Then I Saw His Face
(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire)
I’ve talked a lot Shane Bieber as a “hittable” pitcher. A guy who doesn’t have the pristine command – not control – of his fastball that makes him throw plenty of strikes that can be easier than others to slap into play. His last five starts have been exactly that, with a terrible 5.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in those starts. You may have dropped him, I was cool with it. Suddenly, he showed up last night and was an animal going 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks against the Rays. 38/100 CSW is astonishing, while his slider was all kinds of dope with 9/28 whiffs. He’s actually had whiff rates above 12% overall in each of his last four starts. You may be wondering if he’s figured it out. If suddenly Bieber has changed his approach to finally be the man we want him to be. Well, if I am going to buy that, it’s because of that walk rate going up. Yes, he threw a good amount of heaters down the middle, but plenty more along the corners, nibbling both inside and out inside of constantly giving in. I’m curious if it was just one day or if it was truly a change in approach, so I’m going to tell you to avoid unless you need a high upside play. It could work, but there are safer plays out there than this.
Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:
Alex Cobb – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. He was removed from this one with a finger injury, which is too bad he clearly was going to cruise to dominance here. On the real, I can see some people going for Cobb prior and I think this is a blessing in disguise.
Erick Fedde – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. You probably thought I’d lead with Fedde, but in short, you know not to trust the Feddes. His fastball was better than usual in this game, that’s about it. Seriously. Just an 11% whiff rate – nothing crazy – and his slider was thrown for strikes, still with a sub 20% usage. Don’t forget, he still has an ERA north of 5.00. This isn’t your playoff savior.
Jim Johnson – 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Yes that Jim Johnson was the recipient of a False Start for the Angels as they went full bullpen. I guess some people go FULL bullpen.
Jose Quintana – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Quintana has finally reduced his ERA to a sub 4.00 ERA mark at 3.97 with this out, marking the fifth straight start with 2 ER or fewer. His fastball command has been much better over the past month and success is there. If he was dropped, you’re safe picking him up.
Luis Castillo – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Sooooo how excited am I allowed to be? 97mph average on his sinker, 11/38 whiffs on his changeup, and 30/92 CSW overall. Just 10 sliders with four over the plate is a bit meh, but the other stuff was easily good enough to dismantle the Dodgers. Don’t you dare get off this ride and I wonder where I put him in 2019…
Jhoulys Chacin – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Fast and I talked about it on the OTC Podcast, and I’ll ask here. Is Chacin the Brewers’ Game 1/Wild Card starter? What a ridiculously weird season that you have to continue through the end of the year but don’t touch even for a moment in 2019.
Tyler Duffey – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. The Angels went bullpen as well, following Duffey with Kohl Stewart. Carry on.
Mike Fiers – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. And the Fiers train continues. Is he starting for the A’s in Game 1/Wild Card? Wild.
Mike Foltynewicz – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Hot dang! What’s most surprising here is the 30/108 changeups + curveballs that went for 14/30 CSW, using his curveball plenty for called strikes. It’s now six of his last seven starts with 1 ER or fewer and it’s a wonderful thing.
Marco Gonzales – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. A bit of a DLH here for Marco, but he was able to work through five easily against the Padres. About a third of his cutters were solid at the bottom of the zone, the others…not so much. I’m not sold he’s now fixed.
Brad Keller – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I know it’s a 3.26 ERA for his 18 starts this year. I know it’s been 8 ER total in six starts, with none of 3 ER. It’s also a 1.35 WHIP as a sstarter and a 17% K rate. You’re chasing a good ERA at the cost of Ks and WHIP, while that low ERA is backed by a 4.61 SIERA. His 7.0% HR/FB rate isn’t going to stick around – sub 10% IFFB – and I just don’t see a guy that can be a proper Toby for you. Sorry, he’s just a TEEs. Use at your own risk.
Miles Mikolas – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Hoooo baby Mikolas, look at those strikeouts! You’re not supposed to do that. 15 whiffs with 8/53 on sliders and curveballs. That’s not a great whiff rate, and 27/107 isn’t a good overall CSW. Hmmmmm. What I get here is early foul balls (30/107) and the ability to put guys away…this time. This 14% swinging strike rate is the highest of the season, don’t get used to it.
