Birth of the Irish Panda

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Sunday.

Sandy Alcantara @ PIT (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 103 pitches.

I can’t believe that across his fantastic 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks outing, in all his glory with each of his 101 pitches, Patrick Sandoval (i.e. The Irish Panda) earned a 40% CSW and 32 whiffs. THIRTY. TWO. Just to put that in perspective, we get excited when a start holds a 12-13% overall SwStr rate. This start was a 32% overall SwStr rate. It’s just madness. We’ve handed out a Gallows Pole before to someone with 15 whiffs and this more than doubled it. And it was Patrick heckin’ Sandoval.

How did he do it? For starters, his changeup earned 49% CSW and 17/37 whiffs, feasting at the bottom of the zone as the Mariners just couldn’t resist. This is prime Luis Castillo precision here. It allowed him to elevate with 94 mph four-seamers (which he did), and I can’t overlook his solid slider locations down in the zone as well, going 8/15 whiffs there as well. And sure, why not a curveball whiff too. It was remarkable to say the least and while it’s easy to write this off as “lol Mariners”, no one else has earned 32 whiffs this season, including all starts against the Mariners. So just mull on that one and heavily consider a pickup as Sandoval takes José Quintana’s spot in the rotation, facing the Sneks next. I think I’d give it a shot.


Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Logan Gilbert @ LAA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 105 pitches. It feels dirty to me that Gilbert could get a win opposite 32 whiffs, but he did just that, tossing over 100 pitches as his slider looked like the pitch that was promised, helping him earn a whopping 20 whiffs of his own. The sweeper went 9/32 on whiffs, helping his 95 mph heater earn eight whiffs as well and things were better than we’ve seen in any of his starts. It’s not fully there yet — he’s still a bit erratic at times and the curveball/changeup can’t be depended on quite yet — but he does get Cleveland next. If you believe the slider can stick, that should work.

Garrett Richards @ NYY (ND) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 95 pitches. So the slider returned last time out, and Richards clearly got excited and used it 45% today as a result. Problem is, it earned just five whiffs despite the heavy usage, and it’s not back yet. Womp womp. Now it’s Toronto + Atlanta and we’re still waiting. Maybe he’ll be a July pickup or something.

Domingo Germán vs. BOS (ND) – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 84 pitches. Hey, I’ll definitely take this against the strong Sawx team (albeit, without JD Martinez). It was a game where his curveball wasn’t missing his bats, but he had enough in his four-seamer and changeup to make up for it. I imagine the hook will return against the Phillies next. Keep on holdin’.

Sandy Alcántara @ PIT (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 103 pitches.

Do I want to give the AGA label? Yes. Do I think it’s best to wait until next week when he faces Atlanta? Yes. It’s a 3.30 ERA and lovely 1.04 WHIP across 79 innings, essentially holding a 6.5 IPS (ignoring the 1.1 IP mishap). He’s really good, y’all.

Corbin Burnes vs ARI (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 13 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 48% CSW, 106 pitches.

Aces gonna ace. Leave it to Burnes to snatch a Golden Goal from a man who earned 32 whiffs in one start as he earned a King Cole on a ridiculous 48% CSW. Jeeeeeez, throw a no-hitter already. His cutter is simply too good.

Austin Voth @ PHI (ND) – 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 24 pitches.

The Nats went bullpen on this one, forcing us to look at Voth with envious eyes of what could have been. He was supposed to be a proper #5 starter… Update: I somehow missed that Voth was hit in the face with a fastball as he tried to bunt and removed from the game. Poor guy.

Wade Miley @ STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

And here I was told the Cardinals are great against southpaws. I kid, I kid, the main story is the same as the last story — Miley has his cutter and it means he can do things, like set up a changeup for 7/21 whiffs. I’d hold for Rockie Road next and steal that start wherever I could.

Dane Dunning vs TB (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 80 pitches.

FINALLYStreaming Record: 40-25. I think that was a six-day stretch of losses, and let’s never speak of it again. Dunning is good enough to take the gamble against middling offenses, and the Rays allowed him to earn 15 called strikes on sinkers while earning 9 whiffs on sliders. In other words, it’s good Brady Singer. That’s fine with me against Tampa, but definitely not vs. LAD + MIN.

