As I laid on the hospital bed recovering from my very painful bout with back spasms, I had a revelation. Maybe it was the morphine. Maybe it was the 4 nights in a row with less than an hour of sleep; or, perhaps it was my conscience and thoughts of my own mortality. Who knows. But I saw a vision of Jocko Willink before me. He challenged me to take full ownership of my life and own all my wins and all my losses. Especially the losses. Nothing is someone else’s fault. Nothing is chance, nothing is variance.

I am responsible for all my takes, and all my taeks. Whether they are good or bad… I am responsible. I am a capable person that can tilt the scale; if I fail, I need to learn from it and better myself. If I succeed, I need to learn from it and replicate it. I have no idea if anyone else in the biz does a post like this where they intentionally point out everything haha, but I’m going to give it a try and start now. Here. we. go.

The Cream

Since I’m a delicate flower, I want to talk about the positives first. Feel free to leave me glowing praise in the comments about how awesome my deep dives are, and that they have been an indispensable resource for you to smite your foes and leading you onward to victory.

Joe Musgrove – Joe’s season so far has been a thing of beauty. The major breakthroughs we saw from him at the end of last season have carried over so far with the Padres as I had hoped and he’s posted several dominant outings including the first No-no ever by a San Diego pitcher with the added hype that he is actually from San Diego and always wanted to play for the team. Not gonna lie, I kinda had tears in my eyes that night. Shoutout to Grossmont High!

After returning from injury last season, he adjusted his pitch mix and de-emphasized the fastball, and shifted to his breaking balls. Of which are top-notch pitches with elite pitch mirroring and tunneling. You can check out the full breakdown here. As you see below, the results so far have been on point. *chef’s kiss* The hard-hit rate has gone up though, so something to watch for down the road, but a 29.2% K-BB dif can cover up a lot of mistakes.

Last 5 2020 5.1% 38.8% 2.16 0.92 1.39 .196 29.6%
2021 5.0% 34.2% 2.33 0.84 2.93 .175 38.4%

I see him continuing to be an asset this season and even a buy candidate for some in need of help.

Marcus Stroman – Stroman has been pitching as efficiently as ever. He has outperformed his draft value by a wide margin and has proven to be every bit as good as he was in 2019. Though one thing of note, occasionally the strikeouts have evaded him in a few starts. I guess this entry is a half-cream, a latte if you will, as I was proposing he’d give close to a K per inning this season. You can check out the full breakdown here. Maybe that’ll shift as we get deeper in the season but thus far he’s right on par with his 2019 numbers.

2019 32 184.1 3.22 3.72 7.76 2.50 0.88 0.311
2021 13 71.1 2.40 3.57 7.44 2.14 0.88 0.261

He hasn’t used the cutter as much as I thought he’d carry over from the Mets games in 2019 that led to his rise in K/9. He’s used it mostly against LHB running in on their hands, whereas 2019 he threw it more equally to both. But, he has incorporated the split-change as I alluded to in the spring which has produced a 38.5% whiff rate and opponents are struggling with a .171 BAA against the pitch. Stroman is who he is, a steady and smart pitcher that eats innings and if he finds those Ks again it’s icing on the cake.

Shohei Ohtani – What can I say that I haven’t plastered across the Twitterverse already? He’s really good. In the first week of the season, I told the world he was finally healthy and poised for a big year. You were essentially getting Paul Goldschmidt in his prime who could also get north of a 30% K-rate on the mound. I then advised you to trade for him if you didn’t have him before his stock went to the moon. You read the full article here. Well, here we are now with him in 2nd place of the home run race at 17 after hitting a 470 ft bomb on Tuesday night. Let’s compare his season so far to 2015-2017 Goldy Prime average:

Au Prime Avg 108 31 108 24 .305 .417 .540 .956
Au Prime 1/3 36 11 36 8 .305 .417 .540 .956
Ohtani 40 17 44 9 .261 .346 .606 .952

It’s pretty close huh? Ohtani is showing more power so far, comparable speed, and somewhat less on the AVG/OBP side. The production and OPS are right there though! From the mound so far he’s sporting a 2.76 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 60 Ks through 42.1 innings. Momma Mia! The command has been up and down a bit start-to-start, but the overall net numbers (roto value) have been delicious.

Sean Manaea – This is half-credit as I didn’t point him out at the beginning of the season, but since I highlighted him over a month ago he has performed admirably with the exception of 1 blow-up against the Sawx… and even with that included he’s been improving. You can read the full post here. His “new” slider has been getting 37.3% Whiffs and opposing batters are only managing a .176 BAA on the pitch. And his sinker is now being hit less from a .296 BAA (.287 xBA) last year to a .263 BAA (.266 xBA) now in 2021. You don’t need a high spin rate after all. That’s fire emoji!

Before Post 6 8.82 1.87 3.48 1.22 3.36 3.79
After Post 6 9.25 2.25 3.25 1.25 3.01 3.65

Adbert Alzolay – Another half-credit, maybe even a quarter. Alzolay reinvented himself as a pitcher and completely changed his pitch mix and pitch shapes. His K-rate and walk-rate were too good to be getting such bad luck based on the nastiness of his pitches. Surely things would swing back the other way. Well, they have. Except for his last start, where he gave up the runs. Although, he left due to a blister so we can blame the bad outing on that. Maybe. You can read the full post here. When he comes back in a week (hopefully) I still like him going forward, his new arsenal is just too nasty and has been working well for him. He might be a victim of workload management later in the season though.

