Did anyone actually see that The Adjustment Bureau movie? ¬†I only remember the trailer, but I imagine a lot of those dudes in bowler hats tinkering with Jeff Samardzija yesterday. ¬†Sheesh! ¬†As Lone Star would say to Princess Vespa, “WELCOME TO REAL LIFE!” ¬†PS – go Brewers.
Anyway, whilst Samardzija got dusted by the regression fairies, Roenis Elias is a guy I’ve thought about a few times cracking my weekly top 100, but I could never pull the trigger. ¬†I spot started him here-and-there across a few leagues with middling results, and the few times I’ve¬†watched him, he’s been kinda blah. ¬†Given it wasn’t my full attention… Big looping curveball and a decent heater from a lefty is good enough for the Majors, but is it good enough for your mixed fantasy league? ¬†Then I saw he went all shutty-outty on the Tigers yesterday, and felt he warranted a harder, GIFfy look. ¬†As a guy available in a ton of shallower leagues, I decided he’d be a perfect candidate for this week’s Profiling:
First Inning:¬†Elias opens the game with a 91 MPH fastball to Rajai Davis¬†for a called strike one. ¬†Another heater is a tad outside and slapped foul, then that big bender at 79 gets Davis to dribble it to third, and a great barehand play by Kyle Seager gets the speedy Davis by a step. ¬†Big play there – easily could’ve been an infield hit. ¬†A 92 MPH fastball is fouled by Ian Kinsler, then a change-up at 87 – that didn’t look like a good pitch – gets belted to center, but James Jones tracks it right in front of the track for a pretty hard-hit out. ¬†Some good fortune early on. ¬†And up is the big fellah –¬†Miguel Cabrera takes a fastball low, another heater is way outside, change-up at 87 is cut on and missed, fastball on the hands at 93 is fouled back, then a nasty 80 MPH curveball bending 10-4 gets Cabrera swinging to end the inning. That curve is nasty, and 93 from a lefty’s heater with deception is solid, but I don’t like that change-up only 5 MPH slower, even though Miggy did miss one.
Second Inning:¬†Shockingly getting a run of support off Max Scherzer¬†early, Elias starts Victor Martinez with a fastball low, again is low, then is outside – 3-0. ¬†Can’t blame Elias for being tentative to V-Mart. ¬†And another fastball is outside, four-pitch walk. ¬†I understand the caution, but on all¬†fastballs. ¬†Hmmm. ¬†But he’s right back in the zone with a heater to Torii Hunter 0-1, Hunter fouls off a curve, then a high fastball at 92 ties up Hunter who can’t quite hold up his swing for Elias’ 2nd K. ¬†That was a bad looking hack – fooled him there. ¬†Fastball on the outside to Austin Jackson – that looked mighty outside – then a nasty change-up at 85 gets AJax to whiff, 0-2.
Man, that was so much better than the change-ups in the first inning – I might’ve been wrong to doubt that pitch. ¬†The 0-2 is an 83 drifting¬†change outside, 1-2, then fastball is way upstairs, 79 MPH curve is in the dirt – full count. ¬†Back to the change – this one at 83 and working it! ¬†Jackson is way in front, strikeout number three, and I’m sold. ¬†That’s three good pitches for Elias working right now. ¬†Elias starts Nick Castellanos with a 77 MPH curve backdooring him, and if that keeps working for strike one – it’s understandable how well Elias did in this one.
Next pitch is a fastball off the plate, and Castellanos reaches and pokes it to center for a single. ¬†That was certainly a ball, so credit Castellanos. ¬†92 MPH fastball is in there to backup Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday, then a change-up is grounded weakly to Elias, and it’s an easy out to end the inning.
Third Inning:¬†A fastball is fouled off by Danny Worth to start the third, then a check swing foul, then another nasty change-up – almost looked like a slider it had so much downward and lateral movement, for Elias’ 4th K. ¬†So through the first 9, 7 first-ball strikes, but is outside to Davis, then a high fastball is rocketed, but it’s speared at first for an out. ¬†That was a loud one. ¬†Huge breaking ball goes too far inside to Kinsler, same spot with the change, then he has to go to the heater at 93; it’s smoked again, but Seager backhands it for the third out. ¬†Two very hard hit balls there – Elias is having some luck helping as well.
