To The Next Chapter
And there it is.
I’ve written roughly 900 of these roundups, and every year it’s a sad to see them go. It’s my routine, it’s a part of me for more than half of the year and its finality each fall is always uncomfortable.
This year is a little different, though. With the offseason ahead, more than ever I’m excited to get to work. There’s plenty to get done in preparation for Pitcher List 5.0. Believe when I say it’s a bigger shift than the move to Pitcher List 3.0. I couldn’t be more excited to share it all with you.
The thing is, we wouldn’t be able to 5.0 without you sticking with me and this team. I know I wasn’t perfect this year (I could list off all the names of disappointments for a while), and I’m taking a lot of this offseason to reflect on where I can be better. I also know that I had a great time with many of you identifying new arms as well, pitchers who stood out one day and carried it through the year. This is what I enjoy most, the sense of discovery and wonder that comes from a pitcher growing and doing what they hadn’t done before. Mastering their craft as we all watch in awe. We saw a ton of arms taking that leap from Flaherty, Lynn, Minor, Giolito, Glasnow, Bieber, Ryu, Soroka, Odorizzi, German, Paddack, Darvish, Yarbrough, Woodruff, and the list goes on. This is why I do it and to have you along for the ride with me is an incredible feeling.
Thanks for taking the journey with me. I’m itching to do it all again with you in 2020 and I hope to see many of your around through the winter as we put out multiple – yes multiple – articles each day. There’s no such thing as the offseason.
Alright, enough reflecting. Let’s see how every SP did for the last time this year:
Rich Hill – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Alright, let’s group together all the bullpen games and short starts. Because that seems right. We didn’t expect much from Hill today and three innings with four strikeouts seems nice. He’ll be a very late pick next year as he’s worth it when he’s on the mound. I question how much he actually will be next year – an already injury-prone arm getting older? Where will he land in Free Agency? – but if he’s starting in full, he’s worth your time.
Justin Dunn – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. There was no Milone after. Let’s say Dunn gets a larger shot next year, I don’t see a whole lot to grab onto with a 92mph heater and a decent slider. I need more.
Michel Baez – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Coole stuff Baez, it’s a bit fitting for Strahm to come in at the end and get the Loss. Yep, that’s your Strahm L alright. Sure is, I really had high hopes for the kid, looks like he’s destined to the pen now. So it goes.
Alex Young – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. It was cool to see Taijuan Walker show up for the first frame – he’ll be on the Top 100 today – but for Young, he concludes a season of looking like your standard Toby. Not bad for QS leagues next year. Hopefully this outing nullified a little of his Monday start. Just a little.
Blake Snell – 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Snell was on for a quick while as a tune-up before his Game #1 start on Friday. I wonder how long they’ll let him go there, but for next season, I’ll have him in the Top 10, but I’m not sure about Top 10 yet. With the way the Rays have babied him, he may be a 5/6 frame guy instead of he 6/7 we want out of our aces. We’ll see. Yonny Chirinos came in for 2.2 frames of 4 ER – good to see him pitch, but that was a lot of blegh with two longballs – and it’s going to be an interesting spring to see where all the Rays starters settle.
Blake Parker – 1.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. The Phils went full bullpen to end the year. We had high hopes for a good amount of their starters and nothing panned out as we hoped. Kinda Eflin, not really. Maybe next year, fellas.
Derek Holland – 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. The Dutch Invasion. One of my biggest disappointments of the year despite not even expecting a whole lot. Just a solid #5/6 starter, is that so much to ask? I GUESS SO.
Dereck Rodriguez – 1.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. We wanted this to be Bumgarner. How dare D-Rop get involved and mess up your team. Doesn’t he know who you are? But seriously, it’s still a bit shocking to me that Bumgarner didn’t pitch one more game, even if he did get that exciting pinch-hit opportunity. I’m willing to wager he returns to San Francisco, so talk of his value changing isn’t much of a thing to me.
