Don’t Get Cuet

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

There’s been a whole lot of discussion about Johnny Cueto this week as he returned from TJS to produce a pair of solid five-inning performances including yesterday’s 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks against the Marlins, an unexpected start that we’re all happy he took advantage of … for the most part. He was limited to just 71 pitches, and with only two weeks left in the year, we should start questioning how much value he’ll actually give us. Giving him the Sunday start moved Cueto from a date hosting the Rockies next to … the Braves, and that should make you concerned. Imagine roughly 80 pitches against a strong offense. That’s a capped ceiling with a floor that makes you wonder where the Swiffer is. But what about after that? Well, if he were to make one final start, that would be the Dodgers. Oh. Yeah. It’s time to let Cueto go back to the pool after 10 lovely frames. We won’t forget your service.

Let’s see how every other SP did Sunday:

Chad Green1.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. For all intents and purposes, this was a bullpen game with Jordan Montgomery showing up for two frames after Green. 3 ER on four hits isn’t what we had in mind and with just 41 pitches thrown, we feel bad for waking The Bear a little too soon. Don’t worry buddy, we’ll have a picnic ready for you in the spring. 

Sean Manaea6.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Oh Manaea, how we don’t deserve you. I feel like you’re Dante in that you’re not even supposed to be here this season. Great changeups and sliders this time around, and if you own SeaMan, you definitely keep starting him. And those worried about Jesus Luzardo eating into his starts, they let Manaea go 95 pitches, so I wouldn’t be concerned.

Anibal Sanchez7.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. A very weird start from Sanchez here as his cutter – the pitch that put him on the map last year and helped keep his head above water in 2019 – was barely touched. That’s a bit worrisome for me … but not enough to hold him back from taking a swing at the Marlins. So fine, good stuff against the Braves here, go do good things in Miami.

Chase Anderson4.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks. Impressive to see Anderson manage to get half his outs via the strikeout and take as much advantage as possible of yet another sub-five frame start from a Milwaukee starter. I’m avoiding all of them at this point as there is little indication of Counsell wanting to let these guys fly.

Trevor Bauer8.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. Mmmm that’s just so lovely. I’ve been calling Bauer a coin-flip and an easy “start” in points leagues (the strikeouts will be there) and for it to land tails so defiantly is gorgeous. Still a coin-flip, though, and that’s on you against the Mets and Pirates ahead. I’m willing to take that chance given this ceiling.

Randy Dobnak5.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 2 Ks. Wait, Dobnak actually started and wasn’t pulled early? Wild. Does this start make you … No. It does not make me feel excited in any way.

T.J. Zeuch – 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks. I know I say it every time, but I still can’t get the idea of TJZ being the future of Tommy John surgery. Annnnyway, he’s far from worth your time with yet another start against the Yankees up next.

Chi Chi Gonzalez4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 5 BBs, 5 Ks. This is good for Chi Chi. Yep.

Elieser Hernandez5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks. So Elieser had a poor outing last time and now struts out there to earn himself a Gallows Pole. BASEBALL IS WEIRD. Well, not that weird as the Giants aren’t a strong offense that makes decent sliders play up plenty. 33/85 CSW is fantastic but don’t let it go to your head – he gets the Nationals next and we need to bid him a dew. It’s adieu. YOU’RE A DEW.

Patrick Sandoval4.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. The Irish Panda is kinda good, y’all. He also gets the Astros next, so don’t be there when he falls. 

Zack Wheeler7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 9 Ks. Great to see Wheeler excel against the Dodgers (with 10/23 CSW on sliders, wooooot!), and now he gets the Reds and Marlins next. If you own him, you’re obviously starting for both. Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Walker Buehler5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 1 Ks. He was limited in his usage here, tossing just 71 pitches as the Dodgers want him fully fresh for the playoffs. That’s fine, just strike out more than one next time. HAISTFMFWT?!

Wade Miley6.0 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. See? He’s back to normal. Everything is fine, and now you should be completely comfortable with two starts against the Angels to close 2019. We’ll laugh about those two games that combined for 0.1 frames in our robes, clinking whiskey glasses over the winter. What times were those …

Rick Porcello5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. Sure, Porcello, steals a decent game here and there. It’s not going to save your reputation, it’s ruined forever. FOREVER.

