Caught In A Josh

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

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

With Charlie Morton hitting the DL, the Astros elected to bring Josh James up from Double-A to make his MLB debut and it was all kinds of impressive with a line of 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 9 Ks against the Angels. He was pumping upper 90s cheddar mixed with a solid slider and hints of a good changeup. If this were the first half with a possible rotation spot locked, I’d be labeling him a Spice Girl and incredibly excited. However, this is most likely just one or two more starts and we’ll just have to wait for his next shot in 2019 to get properly amped. I’d grab him until he’s properly removed as his strikeout upside is legit. Obviously a floor given his questionable secondary stuff – slider was good, not great, and changeup a little inconsistent – and a bit wild heater, but most likely worth it in your 12-teamer.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Patrick Corbin – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. If he signs with the Yankees in the off-season, that shouldn’t hurt his value, right? And where does he go? Top 10? Top 15? Do we believe in a breakout season repeating? Baseball is weird, I’m not sure where I’ll place him yet.

Luis Castillo – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. This was so beautiful. 97+ on both his four-seamer and two-seamer, 10/28 whiffs on his changeup, 11/23 SNIP on sliders and 38/104 overall CSW. BE STILL MY BEATING HEART. Am I allowed to be excited about Casty? He still has some work to do on fastball command, but it’s just so lovely even without him executing around the zone with heaters. I think you have to roll with it moving forward now, the dude is locked in.

Derek Holland – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. He’s well over 20% owned or he would have been the Call Boy here as I love rolling with Holland these days. He got the Mets, making for an easy play and you were rewarded. Don’t pass this Dutchie.

Chris Archer – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. It’s about dang time we saw a nice start from Archer. Not much more to say than that as we simply don’t know what to expect moving forward, but this is nice.

Chase Anderson – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BB, 1 Ks. I’ll take it if I ran with him, but just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?! Seriously though, it’s not overwhelming enough for me to…run after it.

Kyle Hendricks – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. And Hendricks quietly keeps producing. He’s really turning his season around and you should be content rostering him in September.

Wei-Yin Chen – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. If you remember the last roundup featuring Chen, I talked about his increased slider usage and it sat around 23.5% yesterday, effectively doing work against the Jays. It’s weird to endorse Chen, but I think there is some value to be had here if you’re really struggling to find arms. Obviously a massive floor awaits, but it’s possible he dodges it in the next few weeks.

Eduardo Rodriguez – 5.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. This was a DLH. I’m not going to act like I would have started Erod here, and this is crazy good. There’s a little bit of Blame it on the ChiSox here and the man simply owned with his heater. Secondary stuff wasn’t actually all too great – just 5 CSW whiffs on 27 sliders + cutters + changeups – so I’m a little hesitant to suggest he’s in for an absurd September.

Steven Matz – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 11 Ks. Our Call Boy had his best start of the year because clearly I know these things before they happen. Streaming Record: 87-41. The Giants are far from a strong offense these days and I think Matz is more of a Toby than a Top 50 asset moving forward, but with his weak schedule, he’s a surprisingly good pickup for your playoffs.

Felix Pena – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Just the second time in five games that Pena had under 3 ER, though this is pretty impressive against the Astros. He gets the ChiSox next and that’s an okay stream. Not my favorite, but okay.

Blake Snell – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Aces gonna ace. With Chris Sale missing all these starts and Luis Severino taking a step back in August, you have to consider Snell as the possible Cy Young, no?

Kevin Gausman – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. And Gausman keeps cruising as a member of the Braves. It’s pretty crazy. Don’t overthink it, just start him and we’ll talk again in the off-season.

Masahiro Tanaka – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Atta boy Tanaka, this is the guy I expect to see more often than his clunkers as his splitter earned 10/26 whiffs and his slider held a 11/34 CSW. It works.

Clayton Kershaw – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. TATIAGA didn’t give you the strikeouts, but just look at that WHIP. It’s beautiful.

Liam Hendriks – 1.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. Hendriks served as a False Start for the A’s with Daniel Mengden to follow. You know I want no part of this.

Stephen Strasburg – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. I feel like this is the standard start we see from Strasburg when he’s on. It’s not the blistering Ultra-McAwesomeTM but it’ll add up to stud over time. Let’s be happy.

Daniel Norris – 4.1 IP, 2 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Pretty cool to see Norris back on the hill – and with 7 Ks too! – but it’s too bad he’s under 91mph and earned just 1 whiff on 24 sliders. This isn’t real.

Jon Gray – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. That’s two straight starts now that I have to hand Gray a HAISTFMFWT?! This is weird. Just three whiffs on 88 pitches is so confusing, while his four-seamer velocity has dropped a little, under 94mph while sitting around 95mph for the year. His slider has been the dominating of all and suddenly returned a negative -4.0 pVal in two starts (12.0 prior!). Sounds more like a bad little stretch than everyone catching up to him. Maaaaybe a hint of an injury, but I wouldn’t make a move based on that.

Heath Fillmyer – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. This isn’t the kind of bar that I want to spend any time in. What kind of bar? You know, a Heath Bar. This is a pretty clear Blame it on the Orioles.

