Acting Like A Billy Madison

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

(Photo by David Dennis/Icon Sportswire)

Just when I started to believe that Madison Bumgarner was figuring it out again, he goes 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks in Coors. Fine, it’s Coors and maybe I shouldn’t be leading with Bumgarner at all, though it is 5+ ER in two of his last four starts. This game was pretty lackluster with just 7 whiffs on 91 pitches – 19/91 CSW overall! What I’m seeing is a cutter that has gotten better with everything else simply not working. Just 4/26 CSW on fastballs, 8/20 SNIP on curveballs, and a changeup that really shouldn’t be thrown. I’m not suggesting that we bench Bumgarner the rest of the way, but I have to wonder what our perception of Bumgarner should be. Is he a workhorse that should go Top 15/20 next year or is he more like a solid but not stellar #3 SP arm around the Top 30? I’m leaning the latter at the moment and I hope he removes that instinct down the stretch.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Matt Shoemaker – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Hey, Shoemaker’s back! The Cobbler featured a decent mix of heaters, splitters, and sliders, and it worked. This time. I can see desperate AL-Only teams chasing this, but I’d be very cautious in 12-teamers.

Nathan Eovaldi – 3.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. He need 86 pitches to get through 10 outs. Dude, come on. It’s becoming harder and harder to endorse Eovaldi, but I think we still need to own him for the Jays and Mets ahead.

Dallas Keuchel – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Thank you Keuchel, I know you haven’t been the most beautiful fantasy asset, but you’ve been a good enough Toby for us all. We appreciate it.

Jakob Junis – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. I led with Junis last time as a solid add through to the end and I want to be all excited about this performance against the Indians, but it’s really weird. Just two whiffs on 26 sliders + curveballs, while he threw his slider – a legit money pitch – only 10 times. Sure, it’s nice to see him have more confidence in the hook, but it wasn’t all that great. This was a BABIP friendly start and I think it’s best to ignore it, honestly. The great news is the cushy schedule he has the rest of the way via @MIN, MIN, @PIT, @CIN, which means he’s still a good add.

Ryne Stanek – 1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Oh look honey, another False Start. And Yonny Chirinos kinda killed it after with 7.0 IP of 1 ER, 5 Ks and a 1.00 WHIP. I have no interest there, but that’s cool, I guess.

Trevor Williams – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. And we have no choice but to continue applying The Vargas Rule until this wall is hit.

Jeffrey Springs – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. So now the Rangers are featuring False Starts as well and it’s annoying. I know, it’s kinda working for all teams, but it’s still annoying.

Erasmo Ramirez – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Don’t let this start make you forget the 7 ER floor he provided last time out.

Jacob deGrom – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. A 1.68 ERA now with 1 game of 4 ER and four of 3 ER. That’s 23/28 games of 2 ER or fewer. I was having the shower thought this morning of having an off-season GIF Breakdown about deGrom’s season, not only making his case (that consistency is a big part of it), but also showcasing how he consistently demoralizes batters. Look for that a week or two into October.

Bryan Mitchell – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I’m kinda upset they went with Mitchell over Strahm, but so it goes. Mitchell is a wild horse that has decent stuff, but his command is ridiculously bad. Here, he was able to escape with but a scratch, but I don’t expect that I’ll have to write a Mitchell Report about his success anytime soon.

Jose Urena – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Whoa, seven strikeouts from Urena?! His slider returned 10/26 whiffs and there’s your difference maker as his heater didn’t get crushed in play. I wish I could get behind

Zach Davies – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. A clear DLH here for Davies and it’s all kinds of impressive seeing a 7 spot in the K column. Unfortunately, I can’t endorse chasing this as he’s been so wildly inconsistent, without the strong repertoire to make me think he could do this often.

Michael Fulmer – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. He was pulled a bit early after taking a liner to the leg, though he was at 96 pitches anyway. I think it’s too volatile of a play right now for Fulmer, but I’ll be finding myself drafting him at the end of drafts next year.

Alex Wood – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Ehhh, it’s a bit boring, but I’m happy with Wood’s lack of massive blowups. I’ll take it.

Reynaldo Lopez – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Y’all know exactly what I was looking for – Is he still using his curveball near 15-20% of the time? Answer: Nope, just 8 thrown in 98 pitches. Womp womp. Just 24/98 CSW here as his fastball got quick outs with well deserved weak balls in play. It’s a great pitch, seriously. Sadly, I’m not seeing enough from his secondary stuff to trust it enough in September. Good luck if you can separate Lopez’s good starts from the clunkers.

Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. Five walks Flaherty? No wonder you have 96 pitches after five frames. Jeez man, it’s still a decent outing (save for the 1.60 WHIP…) but be better, okay? K.

Cole Hamels – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. You can’t stop Hamels, don’t even try to.

Trevor Cahill – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s pretty boring, but he got the Win against the Yankees in O.Co. Maybe we really need to buy into this Home/Road split with Cahil…let him fly for the Rangers next.

Kyle Gibson – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Gibson has one of the better schedules around ROS and after a start like this against the Astros, you have to feel good about Gibson for the rest of September.

Josh Rogers – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. You probably don’t know Rogers at all. Let’s keep it that way.

Max Scherzer – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace, but his ERA rises as deGrom’s continues to fall. Sorry Scherz, I’m thinking you’re missing out on a Cy Young this year.

Vince Velasquez – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I’m not sure I’ll take a 5.40 ERA from Velasquez. It was the Marlins, which meant he was able to earn a 1.20 WHIP and 6 Ks primarily with his heater, though 9/21 CSW with his slider is good, with 5/9 SNIP on the deuce. I wouldn’t call myself the biggest VV fan, though he has a solid schedule and I’ll roll with him through the mediocre teams.

Matt Harvey – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. This is a loss, right? You didn’t even get a dub and while the 1.17 WHIP is fine, I can’t really accept a PQS with three strikeouts. I have standards for this, y’all. Streaming Record: 87-42. As for Harvey moving forward, still just a streaming option, not a Toby.

Tyler Anderson – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. So I’m conflicted here. On one hand, he earned a Gallows Pole with 18 whiffs and marked his thrid straight game with a 10%+ whiff rate, a mark that has given us concern over the previous month. However, he earned his supper using changeups and staying away from cutters…which isn’t normally how it works for Anderson. 35 changeups vs 16 cutters just isn’t his M.O. Maybe it’s a fix given his recent failures, though. We’ll see.

Touki Toussaint – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I was actually a bit impressed here by Touki, despite the ERA not looking too pretty. He faced the Sawx and showcased solid secondary stuff with 14/29 CSW across curveballs and splitters. His fastball still needs some work – I don’t think living at the bottom with a sinker is the path to success given it matches his curveball and splitter locations – and I don’t think we’ll get to see a whole lot more of him in the coming weeks. Definitely a high upside play entering 2019 (we’ll see how that shapes out in the spring!), but for now, let’s just sit and enjoy.

CC Sabathia – 3.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. CC faced the A’s and it didn’t go so great, getting booted in the fourth as he struggled to get guys out. He’s a Toby through and through, so keep holding in the final weeks.

Marcus Stroman – 1.2 IP, 4 ERs, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. When you’re approach is to pitch to contact, you better hope the BABIP goes your way. Spoiler alert: It didn’t go Stroman’s way. He was pulled in the second with 49 pitches already on his record, though his blister popped up once again and may force Stroman to end his 2018 season. Poor guy.

Zack Godley – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. You know what boils my tea? Godley allowing 10 ER total in two starts against the Padres. THE PADRES! Now, he’s fanned at least six each of his last ten games, but when it’s 16 ER in four games, you have to really wonder how much strikeouts (and a sub 1.00 WHIP!) are worth to you. I should note, Godley didn’t pitch that badly here, just two mistake pitches that led to HRs – the only hits of the game – were his demise, though his cutter wasn’t as sharp as it should be. So do we hold Godley? My gut says yes, but we can all recognize how tough a call this is. Go with your gut.

