Ray's Ramblings - Pitcher Report - 4/20
Gausman is on everyone's dump list. Ray tells you why this isn't the position to take. Andriese and Chen are solid but far from elite options. Cotton is struggling. Will things improve for him or did the fantasy industry get this one wrong? Meanwhile, teammate Triggs has looked sharp... or has he? He shouldn't have as much interest as he's receiving. Why do folks continue to talk about Kuhl? The Mets still don't know what is wrong with Matz, but we know what is wrong with Price - his elbow simply isn't right. The D'backs Miller has seen the velocity return and with it success. Speaking of added velo, have you seen the numbers with Nola? Are you concerned with Hendricks and Arrieta given the down turn in their production?
I IMPLORE YOU TO BE PATIENT
Kevin Gausman is on everyone’s hate list. I’ve literally received about 75 notifications about how he’s the worst human being on the planet, or at best, the worst pitcher alive. I get the concern as he’s not been good over four starts with a 7.23 ERA and 2.04 WHIP. That’s awful stuff, no way around it. So why am I telling people to hold on to Gausman? Because it’s been 18.2 innings. I’m continually amazed by the propensity for folks to bail on what they “know,” the opinions the put together the last four months, for what they see in four starts. I keep saying it, and here it is again, but if you’re doing this, changing your opinion of a player based on three weeks, you are going to lose in fantasy baseball. Period. Not really that complicated.
So why should you hold Gausman?
1 – Last season Gausman had a solid 3.61 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 174 strikeouts over 179.2 innings. He also walked a mere 2.35 batters per nine leading to a 3.70 K/BB ratio, the 21st best in baseball.
2 – Gausman was slighter better than his season long marks in the second half last season. Here are those totals: 3.10 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.90 K/9, 2.71 BB/9.
So why are we dumping an ascending 26 year old, coming off a solid season, because of 18.2 innings of struggles. What, you think folks don’t struggles for week’s at a time? Here are some struggles that some of the better arms in baseball had last season:
David Price had a 5.76 ERA last April.
Justin Verlander had a 5.46 ERA last April
Chris Archer had a 5.01 ERA last April.
Carlos Martinez had a 5.18 ERA in May.
Jose Quintana had a 5.51 ERA in June.
John Lackey had a 5.06 ERA in July.
Carlos Carrasco had a 5.20 ERA in August.
Danny Duffy had a 5.50 ERA in September.
Struggles happen folks. Show some backbone and be patient. If Gausman doesn’t turn things around, and that’s possible, at least you will give him time to turn things around because the numbers right now just make no sense (6.27 K/9, 5.79 BB/9, 2.04 WHIP, .379 BABIP).
THIS AND THAT...
Matt Andriese has made starts, 30 of them, out of his 57 outings in the bigs. In three starts this season he’s the owner of a 3.38 ERA and 1.31 WHIP with 14 strikeouts in 16 innings. In his 30 career starts he’s gone 10-9 with a 4.38 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 7.3 strikeouts per nine. He’s that guy meaning he’s an AL-only option.
Wei-Yin Chen has made three starts with a 2-0 record and 3.94 ERA. He’s no ace, but he’s also much better than that damn 4.96 ERA showed him to be. He’s not back on his game in the early going, his K/9 rate is way down at 5.63 per nine, and his fly ball rate is really elevated at 48 percent. Once things normalize I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him be a passable rotation filler in mixed leagues.
Don’t move too quickly.
Jharel Cotton has been a mixed bag. He’s posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.44 WHIP through 16.2 innings. Cotton hasn’t allowed a homer, but he has walked nine batters even though 51.3 percent of his pitches have found the strike zone (14th best). I’ve said it for a long while now, I think we – as an industry – overestimated his impact this season. Of course, I didn’t buy in to that at all and warned all spring about Cotton, which means I’m either going to look really smart, or potentially pretty dumb, when the season plays out.
Michael Fulmer has been the same guy he was last year through three starts. The only appreciable difference has been the GB/FB rate which has fallen from 1.56 to 1.12. That’s likely a sample size thing.
Chad Kuhl is a name I’m hearing about a lot. Not really sure why that is. The Pirates youngster has a 3.89 ERA and 1.28 WHIP through 17 big league starts. Nothing to see there. His K/9 (6.85) and BB/9 (2.76) are boring as all get out as well. His 1.08 GB/FB ratio is below the league average. I could go on, but I think it’s pretty simple. For some reason, could it possibly be the 2.60 ERA in three outings, people seem interested. He’s nothing but a streaming option in mixed leagues.
Here’s how to get a drinking game named after you.
Has your lovemaking ever been loud enough to stop a tennis match?
Steven Matz has started to throw. The team still claims to not know what is exactly wrong with his arm. When asked, GM Sandy Alderson said he didn’t know. The club also doesn’t know when the hurler will be back on the bump. “I think this is going to take a while,” Alderson said. “The purpose of the rest is to let everything quiet down and then crank it back it up and see how it responds.”
Shelby Miller has made three starts with a 3.50 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, and after last year’s horror show that’s some excellent work. Miller has averaged six innings each trip to the bump, and he’s struck out 17 batters in 18 innings. Also interesting is the 1.63 GB/FB ratio. Have to think that is a sample size thing, but a few more grounders would be a great boon to his owners. Also, great to see that after throwing 92.9 mph last season that the number is way up at 95.0.
When you’re hungry, you do what you gotta do.
Aaron Nola was my guy coming into the season. Most folks were concerned about the health of his arm, but so far so good. In fact, he’s third in baseball in terms of velocity increase in his fastball from last season to this one. Check out the negative numbers in that link and you will see the names of Jake Arrieta (-2.6) and Kyle Hendricks (-2.5). I would be concerned about the lost velocity if those situations continue long-term.
David Price (elbow) keeps throwing, but the reports continue to be mixed at best. Apparently the lefty is dealing with soreness at the moment. There’s no telling what this means long-term, but obviously one would have to think that the Red Sox will slow things down a bit in the short term. April’s gone, and now I’m thinking at least half of May will be as well. At least. Heck, I'm thinking June at this point.
Andrew Triggs has been terrific as he’s failed to allow an earned run this season. In fact, his run of 17.2 innings to start a season without an earned run allowed set an Oakland Athletics record. Folks are going bonkers with him at the moment. Triggs has walked only four batters in his three outings, but he’s also struck out just nine men leading to a pathetic 4.58 K/9 mark. He’s throwing his fastball about seven percent less than last year and somehow he’s the owner of a 12.5 percent line drive rate and .196 BABIP. Not to burst your bubble completely, OK I do love to do that, Triggs success this year isn’t who he is. Triggs has seen his SIERA go up nine tenths from last season to 4.19 and his xFIP is up eight tenths to 4.10. Be cautious folks, even with that sparkling ERA.
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).