If only I had a top performing pitcher to highlight that was the son of an ex-pitcher to really drive home my title. I guess I could discuss Dereck Rodriguez, but his daddy was a catcher. I could change the title to “Son of a Catchter”, but it doesn’t have the same ringtone. While I am here, however, let’s give him a quick shout. Over eight starts Pudge Junior is averaging 16.50 points per start. That sandwiches him in between Lance McCullers (16.42) and Mike Clevinger (16.37). Ignoring the small sample size factor, that puts him inside the top 30. And the list of pitchers ahead of him reads pretty much like a who’s who of who you’d expect the top starting pitchers to be. One surprise on that list is Ross Stripling, whose last name sounds like a little person (midget for you less PC readers) that takes their clothes off for money. Stripling has a 2.43 ERA, is averaging more than 20 points per start and is striking out more than ten batters per nine. His numbers (xFIP of 2.83) say he’s the real deal. And guess what, he’s got RP eligibility. He could end up being the waiver wire pick of the year. I haven’t given that much thought, but his name would certainly be up there. Given his year-to-date performance I’m willing to forgive him for hanging that curveball to Rhys Hoskins Monday night and costing me about ten points, but I would like a complimentary lap dance in the champagne room the next time he’s in town.
Last week I said I would focus on pitchers next week. Well this week is now next week. Did we just jump into the future? I feel like Bill and Ted when they are discussing going back in time to steal Ted’s dad’s keys. For those of you living in a cave and that haven’t heard the most excellent news… Bill and Ted 3 is in the works. Ok, back to this week. I promised pitchers, so I’ll give you pitchers.
Let’s start with my top twenty starting pitchers for the rest of the season.
- Chris Sale – 21.92 PPS
- Max Scherzer – 21.14 PPS
- Corey Kluber – 19.01 PPS
- Justin Verlander – 18.81 PPS
- Carlos Carrasco – 18.56 PPS
- Clayton Kershaw – 18.40 PPS
- Gerrit Cole – 18.36 PPS
- Luis Severino – 18.31 PPS
- Jacob deGrom – 17.77 PPS
- Aaron Nola – 17.56 PPS
- Charlie Morton – 17.21 PPS
- Zack Greinke – 17.01 PPS
- Noah Syndergaard – 16.96 PPS
- James Paxton – 16.89 PPS
- Stephen Strasburg – 16.88 PPS
- Jon Gray – 16.80 PPS
- Ross Stripling – 16.52 PPS
- Masahiro Tanaka – 16.42 PPS
- Trevor Bauer – 16.39 PPS
- Patrick Corbin – 16.19 PPS
I think the biggest WTF name in my top twenty would be Jon Gray. Wasn’t he just sent down to the Minors for sucking something awful. I’m not sure what they were thinking in the Rockies front office. Instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel, I am going to repeat myself verbatim from last week.
“I have always been a big fan of Jon Gray. I own him just about everywhere. His 2018 season has been disappointing to say the least and his recent demotion to AAA was quite the bummer. However, looking at his numbers, it seems he’s not pitching all the bad. His 5.44 ERA is not very user friendly, but his FIP is 3.03 and xFIP is 2.83. Gray’s K/9 of 11.33 is in the top ten amongst starters. The pedigree is there, and so are many of the stats. In his first start back from AAA he scored 24 points. If he can build on this start he’s going to a valuable fantasy asset going forward.”
As I think Grey would say, that’s me quoting me. Gray’s next start at home against the Astros will be very telling of what the rest of season might have in store.
I was very unsure as to how to rank Clayton Kershaw. I have legitimate concerns about his durability. Not to mention the fact that his strikeouts are down, his walks are up, his hits allowed are up and his ERA is up. All of his stats are trending in the wrong direction. But, and it’s a big but (think Dascha Polanco), he’s Clayton effing Kershaw.
How about a few pitchers I expect to improve moving forward.
Marcus Stroman averaged 8.38 points over his first 13 starts. That’s just awful. If he played in Colorado they would have sent him to Double A for sure. Stroman’s ERA is 5.42, but his xFIP is 3.80. His strikeouts are normal, but his walk rate is elevated and his strand rate is down. Two of his last three outings have been seven-inning quality starts. The third was against the Red Sox and it wasn’t all that bad considering his opponent.
I think/hope we are going to see some improvement from Luis Castillo. He was nearly everyone’s preseason darling. Well so far he’s in the running for biggest bust. I wouldn’t make any moves to obtain him, but if he happens to be sitting on the waiver wire, it might not hurt to pick him up. Perhaps he can offer some value on his two-start weeks like this week. He earned me 14 points for his no decision on Monday. If he can do that again on Sunday, he will have pieced together a respectable week in points leagues.
Next up is Robbie Ray. This one feels like I’m just naming a guy that everyone expects to be better than he’s been. Any time you have a pitcher that strikes out batters at the rate of Ray (12.58 K/9), there has got to be hope for success. Those strikeouts certainly help rack up the points in points leagues and help mitigate the damage done elsewhere. Considering he spent several weeks on the disabled list with an oblique injury and last year he averaged an impressive 19 points per start, I’m will to give him a partial benefit of the doubt. If things don’t work out he can always become a mascot in Tampa.
Can someone tell Obi-wan Kenobi to deliver his go-to pep talk to a struggling Cardinals pitcher. Weaver is managing just 9.8 points per start. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that he’s striking out less than a batter per inning.
Corey Kluber, Bartolo Colon and Ivan Nova are the only three pitchers to have thrown at least 100 innings and issued less than 20 free passes. Kluber has 18 in 137.7, Colon has 18 in 111.3 and Nova has 19 in 109.3 innings pitched. As for their points per start, Kluber is about 20 and the other two are at 11.
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