Dominant Minor

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

Those that went for the stream of Mike Minor it earned a lot more than they dreamed with a luscious 9.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Hot dang! I expected his changeup to be the star – it often is – but just 4/20 CSW (14/20 strikes, though) as his curveball – 10/18 CSW – took the stage a strong offering through the start. I wouldn’t say that his fastball command was phenomenal here, though seven whiffs on 50 four-seamers as his velocity jumped a bit to 93.4 mph is all kinds of welcome. It’s a season averaging almost 7 IPS now with a 2.0 ERA and sub 1.00 WHIP (a CGSHO kinda does that) and you’re wondering if you should hold on past this stream (Streaming Record 11-8). The Astros are next, a team he’s already beaten but are plenty better than the Angels, followed by the red-hot Mariners. My gut says no, but I completely understand giving this one a go as a semi-Vargas Rule situation. It’s a see-saw of a schedule through the year of good and poor matchups, meaning I’ll probably be dancing with Minor off-and-on through the year, rarely keeping him on for more than a week. I don’t see him the savior of the terrible SP landscape, but hope to be wrong. Please let me be wrong.

Let’s see how every other SP did Tuesday:

Collin McHugh6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. McHugh may be one of the most underrated arms out there at the moment, stringing together yet another productive start. This one didn’t come with the fantastic CSW – 25/89 with 7 whiffs is pretty meh – but he marched through the Athletics and called it a day. Don’t you dare hold him back from starting. Let this one fly like a warged dragon. IT HAS TO HAPPEN.

James Paxton8.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. FINALLY. I had to remove Paxton’s AGA label this week on The List given his horrid start to the year and VOILA! He shows us where he’s from. What does that even mean. I have no idea, someone shouted it at a game once and it stuck. Anyway, fastballs inside at 99mph, cutters that the Sawx couldn’t touch, and that overall dominance that Paxton always gets to at some point in a season. Here’s to hoping it sticks around for a long while, earning more Gallows Poles like today’s 20 whiffs.

Jose Quintana7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks. Quintana followed up his magical Pirates outing with a magical Marlins outing. He earned a ridiculous 41% CSW, earning 48% on just fastballs. What. Quintana did a fantastic job spotting his sinker down-and-away from right-handers, and keeping his curveball down-and-away from left-handers. The whole thing worked – again – and the good news is he gets the Dbacks back-to-back and it could be more of the same. I’d keep riding this.

Shane Bieber6.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. The Mariners are no joke and while Bieber ran into a few control issues early, he was all kinds of good through the start to limit Seattle to just one ER. Just hold the course like being handed a ton of french hearts. That joke makes sense, I swear. Terrible, yes, but makes sense.

Jon Gray7.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Gray pitched in Petco Park and did exactly what he was supposed to. Props for that, I have a habit of not giving credit when pitchers take advantage of middling lineups and given how much we’ve seen it go south already, credit is given. 

Reynaldo Lopez6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. This was the Lopez y Lopez matchup and Lopez won. On the real, ReyLo through good sliders and changeups for the first time this year – 9/40 whiffs between em – and it added up to a strong start against the Royals. It’s wonderful and grand and something I can’t trust will happen next time out. 

Kenta Maeda6.2 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. Ehhhh, sure. I want more Ks here from Maeda and his 13%+ swinging strike rate, but fine, I’ll take this. I’m an idiot, Maeda had five Ks and everything is wonderful. With the news the Urias and Stripling are leaving the rotation when Ryu and Hill return (will it actually overlap?) you have to hold Maeda for the longhaul. Yes, I’m starting him against the Brewers next week.

Dereck Rodriguez5.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. Yeah, that’s fine D-Rod, I’ll respectfully hold back calling you D-Rop for another week. The Nationals are far from a cakewalk and while you may have a gotten a little lucky here, I’ll still acknowledge that you can be a Toby across the full year.

Max Fried6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Another start, another underwhelming CSW (28/97) as he avoided getting beat by the BABIP gods. I think there is room for improvement in Fried overall to counteract the expected BABIP regression (.224 for the year and just a 5.5 K/9!), though it might take too long for him to develop that third pitch and finetune the heater. Lucky man gets the Indians next, so don’t overthink this and let it ride, let it ride.

Tyler Glasnow7.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. The good news is that Glasnow is doing a fantastic job of keeping his heat up. The bad news is that his curveball isn’t as tempting as it was last time out. That’s okay, he threw strikes and it led to outs in the field, but it does make me lose a little confidence that he can turn into the Top 25 stud you want him to be.

Mike Leake6.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks. Sure, whatever Leake. You’re not getting my Bud Light.

Pablo Lopez5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Another strong K/BB game, but the short start makes me a little hesitant to jump back on board. 34% CSW with 47% via his curveball and changeup are incredibly welcome, though, especially on a night where his changeup wasn’t as sharp as other games, forcing him to rely more on the deuce. There’s more to tap into here from PabLo, but I’m not sure we’ll get it just yet.

