So let’s just get this whole curse thing out of the way. Seems like every starter I’ve profiled since taking over this here gig has hit the DL, with lone exception being Luis Severino. Some how he’s escaped my DL wrath, which means he made a deal with the devil, or knows strong voodoo. Poor Charlie Morton, Vince Velasquez, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Nate Karns, y’all never had a chance without Severino’s voodoo. Yeah, seriously, the “Ralph Curse” is that real! Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, my condolences to the owners of this week’s victim Dinelson Lamet. Let’s pray for a shared secret between he and Luis from the BX. Because DANG, he looks good. He feels like one of those prospects that’s never bad, but falls through the cracks on some lists (mine), while being higher on others (other people not named me). He’s two strong starts, and 10 innings into his major league career, and he’s scheduled to go twice this week. So he’s firmly on the fantasy baseball radar. Enough with the bollocks, let’s dig into the bangers and mash, see what we have here, and determine if he’s someone to hold in the right formats.
Scouting Report: Lamet took an unusual path for a Dominican prospect, signing with the Padres over the 2014 period as an early 20’s signee. Very few non-teenage players from the DR are typically signed, though digging a little deeper into Lamet’s background you find out he almost signed with the Phillies in 2012, before some documentation issues prevented it from happening. (Meaning he’s probably 28.) He first appeared in the Dominican Summer league for the Padres in 2014, before coming stateside the following season and spending all of his 2015 with the Padres Class A affiliate of the Midwest League, the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Over 105.1 innings that season Lamet posted a 5-8 record, with a 2.99 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .211 BAA, a 10.25 K/9, and a 3.76 Bb/9. A very nice debut from an unheralded prospect. He followed that strong stateside debut with an equally impressive campaign in 2016, touching three levels (A+ 12 starts, AA 14 starts, AAA 2 starts), and producing a record of 12-10 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, and 3.7 Bb/9.
He features a four pitch mix, but relies heavily on the fastball and slider combo. His fastball is heavy and hits the upper 90’s, but sits 95-97, and holds his velocity as he gets deeper into his pitch count. His slider sits 84-87, sometimes ramping up to 89, and he consistently throws the breaking ball for strikes. It possesses solid movement, as it sweeps across the zone, and shows two plane movement. The pitch is at it’s best in two strike counts when buried under the hands of the hitter, but he’s effective throwing it anywhere in the zone. His changeup is harder in velocity, sitting 89-91, and is more or less a softer fastball. The difference in speeds between the fastball, slider, and change, help it to play up. He also features a sinker that sits in the low to mid 90’s, but it’s tough to identify, as it’s sink isn’t that heavy. He rarely throws it though.
Lamet boasts whiff rates 25% and 20% on his slider, and change, while hovering around 10% with both variations of his fastball. His off-speeds generate a majority of his groundballs. While his fastball, that he throws high in the zone consistently, generates flyballs at around a 33% clip, and drives the 40%+ FB% rates he put up annually in the minors. Looks like a solid mid-rotation starter with strikeout upside on paper.
Ben Zobrist – Fastball high gloveside ball 1, fastball 95 inside, strike 1, high fastball 97, and Zobrist makes hard contact, driving it to the warning track, but it’s caught for out number one.
Kyle Schwarber – Fastball 97 inside part of the plate, strike one, fastball high at 98, swinging strike two, fastball way high at 98, ball one, fastball 94 low and outside the zone that Schwarber slaps into the shift for out number two.
Entirely fastballs this inning, getting two weakly hit balls, after starting the inning with an out that tested Petco’s friendly limits. Very efficient Inning, only needing 9 pitches to get three outs.
Anthony Rizzo – Fastball 96 low and over the plate, strike one, Rizzo shows bunt at a 96 MPH fastball, he accidentally fouls it back and is dangerously close to getting hit. Strike two, fastball 96 way high and outside, ball 1, changeup at 91 low is hit to the gap in center but it’s caught for out numero uno.
Jon Jay – Fastball 97 inside strike one, fastball 96, foul ball, slider 86, high and outside fouled off, Lamet buries the slider under Jay’s hands for a swinging strike three. Lamet then walks off the field thinking it’s out number three. Hilarious moment, Mike Maher used the gif in his two start pitchers post.
Jason Heyward – 96 MPH pitch is hit down the line for a groundball double that finds the corner.
Willson Contreras – Slider 86, drops for a strike, 96 MPH off the plate is fouled away for strike two, 89 MPH changeup off the plate is called for ball one, next pitch is a slider at 86 low and over the plate that’s slapped for a bouncing grounder than bounces over Cory Spangenberg’s head for an RBI double, as Heyward scores.
Addison Russell – Fastball 97, swinging strike one, high changeup, at 89, swinging strike two, 98 MPH off the plate waist high, ball one, 87 MPH slider drops under a swinging bat of Russell for strike three to end the inning.
Lamet lost his way after forgetting how many outs he had, but he came back strong in the at bat against Russell. He made Russell look silly. Dipped into the secondaries more this inning.
Eddie Butler – 94 MPH fastball belt high and inside strike one, slider 84 knee high on the outside corner strike one. Another slider and the the bottom drops out on that for a swinging strike three. Bounces on Hedges, but he tosses to first for the out.
Ben Zobrist – 95 MPH Fastball over the plate, strike one, high slider at 83, ball one, drops a slide low and inside, catches the corner for strike two, 84 MPH slider same spot fouled off, 92 MPH changeup on the outside fouled off, 86 MPH slider inside belt high, fouled off, high 92 MPH changeup, check swing, ball two, 97 MPH fastball high is fouled off again, 91 MPH change, inside belt high, fouled off, 87 MPH slider off the plate, ball three, fastball at 98 real low, Zobrist takes for a walk.
Kyle Schwarber – Slider at 86 over the plate, taken for strike one, fastball high and outside swung on at 97 for strike two, Schwarber really chased there, 96 MPH and outside again ball one, inside slider at 87 doesn’t break and it hits Schwarber.
Kris Bryant – Slider at 87 over the plate taken for strike one, another slider at 87, poked at off the plate foul, strike two, 97 MPH fastball high in the zone, popped back for a foul, 91 MPH changeup gets Bryant as it runs over the plate and Bryant swings through it.
Anthony Rizzo – Slider high and inside at 88 is taken for strike one, fastball middle of the zone at 96 is fouled off, strike two, fastball slapped off at the high outside part of the zone, slider in the dirt, ball one, slider in on Rizzo’s hands is popped up for our number three.
Not a bad inning for Lamet, though it could have been better had he won his battle vs Zobrist, and managed to not hit Schwarber. He worked out of the jam to Bryant and Rizzo, getting the former to strikeout, while getting the latter to pop-up to end the inning. Swinging strikes and weak contact, lots to like so far.
Jon Jay – Change up low and inside for strike one, 95 MPH fastball inside strike two, slider buried in the dirt, ball one, high heat at 95 fouled back, 85 MPH slider fouled off, high heat on the outside at 95, ball two, slider off the plate fouled back, 87 MPH slider too high, ball three, full count, next breaking pitch whacked foul, changeup whacked foul, pitch 10 of the at bat, buries the slider low in the zone at 89 for a swinging strike three.
Jason Heyward – First pitch is a 90 MPH change over the plate and it’s hit for a single up the middle.
Willson Contreras – 95 MPH fastball off the plate taken for ball one, 94 MPH inside and over the plate, taken for strike one, 94 MPH outside fastball whacked on the ground to third, and thrown to first for the second out.
Addison Russell – 88 MPH changeup off the plate taken for ball one, 86 MPH slider off the plate swung on for strike one, 97 MPH on the inside swing and missed on for strike two, 87 MPH slider under the hand again gets a swing again, and it’s swinging strikeout to end the fourth.
Lamet is really utilizing the slider now, working it high and low in zone, and burrying it under the hands to both righties and lefties for swinging strikes, particularly in two strike counts. The fourth was the best inning since the first, winning the battle against Jay, while sitting down Russell on strikes to end the inning.
Eddie Butler – 93 MPH fastball high in the zone, is whacked back for strike one, a slider on the outside part of the plate is taken for strike two, Lamet then rings up Butler on an 85 MPH slider that gets a half-hearted swing from the Cubs starter.
Ben Zobrist – Changeup at 89 taken on the outside for ball one, another changeup low in the zone at 89 taken for ball two, 93 MPH on the outside for strike one, 94 MPH on the inside taken for strike two, 94 MPH fastball on the outside gets a check swing but Zobrist can’t hold up for strike three.
Kyle Schwarber – 89 MPH slider under the hands Schwarber can’t hold up, and it’s strike one, 95 MPH heat high in the zone is swung on and missed for strike two, Lamet goes right back to the high fastball and Schwarber makes him pay, crushing the ball 400+ feet to right field.
Kris Bryant – Fastball thrown wildly high and inside, ball one, 86 MPH slider on the outside, and Bryant holds up, ball two, 85 MPH slider in the outside is swung through for strike one, 94 MPH fastball middle in is blasted to center for a two out double.
Anthony Rizzo – 91 MPH changeup off the plate taken for ball one, fastball 95 on the outside part of the plate taken for strike one, 94 MPH outside, ball two, 87 MPH slider under the hands swung and missed for strike two, 85 MPH slider on the outside is fouled off, 87 MPH on the inside bounces T the plate for ball three, 89 MPH changeup over the plate is popped up to center field and that’s the end of Lamet’s day.
