Justin Steele went 6 IP and gave up 0 ER on 4 H, 1 BB, and 6 K's against the Phillies. Steele has a 2.20 ERA and 1.01 WHIP through 10 GS. It has been a strong start for the left-hander. The issue is that he has not done much to back up the strong start. His strikeout rate is down from last year to below league average (22% K) and his 4.17 SIERA suggests major regression. He does a good job of combining good control (7% BB) with weak contact (49% GB) but will need to increase his strikeouts in order to have success long term. The other concern is that he has turned into a two-pitch pitcher by throwing his fastball and slider 98% of the time. His slider is good enough that it could work but any sort of drop in that pitch could lead to serious struggles. For now, you have to keep rolling him out there given how hot he is right now but just keep an eye on any potential slip-up.
Matt Chapman-Blue Jays-3B
Matt Chapman was 1-5 with an HR (6) and 2 RBI against the Orioles. Chapman is off to a strong start this year. He is hitting .301 with 6 HR, 23 R, 24 RBI, and 1 SB. His .301 AVG would suggest that he has made drastic improvements but that is not the case. His strikeout rate is the same as last year (27% K) and he is actually swinging at more pitches out of the zone (26% O-swing). The difference is a .400 BABIP this year compared to .277 a year ago. Chapman is hitting the ball harder than ever (23% Barrels and 62% Hardhit) which is great. He isn't going to maintain a .400 BABIP all year so his batting average is going to come down but fantasy managers have to be pleased with this start.
Josiah Gray went 5 IP and gave up 1 ER on 3 H, 6 BB, and 2 K's against the Tigers. Through 10 GS, Gray has a 2.65 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. He has such a weird profile. His underlying skills don't support a 2.65 ERA (4.76 SIERA). Gray has a below-average strikeout rate (20%) without elite control (9% BB). He has been fortunate to strand 85% of batters and limited home runs (0.78 HR/9). The home runs are the most surprising change this year because he has a career 2.05 HR/9 but has also switched from being an extreme fly ball pitcher to a ground ball pitcher this year (44% GB and 37% FB). The skills are a league-average starter at best so be very careful with Gray the rest of the season despite having an ERA under three at this point.
Freddy Peralta went 6 IP and gave up 3 ER on 5 H, 3 BB, and 4 K's against the Rays. Peralta has a 4.15 ERA and 1.31 WHIP through 52 IP. His strikeouts are down (25% K) but his swinging strike rate (13% SwStr) suggests that they could come back quickly. He is also struggling with control at times (10% BB). His fastball continues to be his best pitch, especially with increased velocity this year. The biggest difference between this year and the past three seasons of great success has been the effectiveness of his slider. His breakout came off the introduction of a slider to work off his fastball. So far this year, his slider has a negative pitch value which means that it has not been an effective pitch. His curveball also has a negative pitch value which is odd as well. It looks like he has lost a feel for his offspeed pitches and has to rely on his fastball once again. Once he regains a feel for those pitches he could have a strong stretch of performance which makes him a good buy-low target.
Lance Lynn-White Sox-SP
Lance Lynn went 6 IP and gave up 2 ER on 4 H, 2 BB, and 6 K's against the Royals. Lynn has a 6.28 ERA and 1.47 WHIP through 10 GS. His core skills look good (27% K, 7% BB, and 12% SwStr). Lynn has been crushed by bad luck on balls in play (.344 BABIP) and stranding runners (63% LOB). This is why his 3.76 SIERA is much better than his traditional ERA (6.28). It is hard to buy a pitcher with an ERA north of six but Lynn's underlying skills suggest that he is closer to the pitcher that we have come to expect than one of the worst starters in baseball. Bet on the skills and not the results with Lynn. He also gets a great matchup with the Tigers in Detroit, which is a pitcher-friendly park.
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