A Short Stop With Eric Heater

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

Okay, we need to talk about Eric Lauer. Yeah, that Eric Lauer. During last night’s outing against the Diamondbacks, the man went 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 9 Ks, featuring his second-highest fastball velocity of the season (about 1.5 ticks higher than average) and 22 whiffs. TWENTY-TWO WHIFFS. His heater alone earned 19 whiffs on 77 pitches. WHAT IS HAPPENING. He earned a 20% swinging-strike rate this game – the highest of the season – and I’m sure you’re wondering how did he do in the game with his highest fastball velocity? Well, that was his second-highest swinging-strike rate at 12.6%. Huh. The man utilized fastballs up a ton and it worked really well, but it was essentially fastballs and a meh cutter and that’s it. That’s why the four walks were there and it wasn’t so dominating. Anyway, for your fantasy teams this is very irrelevant as he gets the Dodgers next and that’s a clear no. It’s just all very interesting and interesting things are cool. Nice day Lauer, you even made me use a Derek Jeter pun for you today. I’m glad you had this moment.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Chase Anderson6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Wait, they’re letting Chase go six frames? Oh, he needed to allow just four base runners to do it so he barely saw the top of the lineup a third time. Got it.

Jacob deGrom7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Cy Cy, Mr. American National League Guy. That was pretty bad. Yes. Yes it was.

Mike Fiers8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. So we’re all well past the whole Astros demolition thing now, right? Sure this was the broken Angels but it’s the Mariners next. Don’t stop the Fiers.

Mike Foltynewicz8.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Atta boy Folty, you were served a lovely night with the Giants and you dove right into it. Have no fear starting him against the Mets.

Merrill Kelly7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. We were all loving this start for Kelly against the Padres as his velocity has improved in September and it stayed up with 93.4 mph here, earning 28 called strikes (!) and 38% CSW. Unreal. I’m not sure I’d expect the velocity to still be around next year, but he makes for an intriguing last-round add in standard 12-teamers, especially those with Quality Starts. Yes, I’m starting him against the Cardinals with this new velocity.

Alec Mills4.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Well this was a surprise. We didn’t know how long Mills would be let go for as they pushed Jose Quintana back a day, but nearly five frames with six strikeouts is solid. You’re wise not to have taken this risk and I wouldn’t chase him if he gets another start, but way to be a General for a day, Mills.

Rick Porcello6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Alright, alright, you can have this one. Your season is already lost, anyway.

Dylan Cease6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. I was so tempted to put Cease ahead of Smyly and I’m kicking myself for not doing it. Yes the floor is always apparent with Cease as his heater command is very Cherry Bomb-esque – and it wasn’t pristine here either! – but the ceiling is there when he actual executes his secondary stuff. Sliders earned 7/19 whiffs here, pulling the weight, and he took full advantage of a start against the Tigers. There could be one more start left against the Indians next week and that’s not a terrible upside play if you need the Ks.

Randy Dobnak5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I wasn’t even certain if Dobnak would get a proper start or not, let alone actual excel at it. Huh. You already know enough, don’t invest more in R&D.

Michael Wacha4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Wacha used to be someone we had high hopes for. Now his best starts are four innings long with a HAISTFMFWT?! My oh my how times have changed.

Shane Bieber7.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Who do you have, Clevinger or Bieber? I’m leaning Clevinger slightly, but man it’s hard to turn away the campaign Shane has had.

Aaron Brooks – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Hot dang, Brooks! Easily the ceiling for the AB who still has a job (for now) as he coasted for seven frames to close out the game against the Mariners on just 83 pitches. This isn’t something to chase next week, even if he gets a game against the Jays. Too low a floor.

J. A. Happ5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. I’m impressed by Happ here considering how he has been pitching through biceps tendinitis. Good to see him produce against the Jays and feel free to ride him one more time against the Rangers.

