It feels good to finally be able to use a Demi Lovato song in my title. Forget Chad Kuhl let’s talk about Demi! What star power! What charisma! What a voice! Name another song besides the one in the title! You can’t!
**inner-monologue** Wait, don’t take that bet. Don’t show your true colors when you don’t have to. I mean, it’s not like I Ralph Lifshitz am actually a Demi Lovato fan. PFFT! That would be preposterous! **inner-monologue-out**
Chad Kuhl of the other hand, different story. Now he is a someone who’s fandom I’d consider! (You don’t believe me do you?) The 24 year old righthander, has followed up a promising rookie campaign with an inconsistent 2017. That’s not to say this season hasn’t had it’s bright spots. He looks on pace to reach at least 150 innings, his velocity has jumped nearly 3 miles per hour on the fastball, his swinging strike rate is up, and despite a 4.52 ERA, he’s been slightly unlucky (68.5% LOB, .316 BABIP). Luck aside he’s struggled to limit contact, and has always walked a few more batters than you’d like to see. Since the calendar turned to July, Kuhl has been a top 30 starter going 4-2 over 10 starts with a 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .211 BAA, and his 21% K% is up about 2% from his career norm. More than likely this is a hot streak but with a player this young it’s best to see for ones self. Today we’ll dig into Kuhl’s most recent start vs St. Louis at home to get a closer look.
Scouting Report: Kuhl is a high volume sinkerball guy, simple and plain, relying on the pitch for nearly 2/3rds of his usage. His sinker unlike most in the game brings elite velocity, sitting 95-97, and touching 98 to 99 on occasion. His secondaries are led by a high 80’s to low 90’s slider, with 12 to 6 movement. The pitch generates a fair amount of swings and misses with a 21% SwStr%, while also limiting nearly any good contact, as shown by the .195 BAA on the pitch. His second most used secondary, his changeup, isn’t a great pitch. While the SwStr% of 11.2% is solid, the .380 BAA is downright frightening. Which is why it’s even more baffling that he doesn’t use his curveball more. His hook is arguably his best pitch, generating swinging strikes at a 13.5% rate, with an insane .095 BAA, driven by a 63% groundball rate. It’s going to be interesting to watch Kuhl’s sequencing and situational pitch usage in this start. I need to wrap my head around the change usage vs. the curve. All in all, on paper Kuhl has it all, a high 90’s fastball, groundball contact, and three secondaries with a SwStr% of 11% and up.
NO GIFS THIS WEEK, MLB BLOCKED ALL VIDEOS OF CHAD KUHL’S START. NO IDEA WHY. I BLAME THE RUSSIANS.
Chad Kuhl vs. the St. Louis Cardinals August, 19th 2017 at PNC Park Pittsburgh, PA
Matt Carpenter – Fastball 97, strike 1, 97 MPH fastball inside, nicks Carpenter, and he’s off to first.
Tommy Pham – 97 MPH fastball low, ball 1, fastball ay 97 is hit on the ground to second and the Pirates turn two.
Paul DeJong – 97 MPH fastball outside, ball 1, slider at 90, low and outside, ball 2, 98 MPH fastball outisde, ball 3, strike at 97, 98 MPH fastball on the outside, ball 4, walk.
Jedd Gyorko – 97 MPH on outer-part of the plate, strike 1, 98 MPH fastball gets a groundball to third, and Harrison tosses to second for the final out.
Solid inning for Kuhl, as he got two big groundballs following the walk and hit batsman. Excellent early velocity from Kuhl as he hit 97-98 on the gun. Only threw one non-fastball in the first. Will be interesting to see his pitch mix moving forward.
Jose Martinez – First pitch fastball at 97, strike 1, 96 MPH inside, ball 1, slider at 90 MPH ball, 96 MPH fastball fouled off, strike 2, 98 MPH fastball hit down the first base line for a double.
Kolten Wong – slider at 88 bounces off Diaz’s glove and Martinez takes third, 97 MPH fastball on the outside, ball 2, 97 MPH fastball low and inside, ball 3, 97 MPH fastball at the top of the zone, strike 1, 98 MPH fastball hit into right for an RBI single.
Randal Grichuk – 96 MPH fastball at the top of the zone, strike 1, 98 MPH fastball on the inside, ball 1, fastball at 97 strike 2, slider at 89 low and outside for a ball.
RAIN DELAY…after nearly two hours we pick back up again with Randal Grichuk with a 2-2 count.
Randal Grichuk – Fastball at 98 low and outside gets a called third strike. Nice pitch by Kuhl.
