Knowledge Drop – May 8, 2018 – Jason Bay Edition*
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*We highlight Gonzaga grad Marco Gonzales. He hopes to be the second player ever from Gonzaga to make an All-Star team. Jason Bay, who did it three times, is the only Zag to appear in the mid-summer classic.
TOP KNOWLEDGE – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW
More on Marco …
We wanted to dive into our recommendation that you acquire Seattle SP Marco Gonzales from our Sunday “lucky/unlucky” pitchers column. After all, we are recommending a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery who carries a 5.17 ERA this season.
Tough sell, we know.
So here’s Marco Gonzales: A lefty out of Gonzaga University, he was the first round pick, 19th overall, by the Cardinals in 2013. He quickly impressed in the minors and was up with the big club in 2014, recording a 4-2 record and 4.15 ERA. His changeup is his signature pitch. Shoulder injuries plagued Gonzales in 2015, limiting him to just 2.2 MLB innings and another season in the minors. An elbow injury in the spring of 2016 resulted in Tommy John surgery; he returned to the majors in mid-2017 and was dealt to the Mariners in exchange for outfielder Tyler O’Neill.
Gonzales struggled to locate his pitches last season, as he worked on his arm strength and regaining his full repertoire. His fourseam fastball is average at best at averages 90-91 mph, though he’s hit 93.8 at one point this season. Gonzales has only generated a 5.7 percent Swinging Strike rate on the fastball in his brief career.
But he offers four other pitches, including that changeup, which produced a 25.4 Swinging Strike rate in his debut season and a 13.8 percent rate this season. Gonzales also features a sinker, a curveball, and this season introduced a cut fastball. Do you want to see what mixing your pitches looks like? Here’s a look at his pitch frequency so far in 2018:
You may not see a grouping of five pitches that tight again (don’t miss that yellow dot, the new cutter). He reintroduced the sinker and added the cutter. The secret to his success, he admits, is locating his fourseam and curveball to set up the changeup. He’s been more successful doing that with his curveball, throwing it for strikes 69 percent of the time (61 percent last year and 58 percent in 2014). The fourseam has been a consistent 61-62 percent strike. The cutter and sinker both are strikes 69 percent of the time and that changeup comes in at 70 percent.
As we pointed out on Sunday, Gonzales so far this season is 3-2 with a 5.17 ERA through seven starts. He has not walked more than one in a game; he owns a 9.87 K/9 and a 1.56 BB/9 mark, obviously both outstanding. The .400 BABIP against him is the biggest factor in his ERA and his 1.44 WHIP. Both should come down throughout the season.
Of recent note, he’s pitched six innings in three straight starts after failing to register five, four and three innings in his previous three starts (see BABIP)
What we expect the rest of the season? We don’t believe he’ll strike as many hitters out (maybe 8.5/9 the rest of the way) and he’s almost certain to walk a few more (2.3 per 9?). The biggest factor for the soft-tossing Gonzales is maintaining his progress on his curveball. It’s been above average with about 40 percent more movement so far this season. Locating the fourseam to set up the changeup is about as important, but we love young pitchers with four or five credible pitches.
We see Gonazles as a middle of the rotation starter and someone who is about to improve on his stats. He’ll be plenty useful on your Fantasy team, so go place a bid on him. It won’t cost you hardly anything and you’ll get great value for that dollar.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Today @BatFlipCrazy is somewhat worried about Patrick Corbin….
He lost 4 mph from previous start, which is obviously big. It’s just one start but definitely worth monitoring.
Follow @BatFlipCrazy on Twitter and read more in-depth data analysis at batflipcrazy.com
RIDDLE ME THIS
One absentminded ancient philosopher forgot to wind up his big clock hanging on the wall in the house. He had no radio, TV, telephone, internet, or any other means for telling time. So he traveled on foot to his friend’s place a mile down the straight desert road. He stayed at his friend’s house for the night and when he came back home, he knew how to set his clock.
How will he set his clock?
The first reader to email the correct guess will win an additional free month’s subscription – a whopping $4 value!!! Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
Nobody correctly guessed how you would extract the ping pong ball from the bottom of a one-foot tube from Sunday’s riddle. The answer is that your tools were useless; you needed to fill the tube with water (or any liquid) to raise the ball to the top.
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
Because bad jokes fuel our world.
What’s brown and sticky?
WHAT WE ARE LISTENING TO
You might gather from our riddles and jokes that we see Fantasy sports as incredibly fun, but ultimately low on life’s priority list.. It’s a great distraction from life. But we can’t and shouldn’t hide from life. Childish Gambino (Donald Glover) debuted “This is America” while hosting SNL. It’s a harsh, but artistic look at violence and race in America. You’ll have to watch the video several times to catch everything, but it’s worth it.