Malice In Dallas

The pre-season Top 20 is in shambles with guys all over the place underperforming and making owners sweat more than Prince Fielder going for a triple.  The latest focus of disappointment is Dallas...

The pre-season Top 20 is in shambles with guys all over the place underperforming and making owners sweat more than Prince Fielder going for a triple.  The latest focus of disappointment is Dallas Keuchel after he showed no signs of recovery against the Twins: 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks.  Now, this umpire was squeezing both him and Berrios all night, but that’s not the issue at hand.  Nay, the problem is Keuchel’s lack of effectiveness with his Fastball, which has carried him through seasons generating plenty of soft contact and grounders.  This season, his elite groundball rate has dropped to a “really good” 55.5%, soft contact down five points, and his walk rate has soared – and I mean R. Kelly soared through the that open door – almost three full points to 4.38 BB/9.  I’m selling for whatever I can get, honestly.  Sure, I’m willing to believe that there will be great outings from Keuchel this year and he may click into place at some point, but I want someone else to sit around and wait for that.  It could happen in a few weeks, it could happen in July, it could happen never.  Get out now while you may still have some name value left.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Gerrit Cole – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Speaking of disappointing aces, Cole once again was a trainwreck.  He was one of those pitchers that has the stuff and on paper produced the peripherals that forced me to rank him comfortably in the Top 15 during the pre-season, but I’d be lying if it didn’t seem quite right. I call him the ace of “pretty good” and he’s prone to these kind of outings.  What separates him from someone like David Price is the underlying numbers that dictate bad luck for Price mixed with David’s ability to strikeout 14 guys the next time out.  Now, don’t go rushing to sell Cole, but if you depended on him to be your #1, you need a #1b.

Bartolo Colon – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks.  The Big Apple was our Call Boy and produced the best start of the evening.  Guess what?  He gets the Padres next. SWEET JESUS!

A.J. Griffin – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Not going to lie – why would I ever lie to y’all? – I’ve been ignoring A.J. a bit in the early goings.  I just find it tough to focus on a guy with a poor walk rate (3.20) and questionable xFIP/SIERA (well over 4.00 each) who will most likely not throw a full amount of innings and could be pushed out of the rotation when Yu Darvish returns.  Unless he gets shellacked next time out (it’s not out of the question), I have no choice but to stick him into The List next week.  I wouldn’t go nuts though, even if this start was against the Jays.

Jon Gray – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Blame it on the Padres.  Why?  Because Gray has limited upside, pitches his home games at Coors Field, and doesn’t deserve a spot on your team. This should be the blurb for every Colorado starter.  Okay, fine.  Maybe Gray has some upside when pitching against horrid teams outside of Coors.  Maybe.

Jimmy Nelson – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Nelson is on thinner ice than your cubes 10 minutes after you stick them into the freezer.  Great analogy Nick.  Sure, his ERA is now 3.05, which I believe led someone to ask me why I didn’t stick him on The List and I think I summed it up pretty well: I hate his atrocious walk rate (nearly 4.00 per 9!), inconsistent strikeouts, and horrible FIP (5.15!) as he plays for a losing ballclub in a hitter’s park. Boom baby.

Edinson Volquez – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Nice bounce back for Volquez, though I don’t see him become a Top 50 guy this year.  He’s alright, but keep in mind that he had 10 total strikeouts in the last three games combined.

Gio Gonzalez – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Gio is super perplexing to me right now and I don’t really care.  If you own him, start him against all but the tougher teams.  If you don’t, I wouldn’t deal for him.  Feel free to tell me why I should focus more on Gio, but be prepared for me to point at this start with a shrug.

Jose Berrios – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 8 Ks.  I was weirded out by the walks as well, but then I watch the game and Berrios was getting absolutely squeezed (same ump as Keuchel).  Even his catcher got ejected for arguing balls and strikes.  He’s the real deal people and if you don’t own him, I’d try to buy low if for some reason I could.

R.A. Dickey – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Don’t trust a knuckleballer.  Dickey told me this sentence was going be first.

Adam Wainwright – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Yeaaaaah I didn’t kick Waino off The List entirely, but I’m not expecting a mega turnaround soon.

James Shields – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Nothing says Shields more than having 11 baserunners through six.

Nate Karns – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. He wasn’t the worst streaming option as he faced Oakland, and did fine.  It’s a QS for leagues where that matters, the Ks are middling, and the WHIP isn’t so bad.  Is Karns becoming a Toby?  He may be Bob, he may be.

Jason Hammel – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Hmmm, this is a really boring start from Hammel, but I’ll take it against the Pirates.

Brandon Finnegan – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks.  Sadly I had to remove Finnegan from The List today since his walk issues are deeper than the emotions I feel listening to Usher while staying in on a Saturday night.  These are my confessions…

Kendall Graveman – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. The last time we started KG, he was in a Celtic uniform.  Those who got that joke, we’re considering opening a Basketball wing to the site.  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

Johnny Cueto – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. I really hope this is start of people coming around to my thinking about Cueto.  You saw the first 6 ER outing earlier this year and thought “ah, that’s just a fluke”, and now he allows a second one against the Reds.  Yes I know his xFIP is under 3.00 right now, which would be the lowest in his career if the season ended today.  I simply just don’t buy that we won’t be seeing plenty more of these outings this year.

Mike Foltynewicz – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. For those that followed the site last year, you’ll know I have a complicated relationship with Folty.  I watched him intensely during his initial call up and fell in love with his hammer Curve, 97 MPH Fastball and solid 90 MPH Changeup.  But then his command faded and he became so, so hittable.  I vowed never to touch him again.  I allowed myself to watch the first inning of his start today and suddenly David Wright hits a HR.  Then Yoenis Cespedes slugs a bomb to center.  Then Lucas Duda drops the barrel for a line drive two-run shot to right.  Stop, he’s already dead. Don’t go close to Folty unless you see some major – and I mean major like adding a half step to the minor third – changes.

Jeremy Hellickson – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Do you see this outing?  Do you see this stat line from Hellickson?  Do you see how he completely ruins your team if you put any sort of faith into him?  He’s the Devil I tell you.  THE DEVIL.

Jered Weaver – 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks.  The Anti-List welcomes Weaver with open arms.  They needed someone to make them a sweater, any way.

Today’s Streamers

Nick Tropeano vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Not much to go with here, so we’re turning back to Trop for a stream against the Brewers that can only score if they face Koehler.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Alex Wood vs. Tampa Bay Rays – Wood has had the upside to be a #2/#3, but has lacked the consistency to elevate him to greatness. Well, he pitched a gem last time out and could repeat it against a poor Rays offense.

Game of the Day

Alex Meyer vs. Houston Astros – The Twins have been adding their minor league arms to their pitching staff, the latest being Meyer who has a dominating Fastball/Curveball.  However his command is wild and he lacks a third pitch, which means I’m probably not touching in fantasy leagues.  Still, I’m mighty curious to see how the young flamethrower performs tomorrow.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

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