Cory In Da Houser

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

So Adrian Houser puked on the hill during the first inning yesterday. I’m glad we got that out early – just like Houser did in that first frame as he exploded for 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 10 Ks against the Rangers and we have to take note. I’ve been presenting plenty of skepticism for Houser during his recent stretch as a starter for the Brewers, curious what could be in his repertoire that would allow him to truly stand out in 12-teamers. The answer? A ridiculous set of fastballs. His four-seamer alone went 16/35 CSW yesterday, even adding another 10/24 with his two-seamer that has FILTHY life to it. His slider was good enough to keep batters off balance and I still don’t like his curveball and changeup, but Houser is pulling a bit of a Woodruff where he’s cruising with heaters and keeping it all afloat with his average secondary stuff. It’s not the same ceiling as Woodruff as it comes in a little slower and without the same command, but with the Nationals next and this confidence behind him, I’m down to pick him up in 12-teamers and see how this plays out.

Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:

Mike Montgomery7.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 12 Ks. You’re wondering how this could be. How do I know that? Because I’m wondering how this could be. Sure, he got the Tigers, but 20 whiffs for a Gallows Pole?! 37% CSW?! WHAT. It wasn’t even his curveball that did the damage, nay, it was cutters going away to left-handers and changeups away to right-handers, equating 18 whiffs across 50 cutters and slow balls. Wild. Do I want in for his next start against the Mets? You know, maybe I do. The fact that his curveball is normally the main pitch in his repertoire and to now see not one, but two other pitches take the lead, I have to be a bit intrigued. And hey, it’s the Mets…right?

Wilmer Font2.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Font opened for the Jays and hey, he acted more like a Helvetica than his standard Comic Sans. Good one you, sport.

Chad Green1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. If Font can open, SO CAN I! Glad Mr. Green had a clue here as the Yanks went full bullpen here.

Sonny Gray6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Funny story, I ranked Sonny above Hendricks last week and I had second thoughts on it later that night. Second thoughts are dumb. PUT IT ON A SHIRT! 33/104 CSW as he focused on sliders over curveballs and life is good being a Gray owner.

Reynaldo Lopez6.1 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. Hot dang, ReyLo! Your velocity had been dwindling, but NOPE! 97 MPH IS BACK ON THE MENU! Really disappointing to see just two whiffs across every secodnary pitch and only 4 whiffs total, but think of it like this – if ReyLo didn’t have that velocity, he would have gotten rocked. Now he has the velocity + the secondary stuff should be better = a fun date with the Angels, not Astros, next. Quick Mafs. Alllllll aboooooard!

Kenta Maeda7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. This may be the most soothing start of the night as Maeda not only gave you good ratios, but did so over seven frames. Mmmmm, that’s the comfort we wanted on this bumpy evening. We should be through the woods now and in the clear.

Jake Odorizzi5.2 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 6 Ks. Yes, it’s a Philly and ten baserunners, but a win with a solid approach of splitters down and tons of heaters up is all good in my book. Keep riding Odorizzi, he’s past his problems.

Mike Soroka7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Hey, he gave us six strikeouts! And the ratios we know and love! His changeup was a little better here and I’m not buying that he’ll be a 25% strikeout guy anytime soon, but we’re wondering how much more we’ll even get of Soroka (the Braves need him for the playoffs, after all), so any sort of production is more than welcome. Still outside the Top 30 SP, though.

Andrew Heaney3.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Heaney is BACK BABY. This was a clear DLH as he faced the Red Sox, with an expected short pitch count and you really couldn’t have hoped for more. Look at his strikezone plot and notice the separation of pitches at the different corners. This is the Heaney we want. Pick him up. Now.

Jeff Samardzija8.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Loose Lips’ dark magic is still at play, here carving up the Phillies with a few splitters, cutters for wild strikes, and 25/103 CSW to earn quick outs and give the Giants a lovely afternoon. This is going to hit a wall, but fine, go with Samardzija til that happens and Vargas Rule this all you want.

Aaron Sanchez5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. And the window to pick up Sanchez has officially closed. Streaming Record: 75-51. I’m so glad he got his start against Baltimore that was promised before the deadline and he’s still throwing about 45% secondary pitches. Works for me and should definitely work for you.

Adam Wainwright6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks. Waino got the Pirates and turned into the pitcher we were a little hyped about roughly a month ago. Cutters and curveballs were back in style, earning 19/54 CSW between them and if he can keep this approach against the Reds next time, there may be some sneaky value here. A little risky given the way the Reds have been hitting lately, but I can understand the stream here.

Pedro Payano3.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. I do wonder if there’s enough talent here from Payano to shock us for a month or so at some point between now and next September, but we sure ain’t in that month right now. His curveball has disappeared since that initial “breakout” game against the Mariners and you shouldn’t be chasing this.

Tanner Roark6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Roark shifted to the A’s at the deadline and has returned 13 Ks with just 3 ER in 11.2 IP. Nothing like facing the Cardinals and ChiSox to get teammates liking the cut of your jib. Let’s see how they feel after Friday’s game against the Astros, I get a sense it’ll be pats on the back of “you tried, kiddo.”

Noah Syndergaard7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Hey, we watched this game live! Thor labored through the first two frames, failing to locate heaters up-and-in, and relied a little too heavily on changeups – one hung up that Soto launched to left-center for Syndergaard’s only true blemish. He settled in the final five frames and overall, I’m cool with Syndergaard here. He never quite got into the feel of dominance with his heater or slider, but his stuff is good enough to let him succeed when throwing strikes. There are tweaks still needing to be made with overall execution that I’m not sure we’ll get, but we’re fine.