Jack Flaherty – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It truly was an unreal second half, you don’t need me to reference his sub 1.00 ERA in sixteen games. Thing is, we should have learned our lesson about Wheeler and Marquez…right? This isn’t Buehler who has a trio of dominant offerings, it’s Flaherty’s incredible slider feel that allowed him to pummel with his heater as batters were terrified of the pitch. But with all my questions of Flaherty’s legitimacy, I still have to rank him higher than other breakout arms like Glasnow and Giolito. How could I not? They don’t have the breadth of repertoire that I look for either and a 16 start sample is a dang strong sample. We’ll talk more later.
Masahiro Tanaka – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. The Yankee starters really disappointed in this series against the Jays. A sub 11% swinging-strike rate (sub 20% strikeout rate!) with a 4.45 ERA, even with a drop in HR/FB to 15% is blegh. His splitter did improve in August, but he still held an 11% swinging-strike rate in his final 9 games. I wonder if there is some value to be had here for 2020 as owners are sure to give up completely, but I won’t be jumping to get him.
Adrian Houser – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Of course he threw just four frames, duh. It’ll be interesting to see how the Brewers handle their rotation next year, making for a good fit for any major free agent SP to set up shop. I’m not sure Houser is starting out of the gate, though I’d sure like him too. There will be discussions of “is he worth it if he’s shortened so much down the stretch?” and to that I say you’re spending a waiver wire pick. Yes, if he’s good for four months it is so well worth it.
Tyler Mahle – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. We were sad Trevor Bauer didn’t make one final start of the year and I’m surprised Mahle got his act together in a last-ditch effort to make us happy. It didn’t work. I don’t expect Mahle to be starting out of the gate next year and while he does still carry ~25% strikeout upside, the question of his secondary stuff still remains. He’ll be a Cherry Bomb and I’m not interested for drafts.
Sandy Alcantara – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Once again, Sandy was highly relevant on the last day of the season, this time not as easy to pickup. Some are going to label Sandy as their arm for 2020, I’m not sure I’ll be one of them. He certainly has his moments of showcasing his upside and there is a lot of whiffability in his changeup + slider, though the polish is certainly lacking. I see a Cherry Bomb year without a moment like Glasnow or Giolito (those two again!) where we can become truly confident in him week-to-week.
Clay Buchholz – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Good work Clay, I’m sorry but I have to add water now. BUT WAI—This creation wasn’t meant to last.
Gerrit Cole – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You want him to be the #1 SP entering 2020. That may be what I settle on. We’ll see. He’s really good.
Lance Lynn – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. It lasted until the very end. Yes, Lynn has been good in the past and the underlying numbers from 2018 did suggest better than his bottom line, but not a 246 strikeout season with a 3.67 ERA – He clicked in on May 16th and ended the year with a sweet-as-pie 3.14 ERA, 30.5% K rate, and 1.14 WHIP across 25 games (6.4 IPS). Absolutely nuts that you got him off the wire. I’m not going to be bolstering him up the ranks, but to be frank, I don’t see a cataclysmic fall-off, either. I’m not sure where he’s going to go in drafts, but I could see him as a rock drafting him as a #3 starter. Considering the early mocks have him as the 44th starter off the board at the 160th pick, I’m SO in at that price. Why go for Robbie Ray at #116 instead? That doesn’t seem right.
Joe Ross – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Oh hey, it’s Ross making a case for a sleeper pick in 2020. 35% CSW with a good four-seamer and a pair of breaking balls that each looked lovely. He could get a chance to start out of the gate and he may be at the very end of the Top 100, but it’s anticipating more polish on heaters that I’m hesitate to buy into. He’s never really been a command guy.
Ross Detwiler – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. You never wanted the Deets, but you were desperate on the last day and hey, this ain’t so bad. For once, a rolling team carried Ross.
Jeff Hoffman – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, that’s fine Hoffman. We’re not drafting you until you’re out of Coors. I didn’t sign up for this. I know, it’s just the way it is.
