Morning Read: A ton of people have asked me about Luis Castillo yesterday, probably because I am a Castillo lover. Why are people asking? Well through five starts Castillo has a 6.29 ERA, 5.32 FIP, and 17.1 K%. That strikeout rate is literally half of what he produced last season.
The elephant in the room is Luis Castillo's velocity. Last season his four-seam averaged 97.4 MPH but we have to remember that he had a big increase in velocity from 2019 to 2020. Possibly because of the shortened season, he threw harder. In 2019 he averaged 96.4 MPH. Last night he averaged 95.8 MPH. Want to know what he averaged in his first five starts in 2019? 95.6 MPH. Castillo could just be slow to build up his velocity. And to note: in 2019 he finished with a 3.40 ERA.
What I do find interesting is his increase in vertical break on both of his changeup and slider. It looks like, at least for the slider, he is having trouble commanding the increase in movement. Which leads me to his command overall. He has been leaving his four-seam over the plate a ton, so much that the bright red spot on his chart is literally over the center of the plate. Command struggles seem to be the problem here. The good news is Castillo actually typically has had good command. But what about all of the walks? Castillo loves to live outside of the zone and just because he typically has a high walk rate doesn't mean he has zero command.
Now in his last start, Castillo decided to go breaking ball heavy. He mainly threw his changeup and slider which could be the game plan, but it could also mean he has lost faith in his fastball. That's something to watch moving forward.
So where does this leave us? I really think the velocity comes back and it's just a weird start for Castillo with cold weather, plus he is actually on par with his 2019 velocity readings. If it doesn't go up to 96.5 MPH like it eventually did in 2019 then we might have some worry. The thing is, Castillo's pitches are too good to be this bad. Even if the fastball isn't as good I can't see why he can't get by mainly using that changeup and slider. If you drafted him you have to hold, you don't really have a choice as you have invested too much capital. Plus it's not like you can trade him for second-round value. I will say this, if I were a betting man I would say Castillo rebounds.
Today's Streamer: Adam Wainwright has always been a better pitcher at home. He takes on a Phillies offense that has struggled against right-handed pitching. With the Phillies being near the top in SwStr% in the last seven days he could see a decent amount of strikeouts as well.
Shallow League Option: Anthony DeSclafani is the top play today if he is available in your league. The Rockies just aren't the same offense when on the road and now they go into San Francisco, a park that is very pitcher-friendly. Tony Disco has been good as well with a 21.2 K-BB% in the last 14 days.
Deep League Option: Spencer Turnbull had an impressive first outing last week showcasing his solid four-seam fastball and fantastic slider. Turnbull has a deep arsenal and typically utilizes it very well. He takes on the Royals, an offense that can disappear at times.
Looking For Strikeouts: Adam Wainwright.
Looking For Quality Starts: Adam Wainwright.
Looking For Wins: Anthony DeSclafani.
Looking For Ratios: Anthony DeSclafani.
Tomorrow's Streamers: Jakob Junis.
The Day After: Mike Minor (stream of the week)/J.A. Happ.
Link to full chart: Here
Explanation of chart: Here