Take Snell?

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Tuesday.

We’re starting to see the final starts for many pitchers for the 2020 season and Blake Snell‘s 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 31% CSW line against the Mets is most likely the last we’ll see of him for the regular season. Are we happy with this year? What about next season?

First, let’s talk about this start. Aces gonna give us a Philly as he nearly held a VPQS but still earned a Gallows PoleThat’s a lot of glossary terms, but the point is, his pitch separation is still excellent and the whiffs will always be there. I’m likely to be a little harsh on Snell for 2021 as this concludes his 2020 season (they’ll save him for the playoffs). I don’t trust the Rays will let him go 6.0+ frames often. I question his ability to put breakers inside the zone, keeping his WHIP closer to 1.20 than 1.00.

It makes for a guy that’s shooting for a 3.00 ERA over a year, not the sub 2.50 mark of elite tier that we saw in 2018. He’ll help your squad, but will he get the innings and ratios to demand a Top 15 SP pick? I’m leaning no right now, but we’ll see.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

 

Steven Brault vs CHC (ND) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Brault! Who goes there?! It is I, Steven of the Pirates, here to show that I actually turned a corner in that complete game last week. I present to thee, seven shutout innings and six strikeouts! Wut, with just one changeup whiff? Well, that earned me outs! And that slider, is it really this good? Sometimes, yeah. And are you still throwin’ 92 mph? That’s 92.3 mph, thank you very much. I’m lifting my eyebrow at you, sir. Can I come in now? Sorry, gate’s closed til 2021. I think you’ll have to show this again sometime next year before entering. But I may not get another chance! Not my problem.

Austin Gomber @ KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Look at Gomber, making the most of his sub 80 pitches to earn six full innings. His curveball returned a glorious 41% CSW, his changeups went 4/9 whiffs, and his fastballs were…kinda meh. Who cares, he did enough against the Royals and has a chance to start on Sunday against the Brewers. He could go 85+ pitches now so I wouldn’t rule that out, though I don’t love his stuff. Keep him in mind but don’t push it.

Bryse Wilson vs MIA (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW. It’s always a lovely moment watching pitchers you know should be better finally break through their struggles to have a moment of bliss. His sinker and four-seamer were both excellent here, though I wish his changeup and slider could find their way. Then I’d actually be excited.

Caleb Smith vs TEX (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW. Good news is his slider was excellent. Bad news was his fastball command was terrible. Soooo he likely gets Rockie Road to end the year in Arizona and that’s a considerable option. I think you’re fine with it, especially with Nolan Arenado done for the year.

Cal Quantrill vs CWS (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 39% CSWBullpen game here for the most part with Adam Pluko coming in after. There isn’t a whole lot to chase with Quantrill – he’s gone from So-So Cal ot the UnQuantrifiable – and let’s move on.

David Hale @ WSH (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 36% CSW. Bullpen game here for the Phillies. All Hale the new fresh reliever. Is that a SYL reference? You bet it is, Devy is my hero.

Gerrit Cole @ TOR (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW. Aces gonna ace. For all the hoopla about demoting him from the #1 SP spot the dude gave you a 2.84 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 94 strikeouts, and seven Wins across 12 starts. If you knew that entering the year and nothing else about his peers, you’d likely have drafted him as the #1 SP. That’s a fantastic foundation.

Framber Valdez @ SEA (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW. An easy start here against the Mariners and we have one to go against the Rangers. Curveball was dope – 43% CSW – and that’s all you need to know. Man, what a season it’s been for Framber, I’m so sorry I steered y’all away for the first half of the season. His sinker is bad, okay?

Austin Voth vs PHI (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Hot dang! Voth pounded the zone with 92/93 mph four-seamers and was able to land his curveball for 31% CSW. It’s still not the Voth we want – just 6/36 whiffs on secondary stuff isn’t quite there – and while I get taking the dive on Sunday for those desperate on the final day, that’s not a start I want against the Mets. Maybe if they are benching their lineup…Nah. Well…I feel like that kombucha gif.

Seth Lugo vs TB (W) – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW. There we go Lugo, way to rebound. There was a lot of haze surrounding this one after two questionable outings, but you upped your velocity a smidge while throwing effective curveballs and changeups all night. I think he gets that Sunday start against the Nationals and he has the green light there.

