Taijuan Walker has had an uneven season. No way around that. It’s just a fact. He looked great the last time out though as he threw a nine innings shutout against the Angels with 11 strikeouts and no walks. I got into a back and forth with a few folks on Twitter about Walker. Sometimes, especially with young players, we focus far too much on the results instead of on the skills. Some points to consider.

Walker has a 7.88 K/9 rate this season. The following pitchers can’t match that mark: J.A. Happ, Jason Hammel, Carlos Martinez, Masahiro Tanaka, Zack Greinke, Rick Porcello, Tanner Roark and Aaron Sanchez.

Walker has a 1.99 BB/9 rate this season. The following pitchers can’t match that mark: Cole Hamels, Jake Arrieta, Chris Archer, Jose Fernandez, Stephen Strasburg, Jon Lester, Corey Kluber and Madison Bumgarner.

Walker has a 1.18 WHIP this season. The following pitchers can’t match that mark: Jason Hammel, Jacob deGrom, CMart, Jeff Samardzija, Bartolo Colon, Chris Archer, Matt Moore, Marcus Stroman and Cole Hamels.

Let’s compare the career work of Walker to the start of Clayton Kershaw’s career. You might be pretty surprised to learn just how closely that the performance to date of Walker mirrors that of Kershaw at the start of his career.










Clayton Kershaw









Taijuan Walker









Walker has been uneven to this point of his career. He’s still an impressive talent who could end up being a star in this league. Not Clayton Kershaw like, but pretty damn good. Give him time.


Dylan Bundy is simply running out of gas. Over his last six starts he has a 6.21 ERA, 1.83 WHIP and he’s walked 19 batters in 29 innings (5.90 per nine). He’s also pitched six innings just once in those six starts and he’s allowed seven homers leading to a rate of 2.17 big flies per nine. He’s just not trustworthy at all, in any format, at the moment.

Jharel Cotton tossed 6.1 innings of one run ball in his first start for the Athletics. In start number two he allowed three runs over 5.2 innings, though just one was earned. That’s 12 innings of work for the youngster with the dominating changeup of a 1.50 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He’s only struck out five batters in 12 innings but at least he has a 10.2 percent swinging strike rate. Worth rostering no doubt, but the lack of strikeouts certainly dims the outlook a bit.

Danny Duffy rebounded a bit in his last outing, but he still has been a bit off of late. Though he allowed three runs over 7.1 innings in his last start, a passable outing, he dgave up two homers to the Athletics. That pushes his four game total to seven homers allowed leading to a 2.63 HR/9 mark. Simply hideous. Those big flies have led to a 6.00 ERA with a 1.42 WHIP. I think he’s pitched over his head this season, but even if you disagree with that statement he’s thrown 162.2 innings this season, a career-high, so maybe there’s some tiring going on here?

Kyle Gibson threw an eight inning, one run game against the Tigers. It doesn’t matter.

Clayton Kershaw looked pretty sharp Wednesday with five scoreless innings against the Yankees. He’s walked nine batter in 129 innings this season. Nine.

Ivan Nova is sooooo good because of Ray Searage, the pitching coach. Hearing that everywhere. It’s just not true though, is it? Has Searage helped Tyler Glasnow to throw strikes? Did I miss something or did Francisco Liriano and his 6-11 record, 5.46 ERA and 1.62 WHIP pitch poorly? Jon Niese has a 4.91 ERA and 1.55 WHIP of the Pirates and Ryan Vogelsong has a 4.66 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Why hasn’t Searage helped them? Nova has been insanely good with a 1.50 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 31 strikeouts over 36 innings. He’s also walked just three batters. The 29 year old has thrown more than 780-innings in his career and he last pitched at an even passable level back in 2013. He’s just not this good.

Drew Pomeranz allowed five runs while generating six outs against the Orioles. He’s been mostly good for the Red Sox after a slow start, but he’s started to list a bit as he’s also allowed four homers his last three games and 12 his last 12 starts. He’s up to 160.2 innings, and that’s a concern for him, a fact I’ve noted over and over.

Robbie Ray has a massive 202 punchouts over 160.1 innings. Massive. He’s also 8-13 with a 4.55 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Over his last two starts he has 19 strikeouts in 11 innings. He’s allowed two homers the last two games while allowing five walks and seven runs. He just can’t avoid making a bad pitch or walking guys. Can’t.

CC Sabathia has allowed three or less runs in each of his last five starts and 7-of-8 outings. Over those last five outings he owns a 2.40 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 27 strikeouts and just six walks in 30 innings. Always risky, but right now he’s a streaming option.

Marcus Stroman tossed a quality start Wednesday. He has a 3.51 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 54 strikeouts his last eight starts (48.2 innings). He’s gone a mere 1-4.

Albert Suarez has been quite the spare part for the Giants as he’s made 10 starts and 10 relief appearances. In each of his last three outings he’s pitched exactly five frames while allowing a total of six runs. Not great, but certainly passable… at least for the Giants.

Noah Syndergaard is 13-8 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 205 punchouts in 174 innings. He’s been a beast. Arm concerns aside, he’s now gone 6-straight outings with two or fewer runs allowed. He’s also permitted one homer in five games and just once in nine outings has he walked more than two batters. He’s putting the finishing touches on a fantastic season.


Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 8 PM EDT, Wednesday 7 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 9 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work at Fantasy Alarm and on Twitter (@baseballguys).