Carson Kelly – 98 MPH low and outside, ball 1, 98 MPH fastball low, ball 2, 97 MPH fastball high and inside, strike 1, fastball 97 on the inside, fouled off, strike 2, 99 MPH on the inside, ball 3, 97 MPH fastball hit down the line and Josh Harrison makes a great play to make the catch and fire to second for the out.
Michael Wacha – 99 MPH strike 1, 98 MPH fastball low, ball 1, 98 MPH fastball swinging strike 2, 92 MPH change up low, and Wacha holds up, ball 2, fastball at 99 on the inside, ball 3, 96 MPH on the inside fouled off, the umpire gets hit by the pitch and the game is delayed again… fat ump is good to go, and we’re back. 97 MPH fastball is hot on the ground to short, and Sean Rodriguez fires to first for the final out.
Watching Kuhl pitch is excruciating, seriously he has no idea where the ball is going when it leaves his hand. No command of his fastball at all, and he works almost exclusively with the heat at that! It’s pretty obvious why he has control issues.
Matt Carpenter – fastball at 97 strike 1, changeup fouled off strike 2, slider at 91, low and inside, ball 1, slider at 89, low and inside, ball 2, high and outside changeup at 89 hit to left for the first out.
Tommy Pham – 88 MPH changeup on the inside, ball 1, 97 MPH fastball low and outside, ball 2, 97 MPH fastball doen Main St. taken for strike 1, curveball at 82 under the hands, swinging strike 2, and he goes back to the curveball again at 84 for a swinging strike 3.
Paul DeJong – 97 MPH fastball inside, ball 1, 91 MPH slider on the outside, ball 2, 97 MPH fastball fouled off, strike 1, 98 MPH on the outer-half fouled off again, strike 2, curveball gets another swinging strike.
Whoa! Why is Kuhl only throwing that hook 5% of the time? It’s a far better pitch than his change or slider. He’s thrown it three times and got swinging strikes all three times. There’s also a nearly 25 MPH velocity drop between his sinker and his curveball. Much better inning for Kuhl.
Jedd Gyorko – 97 MPH fastball on the inside, strike 1, curveball at 82 low and inside, ball 1, 94 MPH fastball on the inside is fouled off, strike 2, 89 MPH changeup fouled off, 88 MPH slider low and outside, and Gyorko holds up, ball 2, 95 MPH fastball on the outer-part of the plate for strike 3.
Jose Martinez – 88 MPH changeup, high and outside, ball 1, fastball at 95 over the plate, strike 1, 88 MPH slider on the outside, ball 2, 95 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 3, 95 MPH fastball fouled off, strike 2, full count, fastball on the outside, fouled off again, fastball at 96 hit hard on the ground to Josh Harrison, and he makes another great diving stop and fires to first for the out.
Kolten Wong – 97 MPH fastball hit right at Frazier, and he tosses to first for the final out.
I guess my harsh words after the second inspired Kuhl, or maybe it was just the strain of dealing with the rain delay, but he’s stuff is much sharper now than it was, and he’s done a good job of mixing in his breaking and off speed stuff. Still want to see that curveball more.
Randal Grichuk – fastball at 96 low and outside, ball 1, slider low at 87, ball 2, fastball at 96 way outside, ball 3, fastball at 93, swinging strike 1, fastball at 94, fouled off, strike 2, 95 MPH fastball hit on a rope to left center, and he’s in there with a stand-up double.
Carson Kelly – slider at 90 MPH in there for strike 1, curveball gets a swinging strike 2, 86 MPH curveball bounces off the shin guard and out of play, ball 1, wild pitch, 88 MPH slider on the outside, and Kelly holds up, ball 2, high fastball at 99, ball 3, full count, slider gets a swinging strike 3.
Luke Voit – fastball at 98 way outside the zone, ball 1, 89 MPH slider low and inside, ball 2, 96 MPH fastball in the dirt, ball 3, fastball at 95 over the plate for a strike, 95 MPH fastball lined right at SEan Rodriguez for the second out.
Matt Carpenter – changeup at 90 MPH, strike 1, 97 MPH fastball at the top of the zone, strike 2, great pitch, 91 MPH slider fouled off, 97 MPH fastball high and outside, ball 1, curveball at 87 inside and low, ball 2, changeup on the outside, ball 3, full count, curveball at 84 gets a swinging strike 3, and Kuhl is out of the inning.
Final Line: 5 IP, 3 Hits, 1 Walk, 1 Run, 6 K’s, 92 Pitches, 50 Strikes, 8 swinging strikes.
