This Is Velas-t Straw

Okay okay, let’s move past the questionably bad headline and the hyperbole set in place and let’s have a real talk about Vince Velasquez, who put up a 5.0 IP, 5...

Okay okay, let’s move past the questionably bad headline and the hyperbole set in place and let’s have a real talk about Vince Velasquez, who put up a 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks line against the Mets last night following a 4 ER and 7 baserunners…and 10 Ks in his 4 IP start last time out. Some of the underlying numbers show some bad luck here – 3.26 xFIP because of a 37.5% FB/HR rate (which is horrendous already but especially when coming from a major flyball pitcher), a .438 BABIP, and 65.2% LOB rate. All of that jazz means his ER per inning is obviously flawed, but you already knew that (to be fair, a 42.1% hard contact rate suggests there’s some “bad luck” that isn’t actually luck). Obviously Velasquez isn’t going to be a 9.00 ERA guy. But can he be a 3.50 ERA or at least 3.70? How about a 1.20 WHIP? Well, his walk rate has never been respectable as it has always sat above 3.00 per nine, but the bigger issue that is often overlooked is his IPS. Velasquez only has nine innings in two starts thus far after putting up a poor 5.46 IPS in 2016. That means that even if he has a 9.00 K/9, he’s still averaging under six Ks per start. Contrast that to someone like Rick Porcello who will average near the same strikeout production given his ability to go deeper into games despite a lower K%. So if you were paying for Velasquez’s strikeouts, you might not actually be getting what you think you paid for and he’s going to continue to have struggles in the ERA/WHIP department. The upside is obviously still there, though I wouldn’t expect a major breakout at least in the first half of the year.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Chase Anderson – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Is there something different in Chase Anderson? Ehhh not really. He’s getting a little more ride on his Sinker while sacrificing drop on it, while integrating a Cutter a little more. But that’s about it and it looks more like the BABIP Gods are praising Anderson. I wouldn’t be adding him in 12-teamers.

Mike Leake – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Leake has like five of these games a year, where in the other 25+ starts he’ll have four Ks or so. And 3 ER. And a 1.40 WHIP. Don’t get attached like an obviously rar file virus from that random friend you met like eight years ago who out of the blue sends you an email that just says “hi!” in the subject. Spoiler Alert: That email is not your friend, and neither is Leake.

Derek Holland – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh come on Derek, I WANT TO USE THE TERM I MADE UP LAST YEAR. You’re just making me irrationally upset and that’s fun for nobody. But seriously, four walks should be enough of a hint to fathom that Holland isn’t a guy to trust outside of needing a Win every three starts in deep leagues.

Marcus Stroman – 9.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Our first real CG of the season – Bumgarner’s eight innings don’t count – comes from Stroman, though I feel like this line could have easily been done in six frames. 23 outs in the field Stroman? I know how good your breaking stuff is, just trust it a liiiitle bit more and that turns to seven punchouts and we’re all happy. But Nick, if Stroman strikes more batters out, his pitch count doesn’t stay low enough to survive nine innings. Yeah yeah yeah, I guess I’d rather have a six inning start with 6-7 Ks than have Stroman try to pitch more to contact in the hopes of getting more innings out of him. Sale tried it last year and he’s obviously flipped the script this year

John Lackey – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. Whoaaaaa Nelly, look at this! That’s 17 Ks now across two starts and it’s awfully tempting to believe it will stick. Can Lackey be a 8.60 K/9 pitcher again? Sure, why not? I’d be a very happy owner if I had him and I don’t think I’ve given him that proper respect thus far.

Andrew Triggs – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. For realsies this time, I’ll have a GIF Breakdown out today talking about Triggs. He was my Call Boy for the day as he faced the Royals and I think it’s important to address what makes him a decent streaming pick, while not someone I would love to trust from week-to-week. Anyway, let’s get to to business here: I’M BACK TO .500. Streaming Record: 4-4.

Brandon McCarthy – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. What’s most impressive here is that he did this against the Cubs. What isn’t impressive is just four strikeouts once again, and the walk total that just isn’t McCarthy’s M.O. There are worse plays if you’re sweating for arms on the wire, though Brandon’s lack of consistency and diminishing upside gives me worry to roster him in 12 teamers.

Danny Salazar – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. After giving owners a massive groan in his first outing, Salazar was able to string together a ton of strikeouts without the damaging ratios for a change. That’s great, I’m happy he can take advantage of the ChiSox. His risk every outing makes me afraid to own him though, and he’ll be hovering around the 30s a bit this year.

Max Scherzer – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Still my #2.

Zach Lee – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Technically not his MLB debut since he got one start in 2015 for the Dodgers (spoiler alert: it was terrible) and while the goose egg in the ER department in Coors is awfully tantalizing, this kid isn’t going to win the MFRSDPSPA. He’s just a Cup of Schmo. 

Amir Garrett – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. The lack of walks is a bit surprising to me given the lack of command I’ve seen from Garrett thus far and I’m still not buying this hot start. If this happened in June, y’all wouldn’t care.

