“I want to be a cardiologist, to be a heart surgeon, but I don’t know how that’s gonna work with baseball as well. So, I might do something business-related, so I get a little bit of business acumen going into the real world. And then once I’m done with baseball, I can probably go back and continue my study in medicine.”

–17-year old Triston McKenzie in 2015


Triston McKenzie strikeout

23-year old Triston McKenzie, 2020 Debut

I mean, Triston McKenzie achieved both of his dreams, right? In his major league debut, McKenzie surgically sliced through the heart of the Tigers lineup, giving up one run over six innings while whiffing 10 batters. And you know what? There’s a very good chance that he takes the heart out of Zach Plesac, whose arbitration schedule would be delayed if Cleveland keeps him at the alternate site much longer. Is it too early to call McKenzie the “Cardiac Kid?”

Since Plesac and his saddlebags-boi Mike Clevinger were exiled from the MLB team as punishment for breaking Covid protocol, the Tribe have won six straight games and the hitters are *gasp* completely league average over the past week. With stellar performances like McKenzie’s on Saturday, Cleveland management may decide to keep Plesac down a bit longer to delay his arbitration schedule. “But my dad played when they put quaaludes in the water cooler!” Zach shouts from the alternate site. We’ll hear about the fate of Plesac and Clevinger on Monday, probably about the time you’re reading this article. Let me know if the comments what happened!

Before we get to the pitchers, let me take a minute to plug the work we’re doing over on the football side of Razzball. If you like what I’m doing here, check out I’ve written on the football side, and give the other authors a look and a follow as well. This year I’ll be captaining the football equivalent of pitchers–the quarterbacks! Can’t wait to help you with your fantasy football draft!

August 24-30, 2020

Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: We’re either halfway or one-third through the season, depending on a team’s ability to dodge Covid. For those roto and best ball players, your teams are still alive for another month. Hooray! If you’re playing head-to-head, well, you might be in the playoffs next week depending on what your league decided. Hopefully you chose something sensible, like, giving the championship to the manager who owns the fewest snapback hats.

Shortly after I submitted my article last week, Tarik Skubal and Casey Mize got called up and pitched for the Tigers, Sixto Sanchez debuted on Saturday night for the Marlins, and Triston McKenzie tossed a gem for the Indians. I’m still maintaining my rookie dart throw policy: these players have no track record against MLB talent, and 2020 has been notoriously hard on pitchers. Pick them up at your own discretion.

News and Notes

Sixto Sanchez — Grey and Hobbs already smothered you with words about Sixto this week. I’m adding Sanchez into the dart throws, and you should too. Keep in mind the Marlins are a wonky team this year, and their bullpen is pretty awful, and that bullpen will need to do A LOT of work to catch up to the rest of the league. Like his teammate Jordan Yamamoto, Sanchez has great pitches but just may not be that fantasy relevant due to the playing situation.

James Paxton — Paxton had some promising starts over the past two weeks, increasing his swinging strike rate while lowering the exit velocity and hard hit percentage against him. However, this week he felt a twinge in his forearm…and maybe he was feeling it before too…but anyway, he’s shut down for at least two weeks. Paxton was gaining a bit of velocity on his fastball, which was already nearly 5mph down from his career norm, suggesting he was working through an injury. If you’re rostering Paxton, you might want to trade him before his two-week break becomes off-season rehab. Paxton in dynasty? Whew. He’s an IL-stash, but he’s one of the first I would drop if you need roster space.

Frankie Montas — Frankie had been looking solid to start the year, but over the past two weeks, his performances were suboptimal compared to his season averages: a 2% worse swinging strike rate, a whopping additional 8MPH on his exit velocity, and a stunning hard hit rate 25% higher than usual. Montas is still one of the top pitching options on the top hitting team in the league, so keep those fingers crossed that it was just a bad couple weeks. On the plus side, his fastball has gained nearly 1MPH in the past two weeks, so he’s trying to adjust. If you’re the betting type, Montas is your “buy-low” option. If his increased velocity turns into Ks instead of barrels, on a team with hot bats he’ll be the late-season surge you’re looking for. Like I said, it’s a bet. But you don’t win friends with salad, right?

