All That Matters About Bieber

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

We had another fun pitching prospect make his debut tonight as Shane Bieber went 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks against the Twins. What should you think? First of all, you gotta think for yourselves, I’m only here to help. Second, I felt bad for Bieber as he allowed back-to-back solo shots on two straight pitches with one out left in the sixth, followed up with a single, leading to his hook. This was a Quality Start in the bag until the last moment. He unraveled a bit in the fifth inning as well, though I will cough it up a little to nerves being an MLB debut n all as it was the only real stressful frame. As far as his stuff goes…meh. Good command of his heater – plenty down in the zone – and he had some nice sliders and curveballs, but nothing that really grabbed me. A few good sequences playing with fastball/slider movement and tunneling, but again, I didn’t get that “whoa” feeling like I had with Buehler, Soroka, Kingham, Flaherty, etc. He’s still a Spice Girl, just a lower tier one, and that’s okay. The Indians don’t need a fifth starter until the middle of June, though, so I think you’re better off looking elsewhere for the time being. Never Say Never, but I’m not Confident and that’s All That Matters. Streaming Record: 32-20.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Seth Lugo – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Yes I googled to find those song names. Oh, about Lugo, ummm, you know he’s not worth a 12-team add so let’s move on past this.

Ryan Carpenter – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. And this one too. There’s a reason he’s named RC as he’s the off-brand that you say you’re cool with, but legit you know you want Koch Pepsi. No one ever wants Koch. Nick, it’s pronounced like “cook,” not “coke.” Random person, it’s pronounced like “Nike,” not “Nick.” Wait are you– Of course not.

Jose Quintana – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. I’ve lost faith in Quintana and so have you. And that’s fine. It’s good to see him do well here, I’m not sure I’m ready to jump back on board yet and if there is a nice Spice Girl out there, I’ll be chasing that instead, despite Michael Augustine’s great article today about Quintana’s biggest strength.

Clayton Kershaw – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Kershaw came back in a non-DLH situation – it’s Kershaw – and allowed just 1 ER, which had the runner never actually touching home plate. I won’t say he looked that great though and he elected to max out his heater at 90mph as reports rolled in that he’s getting an MRI on his back. Welp, guess it’s back out of the Top 10 for you. We miss you, Kershaw.

Wade LeBlanc – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. This getting stupid now as LeBlanc has allowed just 6 ER in six starts. Dude. Come on. Maybe it’s a Vargas Rule, maybe it’s small sample being dumb, either way, I’m willing to wager no one wants anything to do with LeBlanc when we enter July.

Aaron Nola – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. I’m a little disappointed in just 9 whiffs, but, well, just look at that start. All is well. Happy Nola Day.

Jordan Lyles – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Look at that, not only the curveball returned, but his slider did some work as well. Yes, I am 100% going to resort to Blame it on the Marlins here and put little stock in Lyles actually being a legit add in 12-teamers.

Lance McCullers – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. See, no need to worry about last week’s blowup. Sure, you wanted more strikeouts here, but we’ll all take this QS with a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP.

Sean Newcomb – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Despite earning just two strikeouts in this one, Newcomb earned himself a Co-Gallows Pole with 13 whiffs here, going five of 22 with his changeup. I still don’t buy that pitch – and really Newcomb’s whole shtick – which is why I’m lower than I assume most, and I wonder if there is something Newcomb can really do for me to take that leap with him. It just seems so…mediocre. Maybe that 4.03 SIERA and 12.0% BB rate are dictating that, though I’m amazed at his 23.1% soft contact thus far…nah, I just don’t buy it. I understand if you do, I can’t do it.

Ryne Stanek – 1.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. This isn’t the real you. *Ryan Yarbrough’s line of 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. reveals itself* Perfection. Ryan is turning some solid numbers with a 3.21 ERA, 3.82 SIERA, 1.09 WHIP and 22% K rate. That works, just he won’t go very long, with six frames being a rarity, and this is weird. A “non-starter” is earning a Co-Gallows Pole as Yarbrough’s 13 whiffs was the highest tonight. Yep. THAT’S BASEBALL SUZYN. I wouldn’t pick him up in 12-teamers because the whole situation is kinda messed up + I don’t think Yarbrough is this good, but I get it in super deep leagues.

