Baseball is back tonight. Next week will be a bit tricky for this feature, so we'll be taking a break, coming back in the last week of July. Until then, here's your pitching standouts, complete with a reversal of award policy by yours truly.
Our two honorable mentions had opposite starts. Obie's peripherals say he was worse than his run prevention implies while Keuchel was better than the runs he actually allowed. That's sort of par for the course with Oberholtzer, who pitched well down the stretch for Houston without eye-popping peripheral stats.
He doesn't strike anyone out, but he's never struck anyone out. That's just not his thing. What he does is avoid walking anyone. In 141 career big league innings, Obie's only got 30 walks. He's one of just 10 Astros in history to post a BB/9 rate lower than 2.00 in at least 140 innings.
Ho-hum. Though Keuchel gave up a ton of runs in his 6 2/3 innings against Anaheim, he didn't walk anyone and got a ton of ground balls. That's enough to make his FIP nearly half as big as his ERA actually ended up in his one start.
Here's hoping that the All-Star break allowed Keuchel enough time to ehal and that he can get back to being his dominant self in the second half.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Jump in now. Here's the FanDuel link.
Relievers, man. As I get older, they stay the saaaaaame mix of volatility and small sample size. How valuable is a good reliever? Can a reliever out-produce a starter in any given week?
My general leaning on this issue is, "No." Relievers are important, but they just don't throw enough innings in any given week to view them on the same level as a team's starter.
That makes this piece slightly less interesting. Instead of a full staff of 12 players competing for the award, it basically boils down to five guys ever week, with a reliever or two thrown into honorable mentions.
Except, this week, the only guy who made two starts was Brad Peacock and he only threw six total innings. That's why Fields' four innings of work wins the top spot here. He wasn't just good in those innings; he was great. He gave up two baserunners, and one of those came on an intentional walk. He struck out seven of the 14 batters he faced, getting one hold and one blown save in the process.
No other Astros pitcher had as many strikeouts as Field amassed in his four innings. For the season, Fields has now struck out 34 percent of the batters he's faced. That's puts him 12th in all of MLB among relievers while his FIP of 2.10 is 16th-best. Since he was recalled on May 17, Fields has posted a K rate of 42 percent (up there with Aroldis Chapman) and a FIP of 1.15. He's also had six Shut Downs to just one Melt Down (after posting 2 SDs and 3 MDs in his first stint).
I guess what I'm saying is that Fields has suddenly become the best reliever on the team and has been since the middle of May. He's absoutely justfiying his loftly status in the Rule 5 draft and has been one of the biggest reasons why Houston's bullpen has been effective this season.
If that doesn't win him at least one Pitcher of the Week award, I wouldn't be fair. Now, we'll get you back to your regularly scheduled programming when Dallas Keuchel wins the next one of these.