So far this week you’ve hopefully caught our closer update and our hitters to add. This morning I’ll cover the latest pitching developments you need to be considering. Also, it’s not too late to hop into the Ding Dong Challenge for this week!
SP Madison Bumgarner, Arizona Diamondbacks (22% owned)
Look, the man is fresh off of a no-hitter (yeah, I said it) and he did so against a righty-heavy Atlanta Braves lineup, which is notable to me. Bumgarner suffered in 2020 due to a drop in velocity, down from 91.4 MPH on average on the four-seamer in 2019 to 88.4 MPH on average in 2020. His swinging strike rates seemed to be correlated, as he checked in at 11.6% in 2019 and a ghastly 7.5% in 2020. However, so far in 2021 we’ve seen a bit of a rebound. He’s back up to 90.4 MPH this year, and his 11.7% swinging strike rate is back up where it needs to be. There’s still a good bit of deception when his fastball and his curve are working together, so there’s some hope that with the added velocity he can be a useful back-end rotation piece moving forward. I’m making the add and using him against the Colorado Rockies in Arizona this Friday.
Madison Bumgarner, 80mph Curveball and 91mph Fastball, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/DQsnIASNDV— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 26, 2021
SP Ryan Weathers, San Diego Padres (50% owned)
Weathers has a rotation spot in San Diego due to the injuries to Dinelson Lamet (right forearm tightness) and Adrian Morejon (Tommy John surgery). It’s extremely sketchy to me when a team is hoping that their pitcher avoids a second TJ surgery (this is currently the case with Lamet). Meanwhile, Weathers has made a strong case to stick around, after his two recent outings were scoreless turns against the vaunted Dodgers—with the most recent turn being a 5 2⁄3 scoreless effort AT Dodger Stadium. In all, Weathers has worked 15 1⁄3 innings this year, with 16 strikeouts against five walks—or a 20.4% K-BB%. For reference, that would have been a top 15 mark among all qualified starters in 2020. So even though it’s a small sample, it’s still a nice start. Weathers’ fastball/slider combo should stick in the rotation for the time being, and perhaps he can further solidify himself if Lamet can’t make it back next week. The only hesitation here (besides an eventual Lamet return) would be that he’s a two-pitch pitcher, and that he made this team as a swingman. He was only allowed to throw 89 pitches against Los Angeles. You can spin that either way you want. Either it’s encouraging that it’s 89 pitches in only his second start of the year, or it’s discouraging because it might be his cap moving forward. We’ll need to watch and see. In the meantime, I’m making the add where I can.
Josh Staumont, Kansas City Royals (22% owned)
Staumont has nailed down two saves in just three days, and he looks like the clear leader for ninth-inning duties in Kansas City right now. All draft season he was the guy we knew as the best pitcher in that bullpen, but we didn’t think he’d get his shot. Now that he’s getting his time, he needs to be owned in all formats until we see how this plays out. Even if this is still a committee, if Staumont is the top option, you have to take a shot here.
Luis Patiño, Tampa Bay Rays (16% owned)
Patiño is either going to be a big-time reliever or an above-average starting pitcher in the big leagues. Good news is, we don’t have to know which one in order to roster him on our fake teams, especially in Tampa Bay. It’s honestly the ideal place I’d want a bulk reliever of his ilk to be. It’s a quality team that knows how to maximize their arms—we’ve seen that over and over in Tampa Bay. He’s got big-time velocity and strikeout stuff, and while the walks could be an issue, he’s worth the gamble in 15-team leagues to grab some strikeout ability on waivers. Patiño opened for Josh Fleming in his Sunday debut (2.2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 3 SO) and is still on the roster and being tabbed for a similar opener’s role moving forward. I’d prefer him following someone else, but I still have interest in the strikeouts even as an opener. You may not get many decisions, but if you’re mining for strikeouts, this could be a really solid move.