Jack Flaherty – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhh I guess I’ll take this? He barely touched his curveball and changeup here, while tallying 102 pitches in just five frames. Definitely not the sharpest we’ve seen him – 24 CSW – and let’s hope he cruises in his next outing against the Marlins.

Daniel Mengden – 8.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Mengden had himself eight shutout innings before the first three batters all reached and we have ourselves a standard Careful Icarus. So let’s say he got pulled after eight beautiful, so fresh fresh so clean clean innings. Would ya’ll be yelling at me to raise him in the rankings? Should Jason Vargas have been Top 50 during his run last year? Just look at The List right now, save for a few names that you may disagree with, do you really feel Mengden belongs in the Top 50? With his poor K rate and clearly fortunate batted ball given that he’s not particularly skilled at inducing soft contact? It just doesn’t add up, but hey, go ahead and Vargas Rule this all you want.

Wei-Yin Chen – 1.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Nothing like some good ole Chen music to set the mood. What mood is that? Think Reservoir Dogs.

Mike Minor – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh, I wanted to believe that Minor figured it out. I really did. Now he’ll be a leper on the wire for a good while and it’s too bad. Here’s to hoping something changes that we can latch onto.

Drew Pomeranz – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Calling Pomeranz The Dirty Cheerleader is just so wrong these days. I wonder if Beeks get the call soon because of how horrendously bad Pomeranz is these days.

Tanner Roark – 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s just Roark’s third start of the year above 3 ER and I’m not ready to jump off yet. Yeah, five walks are terrible, but he only had 3 total in his previous three starts. I think it was just one of those bad nights and he’ll be better next time against the Rays.

Andrew Heaney – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. I felt terrible for Heaney watching this one as he just couldn’t get himself out of the first inning, leading to a crooked 5 spot before getting his third out. To his credit, he eventually found a rhythm and was pulled after earning 13 outs across the previous 15 batters, but this wasn’t the sharp Heaney we saw in previous starts. It isn’t the foundation crumbling, just a bad day that we shouldn’t read too much into. Start him next time against the Royals without fear.

Trevor Williams – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Yep, that’s the expected regression of a TEEs, alright.

Jake Odorizzi – 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. What did Odorizzi do tonight? He stalled our excitement for Bieber, throwing 92 pitches in under four innings. IT TOOK FOREVER. Too bad he had to get the Indians, Odorizzi, wasn’t pitching all too badly leading up to this matchup. So it goes.

Today’s Streamer

Tyler Mahle vs. San Diego Padres – The Pads are known to be bad at heaters and even with his recent struggles, I think Mahle can do this.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Matt Harvey vs. San Diego Padres – I sound like a mad man, but the Padres are bad and Harvey increased his fastball velocity. Maybe this works out.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Nick Kingham vs. St. Louis Cardinals – He was dropped in leagues are his last start and it’s time to take advantage.

Game of the Day

Gerrit Cole vs. Chris Sale – Another stud matchup that should be all kinds of 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.

28 responses to “All That Matters About Bieber”

  1. Ionescorhino says:

    Mengden is young. Vargas had the game last year of a well-traveled journeyman. Mengden has shown himself plenty useful in a 12-team. If the mustache wasn’t such a conversation piece, he has the makings of a boring ass Toby. Which isn’t terrible. A lesser Heaney.

    • M says:

      I think his point is that the peripherals aren’t good and his stuff backs up the peripherals not being good. Mengden is due for an adjustment…this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ride a hot player, but don’t be upset if it all comes crashing down.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Maybe, he also has a terrible strikeout rate and not great at inducing weak contact.

      The Vargas Rule isn’t exclusive to journeymen. It’s about someone without longterm appeal on a roll in the short term. Mengden fits that.

  2. Kevin says:

    Hi Nick. Anything on Reyes Start? Is he a hold or can he be dropped for stash pitchers that may come back sooner like Cueto, Nelson or Darvish? 10 team, 5×5.

    • theKraken says:

      Reyes is out for a good while I believe. Can’t imagine that they are going to push him when he gets back – didn’t go well the first time.

      • Kevin says:

        Would you drop him for Cueto, Nelson, Darvish or Fulmer in 10 Team 5×5? Still waiting for Nick to weigh in as well. Thx!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I imagine it will be a lengthy DL stint, I think you can drop if you need the space in a 10-teamer.

