Welcome to the Post-
Malone Labor Day edition of the Starting Pitcher Barometer! Hopefully, all went well if you went into labor. It’s also the post-trade deadline edition, so there is a lot to cover. Since the deadline deals have been pretty well covered by now, I’ll touch only very briefly on their impact before moving on to the analysis of the list.
- Mike Clevinger to San Diego – The back-end of the Padres rotation wasn’t full of Top 100 options, anyway. This is a fairly lateral move for Clev, who has struggled to replicate his 2019 success. He tumbles to 19 this week, but my patience is running short. I’m less optimistic by the week that he’ll get back to anywhere close to those ace-like numbers.
- Robbie Ray to Buffalo – Ray has an 8.22 BB/9 and 7.51 ERA through 38.1 IP. It’s questionable whether he should even be on the list at this point. Moving to the AL East only moves the needle further down for him. In general, he’ll face tougher lineups in more hitter-friendly ballparks.
- Ross Stripling to Buffalo – Now known to me as the Buffalo Chicken Strip (yeah, it’s a stretch, but there’s something clever in there somewhere), Stripling also heads to Buffalo to buoy the Jays rotation. It’s a downgrade for Strip, like Ray. He’s been trending down in the rankings as well. He isn’t missing as many bats this year and sits with a 5.68 ERA and 5.05 SIERA.
- Caleb Smith to Arizona – He’s still out due to COVID and we’ll be lucky at this point to see him for more than a start or two before the end of the season. The Marlins have actually been very successful in developing arms, so it’s actually not a guaranteed positive move to leave Miami. It’s also a park downgrade. He’s still intriguing, but he has to stay healthy (COVID aside).
- Mike Minor to Oakland – Pitching in Oakland should help Minor lower his 19.6% HR/FB. Even with an HR/FB rate regressed to the mean, he still gets an xFIP of 4.79. He’s not more than a risky streamer in mixed leagues.
The Starting Pitcher Barometer
The Old Newcomers
- Michael Pineda, MIN (SP47) – Big Mike has a shiny 2.77 ERA, 8.31 K/9, and 2.08 BB/9 through his first two starts. Even better is that he has gone six and seven innings in those two starts. Coming into the season ready to roll 6+ innings when many are struggling to even get to six gives him the edge over some of the streaming crowd. His slider has been on point, although his changeup has been a work in progress. He failed to get a single whiff or called strike on the changeup in his latest start against the Tigers. Still, this is a guy who put up a 3.10 ERA over his final 87 IP last year.
- Tony Gonsolin, LAD (SP53) – With the Buffalo Chicken Strip shipped out of town, Gonsolin has a rotation spot to call home. Through five starts this year (23.2 IP) Gonsolin has a 0.76 ERA, 9.51 K/9, and 1.90 BB/9. His velocity is actually up nearly two ticks to 95 MPH, and his splitter usage is up 11.5% so far. It’s a heavy ground ball pitch that also earns whiffs, but also has a .346 xwOBA. Even if hitters catch up to the splitter, however, he still has an effective slider and curveball to turn to. He’s a streamer who could work his way into full mixed-league ownership before long.
- Jose Urquidy, HOU (SP61) – Urquidy is finally back after missing the first month-plus of the season due to undisclosed reasons. It was a rough debut against the Angels, going 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. He posted a sturdy 3.95 ERA over 41 innings for the ‘Stros last year and was stellar in the playoffs, as you might recall. He should shake off the rust quickly and garner streaming consideration every time out.
The Rookie Newcomers
- JT Brubaker, PIT (SP77) – Brubaker is Brubaking up some tasty fantasy pies for us to enjoy! Brubaker wasn’t a particularly highly touted prospect, nor did he put up impressive minor league stats. What he has shown with the Buccos over 25 innings has turned my head, however. He’s been a bit erratic with a 3.96 BB/9 but has been missing bats (9.72 K/9) and he’s been successful, with a 3.96 ERA (4.39 SIERA). His curve has 86th percentile spin at 2,857 RPM with a .071 BAA and .062 wOBA (.217 xwOBA). His slider is another strong offspeed pitch, with a 2,646 RPM spin rate, .237 wOBA (.314 xwOBA), and a 33.3% whiff rate. The fastball is…not great. Increasing his offspeed stuff would go a long way towards keeping the success oven baking away.
- Trevor Rogers, MIA (SP79) – Rogers hasn’t debuted to a tremendous amount of fanfare despite being a former 13th overall pick. That’s probably just what happens when you play for the Marlins. The tall lefties’ results have been stellar in spite of fanfare levels. Through three starts he has totaled 15 innings, posting a 3.00 ERA (3.91 SIERA), 12.6 K/9, and 4.80 BB/9. He has a pungent fastball/slider/changeup mix that can miss bats. The command can come and go, which is why he’s debuting towards the back-end of the list.
- Deivi Garcia, NYY (SP81) – I’ve always been on the pessimistic side of the Deivi Garcia: Starting Pitcher debate. A 5’9″ righty with huge control problems leads me to believe he’s a reliever long-term. Terrific stuff is why some consider him a dynamic starting candidate. A mix of the stuff, results, and a rotation spot (for the time being, at least) have him debuting on the list this week. Through two starts (10.2 IP) he has a 3.38 ERA (3.57 SIERA), and 12:2 K:BB ratio. If the control remains as good as it has been…look out. He could be a true impact starter. I’ll have to see more of this control to be totally sold, but if you’re in a competitive league, it’s probably best to buy now.
The Top 100 Starting Pitchers
Fell Off The List
Elieser Hernandez (injury), Tyler Chatwood (injury), Touki Toussaint (minors), Kyle Freeland (performance), Kyle Gibson (performance), Logan Webb (performance), Danny Duffy (performance), John Means (performance), Kris Bubic (performance), Asher Wojciechowski (performance), Tarik Skubal (performance).