David Peterson — Peterson had been crawling up the top 100 list with some nice performances, but, those performances were with the Mets. You know the rest of the story. Peterson woke up with shoulder soreness, and the MRI revealed no structural damage, so in Mets-speak, he’ll probably need a bionic arm replacement. Dart throw at your own risk, but he’s off the top 100 for now.

Yusei Kikuchi — It’s been a minute since we mentioned Kikuchi-san. He’s lost 0.5MPH on his fastball over the past two weeks which resulted in a 1.6% swinging strike rate lower than his normal rate. However, batters had 10% less hard hit balls than normal against Kikuchi over the past two weeks, which is a positive sign that Kikuchi’s off-season changes are stabilizing. The rest of season rater has him at 79, and given that he’s still rostered in less than 40% of leagues, he’s a great streaming option for ratios. Just don’t expect a ton of wins with that Mariners offense.

Yu Darvish — The stats in the table below don’t include Darvish-san’s brilliant Sunday start, where he gave up 1ER over 7IP while striking out 10 White Sox batters. The White Sox have been crushing the ball this year, so Darvish’s Sunday start showcased the 1MPH that he added to his fastball in the past two weeks. Yu Darvish, Go! Also, “go” is the number 5 in Japanese. He’s at number 5 on the Top 100. OK, sheesh. Moving on…

Pablo Lopez — What’s up Pablo, honey? He’s in the top 10% of FIP on the list, sports a wildly low 84MPH exit velocity on batted balls, and he’s making batters whiff at a 14% rate. The rest-of-season-nator (my term) has him at 39! 2020 is so messed up that a Marlins pitcher has cracked the top 40! There hasn’t been a Miamian in the Top 40 since Pit Bull. Lots of love for Pablo, but again, the Marlins are wonky this year. Lopez could not give up a run the rest of the year and still not get a win because the Marlins’ bullpen has combined for nearly a 5.00 ERA. In dynasty leagues, absolutely pursue Lopez.

Yonny Chirinos — In the before times, the entire Rays staff was in the top 60 of this list. Now, Yonny Chirinos joins Brendan McKay in line for season-ending surgery, while Charlie Morton continues on the IL. [checks calendar] Well, I don’t think we’re seeing Chirinos in a starting capacity until 2022 or so. And the Rays have a lot of pitching talent. So, if you’re holding him in dynasty, set him free to the waiver wire.

Highest Velocity Gainers over the last 2 Weeks: The following pitchers have picked up some steam in the August heat, meaning they are the most likely to see an uptick in performance data: Derek Holland (1MPH), Yu Darvish (0.9MPH), Frankie Montas (0.9MPH), Ivan Nova (0.8MPH), Johnny Cueto (0.7MPH), Corbin Burnes (0.6MPH), Nate Pearson (0.5MPH), Kevin Gausman (0.5MPH), Max Scherzer (0.5MPH), Freddy Peralta (0.5MPH), Josh Tomlin (0.4MPH), Zack Greinke (0.4MPH)

Notable Velocity Losers over the last 2 Weeks: These pitchers have lost the most velocity, and it *might possibly* indicate that they’re tired, not fully worked up, or something is wrong on the horizon: Max Fried (-0.4MPH), Carlos Carrasco (-0.4MPH), Masahiro Tanaka (-0.4MPH), Merrill Kelly (-0.4MPH), Rick Porcello (-0.4MPH), Tyler Glasnow (-0.5MPH), Yusei Kikuchi (-0.5MPH), Kenta Maeda (-0.6MPH).

As for the above, you can see that most of these players were not full-time SP last year or had issues during summer camp. Maeda also threw nearly 110 pitches in his no-hit bid. I’m not saying to dump these players. But! If you’re the researching type, these are the players I would start investigating.

Deep League Streamers: Reynaldo Lopez (73% owned on a hot-hitting team), Elieser Hernandez (48% owned), Spencer Howard (35% owned), Jake Arrieta (60% owned), Vince Velasquez (22% owned), MacKenzie Gore (31% owned), Chad Kuhl (26% owned), Kolby Allard (5% owned), Touki Toussaint (19% owned), Brandon Bielak (65% owned)


We’ve got an additional column this week: the hard hit % from the past 2 weeks as compared the the pitcher’s full season stats. A positive number indicates the pitcher was getting hit harder than usual, and a negative number indicates they were better than their season rankings. In short, you can see where players are trending positively or negatively, and make your own decisions based on that info. Data is sourced from FanGraphs and the Razzball player rater, and compiled by yours truly. If you like what you’re seeing, please share widely online or support Razzball with a membership. If you’re unable to do either of those, show some love in the comments and I’ll give you a virtual high five.

