Boxscore Bits: June 23rd, 2022

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A few thoughts on the pitchers from Tuesday’s games:

FOR STARTERS

Wednesday’s Starters

Sorted by ERA

Business As Usual: Nothing actionable

  • Carlos Rodón, Pablo López, Zack Wheeler, Jon Gray, Luis Castillo (fine enough v. LAD), Triston McKenzie (standard issue bad start, not worried), Jordan Montgomery, Tyler Anderson, Michael Wacha (7 Ks in 6 IP, too !), Shane Baz (only 4.7 IP, but did well enough), Ross Stripling, Mike Clevinger, Sonny Gray (some of the expected regression), Adam Wainwright (it was bad, but not panic-inducing)

Notable Gems: The standouts who merit some extra attention

  • Shohei Ohtani – The single best player in baseball (and it’s not even close) showed his pure excellence over the last two days with 8 RBIs on Tuesday and then 13 Ks on Wednesday. I just do not see any way he’s not the unquestioned best player in baseball. He has definitely made it a question about whether you should use him at DH or P this year. He’s the 16th ranked hitter and 15th ranked starting pitcher on the Auction Calculator.
  • Charlie Morton – Here comes Morton! Back-to-back 7-inning gems (2 ER, 6 H, 20 Ks in 14 IP) and four straight with strikeout dominance (40 Ks & 40% K% in 25 June IP) have gotten his ERA back under 5.00 for the first time since May 20th. I still feel like he has a good chance to be this year’s Luis Castillo (7.22 ERA thru May; 2.73 from June on). Even during the struggles of April-May, he has shown glimpses throughout, usually with a couple innings per start, but he could not avoid the blow-up inning (or two, in some starts). He gets a spicy 2-step that will test just how back he is with trips to PHI and CIN. I’m definitely starting him, but not without a tinge of nervousness.
  • George Kirby – Kirby gave NFBCers a hot 9 ER in 10 IP immediately after being picked up, but they barely remember that little hiccup now that he’s rebounded with a 2.17 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 29 IP with 27 Ks and 2 Ws in the five starts . He’ll likely be in Biz as Usual for the next few starts unless he has a major outlier start on either end. He gets a juicy 2-step at home against BAL and OAK next week.
  • Keegan Thompson – Is Thompson getting ready to whipsaw everyone again? After putting up a 1.38 ERA / 0.92 WHIP in 13 IP with 3 wins, he started to garner attention in fantasy leagues. He did well enough the first start after a lot of people picked him up (5.3 IP / 3 ER with a win), but the looming 2-step at BAL / at NYY had plans for those ratios. Obviously, everyone was rightly afraid of the at NYY start, but he was started in 81% of Main Events that week and delivered a hot 24.32 ERA in just 3.7 IP. That Yankees start was on a Sunday (0.7 IP / 3 ER) and he was promptly cut in 22 of 47 Main Events that night just in time to rebound with back-to-back gems, netting 12 IP with an 0.75 ERA & WHIP including 16 Ks. He was heavily re-rostered this week for the at PIT start, but the whipsaw comes in that he now faces a CIN / BOS 2-step. I’m too scared of BOS to even take on the CIN start. Be careful.

Decent Enough: Mostly biz as usual but with some commentary

  • Luis Garcia – Garcia is suffering from a major third-time-through problem with a .978 OPS in those 58 PA after a .603 first time through and .582 second time through. He’s having a good season and I’m not super worried, but he might start seeing more outings cut around the 5 IP mark unless he shows he can handle that third time through more consistently. Even last year’s .832 mark would be a substantial improvement.
  • Eric Lauer – 5 ER is usually a dud, but he went 6 IP and had 5 Ks. HRs have been the big issue over his last three starts, with 8 in 17.3 IP after 8 in his first 56.7 IP. Two of the outings were in homer havens of WAS and CIN, too. He has clearly regressed back to Lauerian levels and this is probably where he will live for the remainder of the season which is just fine.

Duds: The worst of the day from fantasy relevant arms

  • Lucas Giolito – Giolito is getting hit a lot harder this year and his penchant for home runs has been exacerbated. He has a 2.1 HR / 9 and 20% HR / FB rate, yielding a 5.40 ERA in 63.3 IP. The 3.70 SIERA would be more encouraging if I thought the HR issue was unlucky and due to substantial regression. It can definitely come down from 2.1, but I’m not sure it’s coming down below 1.5 until we see his command improve. He is still missing bats (27% K, 13% SwStr), but getting crushed whenever he misses.
  • Tarik Skubal – Three straight duds (9.88 ERA / 2.04 WHIP) might have some panicking, but there is some HR regression at play (1 HR in each start) plus a pair of tough opponents within the trio (TOR, BOS). His season ERA is now at 3.63 ERA. I’m still encouraged by the 1.13 WHIP, 21% K-BB, and 0.7 HR / 9. I’m nowhere near sitting him, even with a trip to SF on tap.
  • Carlos Carrasco – Going to HOU is always tough. Really only included him to say I’m not worried by this.
  • Paul Blackburn – First true dud on the year. Four of the seven runs came in a nightmare 5th inning where he did not even register an out, opening 1B-HR-1B-2B before being relieved and then Domingo Tapia allowed two more to score on Blackburn’s ledger. We’ve know regression was coming, but I would’ve thought it’d come last time out at BOS as opposed to home v. SEA. He gets at NYY / at SEA next week which is a really tough decision. I sat him for the HOU / BOS 2-step a couple weeks back and I’m inclined to do the same here. We’re playing with house money with Blackburn, so I do not really feel obligated to push him in spots where I’m not comfortable. The upside isn’t something I’m worried about missing. It’s not like he’s a strikeout stud or anything so I highly doubt we miss something like 6 scoreless with 10 Ks or anything. I often say that if you can not start ’em in a 2-step then they are on the chopping block as a cut. It’s not hard-and-fast where you MUST cut them, but you have to at least consider it. I have the roster flexibility to sit Blackburn and still hold but I truly would not blame anyone who does not want to start him and decides to cut him because of that.

STREAMER THURSDAY

A look at some available arms to stream on the weekend.

  • Zach Eflin at SD on Saturday – A Machado-less Padres lineup would be easier to take on for sure and while Eflin does have his hiccups, this is one of the best widely available arms you can find for the weekend (20% Y !, 12% ESPN).
  • Mitch Keller at TB on Friday – The Rays offense has been brutal this month, sitting 27th in wRC + against righties along with a 26% K rate.
  • Graham Ashcraft at SF on Friday – Scary matchup, but I love the heavy groundball rate (56%) that power sinker (97 mph) generates and think there are hints of strikeout upside (10% SwStr his L4 outings).
  • Zach Davies v. DET on Saturday – Toting a 2.81 ERA / 0.97 WHIP over his L5 with 28 Ks in 32 IP.
  • Anthony DeSclafani v. CIN on Sunday – Rough return from the IL, but I’d take the shot at home against the Reds if I’m scouring the wire.
  • Alex Faedo at ARI on Saturday – Not sweating a rough outing at BOS and would definitely be open to picking on ARI here.
  • Ryan Feltner at MIN on Sunday – I like the 19% K-BB, but he did not take advantage of his outing in MIA earlier this week so there are no guarantees here just because he’s out of Coors.
  • Rich Hill at CLE on Sunday – Hail Mary kind of start on Sunday because you never know if you’re getting 2 IP or 6 IP. Shouldn’t kill your numbers and could definitely be a boon.

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