Big Buch Hunter

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

I’m pretty amazed by the season Clay Buchholz is quietly having in Arizona. After last night’s demolition of 9.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks against the Padres (yes, the Padres), Bucky is sporting a 2.47 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 21% K rate, and 5.5% BB rate with a 6+ IPS in 12 starts. It’s pretty wild, I know. I wrote about his cutter a while back and the pitch is still massively effective, but his changeup has recently been the major impetus for success, boasting a 50%+ zone rate with a solid 16.5% whiff rate. It’s nice to have two pitches he trusts in his back pocket when his primary heater is boasting an unsustainable .164 BAA, but even his 3.67 FIP there’s value to be had. I can’t move Buchholz into the Top 40 given the clear regression in the HOTEL – .258 BABIP, 84% LOB rate, 10% HR/FB – but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be owned in all 12-teamers, especially without a tough schedule ahead. Don’t overthink it, just ride it.

Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:

Jon Lester6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Lester saw Twitter’s trending #TheGreatRegressionOf2018 and got his act together. And when I say act, I mean somehow getting 8 Ks with just 22/92 CSW. I’m not seeing enough of a change to make me think this is him suddenly reinventing himself to prevent the cataclysm.

Blake Snell5.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. He was a pulled a bit early given Snell’s recent DL stint. This was the Yankees, and he threw 30%+ breaking balls. All is good in the world.

Ivan Nova6.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. This is as Super Nova as we get these days and you best be happy with it if you ran with Nova.

Glenn Sparkman4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s too bad he’s a Cup of Schmo as I would absolutely love Sparkman become a household name. Imagine if he became big enough that people would make memes about him. I can see the superhero outfits now…

Masahiro Tanaka6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. I want better than a 1.50 WHIP and a Loss, but six Ks, a QS, and 3.00 ERA works for me.

Julio Teheran7.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Believe it or not, Teheran’s 14 whiffs was just one off the Gallows Pole. Too bad I still don’t trust his fastball/slider combination to carry him all the time as he went 3/16 CSW with his curveball and changeup.

Luke Weaver3.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Weaver made this start after slicing his finger on aluminum foil (I’m not joking) and was pretty lame. Like a weak left leg lame. I don’t think his upside is worth all the commotion these days and I wonder how the rotation will look as Wacha returns soon. Is Austin Gomber or John Gant getting the axe or will Weaver find a new role?

Taylor Cole1.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. The Angels are having False Starts now too. And no one rejoiced.

Jon Gray7.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. And Gray just keeps on rolling. A Gallows Pole here with 15 whiffs and we’re completely fine with that ERA if it comes with a sub 1.00 WHIP and 9 Ks. The floor is still there y’all, but obviously keep starting him.

Tanner Roark6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s a small step back from Roark’s super hot run as a PQS is fine but nothing to write home about. Speaking of which, I need to send out a telegram because I have to somehow explain just one strikeout. HAISTFMFWT?!

Zach Eflin6.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Blegh. A bit of Careful Icarus with two scoring in the seventh as Eflin couldn’t handle the Mets. His slider is working, but there’s still nothing else supporting his heat and bender. I think he needs to figure out that final third pitch as this 1-2 pitch just isn’t quite enough.

Francisco Liriano1.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Yep, there’s the Liriano we all know and hate.

Steven Matz2.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. It was DLH n all and Matz struggled mightily against the Phils. Y’all know I don’t think much of Matz save for a possible Toby, which means it’s not the best arm to go chase on the wire. It’s just too meh of a ceiling.

Corey Oswalt6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. The False King gave you absolutely nothing to be happy about. Nothing.

Ranger Suarez4.0 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. This is as far from Rico as you can get. Is that bad? It’s terrible.

Sam Gaviglio4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Awwwwww. I wrote about Gaviglio’s increased slider dependency just hours before this one, which obviously means he reverted back to his previous self and threw just 20% here instead of the wonderful 38% mark last time. Maybe it comes back, but no reason to invest in that now. Streaming Record: 73-40.

Jacob Nix0.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. Well this was bad. He couldn’t find the zone with his heater and failed to steal strikes with curveballs or changeups, leading to  42 pitch inning including a squib single, a three-run shot, two walks, and a HBP. I’m going to cough it up as “one of those days”, especially when I think his mechanics speak to more consistency than this. Still not a bad NL-Only play. 

Ariel Jurado6.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. It’s a Cup of Schmo and you want no part of this world.

Ervin Santana4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Three whiffs on 72 pitches as he’s still sub 90mph on his heater. Slightly better – 89.5mph instead of 88.8! – but we’re still so far off.

Today’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Los Angeles Angels – A decent amount of options with Joey Lucchesi against the Dbacks (21% owned though, would be the pick otherwise),  With Minor scratched, it’s going to be Matt Boyd vs. Minnesota Twins, with Jakob Junis against the ChiSox as a backup.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Matt Harvey vs. San Francisco Giants – It’s either Harvey of Mike Montgomery against the Pirates and I’m just not a fan of the southpaw.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jaime Barria vs. Texas Rangers – I don’t love this slate, but you can steal a Win here. Also a super desperate move in Reynaldo Lopez against the Royals and Andrew Suarez against the Reds. Blegh.

Game of the Day

Aaron Nola vs. Noah Syndergaard – Happy Nola Day ya’ll.

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.

9 responses to “Big Buch Hunter”

  1. Carl p. says:

    Nick, whyd you scratch Lucchesi? Is he still the best option for today?

  2. Southern Marylander says:

    I added Jacob Nix yesterday with my last free agent dollar of the season to see how he does over the rest of the season and if he’s worth a $6 flyer in 2019. It turned out that the transaction didn’t go through until today because I forgot about the early 1:00 pm game so I couldn’t put him in my lineup. When I checked how his start was going at about 10:30, I was not disappointed that the transaction had been delayed a day.

    I feel like there’s worse flyers to take than guys who pitch half their games in the infamous marine layer, even if you have to sit them in Colorado.

  3. Frankie says:

    On a roster with Kershaw, Snell, Folty, Heaney, J Gray and Taillon, Mr. Buchholz has been my highest rated SP over the past month (Points league.) It’s crazy. It’s baseball. Riding til the wheels fall off.

  4. Barry says:

    Looking to upgrade at first base. Currently playing Bauers, however he has gone cold. I have an opposing manager that has reached out for my Manaea a couple times in the recent past. Your thoughts on Manaea for Murphy?

    12 Team H2H 6×6 with QS.

    Thanks Nick

  5. theKraken says:

    Do you remember when 2017 Weaver was 2018 Flaherty? I don’t have a point beyond that!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Two huge differences!

      1. About 70% more innings thrown by Flaherty this year.

      2. 13% whiff rate vs 95.% whiff rate!

      The only similarity is the team they play on.

  6. Perfect Game says:

    I’m in a standard 5×5 roto league using QS, K, ERA and WHIP. Need to drop one pitcher. Who do I drop?


    • Perfect Game says:

      I’m thinking drop Rodon. That .210 BABIP and the wide differential between his ERA, FIP, xFIP and SIERRA, plus he already might have had his hot streak which doesn’t look sustainable.

  7. Curt says:

    Hey Nick, I think you’re a bit loose with the “Toby” term. Sometimes it’s all “XYZ is a Toby, and that is awesome,” and sometimes it’s all “I don’t think much of Matz save for a possible Toby.” When I read it, I usually think of a 3.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP kind of guy. Is that about right?

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