Cast Off

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

(Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire)

Life isn’t always fair. You can be excited all you want, but maybe the roller coaster is closed for the day, they ran out of chocolate fudge brownie, or you find out what kind of manager Kapler actually is. I was all kinds of pumped to watch Luis Castillo is his first start of the season and he returned a horrific 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. My heart sank when Matt Adams crushed that mistake 2-2 fastball over the fence, and couldn’t believe how easy it was for three more runs to be tacked on by the end. Meanwhile, Castillo still had 6 Ks and just 1 BB, with a changeup that earned 15 whiffs on 28 thrown. That’s crazy good and helped him earn his first Gallow’s Pole of the year. Velocity was slightly down a little more than a tick from last season, though pumping 96mph is still worth your time. I’m not concerned here and I’m still well on board, I’m just disappointed.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Kyle Gibson – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. This might sound weird, but I’m not completely sold on this. I know, I know! 0 Hits! 16 whiffs! 6 Ks! But those stupid five walks have me concerned that this could have been if balls didn’t go his way. I’m obviously happy with this and excited to see how he does against the Mariners next time out, but it’s not enough to start a welcome parade. Okay fine, one parade as I got my first streaming win of the year. Nope, while I said I would stream Gibson over Trevor Williamsthe latter had a rainout and now we get nothing. Womp womp.

German Marquez – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. For a guy allowing 0 ER in five innings, I don’t think I could be any less excited.

Kenta Maeda – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BB, 10 Ks. Yeah this is all kinds of awesome. Of course he gets pulled in just five innings and has only 10 Ks to show for it, but this is ridiculous. Oddly enough, just 13 whiffs to his name, but he was pounding the zone and the Giants didn’t know what to do with it. Still don’t love him given the IPS woes and the fact that he has to have under 2 ER for this to normally be beneficial, but he obviously should be owned as long as he’s going.

Jacob deGrom – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Remember when his draft stock fell after he had a stiff back for a moment in March? That was fun.

Zack Greinke – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Velocity was down, he had a groin sprain, and you were able to get him in the fifth or even sixth round. And we’re all just so happy.

Ian Kennedy – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Yeaaah…I’m not buying this just like it’s half off sushi. I can fathom owning Kennedy if you’re hurting badly for strikeouts, but I’m against the idea of rostering him otherwise for now, especially in 12-teamers.

Andrew Kittredge – 3.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. This was a bullpen game for the Rays and I’m here thinking of Tom Cruise yell “KITTREDGE!” over and over. Thanks for nothing, Andrew.

Rick Porcello – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Ohhhh boy. I’ve made it a thing to not get on board with Porcello this offseason and this doesn’t change that. Sure, it’s obviously possible I was wrong about it and Porcello returns good value in 12-teamers. I don’t see it happening, but I’ll be the first to tell you I was wrong if it does. It won’t, but just an FYI.

CC Sabathia – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Hey, this ain’t so bad CC! You may remember CC actually being solid during a 9 game stretch last season of 1.62 ERA, while also sporting sub 4.00 marks in the last two seasons. That doesn’t mean I want him in a 12-teamer, but it’s something to consider in deeper leagues.

Stephen Strasburg – 6.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. You don’t want the near 1.50 WHIP, but that 1 ER and 7 Ks over 6.1 IP means Stras deserves his aces gonna ace.

Lance McCullers – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks. Hot damn that’s the McCullers you want to see, even if it came with his horrendous IPS that makes a 2 ER outing not so spectacular. Good to see that when he is actually on the field he’s helping you out, but I still have more concerns for the long haul. Also, can we please collectively yell at the Texas camera angle that prevented us from getting better shots of his new two-seamer?

Brandon McCarthy – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhh I’ll take it but I get the sense that we’ll see a start like from McCarthy often, teetering a good ERA or not without much else to make you feel good about owning him. There will a few 7 Ks and 1 BB games in there, but not enough. It’s never enough.

Marco Estrada – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I’m super happy with this as Estrada’s only faults were two HRs from Tyler Austin, a name that sounds familiar, but then you realize you were thinking of that schlub from high school and now regret that he’s on your mind. If you need volume without destroying your ratios at the end of your staff, Estrada can be that, especially in QS leagues.

Lucas Giolito – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 1 Ks. It took a bit for Giolito to warm up, which I might mean literally as it was horrid march weather in Kansas City. His velocity wasn’t where we wanted it to be and his stuff looked blegh through-and-through. I’m not wavering my feelings on him based on this outing, but I’ll save the streamers and toy trumpets that I have no name for outside of “sparkly annoying tube sounders” for another day.

Matt Shoemaker – 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. I’m curious what we’ll see from Shoemaker this year as he could creep into the 50/60s if he goes on one of his patented streaks. He didn’t look prime for it after yesterday’s outing – four walks are all you need to know – but it could show at some point this year.

Brent Suter – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Brent will hit a wall Suter or later. If you ran with him against the Padres, you’re happy with this, but don’t get complacent.

Derek Holland – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. It’s The Dutch Invasion and you don’t want to be an innocent bystander.

