Boxscore Bits: June 20th, 2022

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

A few thoughts on the pitchers from the weekend’s games:


Weekend SPs

Sorted by ERA

Business As Usual: Nothing actionable (not always good starts, just means it didn’t move the needle)

Notable Gems: The standouts who merit some extra attention

  • Charlie Morton – Morton’s best start of the year comes on the heels of two where he started to look more like himself outside of a few homers (17% SwStr & 20 Ks in 11 IP, incl. 5 at COL). He now has a 39% K rate in three June starts after just a 21% mark in his first 10. Morton has the best chance to be this year’s Luis Castillo (7.22 ERA thru May; 2.73 from June on for Castillo last year).
  • Andrew Heaney – After a two-month injury absence, Heaney picked up where he left off in his first two starts of the season, fanning seven Guardians in five strong innings of work. Heaney has always had appealing skills with homers and injury often undercutting him. It’s only three starts, but it’s hard not to be surprised that the Dodgers have maximized the skills of the tantalizing lefty. The injury concern still looms, otherwise he is an Auto Start for me.
  • Shane Baz – My concern was that Baz would be a reliever upon return from injury, but that is simply not the case, so I was wrong there. He is stretched out enough to throw a consistent 5 IP right now (76 pitches in this gem at BAL and 79 in his final rehab outing), occasionally reaching 6 IP when he’s efficient like he was on Friday – no innings over 15 pitches. He would be on track to get about 90 more IP rest of way, giving him around 110 total after 92 last year. They obviously have designs on making the playoffs where they would likely want another 15-20 IP from him. Playoff IP are more taxing on the arm because of the high stress and essentially are counted at a 1.5 rate in terms of workload. I think they will manage the regular season IP somewhat – occasional skips or pushbacks – leaving about 75 IP left in the tank so they still have some playoff juice. Unless we see some sort of aggressive IP management for Baz, I’m going to set it and forget it with him… including this week v. NYY.
  • Nick Pivetta – Is… is this for real?! Pivetta has teased for years, often falling victim to the home run ball like Heaney. He hasn’t had the skill surge we’ve seen from Heaney, but after an ugly April, he has put together a 2.07 ERA/0.87 WHIP in 10 starts since then with a 20% K-BB rate over the 65.3 IP. He has also been a bit of a workhorse in that time, falling below 6 IP just twice en route to a 7-2 record (the one no-decision was 6 shutout IP v. CWS!!). I’d be flat out lying if I said I wasn’t still nervous, but I don’t see how you take him out of the lineup at this point except maybe in a really difficult matchup where you have an adequate backup. I’m updating my rankings behind the scene in preparation for the next run and Pivetta has already moved up a tier into the Usually Start.
  • Josiah Gray – That’s now four straight strong outings (0.82 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 22 Ks in 22 IP) thanks in large part to just 2 HR allowed (0.8 HR/9). He allowed 2 or more HRs in three of his four starts prior to this run, boosting his HR/9 to a hideous 2.3 across his first nine starts. The HRs will always make him a risky start, but the upside is rich and worth that risk. He gets at TEX and v. PIT his next two starts so the streak of good work has a great chance to continue.
  • Jon Gray – Outside of a couple bad third innings at OAK (all 5 ER he allowed that outing) and at CLE (4 of the 5 ER he allowed that outing), Gray has been excellent over his last six starts. In fact, even with those ugly third innings he still has a strong 3.41 ERA across the 37 IP of work with a 1.14 WHIP, 27% K, and 9% BB. Health is a bigger concern than the talent at this point.
  • Ian Anderson – I have him as a Team Streamer because the talent is there to be really impactful when he is limiting walks. He doesn’t always limit the walks, though, and as such I’m more than OK sitting him in tough matchups including this week v. LAD.
  • Merrill Kelly 켈리 – He has a 4.71 ERA over his last 9 starts despite only allowing more than 3 ER twice in that time. The 2 IP/8 ER at LAD is a heavy weight on that line (3.39 in the other 8 starts) and I don’t think it’s unfair to lift that one from the sample because it is reasonable to think plenty of fantasy managers sat him for that outing. Some no doubt rolled the dice because he had a 1.71 ERA through his first seven, but they won’t make that mistake again this season. No LAD and no Coors for sure and then you can make your other decisions from there.
  • Dylan Bundy – A spike start that doesn’t add a ton of confidence because his downside is always the 8-9 ER meltdown. He does have a chance to stay hot with COL coming to visit this week, though.
  • Brad Keller – A trip to OAK fixes all as Keller bounced back from the nightmare start v. BAL (1.7 IP/5 ER) with his best work of the year. He gets OAK and at DET in his next two, so hang onto him and ride this out a bit. The downside is always a 5+ ER bomb with Keller (3 this yr; 7 last yr), but these matches are too appealing to pass up.
  • Daniel Lynch – Again, OAK fixes all! Lynch had an 8.25 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in his L5 starts before a season-high 10 Ks against the A’s. Lynch did have a 3.30 ERA through his first six starts including 5.3 scoreless at Coors but a 4.43 FIP hinted that he was a bit over his skis. There are some core skills to build upon, but we just haven’t seen start-to-start consistency. I’ll be keeping tabs on him throughout the summer in case he turns the corner.
  • Keegan Thompson – I doubt many had this gem in their lineup after the meltdown 2-step last week (10 ER in 3.7 IP at BAL/at NYY). He had been rolling heading into those starts so some regression was due, but it’s not like many people had him rostered for the 1.99 ERA through his 45.3 IP so they just ate all the bad. Like Lynch, there is enough to keep monitoring him for the deep league radar this summer. He gets at PIT this week, too!
  • Mitch Keller – This is at least gem-adjacent given the opponent (at SF). He now has a 2.08 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 17.1 June IP. Only 13 Ks and 9% SwStr in that time, too, but it is a positive run that he can build upon, especially if he finds some more whiffs in the near future. He has some deep league stream appeal.

