I had never heard of Tyler Gilbert before Saturday night, and I dare say you hadn't either.
But we're all talking about him now because of what happened that night: He threw a no-hitter, becoming the first pitcher to do so in his first major-league start since Patches O'Houlihan ... erm, Bobo Holloman in 1953.
Here's a quick video showing all 27 outs, if you didn't have the pleasure of watching the performance live:
You know the impression I get watching that video? Gilbert was pretty lucky to come away with a shutout, much less a no-hitter.
Now, you could say every no-hitter has its share of good plays and fortunate bounces, and that's true. But this one went beyond. He allowed an average exit velocity of 90.6 mph, recording five strikeouts while registering just nine swinging strikes. He averaged just 89.3 mph on his fastball.
Removed from the context of a no-hitter, those numbers wouldn't surprise you, not from a 27-year-old career minor-leaguer who has spent most of his professional career working as a reliever. He was stretched out to start at Triple-A this year, and his numbers were decent enough: a 3.44 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 8.6 K/9. You can see why he got a shot with a rebuilding club that's merely playing out the string, but you can also see why he didn't get a shot until now.
What I think happened Saturday was a bit of baseball magic. Everything broke just right to make for something historic. The Gilbert family, particularly the father who was in attendance, got a special memory and the Diamondbacks fanbase a brief moment of celebration during an otherwise moribund season. But there's nothing more to make of it than that.
Gilbert has now been picked up in 20 percent of CBS Sports leagues. I suspect he'll be dropped in most of them after his next start at Coors Field.
While Gilbert was the only pitcher to complete a no-hitter this weekend, there was another who statistically came closer to perfection. And this one is a much more compelling pickup ...
CLE Cleveland • #24 • Age: 26
Perfect through 7 2/3 innings Sunday, Triston McKenzie has now put together three straight quality starts. He's averaging 1.5 BB/9 in seven starts since returning from the minors compared to 8.3 BB/9 in 11 appearances before being sent down. This is the same guy who delivered a 3.24 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 11.3 K/9 in his first taste of the majors last year, and he just reminded us of the extent of his potential Sunday. It's time to make a move for him.
Huascar Ynoa SP
ATL Atlanta • #19 • Age: 25
Huascar Ynoa was never the sort of prospect McKenzie was, but seeing as he's only 23, it's hard to say definitively what he is yet. For the moment, at least, he's healthy, set to return Tuesday from a three-month absence for a fractured hand. He was one of the biggest pitching surprises at the start of the season, missing bats aplenty by throwing his slider nearly 50 percent of the time, but he was lacking a third pitch or much in the way of a minor-league track record. Still, it's worth seeing if he can pick up where he left off, particularly with the Marlins up first.
Josh Rojas 2B
SEA Seattle • #4 • Age: 29
Josh Rojas only returned from the IL Tuesday, but he's been making up for lost time, going 10 for 21 (.476) with a homer, a triple and three doubles. He also had a three-homer game during his minor-league rehab assignment. His strikeout rate for the season is a little on the high side for someone who doesn't hit the ball especially hard, at least not on average, but he's hot right now and triple-eligible in standard CBS Sports leagues. Plus, we can't completely rule out a return to the form that allowed him to hit .332 with a 1.023 OPS in the minors two years ago.
LAD L.A. Dodgers • #52 • Age: 28
Back from his third lengthy IL stint in two seasons (this one for a strained quadriceps), Elieser Hernandez continued his impressive work in between all those injuries and now has a 3.05 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 11.0 K/9 since the start of 2020. Of course, he's made all of nine starts during that time. His slider is genuinely a plus pitch, and he flashes a decent changeup on occasion. Durability has to be a major question at this point, which includes how deep he pitches into games, but the ratios have been impressive enough for you to give him another shot.
BAL Baltimore • #60 • Age: 33
Adding another to his tally Sunday, Mychal Givens has now recorded each of the Reds' past three saves -- and that's with Lucas Sims and Michael Lorenzen both back in the mix. Everyone else the Reds have tried in the closer role this season has had an ERA around 5.00, so you can understand why none of them stuck. Givens, though, has a chance, especially when you consider that his impressive numbers this year have mostly come with the Rockies. The Reds are in the thick of the playoff race, so he should have chances aplenty.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • #65 • Age: 29
Nestor Cortes continues to get it done in the Yankees rotation, allowing one run in six innings at the White Sox on Sunday. He has gone five-plus innings in four straight starts, looking less like a converted reliever and more like a full-fledged starter. And between Andrew Heaney struggling to keep the ball in the yard and Luis Severino suffering a setback on his rehab assignment, Cortes now has a pretty good chance of sticking in the rotation for the long haul. His ceiling isn't especially high, and it's possible he falls victim to home runs, too, given how much he puts the ball in the air. But his deceptive delivery has him getting away with it for now.
Joe Barlow RP
CHW Chi. White Sox • #49 • Age: 28
Surprise 33-year-old Spencer Patton began to fade even before Ian Kennedy was dealt to the Phillies, so it didn't seem like his grip on the closer role would be an especially tight one. Sure enough, the 25-year-old Joe Barlow appears to have wrested it away from him, recording a save both Friday and Sunday with Patton working the eighth inning both times. Barlow himself is hardly a proven commodity, having come up even more recently than Patton, but he throws hard, has a good breaking ball and is at a more appropriate age for a breakout. It could work.
CHC Chi. Cubs • #18 • Age: 31
It's too early to get fully behind Frank Schwindel, but the guy's been a spring training standout a couple times and has put together some impressive minor-league seasons, batting .296 with 17 homers and a .913 OPS before getting the call this time. I always wondered what he could do with an extended look in the majors, and the stripped-down Cubs seem to be providing him with that opportunity, just as they did for another long-time minor-leaguer, Rafael Ortega. It may all collapse soon, but Schwindel puts the ball in the air a ton and strikes out at a fairly low rate. We'll see.