Every week I sit down to write this (one day late this week, please forgive me) and I think it’s been the craziest week yet. My notes for the week were longer than ever as I made sure not to forget anything when adjusting the rankings. Thankfully, it’s mostly good news this time! We did have some sad injury news, such as Stephen Strasburg going down for the season. James Paxton also predictably hit the IL. Steven Matz has been relegated to the bullpen. There are Fallers this week as well, no doubt.

But nay, we shan’t get stuck in the mucky-muck of bad news! There is much rejoicing to do. There were call-ups aplenty this season, which will span the bulk of this week’s post. Things are fluid in the Cleveland rotation as I still don’t know what to do with Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac. We’ll get to that rotation more in a hot second. First, we look at a couple of Risers and Fallers.

 

The Starting Pitcher Barometer

 

Rising

 

  • Dakota Hudson, STL (+22) – Nobody, myself included, was really in on Hudson for 2020. He looked like the ultimate fool’s gold. A 3.35 ERA over 174.2 innings is great, right?! Well, that also came with a 4.93 FIP and a 6.6% K-BB%. No, thank you. So what has changed? It’s taken a while to get clued in to the 2020 version of Hudson because the Cardinals had to postpone so many games. With 13 innings and three starts now under his belt, we see a revamped curveball for Hudson. The seldom-used curve from 2019 is up to 23.2% usage from 10% in 2019. It has been more effective as well, with an incredible .073 wOBA (.098 xwOBA) compared to a .343 wOBA (.362 xwOBA) in 2019. His SwStr% is still just 10% though, and his 17.3% K-BB%, while improved, isn’t awe-inspiring. Still, he deserved a little more love for his improvements.

 

 

Falling

 

  • Jack Flaherty, STL (-19) – As I mentioned with Hudson as a Riser, the St. Louis postponements have had their ripple effects. Flaherty had to go the better part of a month without making a start. When he came back, he lasted just 1.2 innings, yielding a run with two walks and three K’s. The fact that Flaherty wasn’t built up is a large part of the rankings drop. What we need from the front-end aces is innings, and it’s going to take Flaherty a while to get back to that level. The good news is that the stuff is still there. Even with the lack of bulk innings, I can’t push him down much farther than SP2 territory. He’s still a must-start every time out. He also made mincemeat out of the Royals in this last start, which helps. Mmm…mincemeat.
    • UPDATE 8/24/20 5 IP 1 H 0 ER 0BB 3 K (64 P)

 

 

The Newcomers

  • Casey Mize, DET (SP42) – One of the most hotly anticipated debuts of the 2020 season was set to be young Mr. Mize. He debuted last week against the White Sox, lasting 4.1 innings. He gave up seven hits and three runs against the hard-hitting South Siders, striking out seven without issuing a walk. His swing-and-miss stuff was on full display. He earned a 45% CSW on 20 sliders. His splitter wasn’t far behind, earning a 32% CSW. Even his curve – thrown just nine times (12%) on the night – earned a 33% CSW. His second start against the Cubs wasn’t as pretty (28% overall CSW), but his strikeout upside still puts him at the front end of the streaming crop. He’s had plenty of injury issues, so durability is a huge concern here. That said, we have barely more than a month left of the regular season, and he should be up the rest of the way. Roster him everywhere and let him roll.
    • UPDATE 8/24/20 3.1 IP 5 H 3 ER 2 BB 2 K (76 P)

 

  • Sixto Sanchez, MIA (SP43) – As with Mize, Sanchez jumps to the front of the streaming crop partially due to a set role with the big league club. If you think a guy named Sixto should have six pitches, you’re not alone, but he has only four. Such a disappointment. The 22-year old has had a mess of injury woes himself, but he should be owned and started while healthy. He features easy fastball velocity, pushing triple digits with frequency. He also has a slider, changeup, and curve. His slider – which averages a whopping 89 MPH – is his swing-and-miss pitch. It generated a 38% CSW in his debut against the Nationals. He gave up three earned over five innings with no walks and four K’s in that one. He might not put up a ton of innings but should net you plenty of strikeouts with strong command. Hopefully, he keeps his sliders out of the heart of the zone next time out.

