So Logan Gilbert's MLB debut didn't quite go quite as we hoped, huh? Gilbert lasted just four innings against lowly Cleveland, allowing four runs on five hits, including a pair of homers to take the loss. Given that we had touted Gilbert as a must-add pitcher on waivers this week, is he still with adding, or even worse, worth dropping if you already did add him?
I definitely wouldn't say so. Sure, the outing wasn't exactly what you wanted from Gilbert, who gave up seven hard-hit balls on 13 batted balls, including homers to Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes. But there were definitely plenty of positives to take away from this start despite the so-so results. Specifically with regards to his fastball.
Gilbert has added velocity over the years, but even knowing that, it was a surprise to see him reach 97 mph and average 94.7 with the pitch -- scouting reports indicated he typically sits in the 93-94 range. Maybe he was just extra amped up for his big-league debut -- and even with the velocity, he gave up an average exit velocity of 93.2 mph on eight batted balls with the pitch, so it wasn't all good news. Still, Gilbert showed more than expected in that regard, at least.
The secondary pitches weren't quite as eye-opening. He didn't even throw a changeup, although that could be a reason to be somewhat optimistic. In his first start, Gilbert didn't show us everything he's got, and he threw his fastball 61% of the time, a surprisingly high mark for someone with such good secondary pitches. Moving forward, I think we'll see him mix the slider, curve and changeup in more, and he'll benefit from that when he does.
All in all, I was pretty impressed with Gilbert despite his struggles. The command was there, as expected, and he'll benefit from getting a bit more comfortable and trusting his secondary pitches more moving forward. Don't drop him because of this outing, and I would still make an effort to add him wherever he's available -- ahead of any player below unless you really have a specific need.
Here are the rest of the waiver-wire targets from Thursday's games:
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DET Detroit • #32 • Age: 28
Injuries have derailed Fulmer's once-promising career as a starting pitcher, and he's trying to rediscover himself as a late-inning arm out of the bullpen for the Tigers. And, while there have been some struggles, he picked up his second save in the past week Thursday, and just like the last time, he came in to close out a game when Gregory Soto was having trouble. Soto walked the leadoff hitter and then allowed a double and a single while recording just one out before being pulled, having allowed the Royals to cut the lead from three to one. Fulmer came in and induced a harmless pop up and struck out Andrew Benintendi to earn the save. We'll see if this means Fulmer is going to get a chance to close for the Tigers moving forward, but if you're the kind of player who is constantly trawling for closers, he's worth a look.
COL Colorado • #7 • Age: 24
Rodgers has been out since the spring with a hamstring injury, but he's set to start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday and could be in line to return to the majors sometime next week. Rodgers hasn't proved himself in the majors -- .196/.234/.227 in 102 PA -- but the 24-year-old has hit .296/.352/.503 in his minor-league career and has pop and speed and could hit for average at Coors Field. It's always hard to guess who will get consistent playing time for the Rockies, but Rodgers looked like he was locked into an everyday role before the season, and the Rockies have plenty of spots that could use a boost.
Rich Hill SP
TB Tampa Bay • Age: 41
Hill was pretty much written off coming into the season, and the fact that he allowed four runs in each of his first four starts didn't do much to instill confidence. However, he's been a much better pitcher over the past four, culminating in a very impressive start against the Yankees on Thursday. He struck out nine, walked three and allowed one hit in 6.2 scoreless innings. What might be even noteworthy is the Rays let him throw 104 innings in the outing, his most since an identical 104-pitch game in May of 2019. I don't expect the Rays to make Hill a workhorse or anything like it, but he's gone six innings in three straight starts, so they aren't necessarily afraid of him facing the third time through the order. Given how strong pitching is right now, I wouldn't view Hill as much more than a fringe top-70 starter, but you may still have room on your roster for that.
BOS Boston • #10 • Age: 29
Renfroe got off to a miserable start, sporting just a .485 OPS at the end of April. Given that he had a .645 OPS in 2020, it was pretty easy to write him off, but he's showing he isn't quite washed up just yet since the calendar turned to May. He went 2 for 4 and though both hits were singles, both were also hit 109 mph or harder. Since the start of May, Renfroe is hitting .306 with a .551 slugging percentage, and he's hitting the ball plenty hard -- 64th percentile in average exit velocity, 60th in hard-hit rate -- while sporting a roughly league average strikeout rate, so he may not be such a batting average liability. Renfroe is who he is at this point, and that isn't a player many of you will get excited about. But I know I have at least a few leagues where I could probably slide Renfroe into the starting lineup thanks to injuries and underperformance.