Becoming A Wisler-Blower

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

(Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire)

We get these all the time, the arms no one drafted but suddenly has a brilliant start and now we wonder if we can pull a fast one over our leaguemates to get a steal off the waiver wire. Matt Wisler is the new hot topic (Spencers?) after he went 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks against the Mets Thursday night. I watched this one, and…I don’t really see much of a difference from last year as he pitched 19 of 20 games as a reliever. Wisler is a fastball/slider guy with the occasional (and bad) changeup and curveball. His slide piece will miss bats and hint at a possible strikeout day, but it’s not so good to consistently bring success. A given night relies heavily on hitting the corners with his heater and I’ll give him credit, he did that better than I expected, but there were also plenty of times that Mets batters missed pitches right in the heart of the plate (Todd Frazier did finally punish Wisler for one of those). You’d think someone with 8 Ks would dominate more than 11 whiffs in 102 pitches, and I just don’t see a pitcher that I think “yeah, I think he can do this often.” I think it’s still a good move to grab him for his next start against the Reds (if he does get assigned it), but this isn’t the secret weapon that will win you your league. I guess this makes me a Wisler-Blower.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Jake Arrieta – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. For those that are saying this is 2015 Arrieta, you’re wrong and right. Right in that the stat line is gorgeous, but he threw 4 sliders in 97 pitches. That’s not the old Arrieta. What’s exciting here is how effective he was despite not featuring his former weapon of destruction, with his sinker combining for 29 Called Strikes + Whiffs across 70 thrown. That’s called getting it done. Having a strong feel for his sinker is the #1 key to success for Arrieta, as its wild movement will flummox hitters constantly. Think if Aaron Sanchez ever found out how to properly command his fastball. To emphasize the point, his changeup didn’t do well and his curveball was fine in this one. Pretty lame actually (4 CS + W in 23 pitches). I question if that fastball command will be there again next time, but there’s also room for improvement in his secondary pitches and I think that balances it out. We’ll see.

Aaron Sanchez – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It was a VPQS from Sanchez and you’ll take it as he faced the Yanks in the Bronx. Yeah, the two strikeouts are super unappealing, but at least only two walks, right?

Marco Gonzales – 4.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. So Marco finally got it together, against the Astros of all teams (is it just me, or is Houston constantly allowing great starts from mediocre pitchers, but hammering solid ones?). I watched some of this one and while he threw some nice curveballs, nothing really stuck out. It seemed more like a One Night Bland than a suggestion for better times ahead.

Jon Lester – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Lester was on cruise control in this one, and suddenly he has a 3.10 ERA across the season despite that horrid opener. I’m still a bit worried here and I question if this is the time to sell high. I could have missed something, but I didn’t see anything here that makes me say “oh, he made that adjustment!” and his floor still remains much lower than you want it to.

Charlie Morton – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. This is getting stupid and I’m Torn like the head of MIB. On one hand, Morton has increased his velocity once again, is earning a 16% whiff rate in 25 frames, has allowed just 2 ER, is inducing a 60.3% groundball rate, and inducing more soft contact than hard. It’s unbelievably good, like a stud of stud island. Is that the— Shhhhh. But when regression hits, how sustainable will this be? Pretty sustainable, actually, and I expect Morton to pitch a sub 3.50 ERA the rest of way as everything is simply working and it’s wonderful. The biggest problem is injury history. I mention that a decent amount with pitchers, but Morton comes with one of the most apparent inevitable injury risks out there, accruing over 150 IP just twice since his 2008 debut, and those seasons were 157.1 IP in 2014, and 171.2 IP in 2011. That’s what we’re dealing with. It’s going to happen and I’m not exactly sure how you should handle that. I imagine the best solution is just to ride this out for as long as he’ll give it to you as you certainly are getting value based on his draft stock. It’s a game of chicken and you may as well just close your eyes and press on the gas pedal. That sounds like advice you should never give again. Yeah, you’re definitely right.

