Lucas Giolito (SP - CWS) - Giolito was shelled for the second straight start on Wednesday, giving up 11 hits and 7 runs to the Jays over 5 innings to drop to 4-4 on the year. Giolito has only 3 QS this season in 12 outings, and there are some warning signs here that range from the obvious (15 HR in 63.1 IP) to the subtle (the delta from his fastball to his changeup has dropped by almost a full mph, and no pitch in his arsenal has a positive pitch value this season). It's really been an across the board dip for Giolito, who has seen his control worsen significantly (3.86 BB/9, up from 2.62 in '21), GB rate drop to a career low (32%), and quality of contact go from a strength to a weakness (4.78 Statcast expected ERA). He's been working on mechanical adjustments between starts for almost a month now, but if anything the results have been getting poorer. Now for the good news: he's still getting swings and misses, although at a lower than elite rate for the first time in 4 years (13.8% in '22, down from the 15% range), and the upcoming schedule is rather benign (@LAA, @SF, DET). I'm certainly not thinking about dropping him, but if the underlying numbers don't improve during this upcoming stretch, I would definitely think about dealing him in July if the opportunity arose. His ERA is 5.40 after Wednesday's outing, and I would be hard-pressed to look for an ERA under 4.00 the rest of the way without some improvement, particularly with his changeup. - sdombroske
Ross Stripling (SP - TOR) - Stripling was great again on Wednesday, allowing 1 run on 5 hits over 6 innings against the White Sox, walking 1 and fanning 5. His swinging strike rate has been average to slightly above in the 4 starts he has made since stepping into the rotation in Ryu's spot, and he's allowed only 3 runs in 20 2/3 IP, along with only 3 BB. The huge increase in GB rate is the thing that makes me want to consider him in all formats right now: it's by far the highest of his career, and it has done an awful lot to mitigate the major problems that he has had with the long ball in his career. The upcoming schedule sees the Red Sox and Rays coming into town followed by a trip to Seattle. The two-start week next week is a bit dicey with Boston's offense finally performing well, but I'm inclined to want to take the risk there with Stripling. That changeup of his has increasingly become a weapon that he trusts, and the GB rate increase gives me a little more hope in the safety here.
Oscar Gonzalez (OF - CLE) - Gonzalez is 4-13 with a 2B and 2 HR in the past 3 days, and he's now hitting 333/363/500 in his first 102 PAs at the big league level. Honestly, there's some pretty odd stuff in what Gonzalez has been doing, once you look past the impressive AVG and limited pop to this point. First of all, with a horrible chase rate (46%) and a well below average swinging strike rate (15.1%), it's amazing that the K rate has been better than average. I expect the AVG to be a potential issue going forward, especially once that .403 BABIP starts to dip. The power numbers though, those should continue to improve, as the exit velocity of 91.6 is well above average and should allow him to provide solid power with a better launch angle (GB rate of 57.5% thus far). I think you're seeing a young hitter with potential start to feel more comfortable over the last handful of games, and with those minor league batting averages, I do think that there is a very good possibility of a plus AVG/plus power bat here as he matures over the next few seasons. I do believe that he's worth a pickup now in all formats, and as hot as he has been of late, he's likely worth a starting OF slot as well.
Amed Rosario (SS/OF - CLE) - Rosario went 4-5 with his 2nd homer of the season in the 11-10 comeback win over the Twins on Wednesday. I know that Rosario has been unimpressive on the whole in 2022, but the bulk of that underperformance occurred in a dismal April. In fact, over the last 35 games, Rosario is hitting .295 with 25 R and 6 SB, along with 7 2B, 3 3B, and 2 HR. That's less than a quarter of a season, so multiply all those numbers by 4 and you get a reasonably impressive 140 G sample, albeit somewhat power-free. I think we know by now that the 26 year old isn't going to develop the pop that we had once hoped, but 10-15 HR isn't a stretch, and if it can come with a helping AVG, 20-25 SB, and close to 100 R he is still a very reasonable player with eligibility at both SS and OF. The contact rate surging over 80% for the first time ever gives me hope that this could be what he actually provides. I do believe that he is worth a pickup in many formats, especially for those in need of some speed.
Charlie Morton (SP - ATL) - Morton is clearly back....mostly. After another dominating start in which he fanned 11 Giants in 7 innings on Wednesday while allowing a single and 2 solo homers, Morton has now struck out 40 batters in 25 innings during June. I wouldn't say he's fully back to being the solid #2 starter that we loved from 2017-21 (COVID year excluded) though, because although the increased BB rate that we saw early in the year has returned to the prior excellent levels, the FB rate remains elevated, giving Morton more issues with the long ball than he's faced in over a decade. Still, when you're missing that many bats and not walking people, a few solo homers aren't going to kill you. I'm back to viewing Morton as a solid #3 SP, with only passing thoughts of benching him against the most extremely power-laden lineups.
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