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 Alamonte (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 their team, 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.

Sp in review

SP In Review 4/18 – The Wainwright Stuff


We told our readers in our Top 20 Starting Pitchers Pre-Season Rankings that outside of Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright had the best chance to be in the top five starting pitchers by the end of the season.  Tonight, he threw a CG-Shutout against the Nationals racking up a stellar line: 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks.  Thing is, you’re not shocked at all to read this blurb.  Part of you even expected Wainwright to dismantle the Nationals this easily.  That’s why he was our #2 SP heading into 2014, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be for the rest of the year.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the starter pitching performances from around the league:

real or fake

Real or Fake – The Samples are Still Small


Each year, a few free agent pickups in the beginning of the year end up providing amazing production all year out of the blue. I 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 I 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. Let’s start with a player who I think is primed for a true breakout:

Balls Gif Roundup

Gif Roundup 4/17 – The First Of Many


Yesterday was an exciting day for Astros fans, which is a phrases stated maybe once every decade or so. George Springer made his major league debut, and smacked a dribbling grounder down the third baseline for his first career hit. As we’d say in college, “it’s a liner in the books.” Then we’d realize that no one cared about DIII baseball and become sad that there probably weren’t multiple ‘books’. Anyway, take note baseball fans, Springer should be around for a very long time, and despite the lack of glamour behind his first hit, we’ll be seeing him quite a bit in the future.

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. George Springer’s First Career Hit - It wasn’t pretty, but he got to flash his excellent speed, at least. He’ll be hitting bombs and stealing lots of bases this year instead of hitting cue shots, don’t worry Astros fans.

Sp in review

SP In Review 4/17 – Masahiro Is The One Who Nakas


Masahiro Tanaka had a marvelous day on the hill against the Cubs, sporting a line of 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits ,1 BB, 10 Ks.  If you took the gamble of Tanaka in your draft near the 90th/100th pick, you’re feeling mighty fine.  I don’t expect a large dip in quality moving forward, but don’t expect the 28:2 K:BB ratio for the entire season.  No, he’s not going to throw absolute gems for the rest of the year, but his K rate is legit, and he has the ability to put up starts like this at some rate of consistency.

Here’s everything else that happened the day that the Pitcher Gifs’ hosting service (Bluehost) failed and we were down for over 18 hours:

Balls Gif Roundup

Gif Roundup 4/16 – Rain, Rain, Go Away


It’s been a long couple of nights at the Gif Roundup House with two fun, but looooooong, Passover seders so I’m going to keep this short. Please Winter, just end. Nobody should have to play baseball wearing this, and I certainly don’t want to wear it to my first Yankees game of the year tonight.

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. Yordano Ventura‘s Curveball – Yordano is filthy and now everyone knows it. Yordano leads all starters and relievers in average fastball velocity. The sky is the limit.

GR 4:16:14 Yordano Curveball

Sp in review

SP In Review 4/16 – Cole Got The Black Lung


My love for Gerrit Cole is big, and for the 90th pick in your drafts, I firmly believe he was an absolute steal.  He didn’t look that way tonight though, giving owners a line of 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks.  A bit disconcerting following his previous 3 ER effort, when he still put up 10 Ks.  However, he is a rare talent, with four quality pitches including a 95 MPH fastball that he commands effectively, and I have full confidence starting him next week and beyond.  I didn’t even look up who he’s pitching against and I’m still starting him.  Yeah, that kind of confidence.

Let’s see what else that happened in tonight’s games: