A Moment of Flaherty

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

(Photo by Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire)

At Pitcher List, there are certain pitchers that are darlings among the staff as we have our own mini-hype trains. Jack Flaherty has been one of those and he absolutely crushed it yesterday afternoon via 7.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 13 Ks against the Phils. And everyone rejoiced. Slider was lovely, fastballs were landing for strikes, even his changeup did some work as he was pushed to a ridiculous 120 pitches in St. Louis + 21 whiffs to earn a Gallows Pole. There is a problem, however, and you all know about it: Alex Reyes is killing it in the minors and will most likely show up this week. Luke Weaver is rebounding, Michael Wacha is on a tear, Carlos Martinez is expected back, and Miles Mikolas is all kinds of dope, which means there is only one spot left granted by Adam Wainwright’s DL stint. It’s possible a six-man rotation shows up and we can hold tight onto Flaherty, but be sure to monitor this situation through the week. If someone wants to pay for Jack oNastiss, let them do that, but here’s to hoping the Cardinals don’t mess this one up.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Francisco Liriano – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Liriano’s 3.42 ERA comes with a 12.4% walk rate and .214 BABIP as his FIP sits at 4.56 and SIERA at 5.22. That, my friends, is what we call a TEEs.

Reynaldo Lopez – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. You’re driving me up a wall, ReyLo. He’s going to get a drop today simply because of his last four starts combined, which have been a whole lot of disappointment + this absurdly good start. He clearly has the talent in there, but will he ever develop the consistency to make us all happy? I’m not so sure, especially when his fastball was the only pitch doing its thang in this one (11 of his 15 whiffs came from four-seamers) and for me to really back Lopez, I need to see his changeup and/or slider to make big impacts each day. He’s still a lottery ticket and you should consider him as one, but not my favorite Spice Girl.

Lance McCullers – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. The story entering this one was about McCullers using more changeups suddenly than curveballs. Welp, it was 40% deuces yesterday, with 30% marks on his heater and changeup. Womp womp. But that’s actually a great thing, as it means that he has three pitches he trusts and I have no choice but to be a bigger fan of McCullers. Yes, I’m still worried about health, yes I think he’s going to have some major clunkers in the future, but I love the increase in F-Strike rate to 65%, the improved whiff rate to 13.4% and a 1.14 WHIP that can settle around 1.20 with a 26%+ K rate. I’ll take that any day.

Daniel Mengden – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Mengden is cooking like he wants to be embarrassed on national television as he steamrolled through the Jays lineup. This is one frame short for the best Minimalist Score of the season as it was a BABIP friendly day, one that makes it kinda hard to endorse with confidence. Still, he’s most likely costing you not a single penny and he could serve you well against the dBacks, Rays, Rangers, and Royals next. Streaming Record: 25-17.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Paul Sporer and I had a great debate last night with our weekly Fireside Chat podcast and Erod was a massive point of contention, with my #35 rank last week a full 30 spots ahead of his. Now, I do concede that even with this start, I’m not baking in enough injury risk given how consistent his knee problems have been. At the same time, the man is doing a fine job of attacking the zone with all of his pitches, getting whiffs with his changeup, and making batters uncomfortable with his slider/cutter options. 35 CSW in 110 pitches works and I like rolling with him more than your standard Spice Girl. Is #35 too high? Yeah, I should probably move him closer to 40-45 given the low probability of an injury-free year, but I’d feel good rolling with him as he’s on the field.

Sergio Romo – 1.1 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. It worked on Saturday, why not start TWO STRAIGHT DAYS? This is kinda hilarious while totally not worth these seconds I’m spending writing this.

Clay Buchholz – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Ohhhh right, Buchholz pitches in the majors still. Wait, he does? He’s the latest arm to replace Robbie Ray in the rotation and you best not think this is going to turn into anything solid. Welcome back though, I guess.

Yu Darvish – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. It was a stressful first inning, but Darvish got his act together to spin his third of four starts with 1 ER or fewer. His fastball did the dirty work – 11 whiffs on 57 pitches! – while he spread out his secondary pitches across sliders, cutters, curveballs, and changeups. I wanted to see more than 18 slide pieces personally, but he got into a groove and stuck with it and that’s wonderful. He’s not completely out of the woods – this was the Reds – though you should begin feeling better here.

Sonny Gray – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Will the Sonny come out tomorrow? I don’t know. I didn’t really see anything here that made me too excited, his 41 breaking pitches that totaled a 17 CSW (41.5%) is great, but I think this is one of those starts where things went his way and he was able to dance through eight frames without stress. I’m still not ready to buy into this.

