Wishing Snell

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Monday.

Blake Snell @ MIL (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 40% CSW, 81 pitches.

I watched all 81 pitches of Blake Snell‘s dramatic 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks start against the Brewers, and there is a lot to talk about. After all, it’s not every day you earn 18 whiffs with a 40% CSW and massively disappoint. 

Let’s start with the obvious. You’re disappointed. I am too, especially from someone who clearly overwhelmed and has the stuff to carve up a lineup like the Brewers. Snell reminded me a bit of Freddy Peralta in the way he had overpowering stuff but you never knew what would come out with each pitch. His breakers were all kinds of filth and he did execute some great changeups as well, but it felt like a coin-flip if they’d induce a whiff or get the call on the edge. With his heaters, he wasn’t able to command the zone with the pitch + he was unlucky with a pair of four-seamers leaving the yard — one was down the pipe and the other out of the zone. It makes me both encouraged and discouraged at the same time as he has the stuff of an ace but you want to see him attack more efficiently with his stuff.

I didn’t hear Snell’s press conference, but I’m willing to wager he said something along the lines of “My stuff felt great, but it got away from me.” He felt dominant but just couldn’t do what he wanted with it. I couldn’t help wonder (and please, this is totally hypothetical) that his arm was leaving his glove too late, forcing too much late-arm action, preventing his timing from getting consistent on release. If I saw something like his arm pulling out of his glove sooner, I can’t help but wonder if it would help improve his consistency. That’s just me rambling past midnight so take it with a grain of salt.

Moving forward as I set an SP Roundup record with the fourth paragraph in the opener, you have to keep starting Snell. His stuff is just too dang good and I have to believe he’ll make the tweaks he needs to over time. Will he turn into a 7+ inning arm? Unlikely given his chaotic command. He should have plenty of starts outright dominating opponents though, and it’ll make the juice worth the squeeze.

 

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

 

Trent Thornton vs TB (ND) – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 32 pitches.

After allowing five unearned runs, Trent gave way to Ross Striplingwho dominated – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s great to see Strip do wonderful things, though it wasn’t with his secondary stuff, which seems like the proper path toward sustained success. Still, 12/76 whiffs + outs with breakers is a great thing. If he gets Cleveland next, it’s hard not to be at least a little tempted.

Brandon Woodruff vs SD (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. An even 100 pitches as Woody cruised once again, and all I’m doing is praying for the Brewers to nix their rule about slapping on 100 innings to last year’s totals. Let the man throw 200 frames!

Lance Lynn vs STL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 104 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. I’ll admit, Lynn has been a bit disappointing as of late, and it’s about time he gave us seven frames again. Just need those strikeouts again, okay? Thanks hockey sticks LL.

Trevor Rogers vs PHI (ND) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 85 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. A bit more questionable than usual with three walks and just five strikeouts, especially with his heater falling a tick and a half down to 93.3 mph — he normally sits ~95 mph. These things happen and it’s not a death sentence, and as long as there isn’t an injury reported, I’m going to believe he’ll fluctuate back up by his next start. Don’t do anything silly.

Yusei Kikuchi @ OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 88 pitches.

We were hoping for more than three strikeouts, but we’ll take this from Kikuchi as he keeps rolling forward. His heater was still 96+ and his cutter/slider each earned strikes and outs. We’re living in the world where Kikuchi is throwing confidently in the zone and we should all be more appreciative of it. He apparently left this one holding his back, though, and let’s all hope he’s okay.

Matt Shoemaker vs BAL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 96 pitches.

I’ve had my hesitations with The Cobbler all year and after leaning heavily on his slider through most of the year, we saw 44% splitters in this one for…just six whiffs. Okay, that’s not fair, he got a ton of outs on the pitch as well, propelling him through six frames. It’s not the story you want from Shoemaker to make you feel great about the Royals x2 across the next two weeks, but maybe he’ll be worth one of those streams. Good luck guessing which one.

John Means @ MIN (ND) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 95 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. It’s not the sexiest outing with just five strikeouts, but that volume and lovely ratios should make any manager happy. 6/14 called strikes on curveballs are solid, too.

Austin Gomber @ NYM (W) – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 18 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 103 pitches.

