Another day, another strong outing from Clay Buchholz. After shutting down Toronto to the tune of 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 8 K/3 BB, Buchholz’s season ERA now sits at an incredible 1.01. I realize that there is no way he sustains that ERA and regression is imminent, but the real question is what kind of regression are we looking at?
If you look at Buchholz’s PITCHf/x data, you’ll see that not a lot has change in terms of his velocity. However, what has changed is how many different pitches he has thrown compared to last year. According to BrooksBaseball.net, Buchholz used seven different pitches in 2012. This year, he’s down to five. Using fewer pitches allows Buchholz to focus more on the efficiency of each pitch, opposed to having to work on mixing up and mastering seven different pitches.
Also, the frequency to which Buchholz throws his pitches is not that different. He uses his five pitches at the following frequencies: 29% (fourseam), 21% (sinker), 21% (cutter), 15% (curveball), and 14% (changeup). What this tells me is that Buchholz does a really good job mixing up his pitches and is fooling batters with the variety.
It’s hard to say exactly how much he will regress because a big factor in his success has been the new coachin.g regime in Boston. John Farrell’s return to the clubhouse has been huge, and Buchholz has praised the new pitching coach as well. While regression is certainly due, he will still be fantasy relevant all year long and I think we are looking at what will be a career year.
- Scott Feldman came out of nowhere yesterday and pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts against the Padres. Interestingly enough, Feldman had only struck out 12 batters across his previous four starts (20.2 IP). He also leads the league with seven unearned runs. Don’t be fooled by one start, and let the other managers in your league make the mistake of picking him up.
- Yuniesky Betancourt hit his 3rd home run in as many games last night. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said last night that Betancourt will move to first base when Aramis Ramirez returns tomorrow. He is owned in 95% of ESPN leagues, but only 53% of Yahoo leagues. Betancourt is eligible at three positions and is one of the hottest hitters in baseball, so if he is available in your Yahoo league, go pick him up now!
- Trevor Bauer managed to outduel Cliff Lee yesterday, allowing only one hit over 5 shutout innings to go along with five strikeouts. However, Bauer also walked six batters last night and has now walked 13 batters in 10 innings this year; good for a horrendous 11.7 BB/9! While the strikeout potential is tantalizing, I’m not trusting Bauer until he can control his walks.
- Alberto Callaspo is likely to be activated from the DL today. While he isn’t a household name, he was hitting .273 with a .351 OBP before he got hurt. He was also batting leadoff in the last game he played for the Angels. Those in deeper leagues should pick him up.
- Keep an eye on those injured Nationals. Jayson Werth is dealing with a tweaked hamstring, Bryce Harper has a bruised left side after crashing into the outfield wall, and Ryan Zimmerman will be activated from the DL tomorrow.
Thursday’s Probable Starters
With only nine games today there are fewer starters available, but still some good options for 10-12 team mixed leagues. Bold = Start.
- Roberto Hernandez (TB) @ Ervin Santana (KC) — Santana has been lights out recently and Hernandez not so much.
- Eric Stults (SD) @ Travis Wood (CHC) — Wood has actually thrown a quality start in each of his five starts this year, while Stults has allowed 10 runs in his past two games.
- Alex Sanabia (MIA) @ Kyle Kendrick (PHI) — Kendrick is coming off of a complete game shutout and has four consecutive quality starts this year. Sanabia has more walks than strikeouts this year so stay away.
- Ryan Dempster (BOS) @ J.A. Happ (TOR) — Dempster has been striking out batters left and right this year and is facing a struggling Toronto team. Happ blanked the Red Sox earlier this year, but I don’t think history will repeat itself.
- Dan Haren (WAS) @ Kris Medlen (ATL) — Medlen is coming off of a rough start, but you still want to start him. Haren just threw his first quality start of the year, but I wouldn’t start him until I see more consistency. There is a lot of upside with Haren though, so I wouldn’t blame you if you took the risk.
- Jake Peavy (CWS) @ Justin Grimm (TEX) — Aside from one rough start against the Nationals this season, Peavy has been dominant and I’m starting him against anybody until he cools down. Grimm has also been a pleasant surprise and is a good spot starter option.
- Rick Porcello (DET) @ Jordan Lyles (HOU) — Porcello has been awful this year, but he is facing the Astros so I would take the risk in deeper leagues. Lyles is making his first appearance of the season, but he has been struggling in AAA this year so I would stay away.
- Jake Westbrook (STL) @ Wily Peralta (MIL) — Westbrook leads the majors in ERA and is a must start until he cools down. Peralta has not pitched well at all this season so I’m staying away.
- Chris Tillman (BAL) @ Joe Blanton (LAA) — Neither of these guys excite me, but I would roll with Tillman against a struggling Blanton.
Note: We are going to start a new trend (literally) where we post fun and interesting stats we find around the baseball twittersphere with the hashtag #ProfStats. We encourage our readers to do the same, either through your own research or something you come across on the web, and we will post them in our daily recaps!
- Mike Napoli was the only player in last 8 years to hit two 460+-ft HR in a game.
- Nationals offense has been rather stagnant. Bryce Harper is batting .344, rest of the team is hitting .227
- The Athletics are 3-0 since Yoenis Cespedes returned from DL and are 11-2 record when Cespedes starts.
- The Tigers are the 1st team in American League history to strike out at least 10 batters in 6 straight games