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Hawaii and Ray Flowers go together like peanut butter and jelly. Smooth of course. Alas, I can't stay in Hawaii forever, though I've contemplated moving there many times, so I'm back in the saddle to help you all out as you plow through the dog days of summer with your goal being a fantasy baseball championship. In this piece I'll take a look at the bump and note some notable things that have been occurring on the mound.
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SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS
Clayton Kershaw is still god-like. Over his last five starts he's gone 4-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 10.58 K/9 mark.
Chris Sale is still god-like. Over his last four starts he's gone 3-0 with a 0.85 ERA an a 10.80 K/9 mark.
Homer Bailey has finally turned his season around (told you he would). Over his last five starts he's only 1-1 but he's posted a 2.00 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP over 36 innings.
Madison Bumgarner cannot pitch at home. Don't know why, but check out the numbers: 4-6, 5.60 ERA, 1.56 WHIP over 11 starts. Not good. That's odd given that his career numbers at home (27-22, 3.30 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), while not as good as his road work (34-25, 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP), are still rather impressive.
Jesse Chavez is about done. He's likely headed to the bullpen at some point soon as the inning pile up and the results start to wane. Chavez has allowed 11 runs over his last 16.2 innings and it's likely cause his arm is tiring. Don't forget this guy threw only 87.1 innings last season, 130 in 2012 and 120 frames in 2011. He's already at 125.2 innings pitched this season. He's been a huge bonus for everyone that picked him up off waivers, just take a peep at his overall numbers: 8-7, 3.44 ERA, 8.52 K/9, 2.90 K/BB. Look for the A's to call up either Tommy Milone or Drew Pomeranz to take his starting spot – soon.
Anyone notice that Jose Quintana has a 1.60 ERA and more than a K per inning over his last five starts? Seems like the White Sox haven't noticed either as they've only given him enough run support for him to be sporting a 1-0 record.
Vance Worley upped his record to 4-1 and dropped his ERA and WHIP to 2.54 and 1.07 with his first career shutout against the reeling Giants. Worley has been stupendous in his eight outings, and no one saw that coming. No one. Can't really see this having legs tough. His K/9 mark is just 5.44. His current walk rate of 1.45 per nine is literally half his career averaged. His BABIP is more than .050 points below his career mark. He just doesn't own the stuff to dominate batters, but he's certainly locked in and well worth using right now.
COLON STILL GOING STRONG
Bartolo Colon may or may not be traded but he's still getting it done (something my brother an I were lamenting as we sipped Mai Tai's on the beach in Hawaii – true story). Colon has dropped his ERA down to 3.88 and since he never walks anyone his WHIP is an impressive 1.16. Too bad he's only struck out 6.73 batters per nine innings though at least that's more than a full batter better than his mark the past two years which is saying something. He's also working on a 3rd straight campaign with a BB/9 mark under 1.40 and the result this year is a 5.30 K/BB ratio. Can't really explain it with the 41 year old, but there it is.
INNINGS PITCHED CONCERNS
"Jacob deGrom has been named NL Co-Player of the Week" is on a minor innings cap the rest of the way. Minor. He's been nails of late. Just look at his July numbers: 1.39 ERA, 38 Ks in 32.1 innings, 5.43 K/BB and a 4-1 record.
“[Jesse Hahn's] in a spot where he has somewhere between five and 10 starts left," Manager Bud Black said. "We're going to watch him every start." Hahn only threw 69 innings last season as he was brought along slowly in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He's already up to 87 innings in 2014. He's been amazing with a 2.12 ERA and 6-2 record over eight starts. Pretty nice to see 51 strikeouts in 46.2 innings as well.
WHERE HAVE THE K's GONE?
Yordano Ventura is a 23 year old flamethrower for the Royals. According to Pitch f/x data, his average fastball velocity this year is 96.2 mph, the second fastest in the big leagues behind only Garrett Richards at 96.4 mph. That number alone would paint his current 7.50 K/9 mark in a bit of poor light given that the big league average this season is 7.7. But there's actually even a bit more to look at beyond that. Since May 9th his K/9 mark is sitting at 6.23. That's covering 13 starts. In that time frame he's struck out more than four batters just four times. That means in nearly 70 percent of his starts the last seven weeks he's failed to record more than four strikeouts in a game. Yikes. Guess he really is taking to heart the instructions of the Royals to pitch more to contact to save his arm. Good news for his arm. Bad news for his fantasy outlook.
The Pirates young righty, Gerrit Cole, is on the shelf right now with a lat issue. In an outing Monday at Triple-A he threw five scoreless innings and he's expected to make just one more minor league start if he throws well and has no setbacks. Should you care? I know he's a big name in fantasy, and there is no way you can watch him pitch and possibly be blind to the talent, but there's also the little matter of performance. (1) He has seven wins. Josh Collmenter has eight. (2) He has a 3.78 ERA. Mike Leake is at 3.73. (3) He has a 1.31 WHIP. Teammate Edinson Volquez is sitting at 1.30 for the year. Cole's has upped his K/9 rate to 8.19 this season, but he's also seen his walk rate increase by nearly a full batter from his rookie season. The result is that his impressive 3.57 K/BB ratio from last season now sits at 2.69 in 2014. He's solid, but really, he's not been particularly eye-popping, at least according to how we evaluate hurlers in the fantasy game.