Ballpark Frankie

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

There were a good number of strong performances tonight, but you want to know the one that got me a little excited? Frankie Montas tossing 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks against the Astros. You see the six Ks and I know what you’re thinking. Man, that splitter must be really working out? Six. He threw six in 88 pitches and resulted in one swing-and-a-miss. No, Montas’ strong pitch was his slide piece, while getting a lot of strikes with four-seamers – Yes, FOUR-SEAMERS – tossing 32 of the straight 97 mph heaters and reducing his two-seamer to 22 thrown. This is a very good thing. Montas’ heater paired well with the slide piece, even if it could have been featured higher in the zone through the night. Sure, I’d love to see the splitter be that effective third pitch, but a 97mph four-seamer up with his good slider = a strong option in a HR/FB suppressing home ballpark. He’ll be hanging at home next time out against the Rangers and with him favoring four-seamers and that solid breaker, I’m so down.

Let’s see how every other SP did Wednesday:

Walker Buehler6.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Today was the day of ohhhhh everything really is going to be fine! Buehler looked like the stud from last year’s run and it’s wonderful. Are you happy? I’m happy.

Carlos Carrasco7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks. See? You gave this Cookie a mouse and he asked for a glass of milk and—Nick, stop this makes no sense at all. Sorry, sorry, I’m just glad everything’s okay. So okay, Carlos earned a Gallows Pole with 23 whiffs. Hot dang! 

Zack Wheeler7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s not as pristine as the other two, but Wheeler looked plenty better here against the Phils than before. Things are cool.

Nathan Eovaldi6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. After looking terrible through the year thus far, the Yankees brought the best out of Eovaldi. His four-seamers were up, Cutters low in the zone, and splitters/sliders/curveballs were down. WHY DID THIS TAKE SO LONG?! I’d be picking him ASAP for his next start against the Tigers.

Lucas Giolito2.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Giolito was looking mighty fine but was pulled with hamstring tightness. Hopefully he makes his next start, but I can’t really judge Giolito on this small sample, despite how good it was. Let’s say he makes his start per usual, it would be the Orioles and I’m game. Let’s go with that.

Cole Hamels7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. That’s three straight solid performances from Hamels, the first with a swinging-strike rate above 10% as he went 14/97 on whiffs. His 30% CSW is good n all, but I have to give him a little Blame it on the Marlins here. Just a little. Nothing really changes, keep firing him out there.

Ryne Stanek1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Stanek was the False Starter for Yonny Chirinoswho pitched great – 5 frames of 1 ER and 5 Ks for a Win – as expected against the Orioles. Wait, kinda expected as we never really know when Chirinos pitches. And it’s super annoying. I completely understand how easy it can be to snipe Wins with Chirinos and I’m not against it, but the unpredictable nature of his appearances + the smaller margin for error + he’s not that great of an arm holds me back from giving him a spot on The List. 

Spencer Turnbull6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The stuff is in there for Turnbull and he killed it today against the Pirates, even enduring the rain in the middle innings. Plenty more sliders this time around with 7/29 whiffs, but I’m still a bit annoyed at the lack of four-seamers vs. sinkers (19 vs. 35), which led to Turnbull holding a low 21/92 CSW. You can let him do now, the Sawx are next and you don’t need to risk this. Streaming Record: 12-8.

Jake Odorizzi5.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. I want to say that Odorizzi in a good matchup like this one against the Jays is a strong play on a given night. I just can’t, though. You really don’t know what you’re going to get, making him sneakily one of the biggest Cherry Bombs.

Erik Swanson6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. So you’re curious who Erik is and why I didn’t lead with him to making a “his final SwanSong” joke. The thought never occurred to me, I promise. But seriously, there just isn’t much to say. His stuff is fine, not great, and this was the Tribe. I think he had a good matchup, pounded the zone with heaters – mostly armside – and made the Indians get themselves out. Bada Bing, bada boom, take it to the tomb. The Padres are next and it’s not the worst matchup ever, but I think I’d pass.

Kevin Gausman7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. That’s two starts removed from the IL and two strong outings to kick off the year. I love seeing him go nearly exclusive Four-Seamer/Splitter here and ditching his poor slider, and it resulted in 19 whiffs overall and a near 25% swinging-strike rate on his splitty. Sure, the Diamondbacks are bad, but Gausman trusting his split-finger is all kinds of exciting and makes me give the major thumbs up for his next start, even if it’s in Cincy.

Jake Arrieta8.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Last time out, Arrieta crushed it with his changeup. This time, the pitch held a 3/21 CSW, with a 27/105 CSW overall and getting a ton of outs in the field with sinkers. Does that convince me that’s a new man? Well, does it convince you? There’s no reason not to start Arrieta, especially with the Marlins next, but I’m certainly not seeking him out.

Zack Godley6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Hey, I’ll take this Godley, but you know I just can’t convert to you again. The whole praying thing every time I rostered you really upset my family.

