Life in the Fast Shane

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Shane McClanahan vs OAK (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 41% CSW, 59 pitches.

If you didn’t know, I got the second dose of the vaccine on Wednesday and sadly it led to a fever throughout today. Why am I mentioning this? Because I’m just so sad I couldn’t do a GIF Breakdown of Shane McClanahan‘s 2021 debut. It was glorious with a final line of 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks across 15 whiffs, 41% CSW and 59 pitches. Yes, 15/59 whiffs. The southpaw featured 101 mph with life in the first inning, paired with a ridiculous 93 mph slider, a 90 mph changeup, and an 83 mph curveball. Remember how much I fawned over Sixto Sánchez last year in his first outing? McClanahan is right up there. Seriously, this kid is as legit as you’ll see.

…and it may not be what you want in your 12-teamers. He only tossed 59 pitches, and the Rays, being the Rays, are likely to not let Shane pitch a full five often, probably pairing him with Luis Patiño. If Shane is allowed to go 75/80+ pitches as a starter, I’d be ALL over this and dealing for him where I missed out. I’m not joking, this stuff is as incredible as it gets + his command doesn’t seem to be a hindrance. The playing time may make it a hard pill to swallow. Not a bad play to pick him up and see how it shakes out, but I wouldn’t be shocked if we have to sit on our hands for a long while.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

 

Dylan Cease vs DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 91 pitches.

I have mixed feelings here. On one hand, his slider was well located down-and-arm side for the most part, leading to 8/28 whiffs on the sweeper and a 46% CSW. He also had few wasted four-seamers, pumping them into the strike zone constantly. On the other hand, Cease’s heaters were very hittable in the middle of the plate and he got away with it since, well, it’s Detroit. Like I’ve mentioned with Robbie RayI’d prefer to see Cease find the zone constantly with fastballs and force guys to beat him rather than the inefficient and erratic nature of its antithesis. If this is something Cease has discovered and can repeat, we may be on to something here. Is it enough to start him against the Reds? Nah, but I’d definitely monitor it.

Eric Lauer vs LAD (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 73 pitches.

Wait, this worked? This wasn’t supposed to work. You should see that 23% CSW clip and nod your head in understanding, pushing the button that keeps you away from Lauer. But I succeeded! I WON! Yes, Eric. We all know.

Yusei Kikuchi @ HOU (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 95 pitches.

Hot dang! There’s the Kikuchi we’ve been chasing. His cutter earned 46% CSW with eight whiffs as he featured it nearly 50% of the time, giving his four-seamer a backseat. The slider also did some serious work at 7/22 whiffs and I know many will want to use this as a launching pad for Kikuchi hype. I’m not quite sure we’re there yet. His cutter was aggressive inside the zone, and while I’m generally in favor of that, I question if the rest of his stuff is at the same level, even with the slider results. Not to mention, it’s been fleeting in the past for Kikuchi. But fine, he gets the Orioles next and I’m game. Let’s hope this heavy cutter + slider approach sticks and keeps working.

Carlos Rodón vs DET (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 96 pitches.

My lord this is getting silly. Rodón’s fastball is still doing unreal things, here hitting 98.5 mph and sitting 94/95 for the night, earning 12 whiffs on the way. His changeup shockingly became his numero dos with six whiffs and 23% usage and I’ll be honest, I’d have a little more confidence against teams not ending in “etroit” if that slider was working like its glory days. Whatever, that fastball is dope and Rodón doesn’t need much more than that. Doesn’t matter if he gets Cleveland or Cincy next.

Luis García vs SEA (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 73 pitches.

Here I was, saying I didn’t really like García’s stuff during this morning’s Twitch stream, and he elects to earn himself a King Cole as a result. Shows what I know. His slider and changeup tallied 14/25 CSW, which is absolutely insane, while his fastball got outs and pounded the zone. So yeah, solid work García, but I don’t think I totally buy this for the Yankees next time. You could do worse and I may be overlooking him, but I still don’t quite buy the whole mix yet.

Kwang-Hyun Kim vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 84 pitches.

It’s not sexy town, but Kim helped most of your teams as I overlook the 1.40 WHIP. Streaming Record: 16-10. That slider still did good things as he featured it 44% of the time, turning into mostly a two-pitch arm. Weird. He gets the Mets + Rockie Road next and I could be convinced to start for both. Okay, probably not the Mets.

Kyle Gibson vs BOS (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 98 pitches.

I’m really impressed with Gibson in this one. His command was as good as it’s ever been with legit sinker/slider separation to opposite sides of the plate + four-seamers jamming left-handers up-and-in. Seriously, Gibson deserved this success. The question is, will Gibson be able to continue pitching this well? Not results, actual pitching. It’s a noticeable improvement from the ChiSox start last week and I’m inclined to be he won’t, but let’s keep this going as a Vargas Rule and ride this out until he falls out of rhythm. That does mean enduring the Twins next, FWIW. It’s a tough call.

Martín Pérez @ TEX (L) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 82 pitches.