Joe Musgrove7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Mmmmm Musgrove can’t be stopped! 36/104 CSW with nearly as many sliders as heaters. I’m still not liking the low 91 mph fastball, but his secondary stuff is killing it and I’m rolling Musgrove out there until he gives me a good reason not to. Getting matchups like these against Detroit always helps, too.

Brandon Woodruff5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Okay, okay. A terrible WHIP and not the most dominating outing from Woodruff, but it’s serviceable. This isn’t the start that gets me back on the hype train, but it definitely isn’t making me call an Uber.

Matt Boyd7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Despite the trio of earned runs, Boyd pitched well in this one. About 30% CSW and a 91+ heater, with a touch of curveballs and changeups. Just a touch. His fastball velocity dipped as the start progressed – definitely something to keep an eye on through the year – but he commanded the pitch well and sliders found the zone just enough. There’s no stopping this hype train, come be a BeeGee or Boyd Boy with us.

Dylan Bundy5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I joked on the OTC cast tonight that Bundy would allow 4 ER after his first three shutout innings. I don’t like being right – I want to be wrong! Huh? You didn’t read the opening paragraph. GET WITH IT.

Nick Pivetta5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. At least Pivetta earned a Win? Yeah, nothing here to indicate that we should fire up the bat alarm and stick to the same bat channel.

Jaime Barria5.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Bleeeegh. Barria has some strikeout upside in there, but we didn’t really expect it to come out in his first start of the year, pitching in HR-Haven Arlington. Maybe another time, like in June. That’s a wonderful month.

Marco Estrada3.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 1 Ks. Estrada pitched against the Astros and was who we thought he was. Some things change. And other things don’t. 

Kyle Gibson5.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Blegh. I streamed Gibson in one of my leagues thinking I’d be holding him past this Jays start through his next two against the Orioles, and now I’m not so sure. Just six whiffs and only 13 total sliders thrown. That’s not what we want. Not in the slightest. I think I’m passing as Gibson has yet to look solid all year.

Jorge Lopez6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 10 Ks. Huh. 37/101 CSW is kinda amazing from Jorge, who now holds a 23%+ strikeout rate across four starts. Everything was low – especially his deuce – and it all just worked. I don’t trust Jorge to be on a mini-breakout now with these 10 Ks but…huh. This is something.

Tyler Mahle5.1 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Mahle got the Dodgers and did exactly as expected. FWIW, I don’t think his breaking stuff is coming along fast enough to hold a 12-teamer roster spot for more than the rare stream.

Chris Sale5.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Okay. So. This isn’t what we want. Fine, but he averaged 95.5 mph on his four-seamer. That’s HUGE. Sure, its command wasn’t great and he’s not fixed yet, but it’s a wonderful indication that the man has it in him. Now is the final game I believe you can buy low on Sale, if the velocity returned, so will the feel.

Aaron Sanchez6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 4 BBs, 5 Ks. This was a solid outing until the sixth, capped off with a three-run shot from Eddie RosarioNot the worst outing, not the best, and I’m exactly where I was before with Sanchez. Play it start-by-start and with the A’s next, I’m out.

Stephen Strasburg6.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 8 Ks. Strasburg owners just can’t catch a break, here failing to capitalize on the Giants as he fanned eight (yay!) and allowed 4 ER (no!). It’s a Dusty Donut at heart with a solid 1.00 WHIP on top of it, but that’s 3/4 of his starts so far with 4+ ER. Don’t sell, though, the Marlins and Padres are next and that’s bound to go better…right? Yeah, definitely. It has to. This is terrible analysis. How about Strasburg showcased good feel for his changeup and curveball, but he allowed a trio of HRs on poor heaters as he keeps getting burned on the heat. Then stop touching the stove! But seriously, I think this is a tweak away, not a “he’s done” situation.

Jack Flaherty2.2 IP, 5 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s a 5.00 ERA for Flaherty now and his 50/50 nature is killing you. Honestly, it’s really just the Brewers killing Flaherty, as they’re responsible for both blowups. This was bad, it happens, and I think Flaherty will be just fine in the large sample.

Nick Margevicius4.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Shocked at the Ks, nodding my head at the ratios like we know each other, but not know each other. A decent amount of those Ks came from elevated sub 90 mph fastballs – ELEVATING HEAT WORKS YA’LL – And the ones that weren’t up were hit dang hard, just like the ones that found gloves in his previous start. This isn’t meant to last.

Robbie Ray6.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. Here’s the thing, I don’t think Ray pitched that poorly. The Acuna HR? A decent slider under the zone that Acuna somehow pushed to left-center field. His fastball overall was too hittable, though, with his sliders often missing too far under the zone and his curveball command all out of whack. I’m going to have to lower Ray next week –  probably to the mid to late 30s – though I won’t rule out a month+ of Ray going berserk.

