Bag of Richards

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


It’s been too long. This article is my lifeblood and I’ve recognized over the terribly long off-season how I need the ability to run my mouth in delirium every night with a purpose. And finally, I have that purpose again. Praise Colon.

For those that don’t know what’s happening, the oldest article in the book here at Pitcher List is the SP Roundup, an article I write every single night during the season reviewing every starter from the day’s games. It’s easily my favorite part of running this site and I hope you’ll enjoy it through the season.

Enough talk, let’s get to it. Let’s see how every SP performed yesterday:

Garrett Richards – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Funny story, Richards hadn’t had a 4 ER game since September 2015. But that kind makes sense when you realize he only had 16 starts between the two. If you’re discouraged about Richards being a…Tracy, don’t be. He was looking fine prior to his fifth inning, boasting sliders at 92mph and great looking cutters well above 95mph. But you can’t just ignore the fifth like it didn’t happen. I can and I will if I want to sleep peacefully tonight. Richards walked two straight, then threw a terrible 2-2 heater to Khris Davis who Crushed it like a Slice can. 3 ER. Oh, and then allowed a solo blast from Matt Olson in the next at-bat. Bleeeegh. I can fathom an argument that Richards hasn’t started properly for a while, leading him to get gassed quicker than we’re used to, but that just doesn’t sit right with me. He looked great in his return in September and the talent is clearly here to succeed. I know we all wanted to feel like we scored a sack of gold after his first start given Richards’ discount in drafts, and we’re just going to have to save that smug face for April. Wear it proudly, boys.

Chase Anderson – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Speaking of glorious discounts, I remember the Twitter debates about Anderson, calling me crazy for putting him anywhere inside the Top 50. I’m not naive enough to start celebrating after one excellent outing against the Padres, but it kinda warms your heart a little, you know? YOU HEAR THAT GARRETT? THIS IS WHAT LOVE IS LIKE.

Ty Blach – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. This dude right here outdueled Kershaw. Even his name sounds like bland chalk. The worst kind of chalk. I really don’t see Blach turning into a starter you’ll ever feel good about with his career 10.6% strikeout rate that makes me already regret watching him without a hazmat suit on.

Dylan Bundy – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. You want the ideal Bundy start? This is the ideal Bundy start. 24 Sliders with 12 whiffs, fastball velocity consistently sitting around 92mph, and no longballs to ruin his party. ATTA BOY BUNDY. Now let’s see if he can keep that velocity and slider count moving forward.

Felix Hernandez – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Before you start your fanfare, it wasn’t like Felix was super dominant tonight. He was good, not close to overwhelming like we saw in the past. I need to see more than 7 whiffs. I need to see him create a ton of uncomfortable swings on his changeups. I saw maybe one or two. That’s not going to cut it in the long haul.

Jake Odorizzi – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Now this. This really intrigued me. 13 swings and misses for Odorizzi, who showed up throwing 18% curveballs after holding a sub 6% rate last season. He earned over 20% whiffs with it – it looked dope – and suddenly I’m so down. Pair that with just two walks in six frames – albeit the O’s are refuse to take walks like they’re pamphlets to join the flat earth society – and I want to ride this train as far as it goes. Odorizzi turned into a questionable arm last season, but this looks like a step forward to turn him into full season relevancy. Odorizzi, I like the smell of your cooking.

Chris Sale – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. This is how it’s done y’all.

Clayton Kershaw – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. This too. I know you’re a bit upset at that WHIP. Whatever, he’ll allow one baserunner next time to make up for it. Also, for those that will be tracking it through the year, Kershaw earns the first Gallows Pole of the season, with his 17 whiffs taking the cake. Atta boy.

Luis Severino – 5.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. It’s as if Severino wants to be a part of the “Elite Four” as well. You know kiddo, you must just get there someday. Maybe if Boone let’s you go more than 91 pitches and finish the sixth inning next time you can get there.