Whoa, Pérez! Sure, it was a Philly, but let’s not get greedy. His cutter and changeup were all the rage, going 9/45 whiffs between them, though I wouldn’t say he had his best command here. This has a lot of Blame it on the Rangers involved…yeah he’s a southpaw facing Detroit next. FINE. I guess that start is worth it.

Chris Bassitt @ TB (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 99 pitches.

After his tough schedule to kick off the year, it’s been easier for Bassitt as of late, here taking advantage of the Rays with his sinker at a 37% CSW. His cutter and slider got a bit more work done than we usually see with 6/34 whiffs but there really isn’t much new here. He gets the Jays next and that is a solid test. You’re still starting him, though.

Jordan Montgomery @ BAL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 74 pitches.

Monty elected to cut his fastball usage to just 25% in this one, going heavy on changeups, curveballs, and cutters. Normally this pushes strikeout rates up and instead…one strikeout?! HAISTFMFWT?! That WHIP hurts a bit too and it’s a blegh. Against the Orioles. I’m still in the same place of wondering if The Bear can find that single weapon in his repertoire that turns in a money pitch as it seems he has the kitchen sink but doesn’t have that magic bullet to get things done, you know? Houston is next and I’m not a fan there but he could shove an effective outing.

Jorge López vs NYY (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 79 pitches.

A pedestrian outing which is all JorLó ever wants. Soooo yay I guess…?

Matthew Boyd @ CWS (L) – 1.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 34 pitches.

Boyd left this one with a knee injury and it’s a sad evening. Hopefully he’s alright, and I hope he can get back to the bump soon.

Trevor Bauer @ MIL (L) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 113 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It was the battle of the Auers and Trevor took the L and took it like a champ. It’s hard not to love the 113 pitches as he keeps giving you the volume you signed up for.

Adbert Alzolay @ ATL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 94 pitches.

Alzolay killed it against Atlanta, doing what all the cool kids are doing – throwing their dope slider around 50% of the time. It led to 10 whiffs and a 37% CSW and I hope we keep seeing it from Double-A as he pitched more like MLB-Ready. Bad news for him, though – he gets the Dodgers next. Yeah, that’s a no from me.

Casey Mize @ CWS (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 87 pitches.

Hey, Mize was better! I think y’all would accept a PQS against the White Sox as Mize was able to earn 13 whiffs, but I’m not seeing anything new here that would make me jump back in. There just isn’t enough here.

Aaron Nola @ STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 80 pitches.

Aces gonna serve a PQS and Dusty Donut. Just one fewer earned run and we’re all celebrating that WHIP and seven strikeouts. So close.

Luke Weaver vs COL (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 85 pitches.

There are two paths for success with Weaver: 1) Fastballs and changeups well commanded at the top and the bottom of the zone, respectively or 2) Close to hitting the first goal + cutters mixed in effectively for strikes. Tonight, we actually saw a decent job at #1, but Weaver had a few mistakes that were exploited. He pitched better than the line suggests and I’m a bit surprised Rockie Road did this to him. Welp, that’s baseball.

Antonio Senzatela @ ARI (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 104 pitches.

Senz-A had an opportunity to succeed as he pitched outside Coors and…didn’t. That’s 2.00+ WHIP with just three strikeouts and it’s pain. If you can’t start him here, where can you with confidence?

Bryse Wilson vs CHC (L) – 3.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 55 pitches.

Wanna know something silly? I led with Hendricks yesterday talking about how there’s a pitcher every day who disappoints. What happens today? Just one pitcher allowed more than 3 ER and it was Bryse here, who we had zero expectations for in the first place. That’s a HAISTFMFWT?! and a 3.00 WHIP. Jeeeeez man.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Drew Smyly vs Robbie RayI’m super curious if Ray can throw fastballs inside the zone again + maybe Smyly isn’t so bad?

 

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

 

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Aaron Polcare

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar Bossmanjunior333 says:

    With respect to McClanahan, it’s worth pointing out that Cash said that they see him as a starter and that he would stick around for a while, and also, given that Patino has experience pitching out of the bullpen, he won’t necessarily piggyback with McClanny every time. Patino only pitched 4 days ago, so he isn’t on a starters schedule. He should be able to offer multiple innings every few days.

  • Avatar Eric says:

    I can’t decide on which NYY pitcher I want to hold on to now: Montgomery or German. Do you prefer one over the other?

    • Avatar DB says:

      It’s about floor or ceiling w/those two.

      Gumby (Monty) is going to eat more innings but doesn’t have any real filth…

      German could easily go on a tear for a while with his stuff, but I doubt he’ll even hit 150 innings.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    Garcia has an excellent minor league track record – especially in the K department. I don’t know how good he is but he certainly looks to have some potential quality pitches. He is supposed to have an elite change that I have not seen him throwing very much this year. If he still has that, then I could see him being something. Nobody should be passing any judgement on his stuff with the way he has been abused this season. That offense is good.

  • Avatar DB says:

    MacClanahan vs. Kopech? (Please include cogitation on the managers involved, not just flat-out stuff.)

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