The Snell of Summer

Nick Pollack reviews every single starting pitcher's performances from Tuesday's games.

This year is the worst. It seems as if every starter you liked, every arm that you really needed to carry you, each pitcher has gone through significant turmoil this year (is it the ball?). Blake Snell was seemingly one of the rare few immune to 2019’s plague for the first two months but has suddenly crashed with three 6+ ER games in his last five, including yesterday’s 3.1 IP, 7 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks against the Twins. What’s weird about this one is how it’s completely different from the others. Last time against the Yanks? He couldn’t establish his heater. This one? He suddenly threw under 30% breakers, turning into the heavy fastball/changeup combination from 2017 that would often turn hitters aggressive and create too much contact. He attacked with strikes a little too often without commanding that big curveball to prevent a 60% swing rate (normally it’s around 45-50%) and Snell is trying to figure it out. It honestly read like a pendulum swinging too far back the other way after holding off on heaters against the Yanks. Now you’re upset and wondering if Snell is falling down to earth. Nah. This is a rough patch mixing a questionable approach with some terrible luck (.667 BABIP, sub 50% LOB rate, 25% HR/FB), though he did get scorched here. People are going to try to buy low, you don’t let em. Maybe he has one more tough start, but Snell is not going anywhere. He’ll be there when you need him in the second half.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Jesse Chavez6.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Hoooo boy, I’m sure to get a lot of questions on Chavez, aren’t I. Look, he earned six whiffs on 79 pitches, doesn’t carry great stuff, and took advantage of a weak Tigers lineup. Seriously, across 51.2 innings he has a 6.2% swinging-strike rate this year. That’s atrocious. This is a fluke. A trap. A fleeting moment that we’ll discuss down the road over a drink. Don’t get swept away by the moment.

Carson Fulmer2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I can’t say I’ve seen a game where a team features four arms who each throw exactly 2.0 IP before. Huh.

Chad Green1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Wow, what an open. Nestor Cortes Jr. followed for 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks and that’s cool, just not something that I’m going to chase. You know me and False Starters like Beeks and Pena. It’s not for me.

Adbert Alzolay4.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. This…is kinda the expected line for Alzolay, right? Wild but electric fastball, short start due to lack of secondary pitches and high pitch counts, but ultimately close to a strikeout per inning and was able to be decently effective. Okay, I regret that second comment and won’t remove it now as his changeup was a bit better than I expected, but I’m still not seeing close enough to a complete package for me to really buy in here.

Gerrit Cole6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Aces gonna ace, even though it’s somehow just three strikeouts and a blegh 1.50 WHIP. Whatever, you’re Cole and I’m happy about this.

Andrew Heaney5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. This was a painful start to watch as Heaney was squeezed, inducing too many foul balls, and pitching better than the WHIP suggested. Really nice to see his changeup get in order, though there is something to be said about him not being able to put away batters as well as he saw earlier. It resulted in just 22/101 CSW with 27 foul balls and a lot of hair loss on my end. This was a step forward from the Jays start, easily, but we’re not totally back to the hype I had earlier on. And now it’s Houston. I’m going to be sweating. Scratch that, it’s Houston in two, with the A’s at home next. Here’s to hoping he keeps taking steps forward and produces in both.

Max Scherzer8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. There was buzz as DraftKings gave him a stupid high salary and while Scherzer did return the top score of the night, it wasn’t the right value play in the end. Shocking. That might be the first (and only) time I mention DFS in these roundups. Anyway, he also earned 17 whiffs – good for a co-share of the Gallows Pole – and life is good.

Ross Stripling3.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m glad he got the start, but I’m sad he needed 60 pitches to get through just three frames. 30% CSW is solid and he’ll keep stretching out as Hill is out until August. I thought Urias would get a larger focus (he did follow up Stripling here), but it looks to be Stripling’s job to lose. Go for this.

Logan Allen6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I’ll take this from Allen, who I was debating to make the Call Boy yesterday, but went after the 25% strikeout of Mahle instead. Bummer. Anyway, I like Allen’s high fastball approach with sliders down, but I wonder if there’s enough there for this to work consistently. Just 23/89 CSW here against the Orioles with a terrible WHIP isn’t the most convincing argument. Then again, he gets the Giants next, so Allllllll Aboard!

Shane Bieber5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. 35% CSW is fantastic as Bieber really hammered that slider glove-side and down in this one, though he had a few too many hittable fastballs, failing to really expand the zone up as he has in the past. Still, I’ll take it and continue to be a Belieber.

