One of my favorite parts about writing these articles is when I get comments and tweets about granting my coveted Aces Gonna Ace label to pitchers previously outside the exclusive tier. It was a great moment finally giving the proper nod of approval to both Justin Verlander and Kyle Hendricks during the 2016 season and now I’ve seen requests to give it to my one-and-only love Jameson Taillon after tossing 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks against the Cubs. Keep in mind, Taillon has also faced the Red Sox this season where he also went seven innings deep of shutout baseball. If you’re expecting Taillon’s rite of passage to come today, I’m sorry to let you down. I would absolutely love to grant it (albeit, this was a 1.50 WHIP start…), but it is way too early to do that. Just three starts into the season and small sample size is still a major thing that we need to keep in mind. Now, am I incredibly pumped for Taillon? Oh heavens yes. That 96/97 heavy heater mixed with a huge hook and Changeup that has the movement we were looking for last year are going to help him coast through the season. Don’t worry about the seven walks thus far, those will come down as the season carries on. Get excited and I wouldn’t be shocked if Taillon gets invitation in the first half this year.
Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:
Ian Kennedy – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Like Santana, Kennedy is a guy I’m all for against weaker teams but will avoid against the Top 15 offenses. He had the Angels here, and killed it to where his entire body was horizontally stretched across his ceiling. It’s like gravity flipped and Kennedy is wording what on earth he’s doing next to the chandelier. Cause he definitely owns a chandelier.
Tyler Skaggs – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Now I don’t have the same confidence in Skaggs like a I do Kennedy, but let’s be real here. The Royals have been the best team to stream against this year, ranking essentially last in every batting metric you want. Don’t expect Skaggs to suddenly be the upside fella we’ve wanted him to be.
Bartolo Colon – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. The Giant Peach did his work against the Padres and he’s totally capable of doing it every so often – he showed value last year being in the NL Easy after all. Don’t bank on him being sturdy in the long haul, though.
Jon Lester – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Aces gonna ace. For the ERA/WHIP at least, because those Ks are Lacking like his teammate.
Hector Santiago – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Nothing says great baseball like a Sunday pitching duel between Hector Santiago and James Shields. Nothing.
James Shields – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. On the real, Santiago/Shields got to pitch against two of the easiest lineups around…which I’d say are Padres, Phillies, Braves, Royals, Athletics, Angels, Twins, White Sox, Reds, Rays, definitely not in that order.
Dan Straily – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Two days, two pitchers going at least five innings without a hit and their walk total pulls them out early. This is the first and only time I will ever utter Straily’s name in the same sentence as Sean Manaea.
Dylan Bundy – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Beautiful start against Toronto. Now he gets Boston. Because, no joke, Bundy starts 2017 pitching against the Jays, Sawx, Jays, Sawx. Talk about getting the short end of the stick. Now, the major thing to look out for with Bundy is if his velocity kept up through his games, and instead of dropping to sub 90mph this time around, Bundy was hanging above 91mph in the 6th inning. Not ideal, but a good sign after what he’s shown thus far.
Michael Pineda – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. You hear that sound? It’s the deafening roar of owners mouthing off to the rest of their league about how much they love Pineda and he’s going to carry them to ship. Kuhl story, bro, I think we all can agree that with all of Pineda’s struggles, he should have been well of The List if it weren’t for his ability to put up a start like this or his previous one with some sort of consistency. Now, he gets the Pirates next and I think he can do well there – imagine the tsunami after that! – but then it’s the O’s and Jays and that screams avoid to me. It’s going to be a tumultuous ride with Pineda, just pick your spots (Reds are somehow on the horizon…).
Taijuan Walker – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Well well well Taijuan, welcome to expressing your upside. Still a ways off from me believing it will show up again in the near future, kinda like the next Tool album, but a step in the right direction.
Carlos Carrasco – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Ugh, whatever, Tigers are good and Carrasco is still definitively Top 20 and is planted well at that #15 spot. Carry on.
Wily Peralta – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Not as bad as it could be from Peralta, but if you ran with this, 1 K is all kinds of lame. Still, Peralta has yet to blow up this year and hasn’t really for a while after a solid second half. I’m not adding him in 12-teamers, but I’m aware and somewhat curious.
Matthew Boyd – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Is Boyd developing into a sturdy 12 teamer asset? Ehhh not really. I know this was against the Indians but I don’t see him being that guy. So yes, I’m still Boyd Watching for the most part.
Gio Gonzalez – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. People have been super pumped about Gio so far, but I’m a little cautious. 89.6% LOB rate, 3.62 FIP, 3.92 SIERA, but I have to say that 24.6% soft contact and just 27.9% hard contact is nice so far. He’s back to throwing Four-Seamers again, so that GB rate is falling and will stay that way, while these three walks are a better indication of what Gio does than his 1 walk prior. Should be owned in most leagues but I’d hate depending on him often.
Matt Harvey – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Alright Harvey, I’ll take this from you. #VelocityWatch2017 had him slightly up to just about 95mph in this outing. Is it time to start believing? Maayyybbbe? I’m still not totally sold but he’ll get a bump today.
J.A. Happ – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. He left early with soreness in his throwing elbow. Yikes. I’ve been kinda hating on Happ this year and I don’t like winning by default. That seems like cheating. Here’s hoping the MRI comes back A-OK, though I wouldn’t hold my breath. I expect at least two starts missed from this.
Antonio Senzatela – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. So a 1.00 WHIP is solid, a 3.86 ERA is manageable, but the 3 Ks aren’t. I’m sticking to my guns here that Senz-A isn’t a guy I want to own in 12-teamers. I don’t think his secondary stuff is good enough for batters to not sit on his heater inside Coors, which is a super scary sentence to read.
