Embrace The DH

Nick Pollack reviews every starting pitcher performance from Friday.

Dakota Hudson vs CHC (ND) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 70 pitches.

This won’t be long, but Dakota Hudson pitched his second game and was…Dakota Hudson again: 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 3 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 21% CSW, 70 pitches. Sure, this was the Cubs, but the sinker earned outs like the good ole days, and while the slider wasn’t as good as the first game, it still had promise.

Look, it’s the end of the season and sometimes we forget about a player for 2022 because of their limited time the previous year. Hudson isn’t someone I’d focus on drafting, but I can definitely see myself trusting him in QS leagues + as an early streamer in standard 12-teamers. The man is as Toby as they come and you wouldn’t get this from any other guy. Okay, fine, there are other legit Tobyout there, but you get my point. You know the man and don’t forget him.


Let’s see how every other SP did Friday:


Tylor Megill @ ATL (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 14 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 74 pitches.

I was incredibly hesitant to trust Megill here and if you told me he had a 15% CSW on his changeup, I’d have thought I made the right call. Welp, he had 10/46 whiffs on four-seamers (a pitch I wouldn’t trust carrying the burden with any consistency) and Atlanta, the day after they clinched the division, couldn’t handle it. Maybe that last point is everything, though Riley, Albies, Rosario, and Pederson were all here. Anyway, I wonder how much more we’ll see of Megill and how fantasy-relevant he’ll be next year.

Wil Crowe vs CIN (ND) – 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hits, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – 19 Whiffs, 37% CSW, 79 pitches.

WHAT. This is crazy and in some ways, I feel bad for Wil. He earned a Golden Goal in his final start of the year, on the back of a changeup that not only went 10/18 whiffs (56% SwStr!!) but also 10/11 whiff% (i.e. they swung 11 times and whiffed 10 times). That is absurd. And the sad part here – he finally had his breakout start when he can’t show us if it’s real or not. He doesn’t have a month ahead of him to prove this as anything but a fluke and when he gets his chance next spring, who knows if things will be the same – will he even be a regular starter? Life ain’t fair, but at least he’ll have this incredible moment. Simply amazing.

Eduardo Rodriguez @ WSH (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 6 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 31% CSW, 93 pitches.

The cutter was decent, the changeup was fine, and the heater was great. Voila, the story of Eduardo’s season. He’s gotten plenty of bad luck on BABIP this year, but even if that evens out next season, I wouldn’t consider him in the “Core four” philosophy I have of drafting starting pitchers, and considering I don’t see a season of true ascension in the cards for him, I likely won’t be drafting him on my teams. He’s not the kind of arm I want to roster. I sure hope he proves me wrong, though, which would take a dramatic improvement in his changeup. Let’s see it.

Ranger Suárez @ MIA (W) – 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 101 pitches.

And so concludes the Kris Medlen run of the season. We have one every year and Ranger was simply incredible. I don’t buy that he’ll be able to go 37% CSW with 10 whiffs on sinkers with any consistency next year (especially without his lush schedule), but hey, this was a cool thing.

Anthony DeSclafani vs SD (W) – 5.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 71 pitches.

Look, we’re no strangers to love and Tony Disco played with our heartstrings a ton this year. I’m glad he gave us one last solid outing, though I can’t help but be curious how he’ll be treated for 2022. If it means a Top 175 pick or so, I think I’m out. He’s the kind of pitcher you’re happy to pick up in May and ride for as long he’ll take you, not a guy who you want to truly believe in entering opening day. He just isn’t believable as a potential Top 20 arm.

Eric Lauer @ LAD (ND) – 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 87 pitches.

I know some of you were really tempted to start Lauer here given his incredible second-half run, but this was the Dodgers and Lauer’s stuff doesn’t dominate great offenses. It’s no Shane Baz repertoire. I do hope his improved heater sticks around for 2022, making him an interesting deep add in drafts, but I’m likely going to pass in my redraft leagues. I’d be shocked if he came out swinging the same way.

Luis Castillo @ PIT (ND) – 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 6 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 26% CSW, 94 pitches.

You did it, Castillo. After holding a 7.61 ERA on May 23rd after your first ten starts, you managed to end the season under a 4.00 mark, you held a near 2.75 clip in the final 23 starts. That’s fantasy baseball for you. It’s so dang painful and difficult to hold on in the beginning and sometimes it never fixes itself (e.g Maeda), but more often than not, a guy like Castillo will find a way. We’ll be referring to those 23 starts for a good five months now.

