Outstanding arms from week three, including Strasburg, Jose Fernandez and Drew Smyly.
We're now three weeks into the baseball season, such that the relative quality of opponents is beginning to wash out as pitchers continue to tour the league, while emerging trends start to become more reality and less fluke. Let's take a look at a trio of starters who had multiple starts last week, and whose performances left an impression.
Chris Archer broke out last season, throwing more than 200 innings for the first time in his career, posting another ERA in the low 3.00's and adding nearly eight percentage points to his strikeout rate. He finished with 252 total Ks, and after his first start of 2016 it looked like he was on his way to another dynamite season. Sure, he walked three batters and gave up three runs (two earned) and only lasted 5.0 innings (despite throwing 107 pitches), but a dozen strikeouts have a way of distracting attention and the final tally wasn't so bad when considering his hard-hitting opponent that day, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Four National League arms had notable performances this week, including the two most talked about young guns.
Week two of the baseball season is the time when poor performance from elite players starts to become concerning, and when multiple standout starts from young players begins to elicit Joy-Joy feelings that they have ascended to a new talent tier. Whereas it's easy to dismiss the whims of the first week as single-game outliers, by now most of the top pitchers have toed the rubber multiple times, and the repetition of head-scratching performance can lead us humans down the natural path of assigning causation, whether or not it exists.
When you spend too much time admiring the beauty of the trees, you don't realize the forest is on fire.
I fear for the modern pitcher. Little League, travel ball, college, the pros—we are witnessing a revolution in the way that pitchers are grown, used, and eventually discarded, with results that look good in the box score but which claim the limbs of countless hurlers every year.
Some 2016 predictions that may surprise you. And some that probably won't.
As the countdown to Opening Day trickles ever-so-close to the holiday to top all holidays, the Baseballholic in me is compelled to predict what will happen in the 2016 baseball season. Most of the predictions will turn out to be wrong, which is a tribute to the volatility inherent in a sport that we spend way too much time trying to predict (not that it will stop me from trying). We release our BP staff predictions for the season on Monday, and those who want a sneak peak can tune into the latest Baseballholics podcast to see who I have tabbed for this year's awards and division winners.
When discussing the fantasy value of closers, the conversation often boils down to opportunity. The Yankees might have three of the top five or ten relievers in all of baseball, but in fantasyland saves reign supreme, muting the value of players such as Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Today we look at a pair of closers whose opportunities – and corresponding fantasy values - have changed significantly since this time last year.
The younger may have the kids more excited, but don't forget about the elder.
In today's edition of Two Trains, we survey a couple of pitchers who have both suffered from subpar strikeout rates throughout their careers, but whose ratios have put them in the SP2 conversation at various times. The fantasy values of Sonny Gray and Jordan Zimmermann are headed in different directions, with Gray coming off a career-best campaign that earned him the third-most votes for AL Cy Young Award, and Zimmermann trying to rebound from a career-worst performance with a fresh start on a new team in a different league.
Last time, the Two Trains put under the microscope were a pair of pitchers who are relatively new to the league, but this week we turn our attention to a couple of veterans who are finishing out their 20s as top-20 options in fantasy drafts. One of today's pitchers has been in high demand on the fantasy market for over a decade, while the other is a relatively new arrival to the scene, but both players have taken home the ultimate hardware.