Jeremy Hellickson5.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. Yep, the man is The Devil, seducing you with an easy start against the Giants and giving you a terrible WHIP and ZERO strikeouts. HAISTFMFWT?!

Brad Keller5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Dude allowed a HR to Tim Anderson, then was ejected in a close game for throwing at him in the sixth. Keller, I’m warming up to your pitching skills, but why do you need to throw at Anderson? Pitchers celebrate all they want, no problem, why can’t guys pimp out HRs? It makes the game fun. Anyway, keep rolling with Keller, the king of the Tobys.

Lance Lynn5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Ehhhhh that WHIP stings and it’s just 2 Ks. Is the okay ERA worth it? Probably not?

Wade Miley6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Solid outing again from Miley, barely not good enough to seal a Win, but the ratios are what you’re looking for. The strikeouts? Definitely not – HAISTFMWT?! – but you didn’t expect them in the first place.

Michael Wacha6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Great rebound from Wacha against the Brewers, I’m not sure it will stick, though. I think he’s worth the roster spot on standard 12-teamers, though with his volatility and lack of that one “oh, that’s dope” pitch, I wonder if you’re not just better off streaming and playing the wire. I know that’s blasphemy to some and you can own him, I have no problem there. I’m “wondering”. 

Trevor Williams6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. I’m going to sit down tomorrow and cover this entire start. 23/98 CSW is not strong, 29 fouls aren’t either, yet Williams continues to barrel ahead, defying DIPS and whatnot to return a 2.59 ERA and near 5.00 SIERA with a 17% strikeout rate. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

Sonny Gray6.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks. I probably should have led with Gray instead of Montas, but I don’t think there is a whole lot to say here. I’m impressed in this start from Gray, even with the three-run HR blemish at the end of it. 33/87 CSW is gorgeous, and to see him mix and match sliders with curveballs was fantastic. I still think he’s a little too hittable, though, sitting often in the heart of the zone. There’s still some polish left and I’m not ready to take off Gray’s 12-month-long-resident TIARA. Keep in mind, the Braves are next and while he did well in L.A., he could stumble at home next week.

J. A. Happ6.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Happ allowed 3 HR quickly with a pair of longballs, then settled in nicely against the Sawx. I really think we’re out of the woods here with Happ and start him freely moving forward.

Matt Harvey4.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. This wasn’t so bad until the fifth and then it all fell apart. I feel like that’s story of Harvey’s career.

Trent Thornton4.2 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. I understand why Thornton got a decent amount of hype, but I really don’t think he’ll express close to his ceiling consistently through the year and instead you’ll get served a whole lot of this. If you’ve picked him up in multiple leagues, I completely get why you have anxiety – Two Trents. Just because it rhymes with “tents” doesn’t mean the joke lands. I dunno, you landed. Not your best, Nick. Not my best.

Jeff Samardzija5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I’m impressed by the 7 Ks, but the rest makes a lot of sense going against the Nationals. Loose Lips just isn’t who we need him to be just yet. Hopefully he regains that velocity at some point because 91 mph on his two-seamer just isn’t going to cut it.

Sandy Alcantara6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Look at that, seven strikeouts! Too bad it’s wild with a touch of effectiveness that will be maddening through the entire year. Put the Sand Bar on the sidebar.

Corbin Burnes3.1 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Just let it go. It’s terrible and annoying and part of the process. We let this one go well before this one and we’re not even three full weeks done yet. Maybe Burnes figures it out eventually. That’ll be swell. I’ll let you know when that is for you and he become a true Bargain CorBin.

David Hess2.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. There are so many things to say. For disappointment this year, the Hess truck’s here! Wait a second, not a single strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?! David will never beat Goliath. More like the rats of David. I think that’s enough. But I have so much more!

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.

Ivan Nova vs. Detroit Tigers – The man throws strikes and puts himself in a position for a QS against a bad offense. The Tigers are just that. I didn’t realize that Touki Toussaint is still so wildly available, and while I still like Nova here, Touki is the better streaming play against the Diamondbacks. Haha, just kidding, Touki isn’t pitching this game anymore…again.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Anibal Sanchez vs. Miami Marlins – There are a lot of streaming options. Lyles against the Giants could work, Junis against a weak Yankee offense, Jay-Z against the ChiSox for the desperate, Strahm could be out there and excel against the Reds, etc. Anibal seems like the safest against a poor Miami lineup.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Derek Holland vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – I love Holland and pitching against the Pirates.


Game of the Day


Mike Soroka vs. Arizona Diamondbacks – He’s not the streamer because I’m skeptical his command will be there + Still ILL n all. I’m super excited to see him in the majors again, though, even if it’s just for this one start.


(Photo by Cody Glenn/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.

