Sp in review

SP In Review 4/23 – Collin Mc…Who?


Collin McHugh was brought up by the Astros to start after Scott Feldman abruptly got put on the DL yesterday, and no one expected much after he sported a 90 MPH fastball and a 10.00+ ERA in 2013.  That all changed when he struck out the side in the first inning while firing a 94+ MPH Fastball.  Not bad, but how would he finish?  Only with a line of 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks.  Pretty incredible for a guy who didn’t even know he was starting until earlier that day.  I elected to watch his entire performance, and I have to admit, I was impressed.  He was spotting his Fastball well, and mixing speeds with his Slider and Curve, and even with his heater to keep the Mariners off balance.  He threw all of his pitches with confidence, even making Cano look silly on a 1-2 hook.  He isn’t going to be a giant stud, but if he stays in the Astros rotation, he will be the most fantasy relevant starter on the team.  I’m not going off to waiver wire to pick him up, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he struggles against an actually potent offense in a non-pitcher’s park, but it’s hard not to be curious what he does in his next start at home against Oakland.

There was a lot more to marvel at during last night’s games.  Let’s take a look at the other Starting Pitchers from around the league:

Balls Gif Roundup

Gif Roundup 4/22 – Youth is Irreplaceable


The Gif Roundup is pitch heavy today, and with pitches on my mind I want to recommend Eno Sarris’ latest sabermetric writing over at Sports on Earth. If you’re a “too long, didn’t read” type the basic gist of the article is that pitchers throw hardest in the beginning of their career, and then lose velocity gradually until a precipitous fall starting at age 27. I think this is a phenomenon most baseball fans have encountered numerous times. A pitcher like Stephen Strasburg used to throw 100 regularly has seen his fastball drop in the mid 90s. That may not seem like a big drop as Strasburg is more than effective in the mid nineties, but for many pitchers losing 2-3 MPH is the difference between a big league spot and a AAA career. I look at a pitcher like David Price, who has lost velocity over the last 3 years, and wonder if his best days are behind him. Pitching coaches love to talk about changing speeds and command, but K% drops with velocity, which David Price exemplifies well.

Information is power, and Sarris’ article is just more information for baseball fans, but maybe the baseball world needs to recalibrate how it values veteran pitchers. I know C.C. Sabathia wishes he had his velocity from three years ago, and even more, ten years ago.

Every weekday we’ll be conducting a poll to crown the Gif of the Day and each winner will be featured on Saturday where you can vote for your favorite Gif of the Week. Contact us on twitter and let us know which moments you want us to Gif, and we’ll give you a shout-out on the site.

1. Jenrry Mejia‘s Cutter - Mejia fires this cutter at the perfect location, down and out, with the cut on the ball bringing it back onto the black of the strike zone. Mejia looked great yesterday, and maybe the post hype prospect is ready for a breakout.

Sp in review

SP In Review 4/22 – Liriano Sets The New Line


It’s been a confusing season for Francisco Liriano owners.  After an excellent debut with 10 Ks, he then produces four straight starts of 3 ER or more, including tonight: 7.0 IP, 4 ER (5 Runs), 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks.  He’s right at the threshold of startable, as he clearly has the K upside, but it comes at an apparent risk to your ERA and WHIP.  Do I want him on my team?  Only for the occasional spot start, but in most cases, I’m generally avoiding.  I hate having 50% of his starts making me cringe, and so should you.  He reminds me of those Jelly Beans from Harry Potter, which could taste anywhere from beautifully delicious or nauseatingly revolting.  It made me always think “Why not just get Jelly Beans from a company that you know you like?”  Don’t buy those magical Harry Potter Beans, buy the ones you want to eat everyday.

Here’s what else happened in tonight’s games:


Real or Fake – Don’t Ride The Hot Hand Too Long


Each year, a few free agent pickups in the beginning of the year end up providing amazing production all year out of the blue. We want to give you the tools to look at a hot streak and be able to predict whether that player is ready for a true breakout or whether that player is due to crash to back to earth. A good test for any fantasy owner is to see whether they can find value in players other owners have glossed over.

Each week we will be looking at a few players who have been hot over the last 7 days and predicting whether the performance is real or fake. In the beginning of the season especially, one true diamond in the rough can be the difference at the end of the year.  But before we get there, we have to weed out the impostors:

Balls Gif Roundup

Gif Roundup 4/21 – A Day of Rest


Short introduction today as I leave you with a cliche and possibly corny message: Don’t Panic! Patience is a virtue. I almost traded my best starter away this week in a quest for more offense. I realized it’s too early to change the framework of my team. Sometimes, the smartest decision is to walk away from a trade and just wait.

Every weekday we’ll be conducting a poll to crown the Gif of the Day and each winner will be featured on Saturday where you can vote for your favorite Gif of the Week. Contact us on twitter and let us know which moments you want us to Gif, and we’ll give you a shout-out on the site.

1. Shelby Miller‘s Curveball - What is it with Cardinals pitchers getting Ian Desmond to swing and miss at curveballs? First, Adam Wainwright to end the game, now Shelby Miller.