Aaron Nola – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. SPEAKING OF WHICH. Yes, my child? No no no, not you Agatha, I need to yell about Gabe Kapler for a moment. Why. OH WHY are you taking Nola out of a 5-0 game in the middle of the sixth inning when Nola is at just 68 pitches?! This is your ace. The one that is supposed to save the pen for your other whack starters (save for Arrieta. You’re cool.) and he was spinning the perfect gem that hinted at needing just one inning to close it out. This game was over. I don’t care about the actual end that resulted in a 6-5 loss in extras, but I might if it means Kapler won’t be so ridiculous in future starts. Nola had an IPS comfortably over six frames last year and you best hold me back if I see that number creep under six because of Gabe freakin’ Kapler. NOLA DESERVES BETTER.

Justin Verlander – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I’ve expressed my concern with Verlander that has me dancing along the pool’s edge looking down at the deep water, knowing fully well that I’m jumping in but that fear of his terrible first halves of 2016 and 2017 echo in the back of my mind. This helps Verlander. This helps a lot.

Patrick Corbin – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Are you excited? I’m excited. His 15 whiffs were tied for second on the day, a product of throwing 45 sliders across 91 pitches. That’s about a 50% rate and everything I wanted from Corbin. Success will follow that pitch, and its ability paired with the humidor and a good offense behind him, Corbin can be a legit starter through the year. There’s risk investing so much in one pitch, but I’m definitely buying.

Clayton Richard – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s the wrong Clayton! Who arguably did better given you sacrificed 3 Ks for a better WHIP and 7 IP of a better ERA. Baseball is weird, y’all.

J. A. Happ – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Outside of meeting Giancarlo StantonHapp did a decent job tempering the Yankee offense. I think he’s a productive arm that should help your team when he’s on the field, the only question is how long that will be. Don’t expect strikeouts and it will come with some blegh starts like this one, but it’ll help.

Corey Kluber – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Fun fact: Kluber, Sale, Kershaw all started today, combing for 21.0 IP, 3 ER, 24 Ks, and not a single win. Yep.

Jon Gray – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. During this start I couldn’t help but think that Gray was one of the least talked about starters that was universally inside the Top 60. It’s like we all just didn’t know what to do with him, recognizing that he has the talent to be really good but then, you know, Coors. And it’s not like he’s a Top 10 pitcher when the stage is neutral either…but he has an unreal slider as well so I guess we have to own him and start him…but do we really want to? I’ll stop that terrible ramble though I legitamtely believe other writers had that exact train of thought and elected not to deal with it, just like how I came nowhere close to draft Jay Gray this year. Still, for the record, he will be better than this. He’s not Hamels, after all.

Cole Hamels – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Huh. I’m a bit shocked at the seven strikeouts, while everything else reads exactly like my face when reading college rejection letters: pure disappointment. Oh, you were rejected from college? No, not my letters, I just read random ones sent to other people on the internet. Anyway, don’t expect that disappointment to go away anytime soon, Hamels isn’t going to have the rebound some expect someone of his “name” to have.

Jon Lester – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Still want to quote his 2016 sub 2.50 ERA? Oh come on, it’s one start. YOU’RE ONE START. And you’re right. I’m not being fair here…I just didn’t have a good feeling earlier this week and I still have it now.

Chris Archer – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Is this not exactly what we talked about? Archer is a great source of strikeouts, but his ERA is suspect. Sure, he ran into the Sawx today – and might again a few more times in April – but it’s getting harder and harder to imagine him getting out of this forest and to the land of aces. Note: Archer did allow 2 ER because of a “HR” hit by Eduardo Nunez, which was really just errors by his outfielders. Can’t take it off the books completely, but this wasn’t as bad as it looks.

Carlos Martinez – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 6 BBs, 5 Ks. Welcome to the life of being a CarMart owner. He’ll do this to you for a start or two, then send you a 7 IP, 8 K outing with 5 baserunners. It’s part of the package that we never see when we look at the full season’s numbers. Fine for roto, an abusive relationship in H2H.

James Shields – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Shields got himself 18 outs without recording a strikeout. How am I supposed to feed my family with this?!

Noah Syndergaard – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Funny story, I wrote about Syndergaard’s super high BABIP last week and what does he do? Allow 4 ER on 6 Hits and 0 walks. That’s not BABIP, that’s LOB rate. Okay, that’s kinda true but it did come with a .429 BABIP so why not both? Obviously keep starting Thor, he’s dope and feels dope, and I’ll keep yelling at the TV in rage when he actually throws a great pitch and Yadier Molina still his the high-and-tight fastball for a two-run HR.

