Lucas Giolito spins no-hitter
Giolito tossed an impressive no-hitter during Tuesday’s win, recording a 13:1 K:BB ratio (in just 101 pitches) for the second straight game. The Pirates have baseball’s worst record and the second-worst wRC+, but Giolito was dominant regardless, finishing with season MLB-highs in whiffs (30) and CSW (48%). The former top prospect’s career continues to surge after looking so hopeless while burning so many fantasy managers in 2018, when he finished last among all qualifying starters with a 6.13 ERA.
It took Giolito a while to fully recover from Tommy John surgery, but it’s clear he should be treated as a true ace moving forward. He hasn’t allowed an extra-base hit to a right-handed batter this season, and he currently sits with a 2.67 FIP. Pitching in the AL is no longer a disadvantage, the Central is now extremely friendly, and the White Sox are providing terrific defense (with one of the league’s three best offenses), so suddenly he’s in a favorable situation as well. Giolito has the upside to be a top-10 fantasy starter down the stretch.
Add Brandon Belt
Belt went 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBI on Tuesday, including taking Kenley Jansen deep to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. He had reached base safely in 11 straight plate appearances before striking out in extra innings, raising his OPS from .742 to 1.007 over the last three games. Belt is injury prone and a consistent fantasy disappointment, but he also owns a career 121 wRC+, and San Francisco has gone from extreme pitcher’s park to a favorable hitter’s venue thanks to many changes during the offseason (another 18 combined runs were scored Tuesday night during the Giants’ seventh straight win).
We talked more about Belt during a recent podcast, and the Giants’ cleanup hitter is available in more than 95% of Yahoo leagues. Belt is 1B/OF eligible, is even capable of stealing a few bags and currently sports a wRC+ (171) that’s higher than Mookie Betts’. His more aggressive approach at the plate is a welcome sight for fantasy managers.
Tyler Glasnow throws gem
Glasnow turned in a terrific performance Tuesday and finally picked up his first win of the season while posting a 13:1 K:BB ratio. The Orioles entered with the league’s eighth-best wRC+ (with a low K%), so this was impressive. Nearly one quarter of Glasnow’s flyballs (22.7%) have left the yard for home runs this season, and while he’s no doubt been unfortunate, being homer-prone has been a career-theme (15.8 HR/FB%). Still, he’s throwing harder than ever (97.1 mph) and has some of the best stuff in baseball right now, and any window to buy low got smaller Tuesday (although he does currently sport a 5.14 ERA compared to a 3.53 FIP). Glasnow is up to 48 Ks over 28.0 innings this year.
Chris Paddack roughed up
Paddack was hit hard by the Mariners and saw his ERA shoot up to 5.15 on the season. His curveball development hasn’t gone as planned, and Paddack’s fastball is getting tattooed as a result. He’s allowed nine homers over his last five starts, four of them coming in Petco Park (where homers have actually been boosted so far this season, which is so 2020). With an xERA of 5.77, Paddack has been one of the most disappointing pitchers in baseball so far, and the news only gets worse with an upcoming start in Coors Field scheduled next.
• Josh Hader is working on a season-long no-hitter of his own, as he’s up to 9.1 hitless innings on the year after recording his second save in as many days. He also has five walks on the year, but the lefty has 13 strikeouts and has been rock solid in an otherwise chaos-filled season for closers.
• You have to respect Evan White’s all-or-nothing approach at the plate this season, as he sports the second-worst K% but the fourth-best Hard Hit% in MLB. He’s up to 17 RBI (an 86-RBI pace during a normal year) despite batting .168. White is available in 96% of Yahoo leagues and possesses nice power upside with his Ks certain to come down some.
• The highest average fastball velocity (95.8 mph) by a left-handed starter this season has been from 22-year-old Jesus Luzardo. Please stay healthy.
• Sandy Alcantara completed a successful simulated game last week and looks scheduled to return Sunday. He’s available in nearly half of Yahoo leagues and impressed during his first start of the year, when he was working regularly at 97 mph and recorded a 35.6 CSW that would rank top-10 on the season. Alcantara gets to throw in a highly favorable pitcher’s park in Miami, and the Marlins’ offense hasn’t been nearly as dreadful as feared (just a little worse than league average), so he needs to be added in all fantasy leagues in which he’s still on the waiver wire.
• The Red Sox/Blue Jays combined for another 16 runs during Tuesday’s game, as Buffalo continues to play as the AL’s version of Coors Field. Mitch Moreland reached base in four of five plate appearances and remains available in 65% of leagues despite owning a .357/.471/.804 line and getting regular at bats for Boston. Moreland leads MLB in Barrel%, and his expected slugging (.706) is in the top 2% of the league.
• Matt Barnes recorded Boston’s save, and while he has an ugly 6.00 ERA on the season, he posted a 15.4 K/9 rate last year (with a 3.28 FIP) and is the Red Sox’s new closer with Brandon Workman traded to Philadelphia. Barnes is available in more than 70% of Yahoo leagues (although I can’t blame anyone for giving up the saves chase altogether).
• Jon Berti isn’t playing every day and is slugging .344 on the year but after swiping three bags Tuesday is up to eight stolen bases on the season, ranking second in baseball. Meanwhile, Victor Robles has one SB in 2020 (while Oscar Mercado and Mallex Smith have been demoted). Berti is eligible at 2B/3B/SS/OF and remains available in 85% of Yahoo leagues.