Bryan Mitchell – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Whoa, Mitchell’s command wasn’t so bad! Whoa, the reward is not nearly worth the risk we took starting him.
Adrian Sampson – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. “Hello everyone! Hi, yes, yes, please settle down. I know you all have questions. I’ll get to everyone, I promise. Yes, ma’am in the front row?” “Is he a Cup of Schmo?” “Without a doubt…any more questions? Anyone? No?”
Jose Urena – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Our Call Boy did good work against the Mets, helping across the board, even earning a win against deGrom. Streaming Record: 93-44. Now just tell your teammates to do the same for the next three days.
Ryan Borucki – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, that’s nice Borucki. I won’t roster you, I’ll just give the nod of “hey what’s up” from across the street.
Jacob deGrom – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sorry deGrom, 2 ER are too many when facing the mighty Jose Urena, looks like you’ll have to get your win elsewhere. Congrats on the Gallows Pole with 17 whiffs, though, and, you know, still being dope.
Tyler Glasnow – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. After his horrid start last week, clearly he was going to kill it against the Indians the next time out. Clearly. Are you upset? NO NOT AT ALL. I’m not saying this is what to expect, but at the same time it’s easy to buy into this being closer to our expectations than the clunker prior.
Sonny Gray – 3.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Gray got another chance to start and it was as blegh as it gets. He will not be fantasy relevant this year, it’s okay.
Nick Pivetta – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. He was pulled at 91 pitches, though I’m a little surprised given that it was game 1 of a doubleheader. Incredibly underwhelming, though at least it’s better than the other two times he faced the Nationals…? Blegh, and just one strikeout! HAISTFMFWT?! I’d still start him down the stretch and there’s a part of me that is a bit excited to take a late pick on Pivetta next year to see how it plays out. He has more talent than the ERA suggests.
Zack Greinke – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Solid from Greinke here in Coors. Not pristine, but solid. He has a tough schedule the rest of the way, but I think you ignore it and start start start.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. Just one fewer ER and two baserunners would make this digestible, but nah, that’s not Ryu’s plan against the Reds. I see the man’s schtick – that sounds wrong – and I see a smoke and mirrors. Nevertheless, worth the start ROS, just ignore in drafts save for the last round in 2019.
Andrew Suarez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. A VPQS with 3 Ks? This is kinda what you chased for Suarez, right?
Joe Musgrove – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Fast wins our live OTC bet as Musgrove had 8 Ks, making this a Dusty Donut with 1.00 WHIP but terrible 6.00 ERA. It’s a difficult road ahead for the rest of September and I’m 50/50 if he’s worth it for 12-teamers. Maybe slightly leaning roster, but definitely explore all streaming options.
Antonio Senzatela – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember when Senz-a had some hype last year? That was interesting stuff. Very different from his actual stuff, which is pretty pedestrian. Preeee-tay preee-tay pedestrian.
Framber Valdez – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. I haven’t been much of a fan of Framber despite the decent amount of hoopla surrounding him, and it doesn’t shock me that this one didn’t go too well. I still would have considered starting him against the Tigers, but a man with a two-pitch mix where neither pitch is all that great inherently makes he skeptical of success.
Jordan Zimmermann – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Well, yeah, it’s Jay-Z.
Dylan Covey – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember kids, Don’t Covey Thy Dylan.
Tanner Roark – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Roark has been a rollercoaster this year, with a strong stretch in the second half hitting a hard stop in the last three starts, now tallying 15 ER among them. Yeesh. That’s gonna be a no from me, dawg.
Trevor Richards vs. New York Mets – It’s the Mets and Richards has the upside to make this well worthwhile. I’d also consider Felix Pena against the Rangers, but there’s a little more risk there.
Sandy Alcantara vs. New York Mets – I know it’s three days against the Mets. Thing is, the Marlins pitchers ain’t all that bad and no one cares about them. Alcantara can get through this and help.
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