Earlier this week the rainy weather in the Midwest and South relented long enough for some intriguing games to go on as scheduled.
Notes from the Week:
The Tyler Glasnow Watch continues in earnest. On Sunday Pittsburgh's top pitching prospect took the mound for the Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) against the Norfolk Tides (Orioles) of the Triple-A International League. The 6'8" righthander turned in another stellar performance, albeit with a few hiccups. His final line (5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 7 K) reflects typical, Glasnow-like dominance. His fastball sat in the mid-90s, and all afternoon he used his plus curveball to escape jams and put away Tides hitters. On the other hand, he created most of those jams himself by walking five batters. His control came and went, and he needed that putaway curveball late in counts because he often did not command any of his pitches and thus fell behind hitters 1-0 and 2-0 with alarming consistency. In short, Glasnow has the ability to dominate any lineup on any given afternoon, but the pitcher who showed up on this afternoon would have struggled against big-league hitters. That fact should not slow his journey to Pittsburgh. If anything, it should remind fantasy owners to maintain reasonable expectations for a 22-year-old pitcher with a career 4.18 BB/9 ratio.
The Southern League's Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds) have not shown the dominance I expected, but there's nothing wrong with their starting pitching, led by LHP Amir Garrett. In my most recent report on Garrett I noted that it took the 6'5" lefthander an inning or so to settle into the game. On Monday evening at Birmingham (White Sox) the same thing happened, as Garrett surrendered two runs (one earned) in the first inning before buckling down and leading the Wahoos to a 6-3 victory. In five innings he allowed only the one earned run along with three hits and two walks, striking out seven, though he did take 86 pitches to get through those five innings. Garrett entered the year as Cincinnati's #3 fantasy prospect, 76th overall, and 27th on Jason Hunt's list of Top 40 Fantasy Starting Pitchers. He remains well worth watching. The Reds' pitching is decimated at the moment, but by next season Garrett could join Raisel Iglesias, Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson, and Cody Reed in a young and revamped Reds rotation.
Wednesday's heavy morning schedule featured a juicy match-up between the 18-6 Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies) and the Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) of the Double-A Eastern League. The Yard Goats' lineup includes OF David Dahl, 3B Ryan McMahon, and OF Raimel Tapia--Colorado's #2, #3, and #4 fantasy prospects, respectively. Lucas Giolito, the #1 fantasy pitching prospect, started the game for Harrisburg. The game began at 10:35 A.M ET. I figured I would pick it up just before lunchtime and watch Giolito's last two-to-three innings of work. But I was too late. The big righthander lasted only three innings total, surrendered five hits, six earned runs, and four walks while striking out four. It took Giolito 73 pitches to get through those three innings, which has become an alarming pattern of late. In his last three starts he has thrown 77 pitches in four innings, 81 pitches in 4 innings, and 76 pitches in 3.2 innings. Suffice it to say that he has not yet mastered Double-A. All of this leads to the conclusion that Giolito, more than any other elite pitching prospect, looks like a dicey stash for the rest of 2016.
What to Watch This Weekend:
On Thursday morning at 10:30 ET the Hickory Crawdads (Rangers) of the Low-A South Atlantic League will take on the Rome Braves (Braves). RHP Mike Soroka, Atlanta's #8 fantasy prospect, will take the mound for the Braves. Thursday evening's best action also will feature the South Atlantic League, as RHP Anderson Espinoza and the Greenville Drive (Red Sox) will host the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants) at 7:05 ET. Espinoza, only 18, is the #9 overall fantasy starting pitching prospect. Elsewhere, the 15-9 West Virginia Power (Pirates) will take on the 17-7 Charleston RiverDogs (Yankees), also at 7:05 ET.
Friday evening's schedule offers a trio of interesting pitching match-ups. First, in the Double-A Southern League, LHP Josh Hader and the Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers) will face RHP Rookie Davis and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds) at 7:35 ET. Both pitchers enter the game with matching, miniscule ERAs of 0.78. Then, at 8:05 ET, a pair of struggling hurlers go head-to-head when RHP Carson Fulmer and the Southern League's Birmingham Barons (White Sox) travel south on I-65 to tangle with RHP Taylor Guerrieri and the Montgomery Biscuits (Rays). Finally, at 9:05 ET in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, LHP James Paxton and the 14-11 Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) battle RHP Jeff Hoffman and the 15-11 Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies).
Enjoy the games!