Michael Fulmer – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Yeah, I wasn’t happy to see 3 ER allowed to the Twins (including Dozier with a stupid lead off HR), but that WHIP and K rate are oh-so-good. I’m still a believer that 2017 can be better than 2016, save for a small increase in ERA.

Matt Cain – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. What is it today with a lot of blegh starters getting One Night Blands? I guess if Cain can, anyone can.

A.J. Griffin – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Like Griffin. Well, a 4.50 ERA isn’t going to encourage you to call the rents, but it’s a Quality Start and that WHIP is better than expected. For some reason, there’s a cult that believes in Griffin for 12-teamers. Are you a part of that cult? Would I be calling it a cult if I were?

Blake Snell – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. What is this. Three walks and one strikeout but shutout baseball and just 4.2 frames? Hey man, how did you do today? *Shrug*

Zack Wheeler – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I watched a little of this outing and I liked Wheeler’s heater a little more while he started ramping up more trust in his secondary pitches. Good signs for the long term. What’s dumb here is that he loaded the bases with two outs and then Robles allowed a Franco salami on the first pitch. I stand by my opinion that Wheeler is a little too risky at the moment for 12 teamers, but he’ll be a must add around June. Just a matter of time before it comes together as all he needs is experience right now.

Jordan Montgomery – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I almost went with Montgomery for today’s GIF Breakdown, but I think Triggs is a bit more interesting and Monty isn’t the fantasy asset that the hype will be giving him. In general, his stuff just isn’t that exceptional, though he has decent deception on his heater. The polish isn’t there on his secondary pitches to make me think he can be effective consistently without the overpowering stuff either, though I’d be lying if I won’t consider him as a decent streamer if he holds onto the fifth spot. If you want the speculative add in a 12-teamer, that’s fine, I don’t expect that to last, though.

Tom Koehler – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. There we go Tommy. Back to the good ole days of irrelevancy.

Shelby Miller – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. That velocity jump we saw around 96.5mph last time out? Yeah, that was back down to 94.1mph this time out. Ouch.

Ivan Nova – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. I have to thank Nova for this one. It was getting tiresome explaining why I have Nova in the mid 70s instead of the 50s where many want him to be. He gave you a 1.33 WHIP, 4.50 ERA, and just 1 K leaving absolutely nothing here to salvage. Nothing…in standard 5×5 leagues. And this was against the Reds!

Jaime Garcia – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh, I’m done believing Garcia can be somewhat serviceable in deeper leagues inside the NL Easy. DONE.

Jason Hammel – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhhh if Hammel is struggling against the A’s, it’s hard to trust him against anyone moving forward. Womp womp.

Yovani Gallardo – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. We call this YoGa pose “As If”. Now don’t move your head, look to the very top right-hand corner…now exhale and leeeeeaaaaan your head back over your right shoulder.

Kyle Gibson – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Don’t.

Mike Fiers – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Start.

Jesse Chavez – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. These.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Pitchers. I get like five articles a year where I’m allowed to do that bit, okay? IT’S A FUN ONE I SWEAR.

Kyle Freeland – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I didn’t give Freeland the Cup of Schmo label last time out, though I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t touching him. I think it’s safe to give him the label now.

Steven Wright – 1.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. If you’re not saying it yet, you best start. Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer.

Today’s Streamer

Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Do I like trusting Edu after he’s shown that he has some kinks to work out? Sure don’t. But Andriese/Vargas/Chen aren’t all-too appealing either.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Adam Conley vs. New York Mets – Now that CC was pushed to Saturday, I have no choice but to go with Conley. I often dislike rolling with pitchers as they face the same team twice in a row and I think this is flying too close to the sun, but that’s really no one else left to pick. Yeah, I’m taking a half point here.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

CC Sabathia vs. St. Louis Cardinals – Am I really picking CC? I often have a bad feeling streaming the same pitcher twice against the same team, which means me default to CC. Shudders. Half point please.

Game of the Day

Robert Gsellman vs. Miami Marlins – Show me the dude we want you to be Gsellman. Or the Gazelle we know you are. Either works.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

6 responses to “This Is Velas-t Straw”

  1. John Cusick says:

    Garrett surprised me yesterday. Lefty with what looked like good command on both sides of the plate. Got out of situations with contact when he needed. Love the attitude he brings to the mound. Excited to see more of his starts.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      He’ll still be on The List come Monday, but I really don’t see him exploding into Top 70 status. I didn’t get a chance to watch him last night, but from what I saw the first time out, I don’t trust that command to be there every start.

  2. Anonymous Collmenter says:

    Was offered Todd Frazier + Kelvin Herrera for Robbie Ray + Rafael Devers in a dynasty league. 6×6 roto with QS and OPS. Thoughts?

    Love the site btw!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Depends on how you feel for this year. If you’re gunning for 2018 and beyond, go for Ray and Devers.

  3. thegorgestl says:

    Yo Nick! VV just got dropped in my ESPN standard points league (12-team). My only droppable SP are Leake and Cobb, but I’m having a tough time making the switch. Thoughts? Is Leake all luck?

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