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McCullers Me Impressed

A redditor alerted me during yesterday’s AMA to the fact that I’ve been sorely underestimating the Angels offense, as they have been ultra hot over the last 30 days –...

A redditor alerted me during yesterday’s AMA to the fact that I’ve been sorely underestimating the Angels offense, as they have been ultra hot over the last 30 days – 2nd in wOBA and dead last in strikeout rate by a large margin – but it looks like Lance McCullers didn’t get the memo as he went 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. Now there is a ton of hype surrounding Lance now, with this great Eno Sarris article as well as reports of his spin rate being off the charts and I’d take this chance to sell high on the kid. Sounds crazy, right? Well, he’s really bad at limiting his walks and y’all know how much that can destroy a pitcher with great upside (read: Francisco Liriano). I love getting excited about upside as much as the next guy – maybe even more, it’s the most fun part of the game, really – but I can’t sit here and ignore his 5.37 BB/9 and 3.88 SIERA. Don’t sell him for peanuts of course as that wouldn’t be selling high. Put out some feelers and see what happens.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Zach Eflin – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Our Call Boy was brilliant as I’m now in bed still dreaming about it. Just one pitch away from a Maddux as he hurled an even 100 pitches against the Pirates and it’s hard not to be a fan at this point. Well, don’t get carried away because he is still an above average streamer and not a guy you want to roll with errr day. Sure, his numbers after that horrid debut against the Blue Jays are excellent: 2.08 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 0.94 BB/9, and 27.6% hard contact, but he struggles to fan batters (just a 4.53 K/9) and his FIP/xFIP/SIERA aren’t much on his side (3.33/4.57/4.73) as he holds a .221 BABIP and 5.1% HR/FB rate in that span. I’m not saying he’s a TEEs and you should avoid him completely. I think he has the upside to strikeout more batters and be a decent ERA guy overall. What I’m saying is that he’s not someone you want to roster for long periods of time. Just look at his future schedule and pick your spots. He gets the Marlins next, so hang around for that, but I’d be avoiding his date with the Giants thereafter.

Kyle Gibson – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Wanna know something interesting? Gibson has a 3.03 ERA (3.29 FIP, 3.53 xFIP) with a 7.99 K/9 and 2.20 BB/9 across his last five starts. Those starts include Texas twice, the red hot Indians, and the Sawx last night. Do I buy it? Ehhhh not really. He’s not doing anything all that differently, though I am impressed that he earned a strikeout with each of his four pitches last night. I think he’s simply commanding really well right now, but he doesn’t have the stuff to still be productive when his command isn’t spectacular in a given night. It’s a hot streak alright, but not one I’d invest in as he gets the O’s next.

Sean Manaea – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Man, so many pitchers that I feel the need to go in depth on today. Has Manaea figured it out? A 3.00 ERA, 8.44 K/9 over his last seven starts with just a 1.88 BB/9 – easily his biggest concern – as he hasn’t walked a batter in three starts. He’s had to face the Giants, Rangers, and Blue Jays in this seven game stretch so it’s not just him owning poor squads.  The biggest change I see is that he’s getting more swings on his Slider, which has taken a backseat to his Changeup. We’re talking the same jump that Rodon had earlier from around 33% to 52% swings on Sliders. That’s a big boost that is helping tremendously with his walk rate. Do I see this is as a must add? Not really, but I think there are worse fliers out there take. I’d consider picking him up for Texas + Angels next if I needed help, but there is still some caution here. No your situation and play to your needs.

Jake Odorizzi – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I still don’t like Odorizzi, and I’m going to say Blame it on the A’s. I’m sorry, but I just don’t trust a renaissance is coming. This ain’t 15th century Italy. 

Gerrit Cole – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s the King of Really Good jumping on the bed and hitting his ceiling. Thing is, Cole really doesn’t like that pain so he doesn’t do it as often as he should.

James Paxton – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. I love this and hate this at the same time. I absolutely adore Paxton’s stuff but his schedule has been horrific and he had four super tough games ahead of him, starting with Toronto last night. So I sucked up my love and told y’all to look elsewhere since it would in all likelihood be a rough patch for the kid. NOPE.  The fella killed it and I just don’t know what to do with myself. Okay, fine I do. I still wouldn’t throw him out there against the Cubs next time out and if you’re upset that you benched him, be happy that you own a guy whose stock went up. Yay…

Jon Gray – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Mr. Gray got the Braves again and did his thing. While it’s hard to find a reason to be upset here, I am a little because it means that I’ll have to deal with more Jon Gray is underrated! discussions since they’ll group in stats with these past two outings against the Braves. Gray is a solid starter for average opponents on the road and bottom tier at home. I will not trust him in other situations and because I do my due diligence with ya’ll, here’s his projected schedule rest of the way: @BAL/LAD/MIA/@PHI/WSH/@MIL/LAD/ARI/@SDP/@ARI/STL/@LAD/MIL. So that’s five definite benches, five definite starts, and three questionable outings (hosting LAD x2 + away at Arizona). That looks like an above average streamer, not someone that I am proud to own.

Masahiro Tanaka – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I wanna give him the AGA – this is his 14th of 20 starts with 2 ER or fewer after all – but he doesn’t have that strikeout upside to warrant the title unfortunately. If Cole is the King of Really Good, Tanaka is the…Queen? I swear it’ll be the only time I call him a Queen.

