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MLB Today: Kutter Crawford Racking Up Ks

August 7, 2022 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Kutter Crawford has been striking out batters for the Boston Red Sox.
Kutter Crawford has been mostly dependable. (Jeffrey Hayes)

Sure, we already did our full Fantasy baseball waiver wire picks column on Saturday, but we’re back with some bonus content.

Boston Red Sox SP Kutter Crawford (ESPN: 14.3 per cent; CBS: 33 per cent) is a hurler that hasn’t really caught Fantasy owners’ attention, until recently that is.

The rookie was roughed up in his second start of the season, and had a poor outing on Sunday, but otherwise has given up just three earned runs or fewer in all six of his other starts, including four with one earned run or fewer. In fact, since the start of July, Crawford’s ERA was an eye-opening 2.38 before Sunday.

Opponents hit just .200 against him last month, and by beating the powerful Astros on Tuesday, he was able to even his record (although that changed after Sunday’s outing). Crawford’s control has been good this season (thankfully, the video below is rare footage), while he’s increased his velocity over what he showed in his MLB debut last year.

This is a dude who flashed tremendous strikeout rates in the minors, so there may yet be some upside here, and the fact he’s been harder to barrel this year is also a good sign. The advanced stats suggest his ERA is the real deal.

Crawford is surrendering less medium and hard contact, and the fact that balls hit to centre field are dramatically down also suggests he’s not being squared up as often. He’s been employing his cutter and changeup more, while introducing a slider, so hasn’t been using his fastball or curve as often. The mix has worked, as Crawford’s fastball has gotten slightly better results, while the slider, cutter and curve have all been positive offerings.

Opposing hitters are taking more called strikes, and are generally swinging less — whether the pitches are in the strike zone or not.

An early season demotion to Triple-A really brought home some of the issues he was having, and he’s been a different pitcher since… one that finally deserves your Fantasy attention.

Quick Hits

  • We recommended Jose Quintana early in the season, and although he’s been somewhat inconsistent, the good has outweighed the bad. Traded to the Cards at the deadline, he paid immediate dividends in his debut, tossing six innings of one-hit, one-run ball with seven punchouts. Quintana is enjoying his finest season since 2017, and could even threaten his career-best 2016 level.
  • Bryse Wilson, who was considered for the Wire Troll All-Stars last year, has had a tough season in his first full year as a rotation member for the Pirates. However, he flashed his potential on Sunday with five very effective frames, in which he allowed just a solo homer and whiffed five without a free pass against a decent Orioles’ squad (yes, that still sounds like non sequitur, doesn’t it?).
  • Speaking of that Oriole lineup, one black hole has been Robinson Chirinos, who has struggled to hit his way out of a wet paper bag this year. However, after another hit and walk on Sunday, he’s 4-for-6 with a homer, two RBI and a walk in his last two starts. On the plus side, his walk rate keeps bouncing back… not to the superb level he flashed in 2019, but enough to help take some of the sting away in OBP leagues.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

Canadian singer Corneille was originally born in Germany. From his 2002 debut album, here’s “Avec Classe.”

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