Before Post 7 9.49 1.70 4.62 0.89 4.58 3.30
After Post 4 10.02 3.92 3.05 1.31 3.63 4.12

The Crap

Ugh, now for the less glamourous part of our story. Time to take my lumps as part of this extreme ownership exercise. Please be nice in the comments below and tell me everything will work out in the end.

Wil Myers – First up on the tour of pain is one of my early offseason favorites, Wil Myers. You can find the deep dive here. After coming out of the gate hot with 4 HRs in the first 18 games, Myers cooled off rather quickly and did almost nothing until mid-May when he tested positive for COVID and didn’t return until May 23rd. He added a couple HRs at the end of the month but has disappeared again now in June. He’s been a mess. What gives?

2020 55 25.7% 8.3% 15 2 .288 .353 .606
2021 52 24.3% 10.8% 6 4 .244 .324 .396

He hasn’t been hitting for as much average going several games without any hits. Furthermore, outside of the HRs he hasn’t hit for much power either. If there’s one bit of silver lining, His newfound discipline I pointed out from last year is still there, including a rising walk rate. However, what’s not promising: is his barrel% is down from 14.8 to 7%, exit velocity is down a few ticks, LA is down about 5 ticks, and his Hardhit% is on pace for the lowest of his career at 37.5%… ouch.

Digging a little more, he’s struggling with offspeed pitches (.167 BA), which he absolutely crushed last year. Possible timing issue? Maybe. Also, every year he’s been healthy he’s been good. So perhaps he is hiding a shoulder injury? Haven’t noticed anything yet, but I’ll keep my eyes open. One thing is clear, he needs to improve a good deal to be valuable again. Ugh, I have him in so many places (thank goodness for Tyler O’Neill).

Ryan Yarbrough – He started off rough much more than I thought he would. I thought the worst thing for him would be Cash not allowing him to go deep enough for wins. But he’s done the damage to himself early but seems to be balancing out. Though his ERA is still near 4.00 there’s reason to believe it will continue to drop and everything will eventually regress to his mean.

He’s still in the top 5% of the league in avgEV allowed (84.9), Hardhit% (27.9), and BB% (4.4). The main issue he’s had is a career-high HR/FB rate at 14.1% and his avg FB has been a tick below last year. But velocity on all his pitches has been trending up. The main culprit for his rising HR-rate has been his cutter (2020 left, 2021 right). He’s struggled to keep it out of broadway so far but if he can reign in his command, it should correct itself. The full post on him can be found here.

Joc Pederson – For the first month and a half, Pederson was pretty meh and borderline bad. Over those 27 games, he only had 1 home run and next to zero production. If you drafted him, that was brutal. His value was purely in the cheap power and he didn’t provide it so it likely gimped that stat in roto. Yes, spring training stats don’t matter or count but since he was mashing throughout camp it’s not likely that his timing was lagging. What was happening?

Before May 18 27 29.2% 8.5% 1 .355 .250 .330 .337
After May 18 19 25.0% 7.9% 6 .222 .221 .289 .485

Well, to start the season he was hitting everything on the ground. Before May 18th, he had a 41% GB rate and only a 6% barrel rate. Since then he’s been elevating the ball more with a 52% FB rate and a 16% barrel rate. Ding-ding. You go to his statcast page an there’s a lot of red. Right now he has a Hardhit% north of 53% putting him in the top 6% of the league. It looks like he’s finally coming out of his funk and moving forward I see him being exactly what he always has been. The deep dive can found here.

Patrick Corbin – Oi oi oi. Corbin has been the worst. Not because he’s been awful 100% of the time, but because he’s been impossible to predict it’s made it even to harder to write him off completely or choose to buy in or stream. His full post can be found here. One thing that was completely unpredictable was he got COVID before camp finished. That delayed his stamina and velocity buildup.

His velocity has been slowly climbing with each start but the results haven’t been increasing in the same way. The new cutter he learned from Scherzer hasn’t been used very often as I had hoped. And he’s tried to re-incorporate the curve too. So he seems to be falling back into predictable patterns and his K-rate is at a career-low and his slider is the least effective of his career with a whiff rate of only 36.8%. And Statcast is mostly blue. Not looking good. He needs to adapt.

Jake Odorizzi – Can easily be summed up in: often injured and signed late. He didn’t have enough time to get ramped up during spring training so I should have known he would not be ready or a safe bet to begin the year. That deep dive is here. He could find his form as we get into summer, but writing an early hype piece on him was premature. My bad.

The Injured

Colin Moran – Just came back from the IL a couple days ago. Too early to grade. But missing a lot of time certainly isn’t a positive. The full post on him is here.

Mitch Garver – Well… sigh…. Garver started a bit cold (like usual) but at the end of April found his timing and began to crush the ball again not unlike his breakout 2019 season. His full breakdown can found here. BUT… then only 3 days following my tweet, he was wounded on the field of battle off a foul tip and is going to miss an extended period of time. And then my back broke. Hero, pride, back. All laid low. So it was awful all around. And this post completes it, LOL.

If you want more Coolwhip to top-off your baseball experience, fantasy or otherwise, you can follow me on Twitter: @CoolwhipRB.