Bullet Points: Pitchers
Short bits of information. That's what people want these days. Ray Flowers bullet points his way through hurlers in the news.
We want out news in 30 second blasts. We're attracted to Twitter like a hungry fella to a burrito on Cinco de Mayo (enjoy your night tonight – stay thirsty my friends). Does anyone even read anymore? I gave up trying to figure it all out. But I do know that people like information in short blasts. I got you covered. Here are some Monday thoughts on hurlers of all sorts.
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Madison Bumgarner locked in his arm slot Sunday, something he's been struggling with of late, and the result was six innings of one run ball (it was unearned). He's got a 3.18 ERA and his K/9 rate is a lofty 10.44. From this point forward we could still be looking at an SP1. The buy low window might be gone.
Dillon Gee had another strong outing Sunday and he now owns a 3-1 record, 2.51 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Since July 15th last year, a span of 20 starts: 2.66 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 2.93 K/BB ratio. He's also 8-5. Just saying.
Sonny Gray has made seven starts. He has seven quality starts. He owns a 1.91 ERA an a WHIP below 1.20. He's got the look of an SP3 this season.
Phil Hughes won his third straight outing permitting two runs over 6.1 innings to the Orioles Sunday. His ERA is still 4.72. I'm still not interested.
Corey Kluber has an inflated WHIP like Madison Bumgarner, Kluber's mark is 1.36, but there's a ton to like here. His K-rate is up at 9.60, even if it's an unsustainable but exciting pace given his career 8.42 mark. He's also sporting a 4.00 K/BB ratio, the mark is over that his last 33 outings, and his ground ball rate is up at 49 percent. Big fan is Ray Flowers.
Colin McHugh was brilliant in his first two starts. Sunday not so much (4 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 8 H). The truth? It's in the middle. McHugh isn't an ace, and he's not likely to be worth anything in mixed leagues. There's also no chance he'll sustain that 10.71 K/9 mark, he was at about eight last year at Triple-A. Good control is his hallmark, not big time numbers in the K column. Way more Mike Leake than Gio Gonzalez.
Alfredo Simon is 4-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Fantastic for the waiver-wire find. Can he sustain this? No, but I said the same thing two weeks ago. Some reasons for concern: 4.87 K.9, 1.83 K/BB, .192 BABIP, 88 percent left on base rate, 4.42 xFIP, 4.55 SIERA. Sell like the hooker sells her wares on the corner at 12:30 at night. You know they start to desperate the later the hour. So I've been told. By others. I would never do that. I'm the Oracle. Chicks come to me. Maybe. OK, they never do.
Jason Vargas allowed 11 huts and seven runs Sunday, his first rough outing as a Royal. Note, that even with the bombing his ERA only went up to 3.50. That mark is 4.22 for his career. He's an AL-only option.
Ernesto Frieri is nearing a return to the 9th inning. Joe Smith hasn't done anything wrong, but I warned everyone that Smith's stay in the 9th inning could be short. Seems like I might have been very Oracle-like with that one. “Our optimum bullpen is really with Ernie back in the ninth inning and being able to move Joe Smith around,” manager Mike Scioscia said Sunday. “But we need some bullpen depth to evolve before we can push Joe that far. At some point, maybe matchups are better for Joe a little bit earlier and we can have Ernie for the ninth. It’s encouraging where Ernie’s been his last three outings.”
Jim Johnson last allowed a run on the 9th of April. Seriously, look it up. He's made 8-straight scoreless outings during which time he's picked up three wins and two holds. Just a matter of time, one would think, before he's named the closer yet again. Make sure he's not floating on waivers. Oh, and if he is, add him and play in a bigger league next year. Does that broken record ever get old?
Hector Rondon has a 1.69 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.13 K/9 mark and an impressive 1.75 GB/FB ratio. He's also 3-for-3 in saves. Clearly he's the Cubs' closer. Unfortunately... (1) The club hasn't named a closer. Thanks for the clarity there by the way Cubbies. (2) He allowed two runs in his outing Sunday to pick up a loss. I still believe he's the guy to own but the Cubs reluctance to name him, and his outing Sunday might mean Pedro Strop gets another shot. We'll have to wait and see on this one.