Shane McClanahan @ NYY (ND) – 3.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 35% CSW, 43 pitches.

I’m sad we saw just three frames from McShane, but they were of quality and now I begin my off-season of preaching my love of Shane and establishing myself as a firm McClanafan. The biggest knock is a 2021 workload of just 123 frames, suggesting a number around 160-170 next season, with some kind of leash inside games. We’ll likely see more games with six innings, though, and his stuff is just too dang good. For those in dynasty leagues, a full commitment is what I’m thinking of. Get amped.

José Suarez @ SEA (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 85 pitches.

Ahhhh there we go Suarez! He should have done this last start and recovered in a major way doing the two things he does so well: get changeup whiffs (7/27) and curveball called strikes (10/20). He filled in the rest with fastballs and got it done. You love to see it.

Pedro Avila @ SF (L) – 4.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 3 BBs, 5 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 84 pitches.

It’s 2021 and every day needs a bullpen game – you know the rules and so do I.

Lance Lynn vs DET (W) – 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 12 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 81 pitches.

It’s not overwhelming, but it was productive and we should be happy about that. We ultimately didn’t get the volume we anticipated from Lynn, partially due to his injury, and partially due to his lack of domination/efficiency he’s expressed in the past. Still, a fantastic season for those who trusted in his 2020 self, and despite the expected decline next year, I’m excited to see what he does again.

Néstor Cortes Jr.  vs TB (L) – 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 67 pitches.

If you elected to start Cortes Jr., this wasn’t exactly what you had in mind, but fortunately it didn’t hurt you at all. And that’s a cool thing. I don’t see him as a legit 2022 play, but maybe at the back end of rotations. I’m not sure I buy the stuff playing this well for another season.

Cory Abbott @ STL (ND) – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 Hits, 2 BBs, 4 Ks – 7 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 85 pitches.

I remember a colleague telling me to look out for Abbott waaaaay back in February/March of this year. Well, I finally saw him and he carried a 19% CSW with a 92/93 mph heater and a decent curveball and slider. I have to imagine there’s more than what we saw here and I hope he gets regular chances next season.

Thomas Eshelman @ TOR (L) – 2.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – 1 Whiffs, 19% CSW, 32 pitches.

Did you expect anything different from Eshelman? Why?

Steven Matz vs BAL (W) – 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 5 Ks – 8 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 88 pitches.

Look at Matz go, being a legit Toby in his final start of the season, sealing a 3.82 ERA on the year. Yep, that sounds about right.

Sean Manaea @ HOU (W) – 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 27% CSW, 103 pitches.

I had no idea if Manaea would be able to replicate last week’s success and while the WHIP hurt, you’re happy to take this. Great to see his changeup perform well as he sat just 91/92 mph in this one and I’m upset I’ll be forced to ranked him during my four-hour Livestream on Monday. No, I really don’t know where to put him. The injury history + innate volatility + ever-changing fastball + super high ceiling makes this such a tough call.

Wily Peralta @ CWS (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 9 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 96 pitches.

Jeeeeez, if he allowed more run, that would be a VVVVPQSWay to go, I guess?

Marco Gonzales vs LAA (L) – 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 2 BBs, 5 Ks – 15 Whiffs, 28% CSW, 99 pitches.

The man is a Toby and did exactly as he should against a team like the Angels. He’s played the part so dang well in the second half and after showing us the tragic floor in the first half, I’m glad he was able to rebound to show the proper ability. I will say, though, he’s not a 40% CSW changeup guy, let alone 8/25 whiffs on the pitch. That ain’t happening with regularity.

Clayton Kershaw vs MIL (ND) – 1.2 IP, 3 ER, 5 Hits, 0 BBs, 1 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 42 pitches.

So this was bad. Kershaw was lifted with an arm injury, which also means Walker Buehler could be bumped from his Sunday start (or heavily limited) to help rest him for a potential Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday next week (Max Scherzer goes for the Wild Card game). Monitor this closely.

Huascar Ynoa vs NYM (L) – 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 33% CSW, 80 pitches.

Ehhhh, it’s not the start I was hoping for from Ynoa. The heater still wasn’t quite what we wanted, forcing him to do a little too much with sliders. It’s still a ridiculously good slide piece, though, and he’s still pumping 96/97 mph. I gotta make you understand that I believe in him for next year despite the September stretch. The stuff is too legit.

