So there is a lot to say about prospect pitchers this week, and Friday night saw two more young guns take the stage for the first time. The one I liked the most was Michael Fulmer who went 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks against the Twins. I watched the whole thing and he looked amazing out of the gate, though he lost a bit of his pizzazz as his pitch count tallied up. His Changeup is his third pitch that has moments of being the perfect compliment to his Fastball, though it doesn’t have close to the polish of his Fastball/Slider. His Four-Seamer looked solid, with mature command on both sides of the plate. He mixed in a Two-Seamer effortlessly that has late life to miss bats. Slider is a plus pitch that will make him a constant strikeout threat. Really a great pitch that he trusts in all situations. It all comes down to the development of that third pitch. It’s imperative to have that extra option when facing batters a second time, and it’s what made me love Thor/Matz/Nola last year when they debuted (Berrios is generally there as well). It’s possible to get by without that good third option, but it certainly caps his ceiling and lowers his floor. It was told that this was a spot start for Fulmer, but if he does indeed stay up, I would be starting him against Cleveland next week.
Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:
Sean Manaea – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Manaea was the other guy to go last night, and he was similiar to Fulmer: His Changeup needs work with an excellent Slider. The main difference is his Fastball, which didn’t have close to the polish of Fulmer’s. Manaea is a slinger – he has a low arm slot and throws across his body – which makes me believe that it’s going to be a long time before Manaea develops consistent command of his heater. I can definitely see Manaea improving in future outings, but because of his control issues, he doesn’t hold the same upside to me as Fulmer or any of the Stud prospects. He’ll be in the Top 70 come Monday (maybe higher), though.
Adam Conley – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. While not a prospect pitcher like the others, Conley made one heck of an impression as our Call Boy last night. He was pulled after 116 pitches despite just four outs away from a no-hitter, which I will defend as the right move whether you like it or not. The goals of the Marlins aren’t to give a nice moment to a player – this is a business, and keeping him healthy outweighs the morale boost of a possible no-hitter. Remember, even if they left him in there was no guarantee he was going the distance. Anyway, I like Conley against weak teams and weak teams only. He doesn’t have overall great stuff, but his Fastball/Slider combo is enough to earn respectable lines against bad teams.
Juan Nicasio – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Man, the whippersnappers left their mark today. Nicasio is proving that he has the ability to take advantage when facing someone like the Reds, though I worry about his rough schedule ahead. Ahhh, I’m sure it felt good reading a short blurb instead of those essays above. You guys only have so much time!
Alex Wood – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Blame it on the Padres. Seriously. But here’s the thing. Wood is skipped next time out, then gets the Mets, Padres, and Reds. I might resist the Mets given the extended time off and their recent offensive explosion, but the Pads + Reds could be sneaky good starts.
Felix Hernandez – 7.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Felix is having one weird year. He has a lower whiff rate, batters are swinging out of the zone dramatically less, his BB/9 is near 5.00, and I’m selling ASAP.
Aaron Sanchez – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. The Sanchez ride continues, though this was the Rays he was playing.
Jon Lester – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace.
Drew Smyly – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. This was against the Jays. Have no fear with Smyly! But doesn’t he have an injury history? He does…he does…as an owner I would much rather ride this one out then selling while banking on an injury. I mean, if you can lock a Top 15 starter for Smyly, then go all for it. Does that make sense? I hope it made sense.
Aaron Blair – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Despite featuring excellent numbers in the minors, the schticky on Blair is that he doesn’t have the same kind of upside as the other cats coming up these days. I see him as a Toby and nothing more.
Tyler Chatwood – 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Chatwood has limited upside, pitches his home games at Coors Field, and doesn’t deserve a spot on your team. This should be the blurb for every Colorado starter.
Corey Kluber – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace.
Cesar Vargas – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I haven’t gotten a chance to look at Vargas yet (too many prospect pitchers!), though the numbers aren’t encouraging. His Fastball averages under 90 MPH, which is enough for me to write him off as a major impact guy. He gets Colorado, which gives me extra time like a kid with ADD taking his Algebra test.
Stephen Strasburg – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. How can we not love Stras these days? Aces gonna freakin’ ace.
Kris Medlen – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. The former Toby is still holding on to those older times, though I really don’t trust Medlen enough these days to re-hire him.
Mike Fiers – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Meh. It was against Oakland and he had some trouble early before settling in. This is actually a good start from Fiers, but the Ks are disappearing quickly, which is like removing Enter Sandman from The Black Album. It’s still a good album, but it’s losing its most redeeming quality. Come at me Metallica fans.
Masahiro Tanaka – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. If Tanaka wasn’t destined to hit the DL this year (moreso than Smyly), then he’d be Top 25.
Steven Matz – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhh that WHIP is tough to take and those Ks are lacking. I still love Matz and believe he will go on some stretches that will make y’all so dang happy to own him.
Mike Wright – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Nope. Nopenopenope.
Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeaaaah, you really don’t want to be starting Straily.
Henry Owens – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Owens hasn’t looked pretty in his first two outings, but I’ll be a little gentle as he faced the Stros and now the Yanks. Still, his upside in my mind is a Toby and he’s not there yet.
Colby Lewis – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher go seven innings without a walk or a strikeout. If he didn’t allow a HR to Soto in the second, he would have been the anti-Adam Dunn. First my sweet sixteen, now this? Why do you have to ruin everything Soto?
Adam Morgan – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Morgan can do this? Seriously?
Mike Leake – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeah, there’s a reason you’re not on The List.
Carlos Rodon – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. The O’s allowed him to collect 7 Ks. The O’s also allowed him to give up 4 ER. It’s good to see the walks low for Rodon, though I firmly believe we’ll be seeing starts like this all year. His SIERA is 3.67 and I don’t really see that changing all too much through the year.
Zach Davies – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Like Owens, he was formerly a highly valued prospect. No wonder There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect is a thing.
Hector Santiago – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Awwwww, I was starting to buy into the whole increased velocity thing, but it came down to earth yesterday as his velocity showed 2015 numbers. Looks like I have to bring you back down on The List.
Phil Hughes – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Remember when people thought he’d be Top 30? Oh boy…
Robbie Ray – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay okay, I will tuck away all “upside city” remarks for a long time.
Jake Peavy – 2.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. All Peavy has left is his name brand, which has less value than this shell I found on the beach yesterday. Guys GUYS! It’s got a reeallly cool spiral on it.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. Cleveland Indians – Yes he had a poor outing last time out. Don’t care, start Eickhoff.
Drew Pomeranz vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – I’m really excited for tomorrow because of this, but also because it’s ace day. That leaves few pitchers, and I assume Rich Hill is taken in your league, leaving The Dirty Cheerleader as your best option if you’re looking for one last push to win your week.