2013 Fantasy BaseballAndrew Miller

2013 Fantasy Baseball Rookie Report, Week 9: Ryu, Lyons, Skaggs dominate

It was definitely a mixed week for rookie pitchers. Hyun-Jin Ryu continued his early success with a shutout of the Angels, and Tyler Lyons pitched his second straight good game. Tyler Skaggs shutout the Rangers over six innings Monday before being sent back down to Triple-A.

Ryu threw his first career shutout Wednesday night, limiting the Angels to two hits while striking out seven and walking none. A factor in Ryu’s early success has been his ability to get hitters out even without overpowering velocity, and last night was no different. Even though his average fastball velocity was as high or higher than it’s been all year, he still just averaged 91 mph on his four-seamer. However, he threw it for strikes 72 percent of the time and was even better with his two-seamer, throwing it for 12 of 14 strikes. He got five whiffs on just 24 change-ups, and three more on just 10 sliders. In fact, both of Ryu’s hits, which were sandwiched around him retiring 19 straight hitters, were on his fastball.

Photo credit: Chris Trotman - Getty Images North America

Tyler Lyons, St. Louis’s latest production in its never-ending line of talented young starters, threw his second straight seven-inning, one-run performance Wednesday. Last week the victim was San Diego, and this week it was Kansas City. The 25-year-old lefty has only allowed six hits while striking out nine and walking only two in his first two major league starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Lyons is the only active pitcher to throw at least seven innings without allowing more than one run in each of his first two major league starts. Like Ryu, Lyons doesn’t have overpowering velocity, as he topped out at only 93 mph Wednesday night. There are contradicting reports on Brooks Baseball about what all Lyons throws, but both his two-seamer and four-seamer average right around 90 mph. He also throws a change-up and slider that both average right around 82 mph. He throws his fastball(s) a majority of the time, but he’s thrown his slider 15 percent of the time and his change-up 13 percent of the time to keep hitters off-balance. Lyons allowed very little hard contact Wednesday, as he retired 17 straight batters after and before Billy Butler recorded hits in the first and seventh innings, respectively, the latter of which was a bloop just inside the right field foul line. Lyons has quickly picked up The Cardinal Way, pitching low in the zone, generating ground balls. His spot in the rotation seems pretty secure as Jaime Garcia is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery. I’d be hesitant to rely on him in anything other than 14-team leagues or deeper, however.

Tyler Skaggs made his first big league start in 2013 on Monday, filling in for Ian Kennedy who cut his finger washing dishes. Seriously. Skaggs was sent back to Triple-A after the game, even though he struck out nine in just six innings against a tough Rangers’ lineup. He gave up three hits and walked three. Skaggs, 21, is a name to put away in the back of your brain as the Arizona rotation is compiled of five quality starters. There’s a good chance he’ll be back up sometime later in the year to fill in for an injury, but don’t expect too many starts. Skaggs was dominant Monday, throwing three quality pitches and getting 23 and 31 percent whiff rates, respectively, on his change-up and curveball.

On the other hand, Kevin Gausman allowed three homers to the light-hitting Nationals in only four innings. He didn’t record a strikeout and only had two swinging strikes. The Orioles plan to start Gausman Sunday against Detroit, which has one of the top offenses in the game. Gausman’s counterpart Wednesday was Nathan Karns, a 25-year-old making his first career major league start. Karns only went 4.1 innings in an unimpressive debut, but will make another start Sunday against the Braves while Ross Detwiler remains on the DL with an oblique injury. Preseason scouting reports from MLB.com and Keith Law talked Karns up and raved about his fastball, which goes up to 97, and an above-average curveball. The righty struck out over a batter an inning in 216.1 career minor league innings, and Law says the righty could be a front-line starter in the future.

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