Asher Wojciechowski5.0 IP, 2 ER, 8 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks. Better sliders here, still without that great curveball (even against the Tigers!). Now it’s the Jays twice, so if we see it next time, consider him for the 25th.

Jonathan Hernandez2.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks. Welcome to yet another bullpen game. It’s baseball, just a little bit worse.

Zac Gallen5.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. I really love Gallen and hate that he served some of you a Philly. If you’re looking for the next Shane Bieberit’s one of Gallen, Griffin Canning, or Mitch Keller with Gallen as the No. 1 play of that lot for 2020. Easily.

Shane Bieber5.2 IP, 4 ER, 11 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks. And maybe Keller turns into this Bieber next year. But seriously, it’s too bad Shane didn’t go riding off into the sunset as we hoped to conclude his breakout year, at least you were served a bit of a reminder that he can be way too hittable at times. Still likely Top 10 for me for next season, though. Likely.

Cal Quantrill3.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks. So-So Cal was sent to Coors, which explains everything. Everything. Now he gets two starts against the Diamondbacks, and I’m pretty blegh about it. I don’t think there’s enough upside to chase unless you’re desperate for a quality start in which you could do worse. I’d avoid in most leagues.

Jason Vargas3.0 IP, 4 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks. It’s the wrong JV! Yes, that’s what you’ve been demoted to, Vargas. At least your name will live in your Rule.

Max Fried2.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. Blegh. His heater got hit around here as Fried isn’t putting it together quite as I hoped. Sure, the Nationals are no joke, but when he’s on, it doesn’t really matter. Fried wasn’t at his max, got burned, and I am the fool. Yes, I just hosted a screening of The Room, sue me. ANYWAY, with the Giants on the horizon, don’t let this start sour your feelings, don’t be fed up with this world, and give him the green light.

Edwin Jackson5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks. #FreeJax. Wait, why. From your teams. But he wasn’t on my team. Or my friend’s team. Not even my mailman’s team. She has a team? Duh, she delivers. Unlike Ejax. Truth.

Jake Junis2.2 IP, 5 ER, 7 Hits, 2 BBs, 2 Ks. There may have been some of you who thought Junis could showcase his upside against the Astros. The breaker wasn’t there, the production wasn’t there, and now you’re wondering why you went to J.J.’s Diner. That’s not a good comparison, J.J.’s Diner is legit. Fair. Junis is not.

Jose Quintana2.1 IP, 5 ER, 8 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks. I was tempted to lead with Quintana after this HAISTFMFWT?! as I want to emphasize the importance of matchups down the stretch. Quintana is a bit lost at the moment and gets the Cardinals next. YOU CAN DROP HIM. I’m not saying that you should but more that if there is a great stream or two you need a spot for, this start against the Cardinals is a bit risky on its own. Forget the name, remember the game and it’s 100% all about the short term. You’re fine letting JQ go.

Ivan Nova3.1 IP, 5 ER, 10 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks. Ugh, we thought we were getting a solid two-start week and we never even saw a Super Nova. Streaming Record: 96-63. Thing is, I’d still chase his next two starts against the Tigers, it’s hard to find a better chance at a quality start on the wire.

Justus Sheffield4.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks. Awwww, this is the most disappointing outing of the night with Sheff looking sharp overall – 37% CSW! – but things didn’t go his way in the fourth inning with six consecutive batters reaching base and five scoring. That 8:1 K/BB tells the real story, though, and I’m definitely sticking with him for the Orioles next. Don’t run away because of that ERA.

Ryan Yarbrough5.0 IP, 6 ER, 10 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Blegh. Yarbrough got the Troutless Angels and was somehow flummoxed and now you’re concerned about the Sawx next. I’m still throwing him out there, he’s done well against elite offenses before and I think he’ll brush this one off.

Trevor Williams2.1 IP, 7 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 0 Ks. Ah yes, T-Ells is here and it shouldn’t surprise many that he failed to succeed against the Cubs (HAISTFMFWT?!). Maaaaaybe worth a desperate stream against the Brewers on Friday, but that’s not for me. 


