Homer Bailey made history Tuesday night as he tossed his second career no-hitter. We'll break down his efforts to this point of the 2013 season and try to read the tea leaves if you will to determine just what you should expect from the big righty in the second half of the season. Carlos Gonzalez has been a special performer yet again for the Rockies. However, he's seemingly changed his approach at the dish which might be a cause for some pause when looking at expectations for the second half. Oh, and then there is Yasiel Puig. How nuts has his effort been to this point and how quickly should you be selling him in re-draft leagues? We'll investigate.
BAILEY MAKES HISTORY
Homer Bailey threw the 273rd regular season no-hitter in big league history Tuesday night in a victory over the Giants.
Bailey is the first man since Nolan Ryan in 1974-75 to throw the majors last two no-hitters.
Bailey is the 28th man in history to throw two no-hitters. He owns a career 4.36 ERA, the worst among the 28 men (Hideo Nomo is next in line at 4.24).
Bailey is one of six men to have two or more no-hitters with one or zero walks in each outing. The others: Roy Halladay, Mark Buehrle, Virgil Trucks, Sandy Koufax and Cy Young.
Though 77 percent of his pitches in the outing were fastball he threw strikes on 18 of the 22 breaking pitches he tossed.
Wow is right.
What is Homer Bailey in terms of his 2013 fantasy outlook for the second half of the season?
Bailey is 5-6 on the year. You know I don't pay much attention to win loss records (he's 43-39 for his career).
Bailey has a 3.57 ERA. That's not a fantastic number, but it will play in any league. He also posted a 3.68 ERA last season. Since the start of 2012 among arms that have thrown 250 innings his 3.64 ERA are 29th, one hundredth behind the 3.63 mark of Jeff Samardzija.
Bailey is working on something that's nearly impossible to do. Each of the last four years his WHIP has gone down, and he's on pace to make it 5-years in a row.
2.09, 1.47, 1.37, 1.28, 1.24 and 1.06.
Hard to have total confidence he will maintain his current mark, it's an elite level, but when you look at the rest of his pitching line you can certainly understand how it could happen.
Bailey has a 9.00 K/9 mark. That's a 1.70 batters more per nine than he has averaged the past two years. If he can hold on to that gain it would be fantastic, but history argues that he will be difficult.
Bailey has a 2.11 BB/9 mark. Just like his K-rate, we've seen a significant improvement in this category. Just like his WHIP mark as well, the BB/9 keeps coming down: 5.56, 4.21, 4.13, 3.30, 2.25, 2.25 and 2.11. Even though his current 2.11 mark is a career best level it's pretty much on par with his efforts the past two years.
His K/BB follows a similar pattern: 1.00, 1.06, 1.65, 2.50, 3.21, 3.23 and 4.27. Likely should be some pause with this number since his current mark is one better than ever before.
His 21.3 percent line drive rate is three tenths off his career average.
His 1.62 GB/FB ratio is, shockingly, a career best. The last four seasons he's been well off this pace: 1.16, 1.12, 1.03 and 1.27. Can he maintain his current rate? Not only is he allowing fewer fly balls than ever before (30 percent versus career of 35 percent) he's also posting the lowest HR/F ratio since his 45.1 inning rookie season back in 2007. His 7.9 percent mark is substantially lower than the 11.5 mark he posted in each of the past two seasons. Seems possible that some increase is coming in the big flies.
Overall we see a pitcher who is growing in all the right places. More strikeouts, fewer walks, more grounders... this is a skill set that not only supports that ERA of 3.57 it's one that suggests his ERA could be a run lower than that (in fact, his xFIP is currently 2.98). We haven't seen Bailey pitch at this level over the duration of an entire season so some trepidation is warranted, but it should be noted that even though he's been around forever that he is just 27 years old.
ARE YOU NERVOUS ABOUT CARLOS GONZALEZ?
Carlos Gonzalez is on pace for 40 homers, 25+ steals, 120 RBIs, 120 runs scored and he's hitting .292. Clearly I must have slept wrong and my brain fell out of my head last night given the title of this section. Or is it that I'm just about ready to blow your mind? Let's go with that. Some data points.
CarGo is hitting .292 and his career mark is .298. Everything is right in the world. Or is it...
A career .330 hitter at home, Carlos is hitting just .274 at home this season.
A career .308 hitter against righties, he's hitting .284 against them this season.
His line drive rate is 20.2 percent, one tenth off his career mark.
His BABIP is .348 an exact match for his career mark.
His walk rate is 9.7 percent which would tie his career best mark from last season.
Other than the odd dip in his home average and against righties, two situations that could resolved themselves with a larger sample size, everything appears to be on the up and up, right?
Considering these facts.
Though his line drive rate is the same as always, his fly ball rate has exploded. After a 2012 season with a mark of 29.5 percent (his career mark is 35.0 percent), Gonzalez has posted a 42.6 percent mark this season. Can he sustain that pace or is it merely an evening out after last years fall off in the category, a regression to the mean if you will? It's certainly possible he could keep hitting the ball skyward, but it should be pointed out that in his previous five seasons he's only have a mark of 37 percent one time (38.8 back in 2009). Extra fly balls usually damage a players batting average. They haven't with CarGo. Why? He's converting a big time number of those fly balls into homers. Currently he has a career best 23.2 percent HR/F ratio. He's been under 21 percent every season of his career and owns an 18.5 percent career mark. Could he sustain his current level? He absolutely could. Is it smart/reasonable to expect him to continue to hit more fly balls than ever before and to also convert more of those fly balls into homers than ever before? Possible for sure. Likely though...?
I mentioned his walk rate above, but I left out a discussion about his strikeout rate because it was a downer and above I was trying to be positive (I like to bash people don't I? When did I become a curmudgeon?). CarGo has never struck out 140 times in a season. Part of the reason for that is that he's never appeared in 150 games in a season. For his career he has a 21.9 percent K-rate. I don't love that, but it's clearly an acceptable mark in today's day and age for a guy with 30 homer power. The part that concerns me with Carlos is that after two years with a mark in the 19 percent range that number has jumped to a career worst 26.5 percent.
So to summarize what I've written...
Carlos is hitting more fly balls and converting more of them into homers than ever before. He's also walking as much as he ever has while also striking out more than ever before. Honestly, it sure seems like he's changed his approach at the plate. Currently he's trending toward Mark Trumbo way more heavily than Andrew McCutchen. And that's a bit odd. If we read the numbers objectively it certainly seems like CarGo has changed his approach at the dish in order to drive the ball deep more effectively. It's a testament to his talent that he's been able to do that and still hit better than .290. Would anyone really care if he hit .275 if he was a 40-120-120-25 guy? Of course not. I'm not saying he's going to hit .275, I'm merely trying to point out that if he has a second half that approaches his efforts of the first half that he is much more likely to hit .275 than .325 in 2013.
Am I nervous about Carlos Gonzalez? Not in the least. Am I interested to see if he reverts to his previous form in the second half or continues along the lines he flashed in the first half? Absolutely.
YASIEL PUIG DOOMED TO FAIL?
Sounds like a crazy statement to make, but I fear that expectations are so out of control with Yasiel Puig that he can't possibly do anything but fail moving forward (especially in keeper leagues where I've seen some of the craziest offers I've ever been presented in my 13 years of covering fantasy sports full-time). For more on Puig and his inevitable pull back see his Player Profile.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday at 5 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answer everyone's questions.
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