Starting Pitcher Barometer, Week 25: John Means Business
Each week Nathan Dokken looks anew at the starting rotations across MLB and updates his starting pitcher rankings for the remainder of the season.
With this, the 25th edition of the 2019 Starting Pitcher Barometer, we deduce the end to be nigh. There will be just one more regular-season entry in what has been an insanely fun series to put together for you all. We are far from going out with a whimper, though. There is a ton of interesting pitching news this week.
- Jesus Luzardo finally, FINALLY made his MLB debut with the A’s. Of course, this late in the season we can’t expect to see him get fully stretched out. He is going to pitch in long relief these final few weeks, mitigating any redraft value. He’ll be another hype pick next spring, no doubt.
- Michael Pineda was suspended 60 games for PEDs. It’s very unfortunate on multiple levels. First, it sounds like it may have been an honest mistake. The banned substance was blood pressure medication, but it is also a masking agent. His suspension was reduced from 80 to 60 games after an appeal, lending credence to an error on Pineda’s end. It’s additionally unfortunate because he had been really damn good for the Twins. Since June 13th he had put up a 2.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9. This makes him undraftable in standard mixers for 2020 since he will begin the year on suspension. Incidentally, my pants are also on suspension. I’m bringing back suspenders, baby!
- Tyler Glasnow is back after missing almost four months with a forearm injury. In his return, he gave up two runs over just two innings with two walks and a tasty five K’s. He won’t have time to get fully stretched out before the season is over, but this is a good sign for his 2020 value.
- The Dodgers continue to keep me busy. A scant week after getting excited for Julio Urias: Starting Pitcher, they announce that he will him return to the bullpen. Sigh. In other Dodgers news, Rich Hill returned long enough to hurt himself again. Tony Gonsolin should continue to make starts down the stretch.
The Starting Pitcher Barometer
- Homer Bailey, OAK (+23) – We aren’t going crazy with Homeritis here, as he has ascended to just 75 on the list. However, he has been mostly good since being dealt to Oakland. Those who started him for his two blowups (2 IP 9 ER @ HOU, 4.2 IP 7 ER @CHC) aren’t likely to forgive him for those. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned in a single start since that nasty Cubs start on August 7 though, and his next start is very streamable. He gets the lowly Royals at home, followed by either the Angels or Mariners. He’s worth a pickup in deeper streaming leagues.
- John Means, BAL (+22) – John Means business! Over his last 32 innings, Means has a tasty 2.53 ERA / 0.78 WHIP. He has just three walks over that span, which makes up for the modest 7.0 K/9. As with Bailey, it’s not like we are looking at some sort of breakout here. However, Means is on a heater and gets awful Tigers and Mariners lineups over his next two starts. Deep league streamers, take note.
- Mike Fiers, OAK (-27) – Fiers has been living on the razor’s edge for months. Despite an ERA in the three’s, Fiers has been facing ERA indicators north of five. Those regression chickens came home to roost in his last start in which he allowed nine earned over a single inning of work. He allowed five home runs in that start. Jack Flaherty, for example, has allowed just three earned runs over 71.1 second-half innings. With a 6.14 K/9, he has a bottom-barrel floor that is really hard to trust for your fantasy playoffs.
- Cal Quantrill, SD (-25) – Boy, that escalated quickly. Quantrill has now put up three consecutive starts of eight earned runs. That’ll leave a mark. His fastball and slider have been solid for him this year, but his highly touted changeup hasn’t been as effective as advertised. It has yielded a .278 BAA and .222 ISO. He’s not this bad, but he’s impossible to start in his next start in Coors, making him droppable everywhere.
- Johnny Cueto, SF (SP46) – Cueto came back with a bang! I’ll capitalize the “b” in bang, by the way, if Bang energy wants to sponsor me. Hit me up, guys. I need more of that sweet, delicious heart attack juice. Cueto twirled five one-hit, shutout innings against the (lowly) Pirates in his 2019 debut. As I mentioned during his minor league rehab starts, his velocity was back up over 91 MPH on the fastball. He didn’t miss a ton of bats, but that’s never been his game. He’ll get a much stouter lineup in Boston for his next start, but he’s worth an add in most formats.
- Drew VerHagen, DET (SP95) – “VerHagen” has a fun thing to shout at kids to confuse them into getting off your lawn, but he has a frustrating role. He has essentially been piggybacking off of Daniel Norris starts every fifth day, placing him in the Ryan Yarbrough mold. Since the start of August, VerHagen has a 2.67 ERA / 1.04 WHIP over 33.2 innings with an 8.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9. He’s using his slider just under 30% of the time this year. The pitch has a strong 20.2% whiff rate, and his curveball gives him a solid three-pitch mix. The last time he was given a start was against the Twins – a game in which he racked up 11 strikeouts. He will most likely continue to pitch in relief the rest of the way, nixing any QS possibilities. He can provide some nifty ratios though, which is enough to get him on the ass-end of the top 100.
The Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings
Fell Off The List
The baseball season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop! For more great analysis from Nathan check out his full archive.
Nathan Dokken is a member of the FSWA and has had his work featured in numerous books and magazines. He has also appeared on many podcasts and radio shows and hosts the Nasty Cast and Fantrax Dynasty Baseball podcasts. His written work can be found exclusively at Fantrax HQ, and his personal thoughts and opinions can be found on Twitter @NathanDokken.
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