For the first time in a long time, we’ve got more impact starters returning than vacating the list. Huzzah! I look for any reason to party, and that’s reason enough for me, baby. Break out the purple drank! Carlos Carrasco spent a little more time on the DL than we expected, but he’s back comfortably inside the top 20. Johnny Cueto and Garrett Richards both return to the top 35. Jeff Samardjiza is even back, unfortunately for his owners. Let’s hope his fingers work on his splitter more than they work on his flowing locks of hair. The list looks a bit weird this week because of the returners. Some of the guys that I tried to jump up the list really didn’t get too far, like if Mario was a real-life plumber trying to leap over a cactus. There aren’t a lot of newcomers of note, so let’s focus this week on risers, fallers, and the real losers who fell off the list.
- Dereck Rodriguez, SF (+34) – Rodriguez has impressed lately, with a 1.35 ERA/1.00 WHIP over his last three starts. I had to jettison him up into the mixed league streamer tier, but don’t expect him to climb much higher. While his control is solid and he has a knack for limiting the long ball, he doesn’t miss many bats (5.4 K/9 over his last three) and he’s not limiting hard contact (41% hard% over the same stretch). He’s got the Cubs at home next, which would be a matchup I’d probably avoid.
- Jordan Zimmermann, DET (+29) – I wrote up Zimmy last week so I’ll keep this brief, but I couldn’t not talk about him after his gem against Texas. He went 8 IP with 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 11 K, and now has a 0.90 ERA/0.70 WHIP over his last three starts with an obscene 26.4% K-BB%. Over his last two starts in particular, he has thrown over 47% curveballs and sliders and getting a ton of whiffs on each. You know he’s not going to walk anyone, so if he keeps up this new heavy offspeed tilt and actually gets strikeouts as well, you’re looking at the potential for a big second half profit. I’d be taking a chance on this in most formats with a date with the Rays in the Trop on the docket next.
- Nick Kingham, PIT (-18) – The King of Hamland was torched by the Dodgers his last time out, and overall has been more meh than I’d expected since his recall. His 37:10 K:BB over 38.1 innings is just fine, but he’s had gopheritis in a bad way with a 1.64 HR/9. Not even penicillin will help. Maybe it’s E.coli from all the ham? He’s actually been pretty adept at avoid homers historically, so perhaps this is an issue that will even out over the second half. The 38% hard contact rate doesn’t help any optimism however, and he’s hard to rely on when he might get jerked between Triple-A and the Pirates the rest of the way.
- Matt Boyd, DET (-18) – I gave Boyd the ol’ kiss of death a few weeks ago when I metaphorically patted him on the back for his sustained success despite diminished velocity. Naturally, he’s got a 10.59 ERA over his last four starts. He’s still had a nice 10.9 K/9, but a 45% hard contact and 26% line drives has led to a deserved .392 BABIP. Expect him to continue to be useful only in deep formats. I rescind my back-pat, Matt.
The Real Losers Who Either I Wanted To Drop Off The List Or Actually Did Drop Off The List
- Zack Godley, ARI (-17) – Godley’s spot on the list is secured only by his continued ability to net a strikeout per inning. His 4.67 BB/9 is third highest among qualified starters (trailing only Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito, for those of you out there who were curious). His HR/FB% is high at 15.6%, but he has always been prone to the homer so I don’t care about your 4.12 output, Mr. xFIP. He’s lost two ticks from his fastball since just last year and is throwing 40% curveballs to compensate, but clearly that isn’t doing the trick. I’d expect him to be a bit better over the second half, but I don’t foresee him regaining his position as someone you need to hang on to in standard mixers.
- Sonny Gray, NYY (–) – A 5.85 ERA over 17 starts is a good way to get you kicked off the list, Sonny. He hasn’t had his command all year, with a career-worst 4.04 BB/9. His tendency to leave pitches over the heart of the zone has bit him as well, with a career-worst 1.17 HR/9. The effectiveness of his changeup from a year ago has vanished, and he’s essentially dropped the pitch for a bad cutter that is the same velocity as his fastball. There’s just so much to fix here at this point that I don’t see him providing any real value any time soon. That’s enough to get him kicked off the list, even if he does have a bunch of great seasons under his belt.
The Top 100 Starting Pitchers
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