Far From A Delight

The 2016 season has not been kind to Sonny Gray and it only got worse last night as he exited early against the Red Sox, hitting the showers with a line of 3.2 IP,...

The 2016 season has not been kind to Sonny Gray and it only got worse last night as he exited early against the Red Sox, hitting the showers with a line of 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks.  I know I’m not the highest on him, but I didn’t expect this sort of catastrophe. So what on earth is going on with Gray?  You can point to the BB/9 (4.15), the 15.2% HR/FB rate, or the ~30% Hard Hit rate, though the problem lies in his breaking stuff.  Last season, Gray used his Slider as his primary secondary pitch (yes, that wording makes sense), but has dropped his usage from 17.0% to just 8.2% this year.  Why?  Because he can’t throw it for strikes.  Like at all.  33.9% last year –> 15.2% this year, which is as low as I’ve ever seen for a pitch’s zone rate.  Well, okay, what about his Curveball then?  You know, the pitch that is now his primary secondary pitch? (I swear it makes sense.)  Yeah, he can’t throw that for a strike either, dropping from a 49.0% zone rate to just 33.0% this year.  It can be tough for pitchers to find their feel again for breaking balls and it may be a bit before we see Sonny being delight once again.  I’d sell if someone believes they are getting a great buy low.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Corey Kluber – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Gray wasn’t the only one who has a big name and ran into trouble tonight.  Kluber had two superb outings in him before tonight and he got Singled Out in the third inning after cruising through the first two frames.  I still love Klubs and consider him a proper stud in the Top 10 and so should you.

Jose Fernandez – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 11 Ks.  Speaking of studs, JoFer is ramping it up despite keeping up his walk rate.  Against the silly Brewers too.  I’m suddenly starting to wonder if there is a league-wide shift in batting approaches, where taking more pitches and induing walks is finally getting the full appreciation it deserves.  I’ll look into this later.  For now, the problem with JoFer’s walks is that he’s throwing fewer Curveballs for strikes while batters are chasing them 14 points fewer than 2015.  It’s not getting the same horizontal movement (it’s lost 1.2 inches worth), nor the drop (a loss of 1.1 inches) and while the pitch is still nasty, there’s something innately wrong with it thus far.  Curious.

Mike Fiers – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks.  Fiers has a 6.64 K/9 despite a near 9.00 career rate.  Sign me down!  People don’t say that.  Well, I just said it.  Yeah, people don’t say that.  Touché.

Aaron Sanchez – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks.  Ugh, five walks?  Why are you doing this to me Sanchez?  I can’t say no to you right now but you’re creating this aura of dread that makes a little guy in my head a little uneasy endorsing you.  I hate that guy and he deserves to suffer a little, but it affects me too.

Felix Hernandez – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. He’s not really the king anymore, more like a jealous uncle who will never get the throne.  But he still has royal blood, so he’s not worthless.  I think that works as an analogy.

Colby Lewis – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I feel like that parent trying to get some relaxation at the pond.  Look dad!  LOOK!  Yes, yes I’m watching Lewis…That’s great hun.

Miguel Gonzalez – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Miguel……No.

Dan Straily – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Looking at Straily’s numbers under the hood evokes feelings of disgust I haven’t felt since my ex-wife.  I don’t have an ex-wife.  Yet.

Stephen Strasburg – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 11 Ks. He allowed an early pair of runs via a 2 run shot from Castellandos and settled in afterward.  I’m not worried in the slightest about Stras, not when he strikes out 11 Tigers.

Steven Matz – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks.  And people dropped Matz after his 7 ER debut.  The things we do in April.

Jon Niese – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Our Call Boy did as well as we could have hoped for against the Reds.  Now go ahead and drop him and most likely never see him again.  That’s why they are called Call Boys.

Ivan Nova – 4.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. So we knew this would be a short outing since Nova was pitching in relief prior to this start, but this is encouraging in that he didn’t completely wreck the bed.  That’s not how that phrase goes.  We’re family friendly here at Pitcher List, though if you’re reading this with your family I question your parental choices.  Nah, just kidding glad to have you all!

Jake Peavy – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. Here’s a fun test!  Which is higher?  Peavy’s ERA for the year or his baserunner total from tonight?  Find out if you’re right later in the article.

Wily Peralta – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks.  12 baserunners and only 4 Ks in 6 IP?  Stop being so Wily!

Scott Kazmir – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, Kaz is droppable like Matt Holliday in Game 2.  Yeah, you know what I mean, don’t act like you don’t.  (I’m sorry for those who actually don’t. Here you go.  I swear I’m not cold-hearted.  I swear.)

Matt Moore – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Why did I ever think that Moore could run away from his nightmarish walks?  Okay now I’m trying to envision a nightmare involving someone running away in fear of walks.  It’s a very tough thing to do, and all I can think of phrases appearing in the air:  Ball Four!  Take your base!  THROW A STRIKE!  No!  NO!  Make it stop!!!  MAKE IT STOP!!!

Anibal Sanchez – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. This is the fourth outing this year where Sanchez has allowed exactly four earned runs.  Don’t do this to yourself.

Archie Bradley – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks.  “Hey, I’m so excited that Bradley is back!”  – Said no fantasy owner in a mixed 12 teamer.  At least his ERA is under Peavy’s 8.47 for the season.  Did you get it right?

Clay Buchholz – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Buchholz will always have that tinge of upside that makes you wonder if you should pick him up, but the answer is always the same:  Yes.  I mean, wait.  No.  The answer is No.  

Tyler Chatwood – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks.  Were people really thinking that Chatwood was rosterable?  Guys, I hope you didn’t forget that Chatwood has limited upside, pitches his home games at Coors Field, and doesn’t deserve a spot on your team. This should be the blurb for every Colorado starter.

Chris Young – 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Young allowed five solo HRs in this game.  It’s like he’s trying to make up for his low HR/FB rates of previous seasons in one large effort.  It doesn’t work like that bud.

Today’s Streamers

Alex Wood vs. New York Mets – There are a decent amount of options from Adam Conley (who is the best option but already should be owned), to Wade MileyMichael Fulmerand even Chris Devenski.  I’ll go with Wood given his recent success and the Mets’ high K rate against lefties.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jerad Eickhoff vs. Atlanta Braves – I don’t understand it, but Eickhoff is owned in under 21% of ESPN leagues, which means he’s a super easy and awesome stream.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer 

Aaron Blair vs. Philadelphia Phillies – So I’ve heard some requests for more streams, which means I’m adding one more day in advance to help owners out.  Keep in mind, starts can change in a day or two, which mean this matchup might not actually come to fruition every time I make it.  I may get rid of it if y’all think this is getting too crowded down here, so let me know how you feel either way in the comments.  Anyway, Blair is exclusive to streams and he gets a good matchup against the Phils.  Other options include Bartolo Colon against the Dodgers as well as Nathan Eovaldi vs. the Royals if the other two options aren’t available.

Game of the Day

Joe Ross vs. Michael Fulmer – I see this game as a significant test for both pitchers.  If Ross can get past the Tigers in an impressive fashion, he’s golden for the rest of the year vs anyone.  Meanwhile Fulmer needs a solid performance under his belt to show owners he’s still worth a roster spot.

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.

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