Bases haven’t been nearly full at all in Michael Fulmer‘s starts this past month!

After a rocky beginning to his Major League career, Fulmer has been absolutely on fire the past month, vaulting from “meh, another big prospect called up too early, schwatev” to “this guy is ROY!”  As in, Roy Campanella!  Wait, I don’t think he was a pitcher…

Featuring a huge fastball and an awesome beard, it’s getting tougher and tougher to not jump on board the Fulmer train on his incredible scoreless streak and 5 Ws in a row.  I usually write the intro before breaking down the start, but I worked a little out-of-sequence today.  Spoiler alert!  I’m so on board.  I’m trading in my “Mustache Rides – $0.25” shirt with Grey on it to “Beard Rides – $0.50” with Fulmer.  So without any more ado or facial hair-play, here’s how Fulmer looked yesterday in a dominating start against the Yanks:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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I’m back baby! Returned henceforth from thy vacation, and I have no idea if that attempt at Ol’ English made any sense. Now I wanna drink a 40! Which is something Julio Urias can’t do!

So much happens in baseball when you’re gone for two weeks! Well, I was just on vacation for one week, but most of it was without internet. Yeah – rough! First time I’ve done a big vacation like that during the baseball season. Not gonna lie though – kinda worth it for a little break. But alas – we have a lot to catch up on! Like Urias getting a very surprising (to me) call up this early. Sure he was mowing down AAA, but he’s 19 and the Dodgers seemed to go into the year with a lot of pitching options. Then Alex Wood went from scratched (giving Urias his debut in a “spot-start” that went poorly against the Mets) to the DL, so Urias has a shot to stick in the rotation for a bit. With that little bit of extra leash, how would Urias respond in a tough matchup at Wrigley? Here’s how the MLB’s youngest cub fared last Thursday afternoon:

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Yeah, I did already use this title, didn’t I?! Manaea? Maeda? Tomato? Tomatto?! Let’s call the whole thing off! What’s funny is Sean Manaea and Kenta Maeda couldn’t be more different either, with the former is a lefty hard-thrower, and the other a righty craftsman…

I got a good amount of flack the first few weeks of the Pitcher Profile ranks for not moving Maeda way up, but I think he’s going to end up a pretty average pitcher in fantasy terms – something akin to a standard league SP4. Like Grey’s Pulitzer-winningMatt Harvey is sucking because of the playoff workload last year” advice on the Podcast, I’ve always maintained the entirely unique and previously un-thought “Maeda could start strong, but will fade as the league sees him more.” We’re all about the hard-hitting advice here at Razzball!

We’ve begun to see the cracks in the armor from Maeda (can’t use a different phrase because of Jeremy Lin, thanks ESPN). After a 0.36 ERA through his first 4 starts, he sported a 5.82 the next 4 heading into yesterday afternoon. Didn’t expect it to regress this fast! Comments exclaiming for a Maeda move-up in my ranks certainly went away! But within this 8-start microcosm, I indeed think Maeda is somewhere in that law of averages. So after a few requests for a Maeda profile, I decided to break down his start yesterday afternoon in a saucy matchup at Petco to see how he looks.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Nothing is a better, giant surprise than a Rubby in the morning!

Rubby De La Rosa has always been a guy with a power fastball and plus slider, but it’s never been enough.  Ks haven’t been there, he couldn’t get lefties out, and he’s looked more and more like Nathan Eovaldi rather than “the next big thing”.  But after yesterday’s outing, Rubby has somehow limited lefties to a .162 average and only allowed 1 homer in 87 LH batters faced.  Compare that to last year, when lefties murdered him for .315 and 20 homers in 410 batters faced.

After a pretty brutal start – including 3 relief appearances due to the D’backs bullpen being overtaxed – I really didn’t think too much about Rubby and his upside.  Kinda thought “he is who we thought he is!”  Wait, that’s a different Arizona sports team…  His last 5 starts have been really good with solid Ks, but I thought for sure the Giants with their bevy of lefties would crash the party.  Alas, we got a Giant surprise!  Here’s how Rubby looked yesterday afternoon in Zona against those Gigantes:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Before we point fingers and exclaim how “right or wrong” we are, know that I am writing this intro BEFORE Aaron Nola‘s start yesterday afternoon. I don’t want my intro to sully my thoughts from the top down. The post needs to read like a before-and-after! Kinda like how Grey slammed my Joe Ross rank endlessly on the Pod “before” the season, and even with awesome results “after” 5 starts, he’s still going to find ways to troll me on him… Sigh… Also, I need to use a thesaurus on the word “before”…

So why was I so slow to sip any of the Nola Kool-Aid? Well, here’s the red flags I saw PRIOR TO yesterday’s start: .227 BABIP, he averages 90.0 on his fastball, was never a K guy through the Minors, K rate has jumped from 7.88 in 77.2 IP last year to 9.90 in 40.0 IP this year, and finally, he’s looking like a 2-pitch guy right now with 59.5% fastballs and 33.7% curveballs. Now, I admittedly use Fangraphs as my reference, and maybe he mixes a few fastball variants and he’s leaning off his change-up since his curve is working so well right now. Unless you’re in the MLB Man Cave, you’re not watching every single SP every start (plus you’re like, a few weeks behind the current action, so that’s lame), so I concede I hadn’t watched Nola yet this year. But after the Nola-grilling on my ranks in the comments last week, seeing Nola was getting the start on Sunday made him the prime Pitcher to be Profiled. Here’s how he looked yesterday afternoon in the Crayola Canyon:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Man, what a week for starting pitcher callups!  Thankfully we’re seeing Major League clubs unshy of bringing up their future aces instead of being little scaredy-cats and using the Super 2 as a crutch.  “Stop wasting some of your better pitched innings in the Minors, ya bums!”  That was me two years ago.  I was also skinnier and not married yet, so not everything has gotten better…

