Several interesting young pitchers take to the mound this weekend, and fantasy managers are looking into these players as potential additions to their squads.
Give us your season outlook for these players and let us know if you'd use them in their starts this weekend.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: Nick Kingham (Friday @ MIL)
From a full-season perspective, I don't feel any different about Kingham than I did when we discussed on Monday his impressive big league debut. I think he's a serviceable back-end-of-a-rotation starter with fantasy value within range of teammates Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams. What has changed since, however, is that I feel a little better about career matchup No. 2 against the Milwaukee Brewers, as well as the future plans for the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation.
To the former point, the Brewers have run cold over the past week-plus, and they have a lot of swing-and-miss in their lineup, with 13 double-digit strikeout games in their past 28 as a team. I'd much prefer this game be played at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, however, and I lean to this being a flat "no" on using Kingham in anything resembling a 15-team traditional mixed league or smaller. A case can be made -- mostly about the Brewers' unfamiliarity with the right-hander -- but it's risky.
To the latter point, Kingham will be pitching for his rotation spot each time out, in all likelihood. Joe Musgrove has begun a rehabilitation assignment and was originally ticketed for Kingham's No. 5 spot in the Pirates' rotation, and once Musgrove is ready someone will likely be bumped. There's just no guarantee Kingham is here to stay.
Eric Karabell: Caleb Smith (Saturday @ CIN)
I just can't see Caleb Smith continuing to strike hitters out at this rate for long. He's currently up there on a rate basis with Max Scherzer. That's crazy.
Smith has avoided walks of late, and sure, he seems worthy of being relied upon against the woeful Reds, but I would be looking to pawn him off before it is too late.
For one, even if he were to strike everyone out over 30 starts, how many games can he win in Miami? Ten? There's too much risk for me long term, but Saturday in the Queen City, sure.
Kyle Soppe: Tyler Skaggs (Saturday @ SEA)
I'd say that, up to this point, Skaggs has outproduced my expectations as much as any pitcher, and I'd certainly plug him in against the Mariners this weekend. Seattle relies heavily on its left-handed hitters to produce scoring opportunities, so the fact that the Mariners won't own a platoon edge is encouraging, not to mention that lefties have produced a feeble .167/.211/.278 batting line against Skaggs this season.
While I'm willing to roll with him in this spot, I'm not comfortable investing long term in Skaggs' continued success. Sure, the FIP is in lockstep with the ERA thus far, but I don't see this run of fantasy goodness extending into the summer months. His ground ball rate is up more than 5 percentage points from his career norm without a major change in pitch philosophy, something that should serve as a major red flag, given the quality of contact that is being made against him.
Consider this: The percentage of hard-hit balls against Skaggs ranks in the same tier as Jhoulys Chacin (5.24 FIP) and Jake Odorizzi (5.55 FIP). Yikes! As Tristan would say, I think you can juice the orange this weekend, but I'd project ratios moving forward that more mirror his career averages than his current 2018 output.