Ray's Ramblings - Pitcher Report 8/8/2018

Posted on 2018-08-08 15:01 by Ray Flowers


Let's look at some arms. Arrieta is pitching well, but. Bailey, come on. Cahill is exceeding expectations. Castillo has finally found his groove. Chen is making history. Freeland is closing in on some of his own. Gibson is making me nervous. Jon Gray is... dominating. Leake and Musgrove producing quality starts. LeBlanc still effective. Lynn suddenly has been. Can it last? What is wrong with Ervin Santana? Straily and Trevor Williams just doing their own thang.

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Jake Arrieta dominated the Diamondbacks with eight shutout innings in his last outing. He’s allowed one homer in five games, while walking four his last three games. Though he has a 3.02 ERA at home and 3.20 mark on the road, his xFIP marks in the two spots are 4.06 and 4.13. The lack of punchouts, just 6.43 per nine, doesn’t separate him enough from the pack to make him anything other than a solid option on the bump.

Homer Bailey allowed four runs over two starts in his return to the bigs, but you knew it couldn’t last, right? Come on, you knew it, didn’t you? Bailey allowed five runs the last time out permitting 11 hits while recording just 10 outs against the Mets. Get this. Bailey is owed $23 million next season and $25 million in 2020 (it’s a mutual option that the Reds will turn down leading to a $5 million buyout). Hey, it’s good work if you can get it. 

Trevor Cahill continues to roll, and continues to make my advice to ignore him look like poor advice. I wouldn’t have changed it at any point this season mind you, but this is what can happen in that sometimes players simply surprise. Through 13 starts he has a 3.12 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with a K per inning. He’s 10 innings from reaching 85 which would be a four year best, and that 1.07 WHIP, after posting a mark of 1.42 the previous seven years, well, yeah, it’s kinda out of nowhere. Hell, the mark has been 1.48 the previous five years. Sometimes it all comes together. Note that the injury thing is still floating around and is a legitimate concern.

Luis Castillo has a 4.91 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Those aren’t what his owners were expecting as an effort of 3.91 and 1.23 likely would have disappointed. It is what it is this season, and it’s just not going to be what was expected. That doesn’t mean things haven’t been much better of late, cause they have. But, there is a bit of a rainbow starting to show itself with Castillo. Over his last six outings, since the start of July, Castillo has been quite the effective hurler. The strikeouts are a bit low at 7.56 per nine, but the rest of his game has been what was expected back in draft season with a 2.43 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, 1.62 walks per nine and 0.54 homers per nine. He’s allowed as many as three runs just once in those six outings and just three runs his last three. He’s finally “on” his game.

Wei-Yin Chen has a 1.94 ERA at home and a 10.27 ERA on the road. That’s flat out amazing. The difference is 8.33 ERA points, which is astounding. Looks like the current record is just 7.09 by Pete Falcone, so we could be witnessing history this season with Chen. 

Kyle Freeland has a 2.18 ERA in 10 starts at home. The only pitcher in Rockies history with an ERA under 3.00, in at least 10 starts, was Jorge De La Rosa in 2013. Freeland’s ERA on the road is 3.74.

Can you tell me why someone would do this?

Kyle Gibson has been terrific, but I’ve been filled with trepidation all season long, haven’t you? The last four starts I think we’re starting to see that concern be realize as he’s gone 1-3 with a 4.44 ERA, a 1.32 WHIP and a 2.10 K/BB ratio. Given his career marks of a 4.52 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP and a 2.05 K/BB, one has to wonder if the last four outings are a guide to the future or if this is merely a speed bump in a career best season?

Jon Gray since the demotion: 2-0, 1.52 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and a 357 K/BB ratio over four outings. Gray has allowed a total of seven runs in the four outings, five earned, and the only negative is the dip in his strikeout rate at 7.58 per nine. With the results finally matching the skills, he’s worth rolling out there in virtually every format at the moment.

Mike Leake is back doing his thing, that being producing quality starts for the Mariners, something he has done each of his last four starts. His success goes back further than that too. Over his last 14 starts he might only be 4-4 but he owns a 3.11 ERA with a 1.17 WIHP and a 4.00 K/BB ratio. Those are all impressive numbers, other than the win-loss thing, but he lacks the one quality that would make him a star – the strikeout. Over the 15 outings the K/9 rate is a mere 5.22 per nine, and that’s simply awful since you’re giving up three batters per nine to the league average. Still, in the right setup, he’s well worth using (i.e. most of them).

Wade LeBlanc has been a heck of a trooper this season for his owners. He got bombed for seven runs against the Astros on August 1st, but he allowed four runs in the two outings wrapped around it. He has an interesting trait of being better the more difficult the situation. Here are his wOBA marks with the bases empty (.306), men on base (.299) and men in scoring position (.278).

Lance Lynn has made two outings for the Yankees, and somehow, he’s produced 11.2 scoreless frames. Can’t say I’m expecting some huge turnaround given that he’s been awful this season, but it is pretty damn interesting that a guy who owns a 4.97 BB/9 rate this season has walked just two batters his last three outings. Intriguing, but I can barely muster cautious optimism.

Joe Musgrove is the new Mike Leake. OK, his K-rate is a little higher at 6.81 per nine, but that’s still a less than ideal mark. However, he’s gone seven innings in 4-straight, something we rarely see anymore, and in the last three he’s allowed four tuns total in a run that includes a road start in Cleveland and Colorado. He’s also allowed two runs in 5-of-6 outings to lower his ERA to 3.41 over 12 outings. Nothing substantial, but really solid.

How many cupcakes could you eat?

Ervin Santana has made three starts, and it hasn’t been terrific by any means. He’s lasted just 14.2 innings in the three starts with a mere nine strikeouts and four homers allowed. He’s also permitted 10 runs. He’s posted an absurdly low 0.33 GB/FB ratio, well off his 1.01 career mark. Let’s say it’s a sample size thing. Still, after averaging 92-93 mph on his fastball each of the past six years, the heater ain’t heating anything with a current mark of 88.8 mph. He’s not going to be successful unless he finds the missing 3-4 mph. It’s as simple as that.

Dan Straily’s last eight outings include a 3.83 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and a 7.85 K/9 rate. Given that his career marks are 4.26, 1.29 and 7.79 he’s been pitching like… himself.

Trevor Williams has been en fuego the last four allowing a total of two runs. That’s fantastic work. Same time, he’s walked eight batters against a mere 12 strikeouts over 22 innings. He just doesn’t miss bats, and the walk rate continues to be league average. He’s a streamer without the appeal of ever producing strikeouts (over his last 17 outings he has one game with more than six strikeouts, a seven punchout effort).

Wizard of Oz, the secrets.


You can hear Ray, Monday through Friday, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Ray is on The Fantasy Drive 8-10 PM EST Monday-Friday, and he’s also on the Guru Elite Show Thursday from 2-4 PM EST. You can follow Ray on Twitter at @baseballguys.