CC Sabathia – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. This isn’t a loss as nothing here hurt you. Sure, you want more than one K and he didn’t get a win, but a 0.00 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP helps your week. I feel weird about it – tell me if I’m wrong – but I’m taking a win here. Streaming Record: 13-6. I can see a scenario where someone has to buy into CC in a very deep 12-teamer, but he’s just a streamer to me.

Zack Greinke – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Aces gonna ace. After holding a career high 12.4% whiff rate in 2017, Greinke’s mark actually fell in this one, but still holds a 13.5% mark. With just a 2.1% walk rate. Now, his velocity was still hovering 89, which is far from ideal, but he’s clearly making it work. Don’t worry about this one.

Ty Blach – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. That 1.50 WHIP, lack of strikeouts and an L to his name hurt, but a 3.00 ERA is okay. I guess.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Edu already has three starts under his belt and is carrying a whopping 15% whiff rate after earning a Gallows Pole with 20 to his name against the Angels. 3.44 SIERA, identical 23.1% soft/hard contact, and a 30.3% K rate are making you feel great about stashing him at the end of your draft. What was exciting about this start in particular was his changeup taking over after not being a major player in his last outing. We’re talking 13 whiffs on 26 thrown and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s his best pitch and pairing it with a cutter he trusts, this could be a solid breakout year. I’m buying everywhere I can.

Chase Anderson – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I was hoping for a little more from Anderson against the Fish, but Lewis Brinson just had to have a day and swat a pair of tates. Anderson’s velocity rose a little here to 92.8 on his Four-Seamer, and I think you should keep the course if you own him.

Dillon Peters – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 5 BBs, 4 Ks. If you want to invest in Peters, I guess do your thing. I have no interest in it and it’s not a hill I want to Di-llon.

Jordan Zimmermann – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Do you own Zimmermann? Why?

Alex Cobb – 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. You just ate a hamburger, a few wings, a hotdog with relish and beans, and topped it off with some potato salad. There’s no reason to get Cobb, too.

Jameson Taillon – 1.2 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. He cruised through the first before a solo shot and walk led off the second, then an HBP, then a bunt single, and he was one strike away from getting out of it after fanning two batters before a single to right-center returned three runs. Just one of those days, but I think whatever price he had before has just dropped massively. Maybe so much that he could even be a buy low now – that would be fantastic – so I’d see what the market is like. He’s currently at #27 on The List and will fall out of the Top 30 with a few names jumping up, but nothing too dramatic. Those were all so close anyway.

Nick Tropeano – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. He faced the Sawx. We knew he wasn’t someone you want to throw out there against the Sawx. Don’t Betts against the house and you’ll be fine streaming Trop. Houston too, so sit this one until Baltimore in May.

Matt Harvey – 6.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. This revival isn’t going to happen, just like we all don’t really want to see a return of Zubaz. Okay fine, maybe a little Zubaz, but not a full revival, you know? The Mets are even considering skipping him in the next turn of the rotation.

Luke Weaver – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Speaking of which, Weaver has to take some hit from this despite getting Singled Out in the 2nd frame. He actually didn’t pitch that badly, he even earned 11 whiffs in 85 pitches – weird for a guy that has been hovering 10% overall. I’m not going to put so much stock in this one either.

Today’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Seattle Mariners – The M’s don’t scare me like the Astros and I think Minor can rebound. I’d also consider Sean Newcomb against the Mets if he’s available. Newcomb for strikeout upside, Minor for ratios.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Homer Bailey vs. St. Louis Cardinals – He’s shown off his ability to produce Quality Starts, maybe he can repeat it against the Cards. Not many options here given it’s ace day, I like Bailey more than Brent Suter against the Fish.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Junior Guerra vs. Miami Marlins – I’d consider Zack Wheeler against the Braves as well, but Guerra is owned in plenty fewer leagues and I figured that should give him the nod. Sure don’t love him, but love facing the Marlins more.

Game of the Day

Clayton Kershaw vs. Max Scherzer – The staff was thinking of doing something special for this outing as it’s rare to see the #1 vs. #2. Let me know if you guys have any fun ideas.

