Knowledge Drop – April 26, 2018 — Ernie Banks Edition
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* Ernie Banks wore #14 for 19 seasons for the Cubs, earning more WAR than any long-time #14. At least those who never agreed to a lifetime ban for betting on baseball while in uniform.
A Mahle-able Starter
Tyler Mahle on Tuesday night had this line: 6 IP, 3 ER. Barely a quality start, right? Hardly. The 23-year-old Mahle whiffed 11 hitters and entered the 7th inning with a no-hitter.
He was brilliant for the first two-thirds of the game. But as a pitcher who had never whiffed even 10 hitters in any professional game, his Tuesday start against the Braves was a coming out party of sorts. He’s had a mediocre season, posting a 5.14 ERA and a 1-3 record before Tuesday. And counting his 27 innings this year, Tyler Mahle has now tossed 47 total MLB innings.
But we like what we see so far and we’re buying Mahle for the rest of the season.
Throughout the minors, Mahle featured four pitches: Four-seam fastball, change-up, slider, and curveball. He lacked confidence in his curve and has yet to throw it this season. But he’s doubled up on the change-up and he’s been reaching 95 mph on his fastball. Mahle’s swinging strike rate is only about 9 percent. So he has a bit of work to do, but he does offer three solid pitches and potentially a fourth.
This is interesting when we looked at his trips around the batting order:
First time through the order: 1.59 ERA, .200 batting average, 22 Ks, 4 BB, 1 HR
Second: 1.50 ERA, .167 batting average, 5 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR
Third: 27.00 ERA, .609 batting average, 4 Ks, 2 BB, 5 HR
Mahle’s been dominant the first time around the order, more effective the second time and a disaster the third time. Let’s look closer:
1st time: 17.5 k/9, BABIP .412, xFIP 1.58
2nd time: 3.9 k/9, BABIP .167, xFIP 4.39
3rd time: 9.8 k/9, BABIP .643, xFIP 6.43
He’s been living on borrowed time that 2nd time through the order. But he has already faced nine more hitters in the 2nd time through the order than all of last season. For Mahle, it’s all about accumulating those innings and experience.
We are buying, but the plug is short. His inability to whiff hitters the second time through the lineup will stop any 2018 momentum he builds unless he can reverse it soon.
Tyler is more a keeper/dynasty play, but we do see lightning in his arm. With some mentoring and quick learning, he can be a very good Fantasy value this season.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Leonys Martin is a hero for the ages. Hitters hurt themselves on foul balls every day, but few have endured foul balls in the area of their, um, foul balls. He not only recovered, after surely seeing stars and squeaking for a couple of minutes, but then he launched a home run. They should erect a statue honoring Martin right away in Detroit
You can read about it and see it here: https://usat.ly/2r2kqvL