Patrick Corbin6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Corbin was on the other side. Brilliant until a tough at-bat against JD Davis that resulted in a solo shot…followed by Wilson Ramos two pitches later. His slider was unreal, his fastball command was not as pristine as it could have been, and his rare changeup just didn’t do what he wanted it to. All is well here, with yet another gear still to hit, if you can believe it.

Spencer Turnbull6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Solid outing from Turnbull as we’ve been wondering when it’ll be safe to start him again. Let him sit on the wire even after this one as he faced the Royals here with the Rays and Astros next. That’s not what we’re looking for, especially from a guy that returned just three punchouts against the weak lineup.

Sandy Alcantara7.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Strong outing here from Alcantara that is a Cherry Bomb without a whole lot of Cherry (just like my keyboard! Kailh box pale blue for liiiiiife). Essentially two-pitch here with curveballs and changeups making up under 15% of his pitch usage as his slider did a good amount of work – 14/25 CSW. The question is how his sinker will perform on a given day and hey, this was one good against the strong Braves lineup. Now it’s Coors, though, sooooo good talk.

Joe Musgrove5.1 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Blegh. Even against the Cardinals, Musgrove still disappoints. Just forget it. He’ll have a start or two that maybe gets us interested again, but any hope that he strings along starts that allow us to start with any sort of confidence seems wild to me now. Such a frustrating year.

Chris Paddack6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. The Sherriff produced a PQS with a solid WHIP and while I’m a little underwhelmed, this is fine as he hosted the Rockies, but his changeup wasn’t missing bats like it should – 2/21 – instead had a combined 16 fouls and balls in play. That’s not the dominant secondary pitch we’re looking for.

Vince Velasquez5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Our backup Call Boy would have equated a Loss as the only benefit was the sub 1.00 WHIP. The ERA is blegh, the strikeouts sure were insignificant, and he left with a big, fat L. On his forehead? No, not on his fore-head. He really leaned into his slider here and for good reason – 10/21 CSW – and I’m tempted to let him fly against the Padres next.

Charlie Morton6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 10 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Not really. It’s a VPNQS (that doesn’t work, does it), but it’s 10 strikeouts and that’s a cool thing.

Adam Plutko6.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Did you start Pluko? Why?

Tommy Milone – 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks. Not even a single strikeout? HAISTFMFWT?! We didn’t like this matchup for Milone anyway, but blegh man. Blegh.

Alex Young3.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Annnnnd now you’re restless about Young. Don’t worry, sleep easy, he gets the Giants next. He’s worth that start, at least.

Chi Chi Gonzalez5.0 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Yeah, this start helped in no way, especially in your friendship with your roommate who is absolutely sick of you saying “Chi, Chi” like Tommy Wiseau.

Rick Porcello5.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. I can see Porcello now, on his knees in the rain, looking up to the sky for salvation. I KNOW I’VE DONE SOME BAD THINGS. I KNOW I STOLE THE CY YOUNG. JUST MAKE THIS SEASON STOP. MAKE IT STOP. No mercy for The Thief.

Kyle Hendricks2.2 IP, 7 ER, 12 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Oh man. No no no no. This one isn’t fair at all. Hendricks has been the underappreciated ace of the year, even just getting his AGA label last week, but it cam crashing down yesterday as Hendricks floated pitched up in the zone with 86 mph “heat”. Yikes. Hendricks works best down in the zone and going inside-and-out, but his command pulled a Gilligan disappeared from the public eye. It’s not typical, it’s a bad day, and unless there’s a hidden injury, you’re starting Hendricks next time out against the Pirates without question.

Aaron Brooks3.0 IP, 9 ER, 9 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. Don’t chase Brooks, stick to the rivers and streams that you’re used to.

Today’s Streamer

For those unaware, I’m forced to make my streamer picks under the condition of sub 20% owned in Fantasy Pros’ consolidated ownership rates.

Dinelson Lamet vs. Colorado RockiesThis is in San Diego, and I don’t quite understand why people are jumping over Lamet yet, but go for it as he was as dominant as we’ve ever seen last time out. Jordan Lyles hosting the Rangers could be a cheap stream if you need one for a Sunday, while Jakob Junis‘ slider could return to form and get back on the right track against a poor Detroit lineup.

Tomorrow’s Streamer

Erick Fedde vs. Cincinnati RedsI have little faith in this one, and I’m still waiting on a few starters to get announced who will hopefully be decent Monday options. I’m not doing this one. Mitch Keller vs. Los Angeles AngelsFine, let’s have some fun with this one. Keller, I know you have the stuff to impress, let’s see how the kid does in his second chance to prove himself.

Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer

Brett Anderson vs. San Francisco GiantsHe defies all logic, so why not, here’s the Giants. Joe Ross was also considered on this blegh streaming day, but the Reds are kinda hot right now.

Game of the Day

Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Arizona DiamondbacksHe’s back from “injury” and I’m curious if he’s still doing the same old song n dance.

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

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 “Cory In Da Houser”

  1. John says:

    How would you rank Houser, Heaney, Matz and Montgomery ROS? Thanks in adavance.

  2. GHB says:

    Heany needs to get the sinker even higher. Too many left over the middle. Once he does, watch out. That wipe out curve is going to be more effective.

  3. King Donko of Punchstania says:

    Chasing ReyLo’s velocity appears to be a fool’s errand given the unpredictability

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Yes and no. Since he’s had 97 mph the first time, all of his starts were well above his previous average FB velocity.

      It does seem to have sustainability at this point. Maybe not enough to warrant a legit breakout, but certainly better than before the velocity spike.

  4. Levi says:

    Would you prefer Heaney or Canning ROS?

  5. Derek says:

    LOL. Looks like Jose Berrios has become invisible to Nick.

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