Twirling Your Mustache

I have to hand it to Daniel Mengden. He showed up with the greatest mustache I’ll never be able to grow and has given the A’s three solid outings, with his most recent...

I have to hand it to Daniel MengdenHe showed up with the greatest mustache I’ll never be able to grow and has given the A’s three solid outings, with his most recent being 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks against the Brew Crew. Should we expect him to keep it up? Stuff wise I’m on the fence. His Curveball is legit and his favorite pitch to turn to with two-strikes and it’s getting results with a 21%+ whiff rate thus far. He can gear up his heater to 94/95 when he needs to, and he’s locating it well with some slight cut action to it…but I’m a bit concerned that its steady 91/92 isn’t going to be enough as his Slider and Changeup aren’t good enough. He’s a tantalizing guy – just in fantasy, I swear – but he isn’t on the same level as the “sea of upside”. I’d rather have Bauer and Reed, though I wouldn’t be shocked if Mengden snuck near #60 or so by next week. Might as well chase the upside given the lack of options this season.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Trevor Bauer – 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. There are a few differences between Bauer of 2015 and Bauer of 2016. First is a boost in velocity – about 1.5 mph extra from last season – that has increased his whiff rate on his Fastball and Changeup dramatically. Bauer is also starting to use his Curveball more, which is his primary strikeout pitch, and mixing in his Changeup more often, as he switched his Slider to a Cutter, while throwing it less. What I’m getting at is there is discernable change between this year and last and it’s clearly working. Am I worried about his history of inconsistency and what should be higher walk rates? I am, especially since we saw this same velocity two years ago. I won’t also ignore that this outing was against the Rays. But hey, he’s clearly changed himself for the better – how much better is still up for debate – and keep rolling if you’ve got him, obviously.

Adam Conley – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Conley did his job as he got a luscious matchup against the Braves. We’ve seen them mess up the Mets rotation, so I have to give Conley a little credit here. I’m still not a major fan in Conley given his volatility, but the NL Easy is so much fun.

Junior Guerra – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Our Call Boy was fantastic against the A’s as he was able to express his K upside. He’s as good of a Toby as we’ve seen this year, and I don’t mind him hosting the Dodgers next time out as well.

Cole Hamels – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Awesome to see Hamels doing what he can to knock down those peripheral stats. Still a little cautious, but it’s a nice step forward.

Michael Wacha – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. That’s three straight decent starts from Wacha all against tough teams. He has had one of the tougher schedules of any pitcher in the bigs, and he’s about to get some respite from the Royals and Brewers twice. I’m all on board for those three starts.

Ubaldo Jimenez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. After allowing a single on his very first pitchin in Jimenez style, Ubaldo actually gave owners and O’s fans a serviceable outing…against the Padres. That’s like getting an A in P.E. for playing on a school team.  And what I say playing, I mean playing right bench.

Lance McCullers – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. This is so McCullers. Everything is fine but a poor WHIP fueled by at least 3 walks. Seriously, I’m selling everywhere given how much hype McCullers gets. Those walks are a major issue that has been there from the minors.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. It was the best start of the year for Edu against the ChiSox, which was pretty important for the fella given his rocky opening starts.

Michael Fulmer – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Fulmer was feeling lightheaded and not well today, so he got the hook under 80 pitches. Too bad, since he has been pitching super well – against the Mariners, no less – and most likely would have continued for a Win. Hard not to love life if you picked up Fulmer.

Jake Arrieta – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. This is the fifth time all season that Arrieta has walked four batters, which is pretty dang shocking after a season sitting sub 2.00 BB/9. I am a little worried about Arrieta, but he’s still preventing hard contact at an unreal rate (sub 22%!) with elite strikeout numbers and a 56.5% groundball rate. I don’t think this is an injury issue – it could be simply that people are laying off his pitches out of the zone more (O-Swing down four points to 30.2% this season) – and I wouldn’t make any changes.

Matt Shoemaker – 7.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. So two of his ER, three of his hits, and one walk came in the 8th inning. That would have been 1 ER and just six baserunners in seven innings. Dammit Scioscia, why did you have to get greedy?

Joe Ross – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. A solo shot and a wild pitch scored the only two runs of Ross’ evening, and he would have gathered a win if Michael Taylor wasn’t having one of the worst nights ever.  So it goes. Keep on rolling with Ross.

Julio Urias – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. The Dodgers are giving him at least one more start (“he’s deserved it”), and they are reevaluating after each one. Hard not to get excited about Urias when he’ll have closer to 140 innings or so in him next year – won’t that be a fun pre-season – but it’s almost time to say goodbye.  :(

Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Straily is a TEEs. We know this.

J.A. Happ – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. Eight strikeouts is pretty dang good. A 2.00 WHIP is pretty dang bad. A 3.60 ERA is…okay. Next up is Coors field so you caaaan puthimonthe wiiiiirrrreeee, YES!