FIP=Fielding Independent Pitching; SwSt%=Swinging Strike %; EV=Batted Ball Exit Velocity; Hard Hit%=percent change in hard hit batted balls over the past two weeks compared to season stats; ROS=Player Rater rest-of-season rank. Green=Top 10% of performance in that category. Red=Bottom 10% of performance in that category.

Rank Name FIP SwSt% EV Hard Hit % ROS
1 Shane Bieber 1.75 18.7 89.3 -0.2 4
2 Gerrit Cole 3.82 13.6 89.9 -5.7 1
3 Jacob deGrom 2.12 18.3 89.1 -4.9 3
4 Max Scherzer 3.76 15 87.8 -0.1 2
5 Yu Darvish 2.02 15.2 87.2 1.6 16
6 Trevor Bauer 1.94 13.2 86.7 1.9 9
7 Aaron Nola 3.36 13.7 88.4 1.9 6
8 Luis Castillo 2.05 16.1 84.8 2.6 18
9 Sonny Gray 2.67 11.5 87.2 4.1 20
10 Jack Flaherty 3.62 17.7 82 NA 5
11 Patrick Corbin 3.43 12 89.8 -2.3 8
12 Lance Lynn 3.26 10.7 87 1.3 11
13 Zack Greinke 1.96 10.3 85.3 -2.7 17
14 Carlos Carrasco 4.17 13.6 91.9 -5.8 14
15 Brandon Woodruff 3.16 11.5 86.3 0.5 31
16 Dylan Bundy 3.34 13.8 86 5.1 27
17 Dinelson Lamet 2.98 14.7 90.3 7.2 25
18 Tyler Glasnow 4.16 11.9 91.7 -7.8 21
19 Clayton Kershaw 3.95 15.3 89.4 -4.2 12
20 Lucas Giolito 3.24 14.4 86.6 -4.2 23
21 Kyle Hendricks 3.37 12.9 85.3 4.4 41
22 Walker Buehler 4.72 11.9 90.1 -2.6 10
23 Zac Gallen 3.71 12.9 86.8 -5.8 38
24 Hyun-Jin Ryu 3.25 11.9 86.6 -7.2 22
25 Jose Berrios 4.18 11.5 87.9 -1.7 29
26 Aaron Civale 2.69 11 88.3 1.4 40
27 German Marquez 3.13 12.7 89.4 -0.3 32
28 Kenta Maeda 2.46 15.4 86.6 -2.1 43
29 Chris Paddack 5.4 10.4 90.2 -1.4 36
30 Adrian Houser 4.74 9.6 86.2 -1.7 91
31 Max Fried 2.36 12.8 82.9 -2.7 33
32 Zack Wheeler 3.46 10.2 84.9 3.2 19
33 Blake Snell 4.49 15.6 90.6 0 15
34 Mike Clevinger 6.28 12.1 88.8 #N/A 7
35 Julio Urias 3.63 12 86.6 5.1 95
36 Jesus Luzardo 3.93 13.4 89.4 2.7 75
37 Spencer Turnbull 3.52 10.4 91.2 10 88
38 Pablo Lopez 2.26 14.7 84.5 1 39
39 Andrew Heaney 3.16 12.2 89.9 -3 26
40 Masahiro Tanaka 4.56 13.8 90 6.5 37
41 Frankie Montas 4.05 11 86.1 25.4 35
42 Kevin Gausman 3.12 14.8 87.8 -3.9 47
43 Mike Minor 4.4 10 87.4 10.5 28
44 Dallas Keuchel 3.4 10 86.4 2.2 54
45 Yusei Kikuchi 2.56 11.7 88.8 -9 79
46 Chris Bassitt 3.64 8.4 89.3 10.3 56
47 Zach Plesac 2.39 13.5 85.6 #N/A 89
48 Framber Valdez 2.58 9.9 91.2 -16.8 86
49 Merrill Kelly 3.95 9.7 88.5 0 96
50 Ryan Yarbrough 5.2 13.4 84.4 4.4 73
