Changing Your Tone

I never thought I’d see the day that I’d be leading with Kyle Gibson, but here we are after he went 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks against...

I never thought I’d see the day that I’d be leading with Kyle Gibson, but here we are after he went 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks against the Jays. But Nick, it’s just one start and, you know, Birthday Parties n all, right? Well, it’s not just one start, it’s two. He’s fresh off a 7.0 IP 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks outing against the White Sox and it’s making me think a bit. Gibson hadn’t fanned at least 7 batters once the entire year and now he’s done it twice in a row. Yes, the White Sox and Jays are far from juggernauts, but I had to do some digging. I noticed his Slider and Curveball each received a good amount amounts – 15 across both games combined – as they accumulated 2.4 pVAL in the two starts. That’s a solid indication of a pitcher having a great feel for his breaking pitch and sequencing it right to get results out of them, especially when he ha a -4.8 SL and -0.1 CB pVals for the pitches across the season. This is ignoring the fact that he’s had a whiff rate above 11% in four of his last five starts (12.7% average) despite holding a 9.0% mark through the entire season. It could be a start of a major trend, it could just be two good days. My gut says this will fade – this is Kyle Gibson y’all – but if he is a new man, this is how it looks at first.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Doug Fister – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. So I just talked about a pitcher who I’ve never been high on that I have some intrigue about now and here’s Fister backing his 1 ER CG with another gorgeous outing. Not going to touch this one though, sorry Fister. I just…can’t. But 7, 5 ,6, 7 Ks in his last four starts! His whiff rates in those games are 9.2%, 5.2%, 5.3%, 8.5%. Fiiiiiine.

Carlos Carrasco – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. I want to say AGA – it’s what I’ve done for so long with Carrasco – but Alex and I tore into Carrasco during the last podcast and I feel like it wouldn’t be fair to give it to him. He’s the ultimate Cherry Bomb, the new David Pricewhat Danny Salazar hopes to be. Half of his starts will be this. The other have 4-5 ER. Womp womp.

Patrick Corbin – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. This is getting nuts! Since June 16th, Corbin has a 2.69 ERA, 9.52 K/9, 2.17 BB/9 and 6+ IPS. Dude, that’s crazy good through 14 starts. And the Diamondbacks have a fantastic ROS schedule save for Coors in his next start. I would be lying if I said I would consider putting Corbin through the gauntlet with the way he’s pitching.

Lucas Giolito – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I watched the first five frames of this one and I have to say, I was really impressed with how much better Giolito looked in this one vs his first one

Jon Gray – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Hey, the whiffs climbed back up! Hey, this was against the Braves and I can’t put much weight on this! He hosts the Diamondbacks next in Colorado followed by the Dodgers in L.A…then the Diamondbacks in Arizona and I’m taking a pass.

Chris Archer – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. I love when I give a pitcher a demotion on The List, then they dominate thereafter. Makes me feel smart. 2.59 ERA, 12.35 K/9, 1.72 BB/9, 6+ IPS in his last five starts. Hot damn.

Mike Foltynewicz – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Folty is a PEAS and we’re far away from giving him the APPEASED treatment.

Jharel Cotton – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. I was tempted to lead with Cotton, but then I realized I already made the headline I’ve Cotton Inkling and moved on. But seriously, I don’t think we can extrapolate a trend in dominance after he’s been so poor for so long. It’s a fantastic first step, but he’s far from proving his sobriety.

Wade Miley – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, whatever Miley.

Jameson Taillon – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Uggggh. Something is up here. I mean, yeah it was the Dodgers and Reds back-to-back and now he…get the Reds and Cubs ahead. I want to love Taillon and I can see myself being for super cheap next season, but for now we need to take a step back and not take this risk if we don’t have to. Bummer.

Masahiro Tanaka – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Any worry you had about Tanaka struggling to get back on track after his brief DL trip should be eradicated. Enjoy him through the end y’all.

Tommy Milone – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Milone Schmilone.

Seth Lugo – 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Lugo came off the DL, looked good through three, then ran into some trouble in the fourth where he got the hook at 70 pitches. I’m not defending Lugo as I don’t think you want to chase him, but this was the Nationals and in normal circumstances he would have stuck it out through at least five.

Lance Lynn – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Whoa, eight Ks McGee over here! He hasn’t done that since June 13th and had collected just 17 Ks across his last five starts combined. That’s about 3.5 Ks per start.

Jimmy Nelson – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Look at that beautiful rebound from Nelson. This is against the Dodgers as well and I’m just upset he needs to deal with the Nationals and Reds next. IT’S NOT FAIR. I think I throw him out there in both.

Nick Pivetta – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s getting harder to really believe in Pivetta. He wasn’t anything more than just a streamer, really, but even in that context he’s still super questionable.

Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeah I’ll take it from Straily.

Chris Stratton – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 10 Ks. 10 Strikeouts, sweet! A 1.50 WHIP with five walks, not sweet! I think Stratton is getting overlooked a bit and I’m a bit annoyed at how the Giants messed up his future schedule by one day, now missing the Padres and ChiSox in favor of Coors and the Dodgers. NOT COOL. At least he gets the Cardinals next and I want to own him for that.

Andrew Albers – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Albers had 13 baserunners in 15 outs and allowed just 3 ERas the Mariners had five errors in this game. Yeesh.

Yu Darvish – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Ehhhhh, this wasn’t DLH as Darvish missed just one start that he didn’t really need to miss and he’s turning into a Carrasco where he dominates, then struggles, then dominates and it’s killing me inside. I mean, there’s no reason you’re going to stop rolling with him, I’m just hoping we’re okay the rest of the way.

A.J. Griffin – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. So I went with Griffin as I hated all the other options and it didn’t work out well. Can’t say I’m too shocked, it’s the life of being forced to pick a streamer every day. Streamer Record 67-51-14.