Sp in review

SP In Review 4/21 – Chicks Dig The Homer


It’s easy to follow the first few starts of the year and simply write off pitchers for the entire season, despite everything you’ve read about them for the past 6 months in the winter.  Many were ready to do the same with Homer Baileybut if you were smart, you stuck with him and didn’t sell him low like many others.  He rewarded non-emotional owners with a 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks outing on Easter Sunday, and you shouldn’t be surprised.  He’s much better than his previous April starts dictated, and he finally brought it today.  He gets the K-happy Braves again next week, and he should be a solid play for the rest of the year.

Let’s see what else caught my eye this holiday weekend:


Subjective Sunday: Top 10 Rookie Seasons


As April turns into May, it’s understandable that we should begin thinking about the stars of tomorrow… today!  Masahiro Tanaka is an obvious rookie talent, but what kind of season will the Mariners’ Abraham Almonte (who leads rookie hitters with a 0.6 fWAR) have?  What about Chris Owings, Xander Bogaerts, or Yordano Ventura?  While we may one day be able to add them to this list, what follows is a listing of the ten greatest rookie seasons of all-time.  Unlike last week’s exercise, this article is a 1-10 ranking as I see it.  Not much of a prelude, this ranking is fairly self explanatory.  And it starts with a most familiar figure…


1.  Mike Trout, CF, 2012 (LAA): 8.6 rWAR/168 OPS+/49 SB
I’ll be honest: I love Mike Trout.  I have no great affinity for the Angels, their fanbase, or their other players, but holy mother of pearl is Mike Trout fun to watch.  It’s not that he does anything particularly well or has a colorful personality; it’s that he does everything well and always finds new ways to amaze.  I don’t have much to add that you don’t already know–in 2012, the 20-year-old Trout led the league, or placed in the top-five, for just about every offensive statistic of note.  He hit for power (.564 SLG), could get on base (.399 OBP, 67 walks), had speed (led the league in stolen bases and runs scored), and played a mean center field (2.1 fielding WAR).  Let’s not forget that he produced these numbers in a shortened 139 game season, since he joined the team on April 28th.  As you know, his dominance was obvious and hasn’t let up yet.  How lucky we are to be witnessing it!

Gif of the week

Gif of the Week 4/19 – Filth, Anger and Fun


You’ve been voting all week, and it’s time to crown the best Gif of the first week of baseball.  Voting is open all weekend long, and will be featured on Monday’s Gif Roundup.  Who is going to take the crown?

1. Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu: Rush Hour 4 – An unlikely pairing, but these two engage in some fun horseplay right before the first pitch. Baseball is supposed to be fun, and that’s why I love Puig.

two start

2 Start Pitchers 4/21 – 4/27: Wood for the Win


Every Friday here at Pitcher Gifs I will be outlining quality two start pitcher options for the following week. Those of us in H2H leagues with a penchant for streaming can use this list to find quality streaming options before the weekend starts. With the help of this list, you won’t have to wait until Sunday to make those streamer pickups and get ahead of your opponent.

While streaming can be a good strategy, this early in the season it’s a very risky strategy. It’s difficult to gauge a feel for the good or bad offenses to start pitchers against nor is there a large enough sample size to know which pitchers are really undervalued. If you do decide to stream, be very cautious.

This list will avoid picking obvious automatic starters every week, such as Justin Verlander and Yu Darvish this week. I’ll be selecting starters who are generally owned in less than 75% of leagues. This week was a little light on viable options who aren’t close to 100% owned so bear with me. Check out which 2-start pitchers I like for next week:

Balls Gif Roundup

Gif Roundup 4/18 – Just Let Puig Be Puig


Yasiel Puig’s play and behavior has been debated and written about ad nauseam, but I thought I’d throw in my two cents here on a day Puig has two gifs in the Gif Roundup. At this point, I believe everyone can agree that Puig is going to be at least an above average player going forward. He can hit for average with his opposite field approach, has decent power and speed, and plays at least a serviceable right field.

So why do people like Bill Plaschke keep hammering home the point that Puig is a “distraction,” and may tear the Dodgers’ clubhouse apart? Simply put, people are scared of what they don’t understand. MLB has seen brash players before, but no one quite like Puig. If a player is perceived as nonchalant, or lazy, the old guard of baseball writers will rake him over the proverbial coals. But Puig doesn’t play for the writers. Puig plays to help the Dodgers win, and make money, and he’s been a success at both. Puig has already reached higher than most Cubans can imagine, and probably sees little wrong with his own actions because he’s been such a success. I’d probably feel the same way if I went through this kind of journey. As long as Puig is successful in his own mind, I don’t see him changing much. And that’s fine. Watching Puig be Puig is a lot of fun.

Every weekday we’ll be conducting a poll to crown the Gif of the Day and each winner will be featured on Saturday where you can vote for your favorite Gif of the Week. Contact us on twitter and let us know which moments you want us to Gif, and we’ll give you a shout-out on the site.

1. Adam Wainwright‘s Dirty Curveball - Wainwright was filthy yesterday, pitching a 2 hit shutout. This was his 110th, and last, pitch of the game to strikeout Ian Desmond. Impressive retention of stuff for Wainwright.