Cookie Crisp

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

Welcome to the SP Roundup, my daily fantasy baseball article reviewing every starting pitcher’s performance from every Thursday 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.  

Carlos Carrasco vs SF (W) – 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches.

Well well well. Carlos Carrasco was someone I was hoping could rebound with a healthy off-season and he’s come out swinging, punctuated by today’s 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 91 pitches against the Giants. Oh man, so he’s the old Carrasco, right?! A must add? Maybe. This could just be a Vargas Rule for now. Let me explain.

Carrasco is a touch behind velocity-wise (92.8 mph is a little behind the 93/94 mph we normally see), but the main question has been the secondaries —will he have the classic changeup & slider dominance? And I’m not sure that we will — in fact, we haven’t seen both dominate in a start yet this year. Last outing was the changeup doing all the work, and here it was the slider going 43% CSW and 65% strikes.

It makes me think we have a Punnett square scenario — there’s a chance he has the best of both pitches, the worst of both pitches, or bounces between either pitch all year. The good news is he’s been inconsistent but always had at least one working each start, allowing him to survive and prosper. If I had to guess, I’d say we’re dealing with a Cherry Bomb situation at best and  a Toby in most cases. In other words, I’d sell high if some are treating him like a legit SP #4 or whatnot — he’s pitching as well as the line indicates at the moment. For the standard fantasy manager, I’d just hold and keep starting until the wheels fall off. Let’s hope they never do.


Let’s see how every other SP did Thursday:


Pablo López vs STL (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 100 pitches.

After an off-season of concern, all PabLó has done is toss fantastic four-seamers and changeups, and dominate. That’s a 0.52 ERA through his first three starts and it’s great to see the strikeouts start to flow on the back of that slow ball — 11/37 whiffs in this one. And hey, 100 pitches! You really don’t see that much anymore. Sigh. What a guy.

Michael Pineda vs NYY (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 60 pitches.

I have a soft spot for Pineda. He just finds a way, you know? I really can’t expect it to last when his slider — the pitch that has kept him in the majors for so long — went 1/9 CSW and 44% strikes. But this gave me a soft smile and I thank him for that.

Joe Ryan @ KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 36% CSW, 85 pitches.

That’s a King Cole for Ryan as his slider was effective and his four-seamer pounded the zone. You have to feel good rostering him right now as the velocity is looking like it’s holding above 92 mph.

Kevin Gausman @ BOS (W) – 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 88 pitches.

Aces gonna ace with a Gallows Pole. Hey y’all, I’m beginning to think it doesn’t matter that Gausman is pitching in the AL Beast.

Zach Plesac vs CWS (W) – 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

Look at you, going nearly seven frames despite your changeup returning just 11% CSW across 27 thrown. His slider was a touch better and everything earned strikes, but this isn’t a fixed man. I wouldn’t chase this unless I were desperate for Quality Starts.

Jordan Montgomery @ DET (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 86 pitches.

I’ll absolutely take this from The Bearbut I do wonder — when will we get that start that inspires us? Induces a guttural cry of excitement? What’s so strange about this one is how Monty did it: His changeup and curve earned strikes that led to outs, but held 23% CSW marks. Nay, it was his sinker that wowed via 48% CSW. Yeah. That’s all kinds of weird to me, so I’m just going to accept this and be happy without making any sweeping accusations.

Zack Greinke vs MIN (L) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 85 pitches.

That’s just two strikeouts on the year for Greinke across three starts, who is forcing us all to eat our toast plain. Seriously, HAISTBMBWT?! He currently has a 1.13 K/9. WHAT.

Paul Blackburn vs BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 62 pitches.

There’s another for the Win column of my streaming picks as Blackburn made it work against the Orioles. It sure isn’t the sexiest thing you’ve seen with just two whiffs on the day (What’s that, Pallo’s Goal?) but the man is a Toby and did what a Toby does. I’m out against the Giants, though.

Jordan Hicks @ MIA (L) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 46 pitches.

The Hicks experiment continues and we saw just 46 pitches. Soooo we don’t do anything, twiddling our thumbs as we wonder if this is anything we actually care to see at 85+ pitches. I want to say yes…? I dunno, it’s hard to get too stoked about this right now, but hey, he’s tossing 99 mph so that’s cool…yeah, but it was just one whiff across 31 thrown. Ah. Right. There are better flowers to pick.