Robbie Ray – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Look at that K upside wanting to squeak out. This isn’t so bad of a start, as you’re salvaging a solid WHIP and strikeout total in exchange for a poor ERA. Keep in mind, this was also against the Jays and he allowed 3 ER in the first inning, where he really settled down afterwards. I’d be streaming him next time out against the Phils.

Danny Duffy – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks. You really want to see better from the new Duff Man against the pitiful Mets offense. Four walks are the most troubling number here, as walk issues were the crux of his problems in previous years as a starter. He gets the Cards next, and I’d bench him. I’m worried after this and I need to see a little recovery before endorsing him again. He gets the Phils after St. Louis, so don’t drop him.

Noah Syndergaard – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Boy was this a scary day as Thor left the game with elbow soreness. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE NO. Manager Terry Collins later said that he doesn’t expect Noah to hit the DL, so we’re in the clear. So I should put these shot glasses away? Nah, keep em out.

John Gant – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Not the worst if you were forced to stream Gant against Miami. I don’t recommend doing that in the future.

Chris Archer – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I lowered Archer into the 40s this week and this is doing him zero favors. We really need to treat Archer not like his magical three months in 2015, but everything else he’s done in his career.

Francisco Liriano – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Yep, it’s that kind of Liriano season.

Kyle Gibson – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This Gibson comes with a torrified maple fretboard.  Shudders. I WANT MY ROSEWOOD BACK.

Jon Gray – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. So the rules for starting Gray was A) Must be an average or below offense on the road B) Must be a bottom tier offense in Coors. The Yankees fit into the first rule, which makes this a little tough to endure if you’re a Gray fan. It gets tougher as he left the game with “arm fatigue”. He’s supposed to get the Jays next, which may be a fortunate circumstance and it’s possible he’ll be skipped for it, followed by the Dodgers away (that’s fine) and the Phils at home (pretty sure that’s fine too). 

Adam Morgan – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Morgan really shouldn’t be starting anywhere. Not even on your Beer league softball team. I mean, who are you going to sit? Mike Fadersmit? He’s been KILLING it.

CC Sabathia – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Alright, no one expected CC to be a stud the rest of the way, but at the same time I wouldn’t just flat out drop our teddy bear right away. He gets the Rangers/Padres/Indians in the next few weeks, which could still be very solid for your team. Give him a little more of a leash, he’s deserved it. Update: I failed to note that Sabathia rolled his ankle during this outing, which may explain a bit of his troubles. He’s expected to make his next start, but skipping the Rangers isn’t the worst scenario.

Hisashi Iwakuma – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 11 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I gave up on Iwakuma a while ago and so should you. I know it’s sad, I can lend you some of my MXC VHS tapes if that helps.

Jose Quintana – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 6 BBs, 1 Ks. What. The. Hell. Six walks?! Yes it was against the Sawx, but that is super weird coming from a guy who walked 3 batters only three times all season. I’m sure some of you will also mention that he now holds a 4.80 ERA across his last seven starts. So does that mean we should be selling Jose left and right? Ehhhh, I mean look. We all knew he wasn’t going to be a 2.00 ERA guy after his torrid start to the season, but this is waaaay too much of a step back. He’s only had a trio of bad starts in those seven, two of which came against the Tigers and Boston. I would hold and I’m still confident in him – especially as he gets the Twins/Astros/Braves to close out the first half.

Jeff Samardzija – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. For real Loose Lips, stop sinking ships. Luckily he gets the A’s next so whatever is happening here can take a vacation.

Erik Johnson – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Nope, this is not the year for Johnson.

Today’s Streamers

Jerad Eickhoff vs. Minnesota Twins – He’s owned in under 25% of leagues, and it may be the last time you can sneak him onto your roster for free. Meanwhile, I can understand taking either pitcher in the Reds/Padres matchups in deeper leagues (John Lamb Christian Friedrich), and in dire situations, you could do worse than John Gant against the Mets. The Mets are just that bad.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Cody Reed vs. San Diego Padres – The Friars are as bad as they come against hard throwing pitchers and Reed can dial it up. He should be owned in most 12 teamers anyway given his upside, but he’s owned in under 12% of ESPN leagues for some reason, so get on that.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer 

Brandon Finnegan vs. San Diego Padres Y’all know I don’t like Finnegan at all. His walk rate is way too poor for me to get on board. That’s how bad the options are today, with the only other consideration being Jhoulys Chacin against the A’s. Ouch. But if you’re really behind in a H2H league and need a Hail Mary, Fin could bring a lot of Ks against a poor Padres team, which might be the answer you’re looking for.

Game of the Day

Daniel Norris vs. Seattle Mariners – I don’t expect him to do well, but I’m curious how he’s looking these days.

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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