51 Randy Dobnak 4.08 9.4 87.1 -3.8 180
52 Marco Gonzales 3.66 7.4 86.7 1.9 53
53 Nathan Eovaldi 4.58 11.7 90.1 -2.8 46
54 Anthony DeSclafani 5.52 10.2 89.1 6 64
55 Griffin Canning 5.72 9.7 89.8 9.4 55
56 Jake Odorizzi 6.16 8.8 89.4 -9 212
57 Zach Davies 3.1 9.7 87.1 3.5 149
58 Dustin May 4.4 8.1 87.1 2.1 104
59 Ross Stripling 6.31 6.9 92.1 8.6 74
60 Kyle Freeland 4.48 9.3 86.5 0.5 135
61 Charlie Morton 4.54 11.9 90.8 0.5 50
62 Zach Eflin 2.8 11.4 86 15.4 69
63 Jon Gray 4.8 10.2 89.8 -5.4 51
64 Corbin Burnes 3.3 13.9 89.7 11.7 141
65 Brad Keller 2.99 10.8 87.1 5.4 92
66 Kyle Gibson 4.84 7.8 87.1 -2.3 42
67 Lance McCullers Jr. 4.43 10.1 89.7 1.7 34
68 Josh Lindblom 4.86 15.2 88.5 5.3 52
69 Triston McKenzie 2.49 16.3 89.9 0 249
70 Alec Mills 4.88 7.3 82.9 10.1 164
71 Tommy Milone 3.2 13 88.6 -2.6 181
72 Casey Mize 2.93 15.1 87.3 0 176
73 Jon Lester 5.97 5.2 88.3 7.6 80
74 Garrett Richards 3.97 11 88.5 -4.8 110
75 Justus Sheffield 2.42 9.6 90.4 1.7 134
76 Antonio Senzatela 3.03 10.4 87.8 -5.8 191
77 Johnny Cueto 4.03 8.1 88 -4.9 83
78 Dylan Cease 6.16 9.3 89.3 8.6 66
79 Tyler Chatwood 2.62 14.8 90 N/A 202
80 Sixto Sanchez N/A N/A N/A N/A 109
81 Freddy Peralta 1.8 15.9 92.4 -3.8 49
82 Sandy Alcantara 3.91 16.1 84.8 N/A 146
83 Danny Duffy 3.74 10.5 88.8 12.7 57
84 Brady Singer 5.62 9 89.9 -0.8 157
85 Sean Manaea 4.06 9 90.1 3.5 48
86 Nate Pearson 7.63 11 88.6 -4.2 197
87 Cristian Javier 5.25 7.9 86.3 2.4 114
88 Adam Wainwright 3.38 10.1 87.5 -2.5 67
89 Kolby Allard 3.39 10.7 87.5 -6.4 118
90 Taijuan Walker 4.93 7.4 89.6 2.2 148
91 Mike Fiers 6.25 5.7 88.4 0.2 100
92 Spencer Howard 7.01 9.2 89.6 0 71
93 Steven Matz 7.03 10.4 90 0.6 58
94 Rich Hill 5.63 4.1 85.2 -2 61
95 Robbie Ray 7.79 11.4 92.5 -3.6 45
96 Tyler Mahle 3.53 12.2 87.6 NA 77
97 Luke Weaver 7.01 10.5 90.6 -5.6 65
98 Rick Porcello 3.24 6.4 86.8 -3.6 60
99 Tarik Skubal 10.16 9.6 93.6 0 218
100 Kwang-hyun Kim 4.47 8.8 89.9 -4.3 42

Aye, you made it this far, didn’t ya. EverywhereBlair is, well, located at home right now. He’s a historian and lover of prog-metal. He enjoys a good sipping rum. When he’s not churning data and making fan fiction about Grey and Donkey Teeth, you can find him dreaming of shirtless pictures of Lance Lynn on Twitter @Everywhereblair.

