It’s not uncommon to see some star hurlers struggle in April. Some of them are still trying new pitches, having some control blips, or struggling with temperatures. Expecting some of these pitchers to have bounce back performances in short order is a wise strategy, depending on the case.
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Potential Bounce Back Pitchers From May On
Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
Owning Chris Sale has been like a roller-coaster ride in recent years. However, if you do have him on your team, now is not the time to cut bait. Patience is required.
Yes, he has a putrid 8.22 ERA in 23 frames. Yes, he has allowed five homers and ten walks over that span. But he has also struck out 30 hitters and has had outings in which his trademark four-seamer-slider combo looks like his vintage version.
Sale hasn’t pitched a lot in recent years with a litany of injuries. That’s why anyone with shares knows better than looking to drop or trade after five outings. Both his fastball velocity and swinging strike rates are close to where he wants them to be. He is one of the premier bounce back pitchers in the league from May on.
Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati Reds
Lodolo has a 6.31 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP in 25.1 innings as of Sunday afternoon. His two most recent starts have been a disaster, with 14 runs surrendered in 8.2 frames. In addition, his 93.6 mph average fastball velocity is almost a full mph down from his 94.5 mph from last season.
Those signs and facts are difficult to ignore. However, he also has a 9/37 BB/K ratio, youth (25 years old), and recent success (3.66 ERA) over a much larger sample (103.1 innings) last year.
Pitchers often struggle to hit top velocity in the first couple of weeks of the season because of weather-related reasons. Others are yet hit their stride so close to the spring. In any case, Lodolo also struggled in the first month last year, with a 5.52 ERA, and had a great year overall. He will be fine.
Jose Berrios, Toronto Blue Jays
Let’s start with the facts. Jose Berrios has a 4.71 ERA, a year after posting a 5.23 mark. If that’s not enough to scare away people, consider the 12 earned runs he allowed in his first two starts of the 2023 campaign.
Here is why he is one of the league’s premier bounce back pitchers, though: he has a 5/30 BB/K ratio in 28.2 innings, he has conceded just three earned runs in his last 19 frames, and he plays in front of a potent offense with the potential for a lot of wins. We had told you he was a prime buy-low guy, and we are doubling down.
Jose Berríos was feelin it tonight pic.twitter.com/pMZhZVH7Jk
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 26, 2023
It might not be easy to forget about Berrios’ lousy 2022, but he trained to be better. And he is achieving it. After his horrendous pair of outings to start off his year, all of his numbers have improved. The ERA will follow in short order.
Former Cy Young Winners Will Likely Rebound
Blake Snell, San Diego Padres
Snell has been one of the biggest disappointments at the season’s outset. He has a horrible 5.48 ERA and 1.87 WHIP combo in 23 innings, with a lousy 18/26 BB/K ratio.
The Padres’ left-hander is bound to bounce back at some point if you have some patience. Five starts are not enough to declare him “toast,” He had a 3.38 ERA and a 2.80 FIP last year. He didn’t forget how to pitch but has been having some control issues.
These problems of throwing strikes are not unheard of for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner. And he has been able to overcome them in the past, so why should things be different this time? His velocity (95 mph on average) is not that far off his usual marks, and the same can be said about his 12.7 percent swinging strike rate.
He won’t have a negative WAR (-0.2) for long, so act accordingly.
Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins
The Marlins ace, reigning winner of the NL Cy Young award, is sporting a 5.04 ERA in 30.1 innings. Many of his run-prevention problems stem from his abnormally low 51.9 percent strand rate. His career mark is 73.8 percent, so expect some positive regression on that front.
Alcantara is probably not posting a 2.28 ERA again, but something around 3.00 is not only possible but likely. He is still a staff ace and will give you seven or eight innings in most outings. He is one of the most valuable assets in fantasy and one of the most obvious bounce back pitchers in the league.