Six weeks into the baseball season and we already five no-hitters. What's happening? Basically, pitchers are ahead of hitters at this point. The league batting average is currently .234, which if the season ended today would be the lowest in the history of the sport. While Wade Miley is celebrating, however, his teammate Luis Castillo certainly is not. You can read more about both below.
While I am worried about Castillo, I would buy low on him if I could. In fact, maybe wait until after his start at Coors Field this week. Castillo isn't the only one. There are quite a few starting pitchers you can target who are off to slow starts, including Kyle Hendricks, Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, and Dylan Bundy. I wasn't a big fan of Bundy's price tag coming into the season but if you can get him on the cheap now, I think you should. Maybe try and flip an Aaron Civale or Zach Eflin for him. The underlying numbers for Bundy look great and his fastball velocity is actually up a bit this season.
Miley's no-hitter continues strong start
Reds SP Wade Miley threw a no-hitter -- the fourth official no-hitter of the season -- leading the Reds to victory on Friday evening. Miley struck out eight and faced just two batters over the minimum -- a walk and a hit-by-pitch. This is only Miley's second career complete game shutout and his prior one came back in 2016. Nonetheless, Miley has now lowered his ERA to 2.00 with a 0.75 WHIP and yet he's still just 59% rostered.
So is he must add? Scott definitively says no and he's both happy and proud of the CBS Sports managers who have left him on the wire in 41% of leagues. Scott sees the ERA as hollow and doesn't have faith he'll be able to deep into the games or compete in the strikeout category. Add that to the fact that his ERA is likely to regress and he's only someone Scott would use in two-start weeks with two favorable matchups.
On the flip side, Miley is throwing his changeup a career-high 32% of the time and it has led to a career-high 59% groundball rate. So there is some reason to believe Miley could be on to something, but the much larger sample size that tells the other side of the story should provide you with caution when it comes to pursuing the veteran pitcher.
Scherzer is back to his ace ways
Nationals SP Max Scherzer absolutely dominated the Yankees on Saturday. The veteran pitcher finished with 14 strikeouts through 7 1/3 innings pitched and allowed just two hits and one run -- a home run to Kyle Higashioka. For those who bought in on Scherzer at his deflated ADP, you're absolutely loving life right now as there is no sign in sight that his age or the injuries he dealt with last season are having any impact. Instead, Scherzer has delivered a 2.33 ERA and 0.76 WHIP with a whopping 61 strikeouts in 46 1/3 innings pitched.
This was his 100th career start with 10 strikeouts or more. Chris is really excited about Scherzer -- who is still his SP4 -- and I've jumped on board with him as well. The fact of the matter is, all of the underlying numbers under the hood back up the strong start we've seen from Scherzer. He's back to being one of the weekly difference makers at the SP position.
More news and notes
- Mets SP Jacob deGrom left Sunday's start early with right side tightness, though manager Luis Rojas said the injury is closer to deGrom's lower back than to his lat from earlier in the week. Scott thinks this one will lead to an IL stint, but it might just be a couple turns off -- rest up -- and he'll be fine.
- Blue Jays SP Nate Pearson, the top pitching prospect in the Toronto organization, was finally called up. He only lasted 2 1/3 innings against the Astros, allowing three runs while walking five, but he's a top Jays prospect for a reason. He's 59% rostered, but Scott does not view him as a must-add pitcher despite his pedigree. Pearson has reworked his mechanics and he's going to have to do some proving before reaching that must-add level for Scott.
- The other prospect called up was Twins OF Trevor Larnach, first-round pick back in 2018. He batted .309 with 13 HRs and an .842 OPS in the minors in 2019. He's 15% rostered. Byron Buxton will miss at least a few weeks with a Grade 2 hip strain.
- Brewers SP Corbin Burnes will rejoin his teammates Monday and will throw a bullpen session with an eye towards being activated later in the week.
- Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes was transferred to the 60-day IL Sunday, which means he won't be eligible to return until early June.
- Pirates 1B Colin Moran was placed on the IL with left groin discomfort.
- Nationals OF Juan Soto will resume full-time duties in right field starting Tuesday.
- Astros manager Dusty Baker said that SP Framber Valdez could be available to return from the IL in June.
- The Blue Jays placed RP Rafael Dolis on the IL with a calf injury. The assumption is that Jordan Romano would step in as the closer, though Tyler Chatwood has pitched very well out of the bullpen. Romano is 47% rostered in CBS leagues.
- Marlins 2B Jazz Chisholm will start a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday. Hopefully he can return back from the IL soon.
- The Rangers confirmed DH Willie Calhoun will continue to play everyday even with Khris Davis activated.
- Angels SP Alex Cobb was placed on the IL with a blister on his right middle finger.
- It's possible that Angels 3B Anthony Rendon will only require a minimum stay on the IL. He's first eligible to return Friday.
- Mets SP Noah Syndergaard is expected to begin a rehab assignment in approximately one week. Mid-June is the expectation for him to return.
- Blue Jays C Alejandro Kirk was transferred to the 60-day IL this weekend, which means we won't see him until July at the earliest.
- Royals SS Adalberto Mondesi remains without a timetable for a rehab assignment.
- Twins OF Alex Kirilloff is scheduled to take swings in the next few days. If his wrist responds well, he could be back soon. If it doesn't, surgery is an option.
- Giants SP Aaron Sanchez was placed on the IL with right biceps tightness. Logan Webb will remain in the rotation for the time being.