  1. Grey

    Grey says:

    This is great work, man! Not to be confused with the new Philly closer

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Thanks Grey, son! Not to be confused with Greyson Rodriguez.

      Sheesh..tough crowd!

      • Grey

        Grey says:

        Yeah, what’s up with people, wis brinson?

  2. Primetime says:

    Heaney? 33. Canning listened as well.. this is not the list who will be angels pitchers for all star game home run derby right?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Nah that’s Zack Greinke and Alec Mills. They’re on the list too!

  3. Mike says:

    Dynasty trade H2H league 5×5 scoring….
    Without team needs coming into play who would you rather own in a dynasty moving forward Clevinger or Franmil Reyes?

  4. Mike says:

    Dynasty trade H2H league 5×5 scoring….
    Without team needs coming into play who would you rather own in a dynasty moving forward Clevinger or Franmil Reyes?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Think it’s gotta be Franmil there. His power will grow, hopefully contact stays there as he ages. Clevinger is a known quantity. Thanks for checking in!

  5. Prawn Lord says:

    Is Clevinger for Kershaw and Trenien in a dynasty league (Saves+Holds) a fair deal? Trying to make a run this year and Clevinger is dead weight right now

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Whew, tough one. Clevinger *should* be at the MLB level soon; his transgression wasn’t as bad as Plesac, and Cleveland has no real reason to keep him down.

      That said, the media’s talking about Clevinger getting traded. Cleveland bats are not stellar right now, but their pitching rotation is deeeeeeeep.

      I honestly don’t often want to replace one pitchers with two, but if you need a reliever and you want to win, it might be the dice roll you need to take. Kershaw’s been fine, he’s missing bats, and he’s trending in the right direction on hard hit %. He’s got a lineup that will mash and a favorable ballpark situation. So, I say go for it.

  6. Stumanji! says:

    What’s the move with Seth Lugo right now? 10 tm roto with QS. Is he a drop for a guy like Christian Javier, or does he have the potential to have some SP value? My initial feeling is that he will take a few starts to get stretched out and won’t be in play for Quality Starts, no?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      TBH I’m not thrilled about the Lugo scenario. He’s tried the starter thing before. It’s the Mets, and Lugo has been a reliever for a few years. The track record of both these things is not stellar. I wouldn’t be surprised if they used him as a wonky opener. But yeah, basically no chance for QS. Existing, stretched out SP are barely throwing 4.5 IP this year. Thanks for checking in!

      • bbmedic3195 says:

        Lugo has had mixed results as a starter granted it has not really been since 2018? My major concern is two fold with him starting. 1. how stretched out is he, and B how does that shorten and weaken the Mets bullpen given the sad state of affairs after DeGrom.

        • everywhereblair

          everywhereblair says:

          Absolutely. I’ve had the most success in DFS this year stacking against bad bullpens. So many starters do their thing and then hand the reigns over to a over-worked, over-burdened bullpen.

          Given how many other teams are either bringing out AAAA starters as innings eaters and watching it work (see: Alec Mills, the entire Orioles team), I’m surprised the Mets don’t follow suit. But, Mets gonna Mets.

  7. detroit_kozak says:

    Still a lot of love for Louis Castillo though performance has been lacking so far…. poised for a solid stretch?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey DK! You’ve got the wrong “L” word there…”luck” is what you’re looking for. He’s been un-lucky.

      “Lacking” reminds me John Lackey and all the low-key fantasy wins he brought me back in the day.

      But our boy Castillo, indeed he’s poised for a stretch. He’s in the top 10% of swinging strikes, Exit Velocity, and FIP. Only Jack Flaherty has done that so far on this list. Castillo’s BABIP is a stunning .400. Nearly 65% of the balls hit off Castillo are weak/medium rated. Thus the low exit velocity.

      Ready for this?

      His HR/FB ratio is 5%. His career average is 17%.

      [insert GIF of Jack Nicholson nodding passionately]

      Of the top 10, I’d say I’m wonky to be keeping Scherzer in the top 5. But that’s me trusting the Rest-of-Season-nator!

      But Castillo in the top ten? [chef’s kiss] That’s just my secret ingredient!

