Don’t Ditch Keller

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

It was the highly anticipated MLB debut for Mitch Keller and our excitement dissipated quickly with a six-run clunker in the first, including a grand slam off Jose Iglesiasbat. Thing is, debuts often come with jitters and this one was no exception. Those that stuck around past the first frame got to see the real Keller, though, ending with a 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks line that speaks to plenty better days if you grasp the three frames that followed. What I saw in the first was a pair of breakers that were hung a decent amount and a heater that tried to do too much to cover for it. In the following frames, he was able to get ahead with heat and effectively put away batters with a good curve and slider. I like this. I think he’s a buy and I’m sticking with him in 12-teamers, though I wonder if his low-heater approach may need a bit adjusting. Y’all know me, I want that Blake Snell Blueprint and Keller has the three tools to make that happen in his four-seamer, slider, and curveball. We’ll see, I think you’ll be happy overall, though he has a real test next time out against the Brewers.

Let’s see how every other SP did Monday:

Yonny Chirinos5.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. Opener shmopener. Too bad Chirinos isn’t stretched out enough to make a proper no-hit bid and I think he’s more than earned his keep in your 12-teamer.

Chad Green1.0 IP, 0 ER, 0 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks. If you’re gonna open, might as well fan the side, right? David Hale followed and I’m just going to stop this right there.

Sonny Gray6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. That’s three straight games of 7+ Ks and he took advantage of a solid matchup against the Pirates here. He relied a bit heavier on curveballs here and it worked and I’m all for running with Sonny, if you had any worry left. Cards are next and I’m gonna for it.

Zack Greinke6.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. After opening day’s disaster, Greinke now has 11 straight games of 6+ IP. Dude is a ROCK.

Aaron Sanchez3.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. And what do you know, Sanchez left early with a finger issue – “Middle finger anil avulsion” – Ah yes, just what I was thinking. There has to be something better to chase on your wire. There just has to be.

Max Scherzer6.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Aces gonna ace. Yep, still #1.

Luis Castillo5.1 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 4 BBs, 4 Ks. That’s 12 walks in three of his last four games and you’d think a matchup against the Pirates would go a bit smoother. Well, when you’re elite money pitch goes 2/22 CSW with just one whiff, yeah something is off. It’s wild, Castillo’s changeup is always so good that we worry about the slide piece and heater, but there are times when those two are working and the studly slow ball takes a day off. It’s annoying and you just have to shrug it off. If you don’t believe in Castillo’s changeup showing up, I don’t know what to believe in Castillo. It’ll be back.

Gerrit Cole6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 12 Ks. Aces gonna ace. 26 whiffs for a Gallows Pole – 26! – and a 44% CSW is really all you need. Dude had 22 whiffs on 57 four-seamers. Please don’t doubt Cole.

Jacob deGrom5.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Aces gonna, I guess do well but legit underwhelm. Sure, the Dodgers are a super legit offense n all but 24/105 CSW? That ain’t cool. His slider was bad and it’s still scary as the pitch has a -0.4 pVal so far after last year’s 15.9 mark. Same with his changeup: -0.7 vs. 12.8. deGrom, we’re not going to sell you or anything, but can you, like, you know, do something about this?

Jon Gray5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. It’s weird to see such a neutral start from Gray but there is it. I guess we’re cool with this, right? Sure.

Tommy Milone5.2 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. Milone Schmilone. It’s the second time since 2015 that Milone has returned 7 Ks in a game and maybe it has to do with his increased sliders this year. That’s cool n all, but the dude is so blegh and he’s not this 30%+ strikeout guy. Not a chance. Maybe worth a desperate stream against the Angels (Vargas Rule, maybe?) but not for 12-teamers, nah. Too low of a floor.

Daniel Norris5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. The Norris curiosity is waxing and waning in this one. I love seeing 27 changeups for six whiffs, but I hate seeing just 90 mph on his heater. He has the feel for the slow ball that we saw last time and that could be something, but overall not worth our time in standard leagues. AL-Only, I’d go after this.

Jose Urena7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Another strong outing from Urena that we just can’t buy into for the longhaul. When this is 5 IP at 4 ER and 3 Ks, you’ll thank me. If you roster Jose, Urena boatload of trouble.

Gabriel Ynoa4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. Ynoa what? I think I’m going to pass on Gabriel. Well, yeah, we knew that. Oh. Right.

Clayton Kershaw6.0 IP, 3 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. A VVVPQS from TATIAGA? That’s not right. It’s a fine season, just not studly from Kersh this year, now with 5 Ks or fewer in three of his last four. Solid gold in QS leagues, though, with 6+ frames in all of his starts this year. I think I need to lower him slightly today, though.

