A close look at the mechanics of two starters who've taken steps forward in 2014.
Pitcher breakouts are one of the most exciting aspects of each baseball season, but it’s hard to get riled up about them until we have a healthy chunk of the season in the rearview mirror. The halfway mark of the 2014 campaign has revealed a handful of players who have made great leaps in terms of value, both to their teams and on the stat sheet. Two of those pitchers are particularly intriguing. The Indians’ Corey Kluber and the Angels’ Garrett Richards have ascended to a higher plane of pitching performance this season, so let's dig into the components of each player's improvement.
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Scouts' takes on Garrett Richards, Dellin Betances, Braden Shipley, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
Tampa Bay's skid reaches nine games and Garrett Richards notches an immaculate inning, plus more from Wednesday and previews for Thursday.
The Wednesday Takeaway
On the eve of the 2014 MLB amateur draft, two former no. 1 overall picks took the hill, with Stephen Strasburg facing the scuffling Phillies and David Price seeking to end the Rays’ eight-game losing streak.
Out at Tropicana Field, the home team jumped to an early 3-1 lead in the first inning after back-to-back jacks by Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, marking the first time in seven games that the Rays scored more than two runs.
As the season winds down, don't forget about these pitchers, who are worth both in the home stretch and for 2014.
As you scramble to lock down your titles, you might have missed these eight starters who have been on fire of late. Their composite numbers are likely obscuring the fact that they have been great the last month or so and need to be in your lineup. Most are these are guys likely sitting on someone’s bench, but a couple may even be on the waiver wire. If you’re not in contention, you might want to start looking deeper at these arms as potential keeper candidates for 2014.
A quicker-than-usual episode that still packs a punch including a lot of reliever talk.
A shorter episode with Doug on the eve of a trip across the country, but the guys still pack plenty into their 2.5 hours (I know, in what world is 2.5 hours a short episode??). The GOTW was broken, but the guys adjusted and still discussed Mejia before what now appears to be a season-ending elbow injury.
A look at players who might be available to help your fantasy team, depending on the format in which you play.
Jedd Gyorko, 2B, San Diego Padres
A June groin injury followed by an awful July caused a number of standard mixed-league owners to run for the exits, as Gyorko is only owned in about 29% of ESPN leagues. If he’s available in your mixer, snatch him up. Even without taking the injuries into account, since May, Gyorko has been an offensive force. His ISO in May, June, and August has been no lower than .242. In other words, Gyorko is a legit source of power at a middle infield position. Unless you’re in a points league that penalizes severely for hitter strikeouts, there’s no way Gyorko should be a free agent. —Mike Gianella
Hughes, Hutchison, and Leake bring the VP jelly to BP this week.
With a big wave of interleague on the horizon, pitcher values vary in a way we haven’t seen yet this year as they face new teams in new venues. For example, the Angels and Athletics have featured some useful starting pitchers this year, the former more so than the latter, but as they each head into Coors Field to face the Rockies over the next week, there could be some trouble on the horizon. This could be especially problemsome for Ervin Santana, Bartolo Colon, and Tom Milone given their home run rates.
Pitching and defense carried the Angels last season and will aid them again in 2012, though a couple new bats might make the difference in the division.
The most famous play of Peter Bourjos’s major-league career to date comes in the bottom of the fourth inning in the Bronx on August 10, 2011, with the Yankees already out to a 5-0 lead. Bourjos is set up in center and just a few steps towards right when New York infielder Eduardo Nuñez is late on a 3-2 fastball and lines it into the right field gap. Both Bourjos and Hunter break for the ball; it’s closer to Hunter, and he dives…inches short. Less than inches short. He’s so close to catching it that it almost looks like he tips it with his glove, but the ball continues on its course untouched.
Good thing, too, because as Hunter extends in mid-air to make a highlight-reel-worthy play on the ball, Bourjos comes streaking out of nowhere behind him and gloves the ball knee-high on the run, stops, plants, and delivers the ball back towards second, where the Angels almost double up a disbelieving Russell Martin. In the three, maybe four seconds between Nuñez making contact with the outside fastball and Bourjos retiring him, the Angels center fielder crossed from medium-deep center to make a play in front of the scoreboard in right and remained on his feet while doing so, allowing him to try for the double play. The putout makes highlight reels across the country; after all, it has a spectacular dive, an out, and a near-collision in the outfield. It’s not really important which of the outfielders was responsible for what.