(Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire)
With Seth Lugo pitching in extras over the weekend and Jason Vargas still in rehab, Zack Wheeler got his chance back in the rotation and took full advantage, going 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks against the Fish. I watched a good amount of this and what did impress me was his fastball command around the edges – sometimes faltered but generally good – and a slider that missed bats as hard as 92mph. That’s crazy. This wasn’t the Wheeler I’m used to, but I’m also not ready to lose the memory of the man punished for fastballs leaking over the plate and being unable to locate his secondary offerings for strikes. Then there’s also the fact that there isn’t a spot for Wheeler when Vargas makes his 2018 debut, which could be as soon as Wheeler’s next turn through the rotation. I’m intrigued if he gets a longer stay (he has to eventually with the Mets being the Mets), so I’d hold until he actually gets booted, in which case I’d be dropping right away.
Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:
Yonny Chirinos – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I considered leading with Chirinos as I watched every pitch he threw in this one. I have…mixed feelings. I know, I know, a ton of you want me all in on this and I totally get it. I think he got away with a lot today, though. Splitter command was really bad, and even his fastballs were leaking out over the plate way too often. The ChiSox didn’t punish him, though, and he left with a smooth line in under 80 pitches. Slider is solid, though, and I do believe that should raise his ceiling a decent amount if he’s going closer to 90 pitches moving forward. Still worth an add in your league – this isn’t necessarily the best version of himself – but don’t treat him like a “season winning” pickup. Ohhhh I need a name for that. I’d use a hitter term like A Judgement Call, but you know I hate hitters. But that works so well… I’LL THINK ABOUT IT. Okay, okay…
Jarlin Garcia – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. The man didn’t allow a single hit and when I watched it, I would not have realized. He wasn’t overpowering batters, nor did I see plenty of uncomfortable at-bats, mixing mostly fastball/changeup early then incorporating more sliders later. Changeups are solid, but not enough to cover his meh fastball and slider. I’m not really buying this one and from a “stuff” standpoint, I dig Caleb Smith’s schtick a little more if you can believe it. I’m willing to be malleable here though, and I’ll check him out once again if he gets another chance on the bump – I don’t see why he wouldn’t.
German Marquez – 3.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. If you didn’t hear, there were two brawls today. One with this guy…
Jordan Zimmermann – 0.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Speaking of early exits, Zim left this one after getting a line drive to the noggin. I feel terrible for him and absolutely hate seeing this, but I feel the need to remark that this may be the first time that both player and fantasy owner leave with a headache. Seriously though, this is always so scary. I’m happy he’s okay.
Jaime Barria – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. There were plenty of debuts today and here’s the lowdown on Barria: His fastball sits 90/91 and is as mediocre as you’ll ever find, his changeup is good but saved for lefties, and his slider is a standard breaking ball. It’s as Cup of Schmoey as you’ll find.
Carlos Carrasco – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Can you make it legit CGSHO next time though? Oh, 5 IP and 5 ER instead? I should stop being greedy.
Danny Duffy – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey this is all kinds of encouraging after were outraged by Duffy’s early starts to the year. I still don’t love him, but I think he’s still comfortably in the Top 60 if not Top 50. Sure, he most likely won’t be Top 30, but his repertoire is good enough to be like a Toby with a little more strikeout ability. That’s worth your time.
Junior Guerra – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s the Junior Junior season, and he’s acting like a Senior Senor who is far from fresh. I wouldn’t want to gamble on this moving forward.
Brandon McCarthy – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. McCarthy now holds a 3.31 ERA through 16.1 IP. Nothing to write home about, but it’s possible he stays on the field and becomes a Toby this year. Possible, not definite. Especially not with just 3 whiffs, I need more than that.
James Shields – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. This is Shields at his best. And you know what they say about enjoying people at their best. No, you do not want to endure him when he’s at his worst.
A. J. Cole – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, whatever Cole.
Daniel Mengden – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Meh, this is kinda what I expect from Daniel and his wonderous stache. Kinda mischevious, just enough to make you walk past instead of engaging.
James Paxton – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Paxton slinging 95mph and earning his first Gallows Pole of the year at 22 whiffs – 11 with his Cutter! It took some time, but I can confidently say for the first time this year, Aces gonna ace. Welcome back Pax.
