Seth Trachtman

The Week Ahead

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The Week Ahead: Bruised Waino

Friday, April 28, 2017


Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has been the unluckiest pitcher of them all (through April 27)?

 

Adam Wainwright.

 

The former Cardinals ace currently sports an atrocious .439 BABIP, tops in baseball. The results are clear, with a 6.12 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, and league-worst 39 hits allowed in only 25 innings. Of course, it should be noted that Wainwright also allowed the most hits in the National League last season (220).

 

So is he finished? After posting a 4.62 ERA in 33 starts last season, some already had that thought coming into this year. While the roto stats aren’t encouraging, there is some reason to be patient.

 

Wainwright currently has a 9.4 K/9, the best of his career, albeit in a very limited sample size. Perhaps, most importantly, his velocity and groundball rate (48 percent) remain intact. Now, it must be noted that the Cardinals defensive efficiency has been the third worst in baseball this season and was also in the bottom 10 last year. That’s absolutely contributed to his poor BABIP and career-worst .330 BABIP last season.

 

Still, Wainwright has stated since spring training that his curveball is back, and the strikeout numbers bear that out. The ERA metrics are also on his side, with a 3.29 FIP and 3.46 SIERA. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m pouncing on him if available in a 10-team mixed league, but I do believe that there is more good baseball left in him.

 

-Alex Cobb has been inconsistent to this point, trying to find the feel for his changeup. He’s thrown his signature pitch only 23 percent of the time after throwing it as much as 38 percent before Tommy John surgery. There is reason for optimism, regardless, with velocity that has bounced back this year, a decent groundball rate (49 percent), and a sub-2.0 BB/9 to this point. Facing two mediocre opponents next week in Toronto (fourth fewest runs scored) and Miami makes him a worthwhile two-start option.

 

-We’ve already touched on it in this spot and elsewhere, but Luis Severino is looking like a true ace again. After struggling as a starter last season, Severino is back to his late 2015 form with a 3.00 ERA and tremendous 33/4 K/BB in 27 innings. The increased velocity he showed in relief last season has held as a starter, with an average fastball of almost 97 mph, and his 1.3 BB/9 to this point has even exceeded the excellent 2.2 BB/9 he showed in his minor league career. What’s even scarier? Severino has had issues keeping the ball in the park, with a tough schedule that’s included two home starts, plus matchups at Baltimore and Boston, but his 56 percent groundball rate that ranks 11th in baseball.

 

-Speaking of new aces, James Paxton is clearly Seattle’s best starter. He got back on track this week after a poor start against Oakland, and is now 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA and 39/6 K/BB in 32.1 innings. Incredibly, he’s had scoreless outings in four of his five starts. Unlike Severino, home runs haven’t been an issue for Paxton, who has yet to allow a long ball. That won’t last for much longer, of course, but the drastic control improvement we saw last season (1.8 BB/9) has held so far and made Paxton one of baseball’s top pitchers. Remember, while he did have a mediocre 3.79 ERA in 2016, Paxton’s ERA metrics were elite with a 2.80 FIP and 3.54 SIERA. We just cross our fingers he can stay healthy, with some annoying past injuries.

 

-Former elite prospect Tyler Glasnow could be on thin ice in the Pirates rotation. As if the Pirates didn’t have enough things to worry about after losing Starling Marte for 80 games last week to PEDs, Glasnow has put his team in a very tough spot through four starts with a 7.98 ERA, 2.46 WHIP, and only 14.2 innings pitched. He’s lasted five innings only once, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he doesn’t last until his second start of next week with a tough early-week matchup at Cincinnati on Tuesday.

 

=The Royals offense has been really bad. Just how bad? They currently have 2.6 runs per game The 1942 Phillies were the only team in the modern era to average 2.6 runs per game over a full season. Obviously, it’s highly unlikely that the Royals struggles continue, but you might as well take advantage while they slump for now. Kansas City is scheduled to face the White Sox and Cleveland next week. Jorge Soler’s return from an oblique injury couldn’t come soon enough.