Junior Guerra – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Like Erod, Guerra was brought up in the Fireside Chat and while I was a bit too low on Guerra last week, he’s not going to get the largest boost today – probably around 80 or so – because of one thing: his splitter. It’s just not a good pitch anymore, holding a 13% whiff rate entering this game and a total of just six thrown here in 91 pitches. This was the pitch that made everything come together in the past, fueling his 20%+ K rate via 23% whiffs. This pitch is gone and I don’t think his fastball/slider is enough to bring that stability this year. It’s a 3.00 ERA now and I’m seeing closer to 3.80/3.90 or so with a middling K rate and volatile WHIP (11.2% BB rate!). That’s not great.

Jake Odorizzi – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Okay, this start did a number on his peripherals after some ghastly under-the-hood numbers are his last good outing. What I saw in this one was a four-seamer as good as Rizzi has ever had it and I’m not sure I want to buy into that. At the same time, this is now a five-game stretch of 6 ER total, 27.4% K rate, and 8.0% BB rate and that’s worth a pickup if he’s out there.

Noah Syndergaard – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. This is what we’re talking about, WOW.

Wei-Yin Chen – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. That’s two straight low ERA starts from Chen and you’re wondering if you should dance to his Chen music. Please don’t, just like you asking me to stop making this joke.

Wade LeBlanc – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I know, it’s a 2.65 ERA and 3.98 SIERA, but man I find it hard to believe that LeBlanc’s 86mph heater and meh secondary stuff is good enough to escape constant punishment. 25% hard contact thus far? He’s not Kyle Hendricks, you know, and this won’t last.

Shohei Ohtani – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. I am so conflicted as to where to put Ohtani. I really do believe he’s destined for injury and we know far too well how to sprout up out of thin air with little to no indication, which makes this a case of Chicken Stock as you don’t know how long you can hold without losing his value. If I knew he was going to get 25 starts the rest of the way, I’d have Ohtani inside the Top 15. But I get the feeling it’s going to be around 15 starts and that’s…well that’s a lot less production. I’m thinking he deserves a spot around #20, but it makes more uneasy than I’d like.

Alex Wood – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. For those worried, Wood left this one with a cramp, not a legitimate injury. Phew. Velocity still down n all but his command is top notch and you have to keep rolling here.

Joe Biagini – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Y’all know how I feel about Biagini. I’m glad he’s getting outings, but this is the equivalent of me being patient to leave him in the Daycare Center for a bit longer. If he gets his starts, I’d say he’d be ready to roll by the end of June.

Carlos Carrasco – 7.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Not the most dominating, but across 7.2 frames, those ratios are fine and six strikeouts is six strikeouts. CC’s 3.65 ERA is a little higher than you want thus far in 2018 and his 24% K rate leaves a little room for growth, but I think he’ll come down to a 3.30 with a 28% K rate or so as we plow forward and you’re going to like that, especially with his 6.7 IPS.

Mike Minor – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. His previous start was Judgement Day as it was time to assess what to do with Minor. I wasn’t in favor of the fella. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this is just one day. Maybe I shouldn’t be aloof and actually give you some hard analysis to help you. He gets the Royals next and his impressive 15 whiffs and 33 CSW in 90 pitches could carry over there.

Stephen Strasburg – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Come on Stras, you got the meh Dodgers, couldn’t you give us a little more than this? Interesting note, he threw 33 curveballs here with 14 landing for called strikes. I love that. Biggest problem was his changeup not getting any chases – 2 CSW in 14 thrown – and that messed him up. Whatever, still Top 10.

Ty Blach – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Blach with yet another Grave Mistake. That’s the life he lives.

Jordan Lyles – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. His curveball was the impressive pitch in the 10 K outing and in this one…eh it was okay. He’ll be on The List today but in the 90s as he’s an upside play that most likely will not turn out right, but we need to acknowledge the possibility.

Tyler Mahle – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Until I see Mahle get comfortable with his changeup or slider, I don’t want to bank on his fastball being able to carry the burden through every start. It’s not out of the question and actually makes him still someone I’m cool owning in 12-teamers, just not a bet I want to be making.

Aaron Nola – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. It was Nola day and this made me a bit sad as this isn’t the start we wanted against the Cardinals. Whatever, he’s still as stable as they come and there’s always another Nola day around the corner.

Trevor Williams – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. We’re slowing creeping up to that 4.85 SIERA as Williams’ 3.05 ERA and .226 BABIP are normalizing a bit, making him one of the staple TEEs arms this season. Remember, it’s still a 17.1% K rate.

Tyler Anderson – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. I expected a little better from Anderson who got to face the Giants out of Coors. I still think Anderson is an okay play given decent circumstances, but he’s more of a streamer than a team player.

David Hess – 4.2 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. For depression this year, the Hess truck’s here!

Eric Skoglund – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Skoglund Skoglund Skoglund. That’s all I’ve got, I just wanted to say his name over and over as he now holds a 6.15 ERA on the year. Ouch.

Julio Teheran – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Oh Teheran, it doesn’t matter if you face the Marlins, if you pitch at home, you’re clearly not fantasy relevant. Jokes aside, this floor is what makes me dislike Teheran so much and it should make you upset as well. I’d rather chase lottery tickets instead.

