Ray's Ramblings - Pitcher Report - 9/11
Can you trust the up and down Kevin Gausman? What about the Gray brothers - Sonny and Jon (and yes, I know they aren't really related). Why are we still talking about Matt Harvey? We shouldn't be. Lance Lynn doesn't quite bring the heat, but boy is he on a nice roll. Aaron Nola hasn't been great, but he's been pretty darn solid. Sean Newcomb has a big arm, even if he's got a major control issue. Clayton Richard is biding time as just a guy. Tanner Roark has been so-so overall, but he has been better of late.
Kevin Gausman is still a completely confounding own. Over his last four starts he’s allowed zero runs twice and five runs twice. Let’s go back a bit further. Over his last 12 starts, Gausman has a mere 4.12 ERA. Why? It’s the blow ups. Here are the 12 outings listed by earned runs.
That’s as many shutout efforts as games in which he allowed at least five earned runs. That’s why his ERA is still 4.12 for the last 12 outings. In that time, he’s struck out an impressive 76 batters in 67.2 innings. However, he’s also allowed 69 hits including a 1.73 HR/9 rate, and that includes two games in which he allowed four homers. He also has walked 3.19 batters per nine. Despite the often-impressive results from Gausman, I just don’t know how you can trust him.
Tyler Glasnow has been recalled by the Pirates. He has one of the, probably, 10 best arms in baseball. He’s actually pitching well, finally, as he’s streamlined his mechanics a bit. If a free agent in mixed leagues it’s time to add him. Disaster could follow, but with an arm blessed by the gods he’s worth an add all over the land.
Jon Gray has made 16 starts this season with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. That’s 295 big league innings with a 4.58 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He has 307 punchouts in those 295 frames, and his 1.51 GB/FB ratio is solid (the mark is an impressive 1.94 this season), but the overall results are just so-so. The arm is impressive. However, and it’s an old refrain, but he pitches for the Rockies and that severely damages his outlook. All that said, he is pitching well right now. Over his last nine outings Gray has permitted three or fewer runs each time out. He’s rolling along with a 2.82 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and a 3.57 K/BB ratio. Love the arm, but the concerns are obvious.
Sonny Gray has made seven starts with the Yankees. Despite a 2.74 ERA and 1.17 WHIP, Gray has a mere 3-4 record with the Yankees. Let’s go a bit deeper. Over his last 13 outings Gray’s just 7-6 despite a 2.09 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Give this man some run production folks. In those 13 outings Gray has allowed more than two earned runs – once. In 12-of-13 outings Gray has allowed two earned runs or less. He’s pitching as well as he ever has, even if his record doesn’t show it.
Matt Harvey had a successful outing last time out allowing two runs over five innings. Alas, he only generated two swings and misses on 74 pitches, and that flat-out stinks. “The swings and misses will come, the velocity will come, but I wanted to get five innings,” Harvey said. I’m sorry Matt, but they won’t be coming. I’ve written before about the importance of Harvey needing to hit 95 mph, and he just doesn’t get there any more (he was between 92 to 94 in his last outing). From March of this season... “Since 2015, when Harvey hits 98 mph on his fastball the swinging strike rate is 21.2 percent. When he is at 92 mph his swinging strike rate is 3.8 percent. In fact, any time that his fastball has been 96 or slower his swinging strike rate has been below nine percent, nowhere near the league average of 10.1 percent last season. Read that again. If Harvey’s fastball is 96 mph or slower he doesn’t generate a league average swinging strike rate.” This year his fastball has averaged 93.7 mph, his swinging strike rate has caved (7.7 percent) and his strikeout rate has vanished (6.75 per nine). Pretty simple.
Lance Lynn has been solid as all get out this season. After missing last season with Tommy John surgery, he’s returned to pitch... successfully, like he always has. Lynn has made 29 starts, covering 171.2 innings, and he’s posted a 2.94 ERA and a career best 1.16 WHIP. The walks are up, 3.57 per nine is a career worst, and the strikeouts are down at 7.29 (more than a batter off his career norm). I’ve been impressive by his durability and overall success. At the same time, his 2.04 K/BB ratio is troubling, and for the first time his SIERA and xFIP are both over four at 4.78 and 4.71. Still, he’s allowed more than two earned runs just once in his last 13 outings, pulling a Sonny Gray.
The Mariners will return two starters this week. Felix Hernandez will start Thursday and James Paxton Friday.
Aaron Nola left his last start having allowed one run, but thanks to some less than stellar bullpen work the number ended up being three. He’s been rough of late, allowing five or more earned runs in 3-of-5 outings, but that shouldn’t take away from his impressive overall work. Over his last 15 outings he owns a 3.15 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, a 10.11 K/9 rate, a 4.04 K/BB ratio and is 7-5 with a 1.57 GB/FB ratio for the Phillies. He certainly started slowly, but he’s pitched pretty darn well for half the season now, bumps or not. He hasn’t broken out as I hoped, but he’s been very solid.
Sean Newcomb is 2-8 with a 4.38 ERA and 1.61 WHIP for the Braves over 16 starts. He’s failed to go more than 5.0 innings in 4-straight starts, but at least he’s only allowed one homer in that time. He’s struck out more batters than innings pitched (9.39 per nine), but he’s continually beating himself with the free pass holding an absurd 5.34 BB/9 rate. He owns a .298 wOBA in low leverage situations, but in medium (.367) and high (.429) he’s been terrible. The rookie is learning on the job, and it’s often been painful to watch.
Poo. Sometimes it can ruin a date.
Clayton Richard shut out the Cardinals the last time out and has allowed three runs his last two starts. However, he’s allowed five homers his last four games pushing his ERA up to 4.38. Taking a deeper look, here are his numbers in the second half of the season: 4.96 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 1.17 HR/9 and a .363 wOBA. He just doesn’t miss enough bats to consistently get batters out.
Tanner Roark has won 12 games though he hasn’t pitched very well as he owns a 4.48 ERA, a career worst mark and more than a whole point above his 3.34 career rate. He has a 1.32 WHIP, another career worst (career 1.18). Oddly, he’s posted those ratios despite a career best 8.13 batters per nine. Alas, Roark has also walked 3.15 batters per nine, another career worst, and his 1.22 HR/9 is also well above his 0.89 career rate. Seems like things have finally stabilized for him though as he’s made seven starts since the beginning of August with a 3.27 ERA and six quality starts (the one time he missed he allowed two earned runs in 5.2 innings). During the run, he’s jacked up the strikeout rate to 8.80 per nine while seeing the walk rate dip to 2.66 per nine. The only blemish is the eight homers he’s allowed.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday-Friday, 8-10 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).