Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…
The outpouring of concern over Grandpa-Donk’s well being during Heatwave 2019, has been heart warming. Rest assured, Gramps is still alive and donkey kicking. In fact, last weekend the old jackass worked out in the yard 48 hours straight in the 100-degree heat without stopping for so much as a Señor Crappers change. Once he finished the field labor, G-Donk came inside to make the rest of us pancakes and lemonade–an old Donk family tradition. As Great Gran-Donk always said, “When life gives you apocalyptic weather, make pancakes and lemonade.”
Mmmmm ice cold lemonade: my favorite of the fresh squeezed juices. You know what other juice is worth the squeeze? The Clevinger concentrate. I was skeptical when Mike Clevinger returned from his back injury in mid-June. His first two brutal starts had me strutting around like top donkey, so smart. But since the calendar turned to July, Sunshine has been lights out going 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 41 strikeouts in 31 innings. Clevinger is extracting juice like a fantasy ace right now and there’s no reason to think the liquid will dry up anytime soon.
These guys also get my juices flowing, if you know what I mean…
Shane Bieber (N/C)– I’ve been driving the Biebs Razzwagon since last summer. In the 2019 Razzball Fantasy Baseball Staff Picks I selected Bieber as my most valuable fantasy pitcher for 2019 and wrote, “This beautiful young buck has the voice of an angel and the command of a demon. I also considered labeling him as my: Infatuation, Sleeper, AL CY Young, AL MVP, MVFHitter, 2020 Presidential Candidate, and Life Partner. Don’t be surprised if Biebs is a consensus top 10 fantasy starter heading into 2020 and in The Oval Office heading into 2021.” I’m not sure about his chances at the white house, but he’s currently #8 among starting pitchers on the Razzball Player Rater and continues to look dreamier with each start.
Zac Gallen (+5) – Gallen threw an absolute gem in 7 innings against the White Sox this past week. He even retired the Federalist, I thought that guy would never retire. Gallen himself has been rounding into form with a 1.56 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 19 strikeouts across 17 1/3 innings. I wouldn’t trust him around a beverage in a dimly lit Milwaukee bar, but he can start for my fantasy team in most venues.
Jose Urquidy (N/A) – Last Monday Grey wrote, ” I expect multiple roofies from him still, but Urquidy is chef’s kiss sexy if you catch him on the right day. I am so intrigued that I’m at the optometrist’s office permanently sewing a monocle to one eye and fo’ever squinting with my other. Dude’s got a 11.8 K/9, 0.7 BB/9 and 2.66 xFIP! I mean, what? “Doc, take off the monocle, I’m just going to own Urquidy. Speaking of glasses, lets get Donkey Teeth fitted for some after all those Kikuchi takes.” Hey! Low blow, Grey!
After another great start against the Cardinals Friday, I’d own Urquidy even in shallow leagues. His first pitch strike rate sits at a beautiful 65% and his swinging strike rate is now 13.2% after hovering around 16% at both AA & AAA this season; a deadly combination of working ahead in the count and inducing whiffs.
Jack Flaherty (+8) – I’ve been saying to buy low on Captain Jack for months. Even a hairless monkey steals a banana twice a year. In his last four starts Flaherty boasts a 1.48 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings. His swinging strike rate is up over 15% during this stretch, things are clicking. I hope you got your hand back through the buy-low window before it slammed shut.
Elieser Hernandez (N/A) – I wrote this about Hernandez when he was called up in mid-June, “It’s interesting that the fantasy community has been abuzz with hype for Elieser’s AAA teammate Zac Gallen, all the while Hernandez was posting video game type numbers himself: 1.13 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 12.94 K/9 across 48 AAA innings this year! Uhhhhh, yep that’s really good! He’s seen a large jump in his swinging strike rate this year, he pitches in a great pitchers park, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a former Astros prospect. If you’re looking for a deeper name who could blow up (positive or negative) and nobody is talking about, here’s your guy.” Hernandez didn’t blow up, but posted a 4.01 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in his 5 starts before being sent to the pen. He’ll get another crack at the rotation with Trevor Richards being moved to the pen himself; add him again in deeper leagues, there’s big upside here.
Asher Wojciechowski (+34) – Grey and Ralph talked about Woj on the Razzball Podcast last week. Grey’s pronunciation of “Wojciechowski” was almost as impressive as Asher’s first time through the league. Actually, Grey may have butchered the name, I have no idea. Despite the impressive ratios and beautiful 31.1% K rate, I have zero confidence this run will continue. Steam the 30 year old virgin journeyman with caution, regression fairies lurk here.
Marcus Stroman (+17) – Breaking news: Marcus Stroman has been traded to the…..Mets? Stroman’s right arm amputation has already been scheduled for Tuesday. Not many people saw this deal coming, but it should at least be a small win for the Stro Show’s fantasy value until the Mets medical staff dig their needles in. Since June 13th Stroman has tossed 6 quality starts in 7 tries with a 2.30 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 7.53 K/9 during this 43 inning stretch. The strikeouts will always be mediocre, but he should be owned everywhere since he’ll now face a bunch of National League teams for the first time in his career.
Juicing 101: Don’t leave the fresh squeezed juice out in the sweltering heat…
Mike Minor (-3) – I told you Minor storms were on the horizon a month ago, but I didn’t expect it to be this ugly. Since my call to sell on July 1st, Minor is 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 22 1/3 innings. You know what they say about the hairless monkey and the banana. On the plus side, the strikeouts have still been there and Minor could be moved to a contender at the deadline. Now might be a decent time to float a buy-low offer out there in deeper leagues.
Jordan Yamamoto (-31) – I told you about my lack to faith in Yamamoto on the Ditka Pod a month ago while feeding delicious sausages into B_Don‘s gullet. Yamamoto’s run was nice while it lasted, but it rarely lasts too long with rookie pitchers. I wouldn’t touch Yamamoto in shallower leagues but he still might be streamable in deeper formats.
Masahiro Tanaka (-4) – In his last two starts Tanaka has given up 17 ER in 9 1/3 innings. If you started him for those two starts in your roto league, slowly remove your head from the oven and come check out our fantasy football podcast.
Anyway, here’s my updated Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2019 Fantasy Baseball:
RIP: Tyler Skaggs #45
Injured: Blake Snell, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Tyler Glasnow, Brandon Woodruff, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino, Cole Hamels, Brad Peacock, Pablo Lopez, Luke Weaver, Johns Means, Andrew Heaney, Steven Brault, Trent Thornton, Jimmy Nelson, Alex Wood, Jonathan Loaisiga, Jhoulys Chacin, Jon Duplantier, Jose Urena, Ross Stripling, Jared Eickhoff, Josh James, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Richard, Jefry Rodriguez, Jeremy Hellickson, Tyson Ross, Marco Estrada, Danny Salazar, Taijuan Walker, Edinson Volquez, Tyler Anderson
On the Farm: Brendan McKay, Matt Manning, Jesus Luzardo, Alex Reyes, Mitch Keller, Aaron Civale, Adbert Alzolay, Alec Mills, Framber Valdez, Mike Foltynewicz, Forrest Whitley, Sean Reid-Foley, Lucas Sims, Casey Mize, Justus Sheffield, AJ Puk, Kyle Wright
Suspended: Frankie Montas
Find Donkey Teeth on Twitter @DonkeyTeeth87. Subscribe to his podcast: Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports on Itunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. All statistics courtesy of Fangraphs & Baseball Savant.