A few thoughts on the pitchers from Thursday’s games:
Sorted by ERA
Business as usual: Nothing actionable
Notable Gems: The standouts who merit some extra attention
- Jeffrey Springs – Springs was a bit wobbly coming out of the break and off a leg injury with a 3.86 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 9.3 IP across two starts. Enter the Tigers! A quick trip to Detroit is always a great way to get fully back on track and Springs did just that, coming out with 6 strong innings. He allowed 2 unearned runs on 4 hits with 6 Ks and 0 BB. Springs looks someone to get back in your lineup consistently, but now the question becomes for how long? He has thrown nearly 2x as many innings as last year (79.3 v. 44.7) and it is reasonable to wonder if the Rays will let him go for the next two months. I wouldn’t take any preemptive measures with Springs specifically (like cutting him without clear word that he will be removed or have his outings severely shortened), but rather just look to stack as much SP depth as you can in case he is removed from the rotation.
- Cole Ragans – Ragans reached Top 100 status back in 2017 before a pair of TJ surgeries sidelined him until 2021. He reacclimated himself last year and then showed a lot of what made him that Top 100 prospect in Double- and Triple-A this year, excellent across 94.7 IP at the two levels (3.04 ERA/1.12 WHIP/29% K). The 24-year-old lefty did walk 4 against only 3 Ks in his 5 IP of work but allowed just an unearned run despite 7 base runners. The downside is that he’s slated for a trip to HOU next week if he sticks with the club. The barren wasteland of 15-team waiver wires make Ragans intriguing even with the difficult matchup as I’d be open to scooping him now as a reserve because he would get a 2-step v. OAK and at MIN in the week starting August 15th. Monitor him in 12s and shallower for sure.
- José Quintana – Q’s move to StL is one of the best upgrades a mid-tier player got at the deadline. He remains in a strong home park and gets a brilliant defense supporting him as he enjoys a throwback season that looks a lot like his White Sox form. All that said, he’s probably a sit next week heading to COL, but I’m still holding in 12s and deeper for sure and I’d even consider scooping him in a 10 just to sit on him this week in preparation for a v. COL/at ARI the following week.
- Kris Bubic – Brady Singer has been garnering the attention of late (and rightly so), but Bubic is putting in some quality work over the last month-plus, too! He has a 3.24 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 41.7 IP. It comes with just a 20% K rate so there hasn’t been any sort of skills transformation. He has been a bit of a deep league workhorse during this run with four straight starts of 6+ IP and more than 5 IP in 6 of the 7 outings. He remains a deep league consideration with start v. CWS next week with some streamer potential in 12s and shallower.
Decent Enough: Mostly biz as usual but with some commentary
- Johnny Cueto – Cueto has been great and useful across multiple formats with a 2.91 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 96 IP. He did allow 11 hits and had just 4 Ks at TEX, but he still went 8 IP and allowed just 3 ER. All in all, we’ll take it! He has been a lineup fixture and I don’t plan to change that next week with a trip to KC on deck.
- Nick Pivetta – After three straight duds that erased all the good work from May and June, Pivetta is back to his scary streamer self. He does have a 4.60 ERA over his last three, but with a 1.85 WHIP in 15.7 IP. He gets ATL next week and then sets up for an at PIT/at BAL 2-step the week after that. I could see stashing him in a deeper format and waiting on that 2-step.
- Paul Blackburn – The comfort level in starting Blackburn has definitely dipped thanks to a 7.94 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in his last 8 starts (39.7 IP). He does still have a 14% K-BB rate in that time which is actually better than the 12% K-BB rate he had in his first 13 starts when he had a 2.26 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. Four solo shots did the damage against the Angels, but I’ll take my shot against them in next week’s start at home.
duds: The worst of the day from fantasy relevant arms
- Joe Musgrove – Always tough to give one up to the Rockies on the road, but sometimes Ryan McMahon gets ya! His 3-run homer in the 5th really tanked the outing and he drove in 5 of the 6 runs against Musgrove. Hey will be fine.
- Kyle Wright – The 6 ER at NYM push Wright’s ERA up to 4.13 over his last 5 starts with a 1.25 WHIP, but the real concern 2.5 HR/9, spurred by Thursday’s 4 HRs allowed. It was still 1.7 in the other four starts so it’s fair to question if there’s a budding HR issue that could plague him down the stretch. On the other hand, he has gone 6+ IP in each of the five starts and the only outing over 3 ER was against the very strong Mets lineup. I continue to trust Wright as an all-formats Must Start arm.
