David Took Down Goliath

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Saturday.

David Peterson WHAT DID YOU JUST DO. I’ve been down on him since he returned from his shoulder injury and a date lined up with the Braves seemed like an easy fade. NOPE: 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 4 BBs, 10 Ks – 23 Whiffs, 39% CSW. This is crazy. Not only did he excel, Peterson earned himself a Golden Goal and carved up one of the premier lineups in the majors. How.

Super dope sliders, that’s how. He went 14/33 whiffs on the pitch, keeping it low while tossing 92 mph four-seamers up for a 35% CSW. His changeup earned some strikes as well and voila, there’s 23 whiffs on a ridiculous night. I was out for this one, which would have made me super cautious for the Nationals next, but now I’m in. That slider was just so good at 52% CSW and making Atlanta batters look silly. Like really dumb.

I wonder where I’ll be ranking Peterson for 2021 – likely in the 70s or so as the lead of the Toby tier, but maybe higher with this slider…? – at the very least, the Mets have been searching for their #2 and #3 arms behind deGrom for the playoffs. I think they’re thrilled to have one here.


Let’s see how every other SP did Saturday:


J.A. Happ @ BOS (W) – 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 34% CSWI was tempted to lead with Happ as he just can’t be stopped. That’s six straight fantastic outings, here looking like the Happy of early 2018 with four-seamers up and earning 12 whiffs. He really amazes me at times with such poor secondary stuff, but when he’s able to hit the edges with his sinker and changeup, he can get outs and early strikes to then get that late whiff. It’s remarkable, but heavily relies on command not of that four-seamer, but sinker/slider/changeup to get there. That’s why he’s so streaky. Anyway, it’s the Jays now and yeah, you’re doing that.

Corbin Burnes vs KC (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks – 20 Whiffs, 35% CSW. This may surprise you, but I don’t think Burnes commanded his pitches super well in this one. However, his cutter was overpowering – 11/50 whiffs! – and the Royals were helpless. I still can’t believe he’s having this much success with his slider being used so infrequently as it carries a 26%+ SwStr rate and was thrown just 5% of the time here. Wild!

Jesus Luzardo vs SF (W) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Amazing changeups here from Luzardo and certainly a better aura on the hill this time out from Luzardo. I’m not calling it the true coming-out party I want after last week’s question of ace-dom, but it’s a step in the right direction. His fastball and curveball command are still a little off. Go demolish the Mariners next time.

Mitch Keller vs STL (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Whoaaaa, six frames?! NO HITS?! Keller dominated with his four-seamer as he hit the edges effectively while his slider was a solid #2 despite just 21% usage. It’s not the magical Keller we dream of as I want a bit more out of his secondary stuff as a whole (curveballs were kinda meh and he threw just three changeups), but this is certainly encouraging for his next outing. Does it demand a start against the Cubs? I’d probably be careful there, but I do wonder what 2021 holds. This may be your sneaky last round flier if the opening schedule isn’t foreboding.

Kris Bubic @ MIL (L) – 5.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 4 BBs, 7 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Ayyy Bubic made it work again! Streaming Record: 28-26. His fastball got the job done as I still don’t think he’s commanding his changeup as well as the results would make you think. He’s lucky to avoid the Cardinals series and face the Tigers next, and I’m in for that one.

Dallas Keuchel @ CIN (ND) – 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 29% CSW. He was limited to just 75 pitches here and while that WHIP ain’t great, he was able to produce with 7 strikeouts to go with that lovely goose egg. Oddly enough, this is the least Neckbeard looking outing I’ve seen from Keuchel all year, hanging cutters and sliders while his changeup wasn’t as tempting as we’ve seen. But hey, he gets the Indians or Cubs next and I’d start him for either matchup.

Clayton Kershaw @ COL (W) – 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW. COORS SCHMOORS! I’M TATIAGALove you too, Kershaw.

Justus Sheffield vs SD (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 27% CSWWell look at you! Great work Sheffield, I still don’t like your sinker, but you elevated it well here. Changeups and slider were a bit all over the place and I kinda think you got a bit lucky here but whatever I’m going to stop this rambling sentence at some point but I just want to mention that Sheffield isn’t the kind of guy I expect to turn a corner soon and didn’t here so bench against the A’s. I am so sorry for that. It hurt to write as much as I’m sure it hurt to read.