25 responses to “Ballpark Frankie”

  1. Manley Ramirez says:

    On the plus side at least now Woodruff/Burnes, attached at the hip for weeks in your rankings, can finally be separated and go on to live their own unique and fulfilling pitching lives.

  2. Mike says:

    Start 2 sit 1: Pineda vsTOR, Kikuchi @LAA, Darvish vsARI

  3. Chelsa says:

    Hi Nick! Good article. Since discovering PitcherList, I read “SP Roundup” daily. I am managing 2 teams this season. You gave me your 2 cents on my Yahoo team, was wondering if you’d do the same with my RCL team? It’s a 12 team, 5×5, roto, mixed league. Currently in 9th place due to slow starts and blowups from my SPs. I’m concerned about my SPs. Lagging behind in Ks, ERA, WHIP, Saves and SBs. My team is as follows:

    C – Realmuto
    1B – Voit
    2B – Altuve
    SS – Tatis
    3B – Descalso
    CI – C. Walker
    MI – Ketel
    OF – Dahl, Domingo, Laureano, J.D. Martinez & Winker
    U – Soo-Choo
    SP – Buehler, Cole, Musgrove, Peacock, E. Rod, Soroka & Toussaint
    RP – Doolittle, Ottavino, Seranthony, Pressly & Stammen

    Need an upgrade at 3B, Descalso is playing above his head; not much on waivers; should’ve kept Donaldson!

    Please advise.


    • Nick Pollack says:

      Is this a holds league? I see a little of middle relievers – Ottavino, Pressly, Stammen – but you don’t need three of these. You’d benefit from swapping at least two of them for SP or to take a chance on another 3B.

      • Chelsa says:

        Thank you for your reply. No, it isn’t a holds league. By implementing handcuffs with good ratios into my lineup, I was trying to help keep my ERA and WHIP ratios from being totally destroyed. Also, unforeseen injuries happen all the time to closers. Just thought it would be wise to have some good backups just in case. Doolittle, my ONLY real closer has gotten me more wins than saves. The few Wins that I do have are due to the handcuffs. Surprisingly, they’ve helped me more with Wins than ANY of my SPs. There’s nothing on waivers for 3B presently. Likewise, with SPs. To get 1 of note would require a trade. What SP would you recommend I trade for?

  4. Johnson says:

    Is Eovaldi worth a #1 waiver claim?

  5. JJ says:

    Turnbull is a double start next week getting Boston and ChiSox. Should I pick him up or Pablo Lopez who get Cleveland and Philly?


  6. Schume says:

    Is Pivetta safe to drop in an 10 teamer?

  7. Gus says:

    Hey nick! I watched montas pitch on at bat app last night for a couple innings man was he spotting up his pitches pretty well. I’m sure you have watched more of him than me so is this somewhat normal performance or an outlier so far?

  8. Clark W. Griswald says:

    I got 5 Free Agent Moves left for the season. Is Frankie Montas a must add?

  9. Play Ball says:

    Are you sold on Montas to hold onto during the year or just use as a streamer?

  10. Dan says:

    I look forward to reading about the Williams start because I am a new Williams owner. I watched the gamecast against the Tigers and nothing was hard hit – that seems to be his calling card. The runs that scored were on a shallow sac fly and a bloop misplayed fly ball. Williams is currently #3 in minimizing hard hit balls and #10 in inducing soft hit balls. The new Kyle Hendricks.

  11. Moose says:

    Any concerns with Carrasco still giving up a high exit velocity despite the nice outing and high K rate? He’s in the bottom 1% of the league at 95.0 MPH avg Exit Velo after 4 starts. I know it’s 4 starts, but it seems hard to ignore.

    • theKraken says:

      I would wager that there isn’t any great truths in the batted ball stats. I am not aware of batted ball stats providing any great insights. I think they help people that don’t watch much baseball or know how to read a stat line understand what is happening, but I don’t think that they are as truthful as real outcomes that get recorded in the boxscore – as flawed as those are, the batted ball stats miss even more IMO. Put more weight in reality. I find it easy to ignore haha.

      • Moose says:

        Don’t you think that if guys are squaring him up and hitting the ball hard with such high regularity, that would be reason for concern?

  12. theKraken says:

    I watched a lot of Swanson’s start. I wasn’t too impressed. There was a lot of hard contact right at guys – I think he narrowly missed getting roughed up. He looks a lot like a AAA/ long reliever – but I am no pitching guru.

  13. bossmanjunior333 says:

    In reference to Chirinos, I feel bad for the Rays beat writer. At least once a week someone will attack him on twitter for not telling them when Chirinos is going to start for their fantasy team, as if he is withholding a secret, and he has to constantly remind them that he has no idea.

  14. Mike says:

    After seeing Montas and Guas another time out would you drop Eflin for either?


  15. Joe says:

    I was wondering where to find how many whiffs a pitcher has in a game and where to find csw for each game? New to the site, sorry to ask a question you have probably answered before.

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