There have been 316 no-hitters thrown in the history of Major League Baseball. Not every single no-no was thrown by Hall of Famers (or Hall of Famers to be) such as Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax or Max Scherzer.
Homer Bailey, owner of a 4.56 career ERA, threw two no-nos. Do you remember Chris Heston? Henderson Alvarez? Kent Mercker? Ramon J. Martinez? Greg Maddux? Oh, wait, he never threw one.
No-hitters don’t equal stardom — or even fantasy usefulness. They’re just impressive feats.
On Tuesday, the Angels’ Reid Detmers threw a no-hitter in the 11th start of his career. He became the youngest pitcher to throw one since Anibal Sanchez in 2006, and the youngest Angel since Clyde Wright in 1970.
One would think this type of performance from a 22-year-old former first-round pick (10th-overall in 2020) might make him a hot fantasy commodity. Well, it hasn’t. He was the 16th-most added pitcher in ESPN leagues — his ownership jumping from 4.2 percent to 9.4. It remains available in 84 percent of Yahoo leagues.
The lack of movement is justified.
Detmers struck out two batters Tuesday, the lowest strikeout total in a no-hitter since Francisco Liriano also struck out two in 2011. That isn’t a complete shock considering Detmers is striking out just 5.8 per nine innings this season (6.8 per nine over his 11 career starts).
Detmers’ strikeout totals are shocking, especially after he racked up 15.7 strikeouts per nine in his one season in the minors and 13.4 per nine over three seasons at the University of Louisville.
Detmers also sports an unsustainable .176 BaBIP, which would be the second-lowest among starters if he qualified. His .165 opponent average looks incredible, but his expected .255 batting average against doesn’t look as good. Nor does his 3.80 xERA, or his 4.06 FIP, or his 4.34 xFIP.
Those numbers look even worse when you consider that, of the 108 pitches Detmers threw on Tuesday, he generated just 10 swinging strikes (9.3 percent). He has a 7.9 percent swinging-strike rate for the season and 9.5 percent in his career. He is showing little to no ability to miss bats, and he doesn’t bode well that this was also just the second time in his brief career that he pitched more than five innings in a game.
Can fantasy owners pick up Detmers in the hope his no-no will be the catalyst to allow him to live up to his draft status? Sure, and no one would mock you for making such a move. But Roto Rage believes there are other young pitchers worth adding instead.
Oakland’s Paul Blackburn was 4-0 with a 0.87 WHIP, .214 opponent average and 1.74 ERA before taking the mound on Saturday. Though he is striking out just 7.5 per nine innings, he is walking 0.87 per nine, has a 10.9 percent swinging-strike rate and his xERA (2.87), FIP (2.16) and xFIP (2.55) indicate he should continue to be a viable option. He is available in about 40 percent of ESPN leagues.
In his first 16 ²/₃ innings, mostly multi-inning relief outings, Atlanta’s Spencer Strider (0-1, 2.16 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) has struck out 36.4 percent of the batters he has faced, with a 15.9 percent swinging-strike rate . Opponents are hitting .158 against him, including .174 against his high-90s fastball (with a 30.6 percent whiff rate) and .100 against his slider (with a 42.9 percent whiff rate). He is rostered in just 7.2 percent of ESPN leagues and has a real good shot of joining Atlanta’s rotation.
Seattle’s George Kirby, who took the mound Saturday against the Mets, struck out seven over six scoreless innings in his big league debut last Sunday. Most impressive was his 17.3 percent swinging-strike rate and the fact he didn’t walk a batter. He was the most added pitcher in ESPN leagues this week.
Other options could include Minnesota’s Josh Winder (second-most added pitcher in ESPN leagues this week), the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin (despite his ugly 4.33 walks per nine), the Yankees’ Jameson Taillon or Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie (if he is available) , who has kept his walks in check and is 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA, .204 opponent average and 29 strikeouts over his past five starts.
Manuel Margot OF, Rays
Entered Friday with a nine-game hit streak and at least one RBI in seven of those games. He was 15-for-31 (.484) with three homers, 13 RBIs, eight runs, four stolen bases and a 1.418 OPS in that span.
Merrill Kelly SP, Diamondbacks
Hasn’t allowed more than three ERs in any of his seven starts, and is 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 25-7 strikeout-walk rate in his past five starts.
Josh Naylor 1B/OF, Guardians
At least one RBI in eight of his past 10 games entering Friday, going 14-for-36 (.389) with four homers, 17 RBIs and a 1.203 OPS in that span.
Justin Verlander SP, Astros
After taking the loss in his season debut, he is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA, 29-3 strikeout-walk rate and .145 opponent average in his past five starts.
Eugenio Suarez 3B, Mariners
Struck out at least once in each of his past 17 games entering Friday, going 10-for-64 (.156) with 27 strikeouts and a .594 OPS.
Hunter Greene SP, Reds
Over his past five starts, the 22-year-old went 0-5 with an 8.14 ERA, 28-13 strikeout-walk rate and a .304 opponent average. He allowed nine home runs in that span (21 innings).
Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B, Dodgers
Despite walking 13 times, was 4-for-34 (.118) with one homer, two RBIs, 10 strikeouts and a .626 OPS over his previous 12 games before Friday.
Zach Plesac SP, Guardians
Since collecting his first win April 21, he is 0-2 with a 8.40 ERA, 10-8 strikeout-walk rate, three homers allowed and a .262 opponent average.
– As the Mets’ DH, Pete Alonso is 11-for-35 (.314) with five homers, 15 RBIs and a 1,185 OPS. When he plays first, he is 24-for-91 (.264) with three homers, 13 RBIs and a .726 OPS. He is crushing righties (.301, 7 HRs, 25 RBIs, .910 OPS) but struggling vs. lefties (.174, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, .601 OPS).
– In 11 appearances since April 14, Oakland’s Dany Jiménez is 1-1 with six saves (in six chances) over 11 scoreless innings. He is striking out 10.4 per nine innings, has a 13.2 percent swinging strike rate and opponents are hitting .167 against him. Still available in 75 percent of ESPN leagues.
– In 17 games between April 24 and Thursday, Cincinnati’s Tommy Pham raised his average from .133 to .245 after going 20-for-61 (.328) with two homers, eight RBIs, 17 runs, 13 walks, one stolen base and a .938 OPS. He is vastly underowned (41 percent at ESPN and Yahoo).
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