Today’s Streamer

German Marquez vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – It’s on the road against an average offense. These are the rules for Colorado pitchers.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Trevor Cahill vs. Seattle Mariners – I believe in his stuff + the Mariners are without Cano.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Dan Straily vs. New York  Mets – Ugh, I hate this but the Mets are bad and Straily has it in him to not suck.

Game of the Day

Nick Pivetta vs. Mike Foltynewicz – We’ve seen this matchup before but we haven’t seen it with Pivetta looking this dope.

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.

25 responses to “A Moment of Flaherty”

  1. Jaybird says:

    While thinking of guys like Flaherty, Reyes and Heaney, what can we expect as regarding end of season innings caps? I am woe to add someone that likely can’t contribute in my championship weeks. Thanks for any guidance.

    • theKraken says:

      Reyes can’t be that far from an innings cap. 100 IP in a first season back is aggressive. Lance Lynn threw like 10 when he came back… I have no idea what they are planning to do with him. Think about it – will he be an MLB starter for a month mid-season and get shut down? RP for the rest of the season? His cap should be a lot lower than the guys in front of him… a lot lower I would think. The early returns look good, but I am not aware of anyone ever being pushed like this before – especially a young player with a bright future. It kind of worries me that STL isn’t more worried lol. I don’t understand why they aren’t being more careful – this is a guy who missed time every season of his career.

    • theKraken says:

      I don’t really understand why STL is being so aggressive with Reyes. This is a guy that has never proven capable of handling a load in the first place – he missed starts every year. It makes me nervous that the Cards aren’t being more careful with him. At this rate, he has to get shut down around the all-star break right? His career high is 110 innings – are they really trying to approach that in his first year back from TJ? So many questions for me… This is an unexpected way to handle a young talent. W Buehler took off nearly two years for reference… which is the other end of the scale.

    • Jack says:

      yes, this — throw in Soroka, Lucchesi also, for that matter

  2. Dizzy Dean Wormer says:

    Nickel– A few days ago someone in my league dropped Arrietta. I dropped Erod to grab him (I had noone else to drop). I’m curious, would you have done the same? Thx…

  3. Dizzy Dean Wormer says:

    Nickel- A dude in my league inexplicably dropped Arrietta. I dropped ERod to grab him (he was the only one I could afford to drop). I’m curious, I know you’e not too high on Arrietta, would you have done the same?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think that’s the right call, unless you needed to chase strikeouts, in which case Erod is the better call.

  4. MH says:

    Nick on a scale of 1-10, how much do you trust Marquez in LA tonight? I don’t have to stream him but he also intrigues me a bit. I’m very torn. 14 team H2H league so I don’t necessarily want to start my week in a ratio hole. Rest of my staff as it stands is Severino, Archer, Richards, Castillo, Mikolas, Tropeano, Lyles. Thanks!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I can’t give a confidence meter, but it’s not in the bottom third…?

      I think he’s a decent play with that staff in a 14-teamer.

  5. Chucky says:

    Streamer Deluxe….Teheran or Mengden? Would usually serve as a #5 SP, can afford to stream in ideal situations.

  6. Wass says:

    Trying to sell Lester… Is Lester for Taillon/Aaron Sanchez too low? What are other SP I should/could target? H2H points (DFS scoring for pitchers)

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’d rather have Lester there, so aim higher. Normally go for a hitter instead of SP for SP.

  7. Kevin says:

    Do you rank Ohtani soley as a pitcher or do you also factor in his hitting stats?

  8. Dizzy Dean Wormer says:

    Nickel– This week some guy in my league dropped Arrietta for a reason yet unknown. I dropped Erod to grab him (he was my best option to drop). I’m curious, I know there are varying opinions on Arrietta, would you have done the same?

  9. lieonlion says:

    McCullers has strung together 7 starts without a clunker… injury risk for sure, but it seems he’s getting away from the “2 good, 1 bad” pattern.

  10. Bob says:

    If you’re baking in “injury risk” for E-Rod then you have to do with Syndergaard, McCullers, Richards and other guys on the list. Gotta keep it fair across the board. IMO.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thor is a little different, but there is some baked in there.

      There certainly is with Morton/Ohtani/McCullers/Paxton/Richards already.

      Erod is a little different as it’s a consistent thing about a specific part of his body (knee). I’m not giving him a massive drop, but I’m ranking him now without one at all and that’s not fair.

  11. Bob says:

    If you’re talking about baking in enough “injury risk” for E-Rod than you have to do the same for guys like Syndergaard, McCullers and Richards. All guys ranked high. I thought you list was based on how they are currently performing. While I know some guys get hurt more than others any pitcher can get hurt at any time so there is always a injury factor. Don’t you think you should penalize E-Rod more than any other injury prone guy. Just my thoughts.

  12. Taylor says:

    Who got the Gallow’s Pole?

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