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.

46 responses to “Becoming A Wisler-Blower”

  1. Steve says:

    Hey Nick thanks for continuing to provide us quality content. Thoughts on streaming Gibson at Tropicana tomorrow?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Steve!

      Not my favorite stream, but if you’re chasing a Win in a H2H league, you could do worse. I hate that Gibson hasn’t eradicated his walk rate yet.

  2. Jim says:

    Would you drop Junis or Manaea for either Chase Anderson or Faria?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Definitely hold Manaea, I can see a drop of Junis for Faria.

      Let’s see how Junis does tonight and we’ll talk.

  3. Manny aka DGM says:

    Nick, thoughts on moving Manaea & Anderson for Berrios….might have to add in a bat and take one of his lesser players? I also might be able to swing martinez/maneaa for bellinger. Trying to make a move to consolidate and I have an overabundance of pitching

    C – Realmuto
    1 – Rizzo
    2 – Kinsler
    3 – Rendon
    SS – Seager
    OF – Betts
    OF – Marte
    OF – Rosario
    UTIL – J Mart
    UTIL – J Lowrie
    DL – Eaton
    DL – Murphy

    SP – Verlander, Price, Castillo, Weaver, Godley, Ohtani, Anderson, Manaea, Reynaldo, Samardizja

    • Nick Pollack says:

      What kind of return can you make with Ohtani in your league? I’d explore that as well.

      Manaea + Anderson for Berrios is great.

      • Manny aka DGM says:

        Thanks – I’ve been trying but the last start and the blister issue makes it a bit more complicated. I’m sure I could do Ohtani and Anderson for Berrios but I think that might be an overpay.

        • Nick Pollack says:

          Yep, that’s an overpay by a lot.

          • DGM says:

            Just landed Berrios for Manaea & Anderson – staff is now

            Verlander, Price, Castillo, Berrios, Weaver, Godley, Ohtani, Samardizja, Reynaldo Lopez

            Now I pray for the coveted Berrios AGA

  4. Jim says:

    I experienced every single feeling you wrote about on CC above and streamed him in a deep 12 team league. I credit you with a streamer win.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Phew, thanks Jim!

      It’s why DLH exists – guys just don’t go long in their first starts back.

      • Jim says:

        I have the Shark coming off the DL today but going to roll the dice and hope the Giants have more than 3 runs in their bats

        • Nick Pollack says:

          But he’d have to last long enough to get the Win…

          I think it’s a DLH situation.

          • Jim says:

            Agreed. Perhaps it’s the date but I’m feeling optimistic…

            • Jim says:

              And I’ve been a visitor of the site for two years now. You have a great thing going, I love it. And as a Reds fan love your Castillo bias and agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for what you do.

            • Nick Pollack says:

              Thanks Jim! Hope to see you round the site across the season :)

            • DGM says:

              Jim – if you’re into podcasts I highly recommend their Patreon plan – love listening to them talk about pitchers. Easy time killer

              Also, Castillo is the man

            • DGM says:

              Also to clarify I’m not affiliated with the site in any way other than being a long time fan.

            • Jim says:

              Thanks DGM, I will look into that.

  5. Matt says:

    Not sure if you saw Arrieta’s post-game interview, but he basically said exactly what you described regarding the sinker – in warm-ups he had a great feel for it and knew he was going be able to rely heavily on it all night

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Ha! That’s awesome. Can’t say I’m surprised. The biggest question is if that will consistently be there.

  6. Let's Play Two says:

    Kluber, Severino, Bauer, Godley, Corbin, Quintana, Weaver. I’m in standard, 5×5 season-long roto using QS instead of W, K, ERA, WHIP. Maximum starts allowed is 200, so with seven starters I could be near or over the GS pace over the course of the season and wonder if I should look to get one top quality arm in return.

    Do you offer Q and Weaver for Cole or anyone else you feel would be a good play?

