Chopped Wood

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Monday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Monday game. I apologize for the jokes written in my delirium in advance. Have questions? Ask me during my office hours on Twitch weekday mornings from 9 am-11 am ET.  

Brandon Woodruff @ CIN (L) – 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches.

Okay okay, you’re worried about Brandon Woodruffaren’t you. He’s supposed to be your sturdy #1 SP and a date against the Reds wasn’t supposed to return 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 92 pitches. I feel for you, I truly do. After Woodruff had his four-seamer cooking last time, his sinker and four-seamer returned just 1/53 whiffs here. This ain’t right.

The improved changeup was still working, though, giving 7/19 whiffs and 42% CSW, and in general I think he had pretty dang good command, save for tugging his slider a bit too far out of the zone. So what’s wrong with him?! Honestly, I’m lost. I have no idea how this is happening to Woodruff so aggressively and it’s a rare situation where poor spring training numbers are carrying into the season. What I’ll say is you’re better off holding and taking the chance that Woodruff is like all the other starters who have ever struggled in April only to recover and soar through the year as opposed to trading for 75 cents to the dollar. He gets the Marlins next and while I know this was the Reds, you should be happy Miami gives Woodruff an easier time than most to right what’s wrong.

Hang in there.


Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:


Nestor Cortes Jr. vs TEX (ND) – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 11 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 103 pitches.

Well how about that for a rebound. Cortes didn’t look sharp at all last start and here, well here Cortes went into the eighth with a no-hitter as his cutter returned 12/51 whiffs and a 38% CSW fastball. He even had Andrew McCutchen share his thoughts on Twitter about the difficulty of hitting Nasty Nestor. Incredible. Just keep starting him and we’ll talk later. No, I have no idea if this will last, but take Cutch’s word if you like as he sat 91 mph on his heater in this one.

Kyle Hendricks @ SD (W) – 8.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 116 pitches.

He wasn’t able to survive one more out for the CGSHO and while this does feel a lot like lol Padres, Hendricks has shown the ability to falter even against poor lineups. But hey, I’m glad this Cherry Bomb is as sweet as he has been when things have worked out so far this year. The Sneks are next and you’d think Hendricks should be good to go there. You’d think.

Paul Blackburn @ DET (W) – 6.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 88 pitches.

He’s a Toby and the Tigers aren’t a proper deterrent. I feel like the Athletics needed a new kitchen-sink guy when Chris Bassitt got traded and Blackburn was more than thrilled to take the baton — he tossed six different pitches in this one and five of them earned exactly one whiff. Amazing.

José Quintana vs LAD (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 102 pitches.

The mad man did it. You mean the BSB?! Oh that? Nah, he just survived against the Dodgers by tossing a lot of heaters and curveballs into the zone and hoping for the best. Yes, I’m as shocked as you are. Probably as he is. Now he gets the Reds on Sunday and I can see the throngs of people picking up Quintana after a start like this against the Dodgers, believing this is the guy who will save their week. Spoiler alert: he won’t. Brandon Drury will mess up his day, you can write that down. I never make predictions like that and I’m doing it now.

Ranger Suárez @ SEA (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 104 pitches.

Ayyyyy he finally did it! Suárez was failing to even hint at being his 2021 self, and a date with the tough Mariners offense seemed destined to carry the trend further. Welp, his sinker was ridiculous, earning 40% CSW as he turned to it nearly 60% of the time. If you think that sounds weird, it sure is, with the changeup getting used just 17% of the time for two whiffs. I can’t help but be a bit skeptical that Ranger has found his answer via the sinker, but hey, I’m happy this worked. Sadly, he gets the Dodgers next and I’m not sure I’d trust that.

Michael Kopech vs CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 91 pitches.

