Zack Wheeler, SP, PHI
Wheeler tossed a complete game shutout against the Brewers on Thursday, allowing just 3 hits and no walks, while striking out 8. Wheeler is off to a great start in his 2nd season with the Phillies, as he now owns a 2.83 ERA, 3.24 xFIP, 0.97 WHIP, and 9.25 K/9 through 7 starts. He has been a bit underappreciated throughout his career, only posting an ERA north of 4.00 once in 6 seasons, and this year doesn't look to be any different. In fact many of his current numbers would be the best marks of his career, including his ERA, xFIP, K% (26.8%), and SwStr% (12.0% entering Thursday). He has also historically been a good groundball pitcher (47.2% GB%), and he has shown an uptick in that regard recently, with a 61.5% GB% over his last 2 starts. I wouldn't necessarily call him an ace, but the Phillies have to be happy with what they gotten from him so far.
Madison Bumgarner, SP, ARI
Bumgarner was solid yet again for the Diamondbacks on Thursday, allowing just 1 ER on 2 hits and 0 BB's in 6 IP against the Marlins, striking out 7 in the contest. After allowing 17 ER's in 13.2 IP over his first 3 starts this season, Bumgarner has hurled 4 excellent starts in a row, giving up a combined 3 ER's in 23 IP (1.17 ERA) along with a sensational 25:2 K:BB during that stretch. No, I didn't see that coming. His fastball velocity has ticked backed up to 90.6 mph from 88.3 last season, while his SwStr% has leaped from 7.5% in 2020 to 12.0% this season (entering Thursday). It's hard to see him keeping up this ace-like for the whole season, but apparently his career is not over yet.
John Gant, SP, STL
Gant walked the tightrope once again, allowing 6 BB's in 4.1 IP, but only allowing 2 runs (1 ER) against the Mets on Thursday. This is the 3rd time in 4 starts that Gant has walked at least 5 batters, yet he has somehow managed to give up 2 runs or less in each of those starts. Overall, he has a dreadful 25:24 K:BB through 29.1 IP and an ugly 1.70 WHIP, but he owns a sparkling 2.15 ERA. As his 5.29 xFIP and 5.49 xERA indicate, this cannot be expected to last. The walks are going to come home eventually.
Tyler Rogers, RP, SF
Giants' manager Gabe Kapler announced that Rogers may see more save opportunities moving forward, likely as a result of Jake McGee's recent struggles. Rogers has posted an excellent 1.02 ERA and 0.85 WHIP across 17.2 IP this season and has already recorded 2 saves on days when McGee was unavailable. His 5.09 K/9 is very week, but he has succeeded by getting tons of groundballs (65.4% GB%) and avoiding hard contact (27.8% Hard%). His mediocre strikeout rate will prevent him from being a top reliever, but if he'll be getting saves then that's good enough for me.
Trevor Rogers, SP, MIA
Rogers has been one of the breakout stars so far this season, posting a 1.91 ERA, 12.00 K/9, and 16.5% SwStr% through his first 6 starts. On Friday, he will face a Brewers team that has the 4th highest K% in MLB, and ranks 25th in wRC+. They are without Christian Yelich, and had to demote Keston Hiura due to poor performance. Despite this, Rogers is only the 8th most expensive pitcher on the DraftKings slate for Friday. DraftKings Value Play Salary $8,800.
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