(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
I often say that I’ll be the first to tell you I was wrong on someone. Guys, I was wrong on Rick Porcello who went 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks against the Yankees tonight. What’s important is to figure out why I was wrong, and the answer is pretty clear to me. His slider has been his best offering over the last three seasons and he upped its usage above 30% tonight after featuring it under 20% last season. Meanwhile, he earned 30% called strikes with his two-seamer and even found himself getting comfortable with his changeup. That curveball he favored last year? Yeah, axed to single digit usage rates as he went through this arsenal audit. It’s working now – Porcello was as locked in as I’ve ever seen him – and it’s hard to think he can’t be productive in a 12-teamer. Not Top 50 again, but I didn’t even include him in the Top 100 as I just didn’t see a path to success again after such a terrible 2017. Good on you Porcello, you’re not going to be this good, but you’ll help.
Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:
Jose Berrios – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 11 Ks. It’s a Gallows Pole, albeit it with a relatively low 17 whiff count, but that’s not what really matters. Berrios killed it tonight earning 11 whiffs on 37 curveballs, even if he went 0-for-11 with his change piece. It does worry me a little that his changeup isn’t being that masterful pitch just yet, but when 2 of his 3 outings are this studly, does it really matter?
Chris Stratton – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. After a pair of disappointments to begin the year, Stratton was picked as my Call Boy and showed up to work ready to get it done. I watched a decent amount of this and didn’t see anything all too impressive overall, unfortunately, meaning he’s just going to be the occasional streamer and not occupy a roster spot in my 12 teamer. But that’s okay, way to be Stratton. Streaming Record: 8-4.
Nick Tropeano – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Well this is interesting. I was disappointed entering last season that Tropeano went down with TJS, but he returned for his first start since 2016 tonight and killed it. Two-Seamer had good movement, he was feeling his slide piece, and had some good changeups as well. He avoided the middle of the plate often and forced the Royals to get frustrated enough to swing at tough pitches. Definitely worth a look at the backend of your staff and I’m ashamed I didn’t realize he was returning so soon. He could be a solid Toby through the year – think of 2016 Jerad Eickhoff
Chad Bettis – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Before you shout his 2.04 in my face like a coach upset at a ref, let me direct you to his 6.11 K/9, 4.08 BB/9 and 4.69 FIP through 17.2 frames. Don’t be a fool, avoid the Kuhl. This is Bettis Yeah but that doesn’t rhyme. Can’t argue with that.
Ian Kennedy – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. There’s something enjoyable about a pitcher allowing his only ER via longballs before they record an out. But let’s get real Kennedy, you’re being considered because of strikeout upside and all you could muster were three whiffs? Seriously? How am I supposed to have faith in you now? Don’t let the 1 ER fool you, he didn’t get a Win, had just 3 Ks, and a 1.50 WHIP. Not as pretty as it looks.
Trevor Williams – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Good to see Trevor reverse the K/BB numbers, but with just five whiffs to his name, he’s prime for plenty of Grave Mistakes and that puts him in the bad place.
Trevor Bauer – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Bauer is dope and you should feel dope for owning Sir Dopeness. 38/105 curveballs makes me so happy.
Gio Gonzalez – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Yep, this is a Gio line alright. Good amount of strikeouts, but enough question in the ratios that you feel slightly dirty about it. Not Dusty Donut dirty, but a little uncomfortable like sitting on a sleeve of the sweatshirt wrapped around your waist. Or maybe uncomfortable like the people who don’t know if they should be hanging out with a guy who still wraps sweatshirts around his waist. Both work.
Kyle Hendricks – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. I’ll totally take this as a Hendricks owner, 1.33 WHIP be damned. You’ll enjoy your 3.00 ERA + 7 Ks and have a wonderful evening. Maybe even rewatch Ken Burns’ Baseball, you’ve earned it.
Lucas Giolito – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. His velocity was even worse today at 90.7mph, while he threw just seven curveballs. This is not the Giolito I was promised and I see no reason to keep holding him if you still have him.
Bryan Mitchell – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Sometimes pitcher make it easy for me to tell you completely avoid them. It would be remiss to ignore the fact that Mitchell has great movement on his pitches but zero command of it all. If it somehow clicks (which is an “if” that is so often used and rarely understood to be as massive as it is) Mitchell would be fantasy relevant. But there’s zero reason for you to invest in that.
Sal Romano – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. There’s the Romano I know and hate.
Michael Wacha – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s about time you asked yourself a question. “Why do I own Wacha?” If Minor/Lopez/Junis etc. are on the wire, don’t wait any longer.
Michael Fulmer – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. I know this is the tipping point for many of you. I don’t blame you and I’m going to have to do some heavy thinking for The List on Monday. Should Fulmer be behind Corbin? Maybe? It blows my mind that I’m considering that but as I’ve said before, I’m an emotional man, not a blind man. I can see that Fulmer isn’t getting it done in the strikeout department and it’s getting harder to keep believing it will come around. Nick, we’re upset about the 6 ER and 3.67 WHIP It’s the same thing. Getting just 2 whiffs means Fulmer relies heavily on batted balls, making him susceptible to something like this – 2 HRs n all. I still want to believe in the skill set, but I need to properly weight the upside vs. the current value and that’ll take a moment. My instinct tells me he’ll sit around 35-40 on Monday.
Sonny Gray – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Hooooo boy. Gray has had a tough go of it out of the gate, holding a 6.92 ERA with a 4.85 BB/9 through 13.0 IP. But here’s the thing – it comes with a .409 BABIP and 61.5% LOB rate, good for a 2.59 FIP. Trust me, I know FIP is far from everything, but I’m sure there are some of you that are teetering on the edge and I’m doing what I can to pull you back to safety. Sure, Gray probably won’t be Top 20 this season, but don’t rule out Top 30 status just yet. Stay with this, better days are surely ahead, and I won’t blame you if you want to wait until you see the solid outing from Gray before trusting him. Personally, I think you’re okay start him next time out against the Marlins.
Tyson Ross vs. San Francisco Giants – I would ideally wait another start or two before putting any faith in Ross, but with Reynaldo Lopez now owned in over 25% of leagues I don’t feel right picking him. I could go with Chad Kuhl against the fish, but he’s inconsistent and I’m feeling good about Ross for whatever reason. Update: It looks like Andrew Triggs is going against the Seattle Mariners today instead of tomorrow and he’s my favorite option of the lot. He’s still owned in under 15% of leagues and I’ll take my chances against the Mariners.
Andrew Triggs vs. Seattle Mariners – He’s still owned in under 15% of leagues and I’ll take my chances against the Mariners. Nope, Triggs is now going Friday instead, which means I’ll go Mike Minor against the Astros instead. I hate the matchup, but I’m getting the feeling Minor will succeed here and suddenly not be a streaming option for the rest of the season as he’s massively snagged in leagues.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Joey Lucchesi vs. San Francisco Giants – I don’t love him like many others do, but he’s the best option for the day as the Giants don’t scare me.
Game of the Day
Jordan Montgomery vs. Detroit Tigers – This is a big start for my assessment of The Bear. If he can’t pull it together here – especially with his breaking stuff – I’ll have to reassess for Monday.