Fourth Inning:¬†Still up 1-0, Elias is back to the big bats and starts Miggy with a change-up way outside, another change low, fastball low, and down 3-0 just like the top of the 2nd. ¬†Elias gives him a fastball right down the middle, and Miggy greenlights it and flies out to center. ¬†Lucky break there, but was an easy out. ¬†I would’ve expected a little more patience or better contact from arguably the best hitter in baseball. ¬†VMart takes a curve for strike one, a change-up breaks in there (geez, again looks like a slider, crazy), big curveball gets nicked foul, change-up outside, fastball fouled out of play, change-up outside, 2-2. ¬†Nice AB from VMart, and he taps a curveball to the mound – Elias doesn’t field it cleanly, but Brad Miller is able to scoop it up and VMart’s incredibly slow wheels keep him from an infiled hit. ¬†Wasn’t hit hard, but for 80% of major leaguers that’s a hit. ¬†94 MPH heater is in there to Hunter, that’s his best so far, fastball way inside, then a curveball gets a weak grounder to end the inning.
Fifth Inning:¬†A fastball is outside to Jackson, then low and outside, then AJax chases ball 3. ¬†That’s three of the five innings he’s started iffy. ¬†Change-up that looked outside barely nibbles the black 2-2, then a perfectly placed 93 MPH fastball doesn’t get the call inside, full count. ¬†Good location though. ¬†He then bends a curve at 78, it swooshes in the backdoor to get Jackson looking. ¬†Wow, good stuff. ¬† Change-up is a dandy and gets a big swing and miss from Castellanos, bends that curve in there, 0-2. ¬†Fastball at 93 is some chin music, 1-2, Castellanos fights off another heater, then again backdoors Castellanos and freezes him, 6th K, two down.
First-pitch fastball is rocketed foul by Holaday, then a hanging change-up at 87 gets laced to center for a single. ¬†Elias hasn’t been perfect with those, got caught with a mistake there. ¬†Worth takes a curve in there, fastball high, curveball in the dirt gets a swing called on the appeal, then the 1-2 curve is rolled to third, and the play is made to end the inning.
Sixth Inning:¬†Elias gets another two runs for a 3-0 lead, and starts Davis with a fastball outside, 0-1. ¬†Davis has two near hits so he’ll be a tough out. ¬†Elias gets a change-up in there, Davis swings and misses on a curveball dipping low, another curve is tapped foul, then a heater at 93 is laced – but a few feet foul first base side. ¬†Another near hit for Davis. ¬†Fastball is high, then another curve is popped straight up and collected by Mike Zunino for out #1. ¬†Elias is pounding the zone with curveballs – pretty impressive. ¬†Outside at 93 to Kinsler, a hanging curve outside is tapped foul, fastball outside, a good change-up at the knees is in there, then a curveball in the dirt gets Kinsler trying to hold his swing, but he’s called out at the plate. ¬†Kinsler is upset, but replay shows it a good call. ¬†Fastball low to Cabrera, heater at 93 inside, fastball again gets the call on the outside corner, then a hanging change gets grounded to short to end the inning.
Seventh Inning:¬†VMart opens the 7th and takes a fastball outside, fouls a heater off, change-up is high, fastball outside, down 3-1. Elias goes to a fastball in a dangerous count, and VMart pops out to shallow right, one down. ¬†First-pitch change-up is rocketed towards the mound, and Hunter splits the gap up the middle for a well-hit single. ¬†Another first-pitch change-up is hit in play by Jackson, but it’s an easy flyball to right, two down. ¬†Elias gets a curve in there to Castellanos, change is low, then the 1-1 fastball is off the end of the bat for a lazy flyball to left, inning over.
Eighth Inning:¬†Elias’ pitch count is solid at 92, and starts outside with the fastball, another heater fouled off by Holaday, fastball inside, a great curveball at 76 gets the zone, then another at 79 – a little faster and sharper – gets a swing-and-miss, one down – 8 Ks. ¬†Worth takes a fastball low, change-up in there, then a fastball runs too far inside and nicks Worth for a HBP. ¬†So he’ll have to work around a baserunner, but the first-pitch curveball is grounded right to third with Seager playing in, and even with the speedy Davis it’s a very easy double play. ¬†Great timing.
Ninth Inning:¬†Hoping to go the distance, Elias is at 101 pitches and is outside at 92 to Kinsler. ¬†Velocity still there. ¬†Change-up is outside – wait it’s called a strike?! ¬†That was way outside! ¬†Another change sliced foul, curveball barely tapped foul, another curve pulled foul, then a well-located fastball at 93 on the outside edge gets flown out very lazy to center, one down. ¬†So two more tough outs, and Elias hits 94 on a first-pitch strike to Miggy – wow.
