Another week, another No-Hitter. Or Two. This time from an unlikely candidate in Wade Miley. Good for him, but what is slightly troublesome here, is the fact that he threw it against the Indians. This gives the Indians the dubious distinction of being one of eighteen teams in history to be No-Hit twice in the same season and there are still nearly five months of baseball left! Third times the charm? Let’s hope not for their sake. John Means threw the other No-No which was a dropped third strike away from a Perfect Game, he has looked phenomenal this year. Something not many Orioles pitchers have been able to say for quite some time.
In other notable news, Sean Manaea flirted with a Perfect Game the same night as Miley which was eventually broken up by the Rays in the eighth inning. Also, Jacob deGrom was scratched in his first start of the week with an inflamed lat muscle, which is something to keep an eye on.
After a little more than a month’s worth of baseball in the books I think one thing is certain. This is going to be the year of the pitcher. There have been four No-Hitters, more strikeouts and offense is down across the entire league. Does some of this have to do with April weather? Sure, but the real “issue” depending on how you look at it is, the MLB’s doctoring of baseballs for the third time in four years. At least this time they admitted they were doing it. We expected offense to be down, but to what degree? Week by week we’re finding out just what degree that is. And for the sake of this weekly post alone, it’s made for some riveting writing I will say that. With that said my weekly No-No pick of the week is…(drum roll please)… Shane Bieber! Revenge time! Now let’s get goin.
1. Shane Bieber CLE: (5/11 vs CHC)(5/16 @ SEA)
– Oh there he is. I took the easy way out with my No-No of the week. But you would be hard-pressed to find a better pitcher in baseball right now.
2. John Means BAL: (5/11 @ NYM)(5/16 vs NYY)
– He’s really been the biggest surprise for me this year. Ultimately culminating in his No-Hitter last Wednesday. Facing off against the two New York teams this week should be interesting as he’ll be in the national spotlight, I for one can not wait to watch both of these starts.
3. Yu Darvish SD: (5/11 @ COL)(5/16 vs STL)
– In all but his first start of the season Darvish has been dominant. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in any game since then, and opponents are batting a mere .186 against him. He has 57 K’s in 43.2 IP so not much else needs to be said right now.
4. Marcus Stroman NYM: (5/11 vs BAL)(5/16 @ TB)
– Stroman has been the victim of some shoddy defense during his last 2 outings causing him to have to exit the game earlier than we’d like. With that said he’s still been really effective all year and I really like both these matchups.
5. Pablo Lopez MIA: (5/10 @ ARI)(5/15 @ LAD)
– Lopez has allowed 0 ER’s in 4 of his 7 starts this year. He’s allowed 2 or less in 6 of 7. He’s been just about as steady as they come this year and I’ve come to expect that out of Lopez already in his short time in the majors.
6. Lance McCullers Jr. HOU: (5/11 vs LAA)(5/16 vs TEX)
– He seems to be rounding back into form finally evidenced by his 17 K’s over his last 2 starts. It was only a matter of time until McCullers and his nasty breaking ball came back full throttle. You can trust him now, especially with 2 home starts this week.
7. Kyle Gibson TEX: (5/10 @ SF)(5/16 @ HOU)
– I never thought I’d rank Gibson this high in a column of this nature but here I am. He’s on a streak of 6 consecutive quality starts in a row and his last time out he tied his season-high of 8 K’s. He’s never going to blow everybody away but his control of the strike zone and pitch mix this year is continuing to keep hitters off balance. Until he proves otherwise, keep running him out there.
8. Brady Singer KC: (5/11 @ DET)(5/16 @ CHW)
– He’s not flashy but ever since his call-up last season he’s been really reliable for such a young pitcher. He has 29 K’s in 29 IP and opponents are batting just .211 against him. His best start of the season was against the Tigers, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB and 8 K’s.
9. Max Fried ATL: (5/11 vs TOR)(5/16 @ MIL)
– I wrote about him last week in this column. Turned out his start was delayed a bit so now he gets the 2 start week this week. This was actually fortuitous as we got to see how he looked coming back from his injury. Turns out it was his best start of the season, granted he only went 5 innings but only allowed 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 6 K’s. If he pitches well he can rise in the rankings but for now, I’m comfortable keeping him at the lower end until he starts going deeper into games.
10. Madison Bumgarner ARI: (5/11 vs MIA)(5/16 vs WAS)
– After a putrid first 3 starts of the season Mad Bum has slowly and quietly put together 4 straight starts of 1 run or less. Track record is everything with this guy and he’s going good right now so I am still more than willing to put faith in him.
11. Sonny Gray CIN: (5/11 @ PIT)(5/16 @ COL)
– He got a late start to the season but his last start against the White Sox was undoubtedly his best yet. 7 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, and 8 K’s. The start before that he had 11 K’s so Gray seems to have found his groove and I’d wager he keeps it going against the Pirates who are the worst offense in baseball. Colorado is no good either so if Gray shines in both these he’ll rise in the rankings quickly.
12. Alex Wood SF: (5/10 vs TEX)(5/16 @ PIT)
– The oft-injured lefty is having a stellar start to the season. I’m not quite sold on him yet but it might have more to do with his inability to stay on the field in years past that’s holding me back. None the less his stats are as followed, 23 IP, 22 K’s, 0.78 WHIP, and opponents are batting .163. An impressive stat line so far and these are two great matchups for him to feast on. I really like this play a lot.
13. Freddy Peralta MIL: (5/11 vs STL)(5/16 vs ATL)
– I’m not as high on Peralta as most and it’s because he does not go deep into games. He has only 2 starts where he’s gone exactly 6 innings. Peralta throws a lot of pitches in order to get to his gaudy strikeout numbers. He also walks a lot of guys referenced by his 17 walks in only 32 IP. I don’t love the matchups here so he seems more like a points league only play this week.
14. Adbert Alzolay CHC: (5/11 @ CLE)(5/16 @ DET???)
– The Cubbies have 2 days off this week and it remains to be seen what their plan is with their pitchers. Hopefully, he gets the double start this week because these are 2 seemingly good matchups and he’s looked pretty decent in his last 2 starts.
15. Chris Bassitt OAK: (5/11 @ BOS)(5/16 @ MIN)
– A tale of two tapes this season for Bassitt. His first 3 starts were dreadful, his last 4 have all been 6 + innings with exactly 2 ER’s allowed in each. Also in his first 3 starts, he had only 11 K’s, the last 4… 32 K’s. Really encouraging numbers and I would take my chances running him out there right now with the way he’s getting swings and misses.
16. Robbie Ray TOR: (5/11 @ ATL)(5/16 vs PHI)
– It’s never been a lack of talent with Robbie Ray. It’s always been about whether or not he’s walking batters, and since his 6 walk game on April 18th he hasn’t walked a soul. Three straight games without a walk is a really encouraging sign. I can’t trust him yet but right now he’s trending up and if you want to take a shot on him go for it but proceed with caution for now.
17. Dylan Cease CHW: (5/11 vs MIN)(5/16 vs KC)
– Has Cease turned a corner? After not getting out of the 5th inning for his first four starts, Cease has respectively gone 13 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, and 20 K’s in his last two starts. He’s still young and was a highly touted prospect coming up. He’s got a hot hand right now and two decent inter-division rivals on the docket this week. I’d roll with him and see what happens.
18. Jon Gray COL: (5/11 vs SD)(5/16 vs CIN)
– The Second Gray on this list. In every measure. Gray is quietly having his best season to date, while his numbers still are not overly impressive, he has at least pitched 6 + innings in four straight starts. He’s also averaging less than a strikeout per inning which is troublesome. I don’t like these matchups and both are at home which further ensures my hunch to stay away. If you’re desperate you could do worse but if it’s not a pressing need I’d sit this week out. (Gray vs Gray) on Sunday for those interested in the mundane.
19. J.A Happ MIN: (5/11 @ CHW)(5/16 vs OAK)
– The days of striking batters out for Happ are long behind him but that does not mean he’s not useful. A 1.91 ERA and 0.85 WHIP are both really nice numbers but, he only has 16 K’s over 28.1 innings. If he’s really hitting his locations he can get you a QS but at this point, it’s a crapshoot. He’s also faced Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Texas. Those are some of the worst offenses in baseball so I’ll be interested to see how he performs this week against better competition. For now, I’d leave him on the bench or waiver wire this week unless you’re truly in a bad spot.
20. J.T Brubaker PIT: (5/11 vs CIN)(5/16 vs SF)
– Easily the best pitcher on the Pirates right now but that’s not saying much. The matchups are bad here but they’re at home and PNC Park is pretty pitcher-friendly, so you could do worse. His strikeout numbers are good this year 37 K’s over 32.1 innings so he’s a decent points league play this week.
21. Jordan Montgomery NYY: (5/11 @ TB)(5/16 @ BAL)
– There is not much about Montgomery that impresses me. He doesn’t go deep into games and he is equally ineffective at striking batters out. However, these are two matchups that he could easily pitch well in. Go ahead and take a shot if you’re ballsy.
22. Luis Garcia HOU: (5/10 vs LAA)(5/15 vs TEX)
– An Unknown commodity, Garcia could be a sneaky little play. He’s been alternating between starts and relief appearances but this week he lines up for 2 starts in a row for the first time in his young career. 20 IP and 20 K’s to go with 7 BB breathe a little bit of hope into a guy who is almost assuredly on the waiver wire. I’d pick him up and see if he can show out and stick in the rotation. And at the very least he’s a decent points league play.
23. Ryan Yarbrough TB: (5/11 vs NYY)(5/16 vs NYM)
– Yarbrough has 4 starts to go with 3 piggyback starts. In his 4 starts, he has 22.2 IP, 17 ER’s, 3 BB, and 16 K’s. In his 3 piggyback starts his line is as follows, 14.2 IP, 2 ER’s, 5 BB, and 13 K’s. This week are two actual starts so if you believe in the trend you’ll stay away from him.
24. Casey Mize DET: (5/11 vs KC)(5/16 vs CHC)
– Mize is young and was the top college arm in his class. He has not pitched that well this year but good games are not out of the realm of possibility. The problem is he’s not striking anybody out and he’s walking everyone. 23:14 SO/W ratio over 32.2 innings is pretty ugly, but 3 of his 6 starts have been QS. Also his last start against KC he got shelled so I’d only start him if you’re pitching staff is completely hopeless.
DONT WANT EM’
Nathan Eovaldi BOS: (5/11 vs OAK)(5/16 vs LAA), Dinelson Lamet SD: (5/10 @ COL)(5/16 vs STL), Kwang Hyun Kim STL: (5/11 @ MIL)(5/16 @ SD), Martin Perez BOS: (5/10 @ BAL)(5/15 vs LAA), Justin Dunn SEA: (5/11 @ LAD)(5/16 vs CLE), Mitch Keller PIT: (5/10 vs CIN)(5/15 vs SF), Jeff Hoffman CIN: (5/10 @ PIT)(5/15 @ COL), Luke Weaver ARI: (5/10 vs MIA)(5/15 vs WAS), Eric Fedde WAS: (5/11 vs PHI)(5/16 @ ARI), Chase Anderson PHI: (5/11 @ WAS)(5/16 @ TOR), Jorge Lopez BAL: (5/10 vs BOS)(5/16 vs NYY)