(Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire)
You may recall that I had a “Judgement Day” for Mike Minor back at the start of the season, saying that he’d become a solid 12-teamer arm by May 15th. Sadly I was off by about a month as after his 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks performance last night against the A’s, Minor has sported a 3.11 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 20% K rate, and 5% BB rate in 11 starts since June 16th. Now, there has been a fair amount of luck involved as the HOTEL gives us a .211 BABIP, 73% LOB rate, and 10% HR/FB rate, leading to a 3.69 FIP and 4.31 SIERA. Yikes. Still, there are some major, not insignificant, changes since the opening two months. First, fastball velocity is up a tick from 92.1mph to 93.1 mph, reverting the pitch from a -9.5 pVal to a 7.7 Pval in those games. Ridiculous. The pitch has amplified the effects of his changeup, a near money pitch at 36% O-Swing, 46% Zone rate, and 16.5% whiff rate, from a -4.4 pVal to 6.1. In short, he’s added velocity, improved his #2 pitch, and been more consistent getting strikes with his slider + curveball. I’m not buying that he’s a sub 3.50 ERA guy, but he’s turned into a Toby and that’s lovely. Consider him as a cheap option against the A’s, Angels, and Rays ahead.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Clay Buchholz – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. 30/86 CSW with 8 whiffs across 35 changeups/cutters. This is fine, but a bit underwhelming given that final stat line. Lots of balls in play from his heaters that went Bucky’s way and it’s hard to deny that he’s well overperforming at the moment. I still see a helpful pitcher at the end of that regression, but yeah, these starts are beautiful spikes, not comfortable plateaus.
Walker Buehler – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. And Buehler keeps on killing it. It’s weird to see a sub 10% overall whiff rate for the course of the season, but it’s a product of pounding the zone fast with a 64%+ F-Strike rate. He gets ahead and stays ahead and there’s no reason to doubt him.
Thomas Pannone – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Seeinging 0 ER and three baserunners may make you consider PanLess for your squad, unfortunately he’s a Cup of Schmo. It’s a sub 90mph heater and while his changeup is decent, I don’t think he’ll be able to get the double-digit whiffs with elevated “heaters” again when he doesn’t face the Orioles…and maybe if he does face the Orioles again. He isn’t the man you’re looking for.
Freddy Peralta – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. And this is why we still talk about Peralta. He’s as much of a Cherry Bomb as you’ll find, it’s up to you if you want to dance with the die or not.
Jack Flaherty – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. I’m super hesitant to give Flaherty the AGA label, but a guy with a 31% K rate, 1.05 WHIP, and sub 3.00 ERA in 115 frames sure feels like he deserves it, right? My only hesitation is the questionable third option and his youth that inherently makes me question his floor and sustainability. Regardless of that fear, it’s wonderful being a Flaeherty owner and here’s to a strong finish. Oh, right! 25 whiffs because he’s on fire, good for a Gallows Pole.
David Hess – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I know, he had a great start, but this will not end well. After all, for disappointment this year, the Hess Truck’s here!
Jon Lester – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Is Lester making changes to avoid #TheGreatRegressionOf2018?
Julio Teheran – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I’m digging Bryse Wilson and Touki Toussaint and it annoys me a little when Teheran does well among the fragile moments where he theoretically could get axed from the rotation in favor of them. I know, I know, it would take a good amount of crooked starts for that to actually happen, but a man can dream and get them quickly crushed like a soda can, can’t he?
Trevor Williams – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. And Trevor just keeps on going. He allowed a solo shot to Ronald Acuna to lead off his day, then bore down for 3 baserunners and 0 ER in six frames. He’s making this run with just 22 strikeouts in 42 innings and y’all know that’s not something I want to put stock in. Feel free to Vargas Rule it, I’m personally not taking my chances this deep in the year.
Jon Gray – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s not overwhelming with strikeouts, but I will definitely take Gray continuing to impress. I wonder where his draft stock will be next year, part of me feels I’ll be a little lower than most – Surprise! – as it’s a nice run in a small sample, with the concerns still a bit apparent. I’d be shocked if he concludes the year on the same high note.
Jake Junis – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Lots of sliders and a good amount of success with it. I just don’t trust his fastball or any other pitch in his repertoire enough to make me believe Junis can keep making this work. But hey, he was the Call Boy and it worked. Noice. Streaming Record: 78-40.
Casey Kelly – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I don’t trust people with two first names and despite earning 13 whiffs in 89 pitches, this is a Blame it on the Mets through and through.
