It was just the third complete game of his 255-start career. Meanwhile, it was already the fourth no-hitter in this not-quite-six-week-old season.
So can we sum up Wade Miley's entry in the record books Friday by saying that an unremarkable pitcher did something increasingly unremarkable? Perhaps, except that his season numbers look like this:
Clearly, then, I'm forced to remark on it, especially since he was already gaining traction as a free agent pickup and remains available in 41 percent of CBS Sports leagues. Surely, this is the performance that should bring us fence-straddlers all the way home, yes?
Look, I just can't muster enthusiasm for a 34-year-old who has never been more than a streamer type over his 11-year career. Even when he turned in a solid ERA two of the past three years, it was over short outings and with a minimal strikeout rate. As good as he's been this year, the no-hitter was just his third quality start, which shows that the Reds generally don't want him going more than five innings at a time.
True, his 3.35 xFIP and 3.25 xERA are both his best on record and would suggest his peripherals and quality-of-contact numbers go a long way toward backing up his performance, but it's not like his stuff has changed in any discernible way. He's throwing his changeup more, which has been his best swing-and-miss pitch, but his overall swinging-strike rate is actually down. His control also has been too good to sustain, judging by his track record.
I'm not even saying he won't deliver a respectable ERA. Again, in two of the past three years, he has, and it stands to reason that in an environment where so much of the offense is generated by home runs, the third-best ground-ball pitcher in baseball will be able to limit the most serious damage. But it'll be a hollow ERA if he does, which will make him a not-so-impactful starting pitcher overall.
You know, the kind of starting pitcher best used as a two-start streamer in a week when the matchups are right ... which has long been true for him anyway.
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Robbie Ray SP
TOR Toronto • #38 • Age: 29
For a pitcher who's in line for two starts this upcoming week, Robbie Ray's roster percentage has been slow to rise, which is crazy considering he should be one of the trendiest pickups just on performance alone. He's throwing harder than ever with fewer walks than ever, and his 21 whiffs last time out should have you imagining something along the lines of his 2017.
TEX Texas • #53 • Age: 28
With four home runs in his past seven games, Adolis Garcia is on the right side of streaky again. The strikeout rate (31.4 percent) is too high for him to sustain this sort of batting average, which figures to fluctuate as he runs hot and cold over the course of the season, but the power production should be high enough for you to ride him out in five outfielder leagues. Maybe even get the occasional steal.
PHI Philadelphia • #22 • Age: 34
Andrew McCutchen's home run Sunday was his fourth for the month of May, during which he's batting .364 (12 for 33), so clearly, he's beginning to pick it up again after a dreadful start to the year. Forget monthly splits, though. Check out what he's done against left-handers the past couple years. He just so happens to have four of those on the schedule this upcoming week.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #26 • Age: 27
The loss of Dustin May to Tommy John surgery means that when Tony Gonsolin makes it back from his own shoulder issue, he'll have a rotation spot all to his own. Judging by his numbers last year, that's an exciting prospect indeed. It just so happens he's taking a big step in his rehabilitation this week, scheduled to make a simulated start. If you wait too much longer, it'll be too late for you to nab a potential impact arm for free.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #73 • Age: 26
As with Ray, Adbert Alzolay's rostership hasn't gone up as much as you'd expect for a pitcher in line for two starts, and as with Ray, Alzolay is deserving of a pickup regardless. He keeps getting more and more comfortable with that slider he introduced to his arsenal last year -- the one that immediately became his best pitch and is now his most-thrown pitch as well. The Cubs have played it cautiously with his innings so far, which has kept his production down, but his 13.7 percent whiff rate offers a glimpse into what's coming.
MIL Milwaukee • #37 • Age: 28
The overall numbers look good, but as with Miley, there are caveats. One is that Adrian Houser has only twice gone the six innings required for a quality start, failing sometimes to go even five. It was an issue for him last year as well, so I wouldn't presume it's just a slow buildup. The other is that his 10-strikeout effort over the weekend was a total outlier. His swinging-strike rate before then was a shockingly low 5.6 percent. He is the best ground-ball pitcher among qualifiers, though, which should keep the ERA respectable.
MIN Minnesota • #24 • Age: 24
The replacement for Alex Kirilloff is himself a good prospect, though maybe a tier down. The power and hit tool are more questionable, but Trevor Larnach is known for being a disciplined and smart hitter who has a decent chance of maximizing his tools at age 24. Between the Kirilloff and Byron Buxton injuries, Larnach should get an extended look, too. You'll want to make a move for him in five-outfielder leagues and keep an eye out in anything shallower.
MIL Milwaukee • #15 • Age: 27
The late-blooming Tyrone Taylor continues to see regular playing time with Christian Yelich sidelined, having started five of the Brewers' past six games. He doesn't have a lot of hits during that time, but the strikeout rate and Statcast numbers (.272 xBA, .543 xSLG) look strong. We know from his minor-league numbers there's some power and speed there. I was intrigued enough to pick him up in a couple 15-team, five-outfielder leagues.