Brandon McCarthy – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. McCarthy keeps on rolling, tough opponents be damned! Don’t you dare be hating on McCarthy right now.

Danny Duffy – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Would you look at that. Velocity is back up from 94.07 to 95.41. Well I’ll be damned. There is obviously some worry that it’ll fall back down again and this becomes a dumb Hector Santiago ordeal, but I’ll be the first to tell you right now that I’m surprised it jumped up again after last week’s game. You can hold now if you were still thinking of selling, and if you sold, take solace in the fact that it could drop again soon. Those are the dice we roll!

Luis Perdomo – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Still don’t trust you Perdomo even with all your strength.

Dylan Bundy – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhh the Fastball command still needs work (8/20 FPS) as he grew to 87 pitches in five innings. I’m not sold yet.

Matt Shoemaker – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I’ll certainly take this from Shoe who is becoming one of the more stable pitchers out there past the Top 15.

Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Oh come on Straily, don’t be playing these games with people again.

Madison Bumgarner – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Come on, three walks and 10 baserunners against the Yankees? You sure don’t want that #1 spot now that Kershaw might be done for the season. Let’s collectively hold hands and whisper sweet nothings to the baseball gods to prevent that from happening.

Yu Darvish – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Hot damn that is gorgeous. I won’t give him the aces gonna ace until I see multiple dominance starts from Darvish. Sorry bub.

Julio Teheran – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He was removed with “lat tightness” and is listed as day-to-day. I don’t expect this to be D2D, I think this is 2 Da DL. No reason for the Braves to push Teheran and I’d doubt they’re thrilled given the chance of them dealing him at the deadline. They still have the whole offseason to do that, though. Maybe they can get a second Dansby Swanson?

Eduardo Rodriguez – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Oh man, is this the EDU I expected to see at the start of the season? He’s finally using his Slider more – over 30% of his pitches last night! – and it resulted in a 10%+ whiff rate and an even more effective Changeup due to less reliance during at-bats. Yeah it was the Twins, and I’m hesitant to roll with him for the Tigers + Mariners in his next two starts, but I am certainly watching with sharpened intensity.

Adam Conley – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Decent if you ran with him given it was against the Mets. I’d like more Ks, but I’m be happy it was pretty serviceable.

Logan Verrett – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Not a fan of Verrett even with his starts inside the NL Easy.

Jason Hammel – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. The second half is upon us…I’d be selling Hammel. No joke, he may be the only guy that I put stock into the 1st half vs. 2nd half arguments. Him and maybe Kazmir. Maybe. Okay fine, it’s possible Hammel’s previous second halves can be explained by a move to Oakland, which was away from his family, and last year’s mystery injury situation. I’m still selling Hammel if there’s someone who’s pumped for him.

Marco Estrada – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Not the worst return from the DL as it’s a QS and just a 3.00 ERA, but those Ks and meh 1.40 WHIP are questionable.

Jimmy Nelson – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I see Nelson as a decent arm only against weak teams. The Cubs aren’t a weak team.

Michael Wacha – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I’ll be dropping Wacha a little farther on Monday. It’s getting so bleghy it hurts.

Archie Bradley – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. This is why Bradley is annoying. Five walks against the stupid Reds. Blegh.

Tanner Roark – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh come on Roark, you’re so much better than this against the Padres. Sure, the longball got to him, but jeez this is so annoying. You’re like the super rich kid who is rolling with the wrong crowd and throwing it all away as his parents wonder what they did wrong. WHAT DID WE DO WRONG TANNER?

Michael Fulmer – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Jeez, another young fella doing things that makes me wanna talk a lot about him. Well, I’ll keep this one short. Fulmer was doing Fulmer things until the fifth when he allowed an RBI double, then a 3-run HR. I’m still on the sell train for Fulmer, but this start might scare away owners. I’d most likely bet on him having one more good start in him against the…Sawx? Nah I take that back. Sell sell sell.

Jacob Turner – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. The only reason I think about Jacob is because I confuse him with Justin. Thanks for that, Jacob.

Trevor Bauer – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, that was a super fun ride we had in June. I got wet, you got wet, we laughed, the water hid our cries, IT WAS GLORIOUS.

Today’s Streamers

Robbie Ray vs Cincinnati Reds – There are a lot of lame streaming options today, so I’ll go with the highest upside guy in Ray, who could easily hit at least 7 Ks against the weak Reds. Also, it looks like Tyler Glasnow has gotten the nod to start on Saturday against the Phillies. Not a bad stream at all, though there is a little risk involved given his command. It’s a little safer than Ray’s outing, though I see limited upside given the two-pitch approach and command questions.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Blake Snell vs. Oakland Athletics – Didn’t think I could call him a streamer, but he’s seemed to have been dropped a ton as he gets the A’s in massive O.Co. Sign me up! I’d also consider Lucas Giolito as he gets the Padres, though Snell is a much safer matchup, and to round off the prospect pitchers there’s Jameson Taillon against the Phils, which is an obvious start and he’s not really a streamer but I love talking about PPs. Which sounds bad if you read it aloud but please trust that it stands for Prospect Pitchers. Please.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer 

Jake Peavy vs. Cincinnati Reds There is pretty much no one I want to start on Monday, so we’re going with Peavy since he gets the Reds and has had some success that could be repeated. Congrats Jake, hope you feel special.

Game of the Day

Jose Fernandez vs. Jacob DeGromDuh.

Nick Pollack

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

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