Jon Lester and Other Lucky Pitchers, Brent Suter Can Win You a Ring, Nick Pivetta Messed Up a Good Thing

Knowledge Drop July 8, 2018 – Bob Gibson Edition* (#45)

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*Bob Gibson was a bad man. He was much better than his career stats: 251-174, 2.91 ERA and 3117 Ks in 3884 innings over his 17 seasons with the Cardinals. He was a two-time Cy Young Award winner and one-time MVP (1968 when he went 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA.) Bad. Man.







Every four to six weeks here at Big Mac Fantasy Sports we try to look at over- and under-achievers to help you figure out what’s about to happen.

So far in 2018, we’ve used this approach to identify breakouts of Ross Stripling, Nicholas Castellanos, and Marcell Ozuna and we told you to be wary of the success of Kyle Gibson, Dylan Covey and Tommy Pham.  In fact, we called Pham’s skill statistics “an unmitigated disaster” and since that day, Pham has hit just .220, or 232nd of 299 hitters who have had at least 50 plate appearance since that date.

Today we’ll look at pitchers who have tossed at least 20 innings since June 1 to try to find you some summer aces (or at least waiver wire/trade target third starters?).

We’ll start with the overachievers. Here are the top 20 pitchers whose ERA was much lower than their FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching – how they *should* have performed:

Pitcher ERA FIP Diff
Jon Lester 1.4595 3.96 -2.50
Jesse Chavez 1.6615 4.05 -2.38
Wilmer Font 1.8000 4.08 -2.28
John Gant 2.6557 4.75 -2.09
Matt Koch 4.5634 6.63 -2.07
Ivan Nova 3.5217 5.40 -1.88
Blake Snell 1.3796 3.25 -1.87
Sean Manaea 2.7931 4.62 -1.83
Eric Lauer 2.6283 4.21 -1.58
CC Sabathia 2.0948 3.67 -1.57
Michael Wacha 4.6406 6.17 -1.53
Tyler Mahle 2.0420 3.55 -1.51
Jaime Barria 3.8152 5.24 -1.43
Kyle Freeland 2.8209 4.24 -1.42
Mike Leake 2.9348 4.34 -1.40
Mike Fiers 2.6591 4.05 -1.39
Sean Newcomb 3.8182 5.15 -1.33
Carlos Rodon 4.2897 5.62 -1.33
T.J. McFarland 2.2500 3.57 -1.32
Andrew Cashner 3.1765 4.45 -1.27


Lester shows up on this list almost every month and never ends up getting shelled.  Plus, if you have Lester on your roster, it’s not as if you’ll be cutting or trading him anyway. Dismiss Wacha and Rodon since their ERAs were nothing to write home about anyway.  So Blake Snell *should* have had a 3.25 ERA – he’ll remain a steady pitcher all season, though we won’t rule out a couple of five run innings fueled by bloops and hitter’s luck.

We continue to like Tyler Mahle, as we discussed early in the season, so keep an eye on him the rest of the way, but by and large this is a list of fringe or back of the rotation fantasy pitchers to begin with.  Now the fun part, the underachievers.  We’re listing the top 24 pitchers with FIPs under 4.50.  We are not saying you should roster a 4.50 ERA, but that these pitchers are on the fringe of Fantasy relevancy and you should watch their July performances:


Pitcher ERA FIP Diff
Paul Blackburn 7.16 3.56 3.60
Jon Gray 6.00 2.97 3.03
Jake Odorizzi 5.53 3.05 2.48
Wei-Yin Chen 6.17 3.75 2.42
Trevor Richards 5.52 3.29 2.23
Vince Velasquez 5.81 3.77 2.04
Carlos Carrasco 5.18 3.20 1.97
Chad Kuhl 6.17 4.37 1.81
Alex Cobb 6.17 4.47 1.71
Dallas Keuchel 5.09 3.46 1.63
Joe Musgrove 5.47 3.92 1.55
Sonny Gray 5.66 4.21 1.45
Chris Stratton 4.89 3.61 1.27
James Paxton 4.09 2.83 1.26
Zack Godley 5.65 4.40 1.24
Carlos Martinez 5.05 3.85 1.20
Patrick Corbin 3.19 2.00 1.19
Domingo German 5.29 4.33 0.97
Austin Pruitt 4.38 3.45 0.93
Jose Urena 3.64 2.72 0.92
Brent Suter 4.37 3.58 0.79
Trevor Bauer 2.20 1.45 0.76
Charlie Morton 3.79 3.07 0.72
Justin Verlander 4.06 3.39 0.67


If anyone in the Rockies front office had ever been to the Fangraphs website, Jon Gray would not be in the minor leagues.  Why does Vince Velasquez always wind up on the underachiever list – he’s the anti-Lester. This is a very nice list of solid Fantasy arms. Does Wei-Yin Chen inspire fear in the hearts of any of your league mates? Probably not, but he might be a solid, quiet option for the rest of the season.

James Paxton has Cy Young talent and Charlie Brown luck. Even last night, he dominated the Rockies (in Seattle) and surrendered a 3-run home run in the seventh inning to lose the game because the Mariners can’t score runs for him.  Zack Godley might be breaking through a little bit.  Some of these names are good “throw in” names in trades that could pay huge dividends. If you can get Brent Suter included in a deal, we like your moxie, and your prospects for a ring come October. After all he *should* have fared better than Jon Lester since June 1, but nobody (but Big Mac) will put them in the same sentence.

Throughout the month, we’ll look closer at the skillsets of many of these names. But now you know a bit more about what is going to happen in July and August, so run with the knowledge and go learn more.



Today @BatFlipCrazy is confused by Nick Pivetta’s approach:

Nick Pivetta changed his pitch mix recently and it’s been disastrous. FA (.375 BABIP career): 60.6% last 5 / 53.0% first 13 CU (.364): 27.0% / 22.4% SL (.242): 9.6% / 15.9% BABIP: .392 / .312

Nick Pivetta has pitched 4 games this year where he kept his fourseam under 50% of pitches. The results: 26 IP, 5 ER, 15 H, 4 BB, 32 K (1.73 ERA, 0.73 WHIP). Yes, small sample, but he should try it more often.



A man went into a party and drank some of the punch. He then left early. Everyone at the party who drunk the punch subsequently died of poisoning. Why did the man not die? (And he didn’t poison the punch)

Email your guess to


Thursday’s riddle:You had 10lbs of cucumbers, each of which consisted of 99% water. After leaving them in the sun, some of the water in the cucumbers evaporated. If the cucumbers ended up with 98% water in them, how much of their weight did they lose?

Nobody correctly guessed this one.  It was tough:  

The cucumbers lost half of their weight. If the water was 99% of the total weight, the remaining substance must have weighed 0.1lbs. If, after the evaporation, the substance comprises 2% = 1/50 of the cucumbers, the total weight must be 50×0.1lbs = 5lbs.







A man hurt his foot while driving.  Who did he call for help?









A toe truck

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