While pitchers -- and more specifically, their spin rates -- have dominated the conversation recently, let's not forget about the hitters who are going off right now. How can you start with anybody not named Jesse Winker? The guy has been a monster, adding his second three-homer game of the season Sunday. He's now batting .350 with 17 home runs. He's approaching the top 10 outfielders in our rankings.
Patrick Wisdom has also made a name for himself with the Cubs as he added two homers himself on Sunday. He now has five home runs over his last seven games and is batting .412 overall. People are getting healthy for the Cubs so if Wisdom wants to remain in the lineup, he needs to keep hitting. He could be added in any leagues deeper than 12 teams or if you need power from the corner infield spot.
Gilbert finally pays off
When Mariners SP prospect Logan Gilbert was called up a month ago, we'll admit it, we got very excited. We went as far as saying he should command at least 20% of your FAB, and that was a consensus for us. Gilbert had just about everything you're looking for out of a prospect when it came to making an immediate impact, even if he didn't have the highest upside stuff. Well, up until Gilbert's Sunday start, he had been a major disappointment, but maybe the light has finally turned on.
Gilbert allowed just one run on two hits over five innings with seven strikeouts in an impressive victory over the Angels. Gilbert wasn't perfect -- he battled control issues early in the game and walked four batters -- but this was a major sign of life.
The under-the-hood numbers is where Gilbert really stood out. He went a season-high 105 pitches and generated a whopping 20 swinging strikes. He also allowed just four hard-hit balls the entire outing, and that's exactly the kind of pitcher we were expecting to see when we suggested to drop one-fifth of your waivers budget.
After failing to get off to a hot start, however, Gilbert is rostered in just 52% of CBS leagues. With a start next week against a Cleveland team that is 23rd in wOBA vs. RHP, now is the time to scoop him back up if you see him on the wire again.
Five pitchers whose spin rates are down
For the last few days, it's unlikely you've followed baseball and not heard or had the discussion about pitcher spin rate after multiple reports confirmed the MLB will be cracking down on pitcher using foreign substances. Since those reports have surfaced, several pitches have experienced a pretty massive drop in their spin rate. Here's the list so far:
- Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw down 71 rpm on the fastball and 140 rpm on the curveball, but both Scott and Chris feel like that kind of difference can happen from start to start. When the drop isn't as significant, there's less to take away here.
- Brewers SP Corbin Burnes was dominant with seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits with zero walks and 13 strikeouts. It was arguably his best start of the season on paper and under the hood with 23 swinging strikes on 106 pitches. Burnes had four different pitches lose between 100 and 200 rpm in this start.
- Dodgers SP Trevor Bauer went six innings and allowed three runs while walking four batters on Sunday. Bauer entered Sunday with the top fastball spin rate in baseball. That was down 223 rpm Sunday.
- A's SP Frankie Montas' slider was down 102 rpm and his splitter down almost 300 rpm.
- Diamondbacks SP Merrill Kelly had four different pitches lose over 100 rpm.
Bottom line: As of now, we need to monitor the situation. As Burnes proved, drops in spin rate may ultimately not have any impact on the bottom line. However, as both Scott and Chris made clear, Bauer is the one to really worry about here considering how much the spike in his spin rate changed his entire profile as a pitcher. Until we have more data, it will be difficult to pick out the pitches ahead of time who will be most impacted by these changes.
From a 30,000-foot view, we could be seeing a lot more home runs coming and a similar profile to how Fantasy baseball was in 2019. If that's the case, now is not the time to sell your SP1s and SP2s.
More news and notes
- Royals top pitching prospect Jackson Kowar will be called up Monday, which makes him a two-start pitcher. He's 18% rostered. Kowar was the 33rd overall pick back in 2018. Through six starts at Triple-A this season: 0.85 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 41 K in 31.2 IP. This is exactly the kind of high-upside bench stash you'll want in your lineups. Even though prospect call ups have been terrible this season, you have to take a swing on players like Kowar.
- Orioles SP John Means was placed on the IL with a left shoulder strain. The MRI did not reveal any structural damage. Means will be shut down for 7-10 days.
- Rockies SS Trevor Story is on track to return Tuesday, so you can get him in your lineups.
- Royals SS Adalberto Mondesi went to the IL with that hamstring strain. RP Josh Staumont was activated.
- Yankees SP Luis Severino made his first rehab start at Low-A Sunday. He allowed one run over 2.2 innings with three strikeouts and was sitting 96 mph with the fastball.
- The Dodgers are expected to reinstate SP Tony Gonsolin from the IL to start Wednesday against the Pirates.
- Phillies OF Bryce Harper returned from the IL Saturday.
- Blue Jays OF George Springer is "very close" to a rehab assignment.
- Blue Jays 2B/3B/OF Cavan Biggio began a rehab assignment Sunday.
- Giants 3B Evan Longoria was placed on the IL with a sprained left shoulder. He's expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
- Rockies SP Jon Gray went to the IL with a right flexor strain.
- Tigers SP Spencer Turnbull was placed on the IL with right forearm tightness.
- Tigers SP Michael Fulmer went to the IL with a right shoulder strain.
- White Sox OF Billy Hamilton went to the IL with a right oblique strain.
- Blue Jays 1B Ji-Man Choi went to the IL with a left groin strain.
- Reds 2B Mike Moustakas is about a week away from starting a rehab assignment.
- Reds 1B Joey Votto could return Tuesday.
- Reds OF Tyler Naquin left Sunday's game with a tight left hamstring.
- Twins OF Byron Buxton could begin a rehab assignment within the next week.
- Yankees manager Aaron Boone mentioned June 15 as a potential date for 1B Luke Voit to begin a rehab assignment for his oblique injury.
- The Mariners want RP Kendall Graveman to make at least one rehab appearance at Triple-A, so he likely won't be activated until next weekend.
- Pirates 3B Colin Moran returned from the IL Sunday.
- Rangers SP Kyle Gibson will not pitch this week. The Rangers don't want him batting against the Dodgers, which is who he's lined up for.
- Reds OF Nick Senzel is expected to return from knee surgery in mid-July.
- Yankees SP Corey Kluber and Marlins SP Elieser Hernandez were both moved to the 60-day IL for their respective teams.
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Skubal hot since ditching the splitter
Tigers SP Tarik Skubal has made a key change to his pitch mix over his last five starts and excellent results have followed. Skubal has ditched his splitter over these last five outings and he has replaced it with a traditional changeup. The results: a 3.00 ERA (with a 3.12 xFIP), 14 K/9, and a 13.9% swinging strike rate.
Skubal is just 53% rostered and while it's hard to completely trust him now, his swinging strike rate and the strikeouts it has translated to alone make him worthy of stashing.