I feel dumb for not choosing Gomber instead of Peterson but whatever, I hope some of you capitalized on this anyway as he earned a King Cole against a horribly damaged Mets lineup. Seriously, you can likely stream anyone against the Mets across the next week or two — they’re that poor. And guess who starts tomorrow? Yep, deGrom, you’ve come back just in time. As for Gomber, hold on for one more as he faces the Pirates on the road. His slider + changeup earned 15 whiffs combined here and it should make your eyes sparkle with opportunity.

Spencer Turnbull vs CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

It’s no CGSHO, but Turnbull gave you a PQS (nearly half of today’s starters did), and I guess we’re happy with it. His slider wasn’t nearly as good with just one whiff + his four-seamer wasn’t close to the dominating pitch it was last week. And now it’s NYY + @CHW? Nah, I’m out. Sorry Spencer, I wanted more of the same, not a step backward.

David Peterson vs COL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 89 pitches.

Does a PQS constitute a streaming victory? Yes, even if it’s on the border. Streaming Record: 34-16. Do I feel upset I didn’t pick Gomber instead? ABSOLUTELY. Peterson’s slider earned 7/25 whiffs (sweet), changeups earned outs, and fastballs earned called strikes. That works, but likely not against Atlanta and the Padres next.

Zach Eflin @ MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 103 pitches.

Eflin got the Marlins and all he could do was spit out a PQS. The curveball made a small but meaningful appearance with 4/9 whiffs, but we need more than this. Eflin was fortunate for the matchup, and it should continue with the Rays and Nats next. Lucky fella.

Sam Hentges @ DET (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 88 pitches.

I removed him from The List today as he wasn’t getting the volume nor showing the ability we wanted before this start and this…well, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. 9/34 whiffs on sliders (39% usage!) + 95 mph avg heaters + a 32% CSW curveball certainly speaks to a better night than this one. The schedule ain’t great to make us in any way consider him for a pickup, but let’s keep watching this one from afar. There could be something blossoming as we enter the summer.

Ryan Yarbrough @ TOR (ND) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 86 pitches.

This had all the makings of a slugfest, but props to The Fratty Pirate for earning a PQS before it all went down. Yes, that was three solo shots because it’s Dunedin. I’m not sure this warrants trust against the Phils, but it helps.

Kwang Hyun Kim @ CWS (L) – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 104 pitches.

We didn’t expect much of anything here from Kim facing a solid ChiSox crew and a Philly ain’t so bad. I wonder if his slider and curveball can become a strong pair for Kim moving forward as he’ll certainly need them to survive with his mediocre 88 mph heater. I’d avoid the Diamondbacks next as they’re solid against left-handers.

Frankie Montas vs SEA (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks – 21 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 101 pitches.

Look at this. The SP with the most ER also earned a Golden Goal. That’s baseball, Suzyn. During today’s OTC podcast recording, I mentioned I was losing faith in Montas getting his splitter and slider back to their 2019 forms. Well, his slider is still a bit questionable, but the splitter? That went 11/21 whiffs. Yeah, that’s all kinds of amazing. Sure, it was the Mariners and he still allowed four ER…and he’s still chucking too many sinkers (34% usage?!), but that splitter is back and you have to toss him out there against the Trout-less Angels over the weekend. Maybe that slider comes next and he’s brilliant. Wouldn’t that be nice.

 

Game of the Day 

 

Joe Musgrove vs Corbin BurnesThis series is just filled with fantastic matchups.

 

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

 

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there: 8:30 am – 11:00 am EST Monday through Friday.

 

Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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.

  • Didn’t Snell win the King Cole with his 40% csw, and not Gomber/Montas at 37%?

  • Avatar Moelicious says:

    The visuals/graphics are always so amazing. I wish I had those Photoshop skillz!

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      That is interesting to me as I could care less about all of them combined. Different strokes for different folks.

  • Avatar theKraken says:

    I celebrate the days like yesterday in TOR where they gave the game away in the first inning by starting one of their worst players. Any game plan that includes Trent Thornton is an incompetent one. Committing to using a bad player is not the way to make a lineup.

    Marlins mismanaged Rogers yesterday…unless they were pulling him for injury concerns. He was at 85 pitches I think. One more inning and he gets the win and the QS. Not far from a good start at all.

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