Sticking Out Like A Thor Thumb

Y’all know I have my crushes. The biggest one might be Mr. Noah Syndergaard who I wrote a Breakdown for in the off-season because I was just so in love with his...

Y’all know I have my crushes. The biggest one might be Mr. Noah Syndergaard who I wrote a Breakdown for in the off-season because I was just so in love with his Fastball. Then he showed up on the scene in 2016 and became the dominating force I dreamed of. But suddenly, the bone spur discussion and the feared 93/91 happened leading to yesterday’s 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks line. He now holds a 4.06 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP over his last eight starts during which his walks are up to 3.05 per nine, holding an atrocious .405 BABIP and 72.6% LOB rate in that time. You’ve been scared for a while – I know this because I have been too. What can we expect from the almighty Thor moving forward? Well, there are two things I’ve noticed over this poor span. First, his Slider velocity is now around 89 mph, where it was about 91/92 earlier in the season. His Fastball velocity is actually still up there, so it’s a bit odd to see him slow down the slide piece a little. But the major issue isn’t his Slider’s effectiveness, it’s his Changeup, which is actually registering a negative pitch value this season. He gets a ton of whiffs on the pitch (23.6%!), which tells me the likely suspect is its location, and it’s pretty apparent. Before June 22nd, Thor was burying the pitch below the strikezone more often than not, rarely hinting at the middle part of the zone. Since June 22nd, the pitch is sneaking into the wheelhouse for right-handers: middle-inside corner. Batters are hitting .462  off it in those eight games, with an ISO of .539. Holy bejesus. Hopefully he can fix his command of the pitch and take a step in the right direction moving forward.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday: 

Steven Wright – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Stupid Knuckleballers. You know he’s two starts removed from an 8 ER clunker, right? Well, if you threw him out there nice job to ya. I just hate that I can’t analyze him like I do anyone else, which means I’m just praying that it’s working for him on a given night.

Dallas Keuchel – 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Two CGSHOs in one day?! If only they came against each other, that would have been fun. But of course they wouldn’t have since most CGSHOs come in easily won games, otherwise coaches would turn to their bullpen before the final out. Anyway, this is obviously super solid from Keuchel and is reminiscent of his 2015 ride, which means I’m rolling with him next time against the Twins. I’m not buying heavily on Keuchel, but let’s see where this path goes.

Jaime Garcia – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. It’s Garcia’s second 11+ K game of the year, and of course it came against the Braves (first was against the Brewers). I’m still not touch Garcia, as this game is going to massively inflate his numbers across the board, masking the fact that had more Ks in this game alone than his previous four combined. Yeah.

Gio Gonzalez – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Okay, okay. Gio is getting a good bump on Monday. That’s just 7 ER across five games…but wait. A 6.10 K/9, 3.33 BB/9 and 4.10 FIP/4.77 xFIP across those five starts. Yikes. He’s clearly getting away with one here, and yeah maybe it wouldn’t regress past 4.00 measure, but it’s not like he’s pulling a Shoemaker and simply being super good in this hot stretch to earn these numbers.

Jon Lester – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. See guys? Lester is fine.

Justin Verlander – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. You my boy Verlander. YOU MY BOY.

Anthony DeSclafani – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Solid outing from Tony Disco, though I recognize that he’s really only performed well against weak teams. I think the real challenge will be to see how he does against the Cardinals next time out. I have a feeling it won’t go so well, and I think I’m going pull him closer to the #50 mark on Monday. I know that sounds crazy given that he just did well, but it’s how it goes.

Felix Hernandez – 8.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. You wanna know something fun? Felix allowed a double, walk, and 3-run shot from Trout before recording an out. So that’s 8 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hit, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Looks a lot better, yeah? Too bad he had to be all stupid at first. Stupid Felix.

Jameson Taillon – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. If you’re getting a sense of deja vu with Taillon, that’s because he’s had 6 Ks with 6 Hits and a low ER/BB count three times already. I really enjoy this kid.