Trevor Richards – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Nine ks! Against the Yankees! 32 CSW as he went over 30% changeups and that’s pretty dang cool. He got ahead of guys pumping fastballs that didn’t burn him and finished them off with low changeups and a pair of elevated heaters. There’s something here as a discount 12-team play in 2019, I just think he needs the rest of the year to develop a bit more consistency.
Carlos Rodon – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Rodon’s BABIP is ridiculous and you can’t expect him to keep producing like he is, but you shouldn’t be taking him out of his lineup either. It’s weird, I’d call this a Sell High in May, but a hold and play it out in late August. That’s what happens when the trade deadline passes.
Noah Syndergaard – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Good to see a 1.00 WHIP here and a K per inning, though you really wanted that super stud outing from Thor against the Giants, you know? I’m still happy n all, though. Duh.
Odrisamer Despaigne – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The sexiest name in baseball is still getting random starts for the Angels and was pretty dang blegh here. Well of course he is, the man isn’t a fantasy relevant starter.
Brian Johnson – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, go ahead and start Johnson. If you want your team to be shot down in flames. HA Ha ha…
Jacob Nix – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. After a 0.2 inning disaster, Nix showed a little more of what I expect. Kinda. I see a Toby with a hint of more, though we might not get that in full until next season. Not the worst NL-Only discount play.
Zach Eflin – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. A bit underwhelming from Eflin and I wonder if this will continue through to the end. Is he just a Toby now? I’d weigh my options in a 12-teamer and see if there is something else on the wire instead of blindly rolling with him.
Kyle Gibson – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. And Gibby struggles once again, this time against the ChiSox. 15/105 whiffs are cool, but his two-seamer got knocked around while making mistakes with changeups and sliders as well. Bad news here is that it only gets tougher: Indians up next. I’d sit him out for that, but return for the Rangers + Royals x2 + Tigers after.
Edwin Jackson – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Dang, does this mean we have to end production of our “I survived a night with EJax” shirts?
Francisco Liriano – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. That’s the Liriano we all know and hate. I’m amazed he still has a job, but it’s Detroit n all.
Robert Stephenson – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Too many walks, short starts, and a bad ERA. That’s the M.O. for Stephenson’s lack of consistent command and unless I see his slider kill it and return shorter at-bats with more strikeouts – I know that’s asking a lot – then I won’t consider this man hidden treasure.
Carlos Carrasco – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Lots of random 5 ER innings today, this time from Carrasco as he faced the Sawx. He couldn’t escape the fourth frame, with the fireworks starting with a Xander Bogaerts solo tate and Carrasco just couldn’t find a rhythm suddenly. It happens and don’t overthink this.
Lance Lynn – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. A tinge of Careful Icarus here as Lynn killed it for five frames before running into plenty of trouble in the sixth for all five runs. I’m loving his consistently good K/BB and there should be better times ahead, so keep rolling with Lance as he’s on a Lynning team.
Stephen Strasburg – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It was a DLH, but a teetering one that I can imagine people going with. Welp, 23/84 CSW without a single pitch earning more than 3 whiffs as he was incredibly hittable. Considering Strasburg had zero rehab starts, this shouldn’t be so surprising, but it makes you wonder if he’s safe to throw next time out. Will he get his groove back so soon or does he need more time? Your guess is as good as mine, I’m leaning to start him.
Charlie Morton – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces wanna ace. I’ve been skeptical of Morton given his injury history, not because I expected him to allow a 6 ER clunker. This sixth inning just didn’t go his way, turning a possible 2 ER Quality Start into a nightmare in a hurry. Just 7 whiffs overall is a bit shocking as he went full two-pitch pitcher, with two-seamers getting rocked for 90+ mph EV on nine balls in play. Yikes. Don’t bench him, and be happy he still gave you seven strikeouts.
Marco Gonzales – 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. The cutter still isn’t doing good things and a date with Houston exposed it once again. I’m finding it really hard to put any faith in Marco these days and if you’re still on the road searching for the silk among the cotton, I’d look elsewhere.
Matt Boyd vs. Chicago White Sox – I like his improved velocity + the ChiSox n all.
Touki Toussaint vs. Miami Marlins – It looks like he’s getting another start in the rotation against the Marlins, and count me in. This might not be sub 20% the day of, but it’s under 10% now in ESPN so jump on it. Reynaldo Lopez vs. Detroit Tigers. There’s zero confirmation on Touki so I’m axing that and sticking ReyLo here instead as there is nothing else. Seriously.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Lucas Giolito vs. Detroit Tigers – I know it sounds crazy, though there aren’t any other good options and Giolito hasn’t been so bad lately with better breaking ball command, and improved changeup, and increased velocity. I’m looking for a QS here and we might get it.
Game of the Day