Griffin Canning @ SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 10 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Mmmmm you love to see it. I was benching here as Canning is a Cherry Bomb with a poor Padre matchup but he came out swinging with dominance on his curveball – 39% CSW as he threw them more than any pitch at 38% usage. Wild. He was erratic? No, just absurd, yeesh. Solid fastball command at 94mph around the edges as well at 5/15 whiffs on sliders. Huh, this is the Canning that makes me excited. Then I remember he has a ticking bomb in his elbow and he’s destined to be a HIPSTER and that’s sad. This looks like it for 2020 and he’ll remain a questionable late flier next year.

Brett Anderson @ CIN (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSWThis is the most shocking start of the night. Not only did we see Anderson go a full six innings on just 80 pitches, but he held excellent ratios and earned 15 whiffs with seven strikeouts. This start raised his season-long strikeout rate to – wait for it – 16.1%, the highest it’s been since 44.2 innings in 2013. He’s slated to go on Sunday against the Cardinals and while I don’t like it, there are worse Hail-Mary options out there. I don’t think I’ve seen his slider and changeup working this well together.

Drew Smyly vs COL (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Uggggggh this season is ending too soon! Smyly is cruising with his curveball and while it was a near tick slower this time, 93.8 mph on his four-seamer works for me. Worse cutters, though, but I’m super happy with this sneaky stream. Too bad he gets the Padres on Sunday, I think that’s a bench unless the Padres bench their bats. Monitor that on Saturday.

Nick Pivetta vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Of course. OF COURSE! It’s been ages since we’ve seen a proper Pivetta start and look at him, trying to coax into a Sunday start against the Braves. I’ll say this, Atlanta will likely rest their starters that day and he finally used breakers over 40% of the time, returning 31% CSW – his slider doing most of the work. It’s not 99 mph Pivetta – just 92.6 mph here – and ultra risky that I’m saying more in jest, but I’m not blind to the outside chance he actually helps on Sunday. If you’ve got nothing to lose, sure, why not. At least the upside is clear as he went 96 pitches here.

Sonny Gray vs MIL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 36% CSW. Aces gonna ace and earn a King ColeI don’t think this was Gray “fixed” like the line would suggest as he barely turned to his slider, his sinkers were often in the middle of the plate, and he sat at just 93 mph. But whatever, his curveball was great, the Brewers are not, and we’re crossing our fingers we get that Sunday start against the Twins. The Reds aren’t locked for the playoffs, but it’s a case where Gray wouldn’t be their ace – likely Bauer or Castillo – so they have no harm tossing him out there Sunday regardless. I’d wager they do it and let’s hope he ends strong.

Reynaldo Lopez @ CLE (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 19% CSW. It’s far from sexy, but that works if you rolled the die. A lot of elevated heaters, but meh sliders and changeups. At least we saw over 94 mph this time? Yeah, I’m not chasing this on Sunday against the Cubs.

Ljay Newsome vs HOU (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Look Ljay lookin’ all cool with a BSB against the Astros. Sure, just one strikeout – HAISTFMFWT?! – but it’s a fun approach that would have worked in a bigger way if his secondary stuff were better. Sigh…

Homer Bailey vs DET (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Bailey returned for just 53 pitches and if he does get that Sunday outing as the Twins set up their playoff roster (it may be Jose Berrios instead with Kenta Maeda as their ace), I wouldn’t be rolling with it given he just isn’t stretched out enough.

Jose Quintana @ PIT (ND) – 2.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 21% CSW. Quintana returned and threw just 34 pitches. Cool. Adbert Alzolay was the expected starter, followed up in relief for 63 pitches and was stupid good with 40% CSW, 14 whiffs, and seven strikeouts in four frames. It’s the best I’ve seen him as his new breaking ball (slider?) was stupid filthy. I still think his overall command is way too wonky for me to consider for 2021, but if you’re desperate for a Win on Sunday, he’ll likely follow Quintana again and that could work out.

Kyle Freeland @ SF (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 25% CSW. Way to take the poor starts in Oracle Park and through them out the window as third time is the charm! A ton of changeups here at 50% usage, returning 29% CSW and that’s fine. Just one strikeout? Sure it’s a HAISTFMFWT?! and 1.33 WHIP but who cares? You did this for the ERA and QS. Atta boy.

Dustin May vs OAK (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Yeah, that looks like a May start as he continues to fight to be the Spider-Man of the year. I imagine he’ll get that Sunday start as the Dodgers prepare for the playoffs and you’re going to take this for one last spin. That’s a 2.77 ERA and 1.10 WHIP for the year at a sub 19% strikeout rate. A true Toby.