Tyler Mahle – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Mahle made his MLB Debut for the Reds and has been prompted labeled as a Cup of Schmo. His Fastball isn’t bad, with good velocity that was around 94mph or so that I expect to drop to 92-93 without the debut jitters. I just don’t like his secondary pitches much at all, which opens the door for walks and overall meh.

Charlie Morton – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Morton ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing a two-out bases-clearing double that accounted for all of Morton’s 3 ER. And brought his pitch count to 88, which prompted an early day to the showers. It’s too bad as that 1.00 WHIP and 5 Ks hinted at a quality outing and I know Morton is better than this.

Tanner Roark – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Beautiful as Roark continues his roll against the Mets following his 7 K outburst last time. Funny enough, Roark had 11 then 8 Ks followed by 4, 4, 3, then this two game stretch. MAKE UP YOUR MIND.

John Lackey – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Things got stupid in the fifth inning as Lackey was absolutely dominating prior. An error, then walks, wild pitch, HR, etc. I think I’m still okay with Lackey, especially as he gets the Braves, Pirates, Mets, Cardinals next.

Ricky Nolasco – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Yep, that’s Nolasco alright.

Joe Biagini – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m going to classify Biagini as a Young Gun as his innate skill set with a Two-Seamer, Changeup, Curveball should work, with solid command and a heavy groundball ability. It’s just not all there yet and could never get there. We’ll see. Really interesting flier in dynasty leagues.

Matt Boyd – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Even with those seven strikeouts I’m still Boyd Watching. 

Erick Fedde – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. If you own Erick, you’re paying a hefty Fedderal Tax.

Clayton Richard – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! Speaking of which, super pumped to have Kershaw back on Friday. It’s about time to snatch that Cy Young back.

Eric Skoglund – 1.1 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. I’m still upset Skoglund isn’t good enough to be a household name. It would just be so fun.

Today’s Streamer

Mike Montgomery vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I can see someone liking Mark Leiter Jr. against the Braves and taking that chance, or Andrew Heaney getting another shot against the A’s, but I’m going Monty after tossing a decent outing last time out as he faces a poor Pirates offense.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Matt Moore vs. San Diego Padres – It’s weird putting faith in Moore, but he’s been throwing well and he gets the Padres. I can see people going with his opponent in Luis Perdomo or taking gambles with Jake Junis against the Rays and Mark Leiter Jr. as he faces the Braves.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jerad Eickhoff vs. Atlanta Braves – How he’s under 20% owned is beyond me after he just cruised through the Cubs.

Game of the Day

Luis Severino vs. Corey Kluber – Ummm yes please.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

12 responses to “Changing Your Tone”

  1. Hanjy says:

    Castillo will probably be shut down before my playoffs. Should I drop him for Roark, Snell, Giolito or Reynaldo Lopez? Also would you take Gibson over Conley?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      If you have those options now, I’d prefer to hold out until something concrete is said, honestly. There’s always a chance the Reds pull a Philadelphia and let him ride like they did Nola back in 2015.

      Ehhhh, I think I prefer Conley’s next start against the Phils over Gibson.

  2. Soggy Arm says:

    Wacha and Clevinger were just dropped. Do you like either for the playoff run?

    I dropped Britton and picked up both McCarthy and Reynaldo Lopez. I already have Osuna and Herrera. Good?

  3. The Kraken says:

    Tell me what is wrong with this take if you have the time – analyzing a select handful of starts isn’t particularly valuable. Breaking those starts into pitches/ pitch-types is an even smaller sample and even less valuable in terms of telling you anything about who a guy is. The only reason you are pointing out pitch values is that they have been particularly good or bad which makes it even less useful in the big picture. Everyone’s CB is great when they are throwing their best one, but nobody throws the same pitch day-in and day-out. I imagine that pitch values come from contact and swings? Over a really small sample, a few fluky swings (HR off a good pitch or swinging through a poorly located pitch) greatly influences the average outcome, which is what I assume is being measured.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I don’t disagree with you at all!

      The reason I bring these up is that they might give us a peak into a change that is being made. If I see a pitch that has been generally poor or mediocre for a good while, then suddenly I see two straight games where he’s having success with it, I’m curious. Maybe he found something that made him pitch it with more consistency or he tweaked the grip. Maybe the approach changed. Maybe he just got lucky.

      You’re 100% right that it could be just that day or the times he threw it, the batters just took bad swings, or whatever. Small sample size sucks.

      But I stress often here that I the first step to believing in a new bar for a pitcher is see a change that would explain their success or failure. We don’t know how believable it is yet, but seeing these pitching values rise could be an indication of those changes in the right direction.

      Just fun stuff to consider.

  4. Matt Nielsen says:

    Ok so Mahle. His minor league numbers look very good and he’s maintained a sub-2.00 BB/9 almost all the way through. ERA has mostly dabbled around the high-2.00s with FIP and xFIP not too much higher. K/9 mostly over 8.00/9. Why don’t you believe he can adjust to the big leagues and get close to continuing these numbers? Also, is he up for good? Thanks!

    • The Kraken says:

      Lots of guys come up with that description. The exception is the guys that can maintain it at MLB.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Yo Matt!

      I’m not necessarily saying he can’t, I’m saying it’s not a great investment now.

      I think his Fastball is good enough that he can build upon it…but his secondary pitches looked Quad-A as opposed to major league ready. It’s kinda like the Luke Sims situation.

      It’s possible they simply weren’t at his best in his first start and I’ll see a second guy next time out, but considering he didn’t feature an excellent strikeout rate in the Triple-A this year makes me believe that he can’t be depended on for Ks in the majors this season.

      And you know my theory of not chasing young arms that don’t carry great strikeout upside.

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