Summary: A weird start from the jump with the long rain delay, injured ump, and other quirky stuff. Kuhl did a good job keeping it together, all things considered. After settling down in the third, and seemingly finding his control, Kuhl looked locked in. Even taking something off the fastball made him more effective overall, as is usually the case. His curveball really needs to be used more, and it should be at the expense of his weak change. Which not was very impressive, it seemed less like it’s own pitch and more like a slider that was a little flat. Kuhl has a tendency to overthrow at times, and his control and command of his pitches pay the price. I still don’t feel his fastball command is very good, which is unfortunate when you consider his elite velocity. Kuhl to me a is a good matchup streamer against aggressive lineups, just don’t expect him to get deep into games.
Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings for ROS based on 12-team Roto)
Disabled List (Ranking When Active): Max Scherzer, WAS (1), Clayton Kershaw, LAD (3), James Paxton, SEA (5), Yu Darvish, LAD (7), Noah Syndergaard, NYM (8), Lance McCullers, HOU (16), David Price, BOS (24), Johnny Cueto, SF (28), Brandon McCarthy, LAD (42), Jacob Faria, TB (43), Felix Hernandez, SEA (54), Aaron Sanchez, TOR (66), Reynaldo Lopez, CWS (76), Scott Feldman, CIN (84), Adam Wainwright, STL (87), Matt Harvey, NYM (99) Brandon Finnegan, CIN (100)
Dropped off: Anthony Banda, ARI, Paul Blackburn, OAK, Jordan Montgomery, NYY
- Someone @ Kate Upton for me, because Imma bout to talk real nice like about Justin Verlander. For starters, as mentioned on last week’s Razzball Podcast w/ Grey, Halp, and myself, his velocity is at his highest point in his career. That’s nuts! He’s 34! Only Justin Verlander, fine wine, and myself get better with age, but I digress. The true star of “the fappening” is a man possessed over his last 9 starts, going 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, .188 BAA, and a K/Bb of 3.94. He ain’t dead yet.
- Though we lost two top 10 starters this week, there is some good news in the hopper. It looks like the returns of Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, and perhaps Noah Syndergaard are not too far away. We welcome back onto the list the Brewers Chase Anderson, the Yanks Masahiro Tanaka, and the D-Backs Robbie Ray as well.
- Coming off a nice start on Saturday, the Astros Collin McHugh has reinvented himself upon returning from injury. He re-worked his slider, and is now throwing it nearly 20% of the time after scrapping it in 2016. While at the same time he’s all but eliminated his cutter and change. The shift in approach is drastic as his cutter, change, and curve in 2016 accounted for nearly 55% of his pitch usage, yet only accounts for less than 30% in 2017. I might have to profile his next start…
Follow me on Twitter @Ralphlifshitzbb, and check out my weekly Live Baseball Show on Fantrax YouTube channel Tuesday’s at 9 PM EST
Hey Ralph… drop wacha or gausman for luke weaver or just stand pat?
always wondered about this, but it’s almost ALWAYS a not good player (either currently or projection) but TEX just got pedro G (COL) as the “player to be named later” in the lucroy deal. how exactly are these determined, as that’s probably the best player i’ve ever heard of in this instances, plus i own him, so similar to with padlo i’ve now been screwed out of 2 players leaving COL that i drafted in the 30 team dynasty (now with 35 minor spots)
@goodfold2: There’s been a ton of really talented guys that were PTBNL David Ortiz, Brantley, Coco Crisp, and a bunch of others. You never know. Love Pedro though.
Before this season is over, I’m trying to measure prospects by how close to the bigs they are for stash’s sake.
Please rank in order of ETA to the bigs:
– Forrest Whitley
– Fernando Tatis Jr.
– Austin Hays
– Michel Baez
– Alec Hansen
– AJ Puk
@Benny: Hays, Hansen, Whitley, Puk, Tatis Jr., Baez.
All of these guys are close, they could all be up within a year of each other.
woodruff or glasnow better this year only stash?
@Sinkhole Demayo: Glasnow
@Ralph Lifshitz: what about flaherty vs glasnow? i’d guess glasnow just from STL being competitive and unless weaver does quite badly (or another injury happens) it’s glasnow.
@Sinkhole Demayo: easy answer now, flaherty. sounds like he’s getting leakey (runs)s’ next start.
@Sinkhole Demayo: I like Flaherty’s floor better, Glasnow has top 10 pitcher upside still. The big guys take awhile to figure it out.
Yo Ralph, check out the ECFBL message board when you get a chance, thanks!
@MattTruss: Oh shoot! Haven’t check in a week, was in VA on business until Saturday.
Please Darvish, pitch at home v. BrewCrew. Could be a nice.
@Andrew Edenbaum: Ha!
Rooting for Bettis at ATL. Stras may well get the Stros, not the Mets.
Odorizzi ? He’s tied to my bench. Tried to get Castillo for him, to no avail.
Ed Rod is freaking unlucky. Another win down the drain. RedSox can only beat the Yankees in Prime Time.