Yovani Gallardo – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. YoGa with a HAISTFMFWT?! You don’t say.

James Paxton – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks. It was an iffy DLH and Paxton killed it once again. Sure, once ER too many, but 10 Ks! TEN! Keep him in your lineup forever and ever.

Dylan Bundy – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. 34/100 CSW from Bundy with 92+ mph on his fastball and 17/31 CSW on sliders + curveballs? That’s super solid. However, there’s still those 9 baserunners and 3 ER as his mistakes still get punished. Not my favorite gamble, but I understand if you need to chase it.

Zach Eflin – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Ehhhh way too boring for me to suggest that he’s turning this around. I need to see more Eflin, MORE!

Daniel Poncedeleon – 3.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. And this interesting train is most likely coming to an end soon with Adam Wainwright flying back to the rotation in the near future. It’s been real Daniel, maybe we’ll be talking about you as an okay streamer again in 2019.

Robbie Erlin – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Robbie, I know you’re trying to impress us, but even seven strikeouts just isn’t going to do it with that WHIP and ERA. I’m sorry bud, it just isn’t going to work.

Carlos Rodon – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Thing is, Rodon’s heater is still great. A poor slider and changeup each allowed a solo shot here against the Sawx, while things didn’t go his way in the seventh for a bit of Careful Icarus. If you’re a Rodon owner, this start shouldn’t stop you from starting him moving forward.

Shane Bieber – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. The man has an incredible K:BB ratio, but that doesn’t matter when you’re this hittable. I think he deserves a bit more hate on The List, though I wonder if he’ll be a bit undervalued heading into 2019. After all, once we get outside the Top 50-60 or so, it’s all about upside and with Bieber’s slider, he has the chance to make adjustments and climb the ranks. Give it time.

Jose Berrios – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. The dude just can’t find it these days as his 2019 stock keeps falling and falling. This was the Rangers, which shouldn’t have given him this much trouble at it’s…troubling. Berrios hasn’t had a legit good start in his last five now and I’d be lying if I wasn’t considering telling you to swap him out with an option on the wire. He tried to use his changeup more yesterday – it wasn’t good – and his fastball command was blegh. His curveball just isn’t money enough to save him now and all we can do is just hope that it comes around soon. It might, but you might be better off not risking this anymore.

Marco Estrada – 4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. It’s a sad state of affairs for Estrada. I know at some point in 2019 he’ll have a good stretch and we’ll have a dandy of a time trying to figure out if he’s truly rebounded or not. My guess? Nope. Also, just one strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?!

Today’s Streamer

Pablo Lopez vs. Toronto Blue Jays – There are some other desperate options including Jacob Nix hosting the Rockies and Sean Reid-Foley on the other side against the Marlins.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Matt Harvey vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Not much to choose from here and I think Harvey can pull this off.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Minor vs. Los Angeles Angels – There’s also Lucas Giolito vs. Detroit Tigers and Trevor Richards vs. Philadelphia Phillies to consider, but I love the run Minor has been on and the Angels don’t scare me.

Game of the Day

Shohei Ohtani vs. Gerrit Cole – It’s crazy that he’s back + we also get to watch Cole. NOICE. Oh and Nick Kingham is pitching again + Happy Nola Day y’all!

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.

8 responses to “Caught In A Josh”

  1. Zoombiya says:

    With E-Rod coming off the DL I got to decide who to drop between Gray, Bundy or Bieber, who should it be?

  2. Cuck Showalter says:

    Would you drop any of the following for Matz? Rodon, Glasnow, Bieber or wait til Giolito’s start Tuesday and make a decision. I’m in a 12 team points league.

  3. Jim says:

    re: Bieber A lot of us don’t have the time to see what happens. The playoffs are here and we need him to hit his ceiling just once right now. @TB next time up. Gotta do it.
    re: Bundy Cannot take the risk at Camden against the A’s. No chance. Even if I am chasing Ks.
    And R Lopez for next week. Are we trusting it in these matchups?? We have to, right?

  4. Derek says:

    I’ve been watching most of Bieber’s starts, and it seems like the second and third time through the order hitters are just sitting breaking ball because they know Bieber feels like he has to go to those pitches in order to get them out. Plus he hung a bunch of breaking balls last night. It seems like there needs to be a pitch mix adjustment though to keep hitters off balance.

    • theKraken says:

      Of maybe he doesn’t have the stuff to start and succeed… which was always the concern. I don’t hate him at all, but he may not be a solvable problem.

  5. Cason Jollette says:

    Bye week next week. Afterwards:

    Hold Gibson (@KC, @DET) or drop for:

    L Castillo ( LAD, @MIL, @MIA)
    Velasquez (MIA, @ATL)
    Minor (@LAA, @SD, SEA)
    Matz (MIA, @PHI, @WAS)
    Heaney (TEX, SEA, @HOU)
    Giolito (@KC, @BAL, CHC)
    Lucchesi (@SEA, SF, @LAD)

    Thanks Nick!

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