Who really stepped up to miss bats, and who will need to try a little harder in 2017.
On Tuesday, George Bissellbroke down the landscape around the league with respect to strikeouts. Unsurprisingly, he found that K’s are continuing to rise for both starters and relievers. However, with the shrinking workloads being given to starters, it’s getting harder and harder to find those true fantasy assets who can accrue massive strikeout totals. Today, we will look at some of the pitchers who over performed or under performed their expected value in this category.
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We are in uncharted territory with this category, so let's make a plan.
Nearly a quarter of all major-league plate appearances (21.1 percent) ended with a strikeout last season. A decade ago, that number was just 17.1 percent. Isolated from broader historical context, those numbers don’t accurately reflect the scale of the league-wide rise in strikeout rate over the last decade. Pitchers struck out opposing batters at the highest rate in the modern era, which dates back to 1947 (according to Sam Miller on a recent episode of the Effectively Wild podcast), in each of the past nine seasons. Meanwhile, walk rates have remained relatively stagnant, ebbing and flowing between seven and nine percent, during the same period.
Arizona's Robbie Ray is quietly putting together an impressive breakout campaign.
Ever since his arrival in the desert, Arizona left-hander Robbie Ray has morphed into a flamethrower, with a propensity to pepper the outer edges of the strike zone, virtually overnight. It may have something to do with his Grizzly Adams-style beard, but it has a lot more to do with a staggering increase in fastball velocity, which has propelled him from a fringe fantasy prospect into one of the more intriguing young southpaws in the game today.
Robbie Ray has a rude awakening, the Rays and A's battle, and Chris Sale returns, plus what to watch this weekend.
The Thursday Takeaway
After holding the Astros to one run in 5 1/3 innings in his major-league debut and then keeping the Twins off the scoreboard for six frames in his second start, Robbie Ray might have come under the illusion that pitching in the big leagues is easy. If he did, the Rangers smacked the southpaw right out of it on Thursday afternoon.
If these players are on your league's waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format in which you play.
Welcome back to our weekly walk through some of the players who may want to keep an extra eye on in your leagues. Mike and I will be tackling this topic on Thursdays again and focusing on a singular hitter and pitcher in four of the more popular formats: shallow mixed, deep mixed, NL-only and AL-only. These are certainly not the only players who are worth pickups, but it gives us a nice opportunity to write about players we have close tabs on in our leagues.
Examining a handful of players who might pique your interest in deep leagues.
Introductions are for strangers. Let’s get right to it.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians
In last week’s Deep Impact, I was all like, “guys, you should totally pick up Marcus Stroman because he’s going to get the call soon.” Then he did. This week, I implore you to totally go pick up Bauer, because it’s going to be his turn in very short order. Yes, the Indians have turned to Josh Tomlin over Bauer in the interim, but the odds of Tomlin pitching well enough to stay in the rotation long-term aren’t great. Add in that the Tribe could look to replace Danny Salazar soon, and there should be plenty of opportunity for Bauer in the majors moving forward.
The centerpiece of the package the Tigers received in return for Doug Fister is about to arrive.
The Situation: When Anibal Sanchez went on the disabled list with a finger laceration, the Tigers knew they would need another starter on May 6. The speculation as to who that starter would be ended when Detroit announced that the headliner in the Doug Fister trade, Robbie Ray, would take the bump next Tuesday in place of Sanchez.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo and Twins righty Alex Meyer.
Hitter of the Night: Joey Gallo, 3B, Rangers (Myrtle Beach, A+): 3-4, 4 R, 3 HR, 3 BB. Apparently the laws of physics cease to exist not only on Mr. Tipton’s stove but also in the air surrounding the Frederick Keys’ stadium on Wednesday night, as Gallo put his power on display to its fullest extent but also showed off his patient eye, one which will serve him well as the ultimate three-true-outcome prospect in the minors.
Pitcher of the Night: Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins (Rochester, AAA): 6 2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 11 K.
After a trio of lackluster starts, this is the outing the Twins were hoping to see from their top pitching prospect. Even when he struggles, he misses bats, the product of an upper-90s fastball and a big breaking curve.