An All-Star Cast

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

We witnessed another unreal start from Luis Castillo last night with his 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks line pushing his numbers to a 1.47 ERA, 34% K rate, and 0.88 WHIP through five starts. Is he deserving of the AGA label yet? Just one start under 8 strikeouts so far…for a paltry seven mark last week. It’s everything I hope and dreamed of for Castillo last year and it’s wonderful to see him pitch like a beast out of the gate. Can we trust him to perform at this level moving forward? Not really? I’m not liking 14 walks in 31 frames + the .197 BABIP, 87.5% LOB Rate, and 5.5% HR/FB that speak to a horrible HOTEL – 3.52 SIERA is the DIPS that has some questioning it. Still, let’s say we get a 3.50 ERA, maybe 3.20 if things go well, with a 25-30% strikeout rate and 1.15-1.20 WHIP. That’s all kinds of wonderful and just fits inside my definition of an ace. I’m going to hold off for now – I think I need a little more time to see if this is a Cherry Bomb situation and for his luck to settle down a bit – but I certainly am holding on tight during a season of disappointing starters.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Chase Anderson5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. We didn’t know who would get the start for the Brewers and Chase returned to the rotation, dominating as if to say “why didn’t you let me do this from the start?” I expect him to stick around, but I don’t expect anything more than a possible Toby…which makes him a Panda. That’s not for me.

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Atta boy Greinke. I think a lot of people see the sexy names of Corbin, Berrios, etc. and get sad they went with Greinke instead. Don’t be, this man will be a rock throughout the year.

Matt Shoemaker3.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. Shoemaker was off to another strong outing until he sprained his knee tagging out a runner in a rundown. Seriously. I don’t expect him to return shortly and unless you’re patient for the IL assignment and have the room, I’d go ahead and drop him.

Jameson Taillon5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This frustrated me as Taillon was cruising through five…until a rain delay ended his evening (see Derek Holland as well). I’m loving where he is at the moment…but he had multiple at-bats where Taillon just couldn’t put a guy away. The slider isn’t going to be that pitch, but hopefully his curveball can take the leap. I lowered him last week and while he’ll be raised tomorrow, I can’t see him as a true Top 10 potential guy anymore as my anticipation for him as a legit stud is dwindling without the proper strikeout growth. Still Top 20, though.

Masahiro Tanaka7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. I love it when the Cherry shows up and puts the Bomb on the shelf. I’ll see you another day, Bomby.

Trevor Bauer6.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Verlander, Snell, and Bauer have been the only three starters that have been legit aces out of the gate inside the consensus Top 15 starters (okay, maybe Patrick Corbin too), and even Verlander is sporting just a 3.00 ERA. I think it puts into perspective those that are frustrated chasing guys in the 30s-50s that even the majority of those who invested early are struggling too. This year, man. Oh, and solid Gallows Pole here with 20 whiffs.

Eric Lauer5.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Sure, I guess this is fine. I guess. Lauer is the personification of the Neutral People.

Miles Mikolas8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Hey, a strong start from Mikolas! The Ks aren’t showing up like I wanted to – just 10% swinging strike here – but 34% CSW with low sliders and a 94 mph heater is a great step for Mikolas. I still think there’s another gear once he really works that slider properly, but this is certainly encouraging. If we don’t get the Ks but starts like these instead, I doubt y’all will complain about a repeat 2018 season.

Rick Porcello5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, Porcello did a good thing! Well, an okay thing! We’ll see a decent amount of this through the year, but the bad will outweigh the good. That’s the life of a Thief, after all.

Hyun-Jin Ryu5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Ryu returned from the IL and despite this being a semi-Still ILL situation, he went into the 6th inning against my expectations and cruised. I was definitely underrating Ryu in the preseason and I’m incredibly shocked that he’s already back from an IL stint – really just one game! I feel like we need a counter on the wall for Ryu’s injuries, though. “1 Day since the last Ryu injury.”

Adrian Sampson4.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Is the man bald? He clearly needs a bit more strength to get through an MLB lineup.

Jose Urena6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Urena has strong stuff n all, but I think the 1.50 WHIP and few strikeouts showcases how low his ceiling is. It’s sad, but if you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Yu Darvish5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. A pair of solo shots in the first set Darvish back plenty here…and he pitched decently well after. Not incredibly – he looks way too much like a two-pitch pitcher right now – which is all kinds of nuts considering he had, what, six pitches back in the day? – though half of the equation is a stupid good slider. Just throw in more curveballs and splitters, please. I still consider Darvish a great long-term play, though I understand those that want to search elsewhere. He’s going to be Top 35 for me still and well deserving of a TIARA, especially with the Dbacks in the crosshairs.

Derek Holland5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. A pair of HRs and rain ruined this one for Holland, who could have easily secured a PQS with a sub 1.00 WHIP and another strikeout or two. I’m all in here – 38.5% CSW in this one as he owned the inside-corner to right-handed batters is all kinds of lovely – and he’s remarkably unowned in leagues. Get him. I think I’m taking the Win here with 7 Ks and a 1.00 WHIP without a devastating ERA…right? Maybe? Tell me in the comments, PLEASE. Streaming Record: 13-9.

Aaron Nola5.2 IP, 3 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. On one hand, nine Ks are lovely. On the other, this is a clear Dusty Donut with those poor ratios…from the ratio specialist. Just 9 whiffs and only 1 on 22 changeups is a bit upsetting, though I like seeing 93+ through the outing. Much better command down in the zone, a touch of BABIP’d and I think everything is okay. Still a buy low.