Ervin Santana – 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Our Call Boy gave us the night of our lives against the Rays. That’s what’s up. THAT’S WHAT’S UP. You might be considering holding him on your roster now for the foreseeable future. That would yes as he has the Astros/Braves/Royals up next. Hallelujah!

Blake Snell – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Not sure if you were like me and threw Snell out there against the Twins, but I hope you too feel the joy. I’M FEELING THE JOY. Good to see him shrink his walk numbers a bit while keeping the strikeouts flowing. I really really hope he can keep this up in September. He gets AL Beast teams then and I would be crushed if he can’t keep it up.

Jorge De La Rosa – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. De La Rosa 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 not named Gray and maybe even Gray.

Chase Anderson – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. There are better pitchers to Chase.

David Phelps – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It was the debut of Phelps as a starter this season and it went pretty dang well. It was cut short (70 pitches!) since he still needs to get stretched out and we have to give him bonus points for doing this in Colorado. I want to invest in Phelps in the NL Easy moving forward, though I do have a little caution in his next start since A) it’s against the Giants but more importantly B) his limited pitch count will prevent him from going too deep into the game.

Joel De La Cruz – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 5 BBs, 2 Ks. Five walks? That’s not how you cruise, Cruz.

Christian Friedrich – 7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Friedrich just makes me think of someone named Rich and how bad I feel for him. That must have been painful. So Friedrich doesn’t make you think of anything else? Say, adding someone to your team? Ummm, no not really. Maybe adding some Christian Rock to my playlist?  Nah just playing, I meant Chris Rock.

Yovani Gallardo – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. YoGa struck a pose and wasn’t all that bad. Good for him, not good for someone considering if they should pick him up. Hint: Don’t.

Braden Shipley – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 2 Ks. He isn’t going to right this Ship. Sorry.

Francisco Liriano – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. In Liriano’s debut with the Jays he wasn’t his normal super bad self that we expect. We all laughed at this deal given how terrible Franny has been this year, but there is a part of me that wonders if the whole “change of scenery” thing actually has some sort of effect. We’ll see, but just so we’re clear I’m definitely not expecting this to work out in the slightest.

Jeremy Hellickson – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I guess if you own him this is fine? Maybe? I still hate him.

Dillon Gee – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Gee that’s boring.

Michael Pineda – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. That K/BB is still intact, but of course a 3-run HR ruined his night. This is Pineda after all.

Jeff Samardzija – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Loose Lips is still sinking ships. Y’all realize he’s super close to matching his horrible season from last year, right?

Martin Perez – 7.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. He’s been a major TEEs and the shirt came off finally today. Boy is it hairy, let me tell you.

Scott Kazmir – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. That’s 11 ER over his last three starts.

Miguel Gonzalez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Miguel…No.

Josh Tomlin – 4.2 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Awwww, it’s liek the Regression Angels elected to get all of his regression out in one start. Also, what has gotten into the Yankee offense lately? Matz, now Tomlin putting up clunkers against the Beltran-less sluggers. Quit winning guys! We want that Top 10 draft pick.

Dillon Overton – 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah, this is going to end soon.

Tim Lincecum – 3.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Seriously. I have no idea why this “comeback” is still around.

Today’s Streamers

Matt Boyd vs New York Mets – I like the way his Changeup is looking these days and I’m betting on him to continue his ride against the Mets.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Zach Eflin vs. San Diego Padres – You may be calling me crazy after his last two starts, but those weren’t streamable Eflin outings. This one is and that changes things y’all. So Jake Thompson is getting a crack at the majors on Saturday, which means Eflin gets pushed a day to Monday. If you need a Sunday stream, the best option is most likely Archie Bradley against the Brewers, though be mindful of his floor.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer 

Jerad Eickhoff vs. Los Angeles Dodgers He’s owned juuuust over 30% of ESPN leagues (should be at least 50% but whatever) and he’s the only one I’d consider rolling with.

Game of the Day

Tyler Skaggs vs. Taijuan Walker – Plenty of great games today, including Archer vs. Berrios as well. Skaggs/Walker gets the call as I want to see if Skaggs’ command holds up + see how Walker is handling the foot injury.

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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