Kevin Gausman @ OAK (L) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 29% CSW. I was worried Gausman would be a bit out of rhythm for this start after missing a moment with elbow tightness, but this result certainly suggests otherwise. Splitters were great, fastballs were up, and it was more of the same. He could get Rockie Road next and I’m already salivating at that start.

Vince Velasquez vs TOR (W) – 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 19% CSW. You never know if he’ll be VV good or VV bad and we’re thrilled to see a strong outing despite a 19% CSW. Some days, the baseball gods just don’t care how you pitch. The Rays close his year and that’s a sit unless you have no risk chasing his upside.

Charlie Morton @ BAL (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Okay, great news here as Morton was back up to 94 mph on his sinker and 94/95 mph on his four-seamer. Phew. Start him for the Phillies next as he went 94 pitches here.

Michael Pineda @ CHC (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 28% CSW. Yep, this is totally the Pineda start I expected to see, with just one strikeout and the BABIP gods worshipping him for once. HAISTFMFWT?! He’s certainly amazed me with his lack of valley and Pineda gets the Reds next. Let’s close this out nicely.

Triston McKenzie @ DET (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW. Blegh. He needed 79 pitches to earn a 2.25 WHIP in four innings. That’s not cool at all, especially against the Tigers. And it gets worse. There was worry about McKenzie’s velocity – 94 mph in the first start, down to 92 mph later on, but I downplayed it as we constantly see young arms push their velocity in their debut, then fall down after. Well this was 90.6 mph. Oh no. Yeah, now I’m scared. I shouldn’t have been so naive. The good news here is it’s the ChiSox next and we were already questioning that one. Now you can let T-Mac go.

Luis Patino @ SEA (ND) – 1.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 30% CSW. No, this wasn’t the Padres giving heavy consideration for Patino to start. Mike Clevinger was scratched with biceps tightness so the Padres went bullpen for the day. I really hope Clevinger is okay.

Trevor Bauer vs CWS (L) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Aces gonna ace. I really wonder where he lands in free agency as I think it does shape his value a bit. It’s been a short season, of course, but we saw glimpses of his volatility, and we see it often in-game. This isn’t a pitch who lives off precision, he’s more of an effectively wild who is straight-up filthy when it works. I get the feeling a cushy situation with a great offense and generally weak schedule will do wonders for him – the Reds had one of the best schedule of any pitching staff this year.

Spencer Turnbull vs CLE (ND) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Turnbull cut his sinker to just 15% usage and HOT DANG LOOK AT THAT TURNBULL. 26% usage on sliders as well, combining for 38% CSW across his breaker and four-seamer. Uggggh DO THIS ALL THE TIME. Yeah, but how did that sinker perform? 15% CSW on 13 thrown. It’s just, COME ON MAN. Sorry, sorry. I’m just happy to see him do well and there’s a part of me that thinks Turnbull has learned the ways to take advantage of the Royals next. I’ve been duped before though…

Hyun Jin Ryu @ PHI (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Ryu just keeps rolling along with glee. That’s a 3.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 28% strikeout rate and I’m super curious where he goes next year. I can’t decide yet, maybe the late 20s, early 30s?

Pablo Lopez vs WSH (W) – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 7 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Loved seeing PabLo get his changeups down in the zone! Four-seamers followed suit a bit here and he didn’t quite have his curveball or cutter earning many extra strikes – 1/8 strikes on that hook – but I think he’s in a great place now. Next is the major test – do we trust him for the Braves next time out after his nightmare start last time he faced them? In my heart I’m saying let him fly. In my head, it’s too risky. You gots this PabLo.

Cristian Javier vs ARI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Ehhhh you wanted one more frame, but the strikeouts are ratios are fine. I think his upside is still capped as he hasn’t come into form with his slider enough while he still sits ~92 mph. I wonder if he’s capable of taking a leap next year in the rotation. The Mariners are next and that’s an easy start.

Chris Mazza vs NYY (L) – 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 24% CSWSadly we’re not celebrating Mazza like it’s a holiday and saying Chris, más. I hope to one day, though.

