Climbing The K Hill

Old roundup.

Don’t look now, but Trevor Cahill went 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks yesterday against the Rockies and now holds an 11.10 K/9, 6 IPS, 3.60 ERA (2.61 FIP, 2.81 xFIP!), 1.17 WHIP and a 57.3% groundball rate. Seriously, this is astounding to me. Cahill hasn’t been starting regularly since 2015, where he had all kinds of HR/FB problems and walk issues, and it’s not like his velocity spiked (it’s back down from his relieving seasons as expected), so what has gotten into this guy? Well, he started using a Knuckle-Curveball on the regular last season and trusting it more this year has rendered a whopping 23.4% whiff rate and 61.1% K rate. Does this mean I expect this run to continue for Cahill? Ehhhh, kinda? I think he’ll be a 8.00-8.50 K/9 guy, which has value, but he’s allowing over 40% hard contact and a history of poor HR/FB rates mixed with questionable control make me think his ERA is going to be sitting around 3.75+ ROS and a WHIP of at least 1.25, with a clear floor to do worse. It’s super fascinating to me since this is essentially Trevor Bauer 2.0, but Cahill is now the clear favorite to win the MFRSDPSPA – and he’s worth a flier in 12-teamers if you’re really hurting. There will be plenty of bumps in the road, though.

Let’s see how every other SP did yesterday:

Jose Quintana – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Nothing like back-to-back starts against the Royals to right the ship, am I right? I’d be a little tempted to sell high based on these outings, but considering most will see the 4.13 FIP and 3.86 BB/9, you’re most likely best holding. I imagine Quintana sits in the 20s all season long.

Chris Sale – 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 11 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Sale for #1?

Carlos Martinez – 7.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Really good to see this from CarMart. I know the strikeouts are down, but to me if he can have a low walk total he’d be Top 15.

Ervin Santana – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks. And so it continues. This was Oakland, after all. Next up in Boston and I’m expecting bad times.

Alex Cobb – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. Really tough to get behind Cobb when his Changeup still isn’t back to where it once was. At the same time, that’s two solid outings back-to-back from Cobb with sub 30% hard contact rates, so he’s not the worst add in a deep 12-teamer.

Justin Verlander – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. I’m cool with this. It’s not the overwhelming “You’re my hero Jimmy V!” start but I’m cool with that.

Wily Peralta – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s back-to-back seven strike starts from Peralta, but also a 4.88 ERA on the year with a 1.47 WHIP to boot. Just remember that when you get tempted in any way.

James Paxton – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. Paxton had the Angels. Paxton allowed five walks and a near 2.00 WHIP. Why are you doing this Pax. I think he was pitching poorly because he’s hiding an injury. DON’T YOU DARE SAY THAT.

Tyler Glasnow – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. He allowed all his ER in the first inning off two walks and a Votto longball, (and another walk after that), which means he went 6 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 5 Ks after that. Hmmmm.

Alec Asher – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. If you rolled with Asher this is loads better than what you expected.

R.A. Dickey – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 3 Ks. Dickey said he wasn’t pitching well because he missed the Mets and wanted to be nice. Don’t Trust A Knuckleballer.

Tanner Roark – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Hey, the Ks are back! Hey, Roark is still a risky play every start!

Matt Shoemaker – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. Bleeeggggh. You’re better than this Shoemaker and four walks is a terrible sign. If he can’t command his heater, then how is he supposed to set up his Split-Change?

Jon Lester – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. I considered giving Lester a major drop in the rankings this week, but I wanted to see it out a little longer given his preseason outlook is all about the full six months and all. Well, this start does little to take me off the edge (more like that feeling in your stomach that pushes you closer to the edge when you look down) and you can expect a major drop incoming. Something around 18 or so.

Sonny Gray – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. I’ve been preaching that the first indication I’ll have about whether Gray’s return is encouraging or not is if he can throw his breaking balls for strikes. He went 15/25 (60%) with his Curveball yesterday and that is enough for me to believe this won’t be a flop. Oh, and DLH is totally real.

Mike Fiers – 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. This has Birthday Party written all over it as Fiers gets one beautiful day like this one a year. But he allowed 5 ER. Like Fiers is ever going to produce across the board in a given night. It’s the little things.

Edinson Volquez – 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 8 BBs, 9 Ks. 9 Ks and 8 Walks in 13 outs. What is this. I can just feel the boredom of his position players with every pitch he threw.

Masahiro Tanaka – 6.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Tanaka was cruising through four innings, but man did he look poor in the his final three. Even when he put up a goose egg it was a rough inning and I wonder how often we’re going to get the precision he showcased in Boston. Still Top 25, of course, but any thoughts I had of slotting above, say, Taillon and Fulmer are now muted.

Alex Claudio – 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks. This is pretty unimportant as Claudio won’t be starting more in the future. Cole Hamels was supposed to get this start but he had tightness in his right oblique. Because of course he did. He’s getting evaluated on Wednesday, but I’d be shocked if he pitches again in the near future. Oblique injuries stick around for weeks. Womp womp.

Taijuan Walker – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 5 BBs, 6 Ks. On one hand we had Walker fan 11 Padres batters last time out. On the other, we have Walker have a horrific outing against the Nationals. Both were easy plays though – start Walker against a bad team, sit against a great one – so I nothing really changes here as far as my opinion goes of T-Walk. Alright now I’m imagining someone with a poor Long Island accent saying “She just keeps T-Walking and T-Walking.” Thanks for sharing.

Alex Wood – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Wood was my Call Boy for the day and I think this is a tie. Yes, the ERA/WHIP are not good, but you also got a Win and 8 Ks. Tell me if I’m doing this right. Streamer Record 12.5-10-4. Wood is slated to get the Pirates next and I’m all for holding him through that.