Marcus Stroman @ SD (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 98 pitches.

Stroman is in a groove, and while the walks were high, I’m digging what he’s doing. It’s a better sinker than in the past + his slider is downright filthy at times. While the Padres lineup will likely have Manny Machado back in the lineup next weekend, I’m still starting Marcus there. He’s just doing too well.

Dylan Cease vs DET (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 99 pitches.

Hot dang! Cease had a blip last time out against Cleveland and recovered in a monster way against the Tigers. It’s so nice to face poor AL Central teams. The weird thing here is that his heater actually wasn’t well commanded. Nay, it was his curveball that took a step forward as his slider was once again the dominant force of the repertoire. It makes me believe two things: 1) Cease will have his slider constantly and 2) He just needs one other pitch to work for a beneficial outing. He’ll get the Tigers again next weekend and let’s hope for more of the same.

Michael Wacha @ TEX (ND) – 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 42 pitches.

Remember when we got a little hyped in the spring when Wacha had increased velocity? Sigh…

Bailey Ober @ KC (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 51 pitches.

It’s a 93 mph heater with a decent slider and not much else. He needed a triple play to help preserve the ratios and he was limited to just 51 pitches. You know this ain’t it.

Caleb Smith @ MIL (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 84 pitches.

Ummmm Caleb was allowed to go 84 pitches, and his fastball sat 92 mph with 10 whiffs and 49% CSW across 53 thrown. Say what. The bad news is that his slider and changeup combined for just 1/29 whiffs, but does that matter when he’s chucking 92+ and earning whiffs on heaters? Ehhhh yeah, it does matter, especially when four-seamers weren’t located well at all. I don’t want to go the full route and call it a Birthday Party because the heater apparently dominated, but the lack of secondaries + the questionable fastball command = not an auto-add. And anyone who has followed me for a year or two knows how badly I want Caleb to be good again.

German Marquez vs OAK (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

That’s two combined earned runs in his last three Coors starts, albeit the Sneks + Rangers in his last two. It’s something to consider as he earned wonderful 35%+ CSW marks on both his slider and curveball, and sadly he heads to the bandbox that is Cincy next time out. I think I avoid there but a run of MIL, @SEA, PIT ahead is a welcome sight. (Thank you James Schiano for the expected schedules article!)

Max Fried vs LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 92 pitches.

He rebounded against the Dodgers, and I think that’s enough to give him the AGA label as it’s his fifth 1-ER game in six starts. He’s not a Top 10 stud, but he’s a rock on your squad through the year as you start him regardless. That’s an ace. Great slider in this one, by the way. Loved it.

Luis Garcia @ TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 38% CSW, 79 pitches.

That mad man doesn’t care what matchup he gets. It’s unbelievable and I just feel terrible that I elected to move on when seeing a schedule of the Dodgers, Red Sox, and now Blue Jays. What have I done. That cutter & slider were simply too dang good and I won’t question you again, García. I won’t do it.

Chad Kuhl vs MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

Well this ain’t so bad! I mean, it came with four whiffs and just two strikeouts against the Marlins, making this a clear Birthday Party, but at least the slider earned lots of called strikes? Yay.

Brady Singer vs MIN (L) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 106 pitches.

Look at that Dusty Donut as you bargain with a 1.94 WHIP. The skillset hasn’t changed for Singer and I just don’t think he brings enough to the table. He’s a Toby, and I’m not much of a fan of that.

James Kaprielian @ COL (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 90 pitches.

After struggling in his second matchup against the Mariners, I had little faith in Kap as he went into Coors. What do I know as he tossed 90 effective pitches, living off his four-seamer’s 34% CSW. His slider + curveball were highly questionable, though, with the slider taking the spot of #2 and looking like a #3. Welp, he gets the Royals next and I’m 50/50 about that one. He’s a Toby, after all.

Trevor Bauer @ ATL (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 100 pitches.

Aces gonna give you a VVPQSThat’s three starts of Bauer not quite being a legit ace and at least for you, it hasn’t been too poor of an ERA/WHIP and the strikeouts returned here. Not one of his last three games held a 30% CSW — I blame the four-seamer, which returned just 21% CSW in this one, locating it erratically around the zone. I wonder if something’s up, here. Most likely is just a blip and a One Night Bland.

