Ray's Ramblings - Pitcher Report 5/15/18
Bundy was back in form last time out. Duffy cannot find his form. Giolito has been hit or miss (mostly miss). Jon Gray - rollercoaster. Hellickson and Newcomb couldn't be more different. Nola is a star. Not Nova. What is up with Paxton? And what about that Pomeranz fella? Urena worth noting? Richard or Romero worth a look? And what of Snell who struggled last time out? Finally, when will we see Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech?
NO RUSH IN CHICAGO
“I think we have to continue to move forward”, said manager Rick Renteria. “I don’t see us jumping the gun and trying to do something to infuse, at this particular moment, something to take away from what’s going on right now by having a young player come up right now. They have to still do some things down there before we get them here.” His thoughts are echoed by GM Rick Hahn who “…has said repeatedly that prospects’ development and the major league win-loss total will be completely independent of one another.”
What this means is that Eloy Jimenez and Michael Kopech, despite their minor league success to this point, will not be rushed to the big leagues until they are truly ready to be successful. They won’t be up before the Super 2 date in June from the sound of it. It may not even occur at that point for either man. Barring an injury or trade, it would seem that neither is very likely to be promoted in the first half, with Kopech likely ahead of Jimenez slightly. This means that both uber-talented youngsters are rough mixed league holds unless your in a 15-team setup, or if you’re in a keeper/dynasty league.
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Dylan Bundy bounced back the last time out with seven shutout innings against the Rays. With that effort came all the questions about whether Bundy should be added off waivers. Folks, as I’ve said repeatedly, and all along, Bundy shouldn’t be on waivers. If for some reason you didn’t hear that advice the last two weeks hear it now and add Bundy.
Danny Duffy stinks. I’ve basically said some version of that the last three years, and though there have been some solid efforts in that time, there has also been poor efforts and injuries dotting the landscape. This year, he just stinks. In nine outings he’s 1-5 with a 6.51 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. The strikeouts are down (7.85 per nine), the walks are way up (4.21 per nine) and ditto the homers (2.30 per nine). He’s pitching terribly. As I’ve always claimed, he’s just rotation filler.
Lucas Giolito can’t get lefties out as they have a massive .403 wOBA against him. Worse yet, he’s walked 20 lefties leading to a mind-numbing 9.47 BB/9 rate against them. That means his K/BB ratio against lefties this season is 0.55. I honestly didn’t know it was even possible to post a mark that is 1/5 the league average. He’s been awful, and there are no signs of a turnaround at the moment.
Jon Gray has allowed two homers and four walks the last four starts. Alas, he allowed six runs the last time out to push his ERA up to an unsightly 4.85. The xFIP is 2.99, and the 4.92 K/BB ratio rocks, but the fact that he’s been so Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a bit nerve-racking. Gray has allowed six runs three times, and four of nine starts he’s allowed at least five earned runs. The other five starts he’s allowed a total of four runs. How do you trust that? Certainly can’t at the moment at home (.355 wOBA, .491 SLG).
Jeremy Hellickson has a 2.20 ERA for the Nationals and he’s allowed one run his last three games. It’s been a remarkable start to the season for the righty. He’s only walked two men in four outings while permitting two homers in six games. He’s been on his “A” game in every start. History suggests, strongly, that there is no chance this run will be extended much longer. Given his lack of top-shelf stuff, the fall could be sudden and significant.
Sean Newcomb allowed one his last time out. As it appears, that’s the norm nowadays. Over his last three starts, lasting 19 innings, the big lefty has permitted just five hits. Five. Yes, that’s amazing. That run drops his season-long effort to 32 hits allowed in 46.2 innings as batters have hit .190. The 10.41 strikeout per nine rate is pretty amazing too, though that 4.24 BB/9 rate still sticks out like a sore… pinky toe. Even with his dominance the last two outings he’s still walked seven batters in 12 innings. Sooner or later the walks are gonna crush him unless he eliminates them.
Aaron Nola has made nine starts with a 6-1 record, 1.99 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and a 3.92 K/BB ratio. The K’s are down a bit at 7.82 per nine, but the rest of his game is A+.
Ivan Nova has allowed 14 runs his last three starts covering 12.1 innings. He’s the same guys overall as he should have been expected to be. That is a guy who is a streamer in mixed leagues, nothing more.
James Paxton had 16 Ks back on May 2nd. The last two times out he’s struck out 11 batters in 15 innings. Overall the 11.91 K/9 rate is stupendous. It’s impressive he has worked at least six innings each of his last four outings, but there is one concern, beyond the health woes of course. Paxton owns a 47.3 percent ground ball rate for his career. The mark is way down at 31.3 percent this season. Keep an eye on that change. It’s not a good one, not in the least, as he’s added 15 percent to his fly ball rate (46.1 percent).
More on Freddy Peralta can be seen in Rookies & MLB Notes.
Drew Pomeranz walked five guys the last time out to grow his walk rate to 4.74 per nine. The guy just doesn’t limit the walks enough for my liking. Like Paxton, his groundball rate has gone in the wrong direction, though the game is much smaller (this season it’s 37.5 percent versus his career rate of 44.3). His hard-hit ball rate is also up, seven percent above his norm, causing his BABIP to skyrocket to .343. He needs to get ahead more as his 55 percent first-pitch strike rate is extremely poor, and that 7.1 percent swinging strike rate is strongly suggestive of his better than K per inning rate receding.
Clayton Richard. Actually got some questions about him after he held the Cardinals to two runs over eight innings. Last season he had a 4.79 ERA. This season the mark is 5.20. His current WHIP of 1.45 would actually be a three-year low. He’s a durable batting practice machine.
Fernando Romero has made three starts for the Twins and looked sharp. He’s only worked 16.2 innings but he’s struck out 20. On the downside, he’s walked nine though since he’s allowed only 11 hits his WHIP is still solid at 1.20. Toss in his 54 percent groundball rate and you have a youngster who appears to be settling in just fine.
Just when we thought the concerns were behind us, Blake Snell allowed three homers and five runs over 3.1 innings against the Orioles. That’s five homers in three outings and just 12 strikeouts his last three starts (16.1 innings). Baby steps, and still positive overall, but that last outing, and all those homers, remind us that we’re not yet to the point where we can “count” on Snell.
Jose Urena has allowed three or fewer runs his last four outings. In that time his ERA is 2.84 despite an 0-3 record. He’s only walked four batters and even has 22 punchouts in 25.1 innings. He’s just a guy, but the guy is pitching fairly well at the moment.
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