Who could forget our first visit over to Finnegan’s?!  Grabbin’ a pint, singin’ some odes, and getting so sloshed we’re coming back for mo’!

As we saw in his first career start last year, Brandon Finnegan looked kinda blah to me.  And after an early-season near no-hit bid against the Cubs, Finnegan’s effectiveness was a range from blah-to-awful.  His walk rate was terrible especially next to an equally atrocious K-rate, and Finnegan could not be further off my radar.  But suddenly some Ks started popping up with equally sudden success, which beat writers reported could be contributed to learning a change-up from Dan Straily.  After heavily using what I’m assuming was a different change-up grip at the start of the season through his first 4 starts (close to 25% of the time), Finnegan then barely threw it 10% of the time over his next 21 starts .  As I mentioned in that pitcher profile from last year, his change-up looked pretty below average and I’m guessing he more-or-less scrapped it from his main arsenal.  But over his last 4 starts, he’s got an insane 35:8 K:BB in 25.0 IP with a 2.16 ERA.  I obviously haven’t watched too much Finnegan, but I have added him in several of my leagues due to glowing reports on this new change-up (and of course, recent result), so I decided to profile him to see how it’s really looking.  Here’s how he fared yesterday afternoon against the Bucs:

First Inning: Finnegan’s first pitch is a – wouldn’t ya know it – change-up that drops low to Jordy Mercer, 1-0.  Then fastball on the hands gets a routine fly to right center, quick first out.  Little slider gets the backdoor 0-1 to Josh Bell – no velocity readings so far, I’m not sure what’s up with the gun…  Fastball misses, high fastball fouled off, then a high two-seam with some great tailing movement gets Bell reaching out of the zone for Finny’s first K.

Finnegan-Two-Seam-1Two-seamer runs outside to Andrew McCutchen, carbon copy same pitch again is outside, that nasty change-up gets a foul-tip into the mitt 2-1, change-up again taken in the top of the zone for strike two, change-up again looked to have plenty of the plate but I guess called low, 3-2.

Finnegan-Changeup-1Then slider goes into the dirt for a walk.  Annoying walk there.  So two down, and high two-seamer gets a whiff from Jung Ho Kang, fastball sails high, beautiful change-up sticks on the inside black 1-2, then fastball on the hands gets an easy pop to second, and a pretty easy first inning.

Second Inning: Get your early drinks at Finnegan’s mate, 5 runs put on the board for the Irishman!  So protecting a 5-0 lead, and Finny hangs an outside slider, 1-0 to David Freese.  Change-up drop in there – this pitch is unreal – but of course I curse it with an outside change-up oppo fielded to right for a leadoff single.  Hard two-seamer I think sinks low and in to Gregory Polanco, two-seamer again with nasty run breaks well inside again, then two-seamer yet again gets a whiff on the inside edge, change-up gets a whiff, slider in the dirt makes it full, hard two-seamer tipped foul, then two-seam again is just breaking too much and runs inside for a walk.  Yikes, so runners on first and second with no outs, and fastball is high to Sean Rodriguez, fastball again is low, fastball on the hands ties him up for a whiff, change barely tails inside, then sinking fastball is low, bases loaded – not outs.  Sheesh.  Change in there to Chris Stewart, fastball dips low, two-seamer runs outside, two-seam again fouled off, then an inside change-up ties him up for his second K.  Two-seamer gets a huge whiff from Ryan Vogelsong, change-up hits the inside black, two-seam runs outside, two-seam again fouled back, then change-up perfectly paints that inside black again for his 3rd K looking.  K-trax had it in the zone as well, nasty.  Change again stays high to Mercer, fastball fouled off, change falls low, fastball fouled off, change-up staying right down the middle luckily gets a foul, then change again right at the bottom black gets an easy pop to first and Finnegan wriggles his way out of it.  Tough inning!

