First a look at the running totals through half of week 20:
And since some of you have asked some questions, click here for a link to the spreadsheet I keep with all the numbers.
Also a brief side note: I (redacted) up and typed out a comment and failed to hit ‘post’ when made aware that Jimmy Nelson wouldn’t get two starts last week. I was going to advise owners to go with Jarred Cosart, and I have failed you. Sorry.
Here’s a look at this week’s recs, with team wOBA in parentheses:
Kevin Gausman – 6.2% ESPN/14% Y!/61% own, 34% start CBS – v. MIN (.315), @TBR (.309)
Gausman has basically reached the point where one can see the stuff is there, it’s just time for the results to start matching. At times he’s gotten strikeouts, and at times he’s gotten grounders. He’s struggled with home runs, but since rectified that. The walks are up, the walks are down, and the walks are back up again. But this is a 23-year-old kid with a big fastball, a nasty splitter, and a shot to the the Orioles ace for the foreseeable future. It’s disappointing to see how he’s been handled this year, but consider where the Orioles are and where Gausman is statistically this year. OK, maybe that isn’t fair, but at some point you need them worse than they need you. The Orioles have certainly used Gausman to have the biggest divisional lead in baseball to this point, but it’s been a total team effort that the club arguably could have done with or without him. The Twins offense has been red-hot in August, but was also just shut down by Liam Hendriks. It’s a mixed bag with that bunch. The Rays are exactly in the middle of the road, but have been dismal (.286 wOBA) in August.
Carlos Carrasco – 34.6% ESPN/30% Y!/63% own, 44% start CBS – v. DET (.330), v. CWS (.315)
Carrasco has become an increasingly popular post-hype sleeper, and it’s probably the last time this season he’ll find himself under 50 percent ownership with the way he’s pitching. Breaking down his season is certainly interesting. He started the season in the rotation, and after four starts had a 6.95 ERA and was allowing opponents to hit .286/.361/.429 off him. Starting on April 30, the Indians banished him to the bullpen, where he started flat out dealing. From then, until his last relief appearance on Aug. 5, Carrasco sported a 2.30 ERA, .561 OPS allowed, and a 39-9 K/BB rate over those 43 innings (8.2 K/9, 14 percent swinging strike rate). With the departure of Justin Masterson the Tribe has been able to find a rotation spot for the 27-year-old righty, and he has flourished in four starts since: 3-0, 0.73 ERA, .339 OPS allowed, 24-3 K/BB rate in 24.2 innings pitched. It’s too soon to know if he’s figured it out, of course, but this is also a guy who was once traded for Cliff Lee, and a three-time top-100 prospect by both Baseballs America and Prospectus. Take a shot on him.
James Paxton – 40.6% ESPN/37% Y!/78% own, 48% start CBS – @OAK (.320), @TEX (.305)
It’s a little surprising that Paxton has the highest ownership of these three, but he’s been fantastic since making his comeback in early August: 2-1, 1.65 ERA, and .659 OPS allowed. For the year he’s working with a 7.6 K/9 mark paired with a 53.6 percent groundball rate, and we all know how your guy BW loves those types. Paxton is getting the A’s at a good time, as they’ve had a rough go of it in August (.302 wOBA) despite being very, very solid offensively all season. That could change at any moment, so it’ll be something worth monitoring with that matchup. The Rangers have been dead in the water for months, so hopefully the lefty can cruise there.
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