Charlie Morton6.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Even against the Red Sox, it doesn’t matter, just let Morton fly as he’s giving us more innings than we could have ever expected. I gave him a huge discount because of the anticipated IL time, boy did he prove me wrong.

Eric Skoglund4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Not a single strikeout (HAISTFMFWT?!) to remind us that Skoglund will never be that household name.

Luis Castillo7.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. 23 whiffs to steal the Gallows Pole from Lauer as we nestle in for one last start with Casty. It’s so wonderful seeing him be the pitcher I wanted in the spring of 2018.

Anibal Sanchez5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. You got your Win and you feel dirty. You should, Anibal should produce in some other way against the Marlins. Seriously, just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?! Now it’s the Phillies and that’s an uneasy yes. I don’t like it much at all and his cutter hasn’t been good twice now, but hey, if it returns it should work. 

Jacob Waguespack5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Six Ks and a 1.00 WHIP from Jacob? That’s totally fine against the Yanks. I doubt any of you actually did this because you’re smart n all but hey, give the man props.

Steven Brault5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. You don’t want Brault. Like at all.

Robert Dugger5.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Dugger is better than people give him credit for (do they even give him credit? You have to know someone to give them something), but facing the Nationals wasn’t the time to show it. Maybe against the Mets in a desperate play next week. Maybe.

Zack Greinke5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. His price is likely going to be around #20 SP and I’m still in, despite his time with the Astros not going as smooth as hoped. He should be fine next year and still start him, of course.

Clayton Kershaw6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. He gave us six frames, but that ERA and WHIP hurts a lot. You got the Rockies on the road, BE BETTER.

Drew Smyly2.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Bleeeegggggghhhh. I was a little worried but didn’t fall for the other options and felt as if his recent stretch would continue against the Indians. NOPE. Streaming Record: 99-65. We can let Smyly go back to the wire and think about what he’s done.

Felix Hernandez5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. The Prince knows his place. Yes, even against the Orioles.

Peter Lambert3.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Lambert was out of Coors! Yay! And faced the Dodgers! Oh.

Jaime Barria2.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. HAISTFMFWT?! from Barria? That’s what we call a Tuesday. It was Friday. Why are you the way you are.

Tyler Beede6.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Well yeah, we had no interest getting TB against the Braves. We have no interest in TB in general. I wonder why…

Mike Minor5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Ugggggh, I expected Minor to do much better against the Rangers here and he’s ruining the lovely season he’s had. That’s two starts against the A’s that have gone poorly (13 ER in 10 IP) and now with the Red Sox next you’re scared. I get that and I’m fine not taking that risk. I still feel his skill set is there but I understand if your trust is severed. I wonder how much this affects his 2020 draft stock…

Jordan Zimmermann3.2 IP, 9 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Remember the moment last year where maybe Zimmermann was decent again? No? Yeah, you’re right.


Today’s Streamer


For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub-20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.


Ivan Nova vs. Detroit Tigers – Voth and Sheff got pushed to Sunday, so we’re left with Nova. Please go super. Please. Justus Sheffield vs. Baltimore Orioles – NOPE BACK TO SHEFF AGAIN. Man, it’s hard to keep up with all the rotation changes in the final two weeks of the year.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Austin Voth vs. Miami Marlins – There are a decent amount of options, but I’m favoring the floor of Voth facing the weak Marlins.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Dylan Bundy vs. Toronto Blue Jays – There are only five games played on Monday, so I’ll go with the strikeout upside of Bundy against the Jays. Don’t do this.


Game of the Day


Luke Weaver vs. San Diego Padres – Hey, he’s back! Yay! And it means Zac Gallen was scratched and may not pitch again. Ohhh. This is a DLH, but I hope he has his three-pitch approach intact.


(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

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.

One response to “A Short Stop With Eric Heater”

  1. Dangerfield51 says:

    So who do you like better for tomorrow? Means home vs Seattle or Voth on the road @ Miami. Trying to get to the championship next week.

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