Third Inning: Now a 6-0 lead, and slider hangs high, 1-0 to Bell.  At 48 pitches already, it might not be a long outing.  change misses, change again is high, the change one more time is barely high, 4 pitch walk.  Ugh.  Two-sermer gets the inside corner to McCutchen, change is low, then two-seam again is flied routinely to right center, one down.  Then first pitch to Kang is a fastball dribbled through the left gap for a weak single.  Weak!  Then again on the first pitch, a little slider is hit pretty hard to left, but it’s caught out there without too much stress for the second out.  Two pitches, two outs in a row.  Sorely needed.  Slider drops low to Polanco, fastball fouled off Polanco’s foot for some pain, 1-1 slider bounces in the dirt, two-seam sinks low and in, fastball right in there, then fastball paints the outside black for another K looking.  Polanco then whines his way to an ejection.  Womp womp!

Fourth Inning: At 62 pitches and still protecting a 6-0 lead, Finny drops a change in there to S-Rod, change-up gets a monster whiff – I’ll be interested to see Finnegan’s swinging strikes this game – slider drops low, damn, change-up looked to hit the outside corner but called a ball, but Finnegan stays out there and gets a lazy pop to center, one down.  Then fastball on the hands of Stewart is inside-outed to right for a single.  Fastball fouled back by pinch-hitter Jason Rogers, change hits the inside black, then 0-2 change-up gets Rogers reaching, and it’s a routine double-play ball to get Finnegan through a quick inning. 

Fifth Inning: Now 7-0, and Finnegan opens it up low to Mercer, 1-0.  Fastball fouled off, nice tight slider pulled well foul, then holy crap – CHANGE-UP!

Finnegan-Changeup-1Strike three!  Change yet again gets a whiff from Bell, change again on the inside black, change drops low, then a high hanging slider gets a weak dribbler that’s just outside the reach of a diving Brandon Phillips for a weak single.  Weak!  Oh just noticed we have radar readings now!  93 MPH is low to McCutchen, change at 82 hangs high, then that nasty two-seamer barely misses the inside black, two-seam again drops low, then 3-1 Finny sticks with the two-seamer which is in there, but hanging off-speed of some sort is inside for a walk, runners on first and second.  92 MPH fastball outside to Kang, 92 again inside, then 91 MPH two-seamer gets a weak flare to right for a single. 

Finnegan-Two-Seam-2Look at the movement though!  And the third weak hit of his 5 singles allowed.  So bases loaded yet again with only one out, and change drops in there to Freese, 0-1.  Two-seam breaks outside, two-seam again dribbled just foul, then a monster change-up gets a huge whiff from Freese, 6th K from Finnegan.  Gnarly!  Two-seamer fouled off by Adam Frazier, 93 MPH heat again fouled off, then slider dropping in the dirt gets Frazier swinging for Finnegan’s 7th K.  Nasty!

Final Line:  W  5.0 IP  95 Pitches (55 Strikes)  0 ER  5 Hits  5 Walks  7 K  Gamescore: 57  Gamescore+: 68

Final Analysis: I was having some beers while watching football and profiling Finnegan, so excuse any typos!  Stupid Cardinals offense playing like poo against the Pats…  Oh yeah, baseball!  And what a crazy disparity there for Finnegan with the Gamescore+.  7 Ks in 5 innings will skew to the +, and as mentioned in the 5th inning there, 3 of his 5 hits allowed (all 5 were singles) were weak contact, and only one in-play out did I score as anything other than the weakest out.