  7. O'Hooligan McGee says:

    I’ve been itching to pick up E-Rod and after your writeup today, I’m going to put in a FAAB bid on him. But who to drop in my 5×5 roto keeper league?
    Miles Mikolas
    Reynaldo Lopez (please no!)
    Jack Flaherty (I just traded for him)

    I’m leaning Mikolas but he has the Reds this weekend…so i kinda want that start! Tough decisions man! I love ’em all!

  8. Mike says:


    Do you see Pomeranz as a DLH today? Looked bad in his rehab starts, but good matchup with Oakland tonight. It’s a QS league. If I activate him, I would need to drop Ryu.


    • Nick Pollack says:

      Yep, it’s a DLH for me, even against the A’s.

      Especially in a QS league. I’d be shocked if he lasted long enough to get it.

  9. Bob says:

    You seem to come down much harder on Taillion then Weaver in your write-up, any reason for that?

  10. bob says:

    I see the whiff rate is good despite the radar gun, but can you talk a bit more about why we should trust Grienke? Is his other stuff (and command) so good he can be a top 10-15 SP w/o it?

  11. Vinny says:

    Hey Nick,
    -Read today’s roundup while listening to the podcast this morning at work, thanks for helping me get through the morning!
    -Quick advice question- would you drop Junis to bring back Shark off the DL? (My other pitchers are Sevvy,Bundy,Corbin,Bauer,Mccullers,Weaver,Paxton, and E-rod so I don’t see another drop option)
    -I really just wanted to post to ask if you planned on doing a Pitcher’s List meetup again at some point like the last time you had it in Brooklyn?
    -I’m also dying to join the Slack channel but I use one for work so I’m still working on the logistics of running two channels simultaneously. Where can I find the link for the channel?
    -At the end of the day, I’m just a big fan that’s been following the site for over 2.5 years, and I’m really happy for you with all the big-time updates over the offseason and that you are getting the recognition you deserve (especially in the reddit community).

  12. Eric says:

    Tyson Ross tonight in Arizona? He was your streaming pick earlier this week before his start got pushed back.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Are there other options?

      I’m a little scared of heading to Chase Field still, even with the Humidor.

      • Eric says:

        12 team 29 player per team 5×5 Roto league with QS instead of wins. 1,600 innings max per year. Basically if you see a QS in the future, then I’d say it is a start.

  13. Pinchy the lobster says:

    Drop Aaron Sanchez for Reynaldo Lopez, Minor, or Triggs? We’re getting no Ks from Sanchez. Fostering an AL East pitcher for the ratios seems like a recipe for disaster. Agree with everything said about him on the podcast (which is excellent, btw – you’re basically the soundtrack to my morning commute now)

  14. dan m says:

    can you give some more insight into why you’re not worried about Greinke? velocity drop plus lack of ks should be concerning no?

  15. Mike L says:

    Whats up with Nola? Im nervous and impossible to get any value right now for him.

  16. Mike B says:

    Whats up with Nola? Im nervous and impossible to get any value right now for him.

  17. EV says:

    Hey Nick, Great Stuff your writting!
    About Arrieta, so far wich is his upside to climb The List, top 15? top 10 at his best? I m still thing on selling high on him but just want to be sure what could I lose. Thanks a lot!

  18. Let's Play Two says:

    More than one ROS projection of Cole shows his ERA in the 3.7-3.85 range. What do you think about this?

  19. Let's Play Two says:

    You trade one for a bat, who do you move…Quintana or Weaver?

  20. Let's Play Two says:

    Hey Nick.

    While exploring a deal of Quintana and Weaver for Cole (which you said you would do), a couple other possibilities came up. Quintana and Weaver for Stras. Both teams need more quality pitching and is their motivation of dealing one for two. Which do you take? The only reservation I have about Stras is he always misses significant time on the DL each year.

    Current SP are Kluber, Severino, Bauer, Godley, Corbin, Q and Weaver.

    The other deal is Weaver and Ozuna for Judge. My current OF is Trout, Springer, Ozuna, Pollock, Buxton, Acuna. I know you comment on pitching, but do you have an opinion on this one too?

Leave a Reply

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

Account / Login