If you read yesterday’s roundup I was extremely excited to see how Kevin Gausman would look in his 2014 major league debut. His final line was 4 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 2 K, and 5 ER. He threw primarily fastballs (about 80% of the time) and had fairly good command of them. However, he didn’t have good command of his secondary stuff, which is probably why he leaned so much on his fastball. Even though his fastball sat at 92-96 mph, batters started to time to the pitch1, which is why the effectiveness of the pitch started to decreased in the third inning2.
He was pitching on only four days rest and his highest pitch count before yesterday’s start was 77 pitches. In the fourth inning (at about the 64th pitch), he started to look gassed as he lost command of his fastball and he started missing up in the zone. Despite yesterday’s performance, I’m still a believer in his long-term viability and he should be owned in all formats if he stays in the Orioles rotation.
In his last two outings (11 innings) Jake Odorizzi has only allowed 10 base runners, struck out 18, and most importantly allowed zero earned runs. After watching the past two starts his performance has not been a fluke. The biggest change I’ve seen is he’s throwing his 68-70 mph curveball more than ever before. Since his fastball sits 89-91 mph throwing the curveball for strikes allows his fastball to play up. Even though the fastball is 90 mph, to the hitter it looks like 94-95 mph. He’s still walking too many guys to continue to have scoreless outings, but Odorizzi is streamable in 12-team mixed leagues. His next two starts are home against the A’s and the Red Sox. I wouldn’t start him in either of those matchups.
Angel Pagan is dealing with a sore knee. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the injury isn’t serious, but last year Pagan missed almost three months of the season with a hamstring injury, so it’s not a foregone conclusion this is a minor injury. If Pagan ends up missing time, Gregor Blanco and Tyler Colvin will play every day. In 2012 Blanco had 26 stolen bases and he had three yesterday. Colvin has the raw power to hit 20-plus home runs (he hit 20 in 2010 and 18 in 2012), but his power potential will most likely be limited at home. He’s an interesting option on the road.
After a slow start, George Springer is batting .283 with three home runs and seven RBI in the last two weeks. He’s going to be a 20/20 player and I would trade for him while his aggregated numbers are low.
Kyle Farnswarth was released, further muddling the closer position for the Mets. It looks as though they will go with a closer by committee with Jose Valverde, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Jeurys Familia. The popular pick up is Familia, but he has a 15.3% walk rate in his career, which means he will not be able to keep the closer role if he gets it. Of the three relievers I want Matsuzaka because he misses the most bats, but I don’t think any Mets reliever currently on the roster will have more than 15 saves by the end of the year.
1. Pitch by pitch, hitters will start to eliminate pitches if a pitcher isn’t throwing a particular pitch for strikes. So if a pitcher cannot locate his secondary pitches, hitters won’t swing at them because they know its more likely the pitch will be a ball. After hitters have eliminated the secondary pitches, they’ll gear up for the fastball and time to it, which makes the fastball ineffective no matter how fast it’s thrown.
2. Hitters make adjustments and other players talk to one another about what the pitcher is doing, where the release points are, etc. After two innings of basically fastballs, the Tigers hitters must have told everyone to gear up for the fastball because that’s all he was throwing.