I’ve been preaching my caution with Kopech lately as he’s been hyper fastball dependent without stellar secondaries and this is what he does. While being hyper fastball dependent without stellar secondaries. Nick, what do you even know. I DON’T KNOW. His heater earned 38% CSW across 60% usage, with his slider returning 60% strikes and just 3/27 whiffs. Hmmmmmm. Oh and 0/9 CSW on curveballs. HMMMMMMM. But hey, it worked as his heater was 95+ mph and clearly dominated. Do we trust this Kopech? I guess we don’t have a choice? I’m gonna believe he gets the slider whiffs back and things are lovely.

Jon Gray @ NYY (ND) – 4.1 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 77 pitches.

Gray’s slider finally showed up with 7/30 whiffs while he sat a tick harder at 95/96 mph. SWEET. He also left this one in the fifth with knee soreness. NAY. We’ll find out more tomorrow and I really hope we can get an extended stay of Gray at some point. This is getting so dang frustrating now.

Tyler Wells vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 75 pitches.

Hmmmmm. Oh not that again. I’m sorry, this is getting kinda interesting. Wells’ changeup is a solid offering this year and now the curve is doing decent things too. His 93/94 mph fastball is kinda meh, but it feels like there could be more value here than I was seeing before. Still not on The List but as a rare streamer? Sure. So not against Detroit? Not against Detroit. Really? Okay only if you’re desperate. YAY.

Noah Syndergaard vs TB (W) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 97 pitches.

Despite all my concerns, Thor keeps cruising and you won’t hear me complaining. His changeup earned 7/31 whiffs and a 68% strike rate, both of which are always welcome. What isn’t is a near 1.5 mph drop on his fastball. I have legit shifty eyes reading this line, wondering how long this will last — after all, that is a poor WHIP. I’m selling high.

Michael Pineda vs OAK (L) – 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

I’ve believed Pineda to be running on fumes this year and this start…is kinda more of the same, but at least he got some slider whiffs this time. I really don’t like chasing Pineda, even after this one. But it’s the Orioles next! …fiiiiiiiine. But I don’t like it.

Carlos Rodón vs COL (W) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 12 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 110 pitches.

Aces gonna ace and earn a Golden GoalHe really is unbelievable and I hate that we have to have any caution with him on The List given the injury question. He’s sitting a casual 96 mph these days with a wicked slider and it’s not fair.

Julio Urías @ PIT (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 82 pitches.

11 hits against the Pirates but just 2 ER? Talk about getting Singled OutThis was just fastball/curve from Urías and I can’t say I love that. This just feels so…off, you know? Whatever, his ERA is lovely and the Win chances are high. He’s still an SP #2.

Humberto Castellanos vs MIA (ND) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 78 pitches.

It still feels weird to me that Humberto is getting as many chances as he is inside the rotation for Arizona. I can’t imagine this lasting too long, though if his curveball keeps boasting a 45% CSW, maybe this can work. Maaaaaybe.

Elieser Hernandez @ ARI (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 88 pitches.

Yeah, I don’t think that’s a very good stream, sadly. Ask yourself, if you were the Marlins, does this outing warrant a demotion to the minors? But it’s an ERA over 5.00! Yeah, but we applaud Quality Starts and this kept the Marlins in the game as they lost 4-3. I’m saying all of this because of the wishful thinking of Miami calling up Max Meyer to replace Elieser in the rotation. I wouldn’t bank on that happening, but if you want to take a chance on it, sure, what the h*ck if you have the roster spot. I think they keep Elieser for the time being. For your fantasy squads, there’s no need to keep him — that’s two games against Arizona and zero production. No thanks.

MacKenzie Gore vs CHC (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 29% CSW, 89 pitches.

Gore got another start and this time tossed 16 pitches apiece with his curveball and changeup, putting his slider in the backseat at just four thrown. Weird. Well maybe not actually weird as they were stellar offerings — 44% CSW for the slowball, 38% for the hook — and helped a ton as his fastball wasn’t able to overpower batters. I’m not as sold as others at the potential ceiling of Gore, but if he has these secondaries with consistency, I’m certainly in through the year. The only question is how much he’ll actually pitch with Blake Snell likely entering the rotation early next week. Don’t make a move until we get confirmation, but it does seem like Gore will head back to the minors for a moment.