Mark Leiter Jr. vs PIT (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 72 pitches.

Why did they call Mark “moonshot?” Because he was a little Leiter. Oh and he allowed dingers. That too, can’t forget that.

Tyler Wells @ OAK (L) – 2.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 54 pitches.

Wells is trying to look like Greinke with just one strikeout, but you missed the whole part where you’re supposed to also go at least five innings. Read the TPS reports, Tyler. Yeeesh.

Zach Davies @ WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 78 pitches.

Oh right, you’re still a thing. It was prime Davies with a ridiculous 47% CSW changeup with 10/30 whiffs and I’m going to chalk this one to the Nationals being the Nationals. I mean, it’s the Dodgers next so let’s forget about this.

Marco Gonzales vs TEX (ND) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 16 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 94 pitches.

He allowed four extra unearned runs here, but for fantasy purposes, this is actually decent? His changeup was unreal tonight at 12/42 whiffs (45% usage!) and I wonder if that could stick moving forward. Sadly he gets the Rays next and I’d rather not take that chance.

Tanner Houck vs TOR (L) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 71 pitches.

Phew. I was a bit anxious about this one as I labeled Houck as a “Probably Starter” but it felt right given the kid’s stuff. The slider is still a work in progress oddly enough – 0/18 whiffs. ZERO – but you have to imagine he figures it out over time. Keep starting him.

Bryse Wilson @ CHC (ND) – 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 2 Ks – 2 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 60 pitches.

I’d love to be able to call him BMW one day because he’s so good that I say “Bryse Mmmmmmm Wilson”. Please make that happen, Bryse.

Dylan Cease @ CLE (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 92 pitches.

Noooo. We still had a great slider, but neither the heater nor the curveball did their part. It’s what makes Cease the premium Cherry Bomb and you’re just going to have to live with that.

Josh Rogers vs ARI (L) – 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 20% CSW, 71 pitches.

It’s the wrong JR! Ah, like Joe. And the wrong Rogers! Well, is Josh ever right? He’s the wrong Kyle! Wait, no, that’s not what I mean. He’s the wrong John! MAKE IT STOP.

Anthony DeSclafani @ NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 83 pitches.

Not much dancing at the Tony Disco today. His slider was good, but that was about it. Intriguing to see just 22% fastballs from DeSclafani as he’s normally fastball/slider. He just didn’t have it here and I’d trust him to rebound against the A’s.

Taylor Hearn @ SEA (ND) – 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 78 pitches.

I dream of a day when Taylor can go 7+ frames with consistency for the Rangers, giving time off for their relievers, and we’d all call it getting Hearn’d. He’d get all the praise from me, h*ck, I’d even make a shirt in his honor. “A pen saved, is a pen Hearn’d.” Sadly, there isn’t enough here save for a rare stream.


Game of the Day 

Trevor Rogers vs. Kyle WrightThis is a fun one. A lot of people are expecting Wright to soar above Trevor, yet I wouldn’t be shocked if the outcomes reversed. Let’s just hope they both prevail.

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.

Featured image 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.

2 responses to “Cookie Crisp”

  1. Chris says:

    Nick, I love your work. Don’t take this as criticism. Why all of the trepidation with Carrasco yet all of the optimism for Houck? Houck has great stuff but what has he really done with it? He doesn’t seem to command it well. He is inefficient and can barely go 5 IP. I get growth and potential, but he is extremely hard to trust. He hasn’t put it together at the big league level yet. Perhaps it will come. Will be this year? I don’t know. Last year, he only went 5 IP in 5 of his 13 starts. He seems on track for the same kind of frustration this year.

  2. Steve says:

    Hey Nick, I’ll go to bat for Hicks here on this one. I thought for his first MLB start the dude actually pitched really well. I’d be targeting him in deeper leagues if he’s still out there. Paul deJong is almost solely responsible for 2 of his hits and his ER – botched back to back soft grounders. Hicks gave up almost no hard contact, and I think there was understandably some overthrow/overamp issues early on. By the time he got late into the 2nd inning he was much more under control.

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