Ray's Ramblings - Pitcher Report - 4/19
Chavez and Gonzalez are solid AL-only options. Happ and Sanchez are hurt. What is the outlook of each Jays pitcher. Morton throws hard. Good for him. Lynn is nearly all the way back from Tommy John surgery. Will it lead to success? Nova is at it again, and by that we mean he's wiping out batters with ease. Finally, the younger Ross is taking the bump for the Nationals. Severino and Snell, two young American League hurlers. One is on the way up, one on the way down. Pretty obvious call there, right? Finally, why do so many people have a fascination with Wright, the Red Sox knuckleballer.
Brad Brach isn’t the Orioles only closing option after all. It was thought that he would take over with Zack Britton on the DL with a forearm issue, but guess not. See Relivers & Goose Eggs.
Jesse Chavez has made three starts for the Angels. He’s been... Jesse Chavez. He has a 3.71 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, 7.41 K/9 and a 2.65 BB/9 rate. There is no appreciable upside with the righty, and he’s really best served being turned to in AL-only leagues and not mixed leagues. If I had to make an add I would take the next man mentioned over Chavez...
Miguel Gonzalez has made three starts for the White Sox, and the result is a 2.84 ERA. That mark was greatly aided by his dominating effort against the Yankees Wednesday when he allowed one walk and one run over 8.1 frames. Since the All-Star Game last season Gonzalez has made 14 starts. Only once in that time has he allowed more than three earned runs. Pretty impressive, and over the 14 outings he owns a 2.99 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. That’s actually some really strong work for a guy that no one ever talks about. Miguel has walked only 15 men over those 84.1 innings so even though he has struck out 6.30 batters per nine he’s not the worst option in the world in spot start duty. Be cautious though. He’s really more of “just a guy” than “someone to target.”
J.A. Happ is on the DL with an elbow issue. The situation is being term mere inflammation, and the hope is that he will be back in under two weeks after his MRI looked pretty good. We will see, but I’m not a big fan regardless.
Lance Lynn has made three starts, and he’s been effective with a 3.12 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. After missing all of last season, Lynn’s goals are likely to stay effective and healthy. Healthy would be 180-innings. Effective would be more of the same of what we have seen thus far, with a couple of caveats. (1) Lynn has an 8.67 K/9 rate for his career. The mark is only 6.75 in the early going. (2) Lynn has never allowed more than 0.82 homers per nine. Right now the mark is 1.56. Those two data points should normalize with innings. The velocity is a match for his career level, so he’s got the profile of the guys he’s always been – not elite, but pretty darn solid.
Charlie Morton continues to build excitement in the fantasy game. He has made three starts for the Astros with a 2.81 ERA, and how exciting his PITCHf/x velocity is up roughly four mph from his career rate. I have to admit to being intrigued by that, but more velocity doesn’t change who Morton is. He’s always hurt, doesn’t generate a league average number in the swinging strike rate category (the mark is 9.1 percent this season, still well below the 10.1 league average last season), and his current 54.8 percent first strike rate would be an eight year low. I’m telling ya, folks are way too excited about him in the fantasy game.
Ivan Nova has looked pretty sharp through three starts with a 2.25 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP. Before you get too far ahead of yourself you should also realize that he hasn’t walked a batter, that will obvious change, and his current 0.45 HR/9 mark isn’t even half of the 1.07 career mark he owns, a number he has been worse than each of the last three years (2.61, 1.24 and 1.28 last season). Nova also has a sickly 5.1 swinging strike rate that has led to a terrible eight strikeouts in 20 innings. He simply must miss more at-bats to sustain the success we’ve seen thus far.
Aaron Sanchez was placed on the DL with a blister. He had a procedure on his right middle finger to remove part of the nail and the hope is that he will be back throwing in a few days and hopefully be back on the bump by the end of April. After throwing 192 innings last season, an increase of 99.2 big league innings from 2015, missing some time ain’t the worst thing in the world. It should allow him to be strong late in the year. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t go the route od Rich Hill with his blister.
Luis Severino isn’t on waivers in your league, right? The young righty has struck out 27 batters versus only two walks over 20.0 innings doing his best Michael Pineda impression. Through 153.1 big league innings Luis has 149 punchouts and a solid 3.04 K/BB ratio. He’s still being beaten mercilessly by the long ball, four in three starts this season and 1.41 per nine for his career. However, I’ve long said this is a skill set to target. The strikeouts, the stuff, and the grounders (1.55 GB/FB ratio for his career) mean Severino has a skill set you need to targets.
Blake Snell really labored Monday against the Red Sox as he needed 102 pitches to work through five innings. Snell allowed four runs, and though only one was earned, he’s really struggling to locate his pitches and to get ahead in the count (even though he walked only two batters). He also couldn’t put an end to the bleeding, a key cog in the development of a young pitcher. The stuff is top shelf, but he’s still a ways away from having the talent pay off in the fantasy game.
Steven Wright looked solid Monday as he allowed three runs, one earned, over a quality start of six innings against the Rays. That outing was the first time in three trips to the bump that Wright looked like he could recapture his success of last season. We’re still talking about a guy who has allowed five homers with only nine strikeouts and a whopping 24 hits allowed through 14 innings. I get questions all the time about Wright, so let me be clear. There is no way he’s repeating his 3.33 ERA from last season. It’s more likely than not that he will also fail to match his 1.24 WHIP. He’s just a guy in mixed leagues, even though the Red Sox name seems to give him more cache in the fantasy game than it should.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 8 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys).