It’s just like old times, as we here at Razzball are profiling a Brewers starter this week. I can’t put my finger on what that means, but I digress. The familiarity doesn’t just end there my friends, oh no, we just happen to be covering the MLB debut for one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, Brandon Woodruff. On the heels of a somewhat out of nowhere breakout in 2016, Woodruff exploded onto the dynasty league radar, and squarely into the ranks on several top prospect lists. After leading the minors in strikeouts last year, the righty credited an increased pace, thanks to the direction of AA pitching coach Chris Hook. After a solid showing in the challenging confines of Colorado Springs earlier this season, Woodruff was called up in mid-June to make a spot start. Unfortunately he was injured warming up, was scratched from his debut, and did a month on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Recalled Friday to face the contending Rays in Tampa, Woodruff might be an interesting stream down the stretch in re-drafts of all sizes. Let’s see how the highly touted rookie looks vs a seasoned AL East lineup. Not a bad litmus test.


Scouting Report: Woodruff works fast, and relies heavily on his mid-90’s fastball. Typically throwing it around 60% of the time. The pitch has some late life, and he controls it well. Choosing to work inside frequently to both lefties and righties a like. His slider is above average but can flash plus, typically working low in the zone to the gloveside. His change is average to fringe, with very little movement. He tends to throws this pitch low in the zone to the armside, and rarely uses it vs righties. I love his clean repeatable mechanics, and ability to consistently pound the zone. A solid number 3 type is possible right from the jump if Woodruff’s fastball translates.

Brandon Woodruff vs The Tampa Bay Rays August 4th, 2017 @ Tropicana Stadium St. Peterburg, FL

First Inning

Corey Dickerson – Fastball at 94, swinging strike 1, fastball at 95 high and on the outside, strike 2, high fastball at 95 fouled off, high fastball at 95 fouled off again, 85 mph changeup, low and outside for swinging strike 3.

Lucas Duda – 95 MPH fastball high and inside, ball 1, another high fastball, ball 2, 95 MPH fastball hit for a single into left.

Evan Longoria – 95 MPH fastball to outer half of the plate, strike 1, 87 MPH slider low and outside of the plate, strike 2, 87 MPH on the outside, ball, 95 MPH middle in, fouled off, 96 MPH on the inside, fouled off, 83 MPH changeup way low, ball 2, 94 MPH fastball low and inside fouled off, 85 MPH slider low and outside, ball 3, 94 MPH in on the hands popped up to first for the second out.

Logan Morrison -84 MPH changeup, low and outside, ball 1, 94 MPH fastball hit the other way to left.

Steven Souza Jr. – High fastball, ball 1, 94 MPH high and outside, ball 2, 95 MPH low and inside, ball 3, 94 MPH way inside, ball 4. Bases loaded.

Brad Miller – 94 MPH fastball dead red, strike 1, 95 MPH fastball fouled back, strike 2, 95 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 1, 87 MPH slider hit right back at the pitcher, Woodruff fields and fires to first.

A rough first for Woodruff but he escaped a bases loaded jam without allowing a run. He was relying heavily on his fastball, mixing in the slider and change here and there.

Second Inning

Wilson Ramos – slider at 84 on the outside, ball, slider at 85 down the middle, hit for a single.

Mallex Smith – 93 MPH hit to left for a single, two on, no outs.

David Robertson – 93 MPH high and inside, fouled off, 95 MPH on the black, strike 1, slider, strike 2, fastball high and on the outer half, and he gets Robertson to chase for a swinging strike 3.

Corey Dickerson – Changeup at 83 swinging strike 1, high fastball at 95, swinging strike 2, 95 MPH on the outside, ball 1, 95 MPH fastball on the inside to Dickerson swinging strike 3. Two outs.

Lucas Duda – 95 MPH on the outside, ball 1, fastball low, ball 2, fastball high and tight, ball 3, 95 MPH inside, Duda takes for ball 4.

Evan Longoria – 95 MPH middle-middle, foul tip, strike 1, 87 MPH slider on the outer half, strike 2, 95 MPH fastball hit for a grounder to short, and Arcia fires to second for the final out.

Another tight wire act for Woodruff. So far he’s trying too hard to get hitters to chase fastballs out of the zone, but to no avail. This is second consecutive inning where Woodruff has loaded the bases.

Third Inning

Logan Morrison – First pitch is a 83 MPH changeup hit for a single into center.

Steven Souza Jr. – 83 MPH slider on the outside, ball 1, slider at 84 down and away, ball 2, fastball at 94 hit right at Travis Shaw, but instead of getting the force out at second, Shaw tosses the ball to right field, E5. Runners on the corners.

Brad Miller – fastball on the outer part of the plate, strike 1, another fastball on the outside, fouled off, 93 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 1, 86 MPH slider in the dirt under the hands of Miller, swinging strike 3. One out.

Wilson Ramos – 85 MPH slider to the outside, ball 1, fastball at 94 hit to center for the second out, Broxton comes up throwing and holds Morrison at third.

Mallex Smith – 94 MPH fastball on the inside, strike 1, 85 MPH changeup at the bottom of the zone, swinging strike 2, fastball at 94, ball 1, Manny Pina comes up throwing and catches Souza in a pickle for the final out.

Better inning from Woodruff, boy is his changeup better than advertised. Though he only uses it to lefties it seems. Still allowed two base runners this inning, even if it should only have been one with the Shaw error.

Fourth Inning

Mallex Smith – Changeup at 83 down and in, ball 1, fastball high and inside, ball 2, fastball at 93 middle in, fouled off, strike 1, fastball middle up is hit up the middle for a single.

David Robertson – 93 MPH fastball high and in on the hands is popped up in foul ground to Shaw, he makes the catch for the first out.

Corey Dickerson – After three consecutive pickoff attempts, Woodruff pegs Mallex Smith at first, and there’s two away. 94 MPH fastball on the outer part of the plate, and a swinging strike 1 for Dickerson. Dickerson now has 6 swinging strikes on Woodruff’s fastball. 93 MPH fastball on the outer-half is called a ball, questionable call, 94 MPH fastball up and in, swinging strike 2, 7 whiffs for C-Dick, 94 on the outer-half fouled off, 85 MPH slider in the middle of the zone is hit for a dribbler back to the pitcher, Woodruff throws to first for the final out.

The inning started exactly the same as the last two, as Woodruff allowed another leadoff hit. He did well to get bad contact from both Robertson, and Dickerson, as well as picking off Smith at first. Kevin Cash should consider sitting Corey Dickerson if the Rays face Woodruff again. He’s looked lost against the righthanders cheese.

Fifth Inning

Lucas Duda – Changeup at 83 over the outer part of the plate for strike 1, slider at 83 on the low outside corner of the zone, strike 2, slider at 85 down and in, bounces before Pina’s glove, ball 1, fastball at 94 in on the hands, fouled off, another fastball at 94 over the inner-half of the plate fouled off, another 94 MPH fastball on the inside is hit directly into the shift for the first out.

Evan Longoria – 94 MPH middle-low is taken for strike 1, slider at 86 way on the outside, ball 1, another slider this time at 84 on the outside, ball 2, 94 MPH once again way on the outside, he’s thrown three consecutive pitches off the plate to Longo, fastball at 94 is middle-middle, and struck for a lazy fly to left. Two outs.

Logan Morrison – 94 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 1, slider at 85 on the outer part of the plate is struck to right-center for Lo-Mo’s third single of the day.

Steven Souza Jr. – High fastball at 93, ball 1, high fastball at 94 swinging strike 1, fastball at 94 on the outer-part of the plate, strike 2, fastball at 94 in on the hands is popped directly back and out of play, 85 MPH slider on the inner-half gets a swinging strike 3.

Best inning of the day for Woodruff, he was efficient with his pitches, located the slider much better to the armside, and continued to spot his heat all over the zone.