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.


Reynaldo Lopez vs. Minnesota Twins – Whaaaaat, this ReyLo love is going TOO FAR. Well, Martin Perez isn’t available, Zach Davies isn’t going more than five frames (if even that) as the Brewers get early hooks and there’s nothing else to chase. Plus, ReyLo had 97 mph last time out, so that’s cool.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Mitch Keller vs. Seattle Mariners – Not much to choose from here, give me a strikeout-upside play against a poor offense. Two other options are Trent Thornton after a surprising performance against the Red Sox as he faces the Orioles, and maybe Tyler Mahle against the banged-up Cubs. I prefer Keller, though.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Justin Dunn vs. Pittsburgh Pirates OK, this day is terrible for streaming. I should probably go Danny Duffy against the A’s – still hate that but it’s a decent QS chance – but I’m going to be bold today. Dunn is a solid arm who had to deal with the jitters in his MLB debut. That’s behind him now, facing a blegh offense sans Josh BellI could see him get through the first with ease, then dominate with confidence through 5+. Figured I’d give him the spotlight for people that have no idea who to stream on Wednesday.


Game of the Day


Garrett Richards vs. Milwaukee Brewers – I’m stoked he’s back. Here’s to hoping the velocity is too.


(Photo by Stephen Hopson/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.

10 responses to “Don’t Get Cuet”

  1. JerryOnDrums says:

    Yo Nick!! I made the championship game for a 3rd year in a row, and you and your site are *unquestionably* my secret-weapon key to success! I have only one difficult decision to make this week, hoping you can assist. 12-team points league, and I *have* to sit one of these guys. Who gets the boot?

    R. Ray @ MIA

    Paddack @ MIL

    C. Smith @ ARI

    Soroka vs PHI

    Wheeler @ CIN

    Thx as always man!

  2. Jim says:

    I thought we would see Eovaldi as tomorrow’s streamer pick. What’s the deal, Nick? Or is it an ownership thing?

  3. Phil says:

    Hey Nick, great spending the season with you, thanks for the work you put in.

    Semifinals week, and I normally don’t ask for advice, but i could go a few different ways here and was curious as to your thoughts. 16 team H2H, Wins and QS league, I gotta bench two of these guys:

    Corbin @STL (PC is my man, but not crazy about the setup)
    Madbum @ATL (Bummy is my dude, but see above)
    Lyles vs. SD (tempting and scary)
    Reylo @MIN, @DET (see above)
    Eovaldi vs.SF, @ TB (will he go more than 5?)
    Perez vs. CWS, vs.KC (too good a setup to be true?)

    Only other ones set to start are Castillo and Wheeler. So essentially need to pick 4 of these.

    Thanks again, bud. Great site.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Phil! It’s great having you hang around the site with us.

      I’d be benching Lyles definitely.

      Eovaldi should go more than five – 91 pitches last time out.

      It’s between ReyLo and Perez here – ReyLo = more upside, but QS/Win is a better floor with Perez.

      Good luck!

  4. phil says:

    Thanks for the feedback! Needed another pair of eyes on it, much appreciated.

  5. A says:

    Nick, I too owe a debt of gratitude to you and the other PL contributors as I begin my h2h 5×5 finals. Starting the two weeks with Nola, Paddack, Gray, Berrios, Manaea, Bailey, and Civale. I’m expecting Paddack’s Tuesday start to be his last and looking at Musgrove, Voth, Bauer, Boyd, Anibal Sanchez, Merrill Kelly, Miley and Glasnow as viable options on the wire starting Wednesday. Would you tend to stream in this spot, or is there one you’d grab and hold the rest of the way? Thanks again.

  6. Perfect Game says:

    Is Walker Buehler viable for QS going forward with the way the Dodgers may manage his usage? If he’s going to me limited to less than 100 pitches I would like to drop him for a bat or another SP.

  7. Ross says:

    If Musgrove vs. Sea and Houser vs. SD are available for Wednesday steaming, would you do either? both? Looking for QS + W, strikeouts aren’t important.

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