Decent Enough: Mostly biz as usual but with some commentary

  • Alex Cobb – Wanted more with a soft landing off the IL at PIT, but they aren’t going to force it with Cobb given his injury history. Look past the ugly surface stats (5.62 ERA/1.46 WHIP) and realize that his 20% K-BB and 62% GB rate can produce excellent results as his .381 BABIP regresses (career .295) and he starts stranding more than just 56% of his runners (career 72% LOB rate).
  • Jason Alexander – Felt the need to mention him because he dos have a 2.42 ERA that might entice some, but I strongly encourage you to ignore that enticement. He has a 1.70 WHIP and more BB (9) than Ks (8).


  • Zach Eflin – The start wasn’t going well and then he left after just 2 IP with a bruised knee that was bothering him earlier in the week. He is expected to make his next start at SD, a toss-up for the Team Streamer. SD is 17th in wRC+ v. righties for the season and while they are up to 4th for the month, a lot of that is owed to their Cubs series where they scored 41 runs in 4 games.

Duds: The worst of the day from fantasy relevant arms

  • Lucas Giolito – A 1.4 HR/9 in his first 7 starts hinted at some wobbliness in his 2.63 ERA and he has more than doubled that rate over his last four as a 3.0 HR/9 has saddled him with an 8.71 ERA in 20.7 IP, pushing his season mark to 4.78 as well. He has always been a flyball guy and this year he is allowing more hard contact and inducing fewer pop-ups which is a recipe for the HR problem we are seeing play out. He is still missing bats and his velo is holding steady, but I’m not sure this longball issue is guaranteed to regress and as such, I could see benching him v. TOR this week.
  • Michael Kopech – Being at HOU earns a bit of a reprieve, but the velo was still down (94 mph) and it still feels like things are a bit in limbo with him. I’m going to start him v. BAL this week, but not without some nervousness.
  • MacKenzie Gore – This was at Coors so I’m not too worried, but I didn’t put him in Biz as Usual because the Rockies also ripped him the start before in SD (2.3 IP/6 ER) and I figured I’d get questions if I glossed over it. His velo is down 1.5 mph over the 2 starts and command of the heater has also waned. He is staying in my lineup, though I will keep a close eye on the start v. PHI this week.
  • Yusei Kikuchi – Six Flags should offer a new rollercoast called The Kikichi that is their craziest ride yet! 5.22 ERA in April, 2.36 in May, and now 9.45 in June… weeeee!!!!!
  • Dane Dunning – In terms of how I’m reacting to it, this is Biz as Usual because he has starts like this sometimes. I included it in the Duds because it was at DET, just a brutal spot to have a Dud. Instead of a 2-step from heaven after he dominated HOU earlier in the week (6 IP/0 ER), he gave it all back by flopping at DET (4.7 IP/5 ER) and winding up with a 4.22 ERA/1.31 WHIP combo with 6 Ks and an 0-1 record.
  • Graham Ashcraft – Has now been hit in back-to-back outings at STL and v. MIL thanks to BABIP regression that was always coming. He had a .197 BABIP in his first four starts so the .375 in these two isn’t that surprising. I still find him intriguing for deep leagues and capable of possibly being more if he can maintain even a low-20%s K rate.
  • Michael Lorenzen – I was a big fan of Lorenzen coming into the season and his 4.15 ERA/1.20 WHIP combo is passable for the deep leagues where I targeted him. That said, just a 9% K-BB rate is worrisome and has me thinking that ERA will continue to rise if he doesn’t start missing more bats.

I’ve got a Monday pod with Justin and Jason so I must cut it at just pitchers, but I also want to come up with a new Monday topic. The Playing Time one isn’t coming together as I wanted so I’ll have to think of something else to put there. Look for that pod later today as well as Tuesday’s normal episode coming up tomorrow!

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