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I get it. Roster space is limited. J.A. Happ hasn't completely ruined you yet. You like to keep a spot or two open for streaming two-start pitchers. OK, fine.
It doesn't excuse the negligence I'm seeing across CBSSports.com leagues right now.
There are three pitchers who I'm completely flabbergasted are still so widely available -- three whose latest efforts reveal an upside so great that their owners, though few in number, are probably feeling like they won the lottery.
I want that for you. I want that for me. I want us all to recognize transcendent talent when we see it and ride all the way to the bank.
Yup. Here comes the hype train.
Owned in 76 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Shoemaker is the least available of this group.
And I should hope so. He has only been the most dominant pitcher in baseball over his last five starts.
I'm not even kidding. Of course, it depends how exactly you measure dominance, but the clearest indicator for me is how many swings and misses a pitcher induces. Shoemaker's 23 in his most recent start -- an 11-strikeout effort over eight shutout innings Saturday against the Indians -- would be enough of a jaw-dropper, but he has averaged 20.4 in his last five starts.
Clayton Kershaw has averaged 18.6 over his last five starts, and he's obviously the standard for this sort of thing. Chris Sale's season high is only 17. Stephen Strasburg's is only 16.
It's not all about strikeouts, you say? OK. Shoemaker has issued exactly one walk during this stretch.
Maybe Shoemaker's 4.76 ERA for the year -- which is inflated by his earlier struggles, of course -- is scaring people away. Maybe his 1-2 record during this five-start stretch is making it go overlooked.
Well, the onus isn't on you to look anymore. I'm straight-up telling you now. I'm tired of hedging. I'm tired downplaying. What Shoemaker is doing now is straight-up ridiculous -- to the point that if he keeps it up, he will be part of the AL Cy Young conversation.
Chris Towers already presented the facts on Paxton, but seeing as he's still only 62 percent owned, I'm going to smack you over the head with some emotion.
Folks, the guy is averaging 99 mph on his fastball since returning from the minors. Averaging. It's rare enough a left-hander touches that number on occasion. This particular left-hander averaged about 4 mph less than that in his previous stints in the majors and yet was highly regarded because of his velocity.
So what now? Well, he's now arguably the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in baseball -- a left-handed Noah Syndergaard, practically -- so it should go without saying that Saturday's performance in which he struck out seven Rangers over 6 1/3 scoreless innings is just the tip of the iceberg.
And here's the crazy part: the velocity spike, which he credits to finding a more comfortable (in this case, lower) arm slot, isn't the only change for him. He came to realize, according to MLB.com, that he couldn't just rely on his fastball in the early innings and has begun incorporating his secondary pitches more. So not only is his fastball better, but he doesn't need it as much.
You know how color commentators like to make the distinction between a "pitcher" and a "thrower?" Never has Paxton been more of either than he is right now. The possibilities should frighten us, quite frankly.
Over the first 11 starts of his career, Gray's home/away splits looked like this:
Home: 9.10 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 8.3 K/9
Away: 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 11.3 K/9
Which isn't too surprising, really, considering his home is Coors Field. It's not just a hitter's park. All of nature is working against a pitcher at a mile above sea level. The reduced resistance on the ball causes it to move less on its way to the plate and travel farther off the bat. Countless "good" pitchers have been ruined there -- even ones as highly regarded as Gray, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Drew Pomeranz, anyone?
But a funny thing has happened recently. Gray has looked just as good at home. It culminated in Friday's seven-strikeout, one-earned run effort against the Padres -- his third straight quality start in that circus of a ballpark.
If he can just hold his own there combined with what he does on the road, we're talking ace potential for a pitcher who probably would have been hyped on the level of a Gerrit Cole if he debuted with any other organization. His 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings would rank him just outside the top 10 if he had the innings to qualify.
Owned in 65 percent of leagues, I'm guessing he's overlooked because of his 4.70 ERA, but that's inflated by his early struggles at Coors Field. Even with a fluky nine-run outing on the road May 19, he has a 3.55 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings over his last eight starts.