Things are refreshingly somewhat back to normal following the lunacy of the trade deadline. We even have more good news than bad this week. What are the odds of that?!
- The corporeal embodiment of the Abe Simpson gif, Tanner Houck was bounced back to Triple-A after his latest start. Which came after he was also previously bounced to Triple-A. I just left him on the list this week because he might start again next weekend. Or he might not. I have no idea. What I do know is that Houck is a much better option than Garrett Richards. At least BoSox fans no longer have to endure Martin Perez, who has mercifully been banished to the pen.
- Speaking of the Red Sox rotation, CHRIS FREAKIN’ SALE IS BACK!! Rejoice!! As I mentioned in previous iterations of the list, Sale has been dazzling in his rehab starts. I have still elected to take it a little easy with his ranking, slotting him in just outside the top-10. Once we see for certain he’s not on any pitch counts and his stuff is back, I’ll push him inside the top-10.
- I have no idea how many of you viewers out there (are you Viewers? Readers? Clickers? You did click on the article, after all. Let’s not use Clickers, because when I hear that term I think of The Last of Us and get a little jumpy. Let’s go with Readers.) scroll all the way to the bottom of these articles. If you do, you’ll always see the “Fell Off The List” section. This week marks a big one – Patrick Corbin. His velocity has been fluctuating and I keep squinting to try to see at least a streaming option, but I can’t squint hard enough anymore. After Sunday’s latest dud (6 IP, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K vs ATL) he now sits with a 5.83 ERA (5.52 FIP) through 122 IP. He’s not even giving you a strikeout floor, with a meager 7.01 K/9. There are too many upside plays at this point to still be fiddling around with your Corbin.
- No, I haven’t forgotten Jesus Luzardo. He’s been horrifically bad and has hit 5 IP one time since April. He’ll have to show me something before I rank him.
- Elieser Hernandez has been dominating on his rehab assignments. He threw four shutout innings at Triple-A and might weasel his way into the Marlins rotation relatively quickly. He deserves a stash in deep mixers.
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The Starting Pitcher Barometer
Logan Webb, SF (+12) – Since Spider-Man (I can call him that, right? Since his name is Webb, you see) returned to the Giants rotation in July, he has been dominant. Over those six starts (30 IP), Spidey has a cool 2.10 ERA (3.30 FIP), 0.97 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, and 2.1 BB/9. His pitch mix has yielded a 62.5% GB% over that span. Speaking of which, he has a strong three-pitch mix that should also continue to help him avoid platoon splits. His slider has a 44.6% whiff rate and is filthy against righties. His changeup helps more against lefties but he throws it to everyone. With 25.9% usage, it has limited opposing bats to a .311 wOBA (.287 xwOBA). Oh yeah – and his sinker is sick, too.
Logan Webb, 95mph Sinker (home plate view).
21" of arm side run. pic.twitter.com/stDHntR4oG
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 1, 2021
Austin Gomber, COL (+25) – I eased Gomber back onto the list last week after he missed some time. He’s back to his normal self, which is a very serviceable streamer. Before the season, I’d have been shocked to see myself ranking him so highly, but here we are. We’ve come a long way since getting “Gombered”, haven’t we?
Taijuan Walker, NYM (-12) – Just as Dokkstradamus prophecied in the All-Star Buy/Sell Edition, Walker has regressed a great deal. The substance crackdown hasn’t helped his curveball, either.
Walker had a 2.50 ERA the day that posted, less than a month ago. After his last (technically quality) start, his ERA rose to 3.89. He induced just seven whiffs across 89 pitches against the Phillies, finishing with an ugly 19% CSW and one lone strikeout. He can still be a deeper league streamer, but hopefully, you got out while the gettin’ was good.
JT Brubaker, PIT (-19) – WOOF. I don’t know what JT stands for, but after I read his latest box score (5 IP, 8 ER, 4 BB, 5 K vs CIN) I exclaimed “Joltin’ tarnation!”. Never before had I strung those two words together. I was that distraught, friends. Halfway through May it sure looked like Brubaker was going to be a solid streamer, at least. He is now very much a debatable streamer. A dangerous streamer. A white-water streamer, if you will. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that phrase before and I’m going to start using it a lot. I like it.
Brubaker has had some tough matchups, to be fair. However, since the start of July, JT has made six starts. Through those 29.2 innings, he has a 7.89 ERA (6.64 FIP), 1.45 WHIP, 10 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9. The strikeouts are sexy, but not at the cost of your ratios. He’s been bit by the long ball badly, with an even 3.0 HR/9 over that span. He’s been battered like a tasty cod, allowing a 41.4% Hard%. His grasp on a Top-100 SP slot is tenuous.
Luis Gil, NYY (SP81) – Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery have been banished to the COVID-19 IL. That opened a spot for Luis Gil, who has been very exciting. Through his first two turns in the Yankees rotation, Gil has allowed just six hits across 11 shutout innings, walking three and striking out 14.
Gil carved up a Mariners lineup (that does tend to be taken advantage of, admittedly) in his latest effort. While averaging nearly 96 MPH on his fastball, he earned a 34% CSW overall, netting 43% whiffs on his slider. It’s predominantly a two-pitch mix, although he’ll sprinkle in a changeup here and there. He has also had more control issues in the minors than we’ve seen in the majors so far. I get the feeling that once the league has seen him a time or two, he’ll look a lot more hittable.
As I finish writing this up, Gil has actually been optioned back to Triple-A already. Cole and Montgomery are returning to the rotation this week, assuming everything goes according to plan. I’m leaving Gil on the list for this week, however, as he could earn a spot start in short order. If not, he’ll drop off the list next week. He’s a fun pitcher to write about!
Cal Quantrill, CLE (SP87) – The 8th overall pick back in 2016 by the Padres, Quantrill has been a solid SP/RP for Cleveland in 2021. His first start didn’t come until the end of May, but since then he has made 14 appearances (all but one as a starter). He has a solid 3.60 ERA (3.91 FIP), 1.22 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, and 2.6 BB/9. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but after his last start (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K vs DET) I had to find him a spot on the list. His slider has a 33.9% whiff rate, which he could frankly lean on more than his current 25.5% usage. Until then, expect a mediocre strikeout rate.
Braxton Garrett, MIA (SP100) – Guess who was the seventh overall pick in the aforementioned 2016 draft? Miami’s own Braxton Garrett! Suck on that, Quantrill! If your mind works like mine, you automatically think what a great puzzle in the Before & After category you could get on Wheel of Fortune if you combine his name with his teammates to get Braxton Garrett Cooper. What, just me?
The big lefty averages just a hair over 90 MPH on his fastball but deploys his slider/curve/change over 10% each. That helps make up for the lack of velocity. The Marlins have been absolutely incredible at developing pitching recently, so I’m willing to take a stab at anyone they throw out there. In particular, a starter with a pedigree like Garrett. With Pablo Lopez on the shelf and Trevor Rogers facing an innings limit, we could see plenty of Garrett down the stretch. His control still needs refinement and his strikeout upside isn’t huge (for now), though, so don’t get your hopes too high.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 5, 2021
Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings
|32||Hyun Jin Ryu||30|
|68||Kwang Hyun Kim||63|
Fell Off The List:
Domingo German (Injury), Ryan Yarbrough (Performance), Patrick Corbin (Performance), Adbert Alzolay (Performance), Daulton Jefferies (Minors), Dallas Keuchel (Performance).
Thanks for checking out this week’s article. Be sure to check out Eric Cross’s updated Top Fantasy Baseball Prospects.
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