 

 

  • Triston McKenzie, CLE (SP50) – Apparently our theme this evening is young starters who haven’t put up a ton of innings in the minors. All have high-end talent but tend to miss a lot of time. Triston “Sticks” McKenzie didn’t even pitch in 2019 due to injury and put up just 90.2 IP in 2018. Because of that, he had fallen a bit off my radar. With all the ruckus involving Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac, however, Sticks gets got the call for a spot start. He’s called Sticks because he is 6’5″, 165 lbs. He is…thin. Just the way I like my Oreos. Stature aside, he has frontline stuff. His fastball sits mid-90’s, and he also has a slider, curve, and changeup with the strong command to help his swing-and-miss stuff play up even more. His line was very impressive – 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K – against the Tigers.

 

  • Tarik Skubal, DET (SP66) – Skubal is up for the duration of the season, like Mize. Unlike Mize, his stuff and approach could still stand to see some refinement. He’s made two starts, totaling just 4.1 IP, with a tasty 12.46 K/9. However, he also has a 4.15 BB/9 and 10.38 ERA (4.73 SIERA). He has a great 95 MPH fastball which he complements with a slider, changeup, and curveball. His stuff is better than the results to this point, but he’s more of a back-end streamer at this point, with high strikeout upside.

The Top 100 Starting Pitchers

 

RnkNamePrevious Rank
1Gerrit Cole1
2Jacob DeGrom2
3Shane Bieber3
4Max Scherzer4
5Aaron Nola6
6Yu Darvish7
7Trevor Bauer11
8Luis Castillo5
9Clayton Kershaw9
10Sonny Gray10
11Walker Buehler14
12Mike Clevinger12
13Chris Paddack13
14Brandon Woodruff16
15Patrick Corbin17
16Lance Lynn18
17Blake Snell20
18Max Fried21
19Lucas Giolito23
20Zac Gallen25
21Kenta Maeda27
22Aaron Civale31
23Dylan Bundy19
24Dinelson Lamet24
25Zack Wheeler26
26Zack Greinke42
27Jack Flaherty8
28Frankie Montas15
29Kyle Hendricks28
30Lance McCullers, Jr29
31German Marquez30
32Jose Berrios32
33Hyun-Jin Ryu33
34Tyler Glasnow35
35Dustin May37
36Carlos Carrasco22
37Zach Plesac38
38Merrill Kelly39
39Spencer Turnbull40
40Garrett Richards41
41Jesus Luzardo43
42Casey MizeNR
43Sixto SanchezNR
44Chris Bassitt46
45Dallas Keuchel48
46Kevin Gausman57
47Brad Keller60
48Yusei Kikuchi51
49Pablo Lopez56
50Triston McKenzieNR
51Yusei Kikuchi51
52Ross Stripling34
53Framber Valdez55
54Zach Davies52
55Tyler Chatwood53
56Adrian Houser54
57Elieser Hernandez59
58Randy Dobnak69
59Corbin Burnes70
60Robbie Ray61
61Julio Urias36
62Nathan Eovaldi72
63Luke Weaver75
64Josh Lindblom49
65Andrew Heaney50
66Tarik SkubalNR
67Dakota Hudson89
68Christian Javier95
69Rich HillNR
70Jordan Montgomery82
71Justus Sheffield78
72Johnny Cueto87
73Antonio Senzatela88
74Chad KuhlNR
75Dylan Cease92
76Tommy Milone85
77Masahiro Tanaka65
78Ryan Yarbrough66
79Griffin Canning67
80Anthony DeSclafani68
81Mike Minor62
82Touki Toussaint63
83Alex Cobb74
84Kyle Freeland73
85Brady Singer83
86Mike Fiers93
87Sean Manaea77
88Matt Boyd80
89Kyle Gibson58
90Logan WebbNR
91Danny Duffy86
92Marco Gonzales90
93Adam WainwrightNR
94John Means84
95Kris Bubic94
96Asher Wojciechowski97
97Taijuan Walker98
98Tyler MahleNR
99Alec Mills71
100Jon Gray81

 

Fell Off The List

James Paxton (injury), Nate Pearson (injury), Jake Odorizzi (injury), Matt Shoemaker (injury), Austin Voth (performance), Jordan Lyles (performance), Steven Matz (role), Jon Lester (performance), Wade Miley (performance).