Early Showers, May Flowers

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Thursday.

It took us 298 days to get here. 298 days since I last wrote an SP Roundup and if you’ve been a part of this site before 2020, you know how much I’ve missed this.

It’s my everything. I normally spend just over six months a year waking up to discuss pitchers and carve through a good amount of monotony with the knife of wit (well, not really wit. Bad jokes that I think aren’t so bad). I’ve missed this so much and I cannot express how happy it makes me to sit here and talk about pitchers again with you.

Opening night wasn’t exactly what we pictured yesterday, but it was baseball. We had a wonderful time with dozens of us all watching opening night together inside the Discord and I can’t wait for more of it today. 14 games! Aces galore! Today is the best.

So let’s get on with it. Enjoy the first of 66 SP Roundups to come across the next eleven weeks.

Let’s see how every SP did Thursday:

Gerrit Cole @ WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks, 11 Whiffs, 29% CSW Aces gonna ace. A complete game for those in points leagues where it matters as this one rained out in the sixth. We expected a little more than 11 whiffs and five punchouts given the Soto-less Nationals lineup and it seemed Cole wasn’t as locked in with his slider as we’ve seen in the past. Still, you’ll take this and be happy with your ace in his first game, especially one where we knew he’d be somewhat limited. 95+ pitches next time out, right?

Dustin May vs SF (ND) – 4.1 IP, 1 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 4 Ks, 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW Dustin fascinates me. Obviously just me as our photo provider did not have a single photo of him so I had to go with a Scherzer lead image, but with his wonderful hair, lanky delivery, and bursts of triple-digit velocity, you have to be intrigued…and then you look at the final line. It’s always underwhelming. Four strikeouts are good considering we’ve seen more of a 20% strikeout ability in the past, but seven hits? Against the Giants? That’s a bit why he’s so interesting. He throws hard with some crazy movement, but it still results in few whiffs and more hits than you’d want. We saw a 94mph slider/cutter thing that was downright filthy, but it’s not consistent and his 99-100 is oddly hittable as it moves more laterally than vertically. Then you throw it the whole “how will the Dodgers use him?” that comes with Dodgeritis and you have a pitcher that I’m upset I’m not more excited about. In a standard 12-teamer it’s a borderline add because of those pitches – hopefully he goes past 60 pitches up to 70/75, then 80/85, and then 90—oh wait. Kershaw will be back by then – but based on a ability alone, he deserves your attention. It won’t be over the top amazing, but he has a good enough floor with his pitches that it shouldn’t kill you. He has talent that Hank Aaron would appreciate. May, the fours be with you. 

Johnny Cueto @ LAD (ND) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 3 Ks, 5 Whiffs, 28% CSW I had this weird feeling Cueto would surprise us on opening night and allowing just 1 ER against the Dodgers is certainly that. He did a great job of avoiding the center of the plate, mixing changeups down, four-seamers up, sinkers inside, curveballs away, and sliders…all over. Seriously, if you are going to have underwhelming stuff, this is how you deal with it. Do I believe that Cueto will now become a Toby that we can love and cherish? Nah, this ain’t no Holly, Cueto is your occasional streamer as he’ll get few wins, carry little upside, and simply, exist. That’s fine with us Cueto, we want you to exist.

Max Scherzer vs NYY (L) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 4 BBs, 11 Ks, 22 Whiffs, 37% CSW Whoa, I didn’t realize Scherzer was replaced by vintage Robbie RayAfter the season of the bouncy ball and three true outcomes, Scherzer collected 16 K+BB+HR across sixteen outs. Perfectly balanced…A disappointment for Mad Max owners everywhere, for sure, but that 37% CSW and a Gallows Pole with 22 whiffs should pull anyone back from the ledge. His slider was dang good as he found it by the second inning, going 14/34 whiffs in its own right. I know, you wanted more out of Pocket Aces and to start the year on a good note. He got dealt a bad hand with the Yankees, got punished a decent amount, and was more inconsistent than we’d like. But hey, when he was good, he was good, and we all know he’ll be great.


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.


Tommy Milone @ Boston Red Sox – Oh no. No no no no. Milone had the 7th best changeup by pVal last year. He also had six of his first seven starts come with six strikeouts. There’s something here. But do I actually want to stream him today against Boston? Absolutely not. Nathan Eovaldi was the popular “streaming” option, but apparently he’s owned in 50% of leagues soooo yeah.


Tomorrow’s Streamer


Martin Perez vs. Baltimore Orioles – You want a cheap Win? Here’s your cheap win. Perez could have his upped velocity from last year and the Orioles are not an offense to run from.


Day After Tomorrow’s Streamer


Vince Velasquez vs. Miami Marlins – Still technically at just 4% on Fantasy Pros so that’s cool. He showcased a new changeup in the exhibition match against the Yankees, throwing it against right-handers and having success. It’s still VV so there’s innate volatility, but the Marlins is as loaded of a die you’ll find.


Game of the Day


ALL OF THEM – Okay fine, it’s Matthew Boyd vs. Sonny Gray as two of my favorite arms for the year are squaring off. Also Andrew Heaney vs. Frankie Montas and—okay, I’ll stop.


(Photo by Tony Quinn/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.

7 responses to “Early Showers, May Flowers”

  1. Frankie says:

    To be fair, the hits allowed by May were weak: one was a ball that hit the runner (would have been a GDP,) one was a bunt vs the shift, and one was on a 2-2 count following a non-called strike zone K!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Very fair! That may be the case for May though – at the hands of BABIP with more contact that we’d like to see. Not sure if that’s the upside play I want to make.

    • Chucky says:

      My thoughts exactly. CBS apparently doesn’t know the rule about a hitter being awarded a base hit but the runner is out when a batted ball strikes the base runner. Took them quite the while to properly credit the stats. If a robotic home plate umpire was in play last evening, May’s outcome would have been substantially better. He got squeezed quite a bit last night. Rookie equity?

  2. Erik Nelson says:

    God damn I missed reading these articles every morning. Thanks for all you do Nick.

  3. Dave says:

    Nick, yeah Dustin May looks impressive, but his results have been somewhat underwhelming compared to observations. It makes me think of Gerrit Cole in Pittsburg. Maybe there’s something in his delivery and/or sequencing or location that needs tweaking and he will figure it out and become dominant.

  4. Dave says:

    Nick, yeah Dustin May looks impressive, but his results have been somewhat underwhelming compared to observations. It makes me think of Gerrit Cole in Pittsburg. Maybe there’s something in his delivery and/or sequencing or location that needs tweaking and he will figure it out and become dominant.

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