@Andrew Edenbaum: Thanks for your thoughts Andrew.
Man, you need to let Manaea go…. Try again next year.
@Ryan Wheeler: Ha! If you want the rankings for the last month just set the fields in your leagues players section. Rough patches don’t last forever.
@Ralph Lifshitz: Hey if a 4.50+ ERA and 1.35+ WHIP is what you’re looking for….
@Ryan Wheeler: He’s 55th how low do you want him? You just named the ERA and WHIP of everyone between 40-70.
I don’t mind you calling me out but give me something.
Who do i drop for Corbin? Morton, Bedrosian,Treinen, Nova, Straily
All of my best SPs are hurt or hurting. I still have Berrios (@CHW), Jon Gray (@KC,@ATL), and Heaney (TEX,OAK) healthy. Who to start?
, Our league’s periods start on Tuesday so I’m hoping Tanaka (@DET,SEA) will be OK tomorrow, but am asking about Scherzer this week, Darvish this week and when to expect Kershaw back?
Also, some RP advice? We use Saves+holds so I can use setup men. Who are the top 3-4 from this list? Do I have them in order? Diaz, Knebel, Zeigler, Treinen, Neris, Norris.
@coacher: Not sure on Darvish. Kershaw looks like September 1st.
I’d flip Knebel and Diaz, Treinen and Zeigler.
Would you stream
M. Moore vs MIA n Gaza-SON+11.2
Hey Ralph, thanks for an excellent write up, and all your hard work at Razzball.
Special thanks for letting me imagine an Adele/Demi pie eating contest– I’d pay good money to watch that!
Oh, pitchers– is Heaney a straw worth grasping?
@DG: Yeah I’d take a shot. Loved Heaney when he first came up. Damn injuries!
Straily @Phi and Morton vs Wash at home. Yes or no?
@Robert: Yes for Straily, that Morton start scares me
@Ralph Lifshitz: thanks
stream Davies @SF tonight? Posey on the bench
@jon: I am
So I just picked up Z.Godley off of waivers. Not sure exactly why he was dropped. Seems to still be striking out guys at will. What kind of an innings limit do you expect for him if any?
Also, I have A.Cobb coming off of the DL on Thursday. So I would have to drop a SP for him. Would you drop T.Walker or E.Rodriguez for him? The other option would be to drop one of Walker/Rodriguez and Cobb and pick up C.Anderson. Do you really like this guy that much? Seems to have come out of nowhere this season.
@dubjay: Cut Walker and Cobb for Anderson and Godley
Adele > Demi
@Old School Brother: How dare you! Maybe in a pie eating contest.
@Ralph Lifshitz: Milla jovovich’s short pop career > all
@Jaaaaaake.crab: Claws up
Since you’re a prospect guy who has lots of love for Tyler O’Neill, I have a question for you.
In a 12-team H2H standard 5X5 keep-8 forever league, I have Arenado, Rizzo, J. Ramirez, Pollock, Cruz, Scherzer and deGrom locked in as keepers. For my final keeper, I could go with O’Neill or Verlander. I also have some closer options, but hate keeping closers.
If Verlander can keep this up down the stretch and/or gets moved to a contender like Houston or the Cubs, would you keep him over O’Neill or do you go with the prospect?
@JSF: Yes go Verlander over O’Neill. I love O’Neill but he’s not at that level yet. Verlander looks locked in.
How big do my “boyz” gotta be to start 2 start Skaggs v Tex and Houston over a returning Max v Mets or Wacha v TB?
@Chucky: Pretty big to go over Max, but I’d play him over Wacha for the double.
Looks like that didn’t work out too good now, did it?
@Chucky: More than likely, seems early to make that call.
I like Rodon right now better than Eduardo Rodriquez. …. you have faith that fast Eddie is gonna finish strong? Haven’t seen much since return from dl.
@Greg: They’re pretty close for me. Rodon has been better, but he’s less likely to get the W with his team setup (don’t forget this is 5×5), and Eduardo has been a little unlucky.
I actually watched them face each other at Fenway a little over two weeks ago and they’re in the same tier for me for a bunch of reasons. Ultimately 5 spots in the ranks is almost even.
Strasburg and one start at home vs Mets or Rodon and two starts (home vs MIN and DET)
This is a points league.
@Jason Morgan: I wanna tell you go Rodon, but my balls aren’t that big + it’s Stras against the Mess
@Ralph Lifshitz: Strasburg has three starts so far vs the Mets and his points have been 10, 25 and 31. So let’s say he gets 26 points. Can Rodon top that in two starts?
@Jason Morgan: Yes, but he’s due for a stinker, and I’m not telling you to sit Stras
@Ralph Lifshitz: Fine!
@Jason Morgan: Hahahaha