Sixth Inning

Brad Miller – Woodruff starts off Miller with a 81 MPH changeup, low and outside, and Miller foolishly swings bouncing it to first for the out.

Wilson Ramos – Fastball at 93 at the top of the zone is fouled off, strike 1, slider on the outer-half of the plate is bounced foul, strike 2, slider at 84 down Main St. is fouled back in the dirt, fastball at 94 at the top of the zone is lined right into the shift for the second out. Milwaukee is one of the most shift happy teams in the majors and it’s paying off for Woodruff today.

Mallex Smith – Slider at 84 low in the zone is fouled off, strike 1, 84 MPH slider middle-middle is hit to Broxton in center for the final out of the inning.

A 7 pitch inning for Woodruff, and he’s been even better the third time through the order. The righthander has taken full advantage of Tampa’s aggressive approach early in counts, generating lots of weak contact. Fastball still sitting 93-94, 90+ pitches in too.

Seventh Inning

David Robertson – 84 MPH slider on the low outside corner, strike 1, another slider this time at 85 to the same spot, is called a ball, bad call, 94 MPH fastball high on the outer part of the plate is fouled off, strike 2, a high inside fastball at 93 gets a swinging strike three. That’s it for Woodruff, quite the MLB debut for the rookie.

Final Line: 6.1 IP, Win, 7 Hits, 2 Walks, 0 Runs, 6 K’s, 12 Swinging Strikes, 97 Pitches, 64 Strikes.

Summary: Not too shabby a debut, as Woodruff gets it done on the road, holding a solid AL lineup scoreless over 6 1/3rd innings. In the early going he looked to find his footing, but got out of two bases loaded jams, without any damage. He seemed to get his sea legs in the third, and was very efficient the rest of the way. His fastball is solid, has a little movement, and gets swings and misses, particularly from Corey Dickerson. His changeup is better than expected and is very effective vs. lefties, though he didn’t throw a single one to a righthanded batter all day. His slider isn’t as good as I hoped, but he seemed to find it in the last two innings, getting sharper break, and painting the corners. A very encouraging start for Woodruff, if he remains in the rotation he’s certainly a player to grab for the back end of your rotation if you’re hurting for starters.

Razzball Baseball

Updated Top 100 SP

(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)

