You Dog, Walker
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
Touted pitching prospects making their season debuts are some of the more exciting moments during the season and Walker Buehler had his first start of the season Monday night, going 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. That’s a solid line as he faced the Marlins despite the walks and I’m sure many are wondering where he stacks up across the other upside plays. His shtick is a heater that sits upper 90s paired with a tight 89mph slider and big curveball around 80. He’s a bit of a nibbler with his heater – which is good as I can imagine him turning into a low walk pitcher instead of one that loses batters constantly – though his slider and curveball leave a little to be desired. I didn’t see a pitch that I can point to and say “that will get him strikeouts every night”, even with his slider freezing some batters and his heater confounding others. It profiles out to a solid floor arm but lacking th at ace-status upside that so many other hard-throwing prospects carry. One of the bigger problems with owning Buehler is not knowing how many starts he’ll actually get in the bigs – it could be a start against the Giants on Saturday and back to the minors – so don’t get too attached here. I’d okay chasing him around the 60s or so, just don’t sacrifice a longterm play as this could be just one more go of it.
Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:
Tyler Skaggs – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Some are probably a little upset Skaggs isn’t on The List this week and thought this was a massive “HA!” moment for me. This wasn’t. You shouldn’t have started Skaggs here and he wormed his way into a shutout despite inducing under 4% swinging strikes in 102 pitches. Against the Astros. Here’s a fun trivia question, how much soft contact has Skaggs induced this year? 15%? 20%? Dare I say 10%?! Nah. It’s 8.4%. It’s so low that people may think it’s his walk rate. Yeah…
Carlos Carrasco – 7.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sorry I have to keep you out of the Top 10, I didn’t have much of a choice. You’re still cool n all and enjoy your Gallows Pole via 19 breezes.
Jarlin Garcia – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. HOW IS HE DOING THIS. I seriously do not understand it. I watched this one – I was there for Buehler, okay? – and I couldn’t believe that Garcia has flummoxed both the Yankees and Dodgers in his first two starts like he has some secret pact to let him stick in the majors. Next time, let us know the pact so we can play around it, alright? His control is solid as he sticks around the zone plenty, but his stuff is as mediocre as they come, making me surprised he’s induced a .121 BABIP thus far (13.2% soft contact). That 1.00 ERA is paired with a 4.66 SIERA and I think this will sort itself out as we get a larger sample. For now, I guess I’ll label him as a TEEs and move on.
Sal Romano – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Sal, you’re holding a 5.47 K/9 and 4.10 BB/9 after this start. Even with your fortunate .241 BABIP, you still hold a 4.78 ERA. I have as much faith in you as I do the Nets to compete in any near future. There are just too many holes here.
Masahiro Tanaka – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Okay, good. No longballs, 17 whiffs, and 6.2 frames on 91 pitches. All the things you want to see from Tanaka as we can slowly restore the faith.
Gerrit Cole – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You can’t stop this guy, you can’t break his stride. Ain’t nothing gonna slooow him down.
Mike Foltynewicz – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. His pitch count climbed quickly, but those seven strikeouts were rooted in solid heaters with sprinkled in sliders. His changeup was fine, it had its moments but 13 thrown in 102 isn’t the most encouraging. I’m hesitant to give this the green light still, but not a bad hold at the end of your staff.
Carson Fulmer – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. You can look at this and think “hey, maybe Carson should be given a chance.” Fortunately you’re reading this, so I can tell you not to. That’s a terrible idea like mixing beer and soda. I could throw out a decent amount of reasons why, but I’ll just let you know he induced 2 swings and misses on 93 pitches. That should do it.
Kevin Gausman – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Gaus has allowed 9 ER in four starts since his 6 ER blowup on April 1st, with a 20.4% K rate and 4.9% BB rate in those starts. Not something incredible, but something to consider, especially when it came with an 11%+ whiff rate and 26%+ splitters. Those are marks you want on Gausman’s report card.
Chris Stratton – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah, I’ll definitely take this from Stratton. It’s not easy going against the Nats and he did well across the board. He’s not going to give you that incredible outing, though, which makes him more of a streamer than a guy’s seat on your bench you polish and brand with a plaque.
Trevor Cahill – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Curveball got 33% whiffs. Changeup around 20%. Called Strikes + Whiffs at 32 across 98 pitches. These are all very good things. I feel terrible leaving Cahill off The List yesterday – I had him as my call boy and I didn’t include him? How could I? – and would slot him around the 70s in the Triggs/Estrada area. Don’t be so quick to grab him, though. He gets the Astros next and I’m in favor of sitting that one out. Streaming Record: 15-7.
Gio Gonzalez – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. These are the kind of starts that are somewhat commonplace for Gio, preventing me from raising him into the Top 40. That’s fine, it just makes him a Toby and not a guy to head to the bar with after work.
Matt Moore – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. You should not own Moore. He will do more harm than good. Now five syllables.
Chad Bettis – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Ahhhh there’s the Bettis we know and hate. I wonder if he’ll do this poorly on the road against the Marlins next week. Maybe not. Maybe not…
Bryan Mitchell – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. At least the walks weren’t there, but guess what, even if you don’t issue free passes doesn’t mean you have good command. Womp womp.
Jake Odorizzi – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. You didn’t expect much from Odorizzi heading into New York, but then again, do you expect from Odorizzi on any given night? Nick Pollack here, asking the real questions. I don’t see why you’d roster him over a guy like Cahill or any given streamer, really.
Mike Leake – 3.1 IP, 8 ER, 12 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. He’s got an ad in your yellow pages that takes up the entire page and makes you hate yourself for calling him up. But your pipes are spewing water everywhere so you gotta call Mr. Leake. He does a terrible job and makes you pay for it and now you feel even worse. What a stupid ad.
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