  8. Matt Lehman says:

    Glasnow, houser & minor should each be bumped 5-10 spots, otherwise this is a good looking list

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Sounds good to me! I generally prefer tiers, and to be honest, glasnow’s up with the 11-20 tier, and the other guys are in the 30-45ish tier. Listing or tier-ing each has it’s draw backs. But, totally agree. Thanks for checking in!

  9. Stephen Lyon says:

    Hey now – Heaney’s been dropped in my league (14 team H2H, 6×6 with QS instead of W). If I’m reading the table right he’s actually pitching a little better than his stats say and might be due an improvement?

    Feel free to laugh in my face if I have that wrong ;-)

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Absolutely no laughing matter! Heaney’s been pitching better than his numbers, and you’ll see that Rudy’s rest-of-season is even more bullish on Heaney than I am. Who better to trust than one of the best rankers out there and a 2-time Tout Wars champ? I say you grab him. Can’t hurt, might help.

      • Stephen Lyon says:


        • everywhereblair

          everywhereblair says:

          [performative bow]

          Told you Heaney would put up good numbers against the [checks score] M-m-m-mariners.

          [nervously prepares for the next time he faces the A’s]

  10. Tony C says:

    Really good work everywhereblair! I appreciate the current advanced statistics. Based on his current success would Eliesor Hernandez be a good consideration for a spot on this top 100 list?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      We’re gonna see how the Marlins manage the workload this week. Their bullpen is *bad*, which hurts all starters, and that bullpen is gonna get worked hard to make up for the lost time.

      But *shh* I’ve got bids in to acquire Hernandez myself. He’s an absolute upside play…I mean, the 80-100 guys have longer track records or higher upside, but Hernandez could be right in there as well.

  11. Dr Sauce says:

    First, thanks for this … the advanced stats are super helpful!!

    Curious about Freddy Peralta? His advanced stats are ‘out of this world’! Top 10 in two of the categories: FIP and SwStrike. Do you attribute this to settling into sort of swing/long reliever type role? Or do you thing Milwaukee will eventually move him back into the rotation? Seems like his value would sky rocket if he earned a spot in the rotation.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Thanks for the comments! Yeah, the gamblers (like, the people who spend thousands of dollars on a single league) are moving in on Peralta getting a starting job, so, the bold move would be to add him.

      Brewers bullpen is awesome. Starters have been OK. Offense has been awful. But Cleveland has shown that great pitching and a couple of runs a game will get you into the playoffs. Hopefully the Brew Crew follows suit and puts Peralta into more of a starter role to get those W.

  12. bbmedic3195 says:

    Going forward who has a better ROS and value as a 14th round keeper pick? Logan Gilbert or Matt Manning?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      I think you gotta go with Manning as a keeper. Coin toss as to ROS…they would need injuries or something to go wrong with another pitcher to be called up.

      • bbmedic3195 says:

        How fast things change, Manning shut down. I am pivoting to Logan Gilbert as a minor league slot guy. I have Buehler slated for a 10th round keeper last year of his eligibility to hold him. Albies in the 25th. Final two spots are for 15 and 16th rounds for two of the following Sixto Sanchez, Alex Kirloff, Ian Anderson and Logan Gilbert. Im leaning on the first two guys in my list.

  13. Matt says:

    Dynasty league trade 5X5 H2H scoring….
    Franmil or Triston McKenzie ?

  14. Matt says:

    Dynasty league trade 5X5 H2H scoring….
    Franmil or Triston McKenzie?
    Which you taking long term ?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Whew! Tough one. Frankie obviously has the edge for mlb track record, McKenzie has upside for youth.

      Just speaking for fantasy baseball, I take franmil. So many things can go wrong for a pitcher that young. Love McKenzie, but his body type has few successful comparisons for enduring success. Franmil is the safer bet there imo.

  15. bbmedic3195 says:

    How fast things change, Manning shut down. I am pivoting to Logan Gilbert as a minor league slot guy. I have Buehler slated for a 10th round keeper last year of his eligibility to hold him. Albies in the 25th. Final two spots are for 15 and 16th rounds for two of the following Sixto Sanchez, Alex Kirloff, Ian Anderson and Logan Gilbert. Im leaning on the first two guys in my list.

Comments are closed.