Madison Bumgarner6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. I’ve been saying MadBum is a two-pitch pitcher and suddenly he’s like “nah, my deuce is back.” 8/20 CSW with 70% strikes is fantastic given how it’s simply been gone a lot this season, helping him earn 17/49 CSW on four-seamers. It adds up to a co-share of the Gallows Pole at 17 whiffs, happy owners across the land, and conviction that maybe, just maybe, MadBum can be your strong #2 SP. He won’t as he won’t go a strikeout per inning the rest of the way, but he’ll still help and that’s cool too.

Max Fried6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 8 Ks. Um, yes please Fried. Sure, the walks are all kinds of blegh, but a 1.17 WHIP with eight strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA against the Cubs? I’m all over that. There was a heavy slider focus here, doing a great job staying away from lefties with the pitch, helping him earn 31/90 CSW and fifteen whiffs on the game. Fastballs need a little more elevation, curveballs a little more depth, but I’m so in.

Marco Gonzales5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. We’re all trying to figure out what to make of Marco this year as he’s fighting lost velocity and does this start change anything for you? Just two whiffs overall means I’m still avoiding Marco if he’s on my wire. You do you, though.

David Price6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. After just four strikeouts total in two games, Price gave us the missing production back in one start. Sure, you want better than a 1.33 WHIP, but I’ll take this. 38/97 CSW with a co-share of the Gallows Pole at 17 whiffs is lovely and it’s a nice reminder to why he’s comfortably Top 20.

Chris Bassitt3.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Awwww, we all want to be Bassitt Hounds and Chris just can’t be the man he once was. I don’t have a whole lot of hope he’ll put on a stretch nearly as good as it was before, especially when he can’t handle the floundering Cardinals offense. Well, kinda. He allowed a two-run “triple” to Matt Carpenter that should have been caught with two outs. So there’s that.

Chi Chi Gonzalez5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Yep, that’s Gonzalez alright. If only Chi Chi was a Saiyan…

Robbie Ray6.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Yep, that’s a Robbie Ray line. This could have been six frames with a PQS and 1.00 WHIP, but no, he just needed to go one into the seventh walk a batter, get a bunt, and leave the game. Anyway, against the Dodgers, you’ll certainly take this and keep riding the wild ride of Jimmy Ray.

Clayton Richard6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! Well, it’s right wrong Clayton as you’d expect a VPQS with just one strikeout from him, on a good day. Yes, just one strikeout. HAISTFMFWT?!

Jordan Zimmermann5.0 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeah, Jay-Z is not the kind of jam I want to listen to right now.

Zach Davies4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Yep, it’s the regression we expected for Davies, with his changeup earning him just 3/26 whiffs. Womp womp. The ERA/SIERA gap is still large at 3.34 vs. 5.24, but we’re getting there. Steps, not leaps.

Kyle Gibson7.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. A stupid seventh gave this a Careful Icarus, returning 3 ER after Gibson fanned the first two batters. Ugh. It’s good to see Gibson look so smooth for so long here and I have no problem letting him fly against whoever moving forward.

Walker Lockett5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Throw it away with Lockett key. Does that work? I don’t know if that works. You get it.

Tyler Mahle5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I was hoping for a bit more here against the Angels and while the curve was the secondary pitch of choice, it wasn’t enough. Seven whiffs overall (though 30/103 CSW), with 2/32 whiffs on curveballs is blegh. Fine, this wasn’t so bad – a three-run shot did him in – but I just want to see more dominance earning strikeouts with curveballs and fastball finishing, you know? Streaming Record: 52-32.

Trevor Williams6.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I’ve never really bought into Williams, though this is a step forward from his DLH last week as he faced the Astros in this one. He gets the Cubs next, though, and I’m not a fan of that start.

Jake Arrieta6.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. You never know what you’re going to get from Arrieta these days and even against the middling Mets, he couldn’t put it off. Is he even a Toby right now? I hope there’s something else on your wire to go after instead.

Glenn Sparkman5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s too bad that Mr. Sparkman, sir, couldn’t repeat what he did last time, but we all knew that he couldn’t repeat what he did last time. You had a date with Glenn and you have to call it off. Surprisingly, it’s just missing that spark, you know?

Jimmy Yacabonis2.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. No wonder they call him Jimmy Crickets. You can hear them when people ask who Yacabonis is. 