Keegan Akin @ BOS (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Ehhhhh it’s not enough and a poor 2.00 WHIP. Not cool, Akin. His fastball found the zone a ton, but his slider and changeup were all over the place. This start makes me a bit worried about the Jays on Sunday as he’s sitting just under 91 mph and clearly lacking what he needs to return a strong outing. It’s possible it clicks, but I’m lowering him in my Sunday ranks.

Tarik Skubal @ MIN (ND) – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW. He got the Twins and even after his success in his last start, we didn’t expect it to repeat. It was rooted in quality fastballs that we hadn’t seen before and while he did go 7/48 whiffs with four-seamers, he wasn’t efficient overall. He gets the Royals on Sunday and that’s a decent upside play, but the risk is real.

Aaron Nola @ WSH (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 35% CSW. Aces gonna give us a PQS and we’re gonna deal with it. His four-seamer and curveball combined for a cool 54% CSW and his changeup was mostly effective. He got a little unlucky in this one and we’re glad to see he’s currently slated for Sunday. I think he makes that start since either A) the Phillies are in the hunt on the last day and need him or B) they’re out of it and there’s no reason not to start him. He’s served us well with a 3.06 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 33.5% strikeout rate this year, the latter marking the first time he’s above a 27% clip. Atta boy Easy-A.

Zach Davies vs LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Ehhhh a VVPQS isn’t exactly what you had in mind, especially with a Loss on the docket. Thing is, it was more of the same with super well-located changeups and sinkers for strikes. What more do you want?! He gets the Giants next and it’s not a departure from what he’s doing that you’d bench him there if you started him here.

Paolo Espino vs PHI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW. I’m kinda happy to see he sat low in the zone. He’s not Paohi, after all.

Brady Singer vs STL (L) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 26% CSW. Brady noooooo. He was cruising in his last two and while he was essentially sinker/slider here, the breaker just missed a good amount and returned just 2/35 whiffs for 16% CSW. Blegh. That won’t do. Too many foul balls allowed deeper counts for the Cardinals and more walks as well and I’m just sad. Whatever, he gets the Tigers to end the year and yeah, you’re still doing that.

Jose Urena @ ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Yep, that’s Urena alright. If you watch him, I think you’d label him as a PEAS with a 96 mph sinker that you’d think would be better than it is.

Jordan Lyles @ ARI (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Even with a great matchup, Lyles be wylin’. Curveball and changeup were good, though.

Frankie Montas @ LAD (L) – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 34% CSW. Yeah, the Dodgers are too good and Montas still isn’t getting splitter whiffs – just 2/12 here. It was an overall better performance, though, and that’s cool. Just not the Montas we loved at the beginning of the year, you know? I think you’re safe against the Mariners to end the season.

Tanner Roark vs NYY (L) – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW. Well, yeah. Roark got the Yankees. Again. And he got smacked around. Again. And now you should ignore him against the Orioles. Again.

 

Today’s Streamer

For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.

 

Dean Kremer vs. Boston Red Sox – I’d consider Eovaldi heavily as well on the other side of this one, but he’s plenty more owned, making it easy for Kremer. There’s risk here, but Kremer had a much better cutter last time out and that could stick. We’ll see.

 

Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Kris Bubic vs. Detroit Tigers – He’s doing good enough that I think you’re safe here against Detroit.

 

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Daniel Ponce de Leon vs. Milwaukee Brewers – He’s been on fire and tossing over 85 pitches per start. Hopefully he has one left in the tank.

 

Game of the Day

 

Lucas Giolito vs. Shane Bieber This will be the final start for both and it’s been an honor and a pleasure watching you both this year.

 

(Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire)

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.

2 responses to “Take Snell?”

  1. Avatar JP says:

    Why is there excitement for Bryce’s good start vs. the B-Day party designation for Kyle Wright yesterday? I’m legitimately curious. Kyle has a significantly higher pedigree, albeit with less high-end success in the high minors. Either way, Wright has the secondary stuff that Wilson is missing and it feels like his stuff has the higher ceiling overall.

  2. Avatar theKraken says:

    Nice bullpen game, Dodgers. Maybe don’t try that again. It seems like they want to change things up at the end of the season every year. Last year they were trying to move away from Kenley around now… Bellinger was playing first base for a while – how weird is it that they can’t figure out what they are doing with him?

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