Nick Kingham4.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks. One day I may be excited in the Boar of Royalty again. One day.

Lance Lynn6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. Hmmmmmm. Lynn served a VVPQS and didn’t get a Win, but gave you 10 Ks. Is that a streaming victory or loss? You guys tell me, I’m leaning loss given how this hurt your ratios for the week. Womp womp. Streaming Record: 35-23. Update: The people have spoken. We’re calling it a Win. Streaming Record: 36-22. If you did stream Lynn, though, it was for strikeouts and he gave you that. So at least y’all can be a little happy.

Michael Pineda6.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. You’re going to take a 0.50 WHIP PQS with six Ks from Pineda all day. ALL DAY. He gets the Rays next and he could replicate that, I’m seeing more of a five-inning start there, but it could happen.

Rick Porcello6.2 IP, 3 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 4 Ks. Bleggggh. That’s the life of a Toby like The Thief. Can I just call this a VVVPQS? Please? He’s a legit Toby so you gotta hold unless you have some solid options on the wire.

Matt Strahm6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 10 Ks. FINALLY. 8/32 whiffs on sliders as he had 37/95 CSW and 17 whiffs on the day. Okay, sweet. I’ve been waiting for the slide piece to miss bats for ages and that’s one piece of the puzzle for Strahm to become legit this year. The next is to sit 92 mph consistently and…oh. 90.2 mph on his heater. Whatever, I’m down with this. He’s getting a bump today – not massive as it’s one game and it could disappear but you’ll see green – and here’s to praying the heat comes with time.

Gio Gonzalez4.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks. The Twins are no joke and he gets the Pirates next. I’m cool with that.

Chris Bassitt5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. Bassitt returned just six whiffs here and everything in his repertoire was lacking. We could see a big wave of drops coming as he gets the Astros next, I’m down to swoop him up after that Houston start.

Trevor Cahill4.1 IP, 6 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. Womp womp. We’re back to Trevor O’Cahill and it’s unfortunate, though we can’t judge too harshly as the A’s are a solid offense. Maybe an occasional streamer in a great matchup, but that’s it.

Cole Hamels4.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 0 Ks. This was just a terrible, horrible day. The dude that has a surprisingly good swinging-strike rate gave us zero strikeouts. HAISTFMFWT?! Don’t be rash and I feel your pain.

Jefry Rodriguez4.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks. I mean, you trusted Jefry on a Monday? Why?


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.


Trevor Richards vs. San Francisco GiantsIt’s a solid matchup and Richards was able to perform well against the Tigers last time out.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Anthony DeSclafani vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Tony Disco has faced some tougher opponents and the Pirates are an exploitable offense.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Chase Anderson vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Pomeranz and Alcantara are facing off and that just seems so risky on both sides. But so is this. True, not as poor of a floor, though.


Game of the Day


Nick Pivetta vs. St. Louis Cardinals – OH SNAP. It’s a coin flip if you should start him – like all Pivetta starts – I’m telling you to do it because it is oh-so-fun when it works. Just have zero expectations and you’ll be happy.


(Photo by Cliff Welch/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.

14 responses to “Don’t Ditch Keller”

  1. Orange WHIPs says:

    QS with 10 Ks is a clear streaming win in my book.

  2. Orange WHIPs says:

    I will forever get Trevor Cahill and Patrick Corbin confused.

  3. Steve Faveri says:

    Based on the question on yesterdays pod, would you rather hold onto Canning or Skaggs, or stash A.Reyes?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I think Skaggs is the safest there, though Canning’s upside is incredibly tantalizing.

      Both over Reyes.

  4. robert danzig says:

    plesac… want to get your take on him at your convenience.. thanks

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m intrigued!

      I’ve seen ~94mph with a good changeup. Super curious what the third pitch is and while he’s done well, he hasn’t blown by batters like we’ve seen with top prospect arms.

      I’m all for a speculative pickup if you have the room. He can likely stick given the state of Clev and Kluber.

  5. Philip Sperling says:


    Seriously though I cancelled all my outstanding offers after the sixth inning yesterday. I know it’s the B-league Yankees, but it’s still Yankee Stadium, and that was impressive.

  6. blehmeh says:

    Can only have one.

    Lyles @ Cincy. Lyles home vs Brews, Paxton back from injury home vs Padres.

  7. larry womack says:

    Someone has offered

    R. Osuna, Giles and H. Dozier for T. Bauer.

    Currently have Hand, Holland, Rogers and Barnes as closers. It would thin out my starting pitching but I could trade out one of the closers for a starter.

    Would you make this trade.

    Thank you

  8. David says:

    It surprises me that DeGrom hasn’t fixed his issues yet, wondering from a pitcher perspective is it because he’s limited in how much he can throw between starts?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login