Nick Pivetta – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. This line looks a ton better than Castillo’s, but he didn’t pitch a whole lot better than him. Fastball got hit hard a bit, slider + curveball weren’t nearly as effective as last time out (4 whiffs on 47 total breaking balls!) and while he should be owned in 12-teamers, I’m not buying a longterm success here. Streaming Record: 7-4. That’s a five-game winning streak after a rocky start. Gotta keep the faith y’all.
Luis Castillo – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. So I guess we’ll take a PQS from Castillo and he didn’t really pitch that poorly – sub 1.00 WHIP! – but he didn’t dominate like I saw in 2017. He abandoned his changeup more than I’d like, elevated fastballs weren’t working, and he wasn’t blowing heat past batters like we’ve seen before. I think pitch mix is a part of it, I also think fastball command is a little too. He’ll get better, but I’m super cautious in his 94.6mph average fastball. It’s fine, it dictates a solid starter, but not that Top 15 SP upside that I’ve talked so much about.
Kevin Gausman – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s a VPQS with 7 Ks from Gausman. I will take this and run. Still not totally sold on Gaus but if I had the brass to start him today, I’ll take it.
Matt Moore – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Ahhhh, nothing like a 2.00 WHIP to make you give Matty a new nickname. Mr. ReMoorse. That almost works.</em Yeah, just like you but instead you live on my couch and eat all my food. You would too if you had it this easy. Truth. Please get a job though, seriously.
Robbie Ray – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. Ray, you’re supposed to strikeout more if I’m endorsing you. I think a hit is coming for Ray on Monday as I’m starting to believe I overcorrected my Ray feelings once again.
Adam Wainwright – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Flaherty died for this. And I guess it’s okay. Sorry for being so dramatic. I STILL MISS JACK THOUGH.
Steven Brault – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. There’s a reason you forgot Brault existed.
Marco Estrada – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Awwwww, I was totally starting to buy into Estrada too. Wait. He did get 15 whiffs in this one…Okay I’m not totally out yet. You’re still a Toby, Estrada.
Jon Lester – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Through three starts now, Lester is holding a 4.05 FIP and 4.40 BB/9 with a 1.67 WHIP. I’m not saying he’s droppable, but this legit my be the year of the descent.
David Price – 1.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Apparently Price’s left hand was “tingling” and the Sawx pulled him with 35 pitches as a precaution. This line looks atrocious – that’s because it is – but I don’t think he pitched so badly. An infield single, a tough walk to Judge, then a triple from Stanton on a decent fastball followed by a mistake cutter that Sanchez blasted over the fence. There are your 4 ER in a blink of an eye. If he’s legitimately fine for his next start, I’m not hesitating.
Andrew Suarez – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. I don’t buy those seven Ks and WHIP but I buy the rest. And I when I say buy, I mean sell Suarez as he’s a Cup of Schmo. Sure, he has some deception, but those violent mechanics don’t speak to a guy that will have great command in the majors and he didn’t have that today, even with a sub 1.00 WHIP. Okay, maaaaaybe he becomes a rare streamer. That’s a very skeptical maybe for the record.
Kyle Gibson – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Alright, let’s hang this one up for real in the short term. Just do it and maybe we’ll come back to it later. We’ll see.
Masahiro Tanaka – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Tanaka was cruising through this one before allowing a grand slam in the sixth frame. Still love the guy and think you should be starting him with confidence moving forward.
Alex Wood – 3.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. #WoodVelocityWatch2018 continues as it fell down to a paltry 89.3mph today. This is bad and Wood should feel bad. I’d wait for a good start and sell high after.
Lance McCullers – 3.2 IP, 8 ER, 7 Hits, 6 BBs, 6 Ks. 6 walks? 95 pitches in 3.2 frames? 8 ER?! And this is why I don’t like McCullers as much as the rest – even when he is on the field, he finds himself in trouble way more than he needs to be with an inevitable short 2018 (he’s never had more than 22 starts!). This also answers questions about his new two-seamer being the answer to his walk problems. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.
Chris Stratton vs. San Diego Padres – It’s a much better matchup than the previous two games, it’s possible he pulls it off.
Tyson Ross vs. San Francisco Giants – I would ideally wait another start or two before putting any faith in Ross, but with Reynaldo Lopez now owned in over 25% of leagues I don’t feel right picking him. I could go with Chad Kuhl against the fish, but he’s inconsistent and I’m feeling good about Ross for whatever reason.
Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer
Andrew Triggs vs. Seattle Mariners – He’s still owned in under 15% of leagues and I’ll take my chances against the Mariners.
Game of the Day