Jose Urena @ CWS (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 87 pitches.

Ureña came back from the IL and could have been much worse against the mighty White Sox, but of course it came with just one strikeout – HAISTFMFWT?! He gets the Angels next and heavens no, I’m out.

Chris Paddack vs NYM (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 94 pitches.

Yeah, a PQS with six strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP is fine. His curveball took a bigger role here for 50% CSW across 16 thrown, and I’m all for it. I dig its shape and if Paddack can continue trusting it and have an effective changeup, things could be wonderful.

Kyle Hendricks @ SF (W) – 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 101 pitches.

So it’s essentially a VVPQS from Hendricks. Meh, it’s a forgotten outing that doesn’t do a whole lot in the long run of the season. Shrug and move on.

Vince Velasquez vs WSH (ND) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 80 pitches.

Velasquez got the Nats and that’s not the Marlins. Wow, Nick, I think this is some of your best writing. Thanks, I like to think I speak true to the feelings in people’s hearts.

Johnny Cueto vs CHC (L) – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 78 pitches.

Blegh. We’re in this purgatory of wondering if Cueto can be a Toby or not and I think this Cubs start is helping us out. Wild to see his four-seamer still getting whiffs (7/32), though.

Jorge Lopez vs CLE (W) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 15% CSW, 74 pitches.

One day I hope López deserves more recognition and suffers only due to bad luck so I can shout FIP FIP Jorge! FIP FIP Jorge! One day…

Steven Matz vs HOU (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 77 pitches.

Well, yeah. It’s the Astros. You can welcome Matz on your teams if you want, just be smart about it.

Cal Quantrill @ BAL (L) – 1.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 16% CSW, 44 pitches.

Oh Cal, formerly So-So-Cal and now the UnQuantrifiable. Well, he’s pretty quantifiable hurting my fantasy team. Not if you made sure he stayed on the wire. NickPointingToHisHead.jpg

John Gant vs CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 80 pitches.

You know, I’ve essentially ignored Gant over the first two months. It was the clearest case of regression and all of that, but there I was, doing the video breakdown of his last start and it seemed like…deserved success. Kinda. I expected Trevor Williams levels of poor fastballs that just happened to find gloves and saw a good changeup, solid sliders, and fastballs that weren’t terribly hittable. I was just warming up to the guy a little, so of course the moment of hesitation, Gant does the thing we expected. At least we can all move on now as this Vargas Rule can rest.


Game of the Day 


Jackson Kowar vs Dylan BundyKowar is making his MLB debut (feel free to pick up and wait-and-see) + let’s hope Bundy properly rebounds.


But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.


Photo by Kiyoshi Mio/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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 “Birth of the Irish Panda”

  1. Harry Carey says:

    Hey Nick, no questions, just wanna say that The Irish Panda is up there with the most brilliant nicknames you’ve come out with. Keep up the good work!

  2. Kyle says:

    Voth left the game after getting hit in the face while trying to bunt, it wasn’t an intentional bullpen game from the Nats. Fortunately all he got from it was a broken nose, so I assume he won’t miss much time.

  3. Rich Gallagher says:

    Did Burnes earn a Golden Goal? 23 whiffs vs. Panda’s 32?… Booo-urns.

  4. theKraken says:

    Look at how many dudes you want to give the AGA label to. The thing about being an ace is that you are not in and out of the conversation. Those guys are #2 or #3s.

  5. theKraken says:

    Super weird update on Luis Garcia. Not only was that a great start vs a legit offense but he got pulled early… because he was coughing. It really sounds like they are pointing out rona symptoms as the reason he was pulled even though it isn’t explicitly stated. I would think that testing would rule this out, but that is why it is super weird. What a weird thing for Dusty Baker to say. Ever heard of a guy getting pulled while playing great because he coughed?

  6. Armadillofury says:

    Thanks for the heads up – I’m picking Sandoval up everywhere I can. Apparently the all time record is 35 whiffs held by Pedro, Big Unit, Danny Duffy(!) and Kershaw – https://twitter.com/darenw/status/992049801138229250?lang=en.

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