We didn’t have radar readings most of this start, but Finnegan was at 92.5 MPH with the heater, about in line with what we saw last year.  Overall his fastball velo has been down a little bit in 2016 over 2015, but the two-seamer just looked nasty.  Yeah, I GIFfed one that was a hit, but it was showing Kang just guide a nasty-moving pitch – nothing was getting centered up on by the Pirates hitters.  I think even Finnegan was surprised by the two-seam movement, contributing to the walk issues.  But to the subject of pretty much this whole Profile – that new change-up was a beaut.  He threw it 25.3% of the time this start – the most he’s utilized it since the former change-up he had in April.  And velocity readings confirm it’s a completely different change-up then the beginning of the season.  Through the first 4 starts when he was using the old change-up, it was sitting well over 85 MPH.  This new stretch over the last 5 starts, it’s going about 83.5 MPH, with no changes to the fastball velo.  If you looked at Finnegan’s profile from last year that I linked in the intro, I mentioned I hated his change-up not having the velocity differentiation vs. the fastball – now he has it.  He was able to throw the new change for strikes, keep them on the edges of the zone, and get whiffs out of the zone.  Finnegan also mixed in his slider; it didn’t quite have the usefulness of the two-seam or change, but his last pitch on the day was a swinging K with it, and it helped to round out his arsenal.

Wow, I thought this might just be a little flash in the pan to end 2016, but I think this new change-up will get Finnegan on my sleeper list next year.  Remember he’s just learned it!  Imagine what he could do with a full offseason to prepare a 30% use rate with that pitch.  It’s what he should do, and hopefully what the Reds have him prepare for as a starter heading into 2017.  For the final run this season, as long as Finnegan is in the rotation, I think I’m using him.  Yes the WHIP was high this start, but a chunk of that was BABIP.  We do have to be concerned they might innings-limit him, but it looks like he gets home at the Pirates again, @MIL then @STL to close out the year.  I have confidence using him in at least those first two.

 

 

Sorry I missed you guys last week, but I took Labor Day off from laboring!  Although, I did still labor through a Podcast with Grey…  So there’s that!  As I mentioned in my last Profile, ranks are just impossible to maintain with very little action left – pitchers within even 30 or 40 spots of each other could change due to matchups or 6-man rotations.  But of course, any questions you have for spot starts or who to own the rest of the way, shoot them below!

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9 Men on grass
9 Men on grass
5 years ago

Your help has been golden so I am going to yhe well again. Points league semi finals.
Sat. Lugo Min , Santana NYY or DeSclafani @ Pit
Sun. DeLeon @ AZ or Ray LAD Thanks in advance!!!

JJ
JJ
5 years ago

Hey JB. Kind of stuck for the playoffs. Had Glasnow in my NA slot but he was activated so now I have to either play him or drop him. It is a keeper league but we only keep 10 so I doubt that he gets kept. I also have Gausman who looks like he is matching up with the Red Sox for back to back starts. Not ideal. Would you drop both of those guys for a streamer?
Available steamers include
Iwakuma @ LAA
Sabathia vs LAD
Cole vs NYM
Pineda vs LAD
Kickoff vs PIT
E.Rodriguez vs NYY
Thanks

JJ
JJ
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin:
Hey JB
I took another look and noticed that quite a few of those guys were taken.
here is the edited list
Who do you like best of the following

WED
Iwakuma @LAA
A.Sanchez vs MIN
musgrove vs TEX

THURS
Eickoff vs PIT
Kuhl vs PHI
Jimenez vs TAM
Montgomery vs MLW

FRI
L.Weaver @ SF
McHugh @ SEA

JJ
JJ
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin:
Damn.
Thats actually Anibel there.

JJ
JJ
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin:
Do you like any of the other starts?

My Thread Count Is High
My Thread Count Is High
5 years ago

Need a lil help with my staff. Salazar has a mild UCL/firarm, out 3-4 weeks. Not sure they DL him though with expanded rosters so Im contemplating dropping him. I can only keep 4 guys, not sure Salazar(5th rd value) would be one of them, and not sure I can win with a dead arm taking up a spot.

Also have Phelps still on the DL, hadn’t activated him yet, saw he was used in relief tonight, so Im not sure he’s going back in the rotation.So do I drop Salazar and Phelps. If I do I’d essentially have one open spot: what order would you prioritize adding the following guys: Guerra, Boyd, Skaggs, Bundy, or Paxton?

