The Major League Baseball All-Star break has ended, but we continue our first half recap by looking at the pitchers that have surprised and disappointed through the first three months.
Three Up For Pitchers:
1. Chicago White Sox Starting Pitcher Lucas Giolito -- The right-hander was a top prospect but has struggled to establish himself in the big leagues. However, that has changed in 2019 as the 24-year-old is tied for the most wins in baseball with 11 and has pitched to a 3.15 ERA. The youngster has also struck out 120 in 100 innings. The talent has always been there, and now it is finally coming together in a big way. Giolito should continue to help fantasy owners throughout the rest of the summer.
2. Cincinnati Reds Starting Pitcher Luis Castillo -- This is a frustrating one as I was all over Castillo in 2018, but he failed to take the next step as he finished the season with a 4.30 ERA. Like Giolito, the production is finally matching the talent and the 26-year-old is pitching lights out with a 2.29 ERA, which ranks second in baseball. He also has 124 strikeouts in 106 innings pitched. I'm a huge fan of Castillo, so I think this is only the beginning of a great career which bodes well for fantasy owners this season and in future years.
3. Texas Rangers Starting Pitcher Mike Minor -- When a pitcher is drafted as the 105th starting pitcher, yet ranks fifth in baseball with a 2.54 ERA, he has to crack this list. The left-hander has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners this season. I wish the strikeout rate was higher, but he has still racked up 114 in 117 innings pitched. Regardless, finding a pitcher like this off the waiver wire and getting the lift that he has provided is huge for fantasy owners through the first three months.
Three Down For Pitchers:
1. Tampa Bay Rays Starting Pitcher Blake Snell -- The good news for Snell is that he has allowed just three earned runs in his last two starts. The bad news for Snell is his season ERA is still at 4.70. That's not going to cut it when you were the eighth starting pitcher drafted back in March. Snell is one of the best pitchers in baseball, but hasn't lived up to those expectations. I do think he is in store for a big second half, so he still has a chance to pay off his draft day value.
2. Colorado Rockies Starting Pitcher Kyle Freeland -- The left-hander went from pitching to a 2.85 ERA in 2018 to getting demoted to the minors in 2019. Trusting a pitcher on the Rockies is always risky, and Freeland showed why. He was pitching to an ugly 7.13 ERA before his demotion.
3. New York Mets Reliever Edwin Diaz -- During a season in which teams are using closer by committees and there hasn't been as much turnover as recent years, fantasy owners who made an investment in a reliever need him to come through. That hasn't been the case with Diaz, who was the first relief pitcher drafted in March, according to FantasyPros.com. The right-hander has blown four saves and has a 5.50 ERA. Diaz has 19 saves which is huge, but the ERA along with the 1.46 WHIP is killing the pitching ratios for fantasy owners.