Julio Teheran – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Okay so we’re halfway there. For now it’ll be “Teheran isn’t bad, this start was at home. He’ll be good on the road.” After that road start, then we’ll finally be given the full story: Teheran is bad everywhere. Sounds like a children’s book I’d buy.

Danny Duffy – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh, this one is a bit disappointing as I’ve been looking to Duffy as a stable high-floor/low-ceiling type this season. That can still be there – if he could always avoid the bad start, he would have a much better ERA – but against the ChiSox? Get it together Duffy.

Kendall Graveman – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. This is the most typical Graveman start with just one strikeout and 5 ER to his name. He just throws fastballs after all.

Jose Urena – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks. Everyone knows about Urena because of how bad he was, especially giving up a HR on the very first official pitch of the 2018 MLB season. Then also hitting some guys. And walking them. And allowing more HRs. The real entertaining part? Urena held a 3.82 ERA last season that was massively removed from his 5.20 FIP and 5.19 SIERA. Considering the atrocity that is yesterday’s line, I’m thinking I won’t have to defend my reasoning of not including him on The List moving forward. All is right with the world.

Today’s Streamer

Jhoulys Chacin vs. San Diego Padres – Yeah, it’s Chacin and you know the deal. Chacin will do well when Jhoulyst expect it. And I will also tell you that streaming right now is a bad idea. But hey, if you’re gonna do it, might as well against one of the weaker offenses around and Chacin was known to spin off some good outings last season.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Trevor Williams vs. Detroit Tigers – You know, I’m not looking exactly at Owned % for these out of the gate since even if I see Lucas Giolito or Kyle Gibson not wildly owned, I won’t believe it. Yes, I’d rather start them both over Williams here, but if you have your back against the wall (I don’t know how it is at this point but whatever) and need an outing somewhere, I’m going with Williams. I don’t even like him much, but I hate the Tigers offense more and it’s fathomable he can be helpful.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Reynaldo Lopez vs. Kansas City Royals – Okay, I actually would expect Lopez to be owned, but there really aren’t any other options here (unless this is Stratton’s first start of the year and I might consider that against the Dodgers). Still, Lopez is better than you think and I can see him having a beautiful start that triggers a massive waiver wire parade. A sea of green as they call it.

Game of the Day

David Price vs. Blake Snell Max Scherzer are on the bump as well, but the most intriguing matchup is Price against Snell. I’m a huge fan of Price for 2018 and I’m curious if he can look like his former self from his first pitch of the season. Meanwhile, there’s plenty of buzz surrounding Snell and I wonder if he really can become an effective pitcher with his fastball/changeup foundation.

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.

27 responses to “Bag of Richards”

  1. Matt says:

    Taillon is pitching in the Pirates home opener in Pittsburgh on Monday. Looking forward to what he will do this season also, but he won’t be pitching in Detroit.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Gah, you’re right! This is what happens when it’s close to 2:00am and my brain can’t adapt to an error I’m reading.

      Thanks for the catch! I changed it to Price vs. Snell.

  2. Daniel says:

    Hey Nick,

    I was wondering what your thoughts were on Joey Lucchesi for tommorow and for his long term potential. The kid seems intriguing. Thanks.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’ll be watching because it’s a new pitcher that I have never seen before, but from what I’ve read thus far, he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, and that makes me hesitate to invest.

      He could blow me away tomorrow, or he can look like the second coming of Aaron Blair. We’ll see.

  3. nick g says:

    couple of things:

    ty blach’s tempo definitely worked against the dodgers, whose offense looked anemic. he also has some stuff that surprised me a little. i’m no pitching expert, but i am wondering if the former might be useful in the early parts of the season before offenses get up to speed?

    there was an article in the athletic about how mariners management wants king felix to pitch to contact as his body (of work) seems to have caught up to him. gone are the days of his elite k rate–not expecting too many swinging strikes anymore–and his overall dominance, but it will be interesting to see if he can be an effective, if unexciting, sp to own going forward.

    been looking forward to this column and its jokes all off-season. hoping 2018 is all we’re hoping it to be!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I want to believe that Blach theory, but I just can’t get behind it. Maybe it worked yesterday, but there’s just way too much risk given Blach’s overall weak stuff without enough upside for me to believe it’s sustainable in the slightest. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just it’s hard to put stock into.

