Brandon Pfaadt, SP, ARI
Pfaadt struggled in his MLB debut on Wednesday, allowing 7 ER's on 9 hits (including 4 HR's) in 4.2 IP against the Rangers, while striking out 3 and walking 1. He had allowed 2 runs on 4 hits through the first 4 innings, but then fell apart in the 5th inning, allowing 5 more hits including 2 doubles and 2 HR's. He has been one of the top strikeout pitchers in the minors over the past year or so, amassing 248 K's in 192.1 IP between AA and AAA since the start of last season. One would think that some of that will carry over to the big leagues despite the modest strikeout total on Wednesday. More concerning is his propensity for the long ball; he has allowed 33 HR's in the minors since the start of 2022 and his ground ball rates are consistently below 40%. That makes him a risky play for you ratios even if he does provide strikeouts.
Gavin Stone, SP, LAD
Stone made his MLB debut on Wednesday and got roughed up by the Phillies, allowing 5 runs (4 ER's) on 8 hits and 2 BB's in 4 IP while striking out ust 1. Stone was sensational in AA and AAA last season, recording a 13.03 K/9 and 1.49 ERA across the two levels. He hasn't been quite as sharp across 6 MiLB starts this season and his BB/9 at AAA this season is 4.38 through 24.2 IP. It's probably best to wait and see whether he can take some of last year's success and bring it to the major league level.
Shane Bieber, SP, CLE
Bieber allowed 2 ER's on 5 hits and 1 BB in 8 IP against the Yankees on Wednesday, striking out 4 in the outing. Bieber's strikeout rate has now dropped to a disturbingly low 5.91 K/9 and his EV allowed has jumped from 89 the past 3 years to 93 this season. Yet he has somehow maintained a 2.96 ERA despite a 4.44 xFIP. He has benefitted from a .246 BABIP even though he is getting hit harder than ever before. Bieber still has strong surface stats - he's 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA - so if you can find an owner who wants to treat him like an ace, it's worth trying to sell before things start regressing.
Alex Lange, RP, DET
Lange recorded his 4th save of the season against the Mets on Wednesday, pitching a scoreless 9th inning with 1 K and 1 BB. After struggling a bit in his first few appearances this season, Lange has now pitched 10 scoreless innings over his last 10 appearances with a 16:3 K:BB during that span. He seems locked in as the Tigers closer right now, and is available in more than 90% of ESPN leagues! The Tigers aren't a great team but they should still provide enough save opportunities to make him a worthwhile pickup.
Max Scherzer, SP, NYM
Scherzer returned from his suspension to face the Tigers on Wednesday, and was pummeled for 6 ER's on 8 hits (2 HR's) and 1 BB in 3.1 IP, while striking out 3. His ERA has shot up to 5.56 through 5 starts this season, and his 5.59 xFIP indicates that he has deserved this fate. Scherzer's current 7.94 K/9 would be the worst of his career and he hasn't been below 10 K/9 since 2011. His 3.97 BB/9 would also easily be a career worst; over the past 8 years, he has recorded a 1.95 BB/9. Besides for that, Scherzer has an awful 24.2% GB% and has been susceptible to the long ball allowing 6 HR's across 22.2 IP after giving up just 13 HR's across 145.1 IP last season. His velocity is down to its lowest mark since 2014 and he's getting hit harder than ever before. It's still too early to give up on him, but I would be concerned that he isn't going to meet the lofty expectations of him.
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