  3. Ross says:

    Been holding onto Beeks for awhile now. Think its gotta be time. It fits perfectly as well since Beeks went tonight as well.

  4. Jake says:

    Coke is so far superior to Pepsi, and it’s not close. I’m also from the South and find people tend to prefer coke down there so take that for what it’s worth.

  5. Rob says:

    Will Monday finally be the day Nola gets that top 10 ranking he deserves?

  6. Bob says:

    I’m a little surprised you weren’t more impressed with Bieber’s start. As you said maybe you chalk up some of the performance to nerves but that pinpoint control even with the nerves was really something special. Sitting 92-94 and even touching 95. That 2 seamer in to lefties was nasty too as he struck out Rosario once and probably should have been twice. Personally I see a ton of potential. I know that K upside isn’t elite but I think he could be a very solid 3 maybe even a 2 if he reaches his full potential and his breaking stuff gets a little sharper.

    • M says:

      Dear Bob,

      This IS Bieber’s full potential. He does not have the makings of a #2. He could be a very excellent #3 or #4, but his stuff is pretty meh. He stands out for his pitchability and command, which was on display for the first 4 innings. Then the wheels fell off when he left his stuff up in the zone.

      With his track record and what he showed us in four innings, he will probably end up being a serviceable and successful big player. But, with that being said his stuff in the 5th and 6th was very mediocre and he got punished. This is a start for him to build upon.

      p.s. – His strikeout numbers will be average to above average if his command is as good as he showed in the minors. Batters strike out A LOT these days.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I didn’t see a whole lot that made me say “oh damn, this control is incredible!” That’s the problem here as his secondary pitches weren’t incredible either.

      He had a few moments, but nothing that spoke to an exciting arm that will shape a season. Small sample and I’m hoping for an improvement now that the big one is over, but I wanted to be wowed. I didn’t get that.

  7. Play Ball says:

    If Kersh goes on the DL AGAIN, is he even worth stashing (bicep tendonitis – which is attached to the labrum, bad back and velo drop) or drop him for someone like Archer or Cahill who’s available in my league.

    • M says:

      When healthy, Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball. With that being said, if he is out an extended time (like the whole season) and this is a redraft league, you can probably explore dropping him. But, if this any other kind of league, you hold on for greener pastures.

    • theKraken says:

      If you are really worried about the health, then trade him?

      • Play Ball says:

        Viewed as damaged goods in my league. No takers at this point. Maybe if his MRI comes back clean he could be moved.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      100% worth stashing. This is Kershaw.

  8. Johnny Ryall says:

    Hey Nick happy Friday.
    Regarding Bieber, we weren’t really expecting to see amazing stuff, right? More of control and weak outs, sprinkled with low Ks. But, he actually gave us decent Ks and almost had that quality start. I’m wondering if he gets another shot out there, if he improves enough to gain value in a points league?

    • M says:

      Bieber has a 8.36 K/9 in professional baseball. He will provide decent strikeout numbers with control alone. People seem to forget that you don’t need filthy stuff to pile on strikeouts.


      • theKraken says:

        Unfortunately there are also a pile of guys that see their K rate fall off of a cliff when they hit a certain level. For a guy without knockout stuff you always should worry that the next level is where that happens. I hope Bieber succeeds – despite the last name – but you never know how that K rate will translate to MLB.

      • Johnny Ryall says:

        Good point. However, my comment was more toward his overall value in points leagues. I love Ks, but if he gives up runs, its not going to mean much (ie Corbin’s last start)

  9. Daniel says:

    Saw where Sean Newcomb is only behind Verlander, deGrom, Scherzer, Nola, Morton, and Cole in statcast’s xwOBA – What does he have to do for you to buy?

    As a Braves fan I’m riding his train until he’s part of the next great Maddux/Smoltz/Glavvine rotation – But my Fantrax’s’ league season score still has him above Miles Mikoles (25th), Grienke (13th), Archer (42nd), Gio (35th) and Lester (48th) who all tower above him on the list.

  10. Fletch.F.Fletch says:

    Remember 3 years ago when you fell in love with Folty? Tonight that love was realized. Hopefully you were able to watch it. 99 mph heater to close out the CGSO against Bryce Harper.

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