      It’s not out of the question Felix provides some value, but it’ll come down to the effectiveness of his changeup, which didn’t have the same bite last night that I’ve seen in previous years. Maybe he gets it back, but there’s still work to be done here.

      Not to mention how his body has been quitting on him over the years a well. Poor guy.

      Thanks man! I’m so glad baseball is back.

  4. oscar says:

    Something to note with Archer’s outing is that he gave up a 2 run “homerun” on an outfield misplay that should have been an out and that was ruled an inside the park homer. Outing would have looked a bit better with only 2 ER.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      That’s a great point, I feel weird owning Nunez in a league and getting credit for what was clearly an error. We have to figure out a way to do scoring better.

      At the same time, it still should have at least been a hit, and it’s not completely fair to say “it would have only been a 2 ER night.” Baseball’s weird.

  5. Josh Cole says:

    Wow. Thanks for writing an article that guarantees I’m unproductive for the first 20 minutes of every morning.

    Seriously, this is excellent, and I wish I’d discovered it sooner.

  6. Vinny says:

    Hey Nick, huge fan going way back (love the new site layout). Do you like Reynaldo out of the gate over the potential of Newcomb and/or Flaherty? Thanks in advance as always!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks man! It’s amazing to see how much different we are from the beginning.

      I’d favor Reynaldo over Newcomb.

  7. JerryOnDrums says:

    That Molina HR off Thor was lucky as balls! BALLS, I tell you!

  8. CamTheMan says:

    This site is just the best, man. I appreciate everything you guys do here. Keep up the good work!

  9. Joshiah says:

    Hey Nick, great write up per usual. So it was great that Chase Anderson pitched the shutout and I love the guy as much as you do, but how concerned are you for the future with him walking 3 batters and throwing only 10 first pitch strikes of the 23 batters he faced? Like you said, these were the Padres so I’m not overly concerned. Has he had control issues in the past? What held him back before he broke out?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Great point, it’s not enough for me to believe it will continue just yet, but definitely something to be watching in future outings.

      The other thing was that his velocity wasn’t fully what we saw in 2017 – down a tick or two. It’s way too early to make these assessments now, but you’re 100% right, we should be expressing more skepticism than I had in that blurb.

  10. Jack says:

    Would you drop Garrett Richards, Chase Anderson, Fulmer, or Jordan Montgomery for Bundy/Odorizzi?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Nope, a lot of those names are similar, but I think you hold for now. It might change in a week or two, but you shouldn’t make any moves now with those guys.

  11. Steve says:

    “Crushed it like a Slice can” Lol. Good to have you back!

  12. Ionescorhino says:

    Duuuude, this is the shit. This column is one of the great things of life. One more year.

    My rotation is a work in progress: Sevy, Price, Castillo, Corbin, Bear, Manaea, Mikolas, Reynaldo, Stratton, Pom, Junis. I waited and waited, perhaps too long. I feel like I need one more mid-tier arm. Hold for now or look to trade? Thanks!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Haha, thanks Ionescorhino!

      I think you’re okay, honestly. At least one of those back-end guys should hit and move up to be a stable mid-tier guy and you have six solid starters in there already.

  13. Matt says:

    Finally, we’re back! I’ve missed these.

    Not interested in Skaggs for a stream today?

  14. Paul says:

    Curious why you think streaming is a emboldened bad idea right now – For the last three years, runs scored per game has been less in April than the rest of the season (and I would guess that holds true going farther back). In leagues with an innings cap, I like getting in as many ip early so you have a better idea of what your team needs in regards to trading/stashing potential sp upside.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Because it’s easy to get into a hole early that you have to climb out of for the rest of the season + our assessments of opposing teams and pitchers is still a bit in flux.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login