Oh boy. It finally looks like the MLB is ready to crack down on pitchers with foreign substances. Perhaps that was why Gerrit Cole’s spin rate had dropped on Thursday; you can read more about it below. Against Cole, however, the real story of that game was when Ryan Yarbrough threw a full game, the first by a Rays starting pitcher since 2016. Yarbrough remains frayed at best, but this is a reminder that you can really stream your pitchers against the Yankees now while they are fighting.
On the hitter side, Charlie Blackmon appears to be back as he went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs. He beats .319 in his last 15 games. I think you can also get it cheaply. Blackmon isn’t flashy, turning 35 in less than a month, but he’s actually posting the best statcast numbers of his career. Get him before others realize how good he was.
Of course, you can subscribe to make sure you get the latest episodes of The Daily Sporting Today straight from Apple and Spotify.
Cole situation is tricky and potentially sticky
Yankees SP Gerrit Cole wasn’t his hottest Thursday in an otherwise Cy Young-worthy season – he allowed five runs in five innings – but that’s not the tale now. The narrative has shifted to focus on Cole’s spin rate dropping during the night. If you don’t already know why Cole’s drop in spin rate set Twitter on fire, there’s strange speculation that it happened the same day. Several MLB insiders reported that starting pitchers use sticky substances to improve their spin rate, and Cole was named in the reports.
Here is an exact one Tweet from Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic: “Evidence was presented at the MLB owners’ meetings to suggest that the use of illegal foreign substances by pitchers trying to increase spin rate and gain an advantage is very common in the game, so serious action is now being taken. “
Max Goldstein made available more data on Twitter: “Gerrit Cole’s four-seam fastball had an average spin rate of 2436 rpm today. The last outing where his average fastball spin rate was lower than this was September 21, 2018. “
Meanwhile, Cole still had 15 swinging strikes on 92 fields and only allowed five balls hit hard. Its average exit speed, on the other hand, was 83 miles per hour. I had people who told me after this start that Gerrit Cole was “done” because he could no longer use sticky substances. I wanted to stick my head through my computer. Fortunately, Scott helped me regain my senses. He sees Cole as a runaway tonight and doesn’t believe the narrative that this will ruin his entire career. Even so, the fact that the fastball was over 100 RPM is at least a little odd.
The only thing we know now is that baseball will crack down on the use of these substances and the idea is to restore some balance in the game so that the pitchers aren’t as favored and the hitters don’t have to sell out as hard on the home run. It will be interesting to watch spin rates across the league now as the MLB cracks down on the use of foreign stickies.
For more information on Cole’s spin rate and an in-depth look at the situation, see Chris Towers in the introduction to his waivers.
Now is the time to start trading Yelich?
Brewer OF Christian Yelich went 1 for 3 with his second homer and he’s hitting .171 at a 35% K rate since returning from the IL. This begs the question: is Yelich the perfect buy low or is now the time to sell it before it bottomed out?
Scott would try to buy it now because it looks like there are more believers out there. Scott doesn’t feel like he can count on him for the rest of the season.
More news and notices
- Diamondbacks SP Madison Bumgarner was placed on the IL with inflammation of the left shoulder.
- White Sox 1B Andrew Vaughn went to the COVID IL. GM Rick Hahn said: “Andrew is currently asymptomatic and we hope that, similar to our other IL placements of this type, he will return to the active roster shortly.” Jake Lamb is set for more playing time and hits his fourth homer on Thursday. With a .265 with a .931 OPS, Lamb is 1% in the roster and has six games next week but four are against LHP. He’s someone to oversee in deep 15-team leagues.
- Padres SS Fernando Tatis returned to the lineup for the padres after dealing with weird complaints. With his 17th homer, he added two more hits.
- Dodgers SS Corey Seager will join the Dodgers on their upcoming six game road trip. He’s still gone for at least two weeks with that broken hand.
- Giant SP Kevin Gausmann confirmed that he will face the Cubs on Saturday. He was struggling with a minor hip injury.
- Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto said he fears OF Kyle Lewis could be absent for a longer period after tearing his right meniscus. Dipoto added that they hope he can return this season.
- Giant OF Mike Yastrzemski was placed on top of the IL with a sprained right thumb.
- Giant SP Logan Webb was placed on the IL with a load on the right shoulder.
- Pirates 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes made his long-awaited return on Thursday. He finished 2 for 4 with a triple and a run scored.
- Marlins SP Eliezer Hernandez returned and hit well (5 IP, 1 ER, 6 K) but went with a quad load while running the bases. Coach Don Mattingly said he believed it was a long-term injury. It’s a really tough break.
- Brewer 2B Kolten Wong left the game on Thursday with left oblique problems. This is the same lean angle that gave him problems at the start of the season.
- Navigator RP Kendall Graveman is out of quarantine and has rejoined the Seattle team. He may need some rehab or simulated games.
- Padres OF Tommy Pham had a CT scan returned clean after his collision with Ha-seong Kim. Pham stayed out of the lineup on Thursday.
- Royals DH Jorge Soler returned to the lineup. Edward Olivares was optioned back to Triple-A.
- Yankees SP Corey Kluber is expected to start a litter program soon, although his overall return schedule has not changed.
Scott recently took an in-depth look at the best prospects in baseball, with five on the edge and five on the periphery. You can find it here.
- Braves OF Drawn water comes in the last 15 games but may not be finished yet. Scott likes for lowering the strikeout rate, but his performance and average numbers are worse than in 2019. So far, he’s been more of a projection prospect than a production prospect. He needs to keep reducing strikeouts and adding more strength, but it now seems too early for him to be an MLB player now. In other words, it is not a supply.
- Five on the edge: Rays SS Wander Franco, Rays SS Vidal Brujan, Angel OF Jo Adel, Marlins OF Jesus Sanchez, Royals SP Jackson Kowar.
- Five on the periphery: Royals SS Bobby Witt, Sailors C Cal Raleigh, Navigator SP Brandon Williamson, Rays SS Gregor Jones, National SP Mitchell Parker.
Sleeper Hitters for Week 11
* Reported in 75% of the leagues or less
- 66% in the roster: Brewers OF Avisail Garcia
- 69%: Royals OF Andrew Benintendi
- 34%: Red Sox OF Hunter Renfroe
- 57%: Diamondbacks 1B / OF Pavin Smith
- 42%: Marlins 1B / OF Garrett Cooper
- 38%: swindler OF AJ Pollock
- 37%: Brewers SS Willy Adames
- 26%: Tiger 1B / 2B Jonathan Schoop
- 41%: Angel OF Justin Upton
- 52%: Royals 1B / 3B / OF Hunter Dozier
Best hitter matches in week 11
Worst hitter matchups in week 11
- Rockies SP Jon Gray vs. OAK
- Cardinals SP Kwang Hyun Kim vs. CIN
- Tiger SP Spencer Turnbull at CWS
- Rays SP Josh Fleming at TEX
- Marlins SP Cody Poteet at PIT
- Royals SP Mitch Keller vs. MIA
- Tiger SP Tarik Skubal at CWS
- Angel SP Alex Cobb vs. SEA
- Diamondbacks SP Merrill Kelly at MIL
- Pirate SP Chase De Jong vs. MIA
- Phillies SP Spencer Howard vs. WHAT
- Royals SP Mike Minor vs. MIN
- Red Sox SP Garrett Richards at NYY
- Navigator SP Logan Gilbert at LAA
- Giant SP Johnny Cueto vs. CHC
- Rangers SP Danish reminder vs. TB
- Cardinals SP / RP John Gant vs. CIN
- Red SP Wade Miley at STL