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10 fantasy baseball thoughts from Week 5

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We are all-in on pitching this week!

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

It’s a pitching-centric version of thoughts from this week in fantasy baseball. Let’s begin!

  1. Touki Toussaint, has been optioned to the alternative training site. I maintain there is still hope here, as his strikeout ability is elite. It’s going to be a bumpy rode to get the ERA down, though.
  2. Logan Webb (7% rostered Yahoo, 28% rostered Fantrax) is compiling great stats with very average supporting metrics. His strikeout abilities are very middle of the pack, and his expected figures are all above what he is currently sitting at. His sinker and cutter have been getting drilled, AND YET he is sitting on a 22% strikeout rate, a 3.29 ERA, and two wins. I don’t think this is sustainable, but he has two things working in his favor—he’s throwing the first strike at an above average rate (getting ahead of batters) and he has only allowed one home run so far. His 4% HR/FB rate is less than half of the league average.
  3. Brett Anderson (11% rostered Yahoo; 36% rostered FanTrax) is much like Logan Webb. He’s sporting two wins and a 3.52 ERA, but his K-rate of 17.5% is much lower than Webb’s. Brett is allowing a high hard hit rate, and he’s allowed four home runs across 23 IP this year. But his bigger draw has become his ground ball rate of 63%, which is almost 50% above the league average. He has two favorable upcoming games in Pittsburgh and Cleveland (two of the bottom 10 teams in runs scored this year).
  4. A bullpen arm who has caught my eye is Pete Fairbanks (2% Yahoo; 10% Fantrax) who is top 5 in the league in fastball speed. He is among the top 5% in K% and whiff%, and among the top 20% of the league in xBA, xSLG, and xERA. An elite 39.7% K-rate is driven by not only his fastball but by his slider, which gets a 44% whiff rate. He’s a ways down the depth chart behind Jalen Beeks, Ryan Thompson, Aaron Loup and Diego Castillo (the Rays bullpen is 7th in the league in FIP) but the crazy part with Tampa Bay is you never know who the new closer (or starting pitcher) might be. That is why I’m continuing to watch him.
  5. I saw Tyler Chatwood (26% Yahoo; 65% FanTrax) getting released in a number of leagues after his August 6th outing where he allowed eight earned runs, followed by a two earned run effort over one inning in his next start. A few things to remember: his first two starts yielded a total of one earned run across 12 innings pitched. He currently has a BABIP of .439 despite his 13.78 K/9 (his 32.5% K-rate is top 5 in the league), and he gets Pittsburgh and St. Louis as his next two starts (bottom two in the league in runs scored). The Cardinals obviously because they have played so few games, but still.
  6. 53 different MLB pitchers have at least one save. If you happen to have a pitcher with more than seven saves (keep in mind most teams have played about 30 games at this point) – then congratulations, you have one of … well one total pitcher in the league (Liam Hendriks). Here are the next nine players in terms of total saves: Kenley Jansen, Trevor Rosenthal, Taylor Rogers, Alex Colome, Brandon Kintzler, Taylor Williams, Archie Bradley, Brandon Workman and Daniel Hudson. Most preseason rankings had these as the top six closers: Kirby Yates, Roberto Osuna, Josh Hader, Aroldis Chapman, Brad Hand and Ken Giles. Injuries hampered Ken Giles, Aroldis Chapman (Covid), Kirby Yates and Roberto Osuna, but it’s crazy to think that none of the top six closers are among the top 10 in saves this season.
  7. The Twins have both of the MLB leaders in holds this season – Tyler Duffey and Sergio Romo each have eight holds. I find something odd beyond them - the LA Dodgers and Oakland Athletics hold the most wins in MLB (22 wins apiece) – so theoretically they should have a few guys high on the hold charts. The Athletics have three pitchers in the top six in holds (Jake Diekman, T.J. McFarland and Yusmiero Petit) and yet the first Dodger on this list is all the way down at 11thBlake Treinen with five holds. Can I be mad at the Dodgers for crushing their opponents—They have won 11 games by four runs or more—and destroying any hopes of holds and saves?
  8. No rookie has pitched a complete game this season. As you know, Lucas Giolito had a no-hitter this past week. He joined 10 other pitchers in having a complete game. Nine of those pitchers have one complete game, but Trevor Bauer has two complete games.
  9. Both of Trevor Bauer’s complete games were shutouts (as was Lucas Giolito’s) and Kyle Hendricks is the only other pitcher to have a complete game shutout.
  10. Luis Castillo, Dallas Keuchel and Rick Porcello are the only three MLB pitchers to allow over 35 hits this year but allow fewer than three homers. While they have that in common, they are three VERY different pitchers:
    a.) Rick Porcello has a 6.43 ERA while the other two have strong ERAs: Luis Castillo (3.62 ERA); Dallas Keuchel (2.70 ERA)
    b.) Rick Porcello has walked just six batters while Dallas Keuchel (10) and Luis Castillo (14) have walked much more
    c.) Dallas Keuchel has a low 1.04 WHIP while the other two: Luis Castillo (1.52) and Rick Porcello (1.64) do not. Keuchel also has almost 25% more innings pitched than Porcello and Castillo.
    d.) Luis Castillo and Rick Porcello have one win COMBINED. Dallas has five. It’s not pretty, but give me Keuchel among these three.