Right on the heels of the Jose Berrios callup, the A’s promoted Sean Manaea after an absolutely meteoric rise after being traded by the Royals in the Ben Zobrist deal.  Manaea always had power stuff and great K-rates, but never quite harnessed the command to get himself atop prospect lists.  But when you have awesome pure stuff, sometimes one minor tweak can take you from “meh” to “mania”!  After a 21:4 K:BB in Triple A over 18 innings this year, it certainly came with a lot of fanfare that Manaea was getting called up, and he’s surely scooped up in almost all leagues at this point.  Is he worth all the hype?  Here’s how he looked on Friday night in his MLB debut against the Astros:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So I’m watching Raiders of the Lost Ark with my dad and following Tanner Roark strike out 15 Saturday afternoon, and all primed to write my “Raiders of the Lost Roark” pitcher profile. But then I was like, “Ya know what?! I already wrote on Joe Ross and the Nationals don’t need ANY MORE press! I’m not writing two of my first three 2016 profiles on Nats, get outta here!”

Option B: An argument I had with myself the other day: “Is Robbie Ray really that different than Carlos Rodon?” Think about it – both are lefties with mid-90s heat, plus off-speed pitchers, and are near unhittable. But they’re also two of the most frustrating pitchers to own with their control issues. So why would I love Rodon and bank on him figuring it out in my ranks and not have similar optimism for the also young (just turned 24) Ray? Mayyyyyyybe I shouldn’t broadcast to ALL of Razzball Nation my inner monologues… “What was that dream last night about? I think I was taking off my clothes in Miller Park with – – – -” Yeah, bad idea.

With Ray one of my two decent SP in REL, I decided to megalomaniacally (made up word?!) take the pitcher profile to Arizona and break down how Ray looked again the Pirates yesterday afternoon:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Grey beat me with the parallel to the other Aaron Sanchez, so I’ve got to cook up something different! …dammit.

As I mentioned in my first in-season re-ranks last week, I mentioned I always liked [the real] Aaron Sanchez‘s stuff and had some of my worst early-season regret not ranking him higher. But after that sizzling (…crap) debut, 5 K and 3 BB against the Yankees in his second course (…ahhhh!). It was still a quality start, but if he keeps walking guys, he’ll be a recipe for disaster (…OK, I’m done).

While it’s still too early to make blanket judgment calls, it’s nice to start having 3-game samples on starters as we head into week 3. Sanchez is likely owned in most mixed leagues, but in the RCLs where the name of the game is streaming, I wanted to see how “must-hold” he is in formats where starting pitchers are cycled in-and-out more than sex jokes in Two Broke Girls. Oh my god, have you seen that show?! Wife loves it, but it’s written by 12-yr-olds who giggle during sex ed class in middle school! Speaking of: “boobies”. Tee-hee! Wow, this got way off track. One of the more interesting starters going on Sunday afternoon, I decided to break down Sanchez’s third start on the young season to see how his command is maturing (hopefully maturing faster than I am…):

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re finally starting to settle into the season!  The Opening Week jitters are gone, and while we still say “small sample size” on everything – it’s not the size of the data but how you use it!

With starting pitching, most guys have only made their first start on the year – a few top-of-the-rotation guys have made two – so unless you see something drastic, you’re not panicking.  And full disclosure, I wrote this intro before Joe Ross‘s first start, so admittedly I am a little nervous…  I have several shares of Ross – on all my redrafts teams, I ranked him crazy high, he’s going to have my first born child…  But whatever happens, it’s still only one start!  This is one of the most nerve-racking Pitcher Profiles I’ve done!

My heavy investment in Ross made him an easy choice to break down for the first Profile on the young season, so here’s how he looked on Sunday afternoon hosting the Marlins, after having his start Saturday night postponed:

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The season is here baby! Boy what an awesome opening day… The Cardinals are in dead last in the NL Central! So beautiful…

Hard to believe we’re going into year 4 of the Pitcher Profiles. So much profiling! And it’s the 3rd year of the weekly re-ranks. I’m doing so much SP heavy-lifting that I might have a UCL injury!

Speaking of injuries, a lot has changed since I put out my initial ranks exactly a month ago, but it feels like this Spring was a little more injury-free than last year. In fact, the biggest elbow injury wasn’t even a pitcher! Take that, pitching detractors! It’s mostly been some surprise risers (my K:BB obsession gave me a Juan NicasiO-face looking at his stats!) and some guys losing their opening day rotation spot (wahhhh Paxton, whyyyyy?!). As always, green for ascenders and red for The Descenderists, who as a band should be marked in red. I haven’t heard anything about them for years!

We’ll be getting into the Profiling next week (everyone watched those first 3 games, seems silly to profile any of those Opening Day guys), so get ready for some GIFfing magic! Here’s my updated top 100 SP for the first week of the fantasy baseball season:

Please, blog, may I have some more?
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