Adam Plutko – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. I’m shocked to see 8 Ks from Plutko, but not surprised for a moment at the 4 ER allowed. Those strikeouts won’t return like Futurama seasons, but the high ERA will still be present like one out of three ghosts.

Today’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Los Angeles Angels – There’s also Lucas Giolito vs. Detroit Tigers and Trevor Richards vs. Philadelphia Phillies to consider, but I love the run Minor has been on and the Angels don’t scare me.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Texas Rangers Not much to choose from here, with the only other discount option to consider as Dan Straily against the Phils and that doesn’t make me feel good.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Eric Lauer vs. Cincinnati Reds There are four games total on Thursday, with just Marco Estrada against the Indians and Lauer against the Reds as the only qualifying options. Yeah. Don’t do this.

Game of the Day

Robbie Ray vs. Joey Lucchesi Not too many interesting games today, so I’m watching Ray hopefully debilitate the Padres, while wondering if Lucchesi can keep it up against the Dbacks.

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.

7 responses to “Acting Like A Billy Madison”

  1. Cason Jollette says:

    I am currently in a bye week right now and then will have playoffs the following two weeks. Here are my two most questionable starters and the best options available on the wire.

    Gibson (@KC, @DET)
    Ohtani (SEA, @HOU)

    L Castillo ( LAD, @MIL, @MIA)
    Velasquez (MIA, @ATL)
    Minor (@LAA, @SD, SEA)
    Matz (MIA, @PHI, @WAS)
    Heaney (TEX, SEA, @HOU)
    Giolito (@KC, @BAL, CHC)
    Lucchesi (@SEA, SF, @LAD)
    Junis (CHW, MIN, @DET)
    Chen (@NYM, WAS)

    Any moves you would make? Thanks!

    • Nick says:

      I’d go with Casty over ohtani and hold Gibson.

      • Cason Jollette says:

        haha the irony is that I dropped Castillo for Ohtani, before his last start. Might wait until Sunday to see what Ohtani does but otherwise seems like a surefire drop for another arm.

  2. theKraken says:

    False starts are a reasonable option if you don’t have the arms to fill out a starting rotation. It is the same thing as a lousy spot starter that is not going to pitch deep into a game with the order of RP flipped around essentially. I am not sold that it has any strategic advantages as you are just trading high leverage for low leverage innings out of the starter (RP). It is guaranteed to fry a bullpen and it is no substitute for fielding a roster full of MLB talent, but in the tanking era I think we will see more of this as only half the league even tries to compete – the bar to win games has been lowered. I really believe that any strategies would “work”. If nothing else, it is hard to hate the weak link on a rotation when you rotate the link… you even get to call organization progressive, which the transient fans enjoy.

  3. Mike says:

    Thoughts on dropping Kenley Jansen given his questionable availability over my 2 week playoff matchup and picking up Giolito or Glasnow?

  4. Southern Marylander says:

    If Touki could do me a favor and stay under 50 IP to maintain rookie eligibility for 2019, I’d appreciate it. I don’t think I can take him on a flyer for $6 (as a free agent pickup, his base value in my league is $1 and keepers can be kept for 1 – 3 years at +$5, +$8, +$9 over base value), but if he keeps rookie eligibility, I can resign him for $2. I think I can live with going into the auction with Flaherty ($6), Ohtani ($7), Lucchesi ($6), and Touki ($2) so I can spend more freely on my offense.

    Carlos Martinez at $20 represents everything I hate about SP now. Someone else can pay him that, because I’m sure not.

  5. Cason Jollette says:

    Worth mentioning that Gibson is being pushed back a day on this next start, so now he gets the Yankees next :(

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