Might have been his best first-pitch fastball all game. ¬†Again at 94 outside, then a curveball chopped up the middle gets fielded cleanly for an easy out. ¬†Last but not least is in the insanely hot VMart, and the first pitch is a heater flown out to center for an easy catch, and complete it up! ¬†Amazing that it’s the Mariners first CG this year and a fantastic game from Elias.
Final Line: ¬†W ¬†9 IP ¬†111 Pitches (72 Strikes) ¬†0 ER ¬†3 Hits ¬†1 Walk ¬†8 K ¬†Gamescore: 88 ¬† ¬†Gamescore+: 83.4
Final Analysis:¬†Any time you go the distance it’s a dandy, and Elias came to play. ¬†But both according to my Gamescore+ and at my eye level, Elias had some luck going for him. ¬†Especially early. ¬†Rajai Davis got thrown out on a great play from Seager to start the game, then Kinsler hit one to the track (hardest hit all game). ¬†If those go differently, this could’ve been a completely different start. ¬†A few other outs were loud, and home plate umpire¬†Hunter Wendelstedt gave Elias a huge outside corner. ¬†All that said, all three hits were singles, his breaking stuff was mostly nasty, and the “lucky” outs would’ve only been singles as well. ¬†
Starting with the heater, it usually sat 91-93 and topped at 94. ¬†Elias’ delivery has a little deception, but the fastball is an average pitch. ¬†I may have oversold it in the open. ¬†But the off-speed is where he excelled, throwing a change-up when it was good at 84-85 – when bad at 87. ¬†As I mention a few times through the recap, it occasionally has some big downward and lateral break making it look like a slider. ¬†Then his best pitch – the curveball – is a power pitch going 76-80. ¬†This may sound hyperbolic, but his stuff reminds me of Chris Sale. ¬†Huge bending breaking ball with a change-up and fastball. ¬†But Sale’s command is better and he has a much better heater.
So where to adjust my rankings to let Elias in? ¬†Well, he still barely cracks it right now. ¬†This was obviously an outlier game as he’s only gotten to 7 innings twice in 11 starts, and never past 7.0 IP. ¬†His Gamescore had never topped 65, so this was certainly a career-game for the youngun. ¬†I think his overall numbers look about where they should be, and this complete game isn’t a sign of out-of-nowhere acedom. ¬†His fastball isn’t good enough to get over control issues if he doesn’t have the change-up and curveball working. ¬†With a young pitcher without a glowing pedigree on his off-speed stuff – I think it could get him in trouble here and there. ¬†However when it’s all working, you get games like this shutout or the 10 K performance at the Yankees. ¬†Going at TB next seems decent, but then the Yankees come to Seattle for a second turn against him. ¬†That will be a big test. ¬†If he doesn’t get shelled in that one, it looks like it’ll be at San Diego mid-month. ¬†That’s one that’ll for sure look saucy in a couple weeks.
JB’s Updated Top 100 SP
(rankings based on 12-team Roto – green for risers, red for fallers)
- I’m not really worried about Scherzer, but 2+ walks in 4 straight before yesterday, three bad ones in a row, it’s just enough of a nitpick to slide him down a couple. ¬†Plus yesterday was 9 hits and 4 earned against the Mariners with no Robinson Cano!
- Don’t look now, but Homer Bailey has quality starts in 5 of his last 6 games. ¬†It’s still under the radar since he hasn’t had that dominant outing yet, but I’m encouraged enough for a green.
- You wanna know who might be the most consistent pitcher in baseball? ¬†Yovani Gallardo. ¬†As in, consistently “meh”.
- I might be crazy – but I’m all in on Heaney who looks ready right now. ¬†I thank all you commenters for making me consider Heaney over all the middling guys and I realized since I see him being an impact arm right away – he needs to be ranked as such.
- Ugh, friggin’ Doug Fister. ¬†I mighta been wrong there.
- Smyly is making me frowny.
- Yikes, Danny Salazar is even worse in the Minors. ¬†This is going to take a while.
- If we talk about Minors, we have to cross our fingers that’s not in Tony Cingrani’s future. ¬†Lately he’s been pitching as good as Gallardo in the consistent blah department.
- Ya know, I was down on Quintana heading into the year and he’s pretty solid. ¬†Not much upside, only a decent K rate, but won’t destroy you. ¬†Probably an oversight to not have him ranked yet.
- Another setback for Pineda. ¬†Should rub some pine tar on his back…
- Speaking of rubbing, Rubby De La Rosa! ¬†Stuff looked pretty good. ¬†Cautiously optimistic.
Thoughts on the Elias adjustment? ¬†Rankings got a craw in your britches? ¬†Shoot comments below and merry pitching!