia – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Well yeah, what did you expect?
Joey Lucchesi – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. It was bound to happen as Lucchesi became a Fugehzi, serving up a longball to Nick Ahmed and even allowing Patrick Corbin to lace an RBI single. His Churve – yes I’m doing it – floated in the zone a little and his command wasn’t as solid as previous outings. Without that third pitch to help when the others aren’t working, he is prone to this, especially the 2nd and 3rd times through the lineup. I still want to own him and see if works out moving forward, but this should bring him back down to Earth a bit.
David Price – 7.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. The true definition of Careful Icarus as Price returned not only a beautiful six frames, but even a clean seventh on top, then was just one out away of getting out of a double single (one infield!) before allowing a Khris Davis bomb. It was a 7 frame, 5 K, 1 BB, 1 ER, 6 Hit game before this. He’s still dope, y’all.
Jose Quintana – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. This was Coors. Coors does things. You benched him anyway – it was an easy one! – and now we get to make the tough choice. His next three starts are against Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Miami. This could be where he turns the corner, I think we still need to wait for that one start where he showcases higher than a 91mph heater consistently. Not saying it won’t happen, just wait one more start.
Eric Skoglund – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Not that you had him rostered but Eric is now someone I used to Sko. That’s the best you’ve got? It gets tough trying to tell you this guy isn’t worth your time every evening he starts.
Erasmo Ramirez – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. This is why you don’t start Erasmo to chase his middling 5.1 IP 1 ER starts. It’s just not worth it.
German Marquez – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. What is a German? A miserable pile of secrets! Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s no secret that Marquez shouldn’t be owned. I have no idea what you’re doing. Just recognize it’s a reference and nod your head in understanding. Done.
Trevor Cahill vs. Texas Rangers – It’s not the ideal matchup, but Cahill looked solid in his firsts start back and he could rack up the strikeouts again.
CC Sabathia vs. Minnesota Twins – I’d like to hold off on Triggs for one start, I don’t trust Boyd, and Davies is owned in over 20% of leagues. Let’s do this again CC.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Matt Wisler vs. Cincinnati Reds – The Reds aren’t scaring anyone and Wisler could return another positive performance.
Game of the Day
Walker Buehler vs. Miami Marlins – I’m super tempted to give this the GIF Breakdown treatment as Buehler makes his 2018 debut. We’ll see…