A Sight For Soroka Eyes

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

If you’ve been following Pitcher List since last season, you’ll remember my adoration of Mike Soroka entering the offseason, hoping that a full year would really showcase the maturity and skill set of the 21-year-old. Well, after last night’s 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks against the Nationals, he’s boasting a 2.57 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 20% strikeout rate through 165 frames. Crazy good, especially for a rookie! Here’s the thing, though. I jumped off before the season started, getting terrified of his shoulder injury and believing it would affect him through the year. Clearly not. Now the question becomes, is this sustainable? Is this the start of a wildly successful career and should we pay the premium for Soroka next year? On one hand, yes, I’m in. I believe in his ability to distance himself from his 4.32 SIERA, manipulating his fastballs effectively on both sides of the plate to make batters uncomfortable constantly, something close to his current 3.50 FIP. There’s also room for him to develop his secondary stuff and with someone like Soroka, I do expect him to feature a better slider and changeup down the road.

But not necessarily next season. There’s regression expected ahead and I do question if he’ll make the strikeout leap quick enough to stave it enough in 2020. The upside here is a 2.75 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 25% strikeout rate, but it could also likely be a 3.50 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 20% strikeout rate and I’m not sure if I want to pay the price of an SP No. 2/3 for that. We’ll see, I’m certainly rooting for him to hit the next gear.

Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:

Tyler Beede6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Ayyy, look at you go Beede. Showing off to those Brewers starters how it’s done. I’m still not too impressed with Beede as a whole these days – 25/87 CSW is good, but nothing that grabs me to suggest he can survive next time out, especially not Boston. Props to those that went with him for the stream.

Gerrit Cole8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace with yet another Gallows Pole. Sorry to be that guy that makes an incendiary comment then fades away as people want the discussion, but I don’t think Cole is my No. 1 for next year. I’m leaning Verlander currently – I just trust his ability to go deeper more + I wonder if leaving Houston will affect Cole. We’ll talk in a month or two proper.

Adam Wainwright6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. Well done Waino, because of your success, you’ve been rewarded with three starts against the Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Cubs. But this is terrible. That’s right, YOU GET NOTHING. Let him go if you streamed here against the Pirates, be happy and move on.

Sandy Alcantara7.0 IP, 1 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Alcantara picked up right where he left off last weekend, pounding two-seamers arm-side with plenty of strong sliders along the edge. Streaming Record: 95-62. Not as solid of a CSW (27/96) as his changeup was a bit meh and he relied a bit more on BABIP to get through the game BUT THAT’S OKAY. It was the Giants, not Astros, so all is great. I can feel many of you wondering if he’s worth the hold now for the Diamondbacks and Mets ahead and that’s a…maybe. Not the worst as I love his feel for his heater and slider right now, but the floor isn’t as high as you want and the ceiling isn’t quite this when he isn’t facing the Royals or Giants.

Danny Duffy6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Hot dang Duffy! Near 93 mph velocity isn’t the same peak that we’ve seen across the last month and 29/108 CSW isn’t the dominating start you’d think would accompany this line, but against the Astros you did this?! Hats off to you, I’m still preaching caution against the A’s and Braves next.

Aaron Brooks5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Don’t go chasing Brooks. Stick to the streams that you’re used to. And seriously 16 outs without a strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Luis Castillo5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Aces gonna look like a simpleton but still kinda ace. Just 21/82 CSW is a bit odd as he was a bit wild with heaters. Obviously keep starting and all that, just a weird start here. Also, not sure if you checked in on his numbers for the year, but it’s a 3.22 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 29% K rate in about 180 innings. That’s essentially what we wanted after his impressive 15 starts in 2017 and even though we had to endure 2018’s first-half disaster to get here, it’s lovely he’s arrived in full.

Clayton Kershaw6.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I’m sure we’re all glad he’s back to going 6+ frames again for TATIAGA.

Mike Leake6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Atta boy Leake, you were a deep stream for QS leagues and you pulled it off. And now you have Miami next! I’m all for that.

Charlie Morton6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Aces gonna ace, even if it’s a PQS. You’re content, this is written content, and I hate pitching outdoor living spaces. So you’re con tents? Your words, not mine.

Max Scherzer5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. It’s weird, Scherzer is doing little to make us really love him again. With Cole and Verlander flexing on the beach, Scherzer is just laying down and getting a tan, expecting people to just walk up to him. I’m legit wondering where I’m putting him for next year. It’s weird.

Jeff Hoffman5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 4 Ks. Six walks?! I’m amazed he made it through 5+, not surprised that he didn’t perform well in Coors. Because duh.

