You want to talk perfect? Let's start with Mary Poppins, who's practically perfect in every way, and then continue down the list. Eventually, we'll arrive at Domingo German, who may be literally perfect, but only in this one way: He went a full nine innings without allowing a baserunner Wednesday.
I don't want to say it's not a big deal. He's only the 24th pitcher in major-league history to do it and the first since Felix Hernandez in 2012. But it's not like the list is a who's who of aces. Some of the others to accomplish the feat in the not-so-distant past include Philip Humber and Dallas Braden. And also Armando Galarraga, though he didn't get credit for his.
So from a historical perspective, yes, it's a big huge deal. From German's personal perspective, of course it's a big deal. He gets a photographic moment and a story to pass down through the generations.
But I'm in the forecasting business, OK? And from that perspective, I'm obligated to point out how imperfect German is. In the two starts leading up to this one, he had allowed 15 earned runs over 5 1/3 innings.
NYY N.Y. Yankees • Age: 31
A perfect game? Cool story, bro. Now let's start poking holes in it. It came against an Athletics lineup that ranks dead last in runs scored (among other major offensive categories). It came from a guy who entered the day with a 5.10 ERA, not to mention a 5.05 xERA and 5.29 FIP. It came after a disastrous two-start stretch in which that guy allowed 15 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, causing him to be dropped far and wide in Fantasy. But wait, you ask, doesn't that mean German was worth rostering at one time? You have a point there. Three starts ago, his ERA was 3.49. Even now, following the perfect game, his WHIP is 1.05. He entered with the same swinging-strike rate (13.5 percent) as Shohei Ohtani. There are isolated things that German does well, and sometimes they all come together for a great outcome. But the volatility is considerable.
CLE Cleveland • #63 • Age: 24
That's more like it for Williams. After underwhelming in his big-league debut against the Athletics last week, he followed up with an impressive start against a similarly weak Royals lineup Tuesday, one-hitting it over seven shutout innings. He was efficient, walking only one and throwing an incredible 76 percent of his pitches for strikes, and he was effective, registering 11 swinging strikes on 92 pitches. Eight came on the fastball, which is a solid total for that pitch, but he threw it 62 percent of the time, as young pitchers are wont to do. The real breakthrough will come when he begins to lean more on his slider and curveball, two pitches that did serious damage at the minor-league level. Still, this is a promising beginning for a pitcher with serious upside.
Bryan Woo SP
SEA Seattle • #33 • Age: 23
Woo is far from the most celebrated pitching prospect to earn a call-up in recent weeks, but in many ways, he's been the most effective. The trend continued with a strong outing against the Nationals on Tuesday in which he struck out seven over five one-run innings. He's been racking up swinging strikes at a near 13 percent rate, which would put him in the top 15 among qualifiers. Many of those are coming on the fastball, too, which is always a good indication of ceiling. And while swinging strikes aren't everything, Statcast says Woo deserves to have a 2.45 ERA as opposed to his actual 4.37 mark. Most of the damage came in his debut June 3, and pitchers should always get a pass for their debut, right? My biggest hang-up with Woo is that he has yet to go six innings, but that could change abruptly as long as he continues to pitch well.
BAL Baltimore • #11 • Age: 24
Westburg got only a tepid endorsement from me in the last edition of waiver wire, but so far so good for the 24-year-old. He has started all three games for the Orioles -- two at second base and one at third -- and has gone 5 for 12 with a double. He delivered a particularly hard-hit ball Wednesday, a 107 mph single, and has also drawn two walks. If nothing else, we can say the Orioles are prioritizing him, which is the first hurdle to clear. I still worry about him having an even lower zone contact rate than Jo Adell at Triple-A this year, but he kept the strikeouts under control there and so far has only one in the majors. Maybe he can be another Brandon Drury type the rest of the way. Or maybe even better.
TJ Friedl CF
CIN Cincinnati • #29 • Age: 28
Enough already. It's the end of June, and a guy batting .320 with an .886 OPS is still available in more than half of CBS Sports leagues. And oh yeah, he's best known as a base-stealer. That guy is TJ Friedl, who, yes, hasn't been healthy for the entire three months. But he's been healthy long enough to take seriously. He reached base four times Wednesday at the Orioles, hitting his sixth homer and swiping his 13th and 14th bags. Not so long ago, you could have argued he's not worth the bother because he sits against left-handers, but au contraire. He's now started eight straight games for the Reds, including two against lefties, and has batted leadoff in six of them. Statcast hates him, but Statcast doesn't know everything. And Great American Ballpark helps to cover up those deficiencies anyway.
Mike Soroka SP
ATL Atlanta • #40 • Age: 26
We going to do this again? After waiting more than three years for him to return from a twice-torn Achilles, we got nothing but disappointment from Soroka when he came back about a month ago. He's since gone back to the minors and looked great in three starts, most recently coming within an out of a seven-inning no-hitter. He struck out nine in the contest and registered 18 swinging strikes. But that's the weird part. The Soroka we knew long ago used a sinker to get ground-ball outs. Now he's relying more on a four-seamer and getting whiffs. Maybe it'll be for the better, but we obviously can't rely on any of our preconceptions when the transformation is so significant. The expectation is that he'll be coming up to start Friday's game, so if you're a believer, go for it.
ARI Arizona • #32 • Age: 25
The Diamondbacks have an opening with Merrill Kelly being sidelined by a blood clot in his calf, and Pfaadt is the choice to fill it Thursday. He's a notable enough prospect at a needy enough position to attract waiver wire interest at the mere mention of his return, but it must be said that he carries an 8.37 ERA from his five-start stint earlier this season. The good news is that he threw a couple of gems after returning to Triple-A Reno, most recently allowing one run on three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts over seven innings, so maybe he's in a better place this time around. I wouldn't say I'm optimistic, not unless he has a markedly different pitch selection (that fastball is no bueno), but his return has been noted.
Tommy Pham DH
ARI Arizona • #28 • Age: 35
For a while there, it seemed like Pham's sizzling June might be fizzling out, but then he went 3 for 3 with a home run, a stolen base and a walk Wednesday against the Brewers. For the month, he's batting .321 (25 for 78) with five homers and four steals, and it's taken him from part-timer to full-timer in the blink of an eye. Also notable are his Statcast numbers. He's genuinely making some of the hardest contact of any hitter his baseball, his 94.4 mph average exit velocity ranking in the 98th percentile -- for the season, that is, not just for June -- to give him an xBA (.288) and xSLG (.524) that are both in the 91st percentile. The 35-year-old has had a tendency to underperform those numbers over the years and deserves a healthy dose of skepticism, but they're so ridiculously high now that he's worth a shot at least in five-outfielder leagues.