1 Max Scherzer, WAS 
2 Chris Sale, BOS
3 Corey Kluber, CLE  
4 Madison Bumgarner, SF  
5 James Paxton, SEA
6 Zack Greinke, ARI  
7   Alex Wood, LAD 
8 Yu Darvish, LAD  
9 Luis Severino, NYY  
10 Jacob deGrom, NYM 
11 Chris Archer, TB
12 Dallas Keuchel, HOU
13 Jimmy Nelson, MIL    
14 Carlos Martinez, STL    
15 Gerrit Cole, PIT 
16 Carlos Carrasco, CLE 
17 Jake Arrieta, CHC  
18 Rich Hill, LAD      
19 Danny Salazar, CLE   
20 Aaron Nola, PHI
21 Zack Godley, ARI 
22 Drew Pomeranz, BOS 
23 Jose Quintana, CHC
24 Gio Gonzalez, WAS      
25 Sean Manaea, OAK   
26 Marcus Stroman, TOR   
27  Jacob Faria, TB
28 Danny Duffy, KC
29 Jose Berrios, MIN  
30 Dan Straily, MIA   
31 Sonny Gray, NYY       
32 Jon Lester, CHC    
33 Jameson Taillon, PIT     
34 Kenta Maeda, LAD
35 Mike Foltynewicz, ATL 
36 Kyle Hendricks, CHC 
37 Masahiro Tanaka, NYY       
38 Michael Wacha, STL      
39 J.A. Happ, TOR    
40 Charlie Morton, HOU   
41 Jon Gray, COL
42 Taijuan Walker, ARI
43 Lance Lynn, STL     
44 Ivan Nova, PIT
45  Jeff Samardzija, SF
46 Rick Porcello, BOS
47 Justin Verlander, DET 
48 Jason Vargas, KC   
49 German Marquez, COL 
50 Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS 
51 Kevin Gausman, BAL     
52 Patrick Corbin, ARI     
53 Ervin Santana, MIN           
54 Carlos Rodon, CHW 
55 Collin McHugh, HOU   
56 Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD     
57 Alex Cobb, TB   
58 Zach Davies, MIL    
59 Tanner Roark, WAS 
60                            Dinelson Lamet, SD                       
61 Cole Hamels, TEX   
62 Trevor Bauer, CLE     
63  Ian Kennedy, KC
64 Luis Castillo, CIN
65 Mike Fiers, HOU        
66    Jaime Garcia, NYY            
67 Trevor Cahill, KC   
68 Adam Wainwright, STL
69 Jerad Eickhoff, PHI      
70 Mike Leake, STL       
71 Steven Matz, NYM      
72 Vincent Velasquez, PHI  
73 Parker Bridwell, LAA           
74 Brandon Woodruff, MIL        
75 Brent Suter, MIL       
76 Chad Kuhl, PIT        
77 Jason Hammel, KC 
78 Jhoulys Chacin, SD        
79 R.A. Dickey, ATL            
80 J.C. Ramirez, LAA     
81 Dylan Bundy, BAL      
82 C.C. Sabathia, NYY 
83 Seth Lugo, NYM    
84 Ariel Miranda, SEA  
85                                       Adalberto Mejia, MIN                                   
86 Jose Urena, MIA  
87 Julio Teheran, ATL
88 Sean Newcomb, ATL
89 Luis Perdomo, SD     
90 Ty Blach, SF
91 Trevor Williams, PIT
92    Adam Conley, MIA
93  Matt Boyd, DET 
94 Matt Moore, SF 
95  Lucas Sims, ATL
96 Paul Blackburn, OAK
97 Doug Fister, BOS  
98 Anthony Banda, ARI
99 Nick Pivetta, PHI 
100 Edwin Jackson, WAS


Disabled List (Ranking When Active):  Clayton Kershaw, LAD (3)Noah Syndergaard, NYM (8), Stephen Strasburg, WAS (9), Robbie Ray, ARI (12), Lance McCullers, HOU (16), David Price, BOS (24), Johnny Cueto, SF (28)Chase Anderson, MIL (29), Michael Fulmer, DET (34), Brandon McCarthy, LAD (42), Felix Hernandez, SEA  (54), Aaron Sanchez, TOR (66) Matt Andriese, TB (68), Jake Odorizzi, TB  (69), Kyle Freeland, COL  (76), Scott Feldman, CIN (84), Matt Harvey, NYM (99) Brandon Finnegan, CIN (100)

Dropped off: Mike Clevinger, CLE, Jordan Montgomery, NYY, Jeff Hoffman, COL, John Lackey, CHC

  • Tanner Roark has rebounded hard in July, in fact he ranks 12th in SwStr%, 10th in contact%, and 7th in chase% over the last 30 days. Not too shabby for a pitcher who looked lost a few months ago. Nod to BatFlip Crazy on Twitter for the tidbit.
  • The combination of Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar has produced wind-power at turbine like levels in Cleveland over the past month. Kluber’s swinging strike leads all starters with an 18.5% mark, while Salazar checks in at number 2 with a 17.6% rate. I was wrong, Salazar has been great since returning.
  • You know who’s been grossly underrated this season? Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin. Outside a rough start last Tuesday, Corbin has put up ace like numbers since mid-June. His swinging strike checks in at 14.3% over the last month, while his ERA in 8 starts leading up to Tuesday’s blowup, was 2.83. That number is supported by strong peripherals (FIP of 3.02, and a 3.85 K/Bb), so it seems to be legit.
  • I can’t get over how good Rockies starter German Marquez has been the last two months. Over his last 10 starts, Marquez is 5-1, with a 3.77 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 2.8 Bb/9, 0.77 HR/9, and a 10.2% SwStr. You have to marvel at the degree of difficulty too, half those starts have been in Coors, while three of the road matchups were at Washington, Chicago, and Arizona. Only three of the top 5 offenses in the NL.
  • Carlos Rodon started for the White Sox at Fenway Friday night, and I was in the building. This was the follow up to his last start, which was profiled in this space last week. He once again looked locked in, getting tons of swinging strikes, and adding velocity onto his fastball in the later innings. He hit 97 in the 7th, after working 91-92 in the first. If Rodon can stay healthy and throw strikes he’s an ace in the making. I love this kid, and he’s still only 24.

Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshitzbb, and check out my weekly Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube channel Tuesday’s at 9 PM EST

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5 years ago

Thanks for the profile on Woodruff! He’s a guy I’ve owned most of the season in a deep dynasty league, and I’m excited to see now what he can do.

In this same keep dynasty, I’m wondering who you’d rather have: Carlos Gonzalez or Adam Wainwright. I own CarGo but I already have many outfielders, so I’m looking to maybe swap him for a pitcher. Preferably somebody who might be able to help me down the stretch.

Reply to  Anodyne
5 years ago

@Anodyne: And yeah, I’m aware CarGo’s trade value is super low. Basically trying to see if there’s anything I can get for him.

5 years ago

Would you start Woodruff vs Min? Son +0.7 for his start.
Thank you

5 years ago

If you were a Dodgers fan, would you trade Severino for Darvish in a keeper league? Severino would be a Rd 22 keep next year, but I can only keep so many and I’m not sure he’d be one.. Love the Darvish upside this season in LA. Thanks!

5 years ago

I would like to take issue with your entire list from 40-78. This is absolute garbage. You need to move everyone guy in there up a spot whose name has multiple vowels in it but move them down if the surname ends in a consonant. It’s like you know nothing.

Admittedly, Mr. Wood is maybe not as good as paxton but bah gawd, that axe job you did on him this week? He has a family, man.

Mike L
Mike L
5 years ago

Who do you prefer in dynasty? Snell, Castillo, or Morton?

5 years ago

Ryu has pitched limes an ace recently. He’s had two dominant performances in prime time. Are you worried about his spot in the rotation? Think he keeps it up?

5 years ago

I give up Devers/Grandal for Sanchez/Bregman. Devers can be kept for $1 up to 5 years left. I’m in 2nd place going for first. I need runs. Sanchez and Bregman have good keeper prices also, but for only 2 years. Would you unload Devers in this scenario?

5 years ago

Is Flaherty worth adding when gets called up? I would have to drop Taillon or Straily.

5 years ago

This guy nearly has the same name as my next dog, Arfer Woofruff

5 years ago

Thanks Ralph. For this week only, how would you rank: Faria, Berrios, Walker, Cahill, Bauer

Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: sweet, that’s exactly why I had them in that order.

5 years ago

I’ve got Clevinger and Hoffman in a keeper league. Even though they’re struggling now, do you think they’ll be valuable in future years?

Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Roger that! Love your work, man.

5 years ago

Trying to work with you here, but Manea at 25? Don’t top 25 SPs generally have to work past the 4th inning to get rated? j/k, but in all seriousness……Start a two start Kennedy v StL, @ CHW or a suddenly useless one start Carasco, @ TB? Also 2 start Wacha v Atl @ KC over 2 start Vargas v StL @ CHW, or one starts Lamet @ Cincy, Castillo v SD or you guessed it Manea v Balt? Thanks, nice work, as always as usual.

5 years ago

No Brad Peacock?

Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: gotta disagree with that. One bad start out of his last ten? He’s done better than most of the lower 50 up there. ….

5 years ago

Great stuff, thanks Ralph! Classic ESPN… still no Woodruff.

Reply to  Geoff
5 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: Sometimes ya follow ya heart. And sometimes ya heart cuts a fart <3

Reply to  knucks
5 years ago

@knucks: That’s a cosmic shame!