One reason why I watch most baseball games with sound off is because the TV analyst (usually an ex-player) uses way too many cliches. I’m about to use one of the most overused cliches in baseball, but it’s the only way I can describe Tsuyoshi Wada: He just knows how to pitch.
On Sunday Wada had a no hitter after six innings despite not having overpowering stuff. His fastball sits 89-90 mph and can touch 91. That may not sound impressive but he was missing bats with it and, most importantly, the Oriole batters were not squaring him up. The reason why his fastball is so good is because he can run it in and away and change speeds; in other words, he keeps batters off balance. He only allowed one hit against the fastball, a home run to Steve Pearce, that on which he missed his location by a lot.
He also features a changeup, curveball, and slider. On Sunday he threw mostly fastballs and changeups, which is unusual because normally throws more curveballs. He has the best feel for the changeup as he can throw it any situation, which allows his fastball to play up. The fastball can be a little flat, which means he’s going to be a fly ball pitcher and, therefore, will be at higher risk of allowing home runs.
Wada doesn’t have high upside, but his floor is relatively high. At the end of Sunday he has a 2.56 ERA, which is unsustainable, but I can see him being 3.20-3.35 ERA with a sub-1.20 WHIP and enough strikeouts to make him a must start in 12-team mixed leagues because of how good his command is and how good the Cubs defense is.
Sean Doolittle was placed on the DL Sunday with an intercostal strain. Ideally they would choose someone else besides Luke Gregerson to be the closer so they could use him in more high leverage situations, but he’s the odds-on favorite to get save chances in Oakland.
With Manny Machado out for the rest of the year, Steve Pearce and Chris Davis become the every day first baseman and third baseman, respectively. After Sunday Davis would have played in 12 games at third base, which means he’ll likely be third base eligible in most formats by the end of next week. Pearce doesn’t have a lot of upside in terms of his raw talent, but he’s going to play every day and likely bat second, the best spot in the lineup. If I’m in a 12-team mixed league and needed power I would take a chance on Pearce because he’ll likely see a lot of fastballs and plays in great hitter’s ballpark.
Thanks you Adam and Jake for allowing to be join Monday’s Baseball Profcast!