Steven Matz0.0 IP, 6 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 0 Ks. Is this a glitch in the Matrix? It’s as if the baseball gods saw Matz’s ratios and shook their heads. No no no, this just cannot be. Matz didn’t get help in the field, but it’s not like he was in any way good here. Sure, this is one day and Matz could theoretically be mighty fine next time out, but do you really want to take the risk after this? It’s just so terrible. Like really terrible. Oh, and zero strikeouts?! (I mean, you zero outs, but tradition is tradition). HAISTFMFWT?!

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.

Spencer Turnbull vs. Pittsburgh PiratesYep, I’m back for another shot at Turnbull. The stuff is there, the approach is not. Fortunately, he gets a terrible offense and this could go incredibly well. I’d consider something else, but the matchups just aren’t there for me to easily defer. Turnbull it is.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Ivan Nova vs. Detroit Tigers – The man throws strikes and puts himself in a position for a QS against a bad offense. The Tigers are just that. I didn’t realize that Touki Toussaint is still so wildly available, and while I still like Nova here, Touki is the better streaming play against the Diamondbacks.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Anibal Sanchez vs. Miami Marlins – There are a lot of streaming options. Lyles against the Giants could work, Junis against a weak Yankee offense, Jay-Z against the ChiSox for the desperate, Strahm could be out there and excel against the Reds, etc. Anibal seems like the safest against a poor Miami lineup.


Game of the Day


Walker Buehler vs. Sonny Gray – We have one pitcher we want to keep doing well in Gray and one who has yet to truly dominate in Buehler.


(Photo by George Walker/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.

27 responses to “Dominant Minor”

  1. Harry Carey says:

    Who do you prefer at this point: Buehler or Strasburg?

  2. Scott says:

    Maeda went back out in the 7th and struck out 2 guys and finished 6 2/3 with 5 k. They brought in a reliever to face votto who was the 3rd batter of the inning.

  3. Swfcdan says:

    “This one didn’t come with the fantastic CSW – 25/89 with 7 whiffs is pretty me”
    I don’t understand this CSW terminology. Thought it meant ‘called and swinging strikes’ but it can’t be as 25 would be insanely low for McHugh last night. Care to enlighten me oh pitching guru?

    Pitching has been brutal for many aces so far. Are you one for benching a few until they get their s**t together? Talking about you especially Klubot…

    • Derek Nolan says:

      I think you’re forgetting that foul balls exist. So if McHugh threw 89 pitches, maybe 50 were strikes, which means he had 25 CSW and 25 foul balls. I don’t care to look up the exact numbers, but hopefully this answers your question, young pitching grasshopper.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      There are other strikes outside of called strikes + whiffs:

      Balls in play

      (Foul tips into the glove are counted as whiffs).

      That should clear up the strikes confusion – ~30% CSW is the league average, but 30% strikes are not.

      I think I’m going to keep throwing Kluber out there until there is an easy to recognize negative change that suggests otherwise.

  4. Derek Nolan says:

    With regards to CSW, do foul tips caught by the catcher count as whiffs, foul balls, or neither?

  5. JD says:

    Trade Goldy for Sale in a points league?

  6. Jim says:

    I thought Nick would be more positive about Pablo’s start last night. It was 5IP on 86 pitches which seems par for the course on a 1:6 BB:K night. Maybe the concern is that he never get allowed to go beyond 90 pitches?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I saw the line, got excited, and found myself not in love with everything he did.

      That’s also about 17 pitches per inning…another indicator that Lopez isn’t cruising with his repertoire just yet.

  7. Mallex P. Keaton says:

    Nick, both JA Happ and Kyle Freeland were dropped in my 12 teamer. I have sufficient SP depth to hold onto Pivetta and see if he can work things out, but should I dump him for one of those two? I know The List says yes, but I think you’d agree that Good Pivetta has way more upside than Happ or Freeland. I also have Jimmy Nelson stashed on the IL and will need a spot for him when he comes back soon-ish… maybe another reason to keep Pivetta stapled to the bench for a few more starts.

  8. Thomas says:

    Are we trusting Sonny today?

  9. bob says:

    Boyd really should’ve only had 2 ER. Miggy fumbled an easy groundout but for some reason they ruled it a hit and the runner on 3rd scored. And he got the next guy out to finish the inning

  10. Swfcdan says:

    Do you update the pitcher rankings on the side regularly? Daily? Weekly? E.g with Minor not sure if you just see him as an 80ish ranked pitcher still, or haven’t updated him yet after last night.

  11. theKraken says:

    I am not sure that the M’s are any good. They were the off-season joke when they melted down the franchise as much as possible. How much has changed other than a few cast-offs having big starts? I’m not a hater – it is my home market team but I am skeptical that this is an offense to be reckoned with. Team stats are a pretty bad way to judge a team IMO – a few huge games go a long ways, but the day-to-day consistency is what makes a team tough.

  12. Frankie Freeman says:

    would u package Bieber for Sale?

  13. Kevin S says:

    Looks like Soroka is going tomorrow instead of Touki, worth a stream?

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