(Photo by Samuel Stringer/Icon Sportswire)
Even though I felt like I already knew what to expect after a few spring training starts – one with an absurdly good camera angle! – I was consumed by today’s official Shohei Ohtani debut and curious how it would pan out. It panned out well: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks with the only blemish coming from a 3-run bomb off Matt Chapman’s bat. We saw 100mph heat with a splitter that fell off the table is hard to resist, while his slider had its moments but didn’t have the consistency I wanted. Still, 18 whiffs followed and he deserves a little more love on The List. Not much – I’m legit talking #28 over Bauer as Ohtani still has that massive injury question – but I want to make sure y’all know I’m not blind.
Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:
Jose Berrios – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Well hot damn this is beautiful as Berrios missed a Maddux by just 8 pitches, boasting a 107 pitch count for the day. His curveball was looking pretty, even getting whiffs on changeups to right-handers. This might sound surprising, but I’m not changing my feelings on Berrios much after this one – My biggest question is his consistency and one start isn’t enough yet – but man does it make me pumped to watch his next one. Please keep the momentum rolling.
Rich Hill – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, he’s healthy! And didn’t get pulled after five! Hopfeully he’s got 20 more in him.
Dillon Peters – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. After Caleb Smith made his case for the MFRMMSPA on Saturday, Peters showed up and the best he could. Which was great, just with only 2 strikeouts, making me feel like I got a solid ballpark hotdog without the extras it needs. I need a little more to enjoy this proper, you know? Don’t trust Peters moving forward, in case you were wondering. This is far from sustainable.
Trevor Williams – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 5 BBs, 1 Ks. So Williams was yesterday’s streamer, which rained out, then he became today’s backup Call Boy, returning another wonky no-hit outing with too many walks, ala the kinda Call Boy Kyle Gibson the day before. Anyway, don’t expect Williams to go all EJax moving forward and the fact he only missed two bats the entire game should give you concern. I don’t trust the ratios to make this worthwhile, and I’m benching against the Reds.
Gerrit Cole – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. Ha, of course he did. I’ve had to defend my relatively low ranking of Cole through the pre-season and even at #27, it’s about 5-10 slots lower than where most others are placing him. That’s fine, I obviously have a massively raised eyebrow after this one – so raised that it’s now part of my lovely non-receding hairline. It’s perfect, I swear. Biggest plus? He threw 27 sliders in 102 pitches (17.2% usage last year), while featuring plenty of elevated four-seamers (11 whiffs on fastballs in 53 thrown!), axing his sinker completely and granting him the Gallow’s Pole at 21 whiffs. This is all great. I want this to stick and it very well could be, though I wonder if that HR problem will stick around – 1 today and 1.37 per 9 in 2017 – while the strikeouts fall a bit moving forward…obviously. We’ll see, I’ll be ready to give him that jump in the ranks if he can continue this success through his next start.
Jacob Faria – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh, this wasn’t Faria’s best and while the moments where he flashed who I see him to be, he made some poor pitches and didn’t craft good at-bats constantly. This could have been worse and he’s lucky to have escaped with just 1 ER. Better times await though, I don’t see this as a freefall situation.
Michael Fulmer – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I mean, yeah he’s awesome and goes 8 frames on 90 pitches. How can I be mad about this? Well because he’s still pitching to contact and hasn’t turned that corner to combine his sequencing and ability to go deep into games with missing bats. I feel he’s almost there, but if it means we get these numbers instead, obviously I’ll keep my mouth shut.
Gio Gonzalez – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Last year, Gio was the talk of ERA vs. FIP, but out of the gate, he’s holding a 1.23 FIP to his 1.50 ERA. Early season numbers are always so fun, and please don’t expect him to suddenly repeat his 7.07 H/9 or move away from a 9%+ walk rate. You’re better than that, Gio isn’t though.
Sonny Gray – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. On one hand, Gray’s breaking stuff looked fantastic today, mixing his sliders and curveballs en route to 11 whiffs between em and 16 overall. On the other, he had a ton of deep counts and made some meh pitches to allow 10 baserunners and get himself pulled by the fourth. I think he’s closer to that upside than the faults in this one, so I’m a bit optimistic here.
Hector Velazquez – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. This is a One Night Bland as you shouldn’t put any stock in Hector. Sidenote, I wonder what his middle name is…I hope it’s not Ivan or Peter.
Luke Weaver – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. So this is fun. The biggest talk about Weaver over the off-season was “how is he going to keep up that 25%+ K rate without generating whiffs? Well, 3 strikeouts with 2 whiffs today against the Mets. Buuuuuut it was a 1.80 ERA. Double Buuuutt it was a 1.60 WHIP. If Weaver struggles to get the punchouts in the next few weeks, I’ll be forced to take him down a notch. Don’t do anything for now.
