The 10: Unexpected Gems

Each week (on Monday or Tuesday depending on my schedule) I’m going to talk about something from the previous week in a pack of 10. This week we’re only working with four games, but I still found 10 unexpected gems worthy of some attention.

Trevor Williams | PIT at CIN: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 1 BB, 13% SwStr

I’m not going to overreact after the one start, but another gem gives him a 2.02 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in his last 18 starts, spanning 102.7 innings. He has just a 12% K-BB rate in that time which fuels the skepticism and most relievers can’t sustain an 87% LOB rate, let alone starters. I’m reluctant to think I got it wrong on Williams just because he picked up where his 2018 left off. Maybe he’s more of a true talent 3.75 ERA than the 4.00-4.20ish level I suggested during his big run.

He gets Cincy at home in his next start, I’d use him for that in most formats where streaming is viable.

Tyler Glasnow | TB v. HOU: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 1 BB, 15% SwStr

I’ve been a Glasnow skeptic as I just don’t believe he’ll consistently command the ball enough to be successful but hats off to him for standing tall against the Astros in his debut. There still seems to be a clear tradeoff when he doesn’t walk guys which is filling the zone with hittable pitches. That said, I’d rather see him consistently limit walks and figure out how to bring the Ks back as opposed to having a great strikeout rate but walking the yard. He will remain one of the more maddening arms out there, though, as one day he’ll thwart the Astros and five days late walk six KC Royals and be out after four.

He heads to SF his next time out, an easy start in all formats.

Jake Odorizzi | MIN v. CLE: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 11 K, 2 BB, 14% SwStr

Odorizzi went off against an awful Indians lineup that featured the illustrious Tyler Naquin batting third. While so many guys are getting away from the fastball, Odorizzi threw his nearly two-thirds of the time while only his changeup topped 10% among his secondaries (15% usage). He still found away to allow that one homer, something he’s struggled with throughout his career.

A trip to Philly on the docket this week has me running from Odorizzi on waiver wires and definitely reserving him if he’s already on the team.

Yonny Chirinos | TB v. HOU: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 0 BB, 14% SwStr

Chirinos was expected to be in the follower role after an opener, but he started his own game and went seven strong against a great team. He worked all three pitches, with the splitter and slider at 24% and 16%, respectively. Chirinos was quietly strong in 89.7 innings of work last year, posting a 3.51 ERA (and FIP) and 1.22 WHIP with a 14% K-BB rate. He had an 11% swinging strike rate and if he lives in that range again, there is some strikeout upside. I wouldn’t even mind if he was saddled with an opener as that would give him a better shot at cashing in wins.

Like Glasnow, he’s headed to SF and should be started where available.

Sandy Alcantara | MIA v. COL: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 0 BB, 14% SwStr

Easily the most impressive part here is that he didn’t walk anyone. He brought a 16% BB rate in 42 innings into the season. I know it was against Colorado outside of Coors, but they haven’t played any games at Coors yet to enact a Hangover Effect. My second favorite thing is actually related to the walk-free effort and it’s that he threw his fastball just 47% of the time while leaning on his slider (33%) and curveball (14%). His lack of fastball command is no doubt part of why he walks the yard so often.

He heads to Atlanta this weekend which is a tough draw despite their slow start. I could see taking a shot if only to make sure you get him in case he goes off again. He’ll be volatile, but there’s some nasty upside.

Frankie Montas | OAK v. LAA: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 0 BB, 10% SwStr

The biggest takeaways from Montas’ start was combining the strikeouts with zero walks. He cut the walk rate to a very useful 7% last year, but only fanned 15% while also allowing hits at a 10.3 per nine clip. The 26-year old flamethrower used a splitter 20% of the time which is the most interesting development from this start. He’s been a two-pitch guy throughout his career thus far so if this sticks, he could be a true breakout arm.

I’ll be watching from sidelines this weekend when he heads to Houston, though. I want to see the splitter usage continue and of course, if he can throw up some goose eggs, that’d work, too!

Matt Moore | DET at TOR: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 6 K, 1 BB, 14% SwStr

Remember when Moore was the top prospect over Trout and Harper? Yeah, it happened… look it up! Seven seasons later, Moore finds himself as a backend starter in a rebuilding Tigers rotation hoping to recapture something in his age-30 season. Moore had good starts last year, too, so this isn’t automatically the rebirth.

I’ll keep an eye on Moore and maybe even spot him against KC this weekend, but I’m staying very cautious here.

Lucas Giolito | CWS at KC: 6.7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 8 K, 1 BB, 14% SwStr

Giolito showed some flashes in July and August of last year, but always seemed to derail with a major dud after a few good ones. Waxing the Royals doesn’t do a ton to change opinions on a pitcher, but we can’t rule out that the 24-year old righty could take some steps forward this year. His velocity was back up to 93.5 mph, matching what we saw in his 2016 debut, and had 14 swinging strikes which tied his 2018 high.

Giolito hosts Seattle on Saturday. They’ve been crushing everyone so I can’t comfortably recommend him in this one, but I will be watching for sure.

Trent Thornton | TOR v. DET: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 8 K, 0 BB, 12% SwStr

Thornton was 10th on Toronto’s prospect list and made the list of guys expected to be a top 100 guy in 2020, albeit as a reliever. The former Houston prospect was the return from Houston for Aledmys Diaz and looked sharp in the Arizona Fall League after a solid Triple-A campaign (18% K-BB, 4.01 FIP). He sits 93-95 and has a really nasty curve. If one of the slider or change gives him a real third pitch, he could settle into the middle of Toronto’s rotation.

Heading to Cleveland to face that anemic lineup makes Thornton a viable deep league streamer and I’m putting him on the watchlist for all of my leagues.

Nick Margevicius | SD v. SF: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 7% SwStr

Margevicius was a surprise starter for the Padres, but held his own in a five-inning loss. He got the five strikeouts, but an 88-mph fastball and 7% SwStr make it hard to get all that excited. The 23-year old didn’t even reach Double-A and was just OK in A- and High-A ball last year. It seems like he placeholding here before someone like Logan Allen comes in. Perhaps Margevicius can be a reliever, but I’d need to see several more good starts here before really making any sort of move.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Alex Chamberlain

hello, beautiful readers — paul is away from his computer but is aware that sandy alcantara’s blurb is blank. he will update it as soon as he is able. thanks!


Seems kind of appropriate though, no?