Luis Castillo vs MIL (ND) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 87 pitches.

He’s back! And no one told him it isn’t April any longer. His velocity was way down at 95 mph (over two ticks down from last year), but his changeup was great and his slider had moments. I’m coughing it up to Castillo easing back into the rotation and wouldn’t read into this. He gets the Pirates next and you should be thrilled for that.

Jeffrey Springs @ LAA (L) – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 39% CSW, 57 pitches.

The Rays bullpen messed this game up a whole lot, but Springs was pretty dang impressive here. 7/23 changeup whiffs with solid pitch separation and a slider for strikes was pretty cool. That said, I don’t really think he’s someone to chase right now. Maybe when he’s stretched out and you can target him for a stream, but his 91/92 mph heater isn’t special and will mess up some games, like these 3 ER.

Zach Plesac @ CWS (ND) – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 99 pitches.

Sooo there is some good news here — I know, crazy — but Plesac went 9/28 whiffs on his slider. It’s the first time I’ve seen his slider look actually great for a loooooong time. If he can do that and get his changeup back to where it was before, there’s a chance. I’ll keep watching so you don’t have to.

Austin Gomber @ SF (L) – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 86 pitches.

After we had nightmares of last year’s “getting Gomber’d” in Oracle Park, I imagine y’all did the right thing and resisted the temptation of starting Gomber here. Honestly, I wonder if hosting the Royals in Coors next time out is a better matchup. That doesn’t mean you should do it, but it’s just a thought.

Chris Flexen vs PHI (L) – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 91 pitches.

And now my Rule has ended. Welp Flexen, I’m not sure I can stand here and brush this off even if it were against the Phils. We knew the wall would be hit and with the Mets up next, this may be a good time to acknowledge it, pat it down in adoration of its brick, and bid it good day. We don’t expect you to go through it without pain.

Carlos Hernández @ BAL (L) – 4.2 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 81 pitches.

Man, this really isn’t going Carlos’ way this year. All we can do is wait and watch the wire like panopticons. Always watching.


Game of the Day 

Aaron Nola vs. Robbie Ray – I want to live every day like it’s Nola day & watch Robbie Ray find his four-seamer whiffs again.

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

Have Questions? – Join my morning Twitch livestream! I answer all questions there for free: 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday through Friday.

Photo by Larry Radloff/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 “Chopped Wood”

  1. Ryan says:

    I was watching the Rays-Angels game, and Springs was sooo close to a scoreless outing. He dominated through the first 3 innings. The 4th could’ve been scoreless, too. Ohtani hit the laziest of fly balls to center, but dreamy eyed Kevin never saw the ball. It was one of those unfortunate times where you could argue those runs are unearned, but there was no error given on the play, so they all those runs stay credited to Springs.

  2. Ryan Fickes says:

    Did the Chicago bullpen, including Hendriks (who I have rostered and I gave the MVP for my team last week after 5 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, and 5 SVHD), then proceed to blow the W for Kopech? Yes, yes they did.

  3. LeftyNation says:

    Would you consider dropping kopech for Whitlock? Would that be a beneficial move ROS? Let me know what you think…please.

    • Johnny says:

      On The List they’re both in the same tier, but Kopech is 7 spots higher…for what that’s worth

  4. Johnny says:

    Haha I love your analysis everyday here, but you keep saying “coughing it up to”. And I’m pretty sure the phrase is “chalking it up to”…unless you mean to say it that way to be funny or something. I just really hope you’re covering your mouth haha

    • Nick Pollack says:

      HA! While “coughing it up” is a real phrase (something that one has evaded giving “he coughed up the $5 he owed me after three months”), I’m sure I’ve been cross-wiring it with chalking it up as you said. Thanks for the heads up! I gotta be aware of that for my delirious self moving forward :)

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