Adrian Houser3.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. And the curse of the Brewers rotation continues. It’s too bad, as I kinda like Houser but it’s just not a high enough ceiling to chase any of them these days.

Jon Lester5.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. He got you a Win because of Brault’s Vault of the Cubs offense, but man does this sting. A 2.60 WHIP. Yikes. If you need the Wins, I’d still consider him against the Reds and Pirates next, but that floor isn’t looking so pretty.

Noah Syndergaard5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. There was hesitation starting Thor against the Dodgers, but at the same time his second half has been excellent save for a blip against the Cubs. This was definitely another blip as 21/102 CSW is really not what we want. Plenty of hittable sinkers, sliders weren’t the sharp pitch we’re looking for, and changeups were hung plenty. Syndergaard really does struggle getting his secondary stuff at the knees or lower. Now he heads into Coors and I’m certainly out there, but Miami + Atlanta after may be necessary for your squads.

Masahiro Tanaka5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. 28/88 CSW works for me + it’s interesting to see Tanaka truly go upstairs with heater then splitters + sliders low. This is a pretty impressive strikezone plot, save for a little too much up from splits and sliders, but at least on the edge and avoiding the middle often. That stupid fourth inning ruined things a bit and we’re left with an overall meh line. If I own Tanaka, I’m still starting him against the Angels + Rays next.

Jordan Zimmermann5.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Well yeah, Jay-Z doesn’t have a blueprint for success.

Dylan Covey3.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Remember kids, Don’t Covey Thy Dylan.

Anthony Kay4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. So I don’t actually dislike AK, I think he has a good fastball with great intent to elevate, and his curveball/changeup are decent as well, but against the Yanks and this tough schedule? Yeah, not so much. Next year, maybe. Keep an eye on him for deep leagues.

Yusei Kikuchi2.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. His nickname is Y2K AND HE DIDN’T EVEN GET THAT. It’s the ChiSox, Kikuchi, can you not serve up a HAISTFMFWT?!

Chris Bassitt3.0 IP, 6 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeegh. This was a clear start in my book and to see Bassitt struggle this much is a bit frustrating, like stubbing your toe when you really felt like you shouldn’t have hit that table. Great, now I have to deal with this. He gets another start against the Rangers then the Mariners to close it out and I’m still rolling with him for both.

Brock Burke3.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Yeah, we’re done shooting our eyes out with this BB Gun, right? Good.

Andrew Heaney3.1 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Ouch, this one hurt. Just 23% CSW as he couldn’t get quality strikes with his curveball or changeup against the Rays (5/33 CSW!). The pitch separation is there, it just wasn’t as sharp and he allowed a trio of longballs. 

Joey Lucchesi3.2 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Coors is undefeated. Sorry Joey, we kinda knew you’d be a Fugghesi. We didn’t want to say anything, but we know. Next time you get Milwaukee, things will be fine.

Steven Brault2.2 IP, 10 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. If you’re starting Steven, it’s nobody’s Brault but yours.


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.


Dylan Cease vs. Seattle Mariners – I wrestled with this one. He’s a volatile arm, but the upside should outweigh the floor here. Robert Dugger against the Giants could be a safer ratio floor and I’m avoiding Jordan Lyles since I question how deep the Brewers will actually let him pitch in this game.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Ivan Nova vs. Seattle Mariners – If you want strikeouts, you go on the other side with Justus SheffieldIf you’re chasing ratios, Nova has the better floor.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Reynaldo Lopez vs. Minnesota Twins – Whaaaaat, this ReyLo love is going TOO FAR. Well, Martin Perez isn’t available, Zach Davies isn’t going more than five frames (if even that) as the Brewers get early hooks and there’s nothing else to chase. Plus, ReyLo had 97mph last time out, so that’s cool.


Game of the Day


Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Jcaob deGrom – Fun stuff here, let’s hope Ryu has it fixed and deGrom shows us why he deserves the Cy Young talk.


(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/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.

3 responses to “A Sight For Soroka Eyes”

  1. Lion says:

    I have to drop 2 SP before Monday. Help me decide what 4 of 6 matchups are best:
    Leake vs MIA
    Desclafani vs NYM
    Erod @ TB
    Bassit vs TX
    Nova @ DET
    Anibal Sanchez @ MIA

    • Frankie says:

      Going off Nick’s List from Monday:
      Leake, Bassitt, Nova are blue/green – better matchups
      Disco is neutral
      ERod, Sanchez is yellow, the 2 to drop.

  2. Frankie says:

    Who is the guy to start next week in QS league’s semi-final?
    Bassitt v TEX, A Young v MIA, Eovaldi v SF?

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