Roster is as follows:

ESPN 12 team HTH 5×5 with OBP and QS daily moves and 4 keepers per season

C Posey
1B Cabrera
2B Daniel Murphy
3B Seager
SS A. Russell
OF Trout
OF Dahl
OF Polanco
UTIL OF Buxton
UTIL C/DH Sanchez
Bench 2B/SS/3B Baez
Bench DH Morales

SP Rodon
SP Porcello
RP Jansen
RP Melancon
P Price
P Rodon
P DeSclafani
P Salazar
Bench RP Kimbrel
Bench RP Familia
Bench SP Weaver
DL SP Matz
DL SP Phelps

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
5 years ago

Stephen Gonsalves Twins
Kevin Gadea Mariners

thoughts on them

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: Thanks man!

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: In a forever roto 5×5, 10 teams, 60 man roster keeper, would you want the two guys I mentioned above or Braxton and Amir Garrett..

cheers

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
5 years ago

@Malicious Phenoms: Also out there are Mike Sorkoa and Joey Wentz of the Braves, Jordan Sheffield, Dakota Hudson or Matt Manning..So out of the nine, which two have the best long term value? Not worried about age or how long it takes to get to the majors, just the best 2 overall in your opinion..

thanks

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: Braxton Garrett

PITCH MY TITS OFF.
5 years ago

JB

Good stuff as always. Quick SP question for you. 5X5 — looking for best all around starting pitching stats. How do you rank these 3 starts :

J. Gray vs SD
T. Skaggs vs SEA
J. Paxton vs HOU

Thanks

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
5 years ago

Speaking of Reds SP’s..What do you think of Amir Garrett..Frontline SP or mid rotation kind of guy?

Great write -up as per the usual!

M
M
5 years ago

Blackmon or Buxton for the week?

Need HR’s and Steals equally.

M
M
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: Np! Went Blackmon before lineups locked! Thanks!

Oranje
Oranje
5 years ago

Start Urias for his 2 starts…@NYY and @ARI

OR Either Hammel or Wainwright….

I could also start none of the above and start an extra RP in Ramos…

Grizza3569
Grizza3569
5 years ago

Anyone know if Strailly is getting 2 starts this week? Yahoo shows him starting Tuesday and again on Sat or sun. But espn doesn’t show him starting at all.

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
5 years ago

Hey JB! What do you think about Robbie Ray this week (v. COL, v. LAD)? He was just dropped and I’m thinking of snagging him for my H2H semis matchup this week…

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: Thanks! Hopefully he’s supergreen and not superGreene.

Are you starting Ervin Santana tonight against Detroit? He’d been on such a run before those recent couple of duds…but it’s a QS league (he’s usually good for at least 6 IP) and in playoffs I feel like you want every stat out there…

Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Duda Want to Build a Snowman?
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: No worries! I started him, missed out on the QS and W, but got a solid 3.00 / 1.00 so I’m happy.

What do you think of Urias today? SON isn’t in love, but I feel like LAD would pull Urias at the first sign of struggle due to IP cap, no?

Chris
Chris
5 years ago

You said it. Impossible to know what rotations will look like. Rolling with max, cueto, Lester, Quintana, Roark. Pick two from the rest. Desclafani, gio g, j. Hammel, smyly, Guerra, bundy, Estrada. Leaning gio and Estrada. Playoffs!!!

Chris
Chris
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: h2h points. Yeah, was worried about disco cuz he’s getting skipped. I always try to avoid gio.

Noam
Noam
5 years ago

JB! I could use some help on my lineup for a weekly points league.
Standard hitting points, but no penalty for Ks and 2 points for SB.
With pitchers it’s 10 points for a W, 5 for QS, -5 for L, 1 for K and IP, -1 for BB and ER. 7.5 for SV

Hitters: Pick 2 for the week ahead:
Buxton ([email protected], [email protected])
Grandyman ([email protected], [email protected] and 6 righties)
Kiermaier ([email protected], [email protected])
Gurriel (3vOAK, [email protected])
Cron (3vSEA, 4vTOR)
Grichuk (3vCHC, [email protected])

And pitchers, pick one…
Hammel (@STL…and maybe vMIL?)
L. Weaver (@SF)
Gausman (@BOS)

Would you start Gee (vOAK and vCHW) over Cody Allen or Osuna…7.5 points for sv…

Thanks!