- Jakob Junis – At least he threw you 5 Ks, but if you were forced into starting Junis v. LAD, you knew the risks and were comfortable taking them on. A trip to SD next week isn’t exactly enticing and his Team Streamer status is in some doubt in 12-team leagues and shallower as he hasn’t reached 5 IP in any of his last four starts, though the question then becomes: who are you going to pick up at his place?
- Noah Syndergaard – How can it be a dud if it was a CG? (Game was shortened to 5 IP for those unaware). We maybe could’ve forgiven the 11 H and 4 ER if he had more than 2 Ks. He gets a tough 2-step next week at CIN and v. his former friends, the Mets. I’m starting him.
- Janson Junk – I mean, it’s right there in the name!
Heading to the weekend, I’ll give a few names to consider in FAAB for the weekend. I will try to give a name or two for many league sizes:
- Cal Raleigh | SEA, C (14% Y!, 4% ESPN) – The hits are finally starting to fall a bit for Raleigh and it’s quietly made him one of the best catchers over the last 2+ months. He hit just .136 through May with a microscopic .143 BABIP killing him over the 74 PA. While he will never be confused for a batting average stud even at his best, he’s better than .136! And we’ve seen that shine through since June with his line jumping to a palatable .232/.301/.512 with 11 HR in 183 PA (35 full season pace). With a heavy flyball lean (55%) and lots of swing-and-miss (30%), the AVG will always be at risk so make sure you’re comfortable buying a power-only profile. He is the 15th ranked C thus far and he’s been a top 5 option since June 1st with his MLB-best 11 HR at the position (he & Will Smith are the only Cs with 10+ HR since June 1st).
- Seth Brown | OAK, 1B/OF (22% Y!, 15% ESPN) – Brown feels too widely available for shallow formats. He has been the 37th-ranked OF on the season, but he also has 1B/CI eligibility so even in 3-OF, 10-team leagues there should be a spot for him on someone’s The 29-year-old lefty hitter has smacked 16 HR and swiped 8 SBs in 345 PA thus far. His .236 AVG certainly isn’t great, though in this low-AVG environment, it’s good enough given the rest of the production. While OAK’s offense is dreadful, volume still has value and Brown is a fixture in the cleanup role!
- Felix Bautista | BAL, RP (46% OC, 13% ESPN, 0% Y!) – This is a standard new closer play. I think Bautista assumes the role with Jorge López traded out and he can be every bit as good. Bautista has been a force in a setup role with a 36% K rate in 44.7 IP aiding him to a 1.81 ERA/0.87 WHIP combo. He does have an 8% BB rate and 1.2 HR/9, but neither is super alarming, nor should those factors prevent him from success in the closer’s role.
- JP Sears | OAK, SP (2% ME, 0% everywhere else) – The A’s haven’t need a 5th starter since acquiring Sears from the Yankees in the Montas deal, but he should be up next week and have a chance to stick the rest of the season. The dearth of waiver talent in deeper formats that I mentioned earlier is just another reason why I’m interested in Sears. He was excellent in 22 IP with NYY (2.05 ERA/0.86 WHIP) and while he had just an 18% K rate, he has shown plenty of swing-and-miss throughout his minor league career leading me to believe his slider will start missing bats and get his Krate back into the low-to-mid 20%s range. He is penciled in to face LAA next week and that scheduling would setup an at TEX/v. SEA 2-step the week after.
- Terrin Vavra | BAL, 2B/UT (0% Y!, ESPN, OC, ME) – The O’s prospect was 12th in their org. prior to his promotion and has been a strong side platoon guy arriving since. His first game was at DH which slots him into UT-only for NFBC formats while most outlets use the 2B/SS designation garnered in the minors. It’s a hit tool driven profile with some potential speed thrown in so if you are loaded with power but struggling with AVG, he could be your guy.
OC = NFBC Online Championship (12-tms)
ME = NFBC Main Event (15-tms)
DRAFT KING’S GAME
- Haven’t done any DK for a bit, but we will definitely get them going again next week!