Trevor Richards5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s been a nice run for Richards but there was a growing sense that it wasn’t going to last. What specifically? Well his changeup being so good that it masked his weak cutter and susceptible fastball. Just 4/38 CSW here on changeups is blegh and everything fell apart IN FLAMES. Great band. Are they? Too old school metal for me. ANYWAY (not a band), do you keep Richards? You might have to take the chance his slow ball is working against the Phils next, though I’d be shocked I ever made him Top 40.

Jack Flaherty4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Jack. What is this. Sure, I expected you take a step back from 2018, even calling you Lance McCullers 2.0, but this is getting a bit silly now. A 4.75 ERA with a 4.03 SIERA? That 1.90 HR/9 has to come down, your slider needs to do more, and I’m tired waiting for that curveball to take the next step. We’re all tired, Nick. So what do you do with Flaherty? Well, do you have much of a choice but to hold and hope he fixes it? The strikeouts are still flowing at least – near 10 K/9 – and as a young pitcher, you’d think he has plenty of room to still develop. It’s a hard sell. It’s hard to read this and believe that things will get better because you’ve been waiting nearly all season for it…and when he finally gave you that three game stretch to instill hope, he allows 18 ER in his next four games. And look at me, upset about this when I don’t own a single share of Flaherty, but that’s kinda misleading. I only care about starters. I want them all to do well, my leagues don’t matter, shares or not. I’M ENRAGED. H’okay, ramble aside, there should be a regression in his 20.7% HR/FB, there’s room to develop that curveball and polish the slider, and things should be better. You won’t get much on the market now for Flaherty, so hold unless you’re getting a legit upgrade for your team. That should do it.

 

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.

 

Dylan Bundy vs. San Diego Padres – Here we GOOOOOOO.

 

Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

 

Ariel Jurado vs. Detroit Tigers – I sat down and had zero idea who I could choose with any sort of conviction. I guess it’s Jurado as he faces the Tigers. I guess.

 

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

 

Michael Wacha vs. San Diego Padres – I don’t like Wacha in the slightest, but I can see him pulling this off against the Padres.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Tony Gonsolin vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – I don’t expect Gonsolin to stick around, but I’m looking forward to getting a peek at him.

 

(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.

  • Avatar Karl says:

    20 Team H2H Points Dynasty: DeJong for Flaherty straight up, which side do you take? Thanks for everything you do!

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      If you are trying to sell high on DeJong I think you are a few months too late haha. I can’t imagine why anyone would take that for JF. My apologies if it was your offer with your JF… you can do better.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Flaherty side.

  • Avatar Eddy says:

    Hey Nick, I was wondering who you would rather own going forward Peacock or Stripling? Peacock is higher on The List, but the Dogders plans for him were a little cloudier when the The List came out on Monday

  • Avatar Philip Sperling says:

    Hey Nick,

    FYI, Heaney is home for OAK next time out. Less sweating, let’s hope.

  • Avatar Barrett says:

    Nick,

    I’m not a Chavez apologist and what I saw last night does not make me invest in him. Soft tosser who doesn’t get a lot of swing and miss, but that 2-seamer absolutely danced at times last night. Streaming victory for me and now I get to run away feeling like I stole something. Thanks for all the work you do!

  • Avatar Eric says:

    Trade question. Gleyber for Snell and Amed Rosario

  • Avatar Mike says:

    Should we continue to hold onto Urias?

    • Avatar David says:

      If you don’t have a starts limit, Urias can be solid for your #’s & got the win yesterday.

      Having both, would be a strong idea!

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      His innings cap shouldn’t be far off whatever that means.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I think you can let him go as his volume is a bit reduced at the moment.

      Could find his way into the rotation soon – it’s the Dodgers n all – but you’re okay to let loose right now. It’s Stripling’s job.

  • Avatar Joe says:

    Nick- just traded my Bogaerts for his Snell just before Snells clunker yesterday. I’ve got Tatis to slide into SS. Maybe I should have bought lower but I had excess SS, needed pitching and the guy was ready to sell. How do you like this trade?

  • Avatar robert danzig says:

    Austin Voth.. is this guy a flash in the pan or something here?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Here’s what I said about him after his start:

      Austin Voth – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. So Nick, who’s this Voth guy? He’s someone who kinda killed it with his heater yesterday with 23/61 CSW (!) on the pitch…and had nothing else to turn to. It was nice an pretty and came in two ticks higher than what we saw last year from Voth, but I’m a bit hesitant to really dive in when I don’t like those secondary offerings. There’s a chance his sticks around for the Tigers, though, and if that’s the case…he’d get the Royals after too. I’d be in on that if he gets confirmed.

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