Chandler Shepherd – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Instead of getting one last Bundy start, we got Chandler who stepped onto the mound like he was just as surprised as we were. He’s not this good, take him off those sleeper lists, k thx. It’s your stand blegh of 91/92 and a decent breaker. Nothing to see here.
Trevor Williams – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. T-DUBS! Yes, I was on his side for once as he got a decent matchup against the Reds. There’s little need to draft him next year – he’s just a streamer – though I can understand arguments that he was hurt and it explains the valley of performance through the year. Still not enough to invest in right away, though.
Martin Perez – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Perez was some people’s best shot at a Win, sorry you didn’t get it (nor a QS for that matter) and looking back at the intrigue of velocity early in the year, we’ve settled at Perez being a streaming option if you really want it. I guess that’s an improvement from previous seasons, right?
Tanner Roark – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. Roark should have performed better – they gave him all opportunity to – and he was mediocre at best. I guess that’s Roark at heart, really.
Eduardo Rodriguez – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Solid stuff from Eduardo, rebounding for a horrible outing against the Rangers. I’m amazed that he holds an ADP higher than David Price and Lance Lynn in the 2EarlyMocks, this isn’t for me. I don’t buy that hot two months of Eduardo, an arm who was a detriment to many teams through 25 starts with a 4.31 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. That hurts, thought the 13 Wins shouldn’t be ignored, either. Anyway, I expect the same turbulence once again in 2020 as he still hasn’t refined his slider/cutter and he’s very much a feel pitcher for his heater and changeup. That’s not for me over a full season.
Mike Soroka – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. After saying they’d use Soroka sparingly, the Braves suddenly allowed him to go 85 pitches here. I’m thilled we saw just about 175 innings from Soroka this year and I hate that his shoulder injury scared me off as much as it did – I had him in the Top 50 this time last year! A 2.68 ERA and 1.11 WHIP are a dream for his price in drafts, though I anticipate more of a 3.50 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 23% K rate next year, with upside, clearly, for more. I simply have some skepticism that his changeup and slider will take that leap, but if there’s a young arm with the mentality to get there, it’s Soroka. Here’s to good health and development.
Noah Syndergaard – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. The strikeouts are cool n all, the approach is still oh-so-lacking. I’m very curious where he’s drafted next season as I’m sure there will be plenty of Top 15 ranks, but until he gets out of the Mets organization, I’m just not sold he’s going to transition as we want him to.
Spencer Turnbull – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. It was the last day of streaming options and even though it was 3 ER, I think a sub 1.00 WHIP with 7 Ks qualifies. Streaming Record: 104-67. There’s a chance Turnbull takes another step next year, I’ll be looking into those final starts a bit more in the near future. I think there’s enough SP depth that I don’t need to chase Turnbull out of the gate, but if I see legit improvement in his first start or two, you can expect me to get on board.
Jorge Lopez – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah, that’s JorLo. Someone you already forgot about.
Mike Clevinger – 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Wow. People were praying Clevinger would get this start and they should have been careful what they wished for. You may think I’d be crazy to rank him Top 10 after this, but you better believe it. I’m all in on Clevinger for 2020, the man’s talent is simply too good.
Dillon Peters – 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Peters is likely a Toby in a given season. This was the Astros and the Angels have been limiting his innings sooooo yeah. Now I wonder what Peters would look like when he’s Dilloff. Yes, that is the final joke of the year. ENJOY IT.
For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.
None – This is it y’all. It’s been a blast hanging with all of you this season. Seriously.
I SAID NONE – It really is wild to think we did another full season, tallying five full years of SP Roundups. Here’s to many more.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
I promised myself I wouldn’t cry – Emotions are fine, let it out.
Game of the Day
All-Star Baseball ’99 – Because what else am I going to do waiting for these playoff games?
(Photo by John Bunch/Icon Sportswire)