Jeff Samardzija – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. There will be a blemish on about 85% of Samardzija’s starts. That isn’t the recipe for happy ownership.
Trevor Cahill – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. With a name like Cahill, you’d think he’d be like Rich but with more strikeouts. And if for some odd reason you actually believed that…it was super accurate today. Weird.
Jerad Eickhoff – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhh, it’s a QS but that 4.50 ERA and 1.50 WHIP are not good. Still, not terrible which is why you got Eickhoff, but he can be so much more. Okay a little more.
Drew Pomeranz – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Ten strikeouts in just 13 outs! Yeah, and 103 pitches in that time too. Ouch. I expected a bit better from Drew against the Rays
Cole Hamels – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Maybe, just maybe, Hamels didn’t deserve to be drafted as a Top 25 pitcher. There were hopes that he would get his Changeup back to where it was in previous years while lowering his walk rate. Unfortunately, thus far nothing has changed from last year: nearly identical 3.50 BB/9 and a Changeup that has actually hurt him thus far. I’m abandoning ship here.
Sal Romano – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Romano? Meh, I prefer Parmesan. Yes, that’s the best one I’ve got right now and yes you can judge me but on the real, this just a Cup of Schmo.
Rich Hill – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Another Hill start, another blister. This is getting stupid now. If you really need a spot on your team, dropping Hill isn’t the worst idea. The concept that Hill is going to return from this blister and then not have another injury of some kind is laughable.
Adam Wainwright – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. But Nick! Wainwright should be in the Top 70! Riiiiiiiiight.
Alex Cobb – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Cobb got the Red Sox and unless you were desperate in your league, this should not have been a moment where you put your faith in Cobb. I think I’m okay with his next start against Houston though.
Hisashi Iwakuma – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The fella just isn’t what he used to be. That’s okay, he’s owned in over 50% of leagues, which is downright silly, so don’t be one of those that treats him any more than a simple streamer. Hint: Texas is not a team to stream against.
Joe Musgrove vs. Los Angeles Angels – Loving this outing for Musgrove and while he hasn’t been the polished self I hoped for thus far, a start against the Angels can calibrate him quickly. Yesterday’s rainout means Charlie Morton gets this start instead, and I’m all for it – he was my streamer pick for Sunday, anyway.
Jordan Montgomery vs. Chicago White Sox – WHAT’S THIS? TWO STREAMERS?! Yeah, I’m doubling down today as Monty gets the White Sox. Don’t love him long term, but I think this can be beneficial if you need a hot start to the week.
Luis Severino vs. Chicago White Sox – There are actually a decent amount of options this week – Shelby Miller against the Padres is my favorite for deeper leagues – but Sevy seems like the best upside play considering his strikeout explosion against the Rays and the ChiSox being terrible.
Joe Musgrove vs. Los Angeles Angels – Pushed back one day from Monday, and I’m still loving this outing for Musgrove and while he hasn’t been the polished self I hoped for thus far, a start against the Angels can calibrate him quickly.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Robert Gsellman vs. Philadelphia Phillies – I’m rolling the dice here, but I think Gsellman’s stuff is too good to keep faltering. Now he gets a team not named the Marlins and I think he’ll do well. Certainly doesn’t deserve the sub 15% ownage rate right now.
Game of the Day
Jharel Cotton vs. Texas Rangers – He looked great against the Royals, now I want to see if he can continue the trend against a legit opponent.
Done with Rich Hill. Can’t take it anymore. Kennedy, Samardzija, Garrett, Santana all on the WW. Who ya got?
Hard to say no to Santana.
Thanks. Just was skeptical given the competition he’s faced, but he’s got the 3rd lowest ERA since July 1, kinda gotta believe in that
Yeah, I am too about Santana, but with the pool you have to ride his hot hand until he gives you reason not to.
Is Musgrove still getting two starts this week?
From what I’ve read, he’s starting tomorrow, which means he’ll also pitch on Sunday. Phew!
The Giant Peach is an excellent nickname
Nick – congrats on having the single best pitching resource in fantasy baseball. Hands down, it isn’t close. As a fellow pitching whisperer, I love the boys on the bump as much as anyone and generally am in lock-step with your rankings. What is great about your rankings is that they really seem to nail the balance of recent performance and longer-term expectations.
All that finally out, I’m hoping to get your thoughts on Ervin Santana. I checked the stats, and he’s been lights-out since his start before the ASB in 2016. Top 5 ERA type success. None of it seems overly luck related, as far as my amateur eyes can tell. He jumped 12 spots this week, but could you have secretly wanted him higher…much higher?
Ha, thanks Dean! I think that idea of gunning for upside over where they will actually end up at season’s end is something that often gets lost in the mix.
I outlined all my thoughts on Santana during yesterday’s SP Roundup here: http://pitcherlist.com/deserving-your-love/
Tl;DR he’s a guy who beats up on bad opponents and looks pretty mediocre against good teams. I don’t want to trust that a true Top 40 starter is here, but I’d like to ride him out as he has the hot hand.
Thanks so much Nick! Yea, I actually ended up reading your SP Roundup later than usual, and after I posted my comment. I like your analysis of his outlook a lot, and if I can use a bench spot to stream him I think I will.
These daily analyses and weekly updates are just crazy good. Adding the Hitters one was great. My 9 year old son watches the pitcher gifs over and over again, dreaming of being those guys. And, admittedly…I often do the same.
Thanks again man.