Tyler Chatwood – 5.1 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. The backup Call Boy was throwing a no-hitter through five (albeit with three walks), then allowed four extra-basehits and a walk in the sixth to turn the night into on of horror. I’ve gone into lengths about why I don’t like Chatwood and if he isn’t a good stream against the Padres, then I don’t think he’s a good stream anywhere.

Corey Kluber – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Because 2017 is the year of the injury, Kluber left this game with back stiffness that will most likely have him missing one or two starts. What’s most annoying about this is that he’s finally out of April and we were supposed to get good Klubot now. It’s just not fair. It’s just not fair.

Matt Harvey – 5.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. I’m not kidding you, this is a direct Matt Harvey quote after this outing: “Today was the best that I’ve felt in a long time,” Harvey said. “I could throw the ball the way I wanted to and I felt like it was coming out better than it has in a couple of years.” If you buy that, awesome go get him for chump change. Meanwhile, I’m going to be dropping him quite a bit on Monday unless I see something dramatically different in his Sunday start against Miami.

Danny Duffy – 5.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. I was tempted to lead with Duffy – “Hilarity Duff”, ready to go – but I think I need one more start before really getting it. For now, the outlook isn’t in his favor – 4.76 xFIP, 11.7% soft contact – while his K/BB is almost identical to his terrible 2015 season (6.57 K/9 and 3.41 BB/9). Velocity is still lower than last year as well, and everything is just looking bad for Duffy. Still, he’s only had two starts go against him now – both against the ChiSox who are doing incredibly well thus far against left-handers – and it’s fathomable he shows up in a big way next time against Indians.

Scott Feldman – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Feldman Schmeldman.

Jeremy Hellickson – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. I’d normally get all over Hellickson now and say he’s the Devil and blah blah blah. Not today though because he faced the Cubs and we had proper warning. He gets the Nationals next, making this week the one where the Devil purchases your plan ticket to the Bahamas so he can mess around a bit in your town.

Mat Latos – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, what do you know, Latos isn’t a good pitcher. Weird.

Matt Moore – 3.1 IP, 9 ER, 6 Hits, 5 BBs, 3 Ks. Yes, the Dodgers are a good offense, but can I really discount Moore that much for his 2017? He’s only played NL West opponents (and not the Padres), which he’ll have to deal with plenty this year, while five walks are inexcusable. He’s now holding a 6.75 ERA and 1.56 WHIP, and that’s really hard to accept. Still, he has an easier three team stretch ahead – Mets, Reds, Cardinals – that should render better results than what we’ve seen. Just have a short leash.

Today’s Streamer

Charlie Morton vs. Texas Rangers – The Rangers aren’t the fearsome team they were prior and Morton is looking great.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Joe Musgrove vs. Texas Rangers Not loving this one and was tempted to go with Kyle Freeland against the Padres, but I really don’t feel like going with a Grave Mistake so here we are with Musgrove.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Mike Foltynewicz vs. St. Louis Cardinals – I’m not confident Folty can get 6+ strong, but his K upside alone makes him a worthy streamer.

Game of the Day

Jameson Taillon vs. Cincinnati Reds – Y’all know I thoroughly enjoy watching Taillon pitch. Show me more Changeups please!

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.

18 responses to “Climbing The K Hill”

  1. JerryOnDrums says:

    Sale at 1? Don’t do Kersh like that, man!!

    …but damn, Sale has been $$ lately (per the usual)

  2. Alex says:

    Do you think shoemakers done? He just doesnt seem to have it this year. Trying to decide if I should drop him to gamble JC Ramirez and just keep an eye on him on waivers

    • Alex says:

      By done I mean worth giving up on

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think it depends on your league and if you need the upside Shoemaker brings.

      Play it start by start moving forward and I think I roll with Shoe against the Astros.

      • Alex says:

        Cool, thanks for the advice. Love the site, and am very much enjoying owning 3 of the ‘power quads’ and a couple ‘spare tiers’ so far this year.

  3. Michael says:

    DLH means?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      “Disabled List Hangover” –

      It’s a term I use to say “Don’t start a pitcher on his first start back from the DL.”

      Sorry for the confusion!

  4. Alex H says:

    Are you maybe a little worried about Verlander like I am? The 4.85 xFIP, 4.58 SIERA and 4.2 BB/9 are making me a bit nervous.

    • Manny says:

      Just wanna point out that I was watching the game last night…..super cold out that was clearly affecting both pitchers. Verlander kept trying to warm up his hands….certainly didn’t help him out. Also, looked like the first inning he had some jitters since the last time he played them he thought he was tipping his pitches.

  5. jakerg23 says:

    Please don’t say Paxton and injury together or you’ll trigger my Google news alerts.

  6. Tim Kroninger says:

    Check out Harvey’s velocity last start. I’m personally buying low after that start.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      If someone’s selling and it doesn’t cost you Top 45 SP equivalent, yeah I’m buying too.

      At the same time, that velocity was up and he was feeling better and he still was all kinds of disappointing. His floor is pretty low right now making it tough to invest too heavily.

  7. Manny says:

    Wait…you think Paxton is hurt???? Was that a joke? Please be joking. Please?

  8. Max says:

    If I’m not mistaken, another commenter recently had the idea of including your WHIP, ERA, QS and perhaps some additional numbers in your streamer record. Personally, I would find this extremely helpful, and it would expand the helpfulness of your predictions to leagues that don’t use 5×5 scoring. I get that that’s what you have in mind when you pick the pitcher (and so its kind of unfair to judge you on metrics you arent considering), but if I had a better sense of your picks ratios, Ks, and IP, that would make me more likely to pick up your future recommendations as opposed to wins which are meaningless in many leagues.

    Anyway, just a suggestion. Thanks for all your good work.

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