Zack Greinke went 4 IP and gave up 4 ER on 9 H, 0 BB, and 4 K's against the Blue Jays. Greinke had once again been very solid to start the year before today's dud. On the year, he has a 4.23 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. At this point in his career, Greinke is more smoke and mirrors than anything. This is even more that case this year because his strikeout rate has dropped even further (19% K) and his elite control has not been there (6% BB). His CSW (called strikes+whiffS) has also dropped below league average which makes it hard to believe the strikeouts are coming back anytime soon. Greinke is averaging 5.5 IP per start which would normally be a good sign because he needs to be able to accumulate strikeouts through IP but now it has more of a ticking time bomb feeling. He has gone through these periods before but it is getting harder and harder to believe that he can continue to post above-average ratios with below-average strikeouts and stuff.
Lucas Giolito-White Sox-SP
Lucas Giolito went 5 IP and gave up 1 ER on 4 H, 2 BB, and 2 K's against the Royals. Giolito has a 4.54 ERA and 1.29 WHIP which is not what fantasy managers expected when taking him in the first or early second round. The good news outside of the surface stats is that the skills are essentially the same as last season (31% K, 10% BB, 15% SwStr, and 30% CSW). His 3.54 SIERA is right in line with the past two seasons. The only real difference has been 18.2% HR/FB compared to 15% for his career. The 7 ER in 1 IP against Boston has tanked his ERA and WHIP but the skills look the same so expect Giolito to recover over the rest of the season. If a team is willing to sell low I would jump all over it. He gets a nice home matchup against the Royals next time out.
Kenta Maeda and the Twins were rained out on Sunday. Maeda has been a massive disappointment so far (5.02 ERA and 1.53 WHIP) after his brilliant 2020 (2.70 ERA and 0.75 WHIP). Normally, we could point to his BABIP (.341) and say that is likely to regress to his career .277 BABIP but that is only a small portion of the problem. He is missing fewer bats (21% K and 13% SwStr) and giving up more hard contact (44% Hard). If you look at this heat maps on BaseballSavant of all his pitches in 2021 vs. 2020 you will see what has changed. His slider, split-finger, and sinker were all thrown right inside/outside the zone making it hard for hitters to hit it or lay off balls just out of the zone. In 2021, his slider is being thrown primarily right down the middle and the same with his fastball. So despite not seeing a control issue in his walk rate (5% BB), Maeda is struggling mightily with command. What this tells me is that as tough as it has been, Maeda is a buy-low candidate because he is one mechanical change away from going back to being an above-average major league starter like he has been for the past five years. The one good thing about today's cancelation is that Maeda will now have a two-start week with matchups on the road against the White Sox and home against Oakland.
The Tigers and Twins were rained out on Sunday. This was to be Matthew Boyd's first start after missing some time with a knee injury but avoiding an IL stint. Boyd has looked good to start the year. He has a 2.27 ERA and 0.93 WHIP through 35.2 IP. The success has come from a pitch mix change. He is throwing his fastball less and his changeup more giving him a true third pitch. This is a nice development because he was too predictable before when he was primarily a two-pitch pitcher (FB/SL) and this resulted in major home run issues (2.24 HR/9). It is not all sunshine and rainbows for Boyd though because despite strong traditional numbers his underlying skills have not improved. His strikeouts have dropped well below league average (17% K) and his swinging strike rate (10%) and CSW (30%) suggest he could improve to around league average. Boyd is also giving up more fly balls (45% FB) but allowing fewer home runs (2.1% HR/FB) which is walking a tightrope. Unfortunately, this looks like a major regression candidate despite the strong surface stats and development of a third pitch. Boyd should now get two home starts against the Royals and Cubs.
Rafael Devers-Red Sox-3B
Rafael Devers was 2-4 with 1 HR (8), 1 R, and 3 RBI against the Orioles. Devers is off to a strong start to the year (.288 AVG, 8 HR, 21 R, 28 RBI, and 2 SB). The skills are excellent as well (21% K and 12% BB). He struggled some in the shortened season (.269 AVG, 27% K, and 5% BB) but he has corrected those issues in the early going and looks more like the 2019 version which was a fantasy star. The quality of contact for Devers is off the charts as well (52% Hard and 20% Barrels). The Red Sox lineup has rebounded with strong starts from Verdugo, Bogaerts, and Martinez which means that Dever's counting stats will be great in addition to his power/speed.
DraftKings Value Plays: OF Adolis Garcia ($3,200) and 3B Maikel Franco ($3,200)
This is just a small sample of our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.com/baseballsample.htm Click here to register: http://www.fantistics.com/salesbaseball.php3