The Malice of the Smith

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

It’s as good a time as any to speculate on 2020 for Caleb Smith, who has done everything he can to make us want to forget about his second half, this time going 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks against the Mets. Did anyone else let out a feeble cry when he allowed that grand slam with one out to go in the sixth? Just checking. It’s not like he was dominating prior to that pitch with just 21/104 CSW on this night (yeeeeesh) and but a blink of what made us fall for him in the spring. He gets the Phils over the weekend and it’s hard to expect a huge impact start there.

I digress, we’re talking about 2020 now. Obviously it will come down to price and I’d love to feature Caleb as my #5/6 starter, but nothing more. His velocity has declined through the season, consistently going 91/92/93 in the spring, falling to 90/91 in the second half. His changeup and slider each failed him as well, rarely having both available as weapons on a given start. The whole story seems more like a peak for Caleb in the early season than a surprising valley in the second half and I’m a bit ashamed I didn’t pick this out earlier. Likely I was so enamored by the fact he cost us next to nothing that I didn’t treat him with the same criticisms as higher drafted options. Noted for next year, there’s always room to improve.

Where will I be placing Caleb? I’m not going to rule out that with another season under his belt he can A) gain more durability for the long season and keep up his velocity B) refine his secondary stuff more to return more consistent strikeouts and C) be a solid draft pick given that many will classify the ceiling as a blip rather than an attainable climb. If I can snag him in the 16th or later, sign me up all day. No idea how it will shape up right now, but we can’t forget how much he carried us for months.

And please excuse the super nerdy pun for the headline. Props if you’re a Diablo fan.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Patrick Corbin – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s lovely to have a nice reminder of what a good pitcher is like on a day like today. Seriously, this was the only good start today. That’s it, everything else hurt you unless all you wanted a dub no matter the cost. 17 whiffs for an easy Gallows Pole and restart your PC one more time this weekend and call it a wonderful 200 inning season at exactly what we expected.

Blake Snell – 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. You may be upset at the Rays for pulling him so soon, but this is on Snell who had already tossed over 50 pitches by the time the hook arrived. We’ve been wondering if his final start of the season will be worth it or not and while I’m leaning yes despite this start, it does make you wonder how far he’ll actually get to go. I’d imagine it’ll be capped at four innings, which isn’t what you want. At all. Take note for those in start-limiting leagues.

Jhoulys Chacin – 3.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Can you believe it? Chacin was tied for the third-fewest ER allowed yesterday. We’re so proud but not really. I get the feeling that all Chacin wants these days.

Adam Wainwright – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Awwww, I favored Waino over Young in the end and I guess that was right, but no one won yesterday between Smith/Waino/Young. We all lost. And now he gets the Cubs, though he did pitch better than the line suggests, featuring 35% CSW and 14 whiffs. That could still work, don’t rule it out.

Zach Eflin – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Eflin is a strike-thrower that doesn’t miss a lot of bats. When he doesn’t throw strikes, he’s gonna have a bad time, especially against a team like the Nationals. He gets the Marlins next and I think you’re still safe with that one but the ceiling is capped, which y’all know.

Clay Buccholz – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Well yeah, he’s not one to Bucch the trend. What about 2018? Okay fine, he’s not worth a dollar. You mean a bucch? NO. But yes.

Steven Matz – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Uggggggh, Matz was doing just fine through five innings, then allowed a grand salami without recording an out in the fifth and his day was done. AGAINST THE MARLINS. I’m sure this start put a lot of owners in a huge hole early in the week when it should have been an early lead. Y’all have my sympathy, fantasy playoffs are a frustrating animal.

Chandler Shepherd – 3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. We had no expectations and I was still disappointed. I was a CS minor myself, so I’m very familiar with negative results here.

Alex Young – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. What a terrible day. Young’s solid 2-1 changeup to Paul Goldschmidt got launched for a two-run shot despite located well under the zone and despite a 31/90 CSW, he couldn’t get settled in, making a few mistake pitches over the plate. I’m still starting him against the Padres next but man, this stunk.


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.


Mitch Keller vs. Chicago Cubs – Keller’s upside is just too dang good to pass up. If you need something more QS/Win/Ratio safe, then consider Brett Anderson against the Angels.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Tyler Mahle vs. Milwaukee Brewers – This isn’t the greatest stream, but I can see Mahle earning a good amount of strikeouts against a Brewers squad missing Yelich, even if they have some of that September magic.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Dylan Cease vs. Cleveland Indians – I know the Indians are a bit scary right now and if I could take a safer ratio arm today, I would. But among the options – Tyler Beede hosting the Rockies or Jordan Yamamoto vs. Mets – I’d side with the ceiling of Cease.


Game of the Day


Aaron Nola vs. Max Scherzer – Two aces going at it. Love it.


(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

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.

2 responses to “The Malice of the Smith”

  1. Jim says:

    I know it’s a few days away, but do you like Cease over his opponent Civale? Civale’s numbers have been decent, if you can handle the low K/9 – it’s a one off…
    Civale or Cease? Thnx

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d prefer taking the safe route with Civale if you don’t need to chase strikeouts.

      Better chance of ratios/win/QS.

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