Before we begin: a quick note about Tyler Glasnow. Last week, I had him fairly low in the list. I quoted Clint Hurdle who pretty much implied that there was no way, shape, or form he was going to be up until he started correcting his command issues. Well, I guess Glasnow heard him because in his one start before getting called up this was his line: 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. This was the best start Glasnow has had in weeks and a top three start all season and I believe directly led to him getting the call to the Bigs. Whether that call was right or not is up for debate – he went 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 H, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – but I personally think they could’ve let him get a few more starts under his belt. Either way, considering he’s been optioned, he’ll be back on the list next week.
1. Jose Berrios (Minnesota Twins) – Let’s get one thing out of the way before we look at the two starts that Berrios made this week (if you listened to the podcast, you already know about this). Jose Berrios has absolutely been on fire in the month of July. Before last night’s start, he’s surrendered only 2 ER in his last 30 IP and his BAA is .180. Two start the week he pitched what I call a minor league Maddox which is a Maddox like performance but with an ER: 9 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. In my mind, that start alone guarantees that he’ll be back up after the break. His start last night wasn’t as exceptional but it was still fairly good: 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 H, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I will say this though Berrios’ groundball to flyout ratio was 9 – 1 and a crucial error prevented him from getting out of an inning (while three were earned, he gave up 6 runs). It’s not really the ER that concerns me though, he still has given up 5 in 35.2 IP, it’s the walks. Before this Berrios hadn’t walked 3 in four starts which I thought indicated that he was trending in the right direction. The 5 K’s are also his lowest in five starts. Berrios’ consistency through the month gives me hope that this is a small blip. Barring a string of subpar starts, I expect him to be up soon after the All-Star Break.
2. Joe Musgrove (Houston Astros) – I ragged on Musgrove a few weeks ago because his K’s were taking a dip, but now that they’re back to where they should be, I see no reason why you shouldn’t take some stock in him. His K/BB rate continues to get better and better with each start as his most recent is an example of: 5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. He’s now thrown 45 IP over 8 starts in AAA. As is sort of to be expected in the PCL he’s giving up his share of runs – his ERA is a less than stellar 4.60 – but he’s only walked 6 batters and has struck out 41 for a 6.83 ratio. Here’s the thing about Musgrove though, I do think he will have success but I want to temper expectations. His ceiling isn’t top of the rotation, a fact that his ERA support, and though I am the first to preach that command translates from minors to majors, that doesn’t mean his stuff is blow you away, it’s not. With that said, he can have a positive impact on your fantasy team and I think he can be a very solid middle of the rotation guy.
3. Jose De Leon (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Box scores are a perfect way to encapsulate performance but rarely do they reveal nuance. De Leon’s most recent outing is the perfect example: 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. So to me the first thing that jumps out is the Ks and while the ER are discouraging, we’re still looking at a quality start. What’s important to know is that the 2 ER came off the bat of Orlando Arcia – one of the Twins top prospects – whose two-run tater was the one blip on the radar in the performance. Another crucial thing the line leaves out is pitch count, which I think is the most important thing to take away from the outing. De Leon threw 97 pitches through 6.1 which doesn’t necessarily scream efficiency but is a good thing to see if you have stock in him. Shows that the Dodgers are continuing to let him loose with each start and he’s rewarding them by showing just how much K upside he has. Now that Urias is down, I see De Leon coming up at some point later in the second half.
4. Alex Reyes (St. Louis Cardinals) – Reyes is going to get the call this year barring any major setback but before he does, there are command issues that still need to be worked on. If his last two starts are any indication, he’s taken that seriously. While last weeks featured one walks and 4 ER, this most recent start was a step in the right direction: 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 BBs, 9K. Reyes is known for his stuff so when I saw that he struck out three two starts ago and four in his last start, I was slightly concerned. His norm is usually more around 7 or 8 this season in AAA so I’m very happy to see him rack up 9 K’s. It was also nice to see the Cardinals let him off the leash as he pitched 103 pitches before being pulled. As I’ve said repeatedly in the past, Reyes will likely be up but when he is he will be in the bullpen. If it’s any help, the Cards GM John Mozeliak recently stated that Reyes needs to, “continue getting more work in before he gets considered.” Now Clint Hurdle said the same thing about Tyler Glasnow and then BAM there he was, but I’d be more willing to listen to Mozeliak in this case, Reyes does need a few more starts.