Andrew Cashner – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. The Rangers were smart to Cash Out following last season. Be like the Rangers, not the Orioles.

Odrisamer Despaigne – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. The best part about Odrisamer is his last name, the sexiest in all of baseball. Despaigne. Did I say best? I meant “only good.”

Matt Moore – 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. Loving that K per BB, hate everything else. Funny, normally if there’s any level of success with Moore, it’s the reverse. Reverse is also what I’d tell anyone to do who is driving along this highway.

Michael Wacha – 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. I want Wacha to succeed and even though I was low on him entering the year, I want to be wrong about it. So far, so bad. His changeup just isn’t what it used to be, and it’s going to be a tough time if you get just three swings-and-misses across 95 pitches. That’s like Nick Martinez levels. That’s a bad thing.

Carlos Carrasco – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Remember when we were super happy that Carrasco was pulling back on fastballs in favor of secondary pitches? Well he went 57% heaters yesterday and this is what happens Larry. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS. Okay fine, I won’t be so reductionist as there are obviously other things involved, but it’s not like Castillo’s start where I can say “this one area wasn’t great but you have to be excited about this.” Here I’m just upset and angrily pulling the slot machine for another go.

Yu Darvish – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Darvish didn’t look great in this one. Not enough for me to tell you to sell him, but this wasn’t just bad luck. Give it some time, he’ll be fine. Not Top 5-10 ace fiiine, but no one really expected that of him anyway this year.

Daniel Mengden – 5.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Yep, that’s Mengden alright.

Luis Perdomo – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. 13 whiffs and 7 Ks from Perdomo? That’s a 12% whiff rate despite holding sub 9% marks in two straight seasons. I’m curious if it can stick around, but there’s also that atrocious 4 in the BB column, fueled by a sinker that has excellent movement but is too much for Perdomo to harness…so far. There’s upside in here, the question is if the 24-year-old can continue to develop it.

James Paxton – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. The start of the season seems to be filled with “down velocities” and Paxton adds to the pile, sitting a full point lower than last year’s mark. I wouldn’t be concerned if it wasn’t paired with questionable command that just isn’t Paxton’s schtick. He didn’t look comfortable at any point and I’m a bit concern that there is something under the hood that is causing this. Here’s to hoping he just needed a little extra time to get going.

Vince Velasquez – 2.2 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Yikes. I’m not a fan of VV but this is vv bad and I think he’s an easy drop if you owned him here. Sure, he could spin off a super good start within the next month, but it’s not worth the risk y’all.

Today’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. This one rained out, so let’s go with Chris Stratton against the Dodgers. It’s a little risky given the firepower in that lineup, but with the way they’re performed thus far and Stratton’s curveball, I’ll take the chance. I’m slightly favoring this over yesterday’s rained out Trevor Williamsbut he’s a decent option as well.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Reynaldo Lopez vs. Toronto Blue Jays – 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.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Jake Junis vs. Detroit Tigers I’m curious to see his new curveball, but even without it, Junis’ slider could do enough work to make this a beneficial outing.

Game of the Day

Shohei Ohtani vs. Oakland Athletics – Guys, it’s finally here. I’m pumped to see what happens.

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.

7 responses to “Cast Off”

  1. Neal says:

    White Sox game postponed. Lopez will now start against the Blue Jays tomorrow

  2. Bob says:

    Hey Nick…as Castillo owner I get that it was the Nationals and their lineup is really deep but it could have gone so much better for Castillo. He was ahead of Eaton 1-2 to start the game and it sort of went down hill from their. He was also ahead of Rendon 0-2 when he gave up the hit to him in the third. I personally think he was pitching to avoid contact (scared). With his stuff that no way to pitch. My biggest takeaway though was his lack of a third pitch. His changeup is GREAT but he really needs at the vest least a decent slider/curve to get to that “elite” level. I just don’t know if the fastball changeup combo is enough. It’s pretty surprising for a hard throwing righty to have a have a good slider/breaking ball. What are your thoughts on this going forward?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Great points Bob!

      I don’t think Castillo needs an elite #3 pitch and his slider is good enough to be a stable third option that he can sneak in during at-bats.

      Really, the biggest difference in this outing from what we saw last season was his fastball command. He wasn’t spotting the edges like we’ve seen in the past. The good news here is that he knew to rely on his changeup and was most likely exposed to just how dominant it is with its success yesterday.

      That 1-2 changeup to Eaton was actually pretty solid, FWIW. Off the plate with good run.

      • Bob says:

        I totally agree that the pitch to Eaton wasn’t a bad one he’s just about as hot of a hitter as there is going right now. It’s interesting that you think his slider is good enough, you may be right but I can’t even imagine how could he could be if he could get it slightly better. So not exactly like Scherzer but more like Gerrit Cole level. Meaning (a really good one) but not elite. If he could get it there. I think we’re looking at a top 10 pitcher for sure!

  3. Zach says:

    So Castillo got 15 whiffs on his changeup alone? Little confused cause you say he got the Gallows Pole, but then say Gibson had 16 whiffs. Just curious how many Castillo had total.

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