Dan Straily5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Straily is the equivalent of that blender you pass in Costco that is clearly worse than the others and well more expensive. Yeah, definitely not, you pair with a look of disbelief as you maintain your cart’s acceptable pace. You never even wanted a blender in the first place.

Jose Berrios6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Ahhhhh this sucks. This start encapsulated the worry about Berrios’ crazy good start to the year. His curveball had been unreal before this outing and with just 3/34 whiffs in this one, he needed a third pitch to help him out. That’s a changeup…which had 2/13 CSW. Now the question is if this is an extended valley or just one of those days. Here’s to hoping it’s the latter.

Yusei Kikuchi5.0 IP, 4 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Okay, I need to lower Kikuchi a decent amount. I think he can be a strong Toby this year, but the idea that he can be Spider-Man (NO MORE MISSPELLINGS) isn’t quite right. That belongs to Marco Gonzales

Corey Kluber7.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Aces almost gonna ace. Just one fewer ER and we’d be cool. JUST ONE. Those concerned about Kluber shouldn’t forget the consistent struggles the man has in April, this will all be wonderful shortly.

Martin Perez6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. The Velocity was a little lower today – just under 94 mph – and his other stuff isn’t all that good. 24/96 CSW isn’t what you want, especially against the Orioles, and I’m still considering Martin as just a rare streamer.

Antonio Senzatela6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. If you’re studying under Senz-A, you’re not going to get hired anywhere.

Trevor Cahill4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. I still wonder if he can become that surprise arm in 12-teamers at some point, but now is not that time.

Chris Flexen4.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. Today isn’t a beach day for Chris. No Flexen his muscles. Also, 0 Ks?! HAISTFMFWT?!

Charlie Morton6.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. Ehhhh a Dusty Donut here as well. Keep starting Morton, frustrating to see that poor ERA.

Julio Teheran4.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Bleeeegh. I actually picked up Teheran to stream against the Indians and the one day I’ve trusted Teheran in years goes like this. That’s the life of owning Teheran, BACK TO THE WIRE YOU GO.

Mike Fiers3.1 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. The hope that Fiers will be able to go on a run like he did last year is getting smaller and smaller, just like my bank account once realizing mechanical keyboards are the greatest things ever.

Heath Fillmyer4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. There was some hope that maybe, just maybe, Heath could be decent against a hurt Yankee offense. All hope is gone.

Max Scherzer5.1 IP, 6 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. This is wild. 38/108 CSW is great, the Marlins are the Marlins…and got BABIP’d to death with a solo shot in the mix. Just in case you were freaking out, the 2.75 SIERA and sub 4% walk rate should be enough to keep you in check. The man isn’t going to have a .400 BABIP and 63.5% LOB rate. I mean, that’s just crazy.

Touki Toussaint1.1 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Well, um, this is terrible. Did the return of Francisco Lindor really turn the joke offense into a legit one already? But on the real, Touki had 10/60 CSW and was all over the place, allowing batters to sit on heaters in the zone and CRUSH them. I wonder if this changes things in any way with Touki vs. Soroka and I’d monitor the situation. I still think Touki is fine to own in 12-teamers despite this if he sticks around.

Gerrit Cole4.1 IP, 8 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 8 Ks. Uggggh, you too Cole? This has to stop. PLEASE. I really enjoy just saying Aces Gonna Ace and quickly moving on to the next guy. IT’S WHY I MADE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Alex Cobb2.2 IP, 9 ER, 10 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Wait a second. Is Dylan Bundy that clear of the best fantasy starter in Baltimore? It should be the MFRBSPA, shouldn’t it? Considering that all of them hurt your team more than help, I think this is a legitimate question. 

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.

Dereck Rodriguez –  vs. Pittsburgh PiratesSure, why not, it’s the Pirates. Again.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Mike Minor vs. Oakland Athletics – I’m not a fan of the options here and Minor’s scaling up.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Luke Weaver vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I think he should be owned in 12-teamers at this point, so grab and hold here.


Game of the Day


Jared Eickhoff vs. Jon Gray – Eickhoff has returned to the rotation and I wonder how he’ll look. It’s the worst possible matchup, but if he does well, you best expect me to grab him everywhere.


(Photo by Carlos Herrera/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.

6 responses to “An All-Star Cast”

  1. Chad says:

    How far do you think you will drop Kikuchi? 10 spots or closer to SP #60? Is he a drop in 12-teamers if you can find a guy like Derek Holland?

  2. Jim says:

    Holland is a W. Castillo is the man.

    • Derek says:

      Agreed. Im in a points league, and the extra points I got for a complete game made up for the loss of a QS.

  3. Vinny- Pitcher List superfan says:

    I dont own Holland so this is a 100% unbiased opinion: you definitely deserve the dub on the stream yesterday. Could have easily seen him getting a QS with more Ks If the rain didn’t get in the way. Streaming is tough in April but all things considered your killing it so far. Thanks as always for the hard work! As soon as Nola turns it around I’m getting the shirt for my bday!

  4. David McNickle says:

    I’m going to say Holland took the L. A game score of 44 brought on by 2 HR allowed is a tough pill to swallow. Other streamers who outperformed Holland were Jose Urena, Antonio Senzatela, and Eric Lauer. I know you are out on Urena and Lauer and Senzatela was pitching at Coors against PHI. Holland was the best choice.

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