Noam
Noam
Reply to  JB Gilpin
5 years ago

@JB Gilpin: Ok! Thanks! Gee scares me, hope you’re right! Do you think he gets his two starts?

Slimbo
Slimbo
5 years ago

how would you rank them in a keeper? Finnegan, Bundy, Ray, Phelps

thanks

Five-On-One
Five-On-One
5 years ago

1) Looking to squeeze a couple of extra wins out of this week’s pitchers. The following 2-start guys are available. Please rank your top three.

Pineda v LAD ($4.9) @TB ($21.9) – far and away the highest SON values, but SON has had a hard-on (oil leak?) for Pineda all year long, but I owned him and have seen the horrific results.
Skaggs vSEA ($17.8) @TEX ($5.5)
Ed-Rod vNYY (-$!$.2) @BAL (-15.2) – as opposed to Pineda, this guy has been solid the entire 2nd half, but no respect from SON.
Rubby vCOL ($3.8) @SD ($5.2)
Rodon vCLE ($1.7) @KC ($1.0)

2) Any news on Jo-Fer or Fulmer ‘s starts? Many rumors of being shut-down or pushed-back, but what’s the real deal?

3) Can you rank the following three 1-start guys? Lugo (vMIN $10.6) over either Ray (vLAD $10.7) or Gio (@ATL $10.7)

Five-On-One
Five-On-One
Reply to  Five-On-One
5 years ago

@Five-On-One: Ed-Rod vNYY is -$14.2 on SON. Stupid little finger stayed on the shift key far too long.

Scott
Scott
5 years ago

That pitch that Kang hit looks exactly the same that Bell struck out on. You don’t want to use it on a long-swinger. LOL.

Scott
Scott
5 years ago

JB! What’s up? I have 2 games left to start, with Arrieta, Hamels and Hammel.

Next up:
Arrieta vs Mil on 17 Sep
Hamels vs Oak on 16 Sep
Hamels vs LAA on 21 Sep
Hammel @ StL on 13 Sep
Hammel vs Cin on 19 Sep

Which two of these games would you start? Which two would you avoid, just in case I can work out some overage on one of those dats?

Scott
Scott
Reply to  Scott
5 years ago

@Scott: If I can hold out until the 21st, there are a lot of streaming options, according to SON. Next best is the 17th. None are your usual names. The 19th has Walker vs TOR, Rubby @SD, and Skaggs @Tex.

Mcgaffer
Mcgaffer
5 years ago

JB-
In the final 4 this week, need to sit one closer out of:

Wade Davis
Ed Diaz
Al Colome

Davis has been flak since returning and I think I read he wont pitch back to backs……

Thnx!!

Shivdaddy
Shivdaddy
5 years ago

Second round of h2h playoffs

Please pick 3 pitchers from list below

Matt Moore STL (weaver)
Albert Suarez SD (richard) AND STL (garcia)
Gausmen @bos (porcello)
Bundy – Pitches Tuesday @bos (pomeranz) but I cant figure out if he is pitching Sunday
Hammel – Same issue. Pitches Tuesday @stl (garcia) but not sure about Sunday
Junior Guerra @Cin (adelman)

Please help me!

TK
TK
5 years ago

Need to replace Salazar for league finals: Would you roll with a Tony Disco, Folty or Rodon?

TJ
TJ
5 years ago

What are your thoughts on Wily Peralta lately? He’s looked pretty good since getting called back up.
Counterpoint- he is Wily Peralta, so the bottom can fall out at any time.

Just not sure if I should roll with this guy or not. Playoffs man, we’re talking playoffs!