Trevor Bauer – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Weird to see 7 Ks and just 8 whiffs and I’m not in love with this. Kinda a neutral outing that won’t change things either way. I need a name for this (Do I have one?). A Glitch in the Matrix? A Tuesday? Throw whatever you’ve got at me in the comments.
Mike Leake – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Yeah sure, this works. I like Leake for QS leagues as I think the Mariners will let him go, and while you can’t depend on the Ks, Leake could be helpful if you’re searching for something somewhat dependable on the wire. Yes, he’s a Toby.
Mike Minor – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This was…okay. I wasn’t recommending Minor as the Astros are a solid bunch and I had no idea what Minor would show up, but he had impressive velocity around 93mph and decent secondary offerings. Not the polish I was hoping he’d have, but this was good. Keep holding for his next start against the Jays, this could work.
Chris Stratton – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Man, this was a sub 4.00 ERA and sub 1.00 WHIP until Stratton went into the sixth, pulled with a runner on, who obviously scored. Now it’s a 5.00+ ERA without the strikeouts to justify it and I can’t get my first dub yet. Still like Stratton as a Toby, though. Streaming Record 0-2.
Ryan Carpenter – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. We’re going to see a decent amount of rando names with Detroit this year and entertaining enough, a Carpenter has risen the ranks on Easter Sunday. Unfortunately, it’s a Cup of Schmo as he features an 89/90 mph fastball with a middling slider and decent changeup. Not something to chase.
Steven Matz – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Sorry Matz, I need more than 8 whiffs if I’m ever going to get jump aboard again. And, you know, not a terrible stat line. That would be nice, too.
Sal Romano – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. This is the Romano I remember from last year as his mechanics dictate an arm that is as wild as a turkey. Especially since it makes you want to booze after. There’s a chance he spins off a decent start with 6-7 Ks down the road, and this outing was against the Nationals, but there are better guys to chase.
Daniel Gossett – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 0 Ks. It’s a Gosse Egg alright as Daniel gave us a 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, and…0 Ks?! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FEED MY FAMILY WITH THIS? But let’s be real, he’s not a golden Gossett, you knew this and aren’t even touching him in your AL-Only league. More like a gold-painted 5 cent gift from your grandmother Gossett. But it has a bow! Your grandmother gave you gooses? And they came with bows? Your’s didn’t?!
Chad Kuhl – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Fortunately for me I have two thumbs so I can keep twidling them waiting for Kuhl to figure it out. One of these days…BANG! ZOOM! You’re going to the moon! Wait, that’s exactly what happened off Miggy’s bat. Got eeeeem. Seriously though, his slider is good enough and fastball is hard enough, but sadly he’s just a PEAS and probably forever will.
Marcus Stroman – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Good news: 15 Whiffs and 8 Ks as he had to deal with the Yankee offense. Bad news: That ERA is trash, walked three, and lasted just five frames. I hope that swing-and-miss stuff is here to stay, part of me thinks it will be an anomaly like hanging out with that really cool kid once in high school, but never actually making that true bond. That sounds really depressing. Says the person still living on my couch. Touché
Kevin Gausman – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Hooooo boy. It’s fun when we get excited about legit changes a pitcher makes through the end of the previous season and it’s completely gone by the time April arrives. I’m not saying Gausman is down and out – obviously not – and he could return to it as soon as next start, but if there’s anyone interesting on the wire, I’m making the swap.
Jose Quintana – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Uggggggh. This is an annoying one as like Gaus, Quintana did make some adjustments and I’m a believer that he can be a firm SP2 through the year. This stings like a bee singing Roxanne, which I kinda want to see now, even if it’s from Jerry Seinfeld. Especially if it’s from Jerry Seinfeld. Annnnyway, stick with Quintana, give him a TIARA and move on.
Reynaldo Lopez vs. Toronto Blue Jays – Lopez is better than you think and I can see him having a beautiful start that triggers a massive waiver wire parade. A sea of green as they call it.
Jake Junis vs. Detroit Tigers – I’m curious to see his new curveball, but even without it, Junis’ slider could do enough work to make this a beneficial outing.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Nick Pivetta vs. New York Mets – I thought suggesting Jake Odorrizi would work, but he’s owned in a ton of leagues now (and so is Sean Manaea), so I’m stuck with Pivetta. I don’t love his overall approach, but he has solid breaking balls that can make this work.
Game of the Day
Jameson Taillon vs. Lance Lynn – I’m excited to watch plenty of arms today, Mike Clevinger, Jordan Montgomery, Matt Harvey, and Miles Mikolas to name a few, but I’m really curious to see where Taillon is at these days. Is he still primarly two-pitch with two-seamers and curveballs or will he move toward integrating a two-seam gripped circle-changeup into the mix?