Shane Bieber- P- CLE- Great Player- Bieber is the first pitcher since 1893 to record double digits in strikeouts in his first 4 starts of the season. Those four starts have all been of the quality variety and he has a K/9 of 14.73 currently. Yesterday, Bieber allowed 3 runs in 8 IP on 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 13. This came after a 9-inning effort in which he threw 113 pitches and struck out 11. In 2020 Bieber only threw more than 110 pitches once, in his penultimate start of the season. He followed that up with an outing of 5 IP in which he gave up an unearned run and struck out 10. The only other high-pitch games Bieber has thrown came in 2019, when he tossed more then 110 six times. He does show a tendency to see his production drop some after them, but still it is often enough to get a quality start. In the 8 games that have followed up a high pitch outing Bieber has averaged 6.42 IP with an ERA of 3.86 and K/9 of 11.22. So maybe while his performance slips just a bit from his usual awesome output, it's still more than worth keeping him in the lineup.
Austin Meadows- OF- TB- Cold- Meadows has experienced some bad luck in the early season, with a BABIP of .222. His average has fallen to .193 and he may be starting to press. Although Meadows' K% of 25.4% is well below the 32.9% he had in 2020 and more in line with his previous MLB mark, he has struck out 9 times in his last 4 games. It was only at 17.3% before this stretch. Meadows is still walking at a good clip, drawing 4 BBs in those 4 games and having a BB% of 16.9% for the season. This gives him a decent .352 OBO for 2021 so far. When he hits the ball, he is still getting it in the air. Meadows has a FB% of 55.3% and has hit only 1 ground ball since April 10. His Exit Velocity of 90.9 and HardHit% of 42.1% are in line with his career norms. If he calms down and stops swing as much (15.7% Swinging Strike % and 57.7% Contact % in his 3 games before yesterday) regression to the mean should solve his problems.
Brady Singer- P- KC- Hot- Singer threw 6 scoreless IP yesterday, allowing 2 hits, walking 3, and striking out 6. The outing dropped his ERA for the season from 6.48 to 3.77. It was Singer's 3rd start so as you can probably tell by that disparity, there was one that wasn't good. That was his first start where he was charged with 5 ERs in 3.1 IP. Singer led rookie pitchers in IP and Ks in 2020 but was inconsistent. Early in 2021 that inconsistency is still there. The Royals are going to rely on him so he will get a lot of experience. Singer relies on primarily a sinker/slider repertoire although he is mixing in more changeups. So far this season he is still getting a lot of ground balls, which will help play to his strengths. Singer is capable of excellent outings like yesterday but will also toss the occasional clunker.
Ryan Mountcastle- 1B- BAL- Cold- The good news from Mountcastle's day was that he didn't strike out, so his K% dropped from 35.0% to 32.8%. It was the 4th time in his last 6 games that Mountcastle hasn't struck out. It was 39.1% on April 13th. That's a good trend. However, he's hitless in his last 4 games. That may turn around with some regression to the mean. Mountcastle has seen his peripherals improve. He has a .250 BABIP. Mountcastle also has a FB% of 54.1%, HardHIt% of 40.5%, Exit Velocity of 89.7, and Barrel% of 13.5%. Small sample size seems like the main woe suffered by Mountcastle. His average of .180 and ISO of .115 are likely to increase.
Jake Odorizzi- P- HOU- Cold- Things didn't get much better in his second start of the season than they were in his first. Yesterday he was charged with 4 runs in 4.1 IP on 3 hits while walking 3. A little bit of silver lining was that Odorizzi struck out 7. He threw 53 of his 89 pitches for strikes. For the game his FIP of 2.01 was far below his ERA of 8.31. This may be an instance of Odorizzi still working into game shape. His K/9 of 12.91 is what was hoped for, maybe even better. He also did have a stretch yesterday when he retired 10 straight batters. It's too early to dump him based on this small sample size, especially with some hopeful indicator, but Odorizzi doesn't inspire enough confidence to rely on him in his next start.
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