5 IP, 5 Hits, 2 ER, 1 Walk, 8 K’s, 94 Pitches, 69 Strikes, Game Score 54.
Summary: A very solid showing by the rookie right-hander, as he really only had a handful of hard hit balls all night, coming off the bat of Zobrist, Bryant, and of course the homer from Schwarber. He does a great job of commanding and locating his fastball, and slider all over the zone. With his changeup being an effective third offering, one that Lamet seems to understand when and how to use. Much like his other offerings he knows how to spot it. The slider in particular seems to have two variations, a harder version thrown between 87-89 with hard bite, and another thrown between 84-86 with more loopy action. Though none of his scouting reports mention this.
Lots of his flyball contact is of the pop-up variety, and gives him multiple ways to thwart threats with runners on base. The home park couldn’t be a better fit for his skillset, and the Padres have no one holding him back from sticking in the rotation for the remainder of the season and beyond. I’d be intrigued by the possibility of adding Lamet in dynasty formats.
Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)
Disabled List (Ranking When Active): Madison Bumgarner, SF (3) , Noah Syndergaard, NYM (8), Danny Duffy (19), KC, Alex Wood (22), LAD, Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS (31), Aaron Sanchez, TOR (34), Charlie Morton, HOU (46), Carlos Rodon, CHW (49), Felix Hernandez, SEA (62), Trevor Cahill, SD (66), Matt Andriese, TB (68),Vincent Velasquez, PHI (73), Kendall Graveman, OAK (76), Tyson Ross (90)
- You’ll notice a change in the rankings this week, I’ve removed all the DL guys. With so many starters on the DL each week, it was becoming a deterrent to this post’s purpose. So I’ve inculded all of the injured arms that would rank on this list, and where they would rank if, and when they’re active. I know, I know, I ranked Taijuan Walker, but my guess is he’s back on Sunday.
- Tyson Ross is coming back for the first time in nearly a year and a half and I have no idea where to rank him. He’ll slot at 90 initially, but could move up if he shows a return to form.
- So I’m almost fully back on the David Price bandwagon following a strong showing on Saturday, and a decent debut in Chicago on Monday. It’s only 12 innings, so take this with a grain of salt, but his fastball velocity was back up a tick from last year averaging 93.8 MPH between the two starts. His cutter usage was up, which is somewhat suspicious considering his struggles with that pitch in 2016. Though an early glance at his heatmaps says he’s burying the pitch on the low glove-side of the plate.
- Lots of starters with early season luck are struggling to maintain over their last five starts, those include Gio Gonzalez (4.80 ERA last 5 GS), Andrew Triggs (4.67 ERA last 5 GS), J.C. Ramirez (4.50 last 5 GS), and Derek Holland (5.27 ERA last 5 GS).
- On the other side of the coin, Trevor Bauer (3-0, 3.86 ERA, 7.20 K/BB), Zack Wheeler (2.1, 2.76 ERA, 7.98 K/9, and Jimmy Nelson (2-1, 1.93 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 11.02 K/9, and 1.65 Bb/9), have all been coming on over the last monthly, with Nelson looking like a legitimate break through candidate.
- Through 3 starts, and a total of 15 innings, Randall Delgado has been very strong for the Diamondbacks. How good? Try 1.80 ERA, 9.0 K/9, 1.2 Bb/9, and a 13% SwStr %. The biggest issue I see for Delgado as a starter is his tendency to struggle vs. left-handed hitters.
- There are 8 qualified starters with groundball rates of 50%+, and swinging strike rates of 10% plus, they are as follows: Dallas Keuchel (67.4%, 10.5%), Lance McCullers (61.7%, 12.2%), Luis Severino (54.5%, 11.7%), Carlos Martinez (50.5%, 11.2%), Michael Pineda (50.3%, 13.6%), Jon Lester (50%, 10.8%), Charlie Morton (51.3%, 10.1%), and Tyler Chatwood (57.4%, 10.1%). Clayton Kershaw (47.9%, 12.8%) and Michael Fulmer (48.9%, 9.7%) are on the cusp of that group.
- Converted starter/reliever/long-man Brad Peacock has been enjoying his time in the Astros rotation, and he’s ranked 70 with a bullet. In three starts, totaling 15 innings, Peacock has a 3.60 ERA, 15.0 K/9, 2.4 Bb/9, and a 1.64 xFIP. He tossed 6 efficient innings on Sunday, and really as long as he’s in the rotation, getting deep into games is the only thing holding him back.
- I have no idea what to make of Masahiro Tanaka, Kenta Maeda, Francisco Liriano, and Aaron Nola. None of them make sense.