Framber Valdez vs OAK (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 Hits, 1 BBs, 7 Ks – 11 Whiffs, 34% CSW, 82 pitches.

That’s a Dusty Donut to end Framber’s 2021 campaign that was the rare “(two seasons ago + last season) divided by two” as he was the middle ground of 2019 and 2020. And now you have to believe this is the man we’ll get next year as his changeup didn’t take a step forward. So it goes.

Jon Heasley vs MIN (W) – 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6 Hits, 1 BBs, 1 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 17% CSW, 88 pitches.

He throws 93 mph with some free real estate on the curveball but nothing else. Sounds like another pitcher destined for mediocrity as he earned himself a HAISTBMBWT?! I really hope one of them bucks the trend proper next year – likely Carlos Hernández or Daniel Lynch.

Eli Morgan @ TEX (W) – 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – 6 Whiffs, 22% CSW, 85 pitches.

Blegh. Streaming Record: 92-78. What a terrible week for streaming. Morgan is a Cherry Bomb and he showcased the wrong side against a horrific offense. That’s just how it goes.

Josh Rogers vs BOS (L) – 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 3 Ks – 5 Whiffs, 24% CSW, 86 pitches.

Why do I want to call him Rosh Jogers. This was close to a VPQS but even worse and we’re not surprised. Remember y’all, Blame it on the Marlins. I hope no one was seduced.

Sandy Alcantara vs PHI (L) – 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 Hits, 1 BBs, 6 Ks – 13 Whiffs, 30% CSW, 80 pitches.

Awwwww. I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling. There’s sadness in me each time Sandy allows any runs at all, let alone a game where he is detrimental to your ERA. He threw a few too many heaters in the heart of the zone and the Phillies took advantage of em. It happens, maybe he just fell another round in next year’s drafts because he didn’t succeed here. He’s such a nice guy.

Spencer Howard vs CLE (L) – 3.2 IP, 5 ER, 5 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks – 3 Whiffs, 23% CSW, 73 pitches.

Despite getting 70+ pitches, Howard’s stuff wasn’t good enough to dismantle Cleveland. He shocked me by tossing 41% cutters here (normally just a ton of four-seamers), and while it was decent, it was awfully mediocre. Not bad mediocre, just not above-average. There’s a lot left to fix here.

Humberto Castellanos vs COL (ND) – 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 9 Hits, 1 BBs, 4 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 32% CSW, 88 pitches.

It was Rockie Road and Humberto didn’t get the memo. It happens, computers are finicky things. As for Castellanos, he allowed too many deep drives to left hits off poorly spotted pitches and his stuff just isn’t good enough. Prepare to forget this ever happened…

John Gant @ KC (L) – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 8 Hits, 2 BBs, 3 Ks – 9 Whiffs, 25% CSW, 71 pitches.

I wish I could see this stat line back in early May and point at it with aggression. It never felt real, y’all.

Jon Gray @ ARI (ND) – 4.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 0 BBs, 7 Ks – 10 Whiffs, 42% CSW, 76 pitches.

And so concludes a wacky year for Gray. His July was so dang good and everything else came with glimmers of what could be, as we grasped at what we could to justify July would return. I get it, I considered this one against the Sneks in Arizona, too. At least you got seven strikeouts as he went 42% CSW. Man, that’s just terrible luck. I wonder where we see him pitch in 2022 and I can’t help but hope it’s not in Coors. Another organization could turn him into something special.


Game of the Day 


Shane Baz vs. Jordan Montgomery – These games have a playoff air to them + it’s Baz. I could watch Baz all day.

But Nick?! Where are the streaming picks? – I’ve moved them to the daily SP Matchups & Streamer Rankings article.

Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

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 “Embrace The DH”

  1. Mario Mendoza says:

    Ah I thought this was about the NL DH saving our SPs. I swear I saw moment Rodon got hurt. It was 5th inning @CHC in July. He was dealing missiles with accuracy up to that point, took a competitive at bat, and was wild and diminished velo after that, then went on DL with fatigue, and hasn’t been same since. I’m telling you, watch that at bat. Watch the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings of that game. Maybe it wasn’t the at bat, but it sure looks like it. Maybe he would have broken down eventually anyway. But we do know this: the White Sox and fantasy owners did NOT need him swinging there.

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