A Cobbled Path

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

(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

In some of the more shocking news of today, Alex Cobb, the man with a ghastly 5.09 ERA and 1.43 WHIP through 23 starts this season, tossed a brilliant 9.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks game against the Indians (the Indians!) and this is getting weird. His last seven outings have returned a 2.14 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. There’s value there and, again, it’s weird. I’m actually seeing a major shift in approach with Cobb finally embracing his split-change again, jumping to a 37% usage rate across these outings despite a 20% mark before this brilliant run. That’s a pretty significant correlation considering the pitch has earned a 3.3 pVal in these seven starts with a -4.7 pVal in his 16 starts prior. I am pretty hesitant to buy in, though. His overall whiff rate is still well under 10% in this stretch (just a 15% strikeout rate, still), HOTEL isn’t too thrilled with a .266 BABIP and 7.5% HR/FB (pedestrian 75 % LOB rate), and it adds up to a 4.33 SIERA during the stretch. I think it’s a mini Vargas Rule that I wouldn’t actually take part in as it’s a TEEs through-and-through. Womp womp.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Trevor Cahill7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m a little surprised to see such a stud outing with just a 28/100 CSW, but at the same time, sub 80mph Exit Velocity will do that. Sliders and curveballs did the damage here as his changeup wasn’t as pristine as we’ve seen in the past. Very interesting to see the slider have success with 16/21 thrown in the zone and its 5 balls in play rendering a 65.4mph Exit Velocity – that’s super weak contact. Great stuff from Cahill and feel good with him down the stretch.

Jacob deGrom9.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Yes he deserves the Cy Young. If he doesn’t get it, I’ll be upset. Enjoy the Gallows Pole at 15 whiffs.

Mike Foltynewicz7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. It was a tough stretch of four games from Folty in July, but in his last four is 4 ER, 28 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP in 26.2 IP. Hot. Damn. I wonder where he’ll be drafted next season given the 3.69 SIERA might scare some people away. I’m all on board with his stellar slider and improved four-seamer command. It’s what I wanted in 2015, I was just three years too early. :-/

Matt Harvey6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Harvey was our Call Boy for the day and killed it against the Giants. Streaming Record: 75-40. 47 games left, 25 wins to go. Wish me luck. About Harvey, not one of his pitches had more than 3 whiffs on their own, which is pretty meh. Good weak contact though and I’d consider him for more streams moving forward. He gets the Cubs next, but I’d even be cautious about buying into that. We’re getting close to the start of September, meaning Harvey should be on another team soon. There’s no reason for the Reds to hold him. 

Jake Arrieta6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. That’s our Spiderman doing good work against the Mets. I know it’s frustrating enduring the random 5 ER and 4 ER games, but Arrieta has been pretty solid with a 3.25 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this season. The 18% strikeout rate is whack as a shark attack and there are plenty of indications of worse – it’s why I’m a bigger 8Miles fan (Miles Mikolas) than Arrieta fan – but he’s the king of the Tobys and that’s how it is.

Brad Keller5.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. You sunk your teeth in a Whopper and BK delivered. You know this isn’t something you should have often. 

Miles Mikolas6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Speaking of Mikolas, look at those strikeouts! 10 whiffs on 53 sliders and curveballs is kinda low (21/53 CSW though!) so don’t get too excited about this sticking, but he’s a command specialist that pitches to contact with all around great stuff. There’s a path to regression in 2019, though I think people are going to be a little too harsh on him. There’s still a chance he picks up the strikeout rate moving forward – it’s not like he’s throwing sub 90mph here without strong secondary pitches – so given the small history + lack of “big name”, he might be a discount next year. We’ll see.

Wade Miley5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. If you trust Miley, he’ll destroy your team like a wrecking ball.

Joe Musgrove7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s Musgrove’s third straight game of 25%+ sliders – the only three of the season – and he’s returned 13 strikeouts across his last two games while simply killing it. After his 6 and 5 ER outbursts back in June, Musgrove has now put together a 2.52 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 17.4% K Rate, 5.0% BB rate, and 50% GB rate to boot as, going exactly 7 frames in 6 out of 8 starts. That’s legit stuff. There’s a chance we get the same numbers but increased K rate as the slider returns and suddenly – suddenly! – we have a super fun sleeper for 2019. Interesting…

Erasmo Ramirez5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Uggggh it’s so boring. That’s the life of an Erasmo owner. I don’t want any part of it.

Wei-Yin Chen5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Hey, this Chen Music ain’t so bad. That’s surprising because it normally is, just to be clear. This is the single that makes you buy the other 11 songs on the album that you’ll never listen to again.

Dylan Covey5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I know this looks solid, but remember kids, Don’t Covey Thy Dylan.

David Price7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Another solid outing from Price as he’s suddenly starting to justify his Top 20 preseason ranking. Guys, I totally knew he would be dope as dope in the second half. Definitely. Seriously though, since May 12 (17 starts ago), Price is now holding a 3.19 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 26% K rate, and 6% walk rate with a 6+ IPS and 11 Wins. That’s an ace.