5. Jake Thompson (Philadelphia Phillies) – Another week, another solid performance. Not blow you away, but solid. 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Let’s start with the walks: unfortunately it looks like two is sort of run-of-the-mill for Thompson so there’s nothing to write home about on that front. He’s given up two free passes in 5 of his last 7 starts and is yet to walk more than three all season long. The K’s were a little on the low side, especially considering last week’s 6 K performance but he was able to limit any danger throughout the entire outing though he did give up more fly-balls than I’d like to see. At this point, Thompson is more than stretched out. He’s hasn’t had an outing in which he’s pitched less than 90 pitches since May and the Phillies are more than willing to let him throw 100+. Considering the 0.73 ERA he is supporting, I’m willing to bet that he’s next in line for the Phillies.
6. Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers) – Remember when Hader was down in AA? You know, the good old days? We were all watching him pitching thinking, “Oh yea, skip him right up to the Majors. Let him bypass that AAA park and he’ll do just fine.” Well the Brewers didn’t listen. Now they’ve paid the price. 4 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. This was Hader’s worst start in AAA and worst start of the year. He’s now continued to seesaw between good start and bad start and this start was…well, can a seesaw still work after being virtually torn apart? Oddly enough, this start was at the beginning of the week and Hader’s spot in the rotation should’ve fallen to last night. Instead, the spot was TBA until a few hours before game time and then filled by Brent Suter. I’m assuming this was because Hader is going to pitch in the Futures game in two days though maybe it was to simply give the kid a rest. Until Hader can hop off the seesaw and pitch consistently, I don’t see him getting a call. As of now, if I were a betting man, I’d say we’re looking at September.
7. Austin Pruitt (Tampa Bay Rays) – Last week Pruitt got absolutely shellacked so I was really curious to see how he’d bounce back. After past shellacking’s he usually be able to right the ship and fortunately for those with stock in him this post-shellacking start was no different. Shellack. Four times in one paragraph. 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 Ks. Command, command, command. Pruitt just has it. This marks his THIRTEENTH consecutive start in which he has given up two walks or less. That 6.85 K/BB ratio is really encouraging to see. Unluckily for us, it looks like Pruitt was going to build on this last night – 3 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 2 Ks – but the game was suspended due to rain. If Pruitt keeps pitching like this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a spot start for a Rays rotation that continues to struggle.
8. Brady Rodgers (Houston Astros) – Rodgers is starting to trend in the wrong direction and at exactly the wrong time for him to do so. 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 H, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. The good news is that Rodgers cut the walks in half and doubled the K’s from his last outing. He didn’t get back to the 6+ that we’re more used to him doing but it’s still a right step. The wrong step came with the hits and ERs. This is the third time he’s given up 3 ER and the fourth time he’s given up 9 hits. It’s not a terrible performance but right now Rodgers is competing for a spot with Joe Musgrove to be called up and if he doesn’t get back to striking out batters at the pace we’re more familiar with then that’s going to be a losing battle. Does that mean he shouldn’t be stashed? No, I mean he’s still on the list, but if it’s between Rodgers and Musgrove, I would hands down be leaning the latter now, whereas a few weeks ago the opposite was the case.
9. Austin Voth (Washington Nationals) – OK, let’s play a little game: I’m going to tell you how many walks Austin Voth allowed tonight and you guess how many ER’s he gave up as a result of them. Don’t worry, the answer isn’t 0 or anything, it’s not a trick question. Ok: so he gave up 6 BBs. Think about it for a second. How many ER’s do you think he gave up? Before I do that, I’m sorry I lied to you. I wanted you to have a genuine guess. The answer was O. 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 6 BBs, 2 Ks. How the HECK did that happen? Well, the Norfolk Tides left 10 runners on base, went 0 – 8 with RISP and grounded into three double plays. I mean sure, Voth was the one inducing those double plays so it’s definitely a good thing to get himself out of trouble, but that’s probably not happening when he’s not facing Francisco Pena (.196), and Michael Almanzar (.220). Considering Voth’s two starts before this (he gave up 4 ER in both), I’d say this is his last chance to remain on the list.
10. Reynaldo Lopez (Washington Nationals) – You ever get that feeling when it comes to fantasy baseball, that the age old adage “to observe is to disturb” is especially true? Like, be honest, when you stream an offensive player who is riding a hot streak, a large and loud part of you is SURE that this is when he declines. You’re not just hitting a “submit” button you’re hitting a “stop playing so well” button. That’s sort of how I felt once I started writing about Lopez as his last performance wasn’t too great: 5 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Ok, maybe I’m over-exaggerating a bit. This was the first start since May 24th that he gave up more than 2 ER, and walking two is a lot better than last week when he walked four. What concerns me is back-to-back minimal-K performances. He’s struck out 10+ four times in his last eight starts so when I see a 4K performance followed by a 5K, I’m not too happy. As of now, I’m going to be patient with Reynaldo Lopez but if his 3.27 ERA starts to move towards his 5.49 FIP, he won’t be here for long.