- Rays C Francisco Mejia was placed on the IL due to left intercostal discomfort.
- Cardinals C Yadier Molina was reinstated from the IL Saturday.
- Rockies 1B C.J. Cron is dealing with a back injury that forced him to miss this weekend's games.
- Pirates OF Bryan Reynolds is considered day-to-day with lower-body soreness.
- Dodgers RP Tony Gonsolin threw a bullpen Sunday and is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game later this week. He's still likely 2-3 weeks away.
- Rays manager Kevin Cash said that RP Diego Castillo feels much better and should be on track for a minimal stay on the 10-day IL.
- Padres SP Chris Paddack and Giants SP Johnny Cueto were activated and started against each other Sunday. Paddack pitched three shutout innings with four strikeouts, while Cueto allowed five runs over three innings.
- Rangers SP Kohei Arihara was placed on the IL due to a right middle finger injury.
- Cubs 2B Nico Hoerner has checked out fine while taking part in light fielding and hitting work over the past few days. He's eligible to return next weekend.
- A's OF Ramon Laureano was out Sunday with a minor thumb issue.
- Rockies 2B Brendan Rodgers will report to the team's extended spring training facility in Arizona this week to continue playing in simulated games.
- Yankees 3B/OF Miguel Andujar was optioned to Triple-A with Luke Voit expected back on Tuesday. Gio Urshela missed the entire weekend with a knee injury but hasn't been placed on the IL.
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What to do with Castillo now
While everything went right for teammate Wade Miley, the opposite was true for Reds SP Luis Castillo in his weekend outing. That's been the story for the former rock-solid SP2 for nearly the entire 2021 season so far, and we have received countless messages all over our social media regarding Castillo -- trade, cut, hold, what do we do?!
Chris put a 0.6 out of 10 on his Castillo Worryometer. Why? This isn't even the worst stretch of his career. The velocity is not that far off from where it's been, while his spin rate, spin access and release point are all physically in the range of where they should be. The biggest issue is that his fastballs are getting demolished. The fact that there's no physical explanation for the bad numbers suggests to Chris he's just simply going through a bad stretch that he can bounce back out of it. So needless to say, Castillo is a buy-low for him right now.
Here's what Castillo had to say about all of this after his most recent start:
"What I've seen is about 70% of my pitches are staying in the zone," Castillo said through team interpreter Jorge Merlos. "I'm definitely noticing that and I'm definitely focusing on that, too. What I'm trying to do now is pitch lower so that way we can get more swings and misses and more ground balls.
"I think we're close. The reason why is we know what's going on and we know what's wrong and we know we can fix it too. I think we're definitely close and we'll be there soon."
Scott has a different take on this and has put a full 6 on his Worryometer for Castillo.
More strikeouts are coming Plesac's way
On the opposite side of Miley's no-hitter was a very strong start for Indians SP Zach Plesac. He went eight scoreless innings and has now gone 13 2/3 scoreless over his last two starts. With the exception of a two-start stretch that came against the White Sox, Plesac has now allowed just five runs in the other 34 1/3 innings. He should likely continue his run this week as he now draws the Mariners for his next start.
The underlying numbers are also impressive with Plesac over his last three starts specifically. During that three-start stretch, he has induced a 12.4% swinging strikeout rate and his fastball velocity has been up over 94 mph in each of those starts (last season he averaged 92.8 mph on the fastball). I think it's very likely we'll see more strikeouts coming Plesac's way very soon and that could catapult his value up the SP rankings the rest of the season.
Waiver wire starting pitchers
- Cubs SP Zach Davies vs. PIT (35% rostered). Davies threw seven shutout innings with one walk and one strikeout in his last start against Cleveland.
- Rays SP Rich Hill vs. NYY (20%). In his last three starts, Hill has the following stat line: 15 IP, 2 ER, 5 BB, 18 K, 5.17 ERA overall, 3.56 xERA.
- Brewers SP Adrian Houser at MIA (19%). In his most recent start, Houser delivered the following stat line: 6 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 10 K with 17 swinging strikes on 94 pitches. His ERA is now down 3.44.
- Pirates SP Tyler Anderson at CHC (29%). Anderson had the following stat line in his last start: 8 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K with 12 swinging strikes on 102 pitches. He's allowed three earned runs or less in all seven starts.
- Rangers SP Dane Dunning vs. HOU (50%). Dunning continues to not work deep into game, but he has been effective. His last start vs SEA: 5 IP, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K with 17 swinging strikes on 89 pitches (season-high pitch count, hadn't thrown more than 76 pitches in a game all season).
Waiver wire hitters
- White Sox 1B/OF Andrew Vaughn (63% rostered) is batting .294 over his last 15 games but still doesn't have a home run.
- Twins 2B/SS Jorge Polanco (60%) has five hits over his last two games.
- Rangers OF Adolis Garcia (63%) collected three more hits including his ninth HR and five more RBI on Sunday.
- Orioles OF Austin Hays (36%) over the last 15 games: .293 with four HRs.
- Phillies OF Andrew McCutchen (59%) over his last seven games: .385 BA with three HRs.
- Reds SP Jeff Hoffman at PIT
- Pirates SP Mitch Keller vs. CIN
- Red Sox SP Martin Perez at BAL
- Astros SP Luis Garcia vs. LAA
- Diamondbacks SP Luke Weaver vs. MIA