Jefry Rodriguez5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. J-Rod is a Cup of Schmo and unfortunately not the one I want to drink in the morning. He’s the worst part of waking up.

Antonio Senzatela5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Senz-A got through a start without much damage, but this barely helps you. Just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Luis Severino5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Yeah, I’ll take this from Severino. I want that 7.0 IP of shutout ball to truly rid ourselves of our fear, while he got into a few too many deep counts here instead of his ability to pound the zone effectively prior, but small steps guys. Small steps.

Ryan Carpenter5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. No, Ryan is not your savior.

Tyler Chatwood2.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Sure Chatwood, let’s just create a larger divide between your strikeouts and walks. Please, don’t let me stop you.

Adam Plutko7.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Plutko is back as Bauer is most likely done for the year. Don’t let this start make you think Plutko is worth your time, though. He’s Tomlin 2.0 and that’s a bad thing.

Kohl Stewart2.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Two Ks? You can make a real good Stewart with that. Carl? Who let you in here? I gotta go.

Tyler Glasnow6.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. We knew it would happen eventually and it was a bit risky to start him against the Sawx here, but guys! 94 pitches! He’s fully stretched out and it’s the middle of August. Much faster than I expected. I’m shocked how he only threw four sliders here as it’s been a fantastic pitch for him and 20/94 CSW is not going to cut it. He worked out of a tough first frame and looked solid the rest of the way, though, and if he gets dropped, take advantage as he gets the Royals next.

Rich Hill6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 8 Ks. As long as Hill is starting, he should be in your lineup and to his credit, he gave you five shutout innings to make this somewhat digestible after allowing 4 ER in the first. But five walks? Dude, not cool.

Madison Bumgarner6.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Bleeeeegh. I want to believe Bumgarner can hint at the great days behind him, but it just didn’t work here. His cutter wasn’t down in the zone like normal – often landing in the middle of the plate here – and his two-seamer got hit hard. I still think he’s a step up from Toby and definitively out of the Top ~15 tier, so here’s to hoping he gets it together for your playoffs. 

Dallas Keuchel5.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. He’s a Toby and sometimes Tobys have bad days. We’re not happy about it but we’re going to keep starting him anyway.

Clayton Richard5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! I just can’t get the image of me watching his horrible mechanics at field level about a month ago. IT WAS A NIGHTMARE.

Zack Godley5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Godley, you hadn’t allowed more than one walk in all but one of your last seven starts and you walk four now against the Padres?! His cutter wasn’t working well and his sinker was blegh, forcing him to throw near 50% curveballs. That’s not the ticket to success. I can see him bouncing back next time – I can’t give up after one start here after that extended success – but man is this frustrating.

Andrew Heaney5.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Heaney did a great job of keeping his curveball low. He did a terrible job spotting his changeup and it killed him, forcing him to throw more heaters over the plate as the changeup went 2/13 CSW, and his whole approach suffered because of it. I really think Heaney has it in him to be more good than bad – maybe even do a 80/20 split of it – but he hasn’t quite put it together yet this year. I’m curious if he’ll be a discount play next year or someone that I have to pass on if he’s getting drafted as a Top 35 SP. 

Martin Perez6.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Sure, whatever Perez.

Sean Reid-Foley4.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Reid-Foley got the Yanks and, well, it didn’t go so well. You didn’t own him for this one anyway and there’s still upside in him if he gets the playing time. Still not a Spice Girl but I’ll monitor him.

Today’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Texas Rangers – I don’t love this slate, but you can steal a Win here. Also a super desperate move in Reynaldo Lopez against the Royals and Andrew Suarez against the Reds. Blegh.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Derek Holland vs. New York Mets – He’s still under 20% owned and it’s the Mets.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Sam Gaviglio vs. Baltimore Orioles – I have very few options here so I’ll take another stab at Gaviglio throwing a ton of sliders as the Orioles are terrible.

Game of the Day

Nick Pivetta vs. New York Mets – There’s been a momentum shift in getting on the Pivetta train, I feel like this is the start where people really start talking about him.

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.

5 responses to “A Cobbled Path”

  1. Jim says:

    Nick, I was really wondering if you got a chance to watch Heaney’s start last night? Particularly the 4th inning that started off with what SHOULD have been an error. It’s not like he was hit that hard, but he tends to have these blown up innings that kill owners.

  2. Andy says:

    Hey Nick,

    would you want Pivetta or Rich Hill here on out? I compete in a categories league where Hill’s BBs can hurt me but can’t say which one is more trustworthy.

  3. Chucky says:

    Good call on Pivetta, Sunday nite v Mets!

  4. Sticki says:

    I honestly feel like Price was holding back early on because he thought he had something wrong with elbow. What are his stats ever since he was diagnosed with mild Carpel Tunnel?

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