Lance Lynn @ LAA (ND) – 7.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 30% CSW. Aces gonna go over 100 pitches again and make us happy. One ER too many, but whatever, Lynn has been a stud for us with a 2.53 ERA, 27% K rate, and 0.96 WHIP across 78 IP. You’re so cool, LL.

Andrew Heaney vs TEX (ND) – 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks – 17 Whiffs, 33% CSW. He allowed a pair of longballs and I’m sad about them, but a PQS with a 1.17 WHIP and eight strikeouts is still solid. It’s the Dodgers now so nah, but it’s been fun Heaney. Go kill it there and make us really think this off-season.

Jorge Lopez vs TB (L) – 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 31% CSW. I’ll take a VPQS from JorLo all day. Well, take it for him, but not my fantasy team, really. Those ratios hurt.

Luke Weaver @ HOU (L) – 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 20% CSW. Weaver was dealt a tough hand in matchups this year and it didn’t stop with the Astros here. I’m still waiting for his cutter to become a major part of his arsenal – just 9 thrown here – as it unlocks potential in his fastball and changeup to earn more whiffs and create awkward swings. Good news, he gets Rockie Road next and I think I go with that.

Chi Chi Gonzalez vs LAD (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW. Well, yeah, this wasn’t meant to be. There’s an outside chance he gets to face the Diamondbacks instead of the Giants (if he gets any start at all) and I won’t rule out the possibility of that being something worthwhile. Only for deep NL-Only, though.

Ian Anderson @ NYM (L) – 4.2 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 8 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Bleeggggh. He opened the game walking the bases-loaded and settled down well, but the early damage returned the line you see here. I wonder where he’ll go next year – his recent barrage of walks (4, 3, 4 across his last three games) will certainly depress the hype, but I see a guy with a great BSB approach with a whiffable changeup and curveball at 95 mph on his intended elevated fastball and mechanics that speak to a lower walk rate + a strong offense behind him. That’s pretty great in my book.

Alec Mills vs MIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 32% CSWI know it felt so wrong to drop Mills after his no-hitter, but at least you avoided this ERA. For those that held on, at least you got seven Ks and a 1.17 WHIP. For those considering a pickup, nah. It’s the White Sox and you don’t want that. For those that don’t care, HAVE SOME EMPATHY FOR ONCE. I know you’re good under there.

Kwang Hyun Kim @ PIT (ND) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 4 Whiffs, 27% CSW. Kim nooooo. You were the MVP of a lot of pitching staffs, fighting to be the Spider-Man of the year. He hovered the plate a ton and the Pirates were able to get enough decent contact to hurt you. He gets the Brewers next and I’m still starting him there.

Patrick Corbin @ MIA (L) – 6.0 IP, 7 ER, 14 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 32% CSW. Uh oh. We felt better with Corbin as of late, but he got Singled Out in the biggest way here as the BABIP gods were cruel and punishing. Well, he did throw a ton of pitches down the heart of the plate, fastballs and sliders both, but come on, a 14/24 BABIP (.583) is ridiculous. Now it’s the Mets and you know this a Cherry BombUp to you if you want that coin flip.


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.



John Means vs. Tampa Bay RaysThere isn’t a clear pick, so I’ll go with the recent hot streak of Means.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Brett Anderson vs. Kansas City Royals – Nothing is left. Dunning, Musgrove, Garcia, all owned above 30%, while somehow Brad Keller is at 60%. So there’s Anderson, I guess. I hate this. Looks like Anthony DeSclafani is going against the Milwaukee Brewers and I guess I’m leaning there over Anderson on the other side. Don’t love it and it’s super risky, but he’s worth the upside over Brett.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Drew Smyly vs. Colorado Rockies – He fanned eight in fewer than four innings last time out and now it’s Rockie RoadThere’s a gamble as it could be just five innings or fewer, but it’s the most interesting low owned arm for the day.


Game of the Day


Jack Flaherty vs. Joe Musgrove – Get it together Flaherty + I want Musgrove to truly excel for the first time this year.


(Photo by Jeff Robinson/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.

One response to “David Took Down Goliath”

  1. awesome work! says:

    If you had to pick 3 out of 5 of these starts for next week:

    gausman vs COL, pabLo @ ATL, Sixto @ATL, Burnes @STL, Kim vs MIL

    Im leaning Gausman, burnes and maybe kim? not sure how the marlins pitchers do away @ the braves

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