 

Going Twice…

 

American League

 

Strong Plays

 

Chris Sale: BAL, @MIN

James Paxton: LAA, TEX

Corey Kluber: @DET, @KC

Jose Quintana: @KC, @BAL

Luis Severino: TOR, @CHC

Danny Duffy: CHW, CLE

Alex Cobb: @MIA, TOR

Marco Estrada: @NYY, @TB

 

Decent Plays

 

Cole Hamels: @HOU, @SEA

Justin Verlander: CLE, @OAK

Rick Porcello: BAL, @MIN

Jake Odorizzi: @MIA, TOR

Lance McCullers: TEX, @LAA

Dylan Bundy: @BOS, CHW

Sean Manaea: @MIN, DET

Chris Tillman: @BOS, CHW

Trevor Bauer: @DET, @KC

Daniel Norris: CLE, @OAK

Nate Karns: CHW, CLE

Matt Shoemaker: @SEA, HOU

Mike Fiers: TEX, @LAA

 

At Your Own Risk

 

Andrew Cashner: @HOU, @SEA

Dylan Covey: @KC, @BAL

 

 

National League

 

Strong Plays

 

Julio Teheran: NYM, STL

Jon Lester: PHI, NYY

Johnny Cueto: @LAD, @CIN

 

Decent Plays

 

Gerrit Cole: @CIN, MIL

Tyler Chatwood: @SD, ARI

Carlos Martinez: MIL, @ATL

Tanner Roark: ARI, @PHI

R.A. Dickey: NYM, STL

Trevor Cahill: COL, LAD

Brett Anderson: PHI, NYY

Scott Feldman: PIT, SF

Wei-Yin Chen: TB, @NYM

Jeremy Hellickson: @CHC, WAS

Zach Davies: @STL, @PIT

Adam Wainwright: MIL, @ATL

 

At Your Own Risk

 

Tyler Glasnow: @CIN, MIL

Vince Velasquez: @CHC, WAS

Wily Peralta: @STL, @PIT

Edinson Volquez: TB, @NYM

Zack Godley: @WAS, @COL

Rookie Davis: PIT, SF

 

 

Streamer City

 

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

 

American League

 

Thursday, May 4: Derek Holland @ KC

Holland has been terrific this season, and while I don’t think that will last much longer, the Royals have been nauseatingly bad vs. southpaws this season (.522 OPS).

 

Thursday, May 4: Tyler Skaggs @ SEA

As we’ve discussed in previous weeks, the Mariners haven’t fared well against lefties this season (.622 OPS). Meanwhile, Skaggs is getting on track, allowing a total of two runs over his last two starts.

 

Thursday, May 4: Ariel Miranda @ LAA

Granted, we’re not betting on a win here by advocating competing pitchers as Miranda faces Skaggs, but this is a very favorable matchup for both. Miranda has shown strong control again this season, though he has trouble keeping the ball in the park. The Angels have hit only one home run against lefties this season.

 

National League

 

Thursday, May 4: Kyle Freeland @ SD

It should come as no surprise that the Padres have struggled against lefties (and everyone else) so far. Freeland hasn’t shown great command in his rookie debut, but he’s coming off of seven scoreless innings against San Francisco and has had only one road start this season.

 

Saturday, May 6: Hyun-Jin Ryu @ SD

Let’s keep the theme of taking lefties against the Padres going. Ryu is 0-4 with a 4.64 ERA, but he also has 20/5 K/BB in 21.1 innings and is coming off his best start of the year.

 

Total Games

 

American League

 

6: LAA, MIN, NYY, OAK, SEA, TOR

7: BAL, BOS, CHW, CLE, DET, HOU, KC, TB, TEX

 

National League

 

6: ARI, COL, LAD, SD, SF, WAS

7: ATL, CHC, CIN, MIA, MIL, NYM, PHI, PIT, STL

 

The Infirmary

 

Here’s some injuries to prominent players over the last week, and other players to watch for in the coming week. You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page.

 

Cam Bedrosian: Out indefinitely (groin)

Zach Britton: Should return next week (forearm)

Miguel Cabrera: Could return next week (groin)

Yoenis Cespedes: Out indefinitely (hamstring)

Rajai Davis: Out indefinitely (hamstring)

Ian Desmond: Could return next week (hand)

Lucas Duda: Could return next week (elbow)

Adam Frazier: Out indefinitely (hamstring)

Koda Glover: Out indefinitely (hip)

Mitch Haniger: Out indefinitely (oblique)

Felix Hernandez: Out indefinitely (shoulder)

Rich Hill: Could return next week (blister)

Travis Jankowski: Out indefinitely (foot)

JaCoby Jones: Could return next week (mouth)

Sean Manaea: Questionable for next start (shoulder)

Shelby Miller: Out indefinitely (elbow)

Aaron Nola: Should return next week (back)

Jake Odorizzi: Scheduled to return Monday (hamstring)

Pablo Sandoval: On the DL (knee)

Jorge Soler: Could return this weekend (oblique)

Denard Span: Could return next week (shoulder)

Noah Syndergaard: Could start on Sunday (biceps)

Chris Tillman: Scheduled to return Tuesday (shoulder)

Troy Tulowitzki: Could return next week (hamstring)



You can find Seth Trachtman on Twitter @sethroto.
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