If it wasn’t bad enough that 11 of the top 30 starting pitchers drafted this year have an ERA over 4.00, now we’ve got an all-SP Ambulance Chasers. In the last two issues of Ambulance Chasers there were an additional 7 injured SPs for another grand total of 11. Hold your starting pitchers close — tell them you love them — you never know when they’ll be the next to go…
Corey Kluber, SP, Fractured Arm: Brian Anderson is now banned from the eight streets that make up Cleveland. A 102 mph line drive off the bat of Anderson on May 1st broke his arm. He’s not expected to undergo surgery and will then be reevaluated in about a month. Kluber wants to return before the end of the season which is a bit optimistic considering he has to heal first, then rebuild strength. Playoff week is their realistic expectation. Replacement: Chris Bassitt (20.3%.) 17 IP, 22 Ks, 0.94 WHIP, 2.12 ERA. That’s Bassitt’s stats right now in 2019. But is he for real or nah brah? Welllllll — his 4.08 FIP gives me a bit cause for concern. However, here’s the deal — Bassitt’s next start is against the Reds who have struggled against righties this year. Their OPS against righties is .677 — 25th in the MLB. Bassitt will be up and down this year, but against weak teams he can be valuable as a streamer.
James Paxton, SP, Knee: Has the baseball season even begun if A.J. Pollock and James Paxton haven’t gone on the Injured List? Well, the baseball season can now officially begin! Yankees GM Brian Cashman is expecting the Yankees to be without Paxton for a maximum of three weeks. Bullet: dodged! Replacement: Get your Griffin Canning (10.2%) shares while you can. Canning was Baseball Prospectus’s #56 prospect going into the season. He got the call this year after putting up a 0.56 ERA in 16 AAA innings with 17 Ks. His first start was a little rough (4.1 IP, 5 baserunners, 3 ER, 6 Ks,) but as I’m writing this he’s shut out the Tigers over 5 IP with only 2 baserunners with 7 Ks. There’s some risk he won’t stick in the MLB for long, but starts like this make it more likely he’ll get additional chances.
David Price, SP, Elbow Tendinitis: Maybe all the Fortnite was actually helping keep his elbow healthy. Price is already throwing as of yesterday so it’s looking like Price will be back on the hill for the white Sox win another week or so. Replacement: I’m going to throw another Trent Thornton (3.0%) recommendation into the void. His 4.08 ERA, 4.02 FIP and 3.97 xFIP are telling me that this is who he is — obviously not a 50 SP, but still good enough to be a part of your roster. Righties have been especially weak against Thornton. They have a .197/.290/.279 slash line against Thornton. If you see a righty-heavy lineup coming up for Thornton he’s a good streamer. Hint: his opponent tomorrow, the Twins, has three lefties and two switch hitters in their lineup so I might avoid Thornton even though lefties are only hitting .232 against him as well.
Jameson Taillon, SP, Throwing Elbow Flexor Strain: Taillon isn’t expected to throw for a month. He’s also going to get a second opinion this week so you know what that means: SEASON OVAH! Hopefully not, but prepare for the worst. Replacement: Mitch Keller (1.1%.) The Pirates are saying that Keller isn’t a candidate to make his debut yet, but with this Taillon and Chris Archer news you have to believe he’s getting close. The Pirates top-20 prospect is doing better in AAA this year than he did last year. In 2018 he put up a 4.82 ERA in 10 starts in AAA — this year he’s down to 3.48 in 6 starts. He’s working on adding a slider to his arsenal and seems to be getting Ks with it (11.0 K/9.) His 4.1 BB/9 isn’t too great however, he does have a 24:4 K/BB ratio in his last 17 IP. If you’ve missed out on Chris Paddack, Fernando Tatis Jr., Vlad Guerrero Jr., Nick Senzel, and Cal Quintrill